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Ellen Shapiro

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Ellen Shapiro

  1. It really is difficult to let go of on so many levels. I guess it's time to get a pot out and try my hand at chicken soup! Thanks for the kind words and support.
  2. I have been sick for the last 9 days. Yes, I have been to the doctor--two of them. That was as much to quiet my Jewish mother (well, both of them, the one who gave birth to me and Fat Guy, but it's hard to fault a guy for being protective). A virus, both doctors told me. No strep. So no penicillin. As the days have dragged on and I have dragged along I thought about my father and how I wished I had some of his chicken soup and then I thought "well, you know, you actually do have some of his chicken soup! Yes, 7 years later, I still had my father's chicken soup at the back of my freezer. I mentioned it to FG and much to my surprise he said "why don't I cook it up for you?" I almost fainted. I'll eat yogurt past the expiration date, taste milk that is questionable to see if it's good--FG, not so much. Then again, my stomach is like a cast iron pot and FG knows that. he also knows how much that soup has meant to me all of these years and that I've been sick for a long time. I didn't know what to do. I had a momentary internal struggle--if I cook it, it will be gone. Gone forever. But if I'm ever going to eat it, now seems like exactly the right time. "Okay." I said. "Add some water." After 7 years, there was some evaporation. Steven cooked it. The apt. started to smell like chicken soup -- my father's chicken soup. FG boiled it. I tasted one spoonful. Hmmm. Edible. I tried another. Then I took a bowl and ladled some soup in. I fished out a matzoh ball. As I ate some, my son asked if he could have some too. Steven and I looked at each other. "Well, I boiled it." FG said. "Okay P.J., you can have some. He had a little and asked for more. Then he asked for a matzoh ball too. Steven asked for a taste as well. I added a little salt remembering that in his later years, my father, a lover of salt, had cut down on his favorite seasoning--doctor's orders. It improved the taste. We all sat quietly with our soup. I talked about my father. I told P.J. again about the soup (the last time he has a batch it was about a year after my father died--he was two years old, too young to remember). P.J. said "I think I remember this soup." Even though there is no way my 7 1/2 year old son could remember eating my father's soup when he was sick when he was two years old I considered the possibility. Well, my father's soup is gone now. There is a little extra space at the back of my freezer. Steven, P.J. and I shared a moment, we had a taste and we created our own memory--one I won't soon forget. I wished my father was there but I suppose in a way, he was. And you know, I actually felt a little better too--maybe my father's "Jewish penicillin" was working . . .
  3. We too are waiting with baited breath for the final installment. I had the well-intentioned but ill-conceived idea of going to JFK airport to pick Steven up, something we never do for the following reason--P.J. and I sat in traffic for over 2 hours trying to get to the airport. At first, Steven wisely declined our offer to get him at the airport but after seeing the line at customs he called and said "sure, come get me." Then Steven stood waiting for us with no WiFi outside of terminal 3, arrival area D at JFK. Every time we watched an AirTrain go by P.J. and I said to each other "well, Daddy could be on that train on his way back into the city." Of course, by the time we collected Steven (after going to the wrong terminal--the helpful staff at JFK informed Steven that he was at Terminal D) the traffic in the other direction was just as bad as when we headed out to the airport. Hopefully, after presenting PJ with his candy treat, FG will plug in his computer and fill us in!
  4. Anything I say ("wow! that's quite a meal") will just seem ridiculous in the face of the meal you just experienced so I'll skip that part and go on to our questions and comments. PJ (context: PJ is FG's--and my--5.5 year old son) commented that he thought a lot of the food looked good, especially the fish with the 5 colored stripes of sauces. I think that the apricot looks like the must beautiful apricot I've ever seen--even before reading your description--and even from your photos! We would like to know what the reddish-pink bon bon is (the last row of the 5)? Is there coconut on it? Tapioca pearls? If you can remember, we would like to know. We would also like to know what is in the second row chocolate (truffle?). PJ is convinced that he "has had one of those before" and he doesn't like it. We are now going to pack some boxes--what are you doing (eating) for the rest of the day?!
  5. According to the time zone websites I consulted, it is now 2:42 a.m. in Barcelona. I must admit, I was hoping for some updates during dinner (which I'm guessing is, by now, over). Knowing FG, it means that he didn't have the capability to upload and post--or maybe he was having such a wonderful and sumptuous dinner that he couldn't distract himself with "in the field" reporting. Either way, to put it in perspective I had a salad and plain yogurt with dried mango for dinner. Yes, I'm eagerly awaiting the next update.
  6. PJ and I have just looked through your photos and I am struck by the beautiful waterfront--what a perfect place for a picnic! PJ noticed that there is candy in the market photos and would like to know if you bought any? Hope you're having a great dinner!
  7. Ah Peter, it all looks so revolutionary! Well, I should have been airborne 14 hours ago en route to BKK, but due to weather issues here in NYC, my flight was delayed by 26.5 hours . . . so, I'm currently scheduled to leave tonight and assuming my plane actually takes off, I'll be headed for that Thai coffee upon landing! I'll watch for you--dressed in red, no doubt. Thanks for the great pics and commentary.
