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Everything posted by FabulousFoodBabe

  1. I heard somewhere, from someone who should know, that Michael Ruhlman is doing an updated Making of a Chef -- kind of like the CIA revisited. Anyone else heard about this?
  2. I loved this anecdote! Keller was my Culinarian project when I took Intro to Gastronomy. My partner and I found him to be very forthcoming and generous with his time, and allowed us to tape the interview and use photos from his book, etc. Then, when I went to the FL a few months later and brought a copy of the presentation for him, I got to go back to the kitchen and meet him. He remembered us. Anyway, about the note taking: when I was reviewing, I started first by surreptitious tape recording via microphone on the lapel, and wound up just writing notes in my lap. It was easiest of all to just keep a notebook on the table and appear to be making notes as for an interview, etc. Bryan, are you now the reviewer for the paper in Durham?
  3. If asparagus are in season here, why am I not seeing them in local markets? (And no, I can't get down to NYC; I do know that Jersey has some good asparagus coming in ...) I've only lived here a short time, and always believed that this area had a later growing season (which is why my CSA share doesn't start for another few weeks). The menu at Blue also had several fresh tomato dishes, which to me says they weren't doing the local produce thing.
  4. Yep, I avoid hunting because I don't need to kill something to survive. Why other people do it is their own business. Best I can offer myself is being thoughtful about the animals I eat, as much as I reasonably can. I wonder if the pig was used in its entirety, or if the 'familiar' meats were pulled and the rest, tossed? I grew up watching my Italian grandparents butcher their own chickens, rabbits and squirrels, and my German uncles butchering pigs. I know it ain't pretty, but it doesn't have to be ugly. Every bit of the animal was used or at least tried to be used. Back then, the idea was "waste not, want not." Now, with the abundance around us, I think it's a matter of respect.
  5. I'd heard that was good, too, but didn't order it because of the season.
  6. Melissa -- What an awful experience you described, for you as much as the animals in question. No matter what was going to happen to it, the fish was alive and the kids' parents should have put a stop to the abuse. Some people are just blockheads. As for their killing the pig ... well, I'm beyond horrified at that. No. No. No. No. If you're going to slaughter for a living, learn to do it right before you attempt to do it alone. It should not be approached as a hobby. Yes, I believe that we should go back to the farm to know where food comes from. We should be willing and able to kill something we're going to eat. I don't think that makes anyone a radical, just thoughtful. Even something as simple as buying fish or fowl whole and breaking them down, makes you think harder about what you're eating, and not just mindlessly consuming.
  7. Went last night to see what all the fuss was about. People in Westchester rave about the place. First, the website and menus were loaded with typos (a personal peeve, but still ... I don't get a place that can't spell "accolades" properly). The the plastic film covering the menus was stuck together with big blobs of .. something. Our waiter's tie and the cutlery on the table were flecked with food. Urk. The bread was fine, but in the center of the dish of olive oil was a very firm, very dark-blackish-green, quenelle-shaped thingie that really was unappetizing to look at. First course of shrimp tempura was a couple of U-10s in a damp, spongy batter, atop a frisee and surrounded with a lemony sauce of mustard, red beans and onions. Hearts of Palm Salad was a little better, flavor-wise, but the knife cuts were sloppy and the vinaigrette, salty. Couldn't figure out why sundried tomatoes, plums and eggplant were in it, but I guess that was what the GM had to work with. Soft shell crabs were okay, in my husband's words, and he liked the mashed potatoes, too. I had the 'tea-encrusted chicken' that so many around here rave about. I saw some flecks of dark stuff that I guess was tea, but could taste no apple or ginger in the sauce. The lentils were overcooked, and the baby bok choy was undercooked. Dessert menus were delivered and the waiter disappeared. None of the offerings looked particularly exciting, but we thought we'd try the Thai chocolate cake and either the napoleon or the apple spring roll. Ten minutes passed with no revisit by the waiter, so we just had someone track him down and bring the check. That was presented and processed quickly, and we had a nice walk to the movie theater. There were some good parts: Nice surroundings. Not overly blue, just peaceful. The backwaiters were outstanding, and our server was nice. Fine martini, even though it was poured with such a flourish that a good amount landed on the table. In all, we don't get it. It wasn't worth it, but people here rave. For $122, we'd have expected to at least have the edges wiped on the plates.
  8. I read this expecting to see more people wearing Dansko. Not only are they amazingly comfortable for me, but even after a 14-hour day, my legs don't feel tired. Clogs, closed backs, with marathon runner socks that wick away moisture. That's my ticket. Plus, they give me a couple of inches in height that I desperately need. I still have to reach things with my long tongs, though. I tried Birks but my instep is too high for them and they are too flat. I love the Crocs and may get some for wearing out in the real world -- I'm kind of conservative about what I wear in the kitchen. I long for some Gucci kitchen clogs. When someone said "Prada" earlier, was that serious?
