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Everything posted by Rinsewind

  1. My kids go to a plain old public school in Oklahoma, albeit in a university town. The food is provided by Sodex'ho. They are at the elementary school level, and some healthy-ish choices are available each day. There is no soda, only milk or water. My oldest child is a very unadventurous eater, and I suspect from the stains on his clothes that he just drowns everything he eats in ketchup. And now at home he will only willingly eat canned/frozen veggies, not the fresh fruit and veggies I serve 90% of the time. And he drowns everything I make in ketchup. Even with some better choices available, I think his palate has zeroed in on the processed, thanks to school lunches. *sigh* I do appreciate news stories like this, in that it helps me to know what to lobby for in my school system. Not that I expect Sidwell quality, but putting pressure on public schools to offer better quality food (within budgetary confines) benefits far more kids.
  2. I was allowed a taste, but thought it was all disgusting. Still do. I didn't learn to appreciate wine until I did a study abroad in France in the 80s. My dad showed me the difference between a shot and a jigger, and then told me how much of the other stuff to add. Guests could specify a shot or jigger to me, or weaker than that. It wasn't too hard, and no one complained. Then again, they probably wouldn't get all that upset at a kid, even if she was a lousy bartender. Come to think of it, I kept the ashtrays emptied as well. None of this seemed strange at the time. And I've never really been a big fan of alcohol (I'm a one glass of wine occasionally person), so I guess it didn't do me any harm!
  3. to join the list of people here, i too remember taking the helm and making drinks for guests at my parent's parties. . .but this was in the 70s. . .and i was making seagrams and 7's, just like katie. . .i found it more interesting that the daughter was making things like old fashioned's and tom collins'. when my wife and i see scene's like that, we joke that "yep, that's gonna be our child." ← Ditto. Born in 1966, making scotch and soda and 7&7s by 1973. It was part of learning to be a good hostess. I served peanuts too.
  4. Ah, I hadn't considered gravy's casserolosity. Although, is cream of mushroom pork chop bake a casserole? Not sure, although I've had it. I've looked at a number of cookbooks from the early 20th century, and they all assume that you can make a white sauce (called sauce, not gravy) without instructions, and then place on appropriate foodstuffs or in a baked dish. Gravy seems to be seperate. I suppose now I will also have to ponder the divide between sauce and gravy (gravy being a subset of sauce, I assume!). Is gravy just a humble form of sauce? And what IS the difference between Cream of Mushroom condensed soup and a can or jar of pre-made gravy? Besides the mushrooms, I mean. Thanks for the responses-- anyone out there from the deep south? New England? The Pacific northwest? -Rinsewind
  5. Water gravy? Do you add water to the pan juices? Or are you referring to some other technique?
  6. Hadn't thought about that. Sure! -Rinsewind
  7. I have been pondering the brown gravy/white gravy divide, and am wondering what the regional variations are, and geographically where the split is. For example-- I come from SE Michigan. I never heard of white gravy growing up. Gravy was meat juice (beef or chicken most commonly) sometimes thickened with flour, sometimes with corn starch. Gravy was used to cover meat, mashed potatoes, and occasionally stuffing, but not much else. Being near Canada, I was aware that they put gravy on french fries over the border (and mighty tasty it is). I moved to southern Indiana for graduate school. Gravy was a mix-- sometimes brown gravy, and occasionally a place would offer white gravy-- usually made with sausage, flour, and milk. I never tried it. After graduate school, I got a job in Oklahoma. It's white gravy all the way here, except possibly on Thanksgiving. Gravy goes on chicken-fried steak (but not other meats dishes normally), mashed potatoes, or biscuits for breakfast. I have made peace with this strange-looking stuff (as I have with chicken-fried steak) and now find it quite palatable, if a bit heavy. Where is the divide between white and brown gravy? What are the gravy patterns out in Western U.S. or Canada? What do people put gravy on? I am specificallly avoiding a discussion of tomato sauce/gravy, and other types of sauce. I am also avoiding the giblet/non giblet Thanksgiving gravy debate . I just want to know about white and brown gravy. What do you use? On what type of food? And where are you? -Rinsewind
