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Everything posted by Priscilla

  1. Priscilla

    The March of Asparagus

    When asparagus is in season, I cook with it a lot, perhaps to the point of testing the limits of appetite among those eating at my table. (I fear.) But we have always gone the distance, maybe exactly because of asparagus, rather than in spite of it. Do you asparagus? Thin, fat, peeled, un? Steam, roast, boil, grill? Hollandaise, mayonnaise, vinaigrette, butter? Let's see what asparagus preparations eGulletaires get up to lo this Spring 2003.
  2. Priscilla

    Steven Shaw

    As the many tributes here and in MSM note, using new tools that few understood or paid much mind Steven Shaw invented something that hadn't existed before―a thing that, like all good ideas whose time has come, quickly grew bigger, and different, than its creator imagined. True invention and big ideas are like that, not entirely predictable or controllable. And, rare. Generosity is as rare, isn't it? SS gave so much to so many―never stopping, really. In my mind that edges out the prescient food-chat-site impresario as Most Important. Wish we could have met in person―I certainly assumed we would, someday―but I don't owe him any less for only being correspondents. My deepest condolences to Ellen and their child.
  3. There have been a few discussions about shopping bags, reusable and not, including this current one about the use/overuse of plastic bags. Another, mostly about a gadabout Central Market paper bag also touches on the topic of reusable bags. And there was this earlier round-up. Smallworld, in her recent foodblog, showed us her efforts in this regard as a Canadian living n Japan. Maybe it would be useful to have a place to posit strategies that have helped instill the reusable bag habit. What would make it easier? What would be an encouragement? Does the type of bag affect ease of use? For all the years I've been shopping at them (something approaching 21) I have had no problem at all bringing my own bag or basket to the farmer's market. It is a part of the experience, has been from the beginning. It has taken a LONG time to transfer this habit to regular grocery shopping. I don't worry about 100% success, but as a person who shops frequently for single-bag amounts it is an approachable improvement in Plastic Bag Blight in my immediate environment. A drop in the ocean of the total population of plastic bags, but at least doable. What has finally worked for me was PUTTING THE BAG WITH MY PURSE IMMEDIATELY AFTER UNPACKING. This way it gets right back in the car when I go out. Also, and I am a fusspot about such things, having a bag that one likes is essential. I have a variety of vessels, but try to keep that number under control as well because too many reusable bags becomes its own problem. My collection includes a German nylon bag, surprisingly large, that folds into its own small pouch and fits in my purse, as well as the classic floppy canvas bags, an over-the-arm market basket, and Russian linen string bags that magically coil up into a palm-sized skein. All washable -- necessarily, seems to me. Popular among us for a while now is Trader Joe's blue and green plastic-coated canvas one. It has very sturdy handles, a flat bottom (ooh er missus) and enough structure to stand up by itself, making it very easy to pack. Holds a ton. Even Ivan took to it right away, which has been, shall we say, not exactly the case with all the other bags in the world. The $25 raffle is small incentive since I never win, but the bag gets taken into all sorts of stores besides Trader Joe's, some of whom credit a nickel, so after a mere 500 visits to these other stores I'll earn that $25 myself! Take that, TJ. One lives in each car. What are your thoughts, Hobson?
  4. Priscilla

    Wondra Flour

    Seems like it, anyways. Wondra Instantized Flour, its 1963 origin described here on the General Mills flour website, was indicated for dredging scallopine in a Mario Batali recipe I was reading the other day, and I was reminded how exotic a product this is, to me. Not to everyone--Wondra is a commonplace for some cooks, I know--I remember seeing the blue-and-white canister in friend's mother's kitchens, for instance. And I have heard cooks remarking on how they wouldn't make gravy with anything else. I've used it only once that I can recall, gathering ingredients to pan-fry some local oysters in a coastal Washington state vacation cabin, and the small size of the package seemed just right. The surprise was the coating on the oysters turned out to be extra good, light and crisp and with a sort of sandy texture unlike any regular-flour coating I'd ever prepared. So, Wondra. Instantized Flour. Who uses it and what for and should I, too?
  5. Priscilla

