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Ellen Shapiro

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Ellen Shapiro

  1. VERY hard to generalize on this. As a member of the Recovering Vegetarian Society (I was veg for 12 years) I can only speak for myself. I have a very strong GI system and was not veg for ethical reasons, I just didn't like the taste of meat so I stopped eating it and that became a lifestyle. I decided to get back into it because I was craving it, because I thought I was getting insufficient nutrition otherwise, and because the foodie lifestyle sort of demands it. I started off with a Peter Luger steak, Gray Kunz's short ribs at Lespinasse, hot dogs at Gray's Papaya, and a hamburger at Cafe Cen
  2. Oh! How all of you shame me--how can I possibly compete? One of my favorite consistently "worst meals" is at the home of a beloved cousin. She just doesn't know how to cook--no matter what she does--and the whole non-fat/low-fat thing doesn't help either (we must start another thread on that!). Favorites include: ice block coffee cake, freezer burned brownies with internal ice crystals (lest there was any question), frozen challah, frozen cookies (I've acquired a taste for these) and salad with glutinous non-fat Italian dressing (you know the kind--it's yellow and there are flecks of red and
  3. Two recent experiences... Parmigiano Reggiano, hand-schlepped by my mother, from Reggio-Emilia. At first we thought it was better because it was "fresher." But how can something three years old be "fresh"? And now we know for sure because it has been in our fridge for months, that even when not fresh it's better than any Parmigiano Reggiano we've ever been able to get in New York. Darjeeling Tea, hand-schlepped by a friend, from Darjeeling. You can't believe how much better and more vibrant and fragrant it is than even the expensive stuff from the tea places downtown in New York. Any other exa
  4. If this is for a Web site you may find that the most important skills here are not photography skills but image postprocessing and manipulation skills. Effective Web graphics are often less about the quality of photography and more about the ability to combine relatively low resolution images into a compelling montage that communicates as much as possible with a few simple visual elements. Have a look at the home page for http://calphalon.com/ and you'll see the effectiveness of image manipulation of simple photographs. It didn't take a genius of a photographer to shoot the pans. The real work
  5. Do you know if you'll be shooting digitally or on film? I would make some different recommendations one way or the other. At the high end, the formats are relatively interchangeable, but with amateur or "prosumer" equipment you will have to treat film and digital differently especially when it comes to lighting and depth of field issues. One thing I have found when either a) dealing with amateur photographers and b) needing to shoot in a situation where I don't have a full lighting kit or a lot of time is that it can be best NOT to do extensive styling and, rather, to rely on a natural or natu
  6. Aside from my encounters with the Maoists (those pesky renegade guerillas, whom, shortly after my departure from Kathmandu for the mountains, our president declared terrorists--which they are) there isn't much to report on the mishap front in Nepal. Ah, but the food -- it's really going to test all of my skills as a writer to describe to you the astonishing variations in menu options from one tea house to another. Well, without going into too much detail, it's important to note that all of the menus are exactly the same--at least within regions--so it's the variations of the amongst the same i
  7. Seeing is believing. J dared me--asking me what my price would be--to eat a scorpion. I declined but later considered lying and telling her I had a change of heart--after she left.
  8. Here are a few additional photos from Beijing and the Great Wall. J hamming it up with Chairman Mao . . . In and around the Forbidden City . . . A better idea of the scope of the on-a-stick selection at the night-market -- this is just one of many vendors . . . A wider angle on those pork things . . . Hungry J ordering dumplings . . . More stuff-on-sticks . . . Another good street-food snack . . . The posse at the Peking Duck place . . . There was a photo above of a woman holding a kite. Kites are big in China. At dusk, you can find tons of people out flying them . . . Beijing s
  9. Okay, okay, captions are as follows in descending order: Baby squid on a stick Different variety of baby squid on a stick Baby jellyfish alternated with mussels (I think) Baby chickens (head and all) without feathers—and hey, that’s a lot of bang for your buck considering that you get four per skewer—including the head and the beak Grasshopers/crickets (I don’t know the difference between the two well enough to discern) Seahorses Seabirds and on the right, trumpet fish Starfish Sugar syrup glazed apples Sugar syrup glazed mixed fruit Yes, those are chicks—some still ½ in the shell--shortly be
  10. To read all the parts of this series please click: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII Just a quick final report on my time in Beijing, for purposes of closure and sharing-of-photos . . . Checking into the creatively named Beijing Hotel was a delicious (no, really) luxury. By the time J and I had showered ("shower" doesn't do justice to the offerings at the Beijing Hotel: the entire Australian Olympic swim team could have trained in the enormous tub in the adjoining room, while watching Chinese soap operas and sipping the jasmine or green teas provided to e
  11. I am home! I am home! In response to J's weigh in--I'm happy to hear her truthful telling of her week in the hotel. She did not give me nearly the amount of detail upon our reunion in UB. Also, I was not nearly so impressed by the so called "UFO sighting." I came up with many explanations but J simply scoffed at me and mocked my so called "speculations." I guess I could say that our adventures in Nepal two years ago with the blood-sucking leaches (yes, just like blood letting in Mongolia--though not voluntary) might rival some aspects of this journey but J's observation about our lack of tears
  12. Thank you everyone. I have really enjoyed writing these pieces and your comments kept me going from one to the next. I'm sorry I won't have much opportunity to engage in Mongolia-related banter this month because there's only internet access in a few places where I'll be in Nepal. But I left Fat Guy with the last little entry on Beijing as well as those photos and some other materials that he can post here and there. Thanks again to all who have shared the adventure!
