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racheld

eG Foodblog: racheld - Thanksgiving and Goodwill

215 posts in this topic

Good Morning!!! And a happy holiday week to ALL!!

Sunny bread from Daughter's bakery should start everybody's day.

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When Susan asked me to do a blog, she suggested Thanksgiving week, and I’m just so flattered and appreciative of the honor. I’ve read each and every one since the first, and some, I’ve returned to time after time, for the sheer beauty of the words, the imagery, the exciting life and dining and cooking of the writers. Some are jeweled with beautiful pictures, of food and travel and markets and dining. Others have a wonderful homey feel, of a family kitchen and the communal dining table, a togetherness that warms as it is shared on the page.

We’re mostly home-folks, as well, and the recipes and meals are still South-centric, with pots of greens and beans set to simmer early in the day; pork chops and fried chicken are as often on our table as are pastas and steaks. Cornbread comes crusty from the oven in time to sit beside a big tureen of low-cooked snap beans with a hunk of falling-apart ham and some one-curl-peeled baby pink potatoes, and the favored accompaniment is a cool dish of just-from-the-garden tomatoes, with a few crisp slices of cold sweet onion. Desserts are rich and come from yellowed, hand-scripted recipes, written by my Mammaw, my Mother, an aunt with a “sure hand” for piecrust.

And always, we did the dainty things, the canapes and the pate and the terrines. We cooked game as often as market-meat, and in a greater variety of ways. Our family enjoyed all the frills and furbelows of baby vegetables, five minutes from the garden; Cuisinart-whirled pestos and salsas, mixer-whipped mousses and meringues, gently-stirred ganache and skillet-simmered caramel for the flan dish. Perhaps the names were a bit different; salsas were called chili sauce and green tomato relish, chow chow and pepper relish, all with different flavorings and spices in the mix.

We did hundreds of wedding receptions, parties, lawn teas, luncheons and dinners over the years, as apt to cater a fishfry as to make three gallons of chicken salad by the Secret Family Recipe and serve it on Mrs. Covington's Limoge. Food has just always been a great part of our life and livelihood, and it just comes naturally to me to actually prepare two gallons of something as easily as two cups.

This was prettier after we got the velvety golden apricots ranged all around. They sort of glowed like little round peachy lanterns.

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And now, we’ve been transplanted for some fifteen years to this Northernmost of Southern states. We love the climate, so different from the one of our raising; we love the city and all the delights it offers in the way of music and bookstores and libraries and entertainment. This week will hold a little bit of travel, a few local landmarks, some markets and bakeries we enjoy, a visit to Daughter’s bakery (with photos taken by her late at night).

While we were sleeping:

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Cakes---carrot and strawberry and chocolate. The Tuxedo one is my favorite, like a Gucci version of Boston Cream Pie. Supporting cast: eclairs, cream puffs, lots of other goodies, including individual slices-for-sale of the cakes.

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Closer look, if you can stand it:

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Apple fritters after the flip:

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Donuts frying:

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Glazing:

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Glazed:

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As much of a sweet tooth as I must confess, the deep-crusted, heavy-grained breads are my favorites.

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These peasanty, crusty boules are wonderful---I love the look of no-two-alike and their rugged countenances. I also love the slicing, with the lusty crackle of parting crust as the slices fall beneath the knife, and the little sawdusty sprinkle of crumbs left behind.

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The softer side---croissant-shaped yeast rolls curled into little rosettes, which for some silly reason always remind me of a baby sucking its thumb:

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Challah:

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And so goes the life of a baker, as we reap the sweet rewards.

We'll have people over to dinner other nights, friends who have their own family plans for this holiday; a get-out-the-propane-tank-and-black-pot fishfry on the patio, courtesy of Son#2, a salute to Daughter's Kitchen Idol as she prepares his Ma Po Tofu and fried rice.

Thursday will be our day of celebration and thanks, with the table laden with the exact dishes which have graced our family holidays for at least three generations. Mammaw's coconut cake, Aunt Glynda's cornbread dressing, Maw's canned green beans, with their little fillip of vinegar and sugar in the brine. All the dishes are named for whoever used to serve that particular recipe, and some families still serve Grandma Wilson's Rice Pudding, or Mammaw Thornton's Lemon Icebox Pie, even though those estimable ladies have been gone lo, these many years.