  9. Rut-roh, you described my suburban neighbors very well! Funny she should light into you instead of the management for having such horrible products for sale. And I think you know the answer to the laxative issue ... no amount of intervention can help these types. As for snooping: I generally don't, because I'm always the snoop-ee. For some reason, being a professional(and student) means people whisper loudly, "yes, that's Fabby. She's a Gore-May cook an' going ta Chef School! I'll bet her cart is just full of natural food, no canned tomatoes for her! I'm sure she's growing her own on the deck ..." In reality, Mr FoodBabe, who is still quite an athlete and all around hottie, was raised on packaged crap and still has a taste for it. I also have done, and still do, a good bit of consulting for food companies. So my cart is a little ... different, and always open to scrutiny and gossip. It was a big day for me when PeaPod started delivering to my town. Yippee skippee! Now, no one sees that my husband simply cannot start his day without Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts, that he needs a monthly fix of Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper and when I make cupcakes with my niece and nephew, we make them from a mix. The frosting, though, is the real deal.
  10. All right. Perhaps my book isn't quite the undertaking that some people here are describing -- I don't think I have the focus for some of what I'm reading about (though I look forward to buying yours when they are published). My book is "little." I came up with the idea during a CE class at the CIA, way before I was a full-time student; I was just a local cook, writer and teacher, hoping to get better at what I was doing. Quite a few of my classmates were chefs wanting to get books published and TV/demo-skills up to speed. During one class, our instructor told us how difficult and expensive cookbooks were, and to consider a smaller book or two (she cited Surreal Gourmet often, which I loved). Most of my classmates nixed the idea immediately, saying they didn't do anything "small." But an idea was born in my mind that day and I absolutely love the way it's turning out. Has anyone had experience with these "little" books?
  11. All this is making me miss California, so so much. I remember lining up at a local farm at 5:30 a.m. with about 100 other people, coffees in hand, waiting for the berries to come in from the field... I just bought a share in a local farm, and won't get my first basket until June. Until then, it's a 15-mile drive to Whole Foods, and whatever herbs and lettuces I can grow on my deck. I'll check back here often for some vicarious CSA.
  12. Whew -- thought you'd say something like 40 or 45 ... Oh yeah -- like one piece of cake is going to cause seizures. There is a scene in The Truth about Cats and Dogs; Uma Thurman ordered food to smell it.
  13. Oh! Me, me, me! I had to take a 4-month leave from school last year (broken ankle) and wrote the first, rough version. Now that I'm on yet another x-out for a few more weeks, I'm working on the proposal and getting the chapters ready to show to someone. I'm interested in the agent process, how to propose, etc. My book is not something that fits into a category, but I love it and I think it's pretty cool. BTW, I loved How to Read A French Fry.
  14. Emphasis mine. With that kind of grammar, she probably made the right career choice. I don't know how old you mean when you say "older woman" -- seriously how old? I'm finding people who don't cook at all ages, but they all have different attitudes and reasons for it. We first- and second-generation girls were trained to be housewives. For me, the food part stuck, the rest of it went out the window. To this day, I do NOT iron anything, ever, and I only sewed Halloween costumes for my kids when they were little. I wonder if Francine likes the story?
  15. Oh, I know an awful lot of Francines. Most of them approach cooking as women used to approach typing: "if I learn to type, I will have to be a secretary." And now, there are keyboards everywhere ... These militant non-cooks make me laugh. The Francines I know think it's cool to not cook. They like to act discombobulated in the kitchen and say things like "I'm teaching MY children to be self-reliant." I think we can all agree that self-reliance goes way beyond "make your own damned dinner!" As a matter of fact, making your own damned dinner always meant self-reliance to me. Eh, whatever. As long as they spend lots and lots of money on good restaurants, and hire me to give cooking classes at their house and don't invite their know-it-all foodie sisters or neighbors along, we'll get along great.
  16. This is what distinguishes a professional from a "foodie." Chain restaurants are a fact, they feed a lot of people, and knowing who's eating there and why affects the dining scene around them. I admire BryanZ for knowing what he's pissing and moaning about.
  17. Justin, I'm a CIA student now and just found this thread. I'll PM you to ask "which one" you were at Blue Hill -- I Externed there -- among other things. I wanted to say here that I'm enjoying your culinary journeys. You have a nice style.
  18. Oh, it was great. Day Ten of Asian Cuisines, breaking down the kitchen after service. Me, wiping lots of oil out of the steel-drum sized wok with a huge wad of paper towels. Doing what Chef said not to do: Turn the gas feed the wrong way. Paying attention to someone else as I took the oily papers in hand and used them to lift up on the handle of the wok to move it off the flame (which I thought was out). As soon as the flames shot out, the rag caught on fire. Must have gone up four feet for about five minutes. I thought I was going to set off the ansul. My classmates ran to my aid and said "hey, you allright?" I said, "whew, I'm sure glad Chef _____ wasn't here to see this!" Dead silence. I turned around and him AND the Chef for my next block standing there, watching. Heh. I never lived it down.
