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Everything posted by Idlewild

  1. Brilliant! But do you find the garlic flavour cleans off easily? I use my microplane for a lot of stuff and wouldn't want to garlic all of it up. (Most of it... just not all of it )
  2. I do wish she'd stop saying "we." Frankly I would hate to have lunch with her social set. If they expect me to play diet mind games when I'm eating, to hell with that. Also, the so-called man food all sounded delicious. What really entertains me is being married for 8 years to a vegetarian, and having rather infrequently been given the correct dish first time when we order characteristically. They always try to fob me off with the salad and give him the gigantic hunka meat.
  3. We made a Gantt chart for thanksgiving cooking last year - it was our first attempt at cooking the whole spread. I'm not American and my husband is not actually well versed in the preparation of all the traditional dishes so it came in really handy for us to be able to see at what point we should be doing which task.
  4. My first cookbook was a Mr. Men production with cute illustrations in bright colours of foods we never cooked - potato boats with bacon sails on little toothpicks, sausages floating in baked beans. I did love looking at the pictures. But the cookbook that I read for pleasure over and over as a child was Round the World in Eighty Dishes. I read that until the covers fell off. I stole it when I left home. I don't know that I cooked from it much but it was definitely a huge influence in how I thought about food. Edited to mention: I also loved sitting down and reading my mother's very own folder of recipes clipped from magazines or written down by hand. There was one page where she'd saved the cover of a magazine section on biscuits (cookies) that had beautiful seventies lettering, I think it said "The Best of Biscuits" and all these lovely decorated biscuits arranged in rows. A star shaped one with pink icing and sprinkles is lodged in my visual memory. I could also draw from memory the photo accompanying a recipe for little cheesecakes with tinned mandarin segments from further back in the book, or the icecream that had pineapple chunks folded in from the page opposite the cheesecakes. Every now and then I'll demand that mum drag out the folder and transcribe a particular recipe for me, just so I have it.
  5. I am very excited that at the work cafeteria when they serve Moroccan chicken with lemon and green olives, it's always on the bone, skin on. Some people complain but it makes me happy. It makes me kind of all because it's a work cafeteria and you'd think mass produced skinless boneless would be the choice to appeal to the masses, but someone back in corporate menu planning cared enough to do it right! We eat bscb at home more than other chicken because Mr. Wild is a former vegetarian who doesn't like that thighs actually taste like something. This has me in a bit of a state but when I'm getting protein just for me, it's the thighs, thanks.
  6. I will never again forget that ham can be kinda the same shade of pink as uncooked chicken and as a result spend ages trying to get chicken cordon bleu to finish cooking through, including sighing in despair and chucking it in the microwave before realizing that's not raw chicken that bizarrely refuses to cook, that's the filling. I feel appropriately stupid, also I have blisters on my fingers. (Well, a blister from trying to remove the meat thermometer from the chicken, and flip the chicken, at the same time. Hot pan!)
  7. I'm not entirely sure that the assumption that people who make free with the vulgarities have an otherwise poor vocabulary, or that they will over time lose access to their broader vocabulary through lack of use, is valid. Actually it makes me somewhat angry; it seems like a patronizing tool to persuade people to crimp their vocabularies, rather than to broaden them. Sort of analogous to "if you keep doing that, you'll go blind." Let me say that in my day to day life I swear like the proverbial motherfucking sailor and yet I have not detected any great atrophy of linguistic capability as a result. I'd also like to say that it's not mere lack of imagination that leads me to the liberal larding of profanity, it's a choice about how I present myself and how I wish to be perceived among my peer group. I'd say with some of the celebrity chef personas in question, that there is a great deal of theatricality in the way they present themselves -the chef-as-rockstar, chef-as-thug persona. I think most people of reasonable intelligence are capable of deciding when and where it is appropriate to loosen the tongue and let fly the fuck. Having said that, I think it's up to the editorial staff of a publication as to whether "fuck" flies in print. I do think it is losing its shock effect, but not to worry, there are always plenty of contenders for words that must not be spoken in polite company. It's just that the taboos shift around, not that there are no taboos left.