It's just a way of keeping our dear ones close for as long as we can, and in the kitchen, precious recipes are saved and kept as closely. The methods and motions of whoever taught you are replicated and repeated, as habit and homage, by a succession of cooks. We'll be cutting oranges for ambrosia, in that knife-peel, down-and-under motion only lately revealed to be a chef's method. Little sharp paring knives have been doing that for at least a century, when there were oranges to be had.

And Friday---lovely Friday. We've been invited to spend the day about two hours South of here, where our Georgia Granddaughters will be visiting their other grandparents for the holiday weekend. We'll be taking several dishes for that lunch, and will be passing a lovely winery; if it's not past closing time when we return, we'll stop in and report.

Susan said I could post one minute after midnight, and I think I may. I'm still learning all the ins and outs of albums and images and other parts of this posting thing, but I'm trying hard.

And a good night, or morning, or whichever time it is wherever all of you are. Sweet sleep or Happy Monday or whatever applies.

Moire non,

rachel

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Yippee! I'm so happy to see you blogging racheld! You are one of my favorite posters(but not in a stalker-ish way) and you express yourself beautifully. I'll be sure to check in often from down under. I'm looking forward to seeing southern food again.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kathryn


If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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Great fun! I am looking forward to looking in.

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I am completely agog!!!! Rachel blogging only days (okay, maybe weeks) after learning how to post images?! This is amazing, incredible, stupendous...alright, I know Rachel has many more and better words which convey her sunny outlook on just about every subject here on eGullet.

I look forward to this week with you and can only imagine what a wonderful feast you'll have for us on Thursday.

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Hey Rachel~

wonderful to see you blogging (esp for US!)

I love the fact that all the old recipes have the names in tribute--most of the time, people eating the dish will admit that it isn't quite as good as when Aunt Mary made it, no matter how closely you follow the recipe :wink:

and, furthermore, one of my favorite words (maybe the word of the day) is

furbelow

Thank you :smile:

Kathy

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AWWWWW, guys!! That's lovely. I've been learning every day, and have had a major NERVOUS on, let me tell you. I have so much I want to tell and show you, and have to follow in SOME lofty footsteps, with all the previous posters and their travels and experiences.

There's a lot to come, and I'll be posting in a bit about a wonderful harvest festival we attended, just a few weeks ago. It's an Indiana one-of-a-kind and I wanted to share it here. From encampments, to food-in-a-black-cauldron (big ole black pot over a fire, as we'd call it back in the South) to Highland Games, to hand-carved kitchen wares, all on one huge open field---it was quite a day.

I hope the little doings I've planned will be of interest to you.

rachel

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Sweet Miss Rachel, this will be one blog where the wondrous writing may well challenge if not supercede the beautiful photos. How privileged are we all to be guests at your family table for the coming week... I can hardly wait!


Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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I'm so glad you learned how to post photos, Rachel! I'm sure your Thanksgiving celebration will warm everyone's heart. Enjoy this busy week of work, celebration, and blogging!

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Well, you're just WELCOME!!! Now, what can I get Y'all to drink?

Thank you all---I've been looking forward to this for MONTHS!!! Susan's promised to step in if I get carried away, and I'm getting the hang of doing pictures.

Chris photographed a wedding last night, just a small one, maybe forty guests, with a pretty little reception down two steps behind the altar, into a big room with a cake table and a punch table.

The cake was a big rectangular one, with some swirled-on stringwork like a child’s attempt at Cornelli lace, and it was delicious, with a soft, vanilla-scented layer and buttery-vanilla frosting.

I sat out in the church for a few moments as he finished with the reception pictures, and just absorbed the quiet of the place, the stillness and the subdued glow from the ceiling lamps. Then he reappeared round the side of the altar, camera-strap looped over his arm, and a small plate of cake in each hand. They were very generous slices, big square slabs ---almost three-inch cubes. Just sitting there, on little slick, Styrofoam plates.

