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  1. Welcome to my life! The short and sweet of it is that I moved here from San Francisco in 1984 and opened a cooking school right in front of the Central Market in 1988. My web presence started with my first site in 1997, with a dining guide for Florence and Chianti as well as recipes online. This is a work week for me so bear with me. I am meeting students for a walking tour and lunch, then three days of cooking and a Friday day trip to Chianti. The weekend I will be in Certaldo ( near San Gimignano) and catch a local market and visit my neighbors, the Coopertive olive oil mill that is in full swing! Join us! Right now I am off to have breakfast at the market.. (My husband and I have formed a team and he helps me with the cleaning etc so by the time I get up... the kitchen is already cleaned and he is ready for a second breakfast!) more later! this is great that the Italy food board is also doing Tuscany this month. Bon Appetito!
  2. Good morning! I guess no one guessed it was me I just arrived from Paris and am now back home in Weesp (I have to work ) . Let's get the introductions aside: I'm Mei, 21 and am an au pair in the Netherlands. I am Malaysian (Baba& Nyonya from Melaka) but took a break from college to be an au pair here for one year. Of course being Malaysian automatically means I love food. So much so that I never lasted more than 7 hours on a diet in my entire life. I never cooked simply because Mum did the cooking and the kitchen back home wasn't a erhm.. condusive enviroment but I really like the kitchen my host family has so I recently started baking and will be trying out some dishes this week (let's see if they turn out ok...). Back home, my friends and I ate out a lot because we were probably better off than the average Malaysian teen (only because we worked and studied and they preferred to focus on academics!) but here , I eat home almost everyday. Not counting McDonalds and Chinese, I've probably only had dinner out 4-5 times! Oh , now I date a man who only ever eats things he's familiar with (like ham and cheese sandwich or babi panggang at a Chinese restaurant) which can be very very difficult So there you go! Here's where you can watch me fail or succeed with my cooking experiments! We'll also drive to Oberhausen (or maybe Dortmund or Keulen, my boyfriend and I haven't really decided) on Thursday or Friday and then it's off to Budapest at 7pm on Saturday! After this: Pictures of Paris (I just came back this morning)!
  3. Good morning, everyone! Today is Sunday, October 22, the 295th day of 2006. There are 70 days left in the year. Today's Philadelphia forecast: Cloudy with a 30% chance of showers. High 61F. On this day: In 1721, Czar Peter the Great was named Emperor of All the Russias. In 1746, the College of New Jersey--now known as Princeton University--received its charter. In 1878, Thomas A. Edison produced the first working electric light bulb. In 1938, Chester Floyd Carlson made the first xerographic copy in Astoria, Queens, New York. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy ordered an air and naval blockade of Cuba after Soviet missile bases were discovered on the island. In 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre won--and declined--the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 1975, Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich of the U.S. Air Force, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, is given a general discharge after he publicly announced his homosexuality. After successfully suing the Air Force, his discharge was upgraded to honorable in 1979. In 1978, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Krakow, became Pope John Paul II. Notable people born on this day include: Franz Lizst, Romantic composer, in 1811 in Raiding, Hungary. Newell Convers Wyeth, American painter, in 1882 in Needham, Massachusetts. John Reed (Harvard 1910), American journalist, Communist activist and author of Ten Days That Shook the World, in 1887 in Portland, Oregon. Robert Rauschenberg, American painter and Pop Art pioneer, in 1925 in Port Arthur, Texas. Not-so-notable people born on this day include: Sandy F. Smith Jr. (Harvard 1980), sometime essayist, reporter, public relations officer and food lover, in 1958 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Edited once more to fix the Pope's archdiocese.)
  4. Good morning! Oh, I am so excited for this week. The last time I blogged, I was living in Toledo with one kid (my daughter, Dylan). Now, I am in Chicago with two kids (Max is 14 months old). Things change a lot in just a couple of years! The move to Chicago was rather unexpected, and came about at the end of August. We had just three weeks to find a place, hire movers, and get here. It was insane. I am just now feeling settled, but one of the things I have NOT yet done is really get to know the food offerings here. We've had some fabulous dinners (Butter was our favorite so far!), and I've seen a few great shops, but I really want to find the best of the best. And that's where you guys come in. I want your help. Each day, I'm going to explore a different food market, ethnic area of the city or classic style of Chicago food (hot dogs anyone?). And, I want your input. If you know of great Chicago places, please tell me. I also want some input from people with specialties in various areas of ethnic cooking. When I go down to Chinatown, I'd love to do so with an assignment. Tell me what to cook, give me a shopping list, and set me loose. Sound good? I have some pictures to share of my morning routine, but first I'll give you guys a list of some of the food places I think might be interesting. I still need my itinerary for today, by the way. However, today is a challenge. I work from home and have phone meetings until 2. Dylan needs to be picked up from school at 3. I can certainly go somewhere with here after school, but we can't be gone long (Chicago babysitters are expensive, and I'll have one home with Max). And to make it even more complicated? The baby will be up from his nap by about 4. I can keep him occupied in his booster seat with some food for probably 1/2 an hour. So... we need something easy. Welcome to the world of a working mom who cooks! Here's the list I started. Please add to it as you see fit: Italian markets - I cheated and did this yesterday. I have lots of great pics to share. I'm willing to go back though. Chinatown - I'm excited to go, but this is very far from my house Koreatown - This is pretty close to my house Pastoral specialty foods store - I am very eager to check out their cheese selection. Bread - There is a bakery here called Crust that makes fabulous bread. I have found it at local stores, but I have not found their actual bakery. I would like to do so. German food - We are very close to some great German stores and German restaurants. Polish - Chicago has a HUGE Polish population. Mexican - ditto the above Farmer's Market - This I'm doing Saturday morning. I will need some help, though. I'll tell you more later. Meat Market - We live about a block from a GREAT one. Sam's Wine - Heard this place is the best, but I haven't checked it out yet. Stanley's Produce - Ditto the above. Coffee - I need to get some more today. I usually get the Pleasant Morning Buzz blend at Whole Foods (we live a block away), but let's try something more interesting. I'm thinking Intelligentsia or Julis Meinl. Any opinions out there? Spice House - I've been dying to go here. It's not too far from my house. OK, I'll leave you with that, and will be back shortly with my morning routine.