  8. We order too much chinese from our local place. So. A couple of weeks we tried eating healthier, ordering out less, you know. Eventually we give in. The lovely husband makes the call. I heard his end of it. He gave our address, then this: "No, we haven't ordered in a while. Uhhh. I've been kind of busy." I bust a gut laughing. It's a restaurant, not some girl he ditched without calling back. The delivery guy comes around with our food. I hear him at the front door talking to my husband: "So, I hear you've been busy. Oh dear lawd. We have the kind of relationship with our takeout place that they lay guilt trips on us? That can't be good!!
  9. Lovely journal. Good to hear you're teaching the kids to cook- and great to hear that so many of them want to learn! I had a really good cooking education in high school in the late 80s, and am always surprised at how little many of my peers learned in school or before they left home! I think that it's great that you're giving them a grounding in such an important basic lifeskill that can also bring so much pleasure.
  10. My beloved grandmother couldn't cook. My great-grandmother was apparently fantastic and my mother has wonderful memories of coming home from school to her fresh baked treats and so forth, but for family dynamic reasons she refused to teach my grandmother to cook. So without fail when we stayed with granny she'd threaten us with bread and dripping (mmm! And I didn't live through the depression so I thought that was a real treat) and then serve us bacon, crinkle-cut frozen fries baked in the oven, and tinned baby carrots. On the other hand when I got a little older she also used to serve me crackers and tinned pate de foie gras. And the bacon, fries, carrots routine wasn't untasty. We never got that sort of food at home, only wholesome home cooking, so it was a treat. But when she moved in with us when I was a teenager it was sort of shocking to discover that it wasn't just what she cooked when the grandchildren were staying, it was pretty much all she ever ate. I'd tell you about my aunt's cooking but I do love my aunt and she always meant well and has a heart of gold so I can't bring myself to do more than mention dried-out gritty chewy scrambled eggs. Served with love and white toast
  11. This is my husband's favourite cake. I do add more blood orange than the recipe calls for, and also kind of douse it in an orange syrup while it's hot. Just delicious. I wish I had a better source for blood oranges as it's pretty much the only cake I'll bake that isn't too sweet for him to eat.
  12. I refused to register. Was grumpy enough about having to marry to get legal paperwork just to live with the man I love, without turning it into a festival of consumption. Yes, I was young. And cranky. Now I'm old and cranky and have a kitchen full of stuff and the china I want and so forth anyway, which we bought as we went along. Spending the first years of your marriage with shitty knives and pans builds character, right? I think if I did it over, I still wouldn't register, but if people insisted on knowing what we wanted I might be more forthcoming with general suggestions rather than telling them that they don't have to provide gifts just to show they're happy for us. That didn't actually go over terribly well and we still ended up with decorative towels of a nature I will never use. (Thoughtful though, as the aunt who gave them had considered glassware and then realized that'd be much more hassle to move to another continent.) I was kind of annoyed by the grabby tone of the NYT article. I think one of the tag lines was that you only get one chance to equip a kitchen so nicely. I know it was all tongue in cheek but I'm still not that keen on the wedding-as-household-building tradition. Oh sure, it's sensible and whatnot, it just rubs me the wrong way for some reason.
