Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

eG Foodblog: TheFoodTutor - The Man Behind the Curtain.


Recommended Posts

I know that most bloggers feel a slight sense of apprehension when embarking on a foodblog, that apprehension stemming from comparing one's self to those who've gone before, and I'm certainly no different, especially on the heels of Varmint's fabulous Southern food and his adorable children. Of course, I have to do everyone one better, in that I'd been meaning to title my installment, "My Acquaintance With the Man Behind the Curtain," and yet I didn't even think to check as to whether there were too many characters in that sentence to fit in the allotted spot. But that's just one of the things I love about being me: I never seem to tire of proving to myself, over and over again, that I'm not nearly as smart as I think I am. :wink:

By way of introduction, I suppose I can clarify that I am not, in fact, a man, and the man referred to is figurative, and not literal. Restaurant work is my career of choice, and over the years, I've come to know my way around a kitchen and every other position that can possibly be worked in a dining establishment, so I'd like to think that I know a few things about adding value to food and beverage, and making every bit of the guest's experience worthy of a relatively high price tag. Currently, I work in two restaurants, both of which put a great deal of effort into packaging an experience that will make the guest feel that he or she not only was fed, and fed well, but that everything about that meal from beginning to end was part of a seamless performance. Restaurants as theatre, food as entertainment.

And then I have this other little job: That of running my small business, wherein I step off the stage and teach people how to make that restaurant magic happen in their own homes. I'll be preparing for a FoodTutor event this week, and showing some of the shopping and prep necessary for planning the menu, as well as documenting the things that I actually manage to eat. As a restaurant worker, I must admit to having an irregular eating schedule, similar to some of the previous industry bloggers, but I'll be making an effort to have slightly more normal meals this week. You know, the kind that civilized people have, where they put food on actual plates and sit down to eat it, as opposed to just shoving things into one's mouth while standing at the refrigerator.

So I'll start with this meal:

sweetbreads.jpg

Sweetbreads and eggs. The sweetbreads were braised late last week while we were toying around with ideas for a tasting menu, so I simply had to dredge them and fry them up to go with a nice soft scramble, and the biscuit is actually just reheated from a small batch I made a few days ago. Ideally, I'd have gotten up hours ago and made a fresh batch of warm, fluffy biscuits like Varmint's, but heck, I worked a double shift yesterday for the July 4th holiday, so this will have to do. Besides, the biscuits were really more of a vehicle for shovelling strawberry jam (also made by me a few days ago) into myself, and these worked nicely.

Throughout this blog, I'd like to answer questions about any aspect of restaurant work that piques anyone's curiosity, and I'll be including some pictures from both of the places where I work, hopefully. I can't share certain specific restaurant recipes in some cases, though some will be very easy to duplicate, but I would like to go into exactly as much detail as everyone would like to see. Really. Ask me anything, and I promise I won't bite.

Questions like:

Why do you work in two restaurants? Isn't that inconvenient?

What are sweetbreads? (No doubt another eGulleteer could answer that faster than I could.)

Who is Farrow Beacham? (More on him later.)

What, exactly, do you teach TheFood to do? :hmmm:

Now it's probably time for a little nap. That double shift really whooped me, and I've got a big week ahead of me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...I'll be making an effort to have slightly more normal meals this week. You know, the kind that civilized people have...Sweetbreads and eggs.

Absolutely. The breakfast of civilized people everywhere. :wink:

Really looking forward to this blog.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a fellow Atlantan, and knowing The Food Tutor for some time, I anticipate a truly outstanding blog, both information-wise and pictorally! She is an exceptionally talented woman and a repository of great knowledge of both the food and restaurant businesses, which are, of course, hardly mutually exclusive ...

Very pleased to share this occasion with you, Julia, and excited that eGullet is now the recipient of this unique experience! :biggrin:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What do you think of professionals talking about the negatives in the business? Is it educational, thought prevoking or just whineing?

