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Katie Meadow

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  1. A quick survey of various sources yields the following: Most sources attribute the invention of the fork as a dinner utensil to 4th century Byzantium. Supposedly it morphed from Greek and Roman two-pronged tools that migrated to the tables of Byzantine nobles. It is also the most common theory that the fork then traveled to Italy before the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages. Apparently the Medici's were early adopters. I'm sure they found them to be very useful for stabbing each other. With the pointy end, of course. Oh, and my vote goes to fork twirling as the main reason to avoid breaking long pasta. You break it for kids who haven't acquired that dexterity yet. It was invented by the Phillistines.
  2. I could no more "make" breakfast than I could put together an IKEA object before eating one (breakfast, that is.). I'm with you, @Smithy. Cutting down on wheat has put a painful crimp in breakfasts for me, since I do need some grain and it has to be simple. It kills me that my husband bakes great bread and I just can't eat as much of it as I like--or as I used to eat. Toast and a few strawberries would be my every day choice for breakfast. Or a bagel with cream cheese and lox if I was lucky, feeling flush or able to think ahead. For grain I've switched to a mainly rice diet from a mainly wheat diet. I will often heat up left-over short grain rice with butter and add a little smoked salmon for breakfast. It works, but chopsticks are essential. And since this is the India cooking thread, if I have made a vegetable curry the night before I'm pretty happy with leftover rice sauced with a modest amount of curry. Before noon I'm no way ready for anything that oozes or comes from a pig. The breakfast thread never ceases to amaze me. It makes me feel like I'm from Jupiter. But not in a bad way.
  3. Katie Meadow

    Dinner 2019

    If you want to up your tamale pie game, Rick Bayless has a recipe on line. He uses Masa Harina para Tamales, the nixtamalized corn flour that comes in a bag. If you make a sauce using dried red chiles, or in a pinch ground chile powder, it really takes off. Rather than ground beef I like to use shredded pork from a roasted shoulder (like Pernil, the Puerto Rican version) or shredded chicken, even from a rotisserie bird. This is more like the Tamale Pie home made in the southwest. Very satisfying and of course easier than making your own tamales.
  4. From the scary to the hilarious. Scary: the fact that this is even a thread. Hilarious: that I own one of those letter openers. It was some promotional item I was given years ago, and I have to say that it's worth its weight in plastic for actually opening letters. But I am not going to use it to open a cucumber. I never thought of an English cucumber as a puzzle in need of a solution, so I will just struggle along with a knife and brute force for that .00001 mil shrink-wrap. Be careful getting slippery cucumber juice on that doohickey. The blade is sharp. @Darienne I will watch for you on the "I will never again...." thread.
  5. I never heard of fried pickles until I was in Atlanta several years ago, celebrating my daughter's getting her masters degree in Public Health. The entrance to the bar was a giant skull. We were there with a bunch of her friends and a few other parents. I've never though of fried pickles as toppers, but more of a meal in themselves. I had a large basket of them along with a fantastic coffee-tasting beer. We were at a large table on an upstairs open air porch. It was lovely. Public health all the way around. My ideal would be a half sour pickle with an ethereal tempura-like batter. The fried pickles I've tried since are nothing to write home about and would sink like a stone if you tried to skip them in a pond. Good ones are scarce as hen's teeth. @weinoo let me know if the Pickle Guys come up with something enlightened and I'll note it for a destination the next time I am in NY. Every once in a while I think about making them myself, but I don't. I haven't personally deep fried anything in my life, so there's that.
  6. Katie Meadow


    There are discussions in other threads about the difference between polenta and grits. Both are cornmeal, which can be ground coarse, medium or fine for a different texture. In my experience the Italians usually prefer polenta ground more finely than Southerners like their grits, which is often toothier. The main difference though is that grits and polenta have traditionally been made from different types of corn: dent corn vs flint corn. To further complicate the issue is nixtamalization, a process used in the Americas. Grits can be made from hominy, which is nixtamalized corn, but I have no idea how common that is. There is so much conflicting information and misinformation about the various types of corn, their origins and how they are used that it makes your head spin. Anyone wishing to learn more should do the research themselves. There are six types of corn and the things that can be done with them is, to put it mildly, complicated. When it comes to color, as far as I can determine both dent and flint corn can be white or yellow. I buy my grits from Geechie Boy Mill on Edisto Island. I prefer white, and my husband prefers yellow. They do taste a little different, but they are the same type of corn, and both make me happy. They now sell specialty color grits--red and blue. I've never tried them because they cost substantially more. During the late sixties and early seventies I lived in New Mexico and blue corn was commonly used for griddle cakes, tortillas and other things. My memory is that it was typically ground finer than you might want for grits. Personally I prefer grits to polenta; most grits sold by artisanal operations in the south are on the coarser side and, to me, have a more "corny" taste. When you buy stone ground grits grown from local corn it will probably be fresher than any boxed Italian sourced polenta, but it's been so long since I actually bought polenta I could be off base here. For cornbread I like a medium grind corn, so it has a bit of a bite to it. Bob's Red Mill medium grind cornmeal is my go-to for breads and pancakes. I love cakes that have cornmeal as a percentage of the flour. If a recipe calls something Polenta Cake I just use that same Bob's medium grind cornmeal, but that toothy quality might not be to everyone's taste. However, if you like the taste of a certain coarse ground cornmeal but want it finer you can always grind it down a bit yourself. Not to disparage anyone here on eG, where help is so readily and generously given, but again, when it comes to corn be suspicious of all information. Mine included!
  7. Katie Meadow