    Dinner! 2002

    I am (perhaps inordinately) interested in what folks cook in their own kitchens. I can pretty much WEAR OUT those who cross my purview quizzing them on the subject; not everyone is renewedly galvanized by the Search for Ingredients as I am, it seems, or, has even a superficial interest in those beatifying moments when raw materials and inspiration converge serendipitously. Would it be of interest to anyone else to have an eGullet topic here in Cooking about what we cooked for dinner? I am edified by the restaurant discourse, and of course home cooking finds its way into many posts already, I know I know I know, but what I am imagining would be a quotidian communal journal-type chronicle documenting what eGulletaires COOKED, for DINNER. Fancy, homely, good, not-so-good, hardcore full-on from scratch, or delicately supported by convenience foods. And then of course whether the sponge gets run through the dishwasher after cleanup, or not. What do you all think? And, what did you cook for dinner? Priscilla Management Note: The Dinner! topic proved over time to be one of our most popular topics, eventually reaching nearly a thousand pages and almost three million views before it had to be split up because the database could no longer handle it. It is now broken up by year: Dinner! 2002 (This topic) Dinner! 2003 Dinner! 2004 Dinner! 2005 Dinner! 2006 Dinner! 2007 Dinner! 2008 Dinner! 2009 Dinner! 2010 Dinner! 2011 Dinner! 2012
  6. Priscilla


    Now see, I first heard that story as a three-generation ham-and-pan parable in the early 1980s, something my then-boss took an especial liking to at a management seminar and then "shared" at the next staff meeting. I think we safely ascribe it to the Urban Folklore file. Dave, this was such an interesting read. Where I live it's propane or electric, and propane is about 8000 times cheaper, and not too bad to cook on, but I would not kick one of them modern, smooth-top, easy-to-clean electric ranges outta bed for eating crackers. The activity of cooking is perhaps the truest proof of the it's a poor worker who... well, yes, you know the rest. It's really up to, or down to, the cook, ain't it?
  7. Priscilla

    Dr. Salisbury and His Steak

    I think the late Craig Claiborne, who, like me, considered ground-meat dishes to be pretty much irresistible, would have liked your S.S., Maggie. I also paraphrase him in saying I was fascinated to learn about all the other stuff -- a lot of it quite Memorial Day-appropriate.
  8. Heidi, Lomita has always seemed a magical place to me, as the home of one of my very favorite late-1970s bands, the Alley Cats. This is a FAB food blog... you're doing such a good job of representing for SoCal. Even over here in Orange County everything resonates in the nicest way. YAY tables piled with vegetables, and even lovely familiar Stehly oranges, and iced tea in a pitcher in the fridge--in summer I often use those big Maeda-En iced tea bags... if you drink green tea, they're very good. Yay for taco trucks, and for trees laden with citrus right outside your door! Blog on!
  9. Kind of your own Waiting for Guffman, culinary edition. Great read! I am afraid I'm one of the annoying Anne of Green Gablesers, having started the books at 11 and rereading the whole series multiple times. I do know that the books, even beyond the popular television miniseries, have not escaped the commodification that popular things, even really good ones, undergo. However the grown-up me is thrilled to read of the food culture on P.E.I., so that when I DO finally get there I can explore that in between all the AoGG stuff!
  10. Priscilla


    Of all the many times over the years perusing eG has made me hungry, this has never happened more acutely than while reading this fantastic piece, Erin.
  11. Priscilla

    Where to eat in Orange County

    Chris, ABC is my favorite LS supermarket! I love that whole center as well.
  12. Priscilla

    Spiny Lobster

    Spiny lobster $19.95/lb. last weekend @ Pearson's Port.
  13. Priscilla

    Pinquito Beans

    It's been a while, but I've seen bags of pinquitos in supermarket produce departments in Orange County... I think Stater Brothers, but possibly Albertsons as well.
  14. Priscilla

    Vegetables, in a Soup

    Soup solidarity. Rebecca, it is SO TRUE that everyone should be trained as you suggest. The not-wasting is a vital part of good cooking, but if by performing soup alchemy you end up with something REALLY REALLY GOOD, well, that's just gravy, isn't it.
  15. Priscilla

    Vegetables, in a Soup

    Dianabanana, you understand! And even said the magic words ISSEY MIYAKE! And the very useful term, greed high... ain't it the truth? I always caution new farmers' market shoppers on the risk of OVERbuying -- sososo hard NOT to want everything. Course it still happens to me and I started fming in the 1980s. And M., the construction lessons absorbed in the doing were just invaluable. In high school and just after I shopped a lot in a fabric outlet for overruns and remnants of very fine fabrics, a wonderful place with bolts stacked everywhere and boxes of buttons to dig through and piles of zips and trims on tables, and the savvy salesladies would clip to the pattern book page swatches of the EXACT FABRIC a designer used for the article of clothing in his/her actual line. THAT was cool. And not unlike, to me anyways, reading Marcella Hazan lamenting that the chard Italians use for that room-temp salad was a different variety than found commonly in the U.S., very thin ribs, and realizing that was the exact chard I was able to buy from my favorite greens stand at the farmer's market. We ate a lot of chard salad in The Marcella Years, that is a fact.
  16. Priscilla