  8. Great thread-- thanks to all for your contributions. I'm 40. I consider myself a feminist. I am a professor, as is my husband. I do all of the household cooking. Husband does all of the table setting/clearing/dishes. We have two small children (5 and 2). Husband does fully half the childcare, and is a fantastic dad, even if brushing daughter's hair perplexes him no end. We divide up all other household chores. Seems like an equitable arrangement, and feels like it much of the time. However, when I examine things, there are nuances that sometimes bother me. I like to cook very much, when I have time to do so. Working full time, I am often rushed trying to get a meal on the table by 6:30 before the kids go into complete meltdown mode. I find that my enjoyment of cooking is maximized when I am not rushed, and I know that the people I cook for will appreciate (or at least not hate) the dinner. Nightly family dinners wear me out. Son is very picky, and would be happy to consume yogurt, hot dogs, cheetos and cereal every day for the rest of his life. Most dinners I cook induce an elaborate display of distaste on his part. Daughter (2) is more adventurous, but is subject to the whims of a two year old. Husband grew up having his mom make the basic three part dinner every night-- hunk 'o' meat, hunk 'o' veggie, and hunk 'o' starch. Booorrriing. Here's some thoughts. My mom was (is) mentally ill. She stayed home, but didn't cook, clean or do any traditional "mom" things. Dinner was rummaged from the 'fridge and eaten in front of the tv each night. Husband had the sit around the table, no tv experience each night. So we all sit down to dinner at the table and I serve dinner every night. Seems like a good idea, as long as I make something everyone likes. I find myself thinking, "My children are getting good meals with a much wider range of ingredients than I ever got as a kid. I'm showing them love by providing this." But then I get really ticked off at times when the reaction seems to be "YUCK!" to most things I cook from my kids, who would, it seems, rather be eating the crap that I grew up with in front of the TV. I also find that I modify what I would like to make for my husband's tastes. I see that I make stuff that I don't like fairly often because I know he likes it. I rarely make something that I like but he doesn't. I wonder why. Is this love? Some sense of a woman's duty? Is it just because I want someone to actually eat what I cook? I don't know for sure. I know that I love to cook for people who will appreciate what I make, but am more ambivalent when I know that people won't really care. Does this make me selfish? Unwomanlike? Or just human? Finally, on those nights when I don't want to cook, why is it always me who has to actually ask husband to cook or get take-out. Why can't he offer? Why is dinner always my responsibility? Is this because he's a chauvenist? (he rarely exhibits any signs of chauvenism) Because he's 46 and his mom is very traditional? Or just because dinner is my area? I don't have great answers to this stuff. I have read all kinds of academic literature on women's roles, feminist issues, even home cooking (I'm an anthropologist/folklorist). But I still struggle with these issues myself. -Rinsewind
  9. If you're heading down Plymouth Rd. in Ann Arbor to Ayse's Cafe, you might consider BeWon-- a decent and reasonably priced Korean place in Plymouth Green Mall, SE corner of Plymouth and Green Rd. I've not had a bad meal there, although in the interest of truth in advertising, I only get there two or three times a year when I'm back home visiting family. *sigh* You all are making me homesick! -Rinsewind (reluctantly living in Oklahoma since 1994...)
  10. Cold cereal is my default dinner when I have been at work way too long, the kids have already been fed by my husband, I have about 2 minutes to eat before starting baths and pj time with the kids, and I sure don't feel like cooking anything but know I will turn enormously cranky (well, even crankier) if I don't have some food. Happens about once or twice a month, usually when I am desperate enough to eat whatever cereal happens to be around, from Smart Start or Shredded Wheat to (shudder) Cap'n Crunch or Fruity Pebbles. Not proud of this, mind you, but there it is. More frequently I'll take a handful of dry cereal to eat with medication I take right before bedtime that sets better in my stomach with a little food. Cheerios works a treat for this. Ironically, I was not a huge cereal eater as a kid, instead prefering cold leftovers from dinner. -Rinsewind