Industry insiders whining about the toils and troubles of serving the public? Why, I've never heard of such a thing! :biggrin:

Actually, on my end, I've done quite a bit toward elevating this sort of whining to an art form, and I find that a little humor can make some of that negative talk a lot more entertaining than just a constant stream of, "My feet hurt. It's hot in here. Damn, this job sucks." I will probably share a few restaurant anecdotes in the course of this week, but only in a lighthearted sense, as all the work I've got planned for the week should be the sort of work that's great fun.

Some of the best stories to relate are when people simply do inexplicable things in restaurants, and I get to see my fair share of that. On Sunday, for instance, we had lots of children in the restaurant for the holiday weekend, and lots of them were clearly having a hard time behaving in any sort of restrained manner at all, because it is a big festival weekend with lots of fun activities, and once you wind children up, they tend to just keep going and going and going. . . So there was one table whose children were so loud that the specific noise from that table made it difficult for me to tell the specials at my table. The kids were using their silver as drumsticks and pounding out a little tune, which they complemented with all sorts of verbal noisemaking. The parents at my table, whose children were much quieter, simply smiled and made a quiet comment about the "music."

But another table didn't take it quite so well. The gentleman had apparantly had absolutely all of that music that he was going to take, so he got up and walked over to the noisemakers, looked straight at the parents and yelled, "Take 'em to f***ing McDonalds!" And then he walked out, without finishing his meal or paying his tab. Now some people might find that sort of story shocking, or it might anger them, or maybe they'd even feel bad for the children, that they'd been introduced to that word all of a sudden by a stranger. But I just really thought it was hilarious, and it kind of lightened the mood a bit, because at that point, everyone could agree that what he did was inappropriate, but now that he had brought up the point about the noisemaking, well. . . This kind of people watching really keeps my job interesting. Interesting in the sense of the confucian mixed curse/blessing, "May you have an interesting life."

So, back to my plans for the week. My main focus will be this "tasting menu" that my SO and I are putting together for a class/event we're doing Friday. The topic for the class will be centered around making the sort of fancy-schmancy stuff that one gets in a really high end restaurant, but doing every bit of it at home. This is one of my favorite things to do, and SO (lambfries on eGullet - I'm hoping he'll contribute a bit here and there, but he's a little shy when it comes to posting) did a tasting menu for me on my birthday last year. Here's a picture of one of the dishes he served to me that night:

foie_gras2.jpg

Foie gras with warm Georgia peaches and toasted brioche. Of course, not all of the courses we'll be preparing will be filled with rich, organ meats, but I do find it's best to eat courses like this as often as you can get them. Life goes better with foie. :smile:

Oh, and I'll be eating exactly one high end, fancy-schmancy restaurant meal this week as well. It will be my birthday dinner for this year, since my birthday actually falls on a day that I'll most likely be working. I'm hoping to get lots of good pictures of food, as well as some nice prep pictures, and fill you all in on the background of the restaurants where I work, the philosophy behind the cooking, and some more things about TheFoodTutor.

First, though, I have some shopping for ingredients I need to do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I look forward to learning from you this week, and maybe I'll even have a food-related question to ask! In the meantime, I'd like to know more about Sid.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I look forward to learning from you this week, and maybe I'll even have a food-related question to ask!  In the meantime, I'd like to know more about Sid.

Sid is evil. Believe me, you don't want to know about Sid. :biggrin:

Oh, yes, in spite of the complete lack of a sentence reading, "Please do put pictures of any critters running around your home into your blog," in the eGullet Foodblog guidelines, I believe a couple of gratuitous pet pictures may be imminent. The trick will be making sure there's food somewhere in the shot, too. Given that all 3 of them will actually sit on my dining room table and watch me eat, if I let them, that shouldn't be too hard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This looks like it will be an amazing blog. Thanks in advance for sharing a slice of your life with us!

It sounds like you work FOH, at least in one of your jobs. Is that correct? What positions do you hold in your restaurant jobs?

Also looks like you have considerable cooking ablility, are you self taught or formally trained?

