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    Sweet Home Chicago
  1. I drove past a place called "Bob's Swingin' Weenies" last night. I think it's a hot dog stand, but I'm not sure I want to stop and find out.
  2. I am the woman who has refused to sell out and is instead rehabbing a ridiculously old-fashioned 1887 four-square on a block with 7, yes 7, new McMansions built within the last three years where other old houses used to stand. But I have two huge pantries, one on the now enclosed former back porch next to the kitchen and one in the basement next to the chest freezer. I don't know that I'm an advanced cook, but crazy and hardcore? You bet.
  3. A few weeks ago, I bought a Back-to-Basics ice cream maker (on sale for $18) and found The Perfect Scoop at the library. So far, I have tried the Rum Raisin and Strawberry-Sour Cream recipes, and both turned out beautifully. I had never made ice cream before and was a little daunted by the custard, but no worries! The instructions are well written, and this newbie with a cheap machine made some pretty good ice cream. So now I have to go and buy the book...I can see cooking my way through the entire thing!
  4. I often wonder how different the whole of my life would have been had we stayed there! When I have returned to visit, I have found that few people cook the "old-timey" way my grandmother did, though my aunt does still grow a gigantic garden and puts food up. My cousins like grocery stores and packaged foods much better. Don't get me started on the skinny red-dyed hot dogs made from miscellaneous parts. And of course, there is very little ethnic diversity up there in the high mountains. Let's just say it is an "interesting" place to be for a person like me.
  5. Not quite, but I do eat just a few kernels from a single row at a time, across in typewriter fashion. I find fewer bits stick in my teeth that way, and the cob looks much neater, too. I get a little prissy sometimes.
  6. What interesting questions you ask and what interesting replies! Here are my answers: Do you tend to mostly cook foods or recipes that spring from your home culture, or do you tend to mostly cook things from other cultures? I cook foods from many different cultures. Where are you from and what is it that attracts you to the things you choose to cook? I was born in Alleghany County, Virginia, to a Japanese mother and a Scots-Irish/Cherokee father. (Karen, you may be familiar with that area, not far from where you are, I think.) I lived there until I was almost six, then my family moved to Chic
  7. Me, too. I don't post very often, but I always enjoy reading your stories. Keep up the good work!
  8. Has anyone tried "Nice" brand canned sardines? They come from Morocco and are skinless and boneless, plump and tasty. Dominick's carries them here in Chicago. I eat them on Triscuits when there is nobody else at home. More for me!
  9. Me, I'm a crusty old broad, but tender-hearted. I likes them both.
  10. I was just discussing this topic with an co-worker yesterday. I can't stand oatmeal and other cooked breakfast cereals, rice pudding, tapioca, congee, and cottage cheese and the like because of their texture, especially if they are warm. Oatmeal literally makes me gag. But I like whipped cream, plain cooked grains (rice, couscous, etc.), and yogurt. I think it's the combination of the creaminess with the discernible tiny chunky or fibrous bites that puts me off. It reminds me of vomit (sorry -- it is that disgusting to me). And I eat tako sashimi, kamaboko, okra, mushrooms, and pate with r
  11. I too have been collecting cookbooks since I was a kid -- started in junior high home ec class! But I also do not generally cook from them. My family laugh at my collection because they know I have a rebellious streak and cannot follow directions. I like to compare different versions of the same dish to come up with my own, and cookbooks are lots of fun to dust (joke!). I also have some cookbooks that I would definitely NOT cook from -- they are more curiosities than anything else. One of my favorites was a gift from my late grandmother. When I was a poor starving student, she gave me a book
  12. Do you go to several different grocery stores? Yes. My everyday choices are Jewel (Albertson’s) and Dominick’s (Safeway), but I take side trips to other places [Aldi’s, Sam’s Club, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Whole Grain (pan-Asian), Mitsuwa (Japanese), Bobak’s (Polish), plus smaller Italian, Mexican, and Indian places]. We also have several independent grocers nearby. I visit them all as the fancy strikes me. I’ll buy food anywhere. Do you clip coupons? I don’t buy the processed foods promoted by most coupons, and I can’t remember to bring the useful ones with me, so I don’t bother. What do yo
  13. I don't like discrete foods to be all mixed up on my plate. I like to enjoy the unique taste of each dish that makes up my meal. How can you do that when it's all blended into an indistinguishable glop? If ingredients are mixed to make a complete dish, that's ok. But if those same ingredients are cooked as separate dishes, then I like to eat each one separately, and I don't want them to "bleed" over into each other on my plate so that the flavors are muddled. Perhaps that is what is bothering you, too. Maybe it's an Asian thing for me. My mother is from Japan, and she taught me to eat my rice
  14. I have tried many different kinds of potholders and mitts, but alas, all have failed me. My oven and stove burns became so ubiquitous that my younger son took to saying, "If the smoke alarm goes off, food's ready. If Mom burns herself, it's going to be good." And, of course, everything I cook is good! I now rely on a handy stack of kitchen towels. They relieve me of the false sense of security that I got from potholders and mitts, which all too often proved to be spottily thin, unexpectedly holey, or a bit too flammable. I know that if I don't position the towel just right, I will definitel
  15. Peanut butter and bananas, with or without the sandwich part! But especially this way: Place on a plate a decent spoonful of peanut butter, one firm banana sliced into rounds, and a pile of nicely crisp crumbled bacon. Spear banana with fork, roll in peanut butter, and dip into bacon bits. I found Peanut Butter & Company's The Heat Is On at a grocery store in Milwaukee while I was helping my college-bound son stock his apartment for the coming school year. It's got a good kick to it but doesn't go particularly well with Welch's grape jelly (of which I bought a great quantity to obtain
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