    Vegetables, in a Soup

    Right on, Heidi! The soup AND the cabbage. The various vegetable-soup simulacrums-in-a-can are just sad, lacking even the Better Living Through Science fillip one gets from pondering the eternal WHY, not to mention WHY WHY WHY, of Chunky Sirloin Burger's teensy fake burger patties with teensy painted-on fake grill marks.
  17. Priscilla

    Vegetables, in a Soup

    Thanks, Maggie! One likes to think, doesn't one, that she is in the good company of the likes o' Jacques Pepin. And good on you, already on the Cabbage Bandwagon. My $1 cabbage gave its all in coleslaw this week, with one of Carrot Lady's carrots.
  18. Priscilla

    A Whiter Shade of Sauce

    It behooves me to add, having had occasion to dip into my Time-Life The Good Cook series' Sauce volume over the weekend on other business, I noticed as I whipped through on my way to the information I sought that its unimpeachable editor Richard Olney, an American who lived much of his life in France, says white sauce, plain and simple, not even providing the French or Italian in translation. As we know Olney did not hesitate to use European nomenclature, so I take this as yet more affirmation of your point, M.
  19. Priscilla

    A Whiter Shade of Sauce

    Mags this is my favorite thing you've ever written. Until the next one. How often have I idly pondered the line of provenance? And I do mean idly, as opposed to your thoroughgoingness. The answer: Often. Always did think that the Medici attribution was too pat. Would have believed Irish monks preserved it along with the illuminated manuscripts howevah, if that had been proffered. And while I have over the years called it by the various names you enumerate, I too pledge to cleave unto White Sauce, which was always in the rotation but now shall be the go-to. (Not unlike how I resolutely stick to SQUID as opposed to using calamari, except that it was a deep and abiding love and admiration for the word SQUID itself that enforced that habit.)
  20. LA Times obituary Back in the 1980s and 1990s I bought many books from Marian L. Gore... including many if not all the M.F.K. Fisher first editions on my shelf. She was always unfailingly kind, and spoke in that patrician manner, an accent, really, of Southern California women of her time and station. Her little handmade catalogues were a joy to find in the mailbox, second only to the joy of receiving the actual book. Difficult to overemphasize how, in the dark days pre-internet, what a lifeline a knowledgeable specialist bookseller could be. Her daughter provided this recipe for Persimmon Pudding to the Times, calling it her mother's piece de resistance. I just happen to have 3 nice Hachiyas ripening on my counter; now I know their destiny.
  21. Max, thank you. What is the name of the Bay Area bookseller? I wonder if I bought from her. There was a person in the East Bay, seems to me... maybe I'll run across an invoice in a book. I love the ease with which a book can be found online... esp. since it's not like my book-buying habit has waned. I like the less-personal aspect of it, even, since many books one buys are just reading copies. But you know how nice it is to deal with someone who knows a LOT.
  22. GREAT to see the mention of Pierre Franey's 60-Minute Gourmet, Chris and DtC... I used those a LOT and learned a LOT... for me they were companions to the Craig Claiborne collected columns I mentioned, where Franey's chefly hand was clearly visible. I pick up copies whenever I run across them to give to new cooks of all ages. You really can't do better. I mean, truly. This makes me want to run and make that chicken liver mousse w/fresh tomato sauce. Volume 1 or 2 I wonder. Edited to make clearer Franey's contributions.
  23. Yay Sunset! Books AND mag. For Western U.S.ers, a great resource, esp. years ago. Helen Evans Brown notwithstanding. For me the most influential books early on, still influencing to this day, are the 4-volume Craig Claiborne's Favorites, (collected NYT columns from the 1970s), and Madeleine Kamman's books, notably the original Making of a Cook, but also her later works.
  24. Thank you, Dorie. I'll have to give orange cream a spin both ways.
  25. Made the French Yogurt cake for the first time yesterday... fantastic. Just the kind of cake people like. Used orange zest in the cake, and glazed w/syrup of reduced orange juice, zest, and sugar, hit of my homemade arancello in there as well. Dorie, if you happen to look in here, could you address the orange cream taking gelatin while the lemon original does not? Could I get a spoonable result with no-gelatin orange?