How did the Food Tutor gig start? I'm really looking forward to learning about how you do this one, the preparation and execution of a particualar job.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm looking forward to this blog! I'm especially eager to learn more about your business - how do you decide what to teach? How are the classes run - in someone's home or do you have a kitchen classroom type of thing where you hold them? This sounds like the perfect kind of thing for someone like me... How do you manage to fit in time to work in two restaurants and still run your own business?

Oh yeah, one final question - how did the parents of the noisemakers react to the disgruntled gentleman's outburst? I'm always surprised when parents allow their children to act this way outside of fast food places. I am the mother of a 3 year old and would have taken him outside if he'd acted like that... but perhaps that's just me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds like you work FOH, at least in one of your jobs.  Is that correct?  What positions do you hold in your restaurant jobs?

Yes, that's correct. I am a server, and I sometimes work as a host, a bartender, and in another job code referred to as "Team Captain" or sometimes "Shift Leader." And sometimes I'm referred to as a Sommelier, though I really can't claim the amount of training needed to earn such a title. I just try to be as informed as I possibly can be about the wines carried on the respective lists of the places where I work, and I pay attention to all the guidelines of wine service. As a shift leader, I sometimes expedite in the window, which is what I did for the second half of my double shift yesterday. Not to go into expediting too deeply, this means finishing any dishes that need to be garnished or sauced, checking to make sure that the food actually matches what is printed on the ticket, gathering hot food and cold and putting the dishes in the proper order (so they can be set down in the correct positions at the table without asking people what they ordered), checking the quality of the food and plate presentation, and finally gathering runners to take the food to tables. OK, so maybe that was a little exhaustive in describing the process of expediting. The expediter is the bridge between the front and back of the house, which brings us to the next question:

Also looks like you have considerable cooking ablility, are you self taught or formally trained?

Self taught, with no formal education, outside of reading about a bajillion cookbooks. :biggrin: I threw myself into my first kitchen job years ago, at The Cheesecake Factory because, while it's not the greatest restaurant in the world, it is a great place to get experience doing loads and loads of prep, honing knife skills and dealing with fast service, high pressure and lots of volume. I worked through several kitchens and found that, in a short period of time, I was being pushed toward management positions, because I was very good at training others, and I speak a good deal of Spanish, so I was used as a translator often. Because money was tight for me at that time, and I was going through a divorce, I ended up in very stable management jobs working for large companies, and the sorts of restaurants that don't really serve haute cuisine. Management, of course, is very stressful, and after I'd been doing that for a couple of years, we had sort of a "family emergency" of sorts. Well, what happened was that my SO had a heart attack, and I decided that life was too short to go on working for Chili's (not that there's anything wrong with Chili's :wink: ). I decided to take things "easy" (ha!) and work as a server for a while, so I'd have a flexible schedule to be able to do other things, and SO decided to chuck his other career and become a line grunt. He has now worked his way up the ranks to become Chef de Tournant at Restaurant Eugene, which is one of the two restaurants where I work as well.

How did the Food Tutor gig start?  I'm really looking forward to learning about how you do this one, the preparation and execution of a particualar job.

This was really an accident. I was working at a fine dining place one day, as a server, chatting with some guests about the Pastry Chef there, and the guests asked me if that particular chef would be able to come over and teach them how to make this delicious mushroom risotto that they were eating at the time. Of course, I didn't mention the fact that our Pastry Chef wasn't the one making the risotto, but I simply said that I'd be able to teach them how to make the dish, since risotto is just a matter of learning a technique, and then I went with the idea from there. I put up the website, and started thinking about ways to market this service. It hasn't been really easy getting clients all the time, but the times that I do get lots of calls are tremendous and fun.

It should be wonderful to show the details of preparing for a class this week. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm looking forward to this blog!  I'm especially eager to learn more about your business - how do you decide what to teach?  How are the classes run - in someone's home or do you have a kitchen classroom type of thing where you hold them?  This sounds like the perfect kind of thing for someone like me...  How do you manage to fit in time to work in two restaurants and still run your own business?