We shouldered strapped items, picked up tripod, rolled big clamshell case, and I went out into the cold night, bearing two awkward plates of cake. We just KEPT passing beautiful spots, places I had wanted to photograph and show you all of our beautiful city, and there I was, camera snugged into the backseat out of reach, my seatbelt caught in that can’t-move-an-inch grip, and a chunk of frosting-laden cake in each hand.

Our goal was dinner at Shapiro’s, :wub: and we reached it without mishap---UNTIL I tried to reach for the belt-clasp. The right-hand slice of cake slid off that slick little coaster and tumbled down across my black crepe pants---and it didn’t just fall. That thing rolled like a square wheel, turning corner over corner, going plop, plop, plop, leaving little footsteps of sticky white the length of my right leg, stopping just above my sandal-strap. I must have jumped in my dismay, because the left-hand hunk of cake went airborne, left a considerable bite on the end of the straw in the plastic cup next to me, and made quite a mark on the side of Chris’ pinstripe jacket as it passed.

Neither piece made it to the floor, so I fished them back onto the plates, rather the worse for wear, and sponged us off with paper towels as best I could before we went in, but we probably looked like refugees from the Lucy/Ethel factory.

We were not swayed. That whole rain-sleet-snow-gloom-of-night thing could have been written about Shapiro’s corned beef.

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So we went in, shared one of those too-tall sandwiches bursting with corned beef, two pickles, some marinated button mushrooms, and a dish of their marvelous potato salad---a lovely vinegar tang on the creamy-soft chunks of perfectly-cooked potato, with a tiny dusting of finely-grated carrot for color.

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I got permission to make pictures, going to all the cases of mile-high cakes and pies,

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This is undescribably SOFT white cake, with strawberry filling and a whipped-cream style frosting.

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The meringue on these tall beauties is applied by hand---literally. The ladies look like sculptors in white aprons and gloves, scooping up the big white handfuls, piling it on, smoothing and making that impossibly-tall peak.

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the cold cases with their succulent meats in every hue of rose in the palette,

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The cafeteria-style lineup was getting sparse by this time, so I got in line with my camera, snapped as we edged along, and was VERY careful not to delay anyone or interfere with their choosings and instructions to the sandwich-man.

The World-Famous Latkes, crisp and brown, with a creamy-soft center of shredded potato, served with a little cup of applesauce and a dab of horseradish. I just cannot tell you.

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The steam table---the yellow pan is their chicken/noodle dish, ladled out by the ton every day---a Winter lunchtime crowd will ask for the noodles and slurp them down, BEFORE tucking into those hearty sandwiches.

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A tiny lady just in front of me was asked "Cup or Bowl?" and she emphatically said, "BOWL!" He dipped several times, and she kept encouraging him til the bowl was almost too full to lift over the glass without spillage.

The salad line, from left: Marinated mushrooms; a devilled egg with the two halves stuck back together; small tossed; my favorite: Potato; some sort of kasha salad; coleslaw; three-bean; fruit; cottage cheese.

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Desserts:

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When I finally got to the end, I paused to snap the pyramid of drink cans; I love choosing a celery tonic or a Vernor’s---I’d heard of and read of those all my life, but Coke and Pepsi were the only game in town in all my growing-up years. When we first started going there, they had a huge bin of ice with the GLASS bottles of Coke embedded in all that frosty whiteness.

Sparkling that icy brew into an ice-laden glass---that thrilled this Southern girl’s heart every time. Just like going to the drugstore on Saturday afternoon and fishing one out of the ice-and-water-filled case; that hand-numbing moment was what reaching into Arctic waters must feel like, and the drink filled your mouth with FREEZE, then left a hot sting in your throat and eyes as it went down. Lovely.

Vernor's------------

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We did not order dessert----we had CAKE!!!!! We took two little clear clamshells from the takeout-box shelves and boxed up that pesky cake as soon as we got back to the car. Opening the door was like walking into a candyshop---the scent of vanilla and butter flavorings had filled our small car with sweetness. We made a reverse route on the way home, stopping in that beautiful clear night to let me snap a few photos of local landmarks.

Then we came home out of the cold, got into our sweats, made a pot of Earl Grey and ate up that battered, delicious cake whilst counting the Horations on a tape of CSI Miami. Nice way to end an evening.

edited to corral a wandering apostrophe


Edited by racheld (log)

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What wonderful writing and pictures! I'm captivated.