    Lunch 2019

    @Margaret Pilgrim Thanks, I'm looking forward to the info, whenever you get around to it. I don't think I have ever had a Salvadoran Tamale. I used to be wild for loroco pupusas. In case that is unknown to anyone reading this, loroco is a vine. It is a little bitter, the way artichoke is, but impossible to describe the taste. I used to be able to buy it fresh at Mi Pueblo, that large Latinx chain which went under a year or two ago. I haven't found any substitute as good as Mi Pueblo in the East Bay.
  8. Katie Meadow

    Dinner 2019

    Thanks for posting these. The Seafood Watch is a great resource. I think you can bet on the fact that the place you buy tilapia from will not know where it was farmed or what type it is. I don't eat tilapia, partly because of these recommendations but also because it is about the most tasteless fish ever. I rarely eat fish tacos out because when not specified it is most likely tilapia. Several years ago when all the data was released about the mis-labeling of fish and seafood, whether retail or restaurant, I just about gave up on variety and stuck to the same identifiable few critters that are sustainably fished or farmed in the US and Canada. I almost never eat red meat any more, so my sources of protein keep shrinking. And getting pricey. I can't remember if it was here or in the NYT that someone noted the price of this year's haul of Copper River Salmon was selling for around $47 dollars per lb. Not that I'm buying that. Poor planet, you will be better off when we are gone.
  9. Katie Meadow

    Lunch 2019

    Margaret, who is the vendor for the Salvadoran tamales?
  10. A good recipe is one that doesn't assume the reader is stupid, but also one that can head off ambiguities at the pass. Those directions should have been a red flag to the editor, if one existed. If not specifying the weight, then at least the volume measurement should be according to sliced strawberries, which would likely be accurate enough for the dessert in question. @pastrygirl your first job must have been writing SAT math questions. If a strawberry leaves the station at......
  11. Katie Meadow


    I've never added mustard seeds to cole slaw but it sounds brilliant. Okay, a question, peripheral to cole slaw. My mother's favorite sandwich was this: rye bread, very thin sliced ham and turkey and a generous layer of cole slaw with Russian dressing. What is the origin of that sandwich? If it helps, she grew up in Cincinnati in a household that, if not strictly kosher, didn't eat pork or shellfish. Then she moved to New York and became a devotee of that sandwich. (Not to mention Italian sausages and raw clams.)
  12. When I first learned of Kewpie mayonnaise I got so excited I went and bought a big squeeze bottle. I was into making okonomiyaki at the time. I tasted it and threw it out. Possibly I should have given it more of a chance, but I'm sticking with Duke's, which is not what I grew up on but I find far better than Hellman's or Best Foods.
  13. Katie Meadow


    I don't think salting makes the cabbage less crisp, exactly--it still retains a pleasing bite --but it makes it less raw and absorbs some flavor as well. And with respect to onion, I totally agree: none is just right. When other people tell me I'm too opinionated I don't really agree, but in fact I am.
  14. Katie Meadow


    What I love about cole slaw is that if you have a good variety of condiments on hand all you really need is cabbage. I don't have a favorite cole slaw; Asian style, simple vinaigrette, slaws with mayo, all good and all useful. Two things I find wrong with many recipes for creamy slaws is the heavy handed use of mayo. Not only is the ratio of mayo to the rest of the ingredients often way too high, but most recipes make a quantity of dressing that would overwhelm one head of cabbage. And the instructions would make you believe you are supposed to use it all. Well, maybe we Americans just can't get enough mayo. The fact is that once you dress shredded cabbage the quantity tends to shrink, especially if you let it sit for any length of time before eating.The second thing that is so wrong is the addition of raisins. I am confident I don't need to elaborate on that. Salting the shredded cabbage at least an hour or two ahead really improves the final result. I layer cabbage and liberal shakes of salt in a colander, then put a bowl of water on top to weight it down a bit. Before assembly I press out excess moisture in a towel. Enough of the salt dilutes or drains out but usually enough remains so I don't need to add more salt. Remember that 70's recipe (at least I remember it that way) for Asian style slaw with broken ramen noodles? Still sort of fun, but only if you don't add the noodles more than ten minutes ahead of time, unless of course you prefer them soggy. Oh yeah, slivered almonds, etc. Potluck staple. I meant to say something about cowboy candy. I often make either candied jalapeños or just regular pickled ones. I like either of them in some slaws and also in potato salad. Cowboy candy is especially fun in a mustardy slaw along with a spicy sausage or hot dog.
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