  13. Mabelline sorry for the delay in replying. My internet access of late has been sporadic. To answer your question about the role of women -- and I wish I had the in-flight MIAT (the Mongolian national airline) magazine with me to quote from because they go on and on about how women in Mongolia aren't subservient at all, ever, in any way -- I suppose your conclusions would have to depend on how you define words like subservient and equal. Just the facts, then, and you can decide: women and men in Mongolia do have strict gender roles at least in the nomadic society (in the city there is more flex
  14. To read all the parts of this series please click: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII The plan -- always there was a plan, rarely revealed and never realized -- was to fly back to Ulaan Bataar (the in crowd calls it UB, as you may recall) with the translator/guide so as to spend our last day taking in the various local attractions that had been deemed essential to our Mongolian experience. The plan was modified, but this time it seemed I was to receive that rarest of rare things in Mongolia: an upgrade. Although I hadn't been a terrible complainer, I had
  15. To read all the parts of this series please click: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII You might suspect that the failure of Eagle Hunter's eagle to hunt -- on account of alleged obesity no less (I ask you, did Eagle Hunter's eagle look at all overweight?) -- was the last straw. But it was merely the penultimate straw. The last straw came shortly thereafter. Eagle Hunter, now designated in my internal dialog as Eagle Hunter with Obese Eagle, wanted to spend some more time communing with his eagle in the field prior to returning the eagle to the other field
  16. The snorkeling and SCUBA in T&C are among the best in the world. If I can dig up some of my underwater marine-life photos I'll post them here.
  17. Always good to make them beg. It's coming. Rachel, you of all people should know that a broken tooth can really throw a girl off her schedule (not to mention the repair work!). I've been living off your banana pudding (yum) from the pig fest. Back to the salt mines . . .
  18. Yes, I most certainly did. And I met some great people and I have the distinction of being able to tell all of these tales--all of which are true! What more could a girl ask for?!
  19. On a more serious note . . . I did indeed send pictures to Aiyka almost immediately after returning home. Everyone was so wonderful about having their pictures taken and I promised to send photos -- and I always try to keep my word on that. Aiyka told me to send them to her and she would distribute them all. Some are friends and some are even distant relatives. I did hear throat singing. It is sort of odd at first but really quite remarkable and very difficult, I would think. I don’t know of any other culture that also practices this same art form. UB seems to be the place that many of the you
  20. Which "good part" exactly were you referring to? The fur in the food? Maybe you were thinking of the anticipation of seeing the Eagle Hunter hunt with his eagle, I mean train with his eagle, I mean call to his eagle, wait--what I really mean is that maybe you meant the good part was when the Eagle Hunter picked up his eagle and fed it the sheep's lungs. That must have been it because I don't think it could have been the part when I was crippled from horseback riding or when I saw the black spots in front of my eyes or when we went to see Bayan Nuur the ghost town or the Turkic stone. Hum, mayb
  21. I saw J last night and for every exclamation we'd say "Goddamn Mongolians!" Somehow, it just rolls off the tongue.
  22. To read all the parts of this series please click: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII As our horses came to the end of the rocky outcropping Eagle Hunter spied a fox moving across the snow-covered peak opposite us. He motioned to us for silence, and set the eagle to flight. The eagle immediately oriented towards its quarry, soared high, chose an angle of attack, and went into a steep and rapid dive. The fox detected the eagle's approach, brought itself up short, turned to face the eagle, and bared its fangs. The eagle returned to altitude and circled aroun
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