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.

Love at first bite: are your childhood


Recommended Posts

Finally getting a chance to get a word in:

"urban and contemporary" food?  What's that, pigeon fricassee?  pate de cucaracha en croute?  mousse de mice?  rat ragout?  Oh, no, sorry -- those are all classic preparations.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a Soba come lately to this thread, more commentary to come when I have time to read through it all (I'm at work right now folks)

anyway on a superficial basis, its interesting to me that my tastes have for the most part moved on to what DIDN'T interest me as a kid, yet at the same time, I still retain a few favorites.

I give credit where credit is due -- my mom who introduced me to sushi at the tender age of 10 (we were visiting relatives in the Philippines and one of our stop overs was in Tokyo.  it was there where I had my first introduction to Japanese food.  In fact, I remember having sukiyaki for the first time and being a little grossed by it since part of the dish entailed breaking a raw egg over the cooked ingredients).  Mom ordered sushi (can't remember exactly what she ordered but some part of me seems to recall tuna (NOT toro)).  She offered me some and but me being revolted out said an emphatic NO.  It would be 10 years later, when I was living on my own in the East Village, that I would have my first sushi experience.

I used to hate garlic, ginger, and anything spicy -- now I can't enough of these things.  I used to crave peanut butter, then went through a long period where I wouldn't even touch the stuff.  But throughout all these years, my favorites remain the same:  anything Filipino (either made by my mom or others); well made sweet and sour pork (hard to find here in NYC, but basically the pork should be on the same level as the best General Tso's chicken) (my mom's version coats the pork in rice flour before deep frying it); spaghetti and meat sauce, preferably with tomato sauce made with Aunt Millie's, (although I often make Bolognese sauce now); roasted sweet and hot Italian sausage with peppers and potatoes (with a few Concord seedless grapes thrown in, halfway through the roasting process); peanut butter, marshmallow fluff and banana sandwiches; Friendly's ice cream sundaes topped off with Reese's pieces; beef, vegetable and marrow bone soup; congee (I've posted about congee in our family elsewhere on the site, specifically in one of the childhood related threads); and baked chicken with green beans and mushrooms, topped with crispy fried onions and served with either rice or mashed potatoes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This actually makes for a good thread but, do you not think that "the cream" rises to the top?

When you say "ceam rises to the top" do you mean the best tasting versions of a genre, or the version with the most luxurious ingredients?  Sometimes these are the same but othertimes, not.  Chuck makes a tastier hamburger than filet mignon.

I think that, as Steve and others point out, some dishes began out of necessity, limitations and needs and evolved into more refined versions.  The French/Alsatian dish Baekoff (sp?) was designed to be marinated then placed in a sealed casserole on top of a baker's oven on Tuesday night to cook slowly at very low heat, since Wednesday was wash day and the femme could not prepare a meal.  The villagers created unique casseroles so they could identify theirs when time came to collect them.  This version of a slow cooked casserole is rarely found on restaurant menus, but boef bourgingon is a revered dish in the best of bistros.

Part of this "advance" is economically driven.  The wealthy always look for ways to separate themselves from the hoi polloi and the merchants who sell to them are always alert for ways of separating them from their money.  Recipes that originated with course cuts of meat are superceded by finer cuts, common vegetables are replaced by rarer ones, common fruits by out of season fruits, etc.  This evolution is perceived by the class just below the upper, and adopted in a form they can afford, and the merchants who serve them, being more numerous than the ones who serve the wealthy, create a vast market for the items.

Technology also plays a role in this process. (refrigeration, freezing, speedy transport, etc.).

The anthropology of recipes is fascinating.  Is there a definitive book on this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finally getting a chance to get a word in:

"urban and contemporary" food?  What's that

That's the kind of food eaten by people who tune into 101.3 easy listening FM.  In our pareent's day, they would have eaten while watching Lawrence Welk.  a one-a two-a.

See Tommy, I din't miss it.  I was just locked out from eGullet for three hours.  pant, pant, I think an anti-semantic stopped me from posting---so much to say, so little time. :raz:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No I meant that among the great rice dishes of the world like Arroz con Pollo etc., paella and risotto have crossed barriers into being "international," meaning served everywhere. I mean I quite like an Uzbekestani Pilv, or a Hanaan Soupy Chicken Rice from Singapore, but they ain't serving it at the Hilton in San Diego. Know what I mean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I mean I quite like an Uzbekestani Pilv, or a Hanaan Soupy Chicken Rice from Singapore, but they ain't serving it at the Hilton in San Diego. Know what I mean?

