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Everything posted by faine

  1. This might be a bit divergent, but I know there are religious creeds/traditions that mandate vegetarianism...is there anything comparable for vegans? I say it because I'm considering the whole "over indulgence in both meat *and* vegetarianism is a sign of affluence" (and I agree,) but evangelical veganism strikes me as about as much of an affluent indulgent Western life style as it's possible to have....
  2. Yum...I really appreciate these photos. Keep it up!
  3. I did notice there was a lot of yogurt consumption up in the Northwest (Xinjiang.) The runny, tart yogurt was served often with pilau (the yummy saffron-mutton-rice dish often served in the area.) It was really good stuff. However, Uighur culture and food is very different indeed from that of the rest of China. While I was in Beijing, it seems that those super sugary yogurt drinks are becoming popular - the little breakfast joint on the corner where I was staying seemed to sell out of them in a flash every morning. They came in little ceramic containers....I never tried them because 1. I didn't trust dairy at all and 2. I heard they have enough sugar to kill a horse, but they were popular.
  4. In 2008, I will eat lots more Indian food, since I am spending most of the spring in Bangalore. I want to do a pretty extensive food survey of what's available in that city...and blog about it. I will make as many simple yet awesome dishes as I can, seeing as I am in the very earliest stages of Learning to Cook. And lots of enchiladas. There's no downside to lots of enchiladas. I will find a really fantastic place to get Xinjiang food somewhere in California. My heart aches for dapanji and hand-pulled noodles. I will learn as much as I can about Southern Indian cuisine, and hopefully learn how to reproduce it at home. (Especially Goa fish curry. Mmm, fish curry.) I will teach....I don't have any cooking skills. But perhaps through blogging, I can teach people something vaguely interesting about my experiences in India (And China.) I will read as much good food literature as I possibly can, and hopefully all the M.F.K Fisher that exists, since, like enchiladas, you can never really overdose on M.F.K Fisher.
  5. I do remember seeing the crab and corn soup quite often in Hong Kong....is that a variant on egg drop? I certainly enjoy eating that stuff. I don't recall seeing anything any vaguely like egg drop in mainland China, but then again, I wasn't looking. I've never liked Egg Drop here in the states (can't even remember eating it before, actually,) though I do love hot and sour if done right. But a lot of places really butcher the hell out of hot and sour, so you have to be careful.
  6. I'm looking for a Christmas gift for my dad and was wondering if the Egullet community could help me out. My dad loves food related gadgets...he's especially into grilling and any meaty type of thing. I was thinking of a tagine or maybe a sausage grinder, or maybe a pasta maker (though he's more of a protein type). What do you think? What's the coolest new stuff that's come out lately? Anything you particularly like (and actually use a lot)?
  7. Yum, I love Ting Ting Jahe. It's got a nice chew to it. It reminds me a bit of White Rabbit with less chemicals. Ginger ice cream is also a wonderful thing. I had a great desert of fresh ginger ice cream with pear and berry crumble at John Andrews in Stockbridge, Massachusetts a month ago....the combination of cold melty spicy ice cream with warm crisp was to die for. Anyone else a ginger snap freak? We like the three ginger variety from Trader Joe's, although I'd like to try making a tastier variant on those suckers at home someday.
  8. Those sexual food terms freak me out too. I think it relates to a trend in the way Americans (ESPECIALLY women) relate to food: food is sinful, tied in to your morality, to how good of a person you are. And being a good person, of course, means being skinny, able to resist things full of calories that taste really good. Thus, when a woman trying to adhere to the Cult of Skinny actually allows herself to eat some damn chocolate cake, it's "sinful, "orgasmic," somehow "dirty." All of this is about fifteen different kinds of screwed up if you ask me.
  9. My family generally maintains a "wave it over heat a little bit" approach to cooking. We like our veggies crisp and fresh and our meat as rare as humanly possible. Neither side of my family (including the grandparents) seems to have any issue with cooking the life out of food, thank God. This could be because most of them only cook when they absolutely have to, of course. As you can imagine, going from home cooking to Sodexho dining hall food was a big change for me. Sodexho policy is that vegetables can always be improved by cooking into a fine mush. Yuck. I do know those greens beans you're talking about - we're Southern too and that's one of the standby dishes that Must Appear at any family gathering. We usually stockpile some fatback to throw in the pot. My mother likes to say the cooking technique is to simply boil all the nutrients out of the beans. I'm kind of ambivalent to them: I usually just pick out the fatback and eat that. However, I'm all for cooking the hell out of collard greens with (of course) fatback. Throw some pepper sauce on those suckers and you've got a meal all in itself, tender delicate vitamins be damned.
  10. Just within the past year, I've found myself tolerating a lot of things I used to find unfathombly vile. The most glaring are probably olives and licorice. I used to find olives horrible; now I pounce on them. (Although those canned black ones are still pretty nasty.) I can also tolerate licorice now, and I've even come to love those seeds they give out at the exist at Indian restaurants. I also used to loathe any kind of "squishy" fruit or fruit filling - now I find myself enjoying peaches and even apple pie, which used to be utterly off limits in the past. (Applesauce is still disgusting.) Have other people found themselves tolerating certain tastes more readily as they enter adulthood? I still find uni hard to handle, though to be fair, I haven't had any in a few years. Maybe I should put that back on my "to try" list. The only issue is the texture: somewhere between a solid and a viscous slime. Umph.
  11. faine