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Happy Thanksgiving Rachel!

I am looking forward to seeing a real southern Thanksgiving. I haven't celebrated it in six years. I guess I have gotten used to not having it anymore. I certainly have enough other holidays here to prepare lots of food. The one item I do miss and haven't made here because it is so damn fattening is:

North Carolina Yam Custard

I think my family would declare mutiny if my Dad doesn't make this.

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It's so LOVELY to hear from everyone!!!

A few weeks ago, we drove up to Lafayette to their annual Feast of the Hunter's Moon. I first heard of it ten years ago, from my seatmate on a plane, as I traveled back on one of those numerous trips to Mississippi in my Mother’s last days. Just listening to the nice young man tell of all the crafts and games and displays sounded SO interesting, and helped to keep my mind off my trip.

I knew this blog was coming up, and though this was not technically part of this week’s activities, I wanted to show some of the activities and displays from our day at the encampment. This is the closest I’ve been to seeing what might have occurred at that FIRST Thanksgiving, how hard the times were, how meager the fare in that still-wilderness which became our country.

We left early on a Saturday morning, stopping for breakfast on the way:

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There was a good-sized breakfast crowd, and we wafted in on the enticing scents of bacon and really GOOD coffee. The thick ceramic mug hit the table almost before we were seated, and a proud strong brew streamed into the cup.

Our table seemed to hold all the usual suspects, including a bowl of various-flavored creamers. I chose Irish cream for the first cup.

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Chris chose the blueberry crepes, with a side of two-fried-over-grits

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And I had the Western skillet---onions, peppers, ham, hashbrowns, all fried up and covered with scrambled eggs—a deconstructed Denver, I suppose, my one bow of the week to cuisine moderne.

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Mine came with a short stack, which were nice and fluffy,

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but I knew we had a long hot day outdoors ahead, so I settled for a couple of samples of the crepes.

It was a nice, homey breakfast, about forty miles up I-65, so we’ll probably wander back sometime; we love to roam the countryside, searching out Farmers’ Markets, thrift stores, and pretty scenes to photograph, especially the old barns melting into the ground. It feels as if they are the last of a dying breed, and when they’re gone, there won’t be any more.

We boarded a bus on the Purdue campus, and were taken miles out into the countryside, to a VAST, foot-beaten field, with trees and tents---there were lean-tos, small tents, family-size models, and a few two-tent mansions, several furnished with draperies, highboys, kitchen wares and a table, pictures on the walls and a real bedstead with linens, for the comfort of the campers who had been there since Thursday, and would depart on Monday.

I wondered at the time if the folks keep in character, even in relaxing times. Are the women discussing the outrageous price of dimity at the trading post, or what Miz Paula cooked on Saturday's program?

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There were Mountain Men:

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And Wolf Men:

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And the backbone of the settlers’ home: a feisty Granny-Woman to keep the pot boiling and the family on the right path.

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There was food for sale:

A good, hearty pot of Northern beans, with a multi-tasking utensil---they were stirred with the same paddle which brought their canoe down the Wabash.

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The humble Sauerkraut Stew might have had many takers, but the last of the batch was a bit the worse for wear, with no elegant paddle for stirring---their spoon of choice was a wooden stick.

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Other signs listed Frybread, Croquinoles, Buffalo stew.

The stew was one that caught my eye, not only for the bright red Hunt’s Tomato Sauce color, but for the little couple who purchased two flimsy white bowls of the stuff. They carried it and their swaddled baby over to a shady spot, sat down, and began to spoon up the steaming red stew. Perhaps it was the absolute authenticity of the event, in that there were NO concessions to modern food-for-sale; there were no nachos, no Frito pies, no grills set up to dispense burnt burgers and shuck-steamed corn.

The pair and their child sat and ate their supper, quietly speaking, taking turns holding the baby in their folded legs as they sat in the dirt. They wore rough clothes, and the wee one wore a long-tailed dress. Their demeanor was that of a subdued, hard-driven young couple, making their way along the trail to new horizons, not that of young folks out for a sunny afternoon of fun and games, who would toss off those hot clothes for shorts and tanks, cranking up a sizzling CD as soon as they hit the parking lot.