That's a result of marketing and chic-seekers (hey cool, you could describe someone as a "chic-seeking missle).  I remember when sushi was a real oddity (early 1960s).  Whenever I took friends to Edo on W 48th Street they thought I was weird.  Now sushi's way cool in urban-contemporary setting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve, I think what you are describing as urban and contemporary is really, "fashionable," no pejorative intended. What is in style usually seems better until the fashion wheel turns again.  You see this in clothes, archtiecture, music...and food. Oops, I think we may have been over this ground before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The anthropology of recipes is fascinating.  Is there a definitive book on this?

If there isn't, there should be.

In my first Anthropology class in college, the professor started out by talking about food and cultural norms, using sour cream (well, it is cultured :smile: ) as an example. About half the class groaned and said "gross" and the rest of us completely related to sour cream as a refrigerator staple of childhood.

I think you can learn a lot about someone by looking through a recipe box or flipping through their cookbooks to see which pages are dog eared or splattered.  And the recipes that are copied or downloaded and tossed aside or passed over could probably tell just as much.

Maybe this could be my second career: food anthropology.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The anthropology of recipes is fascinating.  Is there a definitive book on this?

While not exactly "definitive" on the very large subject of cooking and anthopology, Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food is a wonderful combination of recipes, history and anthro. I found the section on Ethiopian Jewish cooking particularly fascinating.

Miss J

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recipe for Iraque Hameen

One medium onion, coarsely chopped

2 tblsp tomato paste

1 lb stew beef

beef bones

1 tblsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground black peppr

1 tblsp chicken bouillion powder (yep, that's what they use)

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 cup dried chick peas

1 cup barley

4 medium potatoes, peeled

4 whole eggs (in the shell)

vegetable oil for frying

In a very heavy pot with a very heavy lid (like cast iron enamel), fry the onion in 2 tbslp of oil until soft and transparent.  Add tomato paste and mix.  Add water until the pot is 1/2 full.  Add the meat and bones, and bring to a boil.  Add cumin, black pepper, chicken soup powder, turmeric, chick peas, barley, potatoes, and bring to a boil.  Cover, turn down heat to low, and simmer one hour.

Heat oven to 200 degrees.  Add just enough water to the pot so that all the ingredients are just covered.  Place the eggs on top.  Cover the pot with aluminum foil and crinkle the edges to get a good seal.  Put the lid on.  Bake in the oven for 12 - 16 hours.  Doesn't much matter if it's 12 or 16 hours.  Check it every few hours and add water if necessary, but not too much.  It should be moist but not wet or soggy.  Don't worry if it burns a litle bit at the sides, but don't let it get too dried out.  The cripsy burned edges are delicious in the end.  If you can't check it periodically (for example you're going to sleep for the night), just add lots of water before you go to bed.  And don't worry abou the exact timing - you can't overcook it.

When you're ready to eat, serve each person a few big spoonfuls, making sure to include an egg, a potato, and some meat.  when the eggs are peeled, they'll be a lovely brown color and have a wonderful nutty taste.

Warning - the smell is amazing when this is cooking, and it takes over the whole house.  Also, this thing produces, er, massive digestive activity, if you know what I'm saying.  Universal experience.  It's heavy and filling.  I usually serve a simple green salad, and a not too heavy wine.  Leftovers from this are divine.

Then a big nap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you can learn a lot about someone by looking through a recipe box or flipping through their cookbooks to see which pages are dog eared or splattered.  And the recipes that are copied or downloaded and tossed aside or passed over could probably tell just as much.

One might assume that I am hooked on sweets and spicy Asian noodles.  Would an anthropologist figure out that I am afraid to cook meat, rather than adamantly commited to vegetarian cooking?

Good point.

I have taken long gastronomical strides since childhood.  These days I go home  to visit my parents and feel utter dismay when I look through the cupboards--we who were so "deprived" of junk as children now return home to visit parents who eat nothing but.  I learned from my parents to eat healthy balanced meals and to try many foods--but they were not foodologists by any menas, though my mom is a great cook.  As an adult I'm into trying everything--when I go home I long for the simple yet real meals my mom used to make but for the most part doesn't anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The anthropology of recipes is fascinating.  Is there a definitive book on this?
There can never be a "definitive" book on such a subject, but one can dive off the deep end into Levi-Strauss' classic, _The Raw and the Cooked_. A recent prize-winning work, which I have some reservations about, is Felipe Fernández-Armesto's _Food: A History_. Closer to hand, I'm about to start a topic centered on a witty AlterNet article, "The Politics of Dog", which examines the motivations of forbidding or allowing certain foods.

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.......There can never be a "definitive" book on such a subject, but one can dive off the deep end into Levi-Strauss' classic, _The Raw and the Cooked_. A recent prize-winning work, which I have some reservations about, is Felipe Fernández-Armesto's _Food: A History_. ...........

Uncle Claude was a structural anthropologist. He took any topic i classical anthropology as a starting point and took off  :smile:

Mythologiques covers much of stuff related to food amongst other topics ....

anil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...