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The Camille

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  1. The Art of Salting a Dish (click here for full story) "Comrades, who can tell me what is the most difficult thing about cooking?" The audience's interest was aroused, and they began to make guesses. "Choosing the ingredients." "Chopping." "The actual cooking." Zhu shook his head. "No, you're all wrong. It's the simplest yet the most difficult thing to do-the adding of salt." Edit to cite: from Lu Wenfu's The Gourmet and other stories of modern China
  2. Has your palate remained at the sophistication level of a ten-year-old? Tired of spending your disposable income on trendy high-end dining experiences that you really don't 'get'? Uncomfortable passing judgement on unfamiliar cuisines because of a possible culinary deficiency? Not sure if ravioli and kreplach are basically the same thing? Impaired tasters have invalid opinions. Culinary relativism is no longer an excuse for preferring gefilte fish to seafood quenelles. Stop making excuses and turn proactive.... Introducing the Pocket Power Palate Pal! exclusive super tongue design The Pocket Power Palate Pal is the amazing patented techno-gastronomical breakthrough designed by the e-Gullet team of gourmand scientists, sensory specialists, and former lawyers. The Pocket Power Palate Pal's sensitive electro-chemical circuitry rivals the taste buds of the experts. The size of an ordinary lipstick, Pocket Power Palate Pal stores conveniently in pocket or purse. One quick, unobstrusive dip and Pocket Power Palate Pal does the rest. In less than a minute, the easy to read digital display base lists: 1) the actual physical substance on the plate, 2) the culinary concepts you need in order to appear to 'get' what's on the plate, and 3) the social and metaphorical associations of the food in a broader context. But wait! There's MORE!! The Pocket Power Palate Pal completely bypasses the bias of presentation. Enter the Mobius Strip arguments with confidence! Only 3 objectively easy payments of $19.95. Offer not available outside the US. With the Pocket Power Palate Pal, you too can define taste in the pedantic, self absorbed style of elitist foodies! e-Gullet licks culinary relativism once and for all
  3. As a traitor to my own people, I sort of agree too. Reminds me of Marinetti's Proto-Facsist Futurist essay "Against Pasta": Above all we believe necessary: a) The abolition of pastasciutta, an absurd Italian gastronomic religion. It may be that a diet of cod, roast beef and steamed pudding is beneficial to the English, cold cuts and cheese to the Dutch and sauerkraut, smoked [salt] pork and sausage to the Germans, but pasta is not beneficial to the Italians. For example it is completely hostile to the vivacious spirit and passionate, generous, intuitive soul of the Neapolitans. If these people have been heroic fighters, inspired artists, awe-inspiring orators, shrewd lawyers, tenacious farmers it was in spite of their voluminous daily plate of pasta. When they eat it they develop that typical ironic and sentimental scepticism which can often cut short their enthusiasm. edit to cite: excerpt from The Manifesto of Futurist Cooking by F.T. Marinetti
  4. Shiewie, thank you again, I've got the rice soaking right now for tomorrow. Only worried about the stain factor (my mortar, and my teeth)
  5. Thank you Shiewie - that site was very informative. You should put it in the pinned thread as a reference for turmeric. Has anyone here ever had the "white" turmeric? The article says it's eaten as a vegetable.... I wonder if Nasi Kunyit is similar to Zarda? I think I've got some of Madhur Jaffrey's Nyonya recipes somewhere, but of course it would be great if anyone on here has a personal recipe
  6. Miss J, is it easy to find where you are? What are you planning to use it for? indiagirl, it's available frozen as well in some "ethnic" food shops - did you ever check that out? That was how I stumbled on the fresh, in a Chinese market. The irony is, they even had a turmeric toothpaste. Anyway, I used baking soda and peroxide and it fades out about as quick as food coloring. The color is gorgeous (except on teeth). I've got an Indonesian cauliflower pickle recipe that calls for it, but I was curious about whether or not it would make a difference if I used it in place of the powder in some dishes. Yes, I know what you're saying. I'm certainly no expert, but I lived in Pakistan for three months, and was lucky enough to stay with a friend and her family. Her Mah is from Mumbai, and before that Gujarat (sp?), sister-in-law from Lahore, now they're all in Karachi... so I had a crash course in a few regional types of cooking. They didn't use the fresh turmeric when I was there, and I didn't think to ask about it at the time. I really like the flavor, myself (even in the raw), but I can understand that some palates could perceive it as musty or medicinal. Then again, I like hing too, so maybe I've got unusual taste. Sandra, if they call turmeric saffron, then what do they call saffron???
  7. Eric: In the original post, you broke it down in order/magnitude of importance, with presentation being most important. Worth twice as much as taste. Do you actually grade your students using this scale? Correct my logic, but for the practical purpose of training culinary students, shouldn't taste come first? If the taste isn't on when it's in the pan, then what's the point of plating it? Without taste, presentation seems irrelevant. Also, isn't temperature a factor in both taste and presentation? Every dish has its own optimal temp range, some narrower than others, no? So the narrower the temp range, the greater the limitation on plating time (ie presentation possibilities). I think that 25 percent across the board is unfair. In any case, has anything in this thread made you reconsider your model?
  8. Is there a way to remove the stain from one's teeth, if one has been foolish enough to have bitten into it? Edited to say: Never mind, it gets better. But if any Indian cooks look in here - why isn't the fresh stuff used/called for in most recipes? Isn't it the same comparison as fresh v. powdered ginger? Haven't cooked with it yet, so would appreciate the feedback. Thanks.