The topic for the class is always decided by the client, and if they don't already have something in mind, I quiz them about their favorite restaurant dishes, and things they've always wondered about how to make. Ever wanted to make osso buco? How about sushi making at home? Duck confit, or perhaps some homemade lemon curd? It's really pretty easy, and most people can think of at least one thing they've always wanted to learn to do.

I always go to the person's home, but my partner and I may be setting up some public demonstrations in conjunction with some local kitchenware stores soon.

The time part can be tough, sometimes, and I'm always being asked to work more. The only way I manage to fit it all in is to limit my number of scheduled shifts, and I can occasionally pick up extra shifts at either restaurant when needed, but on a week like this one, I simply learn how to say, "No."

The family that was confronted looked pretty shocked for a little while, but they really had their hands too full with the kids to dwell on it for very long. A manager did stop by their table to apologize, too, even though we really have no control over customers who confront each other that way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm looking forward to this blog!  I'm especially eager to learn more about your business - how do you decide what to teach?  How are the classes run - in someone's home or do you have a kitchen classroom type of thing where you hold them?  This sounds like the perfect kind of thing for someone like me...  How do you manage to fit in time to work in two restaurants and still run your own business?

The topic for the class is always decided by the client, and if they don't already have something in mind, I quiz them about their favorite restaurant dishes, and things they've always wondered about how to make. Ever wanted to make osso buco? How about sushi making at home? Duck confit, or perhaps some homemade lemon curd? It's really pretty easy, and most people can think of at least one thing they've always wanted to learn to do.

That is a terrific approach to teaching, as guaranteed to yield satisfied clients as anything could be guaranteed.

Do you ever get clients who just *can't* get what you're trying to show them because it's too far beyond their present capabilities? How do you handle that?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, yes. Time for a snack. I need to go shopping, but first I had to look through the refrigerator to see what I have too much of, or not enough of. Turns out we've got extra, overripe mango. It's the result of one of our experiments for the tasting, this mango curry lobster salad:

lobstersalad_sm.jpg

So I decided to have a mango smoothie with tapioca pearls. First, the mango pulp:

blender.jpg

Notice how I'm not showing pix of cutting the mango, as I can make an egregious mess when cutting an overripe mango, so I'm sparing you the carnage. Next, the pearls.

pearlpackage.jpg

pearls.jpg

pearls2.jpg

Sorry about that blurry pic. After boiling the pearls, it's best to let them sit in some simple syrup to sweeten for a bit, but I was feeling pretty peckish, so I went ahead and had my smoothie, complete with a wide straw to suck the pearls up from the bottom.

bubbletea.jpg

That's a little blurry too, I'm afraid. I'll work on some of these photos a bit later and see if I can clear them up a bit. I've really got to go get groceries now, though, and then get ready to go to work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you ever get clients who just *can't* get what you're trying to show them because it's too far beyond their present capabilities?  How do you handle that?

Oddly enough, I haven't had that problem. The sushi class was the most difficult for the students to execute, as rolling sushi takes quite a bit of practice, but even if you make a sloppy roll, it still tastes pretty good, as long as the rice is properly cooked. We ate lots and lots of sloppy rolls that night.

There are a couple of other things that are challenging, though. Probably the biggest challenge I've seen was trying to get some clients to try things that they perceived as being a little more adventurous than their normal diets. I had one class, on Valentine's Day, where the client insisted up front that there be no raw fish, no organ meats, and generally no "weird" food. OK, so how about a little caviar, at least? "Oh, no, we're not fond of caviar." She didn't like truffles, either. That was kind of difficult to work around, since I wanted the food to be really romantic.

And I had one class where the clients had been dieting for some time, but they wanted to splurge on the foods they'd be eating that night, so they starved themselves the whole day in anticipation of my arrival. It was a little difficult when I had to explain to them that it actually takes a little time to prepare the food, so there wasn't anything to feed them right away. I did manage to throw together something that would hold them over as the first demonstration.

Oh, and because the events go on for a few hours, with lots of participation, the clients have a tendency to eat too much of the first dishes we prepare, and by the time we're done cooking everything, they're too stuffed for dessert! I'll have to work on that part.