  5. 150 diners, 25 dishes spread across 6 courses, 20 odd volunteer cooks of varying skill levels Two ferrets One amazingly patient husband Almost certainly some nice rainy Seattle weather And me... To introduce myself a little, I'm a researcher of Food History, with a focus on medieval Italian food. In addition to poring through books and translating recipes from medieval Italian, I enjoy actually cooking from historical recipes, and a couple times a year I get together with a local food history group to put on a large banquet cooked from historical recipes that we've reconstructed into modern tasty dishes. This coming Saturday we'll be cooking an Italian Renaissance dinner for about 150 people. Yours truly did the research on this & with my compatriots we've spent most of the last year trying & refining different recipes till I whittled them down to a six course menu of about 25 dishes. This is all a volunteer labor of love which means that things can get a little crazy since you don't have the power of the paycheck over your assistants, but it also means that people will give you 200% if they believe in the project... I'll be taking you along through the week as we do our last minute firming up of numbers, shopping, panicking, pre-prepping and of course cooking on the day of the banquet itself. And don't worry, there will also be visits to various Seattle eateries since I'm doing so much work for the event, I won't be too keen on much home cooking this week. We have reservations at Rovers for lunch on Friday, which I'm really looking forward to, drinks with a friend at Sambar Monday evening, and everything else will be decided in the moment depending on where around town I happen to be when hunger strikes... Oh, and there will be at least one gratuitous ferret posting, since my primary purpose in life is actually to serve the royal whims of Bindi & Venya, the two small furry princesses who rule the universe That's enough to start since I really ought to be in bed by now anyway (we just finished roasting 25 lbs of carrots, candying a giant bag o' pine nuts, and baking 300 cookies.) Talk to you all in the morning, Eden
  6. You say: “Permesso?” I say: “Certo!” In my area, it’s polite to ask if you may enter someone’s house, by asking, “Permesso?” For some reason, it’s a lovely, endearing thing to hear, and even children will ask before entering. I’m inviting you now, to join me in my house in Italy, in the region of Umbria, in the province of Perugia, in the town of Montone, on via Garibaldi. Uhhmmm, it’s a small town (about 800 people, just to give you some perspective on small), you may not find it on a map, but we do have a town website! We live in Montone about six months out of the year, and the rest of the time we spend in New York City and thereabouts. But, this week we are in Umbria. Our neck of the woods is fairly rural, the terrain is steep and hilly. The primary industry is agriculture; right now the feed corn and tobacco are being harvested. Sheep farms are abundant, which means I have access to excellent cheeses. I’m hoping to introduce you to some of the people that produce the food we eat. “Eating local” isn’t a politically correct choice here; it’s just the way it is. Why “Carpe Diem”? Yes, it does say Carpe Diem, tattooed on my son’s leg. About 3 years ago, my husband and I decided to seize the moment. We closed up our business in New York and decided we wanted to spend more time in our house in Italy. We bought the house in 2001 and I’m going to guess you have the same question that everyone else asks us, “How did you find this place?” As a family, we have traveled a lot, and in his junior year in high school, our son Curtis took one of those class trips to Italy. He had been to Italy a few times before this, but this time he came home, and said, “You’ve have got to go to Assisi. I could live there.” It was an unusually passionate response from him, which may have been influenced by the fact that he ate exceptionally good truffles while he was there. By now we knew we wanted a house in Italy, so we schedule an appointment with a realtor and we looked at everything from total ruins to finished villas with grapevines and tractors. The last place we looked at was described as a townhouse in a medieval village. We were goners before we even entered the front port of the town. Why live in the countryside where we don’t speak the language, we don’t know anyone, when we can live in town. Hey, we’ve lived in NYC for 150 years, we are city folk. It was a great move, I cannot begin to tell you how warm, inviting and welcoming the townspeople are, not to mention a tiny bit nutty. I hope you get to know some of my neighbors this week. Last spring, I attended the Ital.cook school in Jesi. It’s run by Slow Food and teaches students about regional Italian cooking. I’m in my early 50’s, and I lived for 10 weeks in a dorm with a bunch of wacky, wonderful ragazzi (young people) and had the time of my life. These days, I write a little, and teach a little and cook a lot of Italian food. My husband is involved in the “Tower Project”: Torre de Moravola. We are helping our friends restore a medieval watchtower that will eventually become a full service rentable villa or small hotel. It is a fantastic place!! We are up to the point we need to do some creative financing to finish the project, but hey, we knew there would be bumps in the road. If all goes well, I’ll be the chef at the tower.
  7. Early morning greetings everyone! I guess my hint photos for this blog were somewhat of a giveaway, especially to Megan. Oh well. For those that don't know, the bridge picture is a shot from my walk from the subway to work -- it is the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan bridge and if you look closely, you can see the Empire State building framed within the arch of the bridge. It was an overcast day when I took the photo; I will try to get a better picture this week. For those that don't know much about me, I will give a quick background. My name is John Deragon, a native New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. My father’s heritage is Quebecois and my mother’s heritage is Norwegian. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a lobster fisherman in Coney Island, so I spent quite a bit of time on a boat as a child, and still love being around the water to this day. Growing up as a child in Brooklyn was a pretty awesome experience. Not only was I exposed to the great foods Brooklyn had to offer (Knishes, Bagels, Nathan's franks, etc.) we had tons of ways to entertain ourselves with various games we learned (stickball, stoopball, ball & crack, skulls…). I will get into more detail on the food and games as the week progresses. I currently live in Park Slope, which is a neighborhood in Southern Brooklyn that is framed by Prospect Park along with my wife Jeannie and our dog Dune. (Which is whom you see in my avatar photo) Prospect Park is the sister park of Central park and was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux who also designed Central Park. The rumor is by designing Prospect Park after Central Park, they fixed all the mistakes they made in CP. More info about our great park can be found at the Prospect Park website. We purchased a small wood frame house about 2 years ago with the purpose of doing a lot of the renovations ourselves. The house was priced right mainly due to the dysfunctional layout of the first floor, mainly the pathetic kitchen and bathroom layout. From what we could tell, the house was built sometime between 1915 and 1920, and for the most part is pretty sound. The kitchen was built in the back of the house and was roughly 5’ by 6’ with a small window going out to our relatively (by NY comparison) backyard. To the right of the kitchen was a small bathroom with another very small window. Those two photos are as the kitchen right before we moved in, as the previous owners were packing up. We made a decision to start the construction (or more precisely the demolition) on the kitchen immediately as you can see from these photos: Needless to say we found a lot of surprises along the way. (more details on that later this week, including that chimney you see, along with some nasty termite damage) All the work was done while I was working a full time job at an interactive advertising agency, so all the work was done at nights and weekends, which lead to us living with a fridge, laundry sink and microwave for almost 10 months. Fast forward to today and our kitchen is done and is awesome, if I say so myself. During the day I am now the Chief Technology Officer for Waterfront Media which is a company that provides online versions of many popular diets, as well as a health related reference site EverydayHealth. The offices are located in Dumbo, which stands for Down Under [the] Manhattan Bridge Overpass, hence the teaser photo! Ok -- given it is getting late and I have a early meeting tomorrow morning I am going to wrap it up for now. As far as what to expect this week here is the schedule as it stands now: Monday: Dinner at home, or possibly out at a friends Birthday dinner. Still up in the air. Tuesday: Dinner at Applewood Restaurant one of our favorite local restaurants here in Park Slope. Wednesday: Dinner at Annisa, Anita Lo’s restaurant. Thursday: Pegu Club Friday: Still up in the air. Saturday: Dinner party for 8 at home. All during the week I will be preparing for the dinner party on Saturday, so there will be bits and pieces of Saturdays dinner spread throughout the week, from tracking down ingredients, to prep work, to figuring out the wine pairings. With that, I will see everyone back here in a few hours!