  13. Oh my god. You got King Island cheeses. You win at life. Everything looks tasty! Glad it was a good bash.
  14. I was certainly confused by gravy when I came to the US from Australia. Cream gravy does indeed look anemic to an Australian to whom gravy signifies thick, rich dark brown stuff made primarily from meat drippings, rather than white cream gravy. It's an entirely different beast. Cream or sausage gravy over biscuits is just a divine breakfast however, so I think I might have adapted
  15. Little lamb chops marinated in red wine and olive oil. Steaks. Sausages*. You said grilling food and that's what we had on the barbie. Maybe prawns. (Shrimp? Shrimp are the tiny things that come in tin cans ) Skewers of stuff. We had lots of inventive skewers of stuff for grilling- meat or seafood and veg, and of course the ubiquitous scallops wrapped in bacon and skewered. Pavlova would definitely be an awesome thing for someone to bring for dessert. Home made pavs are good. The store bought kind are awful which is why it's probably a blessing that you'd have to have one made from scratch. Other great Australian sweet treats include lots of "slices". This recipe might be in an English paper but it makes just about the best caramel slice (I don't care what he calls it, that's a caramel slice) I've tasted outside of a school canteen. I would like to add that I never ate sprouts on my burger and I'm making a face at the very thought but fried egg and beetroot for sure. The tinned, sliced stuff, not fresh. *Authenticity calls for the sausages to be burned on the outside and toothpaste textured on the inside.
  16. Hmm. The first food that I really connected with on a pure pleasure level was spaghetti and meatballs with good homemade tomato sauce. To give context, I was a very very picky eater who was living on peanut butter sandwiches and tinned ravioli, with carrot sticks as my sole concession to vegetables. I was pre-school or kindergarten age. But on spaghetti and meatballs nights I would eat a bigger serving than anyone else in the family. So savory and delicious. My parents are both more or less anglo-mutt in origin but Dad grew up in a neighbourhood full of Italians, Greeks and Lebanese. Mum's food repertoire was well made but stodgy stuff like tuna mornay and sundry appalling anglo-indian curries (protein in white sauce with curry powder and sultanas.) Spaghetti and meatballs may have been the first explosion of garlic and onions and tomatoes (which I thought I hated -both onions and tomatoes) and herbs in my food experience. I got less picky but I still love simple red-sauce Italian cooking. Later taste explosions were myriad, like when a lovely Malaysian man came to visit our house and taught Mum some gorgeous Malaysian curries. Oh my god. First bite of a pile of cauliflower and potato and meat, gorgeous. And when some genuine Americans came to live nearby and brought the joy of FRESH salsa, as opposed to the bland stuff in jars, and real home-made tortillas, and omg... guacamole... omg... without sour cream or other white filler. First taste of Thai food heavy on the fish sauce when I was at Uni - and thought I hated it but then craved it for weeks afterwards. Mmm. The upside of growing up with relatively bland regional cuisine is there are so many fantastic moments of discovery.
  17. I'm from away and it took me about two years to get straight in my head whether cool whip was the mayonnaise-ish substance or miracle whip was. Which made reading recipes that included either rather Especially once I stumbled across a now long-departed cookie recipe book that leaned heavy on the mayo for moisture. Ugh. However, I mostly posted to register amusement at the linked miracle whip page with the comparison between mayo, with 0% Tangy Zip® and Miracle Whip with 100% Tangy Zip®. It's good to have the nutrition information up front like that!
  18. Those peaches look wonderful. I miss having peach trees... there's nothing like lying under one with peach juice dripping down your chin... The picture of bone marrow was also gorgeous.
  19. I notice service. I have some significant issues with the buddy-buddy style of service. I didn't need to know, when I dined out recently, that the waiter was trying to pick wines for his upcoming wedding, nor the size of his wedding party nor the type of classes he was taking at the local adult ed, nor that he hadn't slept much last night and was drinking plenty of the wine we were drinking in order to stay "on" for service. Grrr. That was an extreme example but I'm not originally from the States and I'm used to a more reserved style of food service that doesn't imply a relationship between me and the server except inasmuch as they should be able to be informative and accurate about the food and wine. On the other hand, there is a restaurant that my husband and I will return to frequently because the service makes the meal - it's a sushi restaurant and of course the food is fantastic, but it's the detail oriented but not obsequious or overfamiliar service that keeps us going back. Our water glasses and tea cups are never empty, plates are removed or rearranged as soon as we're done with them, the table is never allowed to get messy looking, I never feel like they're breathing down our necks but if we want to order something additional it's always easy to catch our waiter's eye. I also notice the general design/atmosphere of the place - does it make me feel comfortable? What mood is it setting, and is that the mood appropriate to the meal? There's another sushi joint in town that is older and slightly less upscale but that always manages to create a gentle sense of wellbeing because of the atmosphere of the room, the service again, the lighting and the music selection. My husband is somewhat of a musician so terribly obtrusive music - the most annoying being an endless loop of the same track, which we've encountered in more than one restaurant - can ruin the evening for both of us as he gets more and more agitated by it.