I noticed a dropped pink pacifier at my feet. I caught the mother’s eye, signaled to the lost passy, and she looked at it, at me, and back at it, with a puzzled look of one who gazes on an artifact unknown. With a little frisson of amazement, I had the absurd feeling that I was gazing at people of another age and time, lost in this strange place, finding others familiarly dressed and grubby, just having a meal and a rest before passing through.

A camp kitchen, which might have held the exact equipment which cooked that first Thanksgiving Feast:

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Hand-hewn treens for sale:

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All things wooden for cooking---I loved the way the polished spoons looked in the sunshine.

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The Pork Chop Purveyors---the sign caused me to giggle; I kept thinking of shampoos and aromatherapy. Pork potpourri---YUMMM.

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There were flintknappers, silversmiths, a couple of mob-capped young women teaching young folks a few games, with cards the size of paperback books. This group of items I was unsure of, though I had to keep my feet moving, lest I succumb to the siren-gleam of those silver pieces. I could only think that the blue plumb-bob things were for hanging in a sunny window---anyone know what they are, or what they’re used for?

But pretty is enough.

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Buy a buckeye for luck on your way home.

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We enjoyed our outing, especially the Highland Games, which featured stout-hearted, sturdy, kilted men tossing rocks the size of basketballs, and the caber---a long pole which is held upright in the hands and flipped once-over in the air, to land straight-on from the tosser.

All the ladies in their finery sat on the sidelines, cheering on their favorites. Then, they all jumped up, lifted their skirts knee-high and made a dash for what would have been the end-zone, where they seated themselves expectantly on the grass. The announcer explained that the gentlemen competing were now going to toss the sheaf.

Originally the sheaf WAS a sheaf of wheat, tossed over the head and as far behind the tosser as possible. It was now a sewn sack filled with straw, but the spirit is still intact. The ladies’ interest was sparked by the fact that it is impossible for the tosser to reach backward between his legs, bring up the sheaf from the ground, and toss it high over his head without flinging up his kilt in front.

And a good time was had by all.

We had a lovely stroll into the past, and it CERTAINLY made ME appreciate the present.

moire non,

rachel


Edited by racheld (log)

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It's true that at times I've had a suspicion that you really could not be *real*, Rachel. Daring furbelows, fantastic fritters, flights of fine fancy and elfish fun and all.

But if you are going to tell me that you ate this:

Then gosh darn it, I'm gonna have to believe in you.

:smile:

It's a New Moon today, good auspices - and I woke up with the song "Rock On" running through my head for some reason. So, "Blog On"! with all fine things coming your way this week as you show us You. :wink:

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Thank you kindly, Ma'am, for all those nice compliments. And we DID share the sandwich, though I had to take off half the meat from mine. I put it in a little clear go-box, headed for the door juggling camera, box, fresh hot loaf of their rye, and must have set it down to snap another picture, because it was not in the car when we arrived home.

Great wailings and gnashings!!! Losing Shapiro's corned beef. I should be banished.

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Rachel, this is wonderful! Your writing is so full of nostalgia and history, and you exude the warmth of family. All this really appeals to my sentimental side. I hope you don't mind that I've written a quote from you on the front page of my food journal:

..."It's just a way of keeping our dear ones close for as long as we can."

Although my grandmother lives an airplane ride away, she is always with me in the kitchen. Unfortunately, she abruptly lost her eyesight this Spring and can no longer work in her beloved kitchen. And even though I am making foods and breads far outside her own experience, it is her passion and drive that I carry with me daily.

Thanks for sharing your week with us.

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Thank you, Shaya---that is one of the loveliest compliments of my life.

And your Grandmother---what did you call her? I love hearing the pet names families use for grandparents.

Both of mine were Mammaw---the one who DIDN'T cook had her last initial tacked on to her title, to tell who I meant.

But the other---she was my guide and mentor, though she would never let my Mother near the kitchen. I'll be making her coconut cake and sweet potato casserole again this year, by her own recipes.

In this time of family and celebration, I'd love to hear what EVERYONE called their Grandmothers, and which one was the defining influence. And in some instances, we may need a little translation, which would just round out the experience.