  8. Good Morning fellow eGulletiers. Kerry Beal, the Chocolate Doctor, here blogging at you from beautiful downtown Little Current, Ontario. Little Current is on the north side of Manitoulin Island, the world's largest fresh water island. Manitoulin is located in the Great Lakes, with Lake Huron to the south, and Georgian Bay to the east. Manitoulin Island itself contains 108 freshwater lakes. The population is 12,600 which increases greatly in the summer due to the influx of tourists who come in by car, plane and boat. A swing bridge brings traffic across from the mainland here in Little Current and a large ferry, the Chi-Cheemaun, brings traffic to South Baymouth at the south end of the island. Here is a view of Little Current from the vicinity of the swing bridge that brings you on to the island from the north. After crossing the swing bridge you pass the only stop light that you will find on the island. A spot not far from where I am staying. Looking out over Georgian Bay from the east side of the island. A typical Manitoulin view, this is cattle country. Typical rock formation on parts of the island. West of Little Current is the village of Kagawong, with it's stunning views. More Kagawong views. The Manitoulin Chocolate Works, that we will visit later in the week. So I guess I should tell you why I am here. Most of the year I live in southern Ontario, however a couple of times a year, for between 2 and 4 weeks, I come to Manitoulin to work as a locum physician, which allows the full time family physicians in Little Current the opportunity to take some time off, attend conferences, etc. I stay in a condominium overlooking the water that is owned by one of the family docs here, and I spend the time I am here cooking, baking and entertaining. Back home I don't do much entertaining, and I'm hard pressed to find as much time as I would like to cook and bake, but here in Manitoulin it just seems to work. I have been coming up here to work for about 6 years now, and I just about have the kitchen in the condo equipped the way I like. I pick things up at thrift stores to add to the kitchen, so right now I have a cuisinart food processor, an old Mixmaster mixer, a hand crank pasta roller, every imaginable loaf pan, baking pan, baking sheet and cooling rack you can imagine. This trip I brought up the dutch tea cosy that I showed you on the thrift store thread, some steak knives (cause someone nicked the last ones I brought) and a foodsaver vacuum sealer (which I've just discovered doesn't work - so I'll have to take it apart tomorrow). I come up with my daughter Kira and her nanny Malou. Hubby stays at home to continue the renovations which have been ongoing for a number of years. Kira's 6th birthday is Tuesday, so we will have over a few of the neighbourhood kids and adults to eat hot dogs, hamburgers, finger foods and - most importantly - chocolate cake. We bring some foodstuffs with us, things we know we might have trouble procuring here. So the car contained shallots, fresh ginger, brown sugar candy, fish sauce, several cheeses and a number of spices that needed replenishing. On the way up we stopped at the farmers market in Owen Sound and picked up tomatoes, garlic, a fresh basil plant, corn and some farm fresh eggs. Oh yeah, and I've brought about 12 1/2 kg of chocolate with me this trip, along with my compressor and airbrush. Much better to experiment with an airbrush and chocolate in someone elses kitchen. The fridge on our arrival. A few things in the door, enough relish to last several trips. The fridge the day after our arrival. The pantry after adding a few things on arrival. The pantry one day later. My spice cupboard. And on occasion I still can't find the one I want. So in my intro line, I mention that I am in the land of the Haweaters. Anyone born on Manitoulin is a Haweater, which refers to the hawberries which grow well on the alkaline soil of the area. These are the berries of the hawthorn bush. Not edible as they are, they are made into jellies, jams and syrups. I have not tried any of these products, mostly because the locals have told me not to bother. Maybe this trip I should try them. I haven't really planned out this week too thoroughly, I think it might be more fun to just see where the week takes us. I know I want to take you to the Manitoulin Chocolate Works perhaps on Wednesday and we might get to Sudbury to do a little thrift store shopping on Sunday. I'd like to take you to Rocky Racoon's, a restaurant in Gore Bay, who's chef/owner makes some fabulous ribs, but I'll have to check on their hours first this late in the season. I'm on call today (Monday) which means that for 24 hours I am responsible for things in emerg, so I'll be in and out of the house all day. I hope to get Kira's birthday cake made, as well as the finger foods for her party between trips in to the ER. With any luck I'll get some sleep Monday night, and be fresh for the party. We are planning to have Vietnamese chicken thighs for dinner tomorrow (hence the need for shallots, ginger, brown sugar candy and fish sauce), put together between trips to the ER. I generally bake something each day while I am here to take for the staff. On our trip in to Espanola today to procure more groceries we found wild blueberries and bought a 3 quart basket. We had a wonderful blueberry buckle for dessert tonight and I'll be making blueberry oatmeal muffins first thing when I get up to take in and feed the staff at rounds. I'm off to bed now, hope you'll join me in the morning for some nice muffins to start the day.
  9. Greetings all from the heart of the canyons: Moab, Utah. I look forward to blogging this week from Utah's red rock country. It certainly won't be anything fancy, but I plan to dine out a couple of times this week, lunch out a few times, have a lot of coffee (yes, coffee IS legal here..........just frowned upon by some ) maybe go on a picnic, and cook up some vittals of my own at home......just sort of my normal routine. About me: I was fortunate, foodwise, to have been "bred and buttered" in New Orleans and North Louisiana. Then I was lucky enough to spend my teenage years in the San Francisco area. These locales provided me with a love of food and cooking, and an addiction to good restaurants that is still very much with me.............even out here in the wilds of the Utah desert. I moved to Moab from San Francisco in 1971, right out of law school, and have been here ever since. I served as the DA here for 6 four year terms, and now practice criminal defense law exclusively................There are plenty of "mother stabbers and father rapers" here to keep me busy Moab is a town of about 7,500 persons, located on the Colorado River in South East Utah. It is quite remote, with it's closest two towns being each about 60 miles away, and both being about 1,500 in population. The closest "city" to Moab is Grand Junction, Colorado, which is about 110 miles away and has about 60,000 people. We are about 250 miles from Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, and the only real "city" in the state. I travel there about twice per month on business and ..............TO DINE I am single and love to cook for myself and friends. I dine and lunch out fairly often in Moab. There are a couple of very good restaurants and many good ones. This week we'll see some of them. It is a beautiful balmy early morning here, but it is getting quite late, so I'll see you all in a few hours and get started.
