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Everything posted by therese

  1. Scottie, where in southeastern VA are you from? My grandparents' farm was in Atkins, and I was born in Marion (because there something sort of like a hospital there), county seat for Smyth County. Even Roanoke was a long way. What we ate was dictated almost entirely by what we produced on the farm, and that was dictated by my grandparents' familiarity with foods and the degree to which they'd grow under the farm's conditions. Grits were not a big deal locally, and there was no local mill that produced them that I'm aware of. Unless you lived close to Mabry Mill it may have been your Daddy's "big city" tastes that brought certain things to your table. My grandmother would have sooner cut off her arm than serve a store-bought fried pie. She did buy "light bread" (that's the squishy sliced bread that passes for food in much of the country) and hamburger and hot dogs buns, though I can't remember the context in which light bread was actually consumed. Toast, I suppose. A loaf of the bread (we got Tiger 'cause my brother liked the picture) lasted a household of six over a week. One of the very best things was the butter. Real butter, made from clabbered cream, from our own Jerseys and Guernseys. I still have the churn.
  2. I love baby food fruit purees. Pear, apricot, and banana are my favorites. The little jars mean that you've got built-in portion control. As prepared foods go they're about as good as it gets (though I did do a lot home puree stuff for the kids when they were little). As for the breast milk and whether or not you taste it, a nursing mother would be hard-pressed to avoid it entirely, as it generally gets everywhere, particularly with young babies, as the moms drip and the babies dribble. It's very sweet and has a bit of a caramel smell which I can pick up on nursing babies and their moms even now (years after I've weaned my last one). It's so sweet that it leaves a sticky residue anywhere that it's dripped (including hardwood floors in one's bedroom, such that one's husband wants to know why the hell the floors are sticky, to which you just tell him never mind). It doesn't seem to get sour and spoil like cow's milk or formula, and both the spit up and bowel movements from entirely breast-fed infants are way less nasty than the formula versions. As for "drinking my own bodily fluids", well, would it be less icky if you tasted somebody else's breast milk? Because breast milk is designed expressly for consumption. No consumption, no milk. It's valuable stuff, though, so nobody other than the baby is going to get more than a drop or two in any case.
  3. I think Atlanta doesn't get much play here and on other national/international forums for a couple of reasons: locals are already very busy talking about restaurants on local forums (until recently AccessAtlanta, though that's recently gone belly up due to ill-advised changes to the format, and now atlantacuisine.com, except that there is not yet sufficient volume to have built a library) and so don't post much elsewhere, and most of the non-local posters are either looking for something downtown (still about the worst place in town to be hungry after 2:00 pm) or for "southern" food (which has got to be my single least favorite request, 'cause it's not the sort of food you want to eat in a restaurant). There are lots of great restaurants in Atlanta, and plenty of poor ones as well, just as there are other places. New York probably has fewer poor ones, but certainly Philadelphia cannot claim to be free of them (I had a perfectly atrocious meal there less than a year ago). As for some of the previous mentions in this thread, in no particular order... The Varsity...you ate there? On purpose? No liquor on Sunday...not a problem in restaurants, so I'm sort of wondering about the source here. The Flying Biscuit...like stellabella says, not for anything but breakfast, and even then I'd send you to Ria's Bluebird. The Angel...I don't agree with stellabella here, as all of that group of pubs (Rose & Crown, Prince of Wales, Hand in Hand) are in walking neighborhoods with commercial centers. Perfect pub locales with very much a local, walk in crowd. About a billion other restaurants in easy walking distance: Watershed, Taqueria del Sol, Cafe Lily, Sushi Avenue, The Supper Club, Levi's Key West, Cafe Alsace...you get the idea. Bacchanalia...great. Floataway...great. Woodfire Grill...very good to great. Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton...great. Seeger's...great (I'm eating there tonight, heh heh). Joel's...very good. MidCity Cuisine...very good. Also try One Midtown Kitchen. Ted's Montana Grill...haven't been, and won't be going unless somebody drags me along. I mean, does it sound like anything other than hamburgers? Vietnam House...very good upmarket Vietnamese. I got points with local Vietnamese friends for recommending this place to them. Haru Ichiban...very good Japanese. Other great Japanese at Sushi Avenue, Sakana-ya, Sushi Yoko. Nava...another tiresome Buckhead Life restaurant. But great if you're considering a face lift and want to check out the results. Okay, enough for now. Is Luxe (the new place in the Mumbo Jumbo locale) open yet? If so somebody needs to go and post. Except the post will likely be local...
  4. Hmm, they might just work like litchees (or lychees or whatever). You could peel them without using your teeth and shell out the seeds, and you'd be all set to go. You could somehow use the flesh that comes off with the skins in a recipe, or you could just sit down and eat it yourself. They're so good alone though that I don't see much point in making something else out of them unless you have a lot of them. Which you will if happen to live in this part of the world (Atlanta for me) and decide to grow them on your trellis. Great deck cover, just like Mayhaw Man says.