  11. I disagree. If you are allergic to a certain food, abstain generally from alcohol, are a vegetarian, or have a religious prohibition against eating a certain food, then you have a legitimate reason for abstaining from certain foods. If you have a medical condition which involves strict food consumption restrictions, then you may have an excuse for not eating at all. Outside of these circumstances, however, most people in our culture would consider it rude not to eat something in this type of social setting. Food is multivalent, and means more than simple nutrition. My sister, for example, is a long term anorexic and extraordinarily picky eater. She has been for nearly 30 years. She avoids the social problems of her decision to not eat or only eat a very limited variety of foods by asking not to be invited to dinner, or at least to a social setting where she will be expected to eat what is put in front of her. It's not an ideal solution, but it does shows that she recognizes the social problem of not eating what she is offered. One could argue that the anorexia constitutes a medical condition, and perhaps this gives her some license. If someone insists on taking her out, she will list those restaurant where they carry food that she will eat. It's complicated. She is quite happy to socialize with people outside of mealtimes, and most of us just choose those kind of occasions to be with her. If your problem is simply that this is not the type of food you wish to eat, but you have no particular medical/religious/philosophical position for not eating any of it, then in my opinion you should either find something on the menu you can order so as not to make people feel awkward or insulted (even if that just means pecking at it), or volunteer other sorts of activities that you could do together-- at least showing that you are happy to be with the people who have invited you. As has been pointed out, in many cultures it would be considered a serious insult to refuse the generosity of the host. At least in this situation you had the opportunity to choose something fairly inoffensive. -Rinsewind
  12. For a reasonably detailed explaination of the Roman Catholic church's rules about fasting and abstinance, try this artical from the Catholic Encyclopedia. Catholic Encylclopedia-- Abstinence In practice, local rules seem to vary widely, as each diocese can modify the rules to suit local conditions. I am still searching for a satisfactory explaination for why "viands" and not fish are unacceptable. My assumption is that it had to do with high and low status food, but I have also run across articles suggesting that the very fleshiness of "red" meat (meaning beef, pork, poultry, etc, modern notions of the "other white meat" notwithstanding...) was associated with lust and sinfulness. Anyone have more information on this? And thanks to everyone for sharing your traditions! -Rinsewind
  13. Just read this on CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2007/TRAVEL/02/28/trend...m.ap/index.html And it reminds me of an academic book I read fairly recently, Culinary Tourism edited by Lucy Long. Has anyone been a culinary tourist? Ever go someplace else specifically for the food, learning about the food, buying the food, eating the food? Is this a major componant of ALL your travel, as it is increasingly for mine? I live in Norman, Oklahoma. While things have certainly improved in the almost 13 years I have resided here, I still long for stores like Whole Foods, or other gourmet stores that we don't have here. My family lives in Ann Arbor, MI and every time I go home I hit Whole Foods, Zingerman's and Bella Vino. Then of course there are the trips (all too infrequent) to France... -Rinsewind
  14. Interesting, Ludja. I remember hearing that pretzels were given as a reward for schoolboys learning their prayers in Germany, but a quick websearch turns up numerous references to pretzels as a lenten food-- the first reference in the Vatican library to pretzels is from the 5th century! Thanks for the reference. Sounds like it's time to make some pretzels. Simple soups seem to come up frequently as well when searching for lenten foods, as well as the usual fish dishes and meatless pasta. Sounds like there were more options out there than the cheese pizza we always ate! Although a good cheese pizza certainly can be tasty. -Rinsewind
  15. There are a number of variables involved but generally, when not hungry, I spend about $150-$175 a week for my family of four. If I go grocery shopping when hungry, I spent $200-$225. Not exactly double, but certainly more. It also depends on the store. Wal-Mart, not a lot a food there that I impulse buy. Albertsons, sometimes they have some good looking cheese and decent seafood as well as a few exotic produce items that tempt me more. At Foreward Foods, our local small gourmet/cheese shop, CHA-CHING$$. Very bad idea to go there when hungry! As for lists, my husband makes one for anything unusual he wants, but otherwise the weekly staples don't get written down. I also strive to plan out the meals ahead of time (so many good cookbooks at home!) however most often what happens is I buy whatever looks good then figure out what to do with it later. Oh, to be organized! -Rinsewind (currently baking chicken, and simmering sausage/potato/swiss chard soup and tomato sauce with meat in order to use up the meat that husband didn't eat while I was away at a conference last week-- I think he and the kids lived off of pizza and chicken nuggets...)