  10. And a gracious good morning to you. We had a little discussion here chez Fabby about what to call the blog. My firstborn (18 year old son) said, "aren't you a little, well, old to be doing this?" My secondborn (16 year old son) thought "a week in the life of an underachiever" would be fitting. My husband said, "how about 'my husband really is not such a picky eater'!" Smartasses, all of 'em. I've raised them well. Our home now is in Chappaqua, New York; we've been here since July, 2001. Prior to that we lived in Atlanta, North Jersey, Columbus OH, Modesto CA, and Cincinnati. It's been a wild ride and a good one; makes for an interesting life but not a brief resume! (How many times you think I've said that over the years ...) I'll give bits of my past life this week as you want 'em. And for all of you, because you are special, I will do my darnedest to get a real-time photo of President Clinton, who is our most famous Chappaquan. I know all his pre-heart attack haunts and will haunt them, as well. I was going to stalk Megan Blocker, but she guessed it was me as this week's blogger, and invited me to trek into the city and hang with her, so I guess that's out! Ask me anything! I'll try not to ramble on. And yeah, it's good to be queen.
  11. Hello all. When last we spoke, I had just ended my blog after Lorna had been blatantly flirting with me. So I responded in kind and tried to finagle myself into a French Laundry dinner. In case any of you were wondering if I got an invite, wonder no more. You can read all about our trip to SF and Napa here: Weekend in SF / Napa We have since been dating long distance between Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA for the past 5 months and thought it would be fun to invite you all into our lives for the next week. We hope you enjoy the experience. Here's an informal list of the events we have planned for the coming week: Saturday Aug. 26th Tapas Party in Poulsbo Sunday Aug. 27th Wedding Present Dinner Monday Aug. 28th Iron Chef Competition between Ling and HhLodesign Guest Judges froom Mistral Tuesday Aug. 29th TBD Wednesday Aug. 30th 5 month Anniversary Dinner at Union Thursday Aug. 31st Rooftop Cocktail and Dessert Party with Belltown Lofts resident Cocktail expert Morpheous Friday Sept. 1st Chinese Banquet Saturday Sept. 2nd Rooftop BBQ
  12. In selecting a week for an eG Foodblog, I agonized over finding a normal week during which to blog. You know, a week during which I’d be at home living my normal life, eating the way I normally eat, etc. It was only after trying and failing so many times to schedule such a week that I had the realization: I don’t have any normal weeks. That’s the life my wife, Ellen, and I chose almost a decade ago when we got out of the corporate world (I was a lawyer at a big firm, she was a marketing manager at a big publishing company) and started careers as freelance journalists. Today, we both work at home or in whatever hotel, car or other person’s house we happen to find ourselves at any given time, and our schedules are quite flexible – some would say chaotic. At this point, with our baby only a year old, we’re not even bound by school schedules. We were planning to be at home for the coming week, but a few days ago my sister called and invited us to stay with her at a place she’s renting in Wellfleet, MA, which for those of you who aren’t New Englanders is a vacation destination on (in?) Cape Cod. The place she rented for the last couple of weeks of August comes with a little guesthouse, to which we’ve been granted the rights for the coming week, though we may also, we are told, opt to stay in the main house. We’ll see. So it looks like what we’ll be doing this week is a Cape Cod vacation blog. Then again, maybe not. We’ve got a situation with a very ill relative, and it’s possible that one day this eG Foodblog will just end without warning – if so, you’ll know what happened (or it could just be me having my much-anticipated nervous breakdown). Anyway. I’ve packed my trusty old pre-exploding-batteries Dell Inspiron 8100 notebook computer, my cheapo Canon A620 digital camera (sorry, I’ll be doing the photography this week – Ellen deserves the vacation) and my Motorola V325 cell phone (the place we’re staying doesn’t even have a phone, so I’ll be connecting via the Verizon NationalAccess network, which is, on a good day, somewhat faster than dialup but nothing close to broadband), along with clothes and such, in the family Honda Odyssey minivan, so we’re good to go first thing in the morning. The plan is, in rough outline, to depart for the Cape on Monday morning, stopping first in New Haven, CT, to visit the inlaws for the day and continuing the drive at night for a late arrival in Wellfleet. If all goes well, we’ll probably drive back on Friday night. Chances are, my main posts will come late at night each night, after everybody else goes to bed and I have time to write and upload photos. I’ll also try to check in each day a few times, when possible. The cast of characters: our family consists of me, my wife Ellen, our one-year-old son PJ and our bulldog Momo; my sister’s family consists of my sister, her husband, her two teenage boys and their cockapoo (poodle-cocker hybrid). I don’t know yet how much they want to be involved in the blogging effort – this is all very last-minute, so maybe you’ll hear more about them or maybe you won’t. I’m really not sure what we’ll be eating and doing. We’re going to bring some provisions with us, and maybe a few pieces of cooking equipment (vacation rental kitchens typically have awful equipment), but I don’t know if we’ll be dining out, cooking at home together, visiting other towns, staying close to our place or what. We’ll find out together during the coming week.
  13. I am pleased to welcome you to Swisskaese's second eG foodblog. Click here to view the previous blog brought to us by her and Tapenade. This very interesting foodblog was long in the planning. In fact, Swisskaese was scheduled to do this blog many weeks before the mideast crisis was taking place as close to her home as it is now. It is because of the unrest that she and I decided for me to post the opening to her blog. Under these circumstances, there might be an increased potential for viewers to post politics-related comments or questions, or post something that would lead discussion in that direction (perhaps unintentionally). I remind us all to follow the eG Society's policies and guidelines. Please pay particular attention to the Decorum and Topicality Guidelines and give much consideration to what you post, in order to maintain a focus on issues pertaining to food and drink. Please understand that the blog will be closely monitored. We will moderate as necessary to maintain the focus on our core subject of food and to assure that it remains civil. We hope you enjoy this very special eG foodblog. Swisskaese's country's terrain is made up of five vegetation zones: Euro-Siberian, with plantlife found in Europe, Russia and Siberia; Mediterranean, with conditions similar to those in other countries on the Sea; Irano-Turanian, with land similar to the steppe-lands that stretch through Iran, Turkestan and Inner Asia to Inner Mongolia; Sahara-Arabian, pure desert of the kind found in the Sahara, the Arabian Peninsula and parts of southern Iran; and Sudanese, which has tropical vegetation, confined to small enclaves and oases. This widely diverse landscape offers ideal home environments for a particularly rich assortment of plant, animal, bird and insect life.