  9. As much as 80 percent of what we perceive as taste is actually smell. Humans can discern about 20,000 different odours and 10 or more intensities of each. Smell occurs when the odours reach the olfactory receptors in the nasal cavity via two routes - inhalation through the nostrils and through the back of the mouth as we chew and swallow. http://www.eufic.org/gb/food/pag/food24/food242.htm Nutrition studies in both humans and animals suggest that an expectant mother can influence the future food preferences of her child by the food choices she makes during pregnancy. Infants appear to respond most favorably and are more willing to try new foods when they are already familiar with the food’s odor before birth. http://www.thenaturalconnection.net/TNC%20...hot_tamales.htm A Danish study that measured patterns of regional preferences in taste of foods in Europe. Results suggest marked differences in preferences of taste (sweet, salty, sour), texture (crispy, fluid, melt in mouth), method of cooking (grill, fry, stew), along with other categories and criteria. http://www.mapp.asb.dk/WPpdf/wp26.pdf Universal taste??? Have fun.
  10. 2.6 million Tibetians?* BTW, there's a related article to this thread in the NYT DINING DIGEST posted by Nerissa (although it focuses on Korean home cooking). http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/26/dining/26HOME.html "Every cuisine has a soul hidden in its recipes, one that isn't always easy for the outsider to see. This is especially true when the cultural gap between outsider and cook is large." "The ideal solution for the novice approaching a new cuisine is to learn from a native, one who is cultured from birth in its preparation." Quote from Fat Guy: I also harbor the standard notion that what is familiar is what is best, so I default to thinking any unfamiliar cuisine can't be particularly worthy of my attention. This caught my eye in your original post. Maybe I'm some kind of oddball, but I never harbored this notion. Even in childhood, I was always looking for food that tasted "different". Growing up in a multi-ethnic city (NY), I used to wrangle invites to the other kid's homes just to sample food from other cultures. I can distinctly recall tasting some new flavor combinations and/or spices for the first time, and feeling something akin to getting high. I like what's considered "spicy" food, but I can also appreciate subtle flavors. I can discern quality ingredients, and refined technique in cooking. But in general, I can't say I've ever encountered a cuisine that I didn't like or appreciate, assuming it's well prepared (and yes, I know there's a range there). So my question is, are people like me (I'm sure there are others) better or worse food reviewers? *Edit: Wilfrid got there first, but I did the math
  11. I always thought Italian food became popular in the States as a result of GI's coming home after WWII with a taste for what they experienced in Europe. Was it very popular before? Also, the Polynesion craze supposedly started because of the soldiers coming back from the Pacific front. But I don't know if you could call war a conscious marketing/promotional project....
  12. Hi Varmint Here are a few links for Sicilian recipes to give you some ideas. Nice overview of dishes, some from Eolian Islands: http://www.lacucinaeoliana.com/ A comparison of 3 caponatas: http://italianfood.about.com/library/rec/b...?terms=caponata Translated to English by the Sicilian chef (he's translated "sardines" as "Sardinians" ): http://www.ricettemania.com/sicilia/english/ My suggestions: If you're interested in the caponata, make the agrodolce (sauce) separately, and use a combo of the techniques in the 3 recipes (grill the eggplant, fry the celery and/or some fish, etc.). Plates nicely that way. Consider spiedini (listed as Sicilian roulades in the last link). Labor intensive prep, but it would work well for your interactive setting. You can do meat or fish in this style. These are great Sicilian summer dishes. Gnocchi wouldn't be traditional Sicilian, but so what? You could use one of the traditional sauces and create a new dish (some ideas under "pastes" in the first link). Hope this helps.
  13. Absolutly true. Some pleasant, homey and cute cookbooks that's about it. The question is, "why not?" With such a huge following you would think there would be more information available. The research necessary is more of an academic project than something worth doing for mainstream cookbook pub., don't you think? The only two I found in a quick search that claimed to do any kind of research were by Bastianich and Mariani. I haven't read them.... Here's a link to a short article by a woman who self published, if anyone is interested. She also relates that there are I-A internet food forums that break out into flame wars whilst trying to hash out terminology and other details. http://users.telerama.com/~cass/ItAmAmericana.html edit: couldn't figure out the link feature
  14. Quote by Craig Camp: I am referring to home cooking. I am not sure there is a distinct regional restaurant style. I suppose this will vary depending on where you are. In Chicago and St. Louis, Sicily was the source of the last great Italian immigrations. Thanks for answering. I don't really know anything about I-A populations outside of NY. If you had told my Grandfather there were Sicilians living in the midwest he would have assumed they were sent there by the witness protection program. But I wanted to respond to your original post too: Quote: What are your opinions on what constitutes real Italian-American cuisine and where to find it? I think the problem is that I-A cooking hasn't been codified to any degree, so we wouldn't even know what it is we're looking for. Any opinions on that, or info on where it's been defined or documented? I agree with you about the "too much garlic/too much cheese" (and I believe Jason made some similar comments on restaurants as well that hit the mark for me). In a way, I think I-A missed the boat, evolution-wise: It should have gone the way of Batali, and adapted regional ingredients to Italian prep philosophy ("less is more"). Instead, it went with the American philosophy of "more is better" and gilded the lily. I think this was true of both home and restaurant cooking. I think this is changing, from where I sit (for the better), but again - is it a codified, definable cuisine yet?
  15. Are you referring to home cooking or restaurant cooking here? I would have thought the cooking style of Naples to be the major influence for restaurants - at least in terms of the "red sauce cuisine" that FG mentioned. My father was Sicilian, and the specialities I ate at home as a child were never featured in the neighborhood I-A restaurants (NY and Tri-State areas). I'm talking about things like caponata, pasta con sarde, spiedini carne, cappozelle, panelle, etc.
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