    Oysters - The Topic

    Oysters Pablo from Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena, California. The combination of mayo, spinach, and chili oil is simply divine. It's like Oysters Rockefeller (another favorite of mine) but even more fabulous. Whenever we visit the restaurant, we usually order two rounds of these suckers - and wish we had more. I will also confirm you MUST try oyster dressing. I also love a really, really good fried oyster - big, juicy, not too much breading - eaten plain. It's hard to improve on that.
  12. I fully admit that when I'm REALLY down (thankfully rarely,) I tend to get an overwhelming desire for yellow jello. This may prove true the whole "food from childhood" hypothesis... Daal when sick sounds like an excellent idea! I think I'll try making an extra-spicy batch next time I'm congested. On that note...I bet a big bowl of chili would be similarly comforting and clear-out-them sinuses hot.
  13. One nice thing to clear out the sinuses is tom yum soup...that's what I always gravitate to when I'm congested. Hot and sour is indeed another one of my standbys. Pho sounds scrumptious too. As for the dairy thing..I've always adhered to it when I've got stomach complaints, but I've never heard of it being an issue when you've got a cold. Personally, I love having a little bit of yogurt or something bland and comforting like that when I'm down.
  14. Mmm, country ham biscuits. I always associate them with North Carolina because that's the only place I've encountered them. Whenever we visit the family up there, they seem to magically appear on the breakfast table. And it's got be extra salty funky country ham too...with a good chew to it. Yum. As for retro snacks, the little mini reubens are both retro and delicious. And hell, who doesn't love a good pupu platter, complete with rumaki and tiny little Tiki lamps?
  15. faine