  8. I wasn't trying to call you out, but since I wasn't there . . . inquiring minds want to know! To me, it sounds like it's worth the trip. I love a good (great) breakfast! But Lou Mitchell's is really great so I wanted to know what sort of stakes we're talking about.
  9. The very best place you've ever had breakfast? Better than Lou Mitchell's in Chicago?
  10. The thing that is so great about your post is that each horrid experience builds on the last--until I'm howling with laughter and horror at these meals. I can't decide if the pop-tarts with whipped cream, the ketchup and raisin sandwiches, the left over sandwiches from work or the frozen potatoes with frost would win the prize!
  11. Wow! That sticky rice and banana dessert looks delicious! Any other I've had elsewhere pales by comparison!
  12. Thanks for the clarification. I wonder how many people have been told to meet at "the Vietnam restaurant" and gone to the wrong place! I guess people who know, know and people like me would just pick blind.
  13. Are Vietnam and Vietnam Palace synonymous or different restaurants?
  14. Oh it was nice! I generally get the same stuff, though for takeout I thought it prudent to alter my menu. I got: The steamed vegetable dumplings for PJ and me. Rating: as good as new, as good as old; Boiled pork and leek dumplings for Fat Guy--they're gone so I'm voting with the same approval. Rating: as good as new, as good as old; Vegetable with bean curd soup--at PJ's request. We both approved. Rating: as good as new, as good as old; Chicken Shanghai Lo Mein--both men approved so that too gets the rating of . . . as good as new, as good as old. I did not order the fish fillet in wine sauce (which is hard for me to pass up) because I was afraid it wouldn't hold up to sitting in the container, piping hot, for the duration of our subway trip home (PJ and I went to Chinatown and, amongst other things, procured this delectable meal). All in all I would say that while New Green Bo is no longer new--it is as good as new and now it's nice too.
  15. New Green Bo turned 10 this year, and quietly changed its name. As I learned tonight when going to pick up food for dinner, the restaurant is now called: Nice Green Bo The owner told me "We're 10 years old, and we have so many nice customers, so we made it Nice Green Bo." There's some inconsistency among the signs and printed documents, however the Department of Health website confirms that Nice Green Bo is now the official name.
  16. We'll be doing our weekly shop tomorrow and I've put the ingredients for the frosting and filling on the list. I've put the cake on the back burner (so to speak) for now. I'll let you know how it goes. My cousin is very excited about the trial run!
  17. So, I'm thinking of making this cake for my mother's 70th birthday (which just so happens to be on March 21st the date of the last posts on this thread!) and I'm at a loss as to how to proceed. Fat Guy and I have discussed a strategy and of course, I'll have to do a trial run first (poor us, we'll have to eat a coconut cake for the cause) but did anyone have any final reports on their experiences with the cake? I'm thinking of using an altogether different cake recipe and adding some creme of coconut and/or coconut extract and do the cake with the Peninsula frosting and filling. Any further reports would be most welcome.
  18. My father used to "go for the pupick" on my belly. It never failed to make me giggle.
  19. Yes, the word pupick also means bellybutton but in this context for chicken (soup), it is the chicken gizzard.
  20. I thought you'd never ask! The pupick is the gizzard.
  21. Thanks everyone for the kind words and thank you for sharing your own stories. Last night was another bittersweet occasion—a Chanukah party at my parents’ house. My father always made the latke batter and fried the latkes to perfection. Of course he had no recipe and his procedure was unorthodox (rather than a hand grater or the Cuisinart, he put the potatoes in the blender) but they were so good that the latkes hardly ever made it out of the kitchen. Friends would stand next to him chatting--and waiting for the latkes to come steaming hot out of the oil. If the crowd around the stove was too dense, others would congregate at strategic exit points from the kitchen to the dining room. Those sitting in the living room would often comment that it was taking an extraordinarily long time to cook a single batch of latkes. This year Steven (FG) and my oldest brother Michael took the helm. They made the batter together (28 pounds of potatoes and 6 pounds of onions plus eggs, matzoh meal and a little salt and pepper) and Steven fried the latkes. He had two skillets going and cooked until all of the batter was gone. Steven made a different style of latke, which was a smart bet. As with his chicken soup, my father was known far and wide for his latkes. He was a latke legend. But Michael and Steven started a new tradition and I know my father would be proud. At the end of the night, there was 1 latke left. And like the cup for Elijah, no one touched that last latke.
  22. An issue has arisen with Press'n Seal. Somebody please confirm that you're seeing this too. It used to be that Press'n Seal had writing on it. I can't remember what it said. Maybe it said "Press'n Seal." It was in a repeating pattern on the wrap. You knew which side was the sticky side because if you could read the words you were holding the sticky side down and if the words were backwards you had to turn the wrap over to get the sticky side down. A box of Press'n Seal purchased Sunday, however, had writing-free wrap. This means more detective work is required to identify the sticky side. I'm not at all happy with this turn of events. Not at all.
  23. Funny you should mention that! When we drive north through Westchester, we pass a gas station that has never failed to have Munchos in stock. Needless to say, I am always suspicious of Fat Guy when he casually suggests a trip in that direction with no particular destination in mind!
  24. They absolutely used to have a chip like that in Israel (I didn't know this was a thing of the past!)--except I recall them tasting a lot more like Styrofoam than potato-licious chips!
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