  14. Good morning everyone! Time flies incredibly fast: when Susan offered me to keep a blog right after we moved to Moscow in the end of May, I did not want to say no, but I did not feel ready and asked if I could do it sometime at the end of summer, like August. Before I knew it, my blog week is here! So… A week of blogging from Russia, how exciting! Let me tell you how this happened. My American husband and I met in Russia when we were students, and got married 10 years ago. So I moved to States to be with him. Last year Shawn landed a job which eventually took him to Russia. In May he was offered to stay in Moscow long-term, and very fortunately my company was also able to offer me a job in our Moscow office. These two months of adjusting to the new life have been interesting, to say the least. I was expecting what they call a “reverse cultural shock,” which people experience when they move back to their home country. But I would say, to me it almost seems like I have simply moved to a new country, the language and customs of which I happen to know. Believe me, Russia has become a new country in the 10 years I’ve been away (and I have become a different person, too). Additionally, I have never lived in Moscow and am just getting to know the city. My new job is also a lot different from what I used to do before, more demanding and with much longer hours. Just to keep things interesting, life threw in another surprise: a few days after we decided to move to another country, we found out we are going to have a baby! When I think about introducing you to Moscow in a culinary sense, I get overwhelmed: there are so many things to see and do (and eat), and there are so many misconceptions about what’s available here that I don’t know where to begin. But, as they say, one cannot embrace the boundless, so I will not attempt. I will simply invite you to spend my usual week with me, with no weddings, Passovers, visits to wineries, or other special events planned. I think even that should be plenty interesting . And, as good tourists, we will assume we will return: hopefully, in a year or so I will be able to invite you to another blogging week in Moscow which will be completely different as I will be offering the view of a seasoned Moscovite . Well… What a long introduction! And you are probably just waiting for the pictures. Then, we shall begin with… breakfast! Before we do that, a short notice: since English is not my native tongue, I am sure I will make a lot of mistakes, but we’ll just consider them my quaint Eastern European accent, won’t we? And, my name is Alina, but I used the diminutive form of my name because Alina was already taken when I was registering. Either one is fine. Oh, and please ask plenty of questions: we can make this blog whatever we want, and your questions will shape what will be talking about.
  15. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Tag Team Foodblogging from Ontario, Canada. We will be seeing comparisons between CaliPoutine's food life in the country and Pookie's food life in the city. An added bonus at the end of this blog will be CaliPoutine's trip from Exeter to the Heartland, for the eG gathering. Pookie will be staying home in London, and during that time will be playing a more active role in holding down the blogging fort. The blog will run from today through Saturday, 5 August, with a one day extension for additional photos to be added, including pictures from the Heartland gathering. A special welcome is extended to Pookie, first time eG blogger. She and CaliPoutine virtually met during CaliPoutine's first blog, Diversity and Deviled Eggs, later met in "real time," and have remained friends since. The plans for this week include a get-together for dinner. More about the country mouse and the city mouse to come . . . Take it away, Calipoutine and Pookie, and thank you for sharing what promises to be an exciting week.
  16. Hello from Cleveland! My kids and I are on vacation in my hometown for a month, my husband couldn't make the trip this year, so this blog will be a little different from the other 3 I have done. Some words of warning before you start this blog! This blog will NOT contain beautiful pictures like we are seeing in Ann_T's blog. This blog will take you into places you may never have stepped foot in before, like Chuck E Cheese. This blog will actually contain very little Japanese food. A little bit about myself. I am 36 years old, happily married for 12 years and have 3 children (Mia is 10, Julis is 8 and Hide is 5), our home is in Yokohama, Japan. I try to visit my family once a year, and we are just halfway through our trip. I am the second oldest of 8 children and when I am here I do most of the cooking. Most dinners are for at least 7 children and 6 adults, though they can easily reach 20 people. Growing up there were 10 people at the dinner table every night so this is nothing new for me, hte challenge is working around everyones dislikes and medical conditions. My sister has 4 very picky eaters, my dad is diabetic and my mom until 2 weeks ago was on a doctor ordered extremely bland diet. After being on this for almost 1 1/2 years she is very excited to be eating food again but she is adding the foods back slowly and still trying to avoids acid-y foods. Since this is a vacation we are going to be out a lot and eating out more than we usually do. It is also a busy week for Cleveland eGulleteers as we have two dinners planned. It is almost 1:00am and I should get to sleep, I guess I will see everyone in the morning...
  17. Good Morning from beautiful, sunny Vancouver Island. My name is Ann and I live with my husband Moe in Duncan, British Columbia right in the heart of the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. We have a son, Matt, who is 24 and lives just an hour south of us in Victoria. My blog theme is planned around all the wonderful foods that are available here on the island, mostly in the Cowichan Valley and the Victoria/Sidney area. I have a friend visiting from Toronto this week and Sandra and I plan to drive all over the southern part of Vancouver Island visiting farms, markets and wineries. It is my intention to cook most of our meals using local in-season produce, meats and seafood also from the area. We got started early by going to a couple of the farmers’ markets in Victoria on Saturday and the Cedar Farmer’s Market on Sunday. Duncan has a wonderful farmer’s market that is open every Saturday 12 months of the year and I very seldom miss it. I love this time of year. Each week the selection at the market just gets better and better. I can’t wait until the corn and tomatoes are available. Actually this week won’t be too much different from the way that I normally cook and plan meals. I’ve always shopped on a daily basis and I’ve never minded driving some distance to find what I want. Here is a picture of Saturday’s take from the Markets. The garlic is from the James Bay Market and the rest of the produce came from the Moss Street Market. It's early here, just 6:15 AM so I'm off to the kitchen to make coffee.
