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Adam -- Thank-you  :smile:  However, if the process is going to take too much of your time, please do not feel like you have to respond to all the above questions and please do not feel time-pressed.   Have a restful weekend ... :wink:

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Oh, a restful weekend for Adam, while I am enjoined to host a dinner party every week.  Have pity, Cabrales.

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Wilfrid -- How about wishing you a quasi-gluttonous weekend, then (at restaurants, without the need to host)?!  :wink:  I don't know if you consider that better or worse than restful, but I'm wishing you only what I expect for myself!  I have to say that Adam's hosting of dinners around once a week sounds pretty draining. Note his list of specific foods was only of the canapes during one such event  :wink:  Plus, you haven't indicated you might post a new thread next week yet!

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Tommy, I must be heartless.  I saw a guinea pig on TV this morning and had two immediate thoughts:

1.  Hey, it's really cute; and

2.  I really must get over to that Ecuadorian restaurant in Queens where they roast them.

Same goes for your bunny, I'm afraid.  Cute and edible.

I have eaten guinea pig [tastes like chicken] and I think I may have made some faces when it was first brought to the table, but my back was turned to the waiter.  Nonetheless, in this instance manners and decorum were suspended indefinately.  The rat was lying supine on the plate, it's mouth opened in an enormous screaming yaw, oil glistening on it's spiky yellow teeth.  But I ate it.  I'm sure others have said this, too, but perhaps none better than MFK Fisher, who insisted on eating calf's heads because, after all, if we're going to eat animals, let's eat the whole animal, and let's look our food in the eye.

But initial shock aside, Adam, I can't imagine someone making gagging sounds or saying yuck at the table of the person who prepared the food.  I am stunn-ed.  Had I been the host, I would have locked myself in the bathroom and guffawed, and then, after she was gone, my husband and I would have  b***ed about her for a few days til we got over it.  

As for not having her over again--I hope that's an option.

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it's mouth opened in an enormous screaming yaw, oil glistening on it's spiky yellow teeth.  But I ate it.

stellabella -- It tasted like chicken, including with respect to texture and smell up close?  And what about the eyes -- where they open?  I prefer birdies with eyes shut when I eat them, if the head is included (as I like it to be). But I think I could eat them readily with their eyes open. It's the rat-like aspects of the guinea pig that would pose problems for me -- including the teeth.  Finally, where did you eat this item?

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I can't imagine someone making gagging sounds or saying yuck at the table of the person who prepared the food.  I am stunn-ed.

We had a whole debate before about how a guest SHOULD handle not wanting to eat something.  Some say to supress all reaction.  Some say to politely make excuses.  Some say to tell the truth, but try to act graceful instead of repulsed.

On reflection, I'm going to change my position (which was somewhere between option 2 and 3).

I now believe that it doesn't matter which of the three choices you make.

An ass is an ass, regardless of which choice they make, and a person with grace is going to handle any of these choices better than the ass.

A rude person will complain or whine--in general they aren't going to be looking to the host for their reaction.  They just don't care.

A mannered person may waffle over how to handle it (and that in itself may be a reason to "decide" which option is "best"), but no matter which road they take they will be gauging the reaction of their host.  If a silence (no reaction) to the food be presented grows uncomfortable, they may change tactics.   If a little act like they aren't hungry seems to annoy or anger the host, it would be my assumption that someone with manners would apologize.  If an outright statement that they honestly don't like that kind of food doesn't seem to work, at least the mannered person will have the sensitivity to back off before they make any really sharp statements about the food.

In other words... an ass is an ass.  :biggrin:


Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Heh, tommy. Well, whether you or jhlurie said it first, I agree with both of you.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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My words, your sentiment.  That's not plagiarism.  Steven's statement backs me up!  In fact, for a change, I'm the one who brought "asses" into a conversation instead of you...

Aren't you glad you switched me over to your position?


Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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I have eaten guinea pig

Well done, Stellabella.  You are one up on me, and I envy you.  I would also echo the question about where you managed to find this treat.

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I find the reason I don't cook for company anymore is that I can't find anyone who will enjoy it, or appreciate it. After the planning, the shopping and the cooking, it's a major let down to look round the table and see people shovelling food down or commenting, "thass good". D. and I cook for eachother or for my food-lovin' brother, who got treated to buffalo burritos last Sunday.We go for Osso Buco a lot and other one pot dishes, because we used to trot out Charlie Trotter cookbooks and the like and realized simple food tasted just as good if not better.

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Liza, that's not unusual. When I cook, it's usually out of interest in what I'm doing and less out of any interest in pleasing my guests. I mean I'm glad to share the results of my day's (or week's) work with friends, but the menu and the dishes were picked more because I wanted the challenge. Pick a hobby at random and my guess is that people pursue it out of the interest of the pursuit and not to show it off. When we had the time and energy, my wife and I might spend two or three days shopping, preparing and cooking a dinner for eight, but if she threw together a Puerto Rican stew or asopao in a few hours, our guests would not only have as good a time, but many would prefer it. In fact, it we want to feed 20-50 people, she can throw a 20 pound leg of pork in the oven where it will cook virtually unattended all day, or even overnight with less effort than a small dinner party. It may require someone to help serve and clean up, but that's another story. There's also a big pot of rice and pigeon peas of course. I will either buy an assortment of olives, ham and dried sausages for an appetizer or spend as long as I want making hors d'oeuvres, but no one really cares which I do besides me. The coconut bread pudding is made the day before. For the most part guests are so happy to just enjoy themselves and not feel they have to make clever compliments about the food. The multicourse plated Martha thing is what we do for our entertainment, the Nigella thing is what the guests really enjoy.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I must admit I do try to educate the pallettes of those I cook for. But I'm not really interested in hearing compliments about the food, just what they noticed. In fact I once made some damn wild mushroom pies with some store-bought shells and people fought over the leftovers and one woman telephoned her mother about it being the best thing she has ever eaten. I was so disgusted that they liked this so much more than what I had made the previous day (which was much more nuanced) I said that I would never make it again. That was six years ago and I haven't. Humph. :wink:


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Wilfrid and Cabrales, I have to admit my spine is tingling as I never thought I'd ever read  the words "I envy you"  on a site visited by so many food-ologists.