  16. Not sure I'm adding anything new here, but... For a number of cultures, food is equated with love and affection. When grandparents feed kids what were, to them, high prestige foods (and store-bought candy can certainly have been a high-prestige item for people who grew up without much money) they are expressing affection. They are giving their grandchildren what they were able to have only rarely. Likewise, there are cultures where it is normal for parents and grandparents to feed children manually long after our society considers it acceptable-- in the belief that children are growing and should eat, and a family member is expressing love and affection by trying to fatten up the kids. To criticize the practice can be construed by the grandparents as meaning that their love is bad for the kids. Any grandparent would be insulted by that assertion. So you have a cultural and generational problem. Is it good for the kids? Probably not. I can see why it's bothersome, and vegging out in front of the tv while eating mindlessly can be detrimental to one's future health (it depends on the person). But this isn't something that you will be able to change in this family. It may end up that this is something that the kids, when grown, will look back fondly on when they are adults and they think of their grandparents. If it's bothersome to the parents of these kids, they can try to deal with it themselves, or simply try to ensure that their kids don't load up on the sugary snacks at other points in the day. I think the situation may be unfortunate, but it is certainly understandable and not meant to be detrimental to the kids. -Rinsewind
  17. I hear this is a big tradtion in Wisconsin also; maybe all around the Great Lakes? ← Yep, I grew up in Michigan (there were a lot of Catholics) and the Friday fish fry was certainly a church tradition! Unfortunatly, my family was particularly limited in what was considered acceptable food, and as my mom loathed all fish, we didn't participate. More's the pity! I am happy to report that, at age 40, I now enjoy nearly all kinds of seafood! My kids are more limited, but they will eat mild fish and occasionally salmon or a shrimp. On an ironic note, I was just at a conference this past week and on Ash Wednesday my fellow attendees decided to go to a steak house for dinner. *sigh* -Rinsewind
  18. A very interesting idea! I understand your point about salmon steaks. I have been doing some reading on this, and I know the rules about what constitute a "meatless" day were developed in the Middle Ages, when fish was not a high prestige food (a sweeping generalization, I know, not applicable in every case). Thus a meatless day with fish was considered a deprivation, and lent meant 40 meatless days, some with no dairy as well. Fish, at the moment, unless you're the humble catfish or a fish stick, is now a fairly high prestige food, given the price. Your new tradition does seem closer to the spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law. Thanks! Rinsewind
  19. For those of you who follow (or at least did at some point in your life) the restrictions against meat on Fridays in Lent (still practiced in the US Catholic Church), do you have a special meal for those days? How about Good Friday traditions? I come from a family where my parents didn't do much cooking, so lenten Fridays always meant cheese pizza. Good Friday meant mass then Easter egg coloring, with egg salad for dinner. I usually make fish for my own children (something mild like tilapia, cod, or whitefish) on lenten Fridays, but the egg salad has to wait until Saturday since I always have to work on Good Friday now. Any traditions out there? Anyone actually get hot cross buns on Good Friday? *edited for clarity
  20. Hooray, I'm a supertaster! Oh wait a minute, that's why my friends call me a picky eater and roll their eyes when I order at restaurants. Oh well.
  21. In The Devil's Picnic: Travels Through the Underworld of Food and Drink (2005) by Taras Grescoe (something I'm in the middle of reading so I don't have extensive details to hand...) he spends a year looking for forbidden/banned/highly frowned upon ingrediants to make a forbidden meal. Some of the items are forbidden by EU regulations, others are a smattering of items from across the world. They are as follows: 1. Hjemmebrent (Norwegian moonshine) 2. Poppy seed crackers (low level opiate) 3. Epoisses (raw milk cheese) 4. Criadillas (cooked bull testicals) 5. Cuban cohibas (for a smoke break) 6. Absinthe 7. Chocolat Mousseux (chocolate had once been banned in parts of France) 8. Mate de Coca (tea made from coca leaves) 9. Sodium Pentobarbital for having one REALLY last drink Not that I would recommend all of the above for consumption at your party... -Rinsewind
  22. BINGO! American Gourmet by Jane and Michael Stern. Bless you! This has been driving me nuts for weeks! Gratefully, Rinsewind
  23. Don't know if anyone out there can help me with this. About 10 years ago I was in a used book store here in scenic central Oklahoma and there were several copies of a cookbook which, as I recall, basically glorified in a rather tongue-in-cheek way the food of the 1950s. I think the cover was done in shades of pink and black. I'm trying to locate this book and can't seem to get at a title or author. This is not aided by the fact that my memory may be faulty on the look of the cover. Does anyone have a clue what this cookbook might be? Any help would be much appreciated... Thanks, Rinsewind
  24. My mother-in-law has a subscription and I have probably read three or four years' worth of issues and tried a number of recipes (as has she). It's not high-fallutin' stuff, but every recipe I have tried turns out just fine, so I think they are well-tested. Interesting to read and good for everyday meals, IMHO. -Rinsewind
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