    Jicama question

    Use it any place you want a nice crunchy vegetable. It's especially nice in salads featuring Southwestern flavors, and it's also a nice, slightly sweet snack. One thing I found in Mexico: jicama is yummy dipped in peanut butter. Pickling it with ginger sounds delicious. I have to try that!
  16. Yeah, the changing light definitely has an impact on me. Here at school, I'll eat dinner as early as 5:00 because I'm starving, though I usually do have a light snack around 7 or 8. At home, we tend to eat dinner around 8:00, but we push it back more and more as it gets darker and darker. We also tend to eat a lot more things involving melted cheese, but I'm not sure if that can be chalked up to biology. When do people eat in areas right on the equator? When do they eat up at the Arctic Circle? Interesting...
  17. I'm a college student (and teenager) and I have to say, most people my age are pretty damn clueless about food. I've seen kids eating things like dry Kraft mac and cheese and Hamburger Helper complete with pre-included freeze dried meat. A kid at my school actually got scurvy...twice..from refusing to eat anything green unless mandated by his mother. Finding people to go on foodie excursions with me thus becomes a challenge, especially when I take kids to a nice restaurant and find them eating with their hands, yelling obscene words halfway through dinner, and refusing to tip. Fun at drunken parties, not so fun at restaurants with actual adults present. Still, I do like to take friends out to ethnic restaurants or get them to try something they haven't before...I turned a friend of mine on to Vietnamese food last week, and now we're planning to go rustle up some quality ramen. Maybe there is hope. As regards the Velveeta....I'll probably lose all cred I had (hah) but I love me some Velveeta. Rotel dip on Super Bowl Sunday...yum.
  18. Thanks for your link, Old Foodie! Just wanted to say I adore your website...there's nothing I like better then poring through old menus and various other food related items. Appreciate it.
  19. Yep, we definitely do them! My aunt's husband demanded we add them to the menu a few years back and we've enjoyed them since. He claims they're a Southern thing, although we're all Southern too....that's regionalism for you. I haven't made them myself, but as I recall, it's pretty simple: throw together pearl onions and lots and lots and lots of cream and cheese. Bam. I was too intimidated by their appearance of viscous gloppiness to try them until this year, but I'm glad I did: the little suckers are delicious. Although crouching in the refrigerator the next day, their appearance can be kinda..offputting.
  20. I used to be extremely down on Thanksgiving dinner. I'm not a carbs person, and to me, it always heralded a long weekend where I would be forced to eat plate upon plate of boring beige food. The third day of leftovers always saw me begging, desperately, for Indian food. Now that I've hit the advanced age of 19, I'm beginning to appreciate the traditional nature of the whole thing more - and my family really does do Thanksgiving right, since I come from a pretty good clan of Southern cooks. My dad always does a moist and juicy bird, we've got the dressing, we've got real cranberry sauce, we've got gravy made with turkey necks...life is good. Being an ardent bonechewer, I usually steal the wings and the other miscellaneous parts for myself and leave the actual meat to the others. (And cranberry sauce. I really overdo the cranberry sauce.) I am looking forward to handling my first Thanksgiving on my own, though. I found a preperation of turkey Peking-duck style that I'm dying to whip out. I'll also make some more interesting side dishes. And include a green salad, which my family considers to be completely obscene on Thanksgiving. But I'll still do the oyster dressing. I have to do that. Racheld, so wonderful to hear of another family that does cornbread oyster dressing! We're extremely Southern as well, and it's everyone's absolute favorite dish - woe to the person who dares to pick out the oysters when the others aren't looking. We also do a big tray of pecan dressing as well, though that tends to get completely ignored in the intoxicating deliciousness of OYSTER DRESSING. We also do the green beans (cooked until no nutrients are left) with a big ol' hunk of fatback, creamed onions, and asparagus casserole made with lots and lots of egg and cheese sauce.
  21. I agree with you - there can be some real winners lurking around in those glossy highly staged pages. I really want the Ikea book now. Mmm, swedish meatballs. Still, I *really* love these things for their entertainment value, especially when it comes to attempts at packaging egregiously unhealthy food (nacho cheese sauce, cheetohs, pork rinds) into some sort of Wholesome Family Meal. That stuff just kills me. I'm also thinking of a beautiful advertisement I spotted in People Magazine for some sort of festive holiday dessert composed of instant pudding, Nilla Wafers (admittedly delicious), mashed up oreos, and instant whipped cream. God bless America and our proclivity for shelf stable cookery.
  22. Excellent blog! (Especially the potato recipe. Holy moly. And the pork rinds.) Just wanted to drop by and say hey...you know my mom (Nancy) from Junior League. She mentioned you had a blog on Egullet and I'm glad I took a look. It's so nice to see Sacramento bloggers covering my home region...I am dying to try 55 Degrees because mussels are such wonderful, wonderful things. The farmers markets photos are dizzying...we go to a teeny little market near our house in Carmichael, but it obviously doesn't compare. I'm jealous. Anyways, hope to see you around while posting on EG!
  23. I bought a bunch of organic grapes here in Great Barrington, MA for *eight dollars*. Holy smokes. I remember paying that much in yuan when I was in China over the summer! Definitely NOT equivalant. (They were pretty good grapes, though.) Salsa in jars can occasionally be acceptable, though I refuse to allow Pace to pass my lips. There's a brand whose name I cannot remember at all that's sold at Raleys home in Sacramento. It's chipotle flavored and it's actually pretty darn good as long as it's chilled. I'm with you guys: frozen premade sushi sounds like an absolute crime against nature and possibly motherhood and apple-pie. Ew ew ew. I'm in college right now and I am forever mystified by the kind of gunk my cohorts survive on. A few kids I know seem to subsist on instant Hamburger Helper (Freeze dried beef included in the package!), instant mac n' cheese (off brand) and the occasional hit of Amy's Shells for the "healthy" factor. A boy I know actually got scurvy last year. Twice.
  24. The pork chop sandwich at the Snappy Lunch in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, of course. Especially if you get it with chili. Oh boy.
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