Edited by TheFoodTutor (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is going to be a little break in the action coming up here, as I'll be going to work, grabbing a bite to eat before my shift, and working through the evening until quite late. But lambfries, the guy I mentioned earlier, will be returning from Buffalo shortly, and when he gets home, he'll certainly check the progress of this thread.

I'm wondering if, perhaps, he could be enticed into contributing something. Perhaps, if you asked him nicely, he might tell you what a tournant is. What do you think? Is there anything you'd like to know about living the life of a linehog, working in the kitchen day in and day out? You could ask him about his knives. He loves his knives.

Well, if he doesn't answer any questions you ask him, I'll just beat the answers out of him when I get home, I guess. :raz:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Julia, I'm just awed at the hours you keep, working two jobs plus your business, and now you're generously taking more of your time to share your week with us!

Yes, I want to know what a Chef Tournant is and does and would have asked that.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have a clue what a tournant is. Since someone else has asked what it is, I'll ask "how do you pronounce it?" and "please use it in a sentence"! :biggrin:

I'll also ask of lambfries: which knives do you love best? Brand names are good, but types are better - for instance, do you use a Chinese cleaver? I'm a home cook with a pretty good (for a home cook) set of knives - 8" butcher knife included. Would spending money on a cleaver get me anything other than kitchen cool?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

he might tell you what a tournant is

Well, of course I want to know what that is. I also want to know about your business and both of you can answer that. How many "students" do you work with at a time? Do they know each other or do you just gather a collection of strangers who can meet on a particular evening? What do you charge? :unsure:

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have a clue what a tournant is.  Since someone else has asked what it is, I'll ask "how do you pronounce it?" and "please use it in a sentence"!  :biggrin:

I'll also ask of lambfries: which knives do you love best?  Brand names are good, but types are better - for instance, do you use a Chinese cleaver?  I'm a home cook with a pretty good (for a home cook) set of knives - 8" butcher knife included.  Would spending money on a cleaver get me anything other than kitchen cool?

A tournant (tour-nont) is the person in the kitchen who must know how to set up and work each station on the line including pastry. You're there to work on a station on that persons off day.

THE ARSENAL:

knives.jpg

I use my 10" Kershaw chefs knife most at work. My preference is for japanese knives. But for at home we have a nice set of german knives. All I really use at home is a 8" chefs knife, boning knife, and paring knife. As for the cleaver I use it at work for butchering rabbit and chicken. I've grown quite comfortable with it, and use it to completely break down rabbits into all their components hind legs, front legs, loins, and I even "french" the racks with it. It's heavy, keeps a nice edge, and I only paid $12 for it at the asian market. Oh yeah, and it looks cool! :biggrin:

Edit: spelling error

Edited by lambfries (log)

"Success is the sum of alot of small things done correctly."

-- Fernand Point

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whew! I'm finally home from work. Glad to see that lambfries posted a pic of the knives, including the Kershaw that I like to borrow from him as often as I can get to it.

I was a bit delayed this evening, and talk about your strange work anecdotes: We weren't that busy this evening, but we had just enough tables arriving very late to ensure that I'd have to stay well past closing. I have to wait until all of my tables leave before I can finish up the last bit of the side duties for my shift, which include making sure my section is spotless, plus another sort of sidework, which is assigned according to a chart. Tonight, my sidework included "spec"-ing out the restrooms, both men's and women's, and I hit a bit of a snag at the last minute. I tried to change out the trash in the men's room, but as soon as I opened the door, I heard the toilet flush, so I made a quick U-turn out of there. I try pretty hard not to embarrass a guest, and I'd not have even gone into the men's room if it hadn't been pretty late already, and I assumed no one would be in there.

So I waited. And I waited. Another man walked into the restroom and came back out, but the stall was still occupied. I tried to duck my head in again, but there was just constant flushing, so I couldn't investigate, other than to confirm that there was, indeed, someone in there.

And then I waited a bit more, growing a bit anxious that perhaps someone was quite sick and might need medical attention. Finally, I grabbed a male co-worker and asked him to check out what was wrong. He went into the restroom, and didn't come back out for a long time. When he finally did emerge, he told me that he'd changed the trash for me, and that I was free to go home.