And I fear getting off-topic again, as I am wont to do, but:  I ate guinea pig in Ecuador, where they are raised like chickens for daily consumption.  I had it first at the restaurant of the Hotel Aya Huma in Peguche, where it was served to me whole.  It's eyeballs had been fried away, and it tasted like the dark moist meat of wild fowl, not exactly chicken--I was being snarky--

--and I encountered it in the street in Salasaca, where a woman was frying pieces of it on the bottom of an up-ended oil drum, with chunks of what looked like grits.  I had to have some.  I then asked the dumbest question of my life--Can I try some grits?  Duh, they were potatoes--and delicious, soaking up all that guinea pig fat.

FYI:  guinea pig is an Andean staple--I don't think they eat it in the lowlands.

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I ate guinea pig in Ecuador, where they are raised like chickens for daily consumption.

stellabella -- Please consider discussing the size of the guinea pigs you had. If they're as small as the ones normally kept as pets in the US, I wonder why they would be raised for purposes of their meat, unless they were particularly tasty. Also, did you sample the head portion (since you mentioned calf's heads in another post) and the tail (do guinea pigs have tails?)? :wink:

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Stellabella, thanks for the details.  I must turn up the New York location which is lost among my papers somewhere.

Bux, I think you speak a brave truth when you say that cooking is not necessarily for the pleasure of your guests.  I plead guilty too.  I have had a number of guests show up, waving a bottle of wine, and hoping to, er, chow down on some good home cooking, only to find they have to sit very quietly and politely at a formal table setting for several hours while I ply them a series of dishes out of nineteen fifties France.  I honestly think most of them eventually enjoy the experience, but I know some of them have found it a bit startling.

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When we had the time and energy, my wife and I might spend two or three days shopping, preparing and cooking a dinner for eight, but if she threw together a Puerto Rican stew or asopao in a few hours, our guests would not only have as good a time, but many would prefer it.

Please, I need your recipe for Asopao. I haven't had a decent version since our trip to Puerto Rico and I've been pining for it. You could email it to me if you don't want to post it, but if you are willing to post it, a new thread in cooking would be appropriate.

Thanks in advance, Rachel

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Please, I need your recipe for Asopao. I haven't had a decent version since our trip to Puerto Rico and I've been pining for it. You could email it to me if you don't want to post it, but if you are willing to post it, a new thread in cooking would be appropriate.

Thanks in advance, Rachel

what is Asopao?  i'm going to Puerto Rico in a couple of months, and would like to become a bit more versed in what they have to offer, culinarily speaking.

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It's a type of fish soup/stew. Where are you going in Puerto Rico? There's been some discussion over on the Caribbean board about the restaurants there.

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I had been reading about the influence of Arabic cuisine on European

Adam -- Skortha alerted me to a book called "Medieval Arab Cookery" by Maxime Rodison, A.J. Arberry, Charles Perry, Claudia Roden. Not that I know what this means, but the book contains A.J. Arberry's translation of "A Baghdad Cookery Book" ("kitab al-Tibakhah", a 15th century cookbook).  Is this one of the books you are reading?

http://www.kal69.dial.pipex.com/isbn912.htm

http://www.geocities.com/qilich/articles/html/bookreview.htm (scroll down)

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Cabrales -  sorry, I have just haven't had time to write a well thought out statement on the subject.

At the moment I am reading Clifford Wright's excellent book "A Mediterranean Feast". He also has a very good website:

http://www.cliffordawright.com

I have also been reading some online material by Charles Perry:

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieva....nts.htm

And books by Claudia Roden and Philippa Pullar's "Consuming Passions".

This new book sounds very interesting, I wonder if Simon publishes it?

:wink:

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This new book sounds very interesting

Adam -- Note the book seems significantly overpriced on certain US-based Websites. Its price is more normal on Amazon.co.uk (there might be better deals elsewhere on the Web). It is written by people whose other works you appear to be reviewing.

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It's a type of fish soup/stew.

Not only that.  You can get asopao de pollo or de camarones, even de cangrejo.*  All the versions I have eaten involved a fairly thin but tasty broth, flavoured at least with garlic, onions, cilantro and an appropriate stock.  Bit sof fish or chicken float aorund in it with some vegetables, often bits of boiled potato or some rice (but it's not thick with rice).

It's a Dominican dish too, and my Beloved could certainly cook it.  However I would have to stand over her taking notes to get the recipe.  

*Chicken, shrimp, crab.

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I'm sure asopao is all those things, but I'm recalling from a trip to Puerto Rico about three years ago! :sad: I had asopao relatively recently at a fancy Dominican place in NJ, Casa del Faro, but it wasn't what I remembered.

All recipes welcome. Perhaps a new thread in cooking would be best.

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