  20. We don't have kids or a whole lot of friends with kids so it hasn't come up on that end of things. As a kid I was among the "expected to sit at the table and converse rationally" mob. My parents' friends had kids too and we'd all sit around the table and talk/listen to adult conversation. Politics, art, literature etc. As soon as the food was finished though, we were allowed to go play and do child things, while the adults presumably got more raunchy. However, I don't remember them restraining the conversation much while we were at the table - if something was over our heads we were told that it was adult talk and sooner or later the conversation would get back around to things we comprehended. Food likewise wasn't toned down to be kid friendly. We ate what was put in front of us. I have always appreciated this and as soon as I was old enough to hold a wooden spoon was thrilled to be included in my parents' party planning and cooking. Entertaining and providing good bountiful food and good hospitality are among my warmest memories of childhood/teenagehood. I hope if we ever have sproglets of our own around we'd raise them with the same values.
  21. For me, it's a definite #2. Heh. Back when I was a starving student I took a survey to see how much we undergrads knew about nutrition. Aced the thing. Blew it out of the water. Is my relationship with food healthy? Nah. It's pretty screwed. Knowing the nutrition info doesn't generally do a damn thing to offset other factors for me. Knowing the nutrition info after I already ate? What IS the point? I already know how I could have ordered healthier, I chose not to, that's my problem. I'd be downright annoyed if I got a receipt like that. How condescending.
  22. Egg things are a standby around here. Tonight I made a large omelette with bacon, green onion, fresh tomato, a little salt and pepper, and a scrape of parmesan. Cut it into two wedges and we had it with toast. Perfect for a light dinner. The other day it was scrambled eggs, with this divine "mediterranean style" yoghurt - about as thick as clotted cream and deliciously sharp and tangy, and lots of butter. I had just a sprinkle of cheddar on top, the husband had cheddar and salsa because he does not respect my beautiful delicate scrambled eggs. Sigh. Also he asked me to cook them longer. Fine, but mine come out of the pan first. I fear tough scrambled eggs. The thing I keep wanting to master and not doing because I'm chickenshit is flipping the omelette by hand in the pan - that much vaunted wrist action. I know I couldn't do it with a cast iron pan, I have weak wrists. I do have a small all-clad omelette pan but I'm still rather nervous since I've been doing omelettes the poke-with-spatula way since I was ten.
  23. Fast for breakfast. I am not a morning person but I take pride in fixing a full breakfast for whoever's in the house come the weekend, with everything cooked to their preferences, in minimal time with no help. I just get my groove on. Coffee is involved. Moderate for weeknight cooking. I don't linger if we actually want to eat by a given time, but I don't really spin and twirl as rapidly as for breakfast. In this case I am usually either vaguely working from a recipe or already planned out the steps in my head on the way home from work. Moderate also for baking sweet stuff, not bread - there are certain time constraints with raising agents but I also don't want to rush through and make idiotic mistakes. Slow if I am making something on the weekend that will be slow cooked anyway and is not immediately needed. I love to chill out and hang out with the vegetables, take my time, hone my knife skills, potter a bit. That gives me the opportunity not to have everything drilled out in my head to get done, bam, bam, bam, in quick succession, but to enjoy the moment for each step and then think about the next step.
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