So what happened? Well, it seems that a man was taking some time to roll a special sort of cigarette, and he needed some privacy to do so, so he used the stall to do that, and he had a bit of trouble doing it, as he may not have been as focussed as his usual self. And that was the holdup. I actually found that to be extremely funny, even though I was tired and ready to go home.

So I have some pictures, but I'll wait until the morning to upload them, because I need a little sleep before I go back to work at 10. Thank you for being patient, and I promise that the pictures will get better and more interesting in the next few days, as we've got some really neat stuff planned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe this is the kershaw.

gallery_9620_1457_1260.jpg

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and led us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By FoodMuse
      Hello everyone,
      eGullet was nice enough to invite me to write a food blog chronicling what I've made or eaten out for one week. I'm so excited about it! Thanks guys.
      About me:
      I dream about food, I wake thinking what's for dinner and I'm so excited to share it with you. I'm part of the food world in New York. By that, I just mean that I'm so fortunate enough to be invited to great events where I get to eat great food. I'm also a nerd and a part of the technology world. I produce, edit and sometimes host food related web videos and I'm also a part of the tech world.
      I'm launching a website called Please, Pass the Gravy. www.pleasepassthegravy.com We let you create a menu, invite friends and then collaborate on that menu. Never host another potluck with 8 pasta salads. You could use it now, but we're alpha launch, it works but it's ugly. It's my ugly baby. So, if you use it be kind and message me if you have improvement ideas. I thought it would be ok to write about it here because it is food related.
      I live in Brooklyn with a lovely guy who likes to eat and a small corgi mix dog. I cook pretty much every night and do a nice brunch on the weekend. I am not a crazy dog lady, but I do admit to cooking food for the dog. I have an excuse, beyond doting, he had seizures that have stopped since not feeding him dog food.
      Foods I cook:
      Spicy foods! If you look at my blog I have a simple papaya ketchup with habanero that is pretty darn good.
      I love great cheese. This may be the week for Beer Cheese Soup.
      I try to limit carbs, though I do cheat.
      In any given week C. and I probably eat cauliflower, broccoli and green beans as a side.
      Tonight's dinner will be Vietnamese inspired. We'll see how it goes. I'll post about it as soon as I can.
      Any requests? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.
      -Grace
    • By Duvel
      In these challenging times, a full summer vacation is not an easy task. For the last 1.5 years we have been mostly at home with the clear plan to visit Catalonia (or more precise my wife’s family) latest this summer. And it looked good for a while. Unfortunately, the recent rise in case numbers in Spain have resulted in …
       
      OK, let’s skip this part. Long story short - my wife and me are fully vaccinated, as are >90% of the people we care about in Catalonia. After some discussion (after all, Germans tend to prefer to be on the safe side of things) we simply fueled up the car, got each a test (for the transit through France) and started to drive …
       
      After a leisurely 11h drive we arrived at a small fishing town somewhat north of Barcelona around 3.00am. We unloaded the car and my wife an the little one went straight to bed. 
       

       


      I found an expired beer in the elsewise pretty empty fridge and enjoyed the cool breeze on the terrace. Holidays, here we come …
       

    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women, including her, wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By shain
      It's been more than a year in which international travel was challenging to impossible, but gladly this is changing, as more countries are able to vaccinate their population.
      Greece had managed to return to a state of near normality, and opted to allow vaccinated individuals to enter. And so I decided to go on a slightly spontaneous vacation (only slightly, we still had almost a month for planning). To the trip I was joined by my father, to whom I owed some good one-on-one time and was able to travel on a short-ish notice.
       
       
      Many people are yet unable to travel, and many countries are suffering quite badly from the virus, and therefore I considered if I should wait some time with this post. However, I hope that it will instead be seen with an optimistic view, showing that back-to-normal is growing ever closer.
       
       
      We returned just a few days ago, and it will take me some time to organize my photos, so this is a teaser until then.
       
       
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...