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marlena spieler

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Posts posted by marlena spieler

  1. katie, don't eat the brains of squirrels as a study found anecdotal evidence (only, nothing direct) that groups in the backwoods of kentucky who eat squirrel brain come down with a cjd variation.....only the brains have been implicated though, so it looks like you're safe with the bodies.

    harters, yes i quote the butcher at the wirral farmers market in my article. barry shaw, a very nice guy....he says he doesn't get a lot of repeat customers, says most people like the novelty of saying:"darlings, we're having squirrel tonight", that is quite exciting dinner party conversation starter......

    as for river cottage autumn, interestingly enough, h f-w declined giving a quote for new york times, his assistant saying he was far "too busy".

    luckily we have the wonderful fergus henderson of st john's who not only gave a quote but had his chef whip up a little squirrel for the photographer!

    this morning i found a website with a live webcam hooked up in scotland watching the little red squirrels frolic. i have the link somewhere.....theres another site at which you can listen to the mating call of the red squirrel...

    as for the grey, well, we know what's in store for them, come this wednesday: the stew pot. to tell you the truth, my squirrel dishes were delicious, but it was mostly the sauce. our doggy was the only one who really loved the meat. but those sauces (i made two dishes, wish the paper could run the recipes for them, but space is always a condition) anyhow the sauces would be delicious on anything.....

    but i can't look a cute little rascal in the eyes any longer, knowing that i've had one of his or her cousins in my frying pan.

    please forgive me little one!

  2. thanks to all for your squirrel help, as it happens, I have learned a huge amount about squirrels in the uk and have come to the comclusion that the whole country is one big squirrel farm! have met game keepers and foresters, all trying desperately to keep the numbers of grey squirrels down, while encouraging the little red ones to flourish. its hard work.

    anyhow, i have now cooked and eaten squirrel, and learned more about the furry little critters then I ever could have imagined.

    Its resulted in a feature for The New York Times, which will run 17 dec for those interested.

    how did it taste? well, not like chicken. it tasted more like, well, like well-done (ie overcooked) duck breast with a faint whiff of both hazelnut and furry slippers. it wasn't bad at all! and my Jack Russell was insane with squirrel-meat-love!

    thanks again,


  3. when i haven't been on egullet for awhile, then i come back and see a posting like this, i wonder why i've been away so long! daniel, what a wonderful tour of the humous and meaty plates that now i'm utterly dying to eat! right this minute!


    Common throughout Israel and depending on where you wander, the meat varies depending on the local population.

    In the Druse restaurants on the Golan Heights the meat is primarily ground lamb, that sauteed together with onions, the pine nuts toasted and added separately

    In the Wadi Asnas area of Haifa, where most of the humous joints are owned by Christian Arabs the topping is often of lamb shawarma (and in the more tourist oriented places turkey shawarma)

    In the Bedouin shuk in Be'er Sheva the meat used is often beef, that seasoned much as one would shawarma

    In the Jewish side of the Be'er Sheva shuk the meat is ground lamb seasoned heavily with cumin and anise.

    Moving into the Palestinian cities of Schem, the main meat used is beef; in Jericho a treat often with ground wild partridge or pigeon meat.

    As is said, the Lord and humous wander in strange and wondrous manners

  4. am just returned from poland, where the soups are a cuisine unto themselves. my favourite is: dill pickle soup, and if it sounds bizarre--it has cream and vegetables too--it is in fact, sooooo delicious and i'll be you can find a polish resto in your area that serves a yummy one!

    there is also zurek: soured rye soup with sausage; sauerkraut soup (my cabbage diet soup!), tripe soup which is very very very good if you forget what it is.....oh poland is all about the fabulous soups! borsht of course....we had a lovely borsht that floated wild mushroom-stuffed ravioli-like dumplings, tiny little ones......

    then, from italy (after poland i went to campania), there is always pasta fagioli.....humble beans and pasta which never fails to be deeply delish.....

    wish i were going to be there to share a bowlful.....

    xoxo m

  5. My dear friend (from france) is headed to Korea (Seoul), and she wants to know what to eat, what not to miss....she doesn't eat pork or shellfish.....other than that, she LOVES good food! all suggestions and recommendations for unmissable yummies appreciated, as well as suggestions about dishes and foods she shouldn't miss tasting!

    i've told her kimchee and kimchee and kimchee; wish i were going too!


  6. one of the characteristics of jewish food that i find delightful, is the way each holiday has its own specialities, even when they are dishes you don't even like, you eat it once a year and you're like: omigod this tastes just like the holiday.

    fat guy is right that its not forbidden to eat harosets/charosetz/etc at any other time of the year, but it doesn't taste right, and as he explained, its symbolistic meaning fits pesach, doesn't match rosh hashana...rosh hashana is about a sweet new year.....sweetness, dip apples in honey, serve a glaceed-fruit-studded challah, make a nice little honey cake...tzimmes (carrots, prunes, meat, etc)

    then there are those ashkenazi staples good for all celebrations: kugel, knaidlach, chopped liver! the sephardim have a wide variety of their own special foods, for each holiday. their harosets are divine and varied. but still, harosets is all about pesach and vise versa.

    but you know what: i think its sweet that whoever made the display cared enough to go all out, albeit they should have done a little more homework to set the mood and inspire confidence.....

    have a happy sweet new year, to all, jews and non-jews!


    ps: did balducchi's really offer a Hanukka Ham?

  7. Does anyone have a recipe for those street treats in Malaysia--I ate them in Terrengannu and KL--sort of pancakes, batter ladled into a mould so that the sides are paper-thin and the bottom thickish and almost creamy-doughy. The pancake itself tasted of coconut and/or rice, they were topped with peanuts and palm sugar. I was told they also made them savoury, they made them many different ways in other places, but the sweet peanut-topped tropical pancakes were delish.

    all suggestions appreciated!