  18. I never imagined that my first post in my first eGullet foodblog would be so difficult to begin. With so much to share over the next week, I hardly know where to start. I want to make these next several days engagingly fun, witty, and intimately personal so that anyone so inclined may easily immerse themselves into my food-obsessed world. My goal is to bring enough of my (hopefully) unique personality and perspective to make this blog as interesting as possible. And, of course, I welcome any questions, comments, feedback, or musings that you all may have. Together, I think we can make this a really fun week. With that said, let's begin. First, a little on my background for those who may be unfamiliar. As you may have surmised, my name is Bryan. I'm currently living in northern central New Jersey and am 19 years old. During the school year, I attend Duke University in Durham, NC and am actively involved in the food community both on campus and in the surrounding area. At home, I cook a lot and work a little, much to the chagrin of my bank account. I'm half-Japanese, in case you're wondering, and this identity has played a relatively significant role in my culinary philosophy. By the way, I turn 20 on the 15th of July, in the midst of this foodblog. This scares me to no end; my childhood is but over. I'm more than willing to talk further about my background, culinary or otherwise, if anyone is interested. Just ask. Now let's introduce some of this week's crew. First, the Girlfriend. Offical taste-tester and capable of eating her own body weight of, well, just about anything. You know the stereotypical jock boyfriend (usually a football player in those TV family sitcoms) who eats his girlfriend's family out of house and home, my situation is eerily similar. She also apparently picks herbs while looking mysterious and deep in thought. Next, the Mother. Pays for groceries and other toys. Provides general financial and moral support. Drinks a lot of wine, as seen here. Finally, the Sister. Takes care of the pastry stuff that I'm too lazy to do. Baking, ice creams, sorbets, all that jazz. I must confess to not being on eG much in the prior week or so. Just a couple of days ago I returned from a trip to Anguilla and French St. Martin, two Caribbean islands known for having very good food. Perhaps fittingly, in Anguilla we stayed at the Cuisinart Resort and Spa, a great luxury resort owned by the Cuisinart kitchen appliance people. I'm not sure if this is directly relevant to food per se, but I'm more than willing to reflect on the meals of my recent travels if anyone is interested. Bringing us to the here and now, this week marks the beginning of New York City's Summer Restaurant Week 2006. While Restaurant Week has it haters and admirers--I'm of the latter camp--it does offer the opportunity to eat at many of the city's top restaurants on the cheap. Today, Monday, I have two lunches and a dinner planned as part of Restaurant Week. After that, I swing downtown to see a concert at the Bowey Ballroom and perhaps stop by at Room 4 Dessert, Will Goldfarb's (akwa on eG) hypermodern dessert bar. On Wednesday I have two more lunches and another dinner. On Friday the family is off to California for a weekend trip. We're driving from LA to San Francisco up the coast with an overnight stop in Carmel. Then on Sunday I've got meals at Bouchon and Gary Danko. Then, this blog must unfortunately come to an end. Of course, I'll be cooking a good deal, too. Some of the things I'll be playing with this week include carbonated fruit, a recently purchased commerical induction burner, my new mini-water bath, and trying to figure how to make alginated butter orbs (the plight of many a molecular-inclined cook). Much more on all this in the coming days. Finally, I'm working on a long-term project of opening up an underground restaurant in my apartment/dorm next semester, similar to the late and great StudioKitchen in Philadelphia. If people are interested in this or have advice to give (or legal counsel) please post. My concept is called Z Kitchen. The site is up and running but still in beta development. My Z Kitchen e-Lab, HEAVILY influenced by the brilliant people at ideasinfood (twodogs on eG), is also in its infancy. So, yeah, a lot to do and only a week to do it in. I hope you all continue to tune in and participate and ask questions and all that fun stuff. ETA: My mother requested I add a picture of myself. So, Hi.
  19. Good Morning, All... It's me, phlawless, and I'm here in Durham NC. I haven't been much of a poster on the boards, so this blog is an exercise not only in recording my attempt to eat within 100 miles of my home (more about this in a minute), but also so I can get more comfortable with writing about and documenting my life as it pertains to food. Now, when I say that, understand that the majority of my waking hours are spent thinking, planning, purchasing, organizing, handling, preparing, and yes, finally eating, food. I have been in the 'business' for a dozen years or more and have recently taken a bit of a sabbatical from restaurant life as I have a 15 month old daughter now, and am only doing a bit of work out of my home. I thought motherhood might distract me from my food obsession, but I find myself with a bit more time and energy to read, experiment and cook than I did before M came along. Plus, the added challenge of feeding a toddler is one that is surprisingly enjoyable. As for the subject of this blog, a couple of years ago some kids from San Francisco got some press for this, and I thought I might give it a shot. If you go to the link read the details, the national challenge is supposed to happen in May. Well, I had a lot going on then, and also July here in the southeast is brimming with fantastic produce. So you all will witness the first week of feeding myself, my partner, and my daughter for the entire month eating local as possible. I still am a bit green when it comes to posting photos, so I'll get those up in a bit from this morning.
  20. That pretty much sums up my life this summer. It is the busiest one I can remember, chock full of good activities and events, but tinged with bittersweet as we graduate our oldest child from homeschooling and get her ready for college. We’ve homeschooled our three kids from kindergarten, and back when we started I had this crazy idea that one of the side benefits of our adventure might be that, when the children left home, I’d have spent so much time with them I’d escape the regrets and sadness of the empty nest syndrome. [insert hollow laughter here.] So, Miss Alyssa graduated on Saturday, and we celebrated with a casual cookout afterward with close family and friends. I’ve spent every free moment in the past month working on two extra projects: a DVD “slide show” with music about Alyssa’s growing up years (which was really my mom’s thing – she’s a video editing whiz) and a small scrapbook containing one photo from each year of her life and a little comment to go with it. Gathering photos and working on the text of these has been a wonderful way to spend a bunch of hours and has left me nostalgic and feeling much gratitude for how very blessed we are. Culinarily speaking, the grad party included pulled pork (don’t get excited – I rubbed it and roasted it on low heat all day in the oven – I’m not the griller many of you are), vinegar-y coleslaw, and a couple of Mississippi Mud Cakes from me, pound cakes from my mom, and a variety of side dishes and desserts from guests. The price of admission was being forced to watch the DVD, but nearly everyone there has known Alyssa since she was tiny and they are in half the pictures anyway, so I don’t think it was too much torture. After it was over, there were crumpled tissues all around. This week, our big blog event will be the three 4-H kids’ cooking classes I teach at our house. Otherwise, I’ll be trying to accomplish all the tasks I’ve been putting off until “after graduation.” I hope you’ll accompany me on my food shopping rounds – among the usual markets and produce stands I visit one particularly unique place in my continuing quest to feed our family of five well on a basically one-income budget. We can also talk about another factor in how I plan meals – my husband and I underwent gastric bypass surgeries about five years ago and our altered digestions demand some accommodation. What else? My Tiny Town is in the middle of orchard country and the cherries are at their finest right now, so surely they’ll make an appearance. Should we go out for dinner one night this week? Adams County isn’t overflowing with good restaurants, but I’ve been hearing about one again and again over the past few months that I’d really like to try. We rarely eat out, but perhaps I can persuade The Husband that we should do it “for the blog.” Who knows what else the week will bring? I’m off in a few minutes to sign paperwork at the borough office. (I’m the mayor, but it’s no big deal: Tiny Town = Tiny Government = Tiny Job. My job is so tiny they only bother to write me a check every three months.) I don’t imagine there will be anything food-related happening there beyond the employees’ first cups of coffee, so I think I can safely leave the camera at home.
  21. Hi, I'm Marcia, and I guess it's pretty obvious that I'm blogging this upcoming week :-). A little bit about me: I'm 42, married to a wonderful man named Jim, no kids, two cats, and currently living in Colorado Springs, CO. I grew up in northern New Jersey (a small town called Wyckoff, for those who may have heard of it) and previously lived in California in Silicon Valley for almost 10 years before moving here. So what's the great flyover? To paraphrase the Urban Dictionary, it's the middle class midwest, land that only serves to keep the two coasts apart, which is only "flown over", not visited. Eating well here has definitely been a unique challenge, but I like to think I've risen to it. It just takes a little more cleverness, determination, and flexibility when the whole area isn't exactly a foodie paradise :-). But we're not without good food, which comes in many different guises! The teaser picture of my tomatoes symbolizes the challenge for me: I work for my homegrown tomatoes every year, struggling against a climate that people love but tomatoes hate (dry air, cool nights), weather (hail), garden pests (deer and rabbits), and a very short growing season (May 15 – Sept. 15, zone 5). But I do it because I LOVE homegrown tomatoes, and the glory of the late August harvest makes it more than worth it. I'd planned on blogging about a normal week punctuated by a good friend's house party, but it turns out our deck contractors are doing the deck repairs/refinishing this week (weather permitting), so I expect a certain amount of chaos - besides the house party. It's getting quite late here, so I'll go into more about what we eat and why later today. Since I'm not exactly an early riser, although if the deck guys start early, so will I .