  5. Scuppernongs and muscadines are both "native" grapes, and more like Concords than the other sorts of grapes you find in the grocery store, but otherwise not too similar. They are, in my experience, very much a southern thing, as they presumably don't grow too far north. I eat them out of hand, and they are worth the trouble. There is a trick to it, though... Eat only grapes that you know to be ripe. The less ripe ones will continue to ripen in the container, so just wait until tomorrow (or the next day) for them to be ready. The ones that are ready will be softer than the others, such that the skin is just a bit loose. The ones that are greenish (usually called Scuppernongs, but this varies) will have acquired a bronze, often speckled tone. The purple ones undergo a similar change, but it's harder to see against the background color. 1.Bite into one just enough to detach the skin and peel about half to one third of the skin off. Scrape the sweet pulp off the interior of the skin with your teeth and discard the skin itself. Under no circumstances should you skip this part, as it's the best part of the grape, the most flavorful and juiciest. It's not like this part of a Concord, which I find intensely grape-flavored but not juicy. 2. Bite into the grape's interior until you encounter the seeds. Don't crush them, as they're bitter, but if you've picked a ripe grape they will shell out very very easily. Discard seeds and eat the grape interior. 3. Repeat the scraping of the remainder of the skin, everting it to do so. When you're done you'll have a pile of grape skins and seeds. When very ripe the skins become less bitter and thinner, and you can eat them if you'd like, though I usually don't. My grandmother used to make juice out of them, but she grew her own, and the ones in the supermarket are way too expensive. You can find all sorts of preserves and so forth made out of them if you're in an area that grows them. I've not had scuppernong pie, but it sounds disgusting.
  6. So maybe a commercial enterprise could start marketing it. There's one out there that's presumably already producing it, and also has a distribution network in place: Vermont Cultured Butter (disclaimer: I am in no way associated with this company, though I do buy the butter). Buttermilk made the old-fashioned way would actually be pretty low fat (the fat having been removed as butter).
  7. I'm chiming in here not for the love of okra (it's okay, particularly pickled, but I could live if it were to disappear from the face of the earth), but to agree with Mayhaw Man's theory re "unhealthy" food: it's not the food that's the problem, it's the fact that we are sedentary. My mother (who grew up in the rural south) remarked recently that she had never met a fat person until she left the mountains. Despite everybody's eating a traditional diet nobody was obese. In fact, most people were wiry (and my mother was positively scrawny). These same people still live in that part of the world, but most of them are no longer subsistence farmers, and obesity is epidemic.
  8. In your response to one of the cornbread queries you mention that you use buttermilk in yours. I do too ('cause my granny taught me how), and wonder if you've ever gone to the trouble of making the real thing, i.e. the liquid left after you've churned butter from clabbered (soured) cream, instead of making do with the cultured skim milk sold at the grocer's?
  9. I also prefer milk chocolate to dark. I don't mind dark chocolate in desserts, but otherwise it's milk chocolate for me. White chocolate doesn't appeal at all---it's like I'm eating butter, in which case I'll just eat butter.
  10. Okay, so I've finally decided to post to this thread, somewhat against my better judgment. Against my better judgment because I'm going to say that I found the original article irritating and condescending. I happen to be one of those southerners with strong opinions, and not only have I lived in and visited many other U.S. states, I've lived in and visited other countries. And yet I still manage to have strong opinions. One of them is the following: attempts to define a food as southern or not southern are doomed to failure, as there is no such thing as southern cuisine. The south is made up of regions, some of them quite small and many of them overlapping. They're defined by topography, climate, immigration patterns, and wealth, with wealth (the lack of, that is) probably being the single factor that best characterizes what most people think of as the south: poverty has limited immigration and emigration, and fostered continued reliance on a basic repertoire of home-grown ingredients. My grandmother never served grits, and nobody else in the area served grits: does that mean that her rural southeastern corner of Virginia was not the south? She only cooked greens when the hired hands were in for the harvest, and I'd never even heard of frying green tomatoes until that movie came out. But she cured her own hams and grew all her own produce and made biscuits every morning and cornbread (without sugar) every night. Her fried pies were the stuff of legend. Many of the items on the "southern" list remain regional foods: boiled peanuts are generaly served in areas where peanuts are grown, jam cake with caramel icing is a Kentucky thing, sweet tea is not universally available, crawfish are not served inland. These items are increasingly available all over the south (and the rest of the U.S.), but so are pizza and pho. I do agree with the author's point that southern foods are really just rural foods. FYI, we only talk about the Civil War (aka The War of Northern Aggression) when Yankees are listening. They just love local color like that, and we do take southern hospitality very seriously indeed.
  11. Agli Alboretti Very good food, nice blend of traditional and innovative, attentive service, nice linens, etc. Less expensive than you'd expect, particularly for Venice. Ae Oche Very popular pizza place (though Venetian standards like fegato and seppie also available) with a student feel. Go at night, as no view. Both smoking and non-smoking rooms (entirely separate). Al Nono Risorto Very much a hang out for locals, with respectable basics and pizza, inexpensive. "Circolo scacchi" (chess club) a couple of times a week in a back room. Osteria alla Zucca All girl show (staff-wise), with small kitchen entirely on view (you can see it all if you sit at one of the three or four tables in the front room). Rustic interior, with some bench seating and no table linens. Trattoria San Trovaso Ai Cugnai Either is fine in a pinch, but don't waste precious meals if you've got a better alternative.
  12. So what percent of the items had you already tried? Anything you'd add to the list?
  13. Every bit as good as Kessler describes it. I've been going since 1985 (back when it was in a small warehouse on the corner of Medlock and N. Decatur), and it just keeps getting better. Still room for improvement, as the bread is not fantastic and a wider selection of Asian things would be great. But there are other bakeries in town, and lots and lots of Asian markets, so I won't whine too much. Great people watching, including the tourists.
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