  8. i'm in poland on a food tour called poland culinary vacations and despite being so full of stuffed cabbage and pierogi, pickles and sauerkraut, am feeling so excited that i wanted to tap in and share. its run by a woman, named sarna, whose family defected when she was a kid so she's grown up both places. this woman loves to eat and share her fave dishes, so we're shlepping all over the region around wroclaw, eating and cooking, taking classes from chefs and village housewives alike, its simply so fabulous i wanted to give egullet a hollah at ya!

    i'm off to shop now, before my flight back to uk: here is my list: kielbasa, smoked makeral, local pickles (basically kosher dills), rye bread, black bread, seeded bread, pastries, wild mushrooms, and a braid of garlic. i might find something else i need at the market, i think its inevitable.

    there is so much good food in poland, its amazing and really uplifting to see what a renaissance of polish cuisine is going on!


  9. heading to area of wroclaw, poland, for a weeks culinary tour, classes in a castle, harvest festivals, spa, etc, but still.....i don't want to miss anything delicious! so any tidbits of advice appreciated!

    i have this (delightful) feeling that all the foods of my childhood are waiting for me, to eat them again: pierogi, sauerkraut, pickles, stuffed cabbage, poppyseed shtrudel....i just have this image of them saying to me: hi, we knew we'd meet up again!

    so i'm going to the gym each and every day this week, to be ready for them!

    thanks in advance,


  10. we really liked la badessa in torino: it was memorable, lush, traditional and yet with a somewhat modern flair. this was during the last salone del gusto. oh yeah, it was very reasonably priced as well.

    buon appetito!

  11. Actually, this posting is about the first food I MUST have when I get ON to an island, in this case, the island I call home, Great Britain.

    And its a drink, not food: tea. A fine strong aromatic cuppa. There isn't any place else on earth that serves good British tea, and I've tried and tried and tried, all over the world, to make it. (using British tea and all.....).

    So within as few minutes of landing as possible, I must be sipping from a warm mug of "builders tea": strong and milky. no sugar for me, thank you.

  12. When I first started meeting other food writers I was surprised to see that so many of the women in the business are so lithe. When I see Melissa Clark (or Amanda Hesser, or Dana Cowin, or I could go on and on) standing around at an event looking slender and gorgeous, I become even more convinced that metabolism as determined largely by genetics is the only secret involved here.

    definately, totally, completely, agree with you, Steve!

    .....i'm not naturally slim, in fact, with the exception of rather nice shoulders from swimming, i don't think i even have bones, let alone great bone structure and a slender contenance.....ie, it doesn't come naturally to me.

    i'll never look like one of those slinky gals. but over the last two years i have lost the equivilent of almost one whole marlena.

    no diet. absolutely no diet. i'm making up the rules as i go along, and in a funny way having a good time of it, that is,when i'm not having a crazy hard time. i'm swimming against the current, metabolism-wise, and yet i'm finding it fun.

    my thing is this: no bad food. ever. spit it out.

    and also this: i don't have to be good all the time. and its not a moral issue.

    and i love to eat so totally much and so totally blissfully, and my new way of eating is simply a way of doing that.

    the weight loss, about 150 lbs worth, is merely a side effect.

    and i excercise a lot.

    my most fun get together with friends (or with myself)? a swim and lunch (chinese, ethnic restos, french, japanese, someplace really wonderful only. banh mi (i eat half, take the second half home or split one with a friend, in other words, any sandwich: half, pizza lunch: one piece plus a big salad, basically its half rations for marlena). or a long new york walk (i did 147 blocks a few weeks ago) and breakfast (pain quotidien, boiled egg (one) and their fabulous bread (one piece)). in other words, fun fun fun, and fabulous food. and i never eat as much as i want. but thats okay cause i'll get to eat something else delicious as soon as i'm hungry. and have excercised some more.

    and cucumbers. i'm addicted to cucumbers as a snack. but then, i love them so much i'd eat them even if they were more fattening than chocolate cake! but if i want a planet dought coconut donut, and sometimes i do, i'll eat a sliver. i'll eat a nubbin of jelabie. i'll eat half a platter of choucroute in france, but sorry: if its foie gras, i'm in for the whole serving.

    point is that i'm actually enjoying this whole thing. i love sharing when possible too, makes me feel close to the people i'm eating with. and even if i never--and i won't because its not my natural stature-- become slender and glamourously boney. i'm okay.

    xoxox marlena, or more accurately, half of the former marlena

  13. i love how one can drive down any road in italy and find sagra di this and sagra di that, asparagus, truffles, polenta, tripe, sausages, snails, specific pastas, the whole sagra thing is so delightful!

    also there is a book called something like "take 5,000 eggs" which features food festivals throughout France's southern provinces, hysterical and delicious!

  14. love it, my fave summer fresh pickle too!!!! (i add splenda, as well, instead of sugar, that way i can eat and eat and eat happily!).

    sometimes i add fresh dill, and sometimes instead of dill, sometimes with a spoonful of wholeseed mustard, other times, dried red chile flakes and thinly shredded mint.......

    and i plop it onto homemade banh mi, or with rice and veggie or meat plate, or ham and cheese and potato salad, or with anything......love the stuff!!!

  15. When I've written for The New York Times upon occasion, the fact checking is huge, more questions and queries than any other publication I've ever worked with. There were questions I never even thought of as I wrote the stuff, and if I couldn't verify and back up my statements, they were not included.

    The fact-checking is very concientious, in-depth, and complete.

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