  22. Two foods, both alike in dignity In my fair foodblog, where we lay our scene… The picture on the left is from Kreuz Market, located in the small town of Lockhart (often called the “BBQ Capital of Texas,” and for good reason). This place serves up what to me is the best meat (NO sauce) in the state. And notice the beautiful brown butcher paper that serves as the canvas for all that bovine goodness. Nothing but the finest, you see. The picture on the right is from a small restaurant in New York City. Some of you may have heard of it. It’s called Per Se. And that little square of foie gras just happens to be the single best thing I have ever eaten. The full description of my recent meal there can be seen here. Suffice it to say, this place is, um, not bad . Both mouth-watering images, no doubt. But is one of these foods necessarily better than the other? Well, like a parent asked to choose a favorite child, I’ve got to say they are each special in their own way. Sure, the meat on the left is meant to be eaten with the two utensils God gave you (your hands), while the foie gras sits like artwork on a plate whose cost probably exceeds the per capita GDP of many small countries, but I’d happily pull up a chair to either table with a big smile on my face. “But wait a minute… What the heck does all this have to do with his Foodblog?” you may ask. Well, just about everything. You see, my life consists of a beautiful dichotomy. I go to college in New York City, home to some of the best restaurants in the country. Yet when summer rolls around, I find myself right back here at home in warm (well, hot) San Antonio, Texas, cooking for my family and friends pretty much every night of the week. And I wouldn’t choose to have it any other way. Texas and NYC are about as different as could be, but I would be lying if I said they each haven’t had an equally large role in shaping who I am (and how I cook, and how I eat…). They have both molded my culinary identity, so to speak, each in their own way. Over the course of my blog, I will try to provide a small glimpse into life here in Texas, seen through my eyes (and my stomach). As the week goes on, many of the wonderful Texan delicacies like you may have seen in my posts in the Dinner! thread will probably make an appearance. Think chicken-fried steak, corn bread, pecan pie, and the like. There will be the requisite kitchen, refrigerator, and pantry photos for all you voyeuristic food-lovers out there. I’ll hopefully have some photos of my favorite food market, and maybe even take y’all along for a meal out somewhere. Of course, you’ll also come to know all about my eating habits, my food philosophy, how I learned to cook, and all that. But for now, let me just say welcome to my foodblog, and I hope you enjoy it!
  23. Howdy folks. Welcome back to my little food-world. I'm really tickled to have been asked to blog again so soon, and am looking forward to having another really fun time with y'all. And I do hope that, once again, people will feel free to participate with questions, suggestions, stories, whatever turns you on about what I'll be presenting. In this week of traipsing around with me, you'll notice that a lot of the same obsessions evident in my first blog will still be in full effect in this one, including but not limited to: good cheap eats in little hole-in-the-wall mom-n-pop joints; ethnic markets; Asian cuisines; exploring neighborhoods; shameless references to classic rock. You'll also note a whole new obsession making its presence known, which I realize I've been harping about almost too often in my posts around eGullet recently--but hey, it's helping me keep my commitment, so I appreciate you all humoring me. Yep, I'm talking about my whole little crusade to come up with a weight-management plan for myself that is realistic, healthy, customized to my food preferences, and enjoyable enough that I can stick to it for a good long time without it driving me nutz. So far it's been going pretty darned good, if I do say so myself. So I'm only feeling a little bit nervous showing you all what I do now to implement this weight-management plan in my daily food doings. Part of what I do now with weight-management will be occupying most of my morning today (I mean, once I get done with the business of sleeping). I'll be headed over to my HMO for my weekly weigh-in and exercise class. Then I've got a bunch of errands lined up, some of which are food-related: one will be catching lunch at a local pho cafe, and at least one other will involve some shopping. I will bring camera along, of course, and do my best Harriet the Spy imitation for your enjoyment. Other plans will be revealed as the week progresses. Some of them are admittedly rather fluid--I do a lot of little shopping trips for fresh produce, and I tend to let what I cook be influenced by what looks good and appeals to me at any given moment. And this week, I'll also be soliciting opinions and ideas from you folks--so feel free to chime in. As to (somewhat) more solid plans: I do know there will be at least one outdoor farmer's market. I think there's supposed to be at least one food-related community event at my organo-groovy UU church. There will even, finally, be a visit to Ba Ren, the local Szechuan joint I love so well--my food plan includes, for the sake of my sanity, the concept of the pre-planned occasional splurge, and a few of my local foodish friends will help me demonstrate how that's done. Oh, and I can't resist filling you in about the photos from my blog teaser, especially as they too relate to planned blog stops: This is a wonderful Vietnamese soup known as "bun" -- actually, I think the word "bun" refers specifically to the type of rice vermicelli noodles used in this style of soup. This variation has tomatoes, periwinkle meats, and fluffy cubes of shrimp cake. The broth is spicy, and enriched with a fermented fish paste. Like its sister-soup pho, this one comes with a big pile of veggies and herbs to add in. I had this at Saigon, 4455 El Cajon Blvd, one of the westernmost outposts of a whole string of Vietnamese and other Asian restaurants and shops that I am busily exploring. I may or may not hit Saigon again during the week, but I'll definitely show you some of "The Boulevard's" delights. Oh yeah--and this blog would not be complete without an appearance by the owner of this scarf: I guess I gotta call him Fearless Ex-Housemate now, huh? I was over at Humphrey's Backstage Lounge, a local live-music venue attached to a very popular resort/restaurant complex, to hear one of FXH's bands perform, and I was lining up a photo of the extremely nice warm scallop and shimp salad they served me there. When FXH noticed how Humphrey's dishware pattern matched the scarf he was wearing (swag from the recent concert tour of Donald Fagen, better known as one half of the classic-rock act Steely Dan), he couldn't resist accessorizing my photo--and voila, he "scarfed" my salad. (ow. sorry, couldn't resist). It was in fact FXH's Steely Dan tribute band that was playing that night--whenever he plays there, he can't resist directing the audience's attention to the view out the lounge's windows: ...of course, it's night by the time he sings the lines "The end of a perfect day/Distant lights from across the bay..." All this is actually on topic, because there will be at least one more planned musical visit from FXH during this blog--and food will very much be involved.