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And your Grandmother---what did you call her?  I love hearing the pet names families use for grandparents.

Everyone calls her Mama. Her children, her grandchildren, and all 7 great-grandchildren. She lived with us when we were little, then got her own place and always came over on Mondays to prepare 3 or 4 meals for us for the week. I first met her when I was a baby, and as she tells it, she tossed aside my abominable baby food and fed me chicken and rice. From that moment on our bond was formed! After I moved away from home she would await my visits, and prepare countless tupperwares (she calls them "tuppaware") filled with goodies for me to freeze and eat for lunches. Now I find myself asking her what goodies in tuppawares I can bring home for her when I visit.

Our other Grandmother was Nana. She was cold, somewhat distant, and the only food memories I have of her involve her sneaking into her bedroom to bring us chocolate bars. :smile:

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. . . as good as when Aunt Mary made it. . .

My own Aunt Mary (Mayyyy-ry) was famous in the family for her corn. And once, when we were visiting her for Sunday dinner, I saw her cook it. She poured two cans of Pride of Illinois cream-style into a little skillet with a dot of butter and cooked it. And cooked it. It congealed and thickened and coalesced and all those good words. It took on a golden hue, becoming thick enough to pile on the spoon. She let that pan cook for probably an hour, growing more caramelly by the minute, and it was wonderful.

It was the dulce de leche of corn, a thing beyond the sum of its one part. That's the only thing I remember that she ever cooked, but it was GREAT corn.

At least in a child's mind---all that sweetness HAD to be a good thing. :wub:

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Racheld, I will go out into the world this morning with a smile on my face, thanks to you!

Where is that lovely deli? It would be worth a day's drive just to see it.


sparrowgrass

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    • By Panaderia Canadiense
      Wow, this is my third foodblog for the eGullet….  Welcome!   I'll be with you from Palm Sunday through Holy Sunday to give you all a taste of the veritable food festival that is Easter in Ecuador.  As usual, I intend to eat on the streets, visit a plethora of small shops and vendors, and talk about (and eat copious amounts of ) the specialty dishes of the holiday.
       
      A bit of background on me and where I am.  I'm Elizabeth; I'm 33 years old and since the last foodblog I've ceased to be a Canadian expat in Ecuador, and become a full-fledged Ecuadorian citizen.  I run a catering bakery out of Ambato, and I deliver to clients on the entire mainland.  I've got a large customer base in nearby Baños de Agua Santa, a hot-springs town about an hour downslope of me to the east; I'll be visiting it on Wednesday with close to 100 kg of baked goods for delivery.  Ambato, the capital of Tungurahua province, is located almost exactly in the geographic centre of Ecuador.  It's at an average elevation of 2,850 meters above sea level (slightly higher than Quito, the capital) - but this is measured in the downtown central park, which is significantly lower than most of the rest of the city, which extends up the sides of the river valley and onto the high plain above.  We've got what amounts to eternal late springtime weather, with two well-marked rainy seasons.  Ambato has about 300,000 people in its metro area; it's the fourth largest city in the country.  But maybe the most important thing about Ambato, especially to foodies, is that it's a transport hub for the country.  Anything travelling just about anywhere has to pass through Ambato on the way; it gives us the largest, best-stocked food market in South America.  I have simply staggering variety at my fingertips.
       

       
      This view, which was a teaser for the blog, was taken from my rooftop terrazzo.  It is a fraction of the panorama of the river valley that I see every morning, and since Easter is traditionally somewhat miserable weather-wise, the clouds stick to the hilltops.  The barrio you can see in the middle distance is Ficoa, one of the most luxury districts in the city.  Ambato is notable amongst Ecuadorian cities for having small fruit farms (300-500 m2) still operating within city limits and even within its most established barrios - it's from this that the Ambato gets one of its two sobriquets: The City of Fruits and Flowers.  The tendency for even the poorest barrios to take tremendous pride in their greenspaces gives the other: The Garden City.  My barrio, Miraflores Alto, is a working-class mixture of professors and labourers, and my neighbours keep a mixture of chickens, turkeys, and ducks in their yards; someone down the hill has a cow that I frequently hear but have never seen.  Consequently, if the season is right I can buy duck eggs from my neighbours (and if the season is wrong, entire Muscovy ducks for roasting.)
       