  19. Oh, wow, this is bringing back some memories! On my list of "things I'll never do to my kids" was "make them eat something they hate." If they don't like kale but do like spinach, what's the big deal? My kids were/are major food rebelliors (cool, a new word!). All the advice I got about "hiding" vegetables in sauces just made me laugh. Even as toddlers, they could tell the difference between Jif and fresh peanut butter, Ben & Jerry's and Graeter's vanilla, ground chuck versus round, if I tried to sneak turkey or soy crumbles into the taco mix ... Kid you not. My oldest got his tongue tested last year and was thrilled to show me that he is a super taster. I feel so much better (not). My youngest refused to eat vegetables when he was three. Pediatricians said to give him the veg and nothing else; he'll break down. Welllll, after a week of his refusal to eat I said 'enough.' Not worth starving the kid to death to prove a point. (He is 15 now, ridiculously healthy and fit, and is my sushi-pal. He's adventurous about trying new foods, too.) He also has grown a vegetable garden since he was about five, and still won't eat them. A few years ago, I started posting a weekly menu: Momzee's Kitchen: Home of the "I don't want to hear it." I included Pizza Night and at least one other night of food that I knew they really liked. Sometimes I put it into Translation.com and did a French or German version, as well. I included a "Talk to Me" notepad, where they could write snarky stuff about the meal plan, since I didn't want to hear it. I thanked them for the input, and tossed the list out. As for the guilt -- you do the best you can. Remember the first time the first baby slept through the night? Oh, to duplicate that feeling. Without the stuff leading up to it, of course!
  20. Reunion is next weekend. And, because my youngest is in the hospital, we are cancelling the trip (and the week in Belize we were planning afterward, for spring break). However, we'll be back -- firstborn wants to look at Duke, and my best friend lives in Raleigh -- and I'll have more time to roam around. So, thanks again to everyone for their thoughtful suggestions. We'll get there later this spring, for sure, and I'll report back. FB
  21. Great piece, Liz. About a month ago a friend of mine who lives in the Bay Area sent me a link to Dream Dinners. I thought it looked interesting, but kind of dismissed it as "who would do this?" (Loved your point about seasoned cooks not finding some of the bowls big enough, etc. Terrific!) It appears that these are popping up all over the place. I'm considering a session just so I can say I did it, even though it's kind of expensive and I hate having to make appointments. I'm very interested in where the food is coming from that is being used, who is developing/testing recipes, who is "supervising," etc. Who knows, instead of the cooking school I wanted to open, maybe I could do this ....
  22. Women Chefs and Restaurateurs has a mentorship program, open to students and those working in the field, alike. It's pretty cool.
  23. I really wish I had more time to devote to this topic -- it's fascinating to me. For the past 15-or so years, I've worked full-time in the industry as a writer, cook, chef, manager, owner, consultant and teacher -- sometimes concurrently. During that time I've handled seven corporate relocations -- while it's given me a great perspective and experience, the resume is full of holes. For me, that has been the greatest block to my rising through the ranks. There's still time, and I'm committed to not moving again until my youngest graduates HS in four years. I'll graduate from school this year, and am really excited about what the future holds. My school chefs are the absolute best, and so are my classmates. I've had the most negativity from younger women who, after a lifetime of empowerment, have no problem with telling me to go home and take care of my kids! I simply comment aloud that it's sweet that a 22 year old has the same attitude about my proper place in the world, as my 70 year old mother in law! I will say that when I went looking for an Externship site, some places simply wouldn't reply to my resume, after lots of interested phone calls and emails. The ones that did ... well, they were the best chefs and the best restaurants, period. Fabby
  24. Dinner on Friday night was reallllly great. Oxtail roulade, oysters and caviar to start, and skate schnitzel (which I ordered purely for its name) for the second course. The sommelier convinced me to try a Long Island wine (my first!), just a glass, and I was pleasantly surprised. We were seated next to the service kitchen, and loved that the cooks had a nice view (none of them seemed to be staring out the windows, though). I'd rather watch them work, to be honest. I could write for an hour about the specifics and pacing of the courses, the plating, the balance of the spices but to me, here's what's important: The service was as attentive and kind when we left at 8:30, as it was when we were seated at 5:45 and the place was nearly empty. No one rushed us. Chef Kunz stopped by to say hello between courses. Wines were chosen with minimal fuss. The dining room was hopping, happy and upbeat -- no reverential silence or constant interruptions to admire and listen to descriptions of our food. And the food was terrific. I wouldn't have changed a thing.
  25. Do NOT let anyone except for the Chef or Sous, borrow your knives. No, no, no. It doesn't matter if they are good people or not. The only "guy" you will be is the one whose knives are not for general use. I'd still be a bitch -- just a bitch with all of the knives she started her Externship with. I'm still steamed over the MAC santoku with the ruined edge, and the serrated paring knives. They ain't cheap and even if they were, dammit, they were mine. No more Ms. Nice Guy, Fabby
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