  24. Welcome to my second foodblog here at eGullet. The first one was entitled So, you want to remodel your kitchen? and described the results of a recently completed (at that time) renovation of our kitchen. I also showed you some of the weirder stuff that lives in my kitchen (like basil seed and mastic) and invited you to guess its provenance and purpose. This time I'm going to continue in that vein, and ask you questions that are food-related, but not necessarily about items in my kitchen. The first question's already been posed, in the eG Foodblogs: Coming Attractions thread. Here it is again, just in case you didn't see it: The questions accompanying this image are "What is it? And what has it got to do with food?" The question's already been answered by azureus: So, brava to azureus/April, and more about the image. Not technically a cross section (which implies that one has taken a section, or slice, at a particular angle relative to the long axis of the critter or organ in question, and bone marrow doesn't have much of an axis of any sort) but rather a very, very thin slice of bone marrow that's been fixed (so that it won't decompose), decalcified (so that the bone is soft enough to be sliced with a microtome) and impregnated with paraffin (so that the marrow itself will be firm enough to slice in this manner). The tissue slices thus obtained are so thin and flimsy that they are generally handled by floating them on the surface of a water bath, from which they can be scooped up onto a a glass slide, where they will stick. The paraffin is then washed away with solvents, and the remaining tissue is stained with chemical dyes so that you can distinguish the different sorts of cells and their components. There are lots of different sorts of cells in bone marrow, and some of the most important are stem cells (which can't be identified using only a microscope, unfortunately), the cells that are the primitive starter cells for lots of different tissues in our body, and that's why I'm using this image as the "beginning" of this blog. In order to see it in this much detail you have to use a microscope, of course, and so the camera has to be mounted on the scope as well. The term for this sort of picture is a photomicrograph, and I'll be showing a number photomicrographs in the course of the blog. And what it has to do with food is that it's delicious roasted and spread on toast. What exactly makes it delicious roasted and spread on toast is pictured above: the "holes" in the photo, which aren't actually holes at all, but adipocytes, or fat cells. Each hole represents a single cell, stuffed with fat, and so bone marrow is not only fatty (so like butter) but very soft, as there's very little connective tissue (apart from bone, seen in this image as the large pink ribbon in the left of this image) to get in the way of your enjoying it. Time for me to go get breakfast. While I'm away feel free to pose additional questions about this image.
  25. Once upon a time, there was a little girl whose Mum used to take her out for Report Card Dinners, beginning with Grade 1, the onset of thirteen years of straight As (...then university happened. Let’s not go there ). We would go to fancy places when we could afford them, and less-fancy places when we couldn’t. My palate wasn’t too discriminating at the age of 5: I was happy to go out, period, and had as much fun at Le Champignon as I did at The Old Spaghetti Factory (I have an abiding love for spumoni and pistachio gelato to this day) or The Noodlemaker (watching the koi madly swim beneath the little bridges, summoned to their dinner by the gong--was there ever anything more enchanting for a child?). The waiters at Le Champignon were charmed by my nascent French-language skills and always gave me extra desserts off the pastry tray. The Report Card Dinner underwent a few changes over time, as circumstances and location changed (when we moved to the East Coast to live with my stepdad, the economic situation meant that an RCD was more likely to just be something special, home-made, than a dinner out in NYC or, later, Philadelphia), but the concept of good food as a reward for good behaviour or good marks was set. When I have something to celebrate, the first thing I want to do, still, is go out for a good meal. Fast-forward 30-something years, and I’m back in Vancouver, living in a flash condo just outside of Yaletown, with a gas stove and granite counters... cooking now and then, baking a lot of homely but tasty birthday cakes for my co-workers, finding eGullet thanks to Jamie Maw’s column in Vancouver Magazine, finding some bosom pals who appreciate food the way that I do...real estate goes insane, I decide to sell my condo, take my profit and run, and buy a little house in East Vancouver. The little house has an enormous problem, though: the kitchen is a joke. It comes complete with an electric range and a built-in banquette, reminiscent of an RV. Just my style....NOT! It just so happens, I know this kitchen designer... I decide I need a new kitchen, dining room, and refurbished bathroom upstairs (the living space is up, bedrooms are down). I hire a guy I know to act as my General Contractor and do this work for me, with kitchen design, cabinetry and so forth from Daddy-A. Now we come to the matter of the title of this blog: Power, Convection and Lies. Some of you may recognize a riff on a favourite 1980s New Order album. I’ve kind of always wanted a big fancy range, somewhat for snobby reasons (I mean, let’s be honest here!), but also for practical reasons. I got a real jones on for Power when I took the Serious Foodie cooking class at Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver. Then I had a dinner party which brought home to me the utility and desirability of two ovens and an extra burner or two... So I’ve sold my soul to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce for a 48 in. Wolf range with 6 burners and a chargrill--and two ovens, one of which is Convection. My first! we'll see what it does to my baking. That brings us to the Lies. I know that construction is always later than they say it will be, and I mean they’ve only been working on the 300 sq. ft or so of the renovation since the beginning of March ...everyone told me the millwork would be late, bla bla bla. The first thing that was supposed to be finished was the bathroom, since it’s rather inconvenient running down and upstairs all the time, and I didn't have water available upstairs for about two months. Then things were to be done as much as possible so that the millwork could come in, the countertops could be installed, the appliances could be installed, and Bob was supposed to be my uncle.... Well, I rescheduled my blog when it became apparent that the earlier date would be impossible. The millwork was right on time, the countertops were early, the appliances came in a week ago...and they’re still not completely installed. The other rooms are in even worse shape! My contractor has a habit of saying "I’m going to do X tomorrow, Deborah," and then not only not doing X, not doing anything. If I had more money, I’d fire him and hire someone a little more reliable, but I won’t go into the whole rigmarole. Suffice to say that, while I thought about calling this blog Power, Convection and Size, Lies seems more appropriate just now. So here I am. Blogging. My house continues to be a work in progress, but I hope it progresses rather quickly as I have invited 7 Gulleters/spouses over for dinner on Saturday The menu is sort of set; the wine has been bought; the crystal has been unpacked and I just hope I can get my house in shape in time! Aside from Saturday dinner, we’ll do some Vespa shopping (I commute to work on my new Vespa, Enzo, every day ), go to the first Trout Lake Market of the year (since my house conveniently backs onto Trout Lake ), hit a luau, and I’ll show you a couple of my favourite restaurants. With luck, God and the electrician willing, I’ll even be able to do some cooking in the midst of all this! and watch some hockey! Go Oilers! I will have more pics in the morning. Well, a few. Everything is still pretty topsy-turvy, but I am determined to make my coffee in the new kitchen tomorrow, for the first time. Time for bed. Good night, Gullet!
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