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Posts posted by Priscilla

  1. 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.

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  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.)

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. lia, welcome to the World Peace Cookies Club -- I'm so glad you made them and loved them.

    priscilla, about the use of gelatin when you're making the lemon cream with oranges ... I don't know the exact science, but I couldn't get the orange cream to set properly, and so that's why I added the little bit of gelatin.  I think it has to do with the difference in acidity between lemons and oranges and how that acidity reacts with the eggs, but don't quote me on this.  It's been so long since I've made the orange cream without gelatin that I'm afraid I can't remember the texture and so don't know if it would be spoonable or not.

    Thank you, Dorie.

    I'll have to give orange cream a spin both ways.

  17. 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?

  18. (* A quick digression, hopefully Marcella won't mind. I learned about tomatoes giving up the oil quite independently of Marcella, in Vietnam of all places. I was learning to make one of my favourite dishes there from a co-worker, and she gave me the tip. The dish is tofu and tomato, and it's simplicity itself. If you make this for a vegetarian in your life, you will learn their lifelong love and gratitude. But you must only make it if you have excellent tofu and tomatoes on hand, since that's all that goes in. Take a block of tofu cut into six cubes, which have been deep fried. I can buy this sort of tofu at my local supermarket pre-fried, but you may have to do it yourself - use firm tofu, and fry the cubes, making sure that all sides go brown and crispy - be careful, and make sure the tofu is well-drained, though, or it will spit water. When it's ready, start a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil in a wok or fry pan. Add mixed chopped garlic, ginger, and green onions in equal proportions, to your taste. When these become perfumed, add your chopped fresh tomatoes (I use canned) and the tofu. Cook the lot until the tomatoes give up the oil. Adjust seasoning with salt or fish sauce, and a little sugar if the tomatoes need it. Serve with rice.)

    Erin, I made this today, having all the elements together after a visit to 99 Ranch yesterday for the fried tofu.

    What an excellent dish. Made a great breakfast.

    I have always agreed with Holden Caulfield that digressions are the best part.

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