       
      Today, I'll be doing my largest fresh-food shopping at the Mercado Mayorista, the largest market of its kind in South America - this place covers nearly 30 square blocks, and it exists to both buy and sell produce from across the country.  Sundays and Mondays it also opens up to a huge, raucous farmer's market where smaller quantities are available for purchase.  Sunday is the day of the freshest food and the largest number of vendors.  And I'm going to cross more than half the city to get there - I've moved since the last blog, and my new house, on the slopes of the river valley is further away than the old one on the high plain.  I promise to take many pictures of this - particularly close to the High Holy days, the Mayorista is alive with vendors and there will be special sections cordoned off for sales of bacalao, truly enormous squashes, and if it follows the previous years' trends, a festival of Hornado (about which more later).  Apart from mangoes, which are just finishing up their season, it is harvest time across the country, and the Mayorista will be well stocked with all manner of fruits and vegetables.
       

       
      To start us off, I'll demystify one of my teasers a bit.
       

       
      The Minion head that peeks out of my cupboard every day belongs to my jar of ChocoListo, the Ecuadorian equivalent of chocolate Ovaltine.  Since I gave up coffee for Lent, it's my go-to morning beverage.  ChocoListo normally comes in the plain white jar with orange lid that you see in front of the Minion; that's now my hot chocolate jar because I just couldn't resist when the company came out with the specialty jars.  I firmly believe that one is never too old to have whimsical things!
       

    • By therese
      Good morning, y’all, and welcome to the party chez Therese.
      As per the teaser, this week’s foodblog does indeed come to you from Atlanta, where I live with my two children (hereafter known as Girl and Boy) and husband (hereafter known as The Man). Girl is 11, Boy is 14, and The Man is old enough to know better.
      Atlanta’s huge: the total metro population is about 4 million, and there are no physical boundaries to growth like rivers or mountain ranges, so people just keep moving (and commuting) farther and farther out of town. Atlantans can be divided into ITP (inside the perimeter) and OTP (outside the perimeter), the perimeter referring to the interstate freeway that encircles the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods, separating it from outlying suburbs. The politically minded may note that these areas could be designated red and blue. I’ll let you figure out which is which.
      We’re about as ITP as it gets, with home, work, school, and restaurants all in walking distance. The neighborhood’s called Druid Hills, the setting for the play/movie “Driving Miss Daisy”. The houses date from the 1920s, and because Atlanta has so little in the way of “old” buildings the neighborhood’s on the National Register as a Historic District. Charming, sure, buts lots of the houses need some updating, and ours (purchased in 1996) was no exception. So we remodeled last year, including an addition with a new kitchen, and this week’s blog will look at the finished product.
      So, some encouragement for those of you presently involved in kitchen renovation, some ideas for those who are considering it.
      But never mind all that for the moment: What’s for breakfast?


      Dutch babies, that’s what. And even better, these Dutch babies are produced by my children, the aforementioned Girl and Boy. The first picture is right from the oven, the second is after the somewhat messy job of sifting powdered sugar on top. They are delicious (the Dutch babies, I mean, not the children) and a great weekend treat.

      The Man drinks coffee in the morning whereas I prefer tea. He's not up yet, having played poker last night. I'm hoping he makes it out of bed in time for dinner.

      I also eat fruit whereas he prefers, well, anything but fruit. This is not such a bad thing, as it means that I don’t have to share the fruit. Pomegranates are a pain to eat, but not so bad if you’re reading the newspaper at the same time. This one’s from California, but you can also grow them here if you’ve got enough sunshine (which I don’t).
    • By Shelby
      Good morning, everyone and happy Monday!  
       
      It's me again....that girl from Kansas. 
       
       
      This is VERY spur-of-the-moment.  I was sitting here yesterday thinking of all of the canning etc. that I needed to do this week and I thought, well, why not ask you guys if you want to spend the week with me while I do it?  I got the ok from Smithy so away we go!
       
      This will not be nearly as organized as my first blog was.  But, really, when does a sequel ever measure up to the first?     
       
      Most of you know all about me--if you missed my first blog you can read it here.
       
      Nothing much has changed around here.  Same furry babies, same house, same husband  .
       
      Right now we have field corn planted all around the house.  In the outer fields we have soybeans that were planted after the wheat was harvested.  Sorry for the blur....it was so humid the camera kept fogging up.
       

       
      I just came in from the garden.
       
      I snapped a few pictures....for more (and prettier) pictures you can look in the gardening thread.  I always start out saying that I will not let a weed grow in there.  By August I'm like..."Oh what's a few weeds" lol.
       
       
       
      Here's a total list of what I planted this year:
       
      7 cucumbers
      8 basil
      23 okra
      4 rows assorted lettuce
      20 peppers-thai, jalapeño, bell, banana
      4 rows peas
      5 cilantro
      1 tarragon
      2 dill
      many many red and white onions
      7 eggplant
      3 rows spinach
      57 tomatoes
      5 cherry tomatoes
      7 rows silver queen sweet corn
      11 squash
      4 watermelon
      2 cantaloupe
      6 pumpkin
       
      I killed the cantaloupes...and I tried damn hard to kill the squash lol.....sigh...squash bugs came early this year and we sprayed with some kind of stuff.  WOW the plants did not like it, but they've come back and are producing.
       


      I just love okra flowers

      Found some more smut   
       

       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Pille
      Tere õhtust (that’s „Good evening“ in Estonian)!
      I’m very, very, very excited to be doing my first ever eGullet foodblog. Foodblogging as such is not new to me – I’ve been blogging over at Nami-nami since June 2005, and am enjoying it enormously. But this eGullet blog is very different in format, and I hope I can ’deliver’. There have been so many exciting and great food blogs over the years that I've admired, so the standard is intimidatingly high! Also, as I’m the first one ever blogging from Estonia, I feel there’s a certain added responsibility to ’represent’ my tiny country
      A few words about me: my name is Pille, I’m 33, work in academia and live with my boyfriend Kristjan in a house in Viimsi, a suburb just outside Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I was born and schooled in Tallinn until I was 18. Since then I've spent a year in Denmark as an exchange student, four years studing in Tartu (a university town 180 km south), two years working in Tallinn and seven years studying and working in Edinburgh, the bonnie & cosmopolitan capital of Scotland. All this has influenced my food repertoire to a certain degree, I'm sure. I moved back home to Estonia exactly 11 months and 1 day ago, to live with Kristjan, and I haven't regretted that decision once Edinburgh is an amazing place to live, and I've been back to Scotland twice since returning, but I have come to realise that Tallinn is even nicer than Edinburgh
      I won’t be officially starting my foodblog until tomorrow (it’s midnight here and I’m off to bed), but I thought I’ll re-post the teaser photos for those of you who missed them in the 'Upcoming Attractions' section. There were two of them. One was a photo of Tallinn skyline as seen from the sea (well, from across the bay in this case):

      This is known as kilukarbivaade or sprat can skyline A canned fish product, sprats (small Baltic herrings in a spicy marinade) used to have a label depicting this picturesque skyline. I looked in vain for it in the supermarket the other day, but sadly couldn’t find one - must have been replaced with a sleek & modern label. So you must trust my word on this sprat can skyline view
      The second photo depicted a loaf of our delicious rye bread, rukkileib. As Snowangel already said, it’s naturally leavened sour 100% rye bread, and I’ll be showing you step-by-step instructions for making it later during the week.

      It was fun seeing your replies to Snowangel’s teaser photos. All of you got the continent straight away, and I was pleased to say that most of you got the region right, too (that's Northern Europe then). Peter Green’s guess Moscow was furthest away – the capital of Russia is 865 km south-east from here (unfortunately I've never had a chance to visit that town, but at least I've been to St Petersburgh couple of times). Copenhagen is a wee bit closer with 836 km, Stockholm much closer with 386 km. Dave Hatfield (whose rural French foodblog earlier this year I followed with great interest, and whose rustic apricot tart was a huge hit in our household) was much closer with Helsinki, which is just 82 km across the sea to the north. The ships you can see on the photo are all commuting between Helsinki and Tallinn (there’s an overnight ferry connection to Stockholm, too). Rona Y & Tracey guessed the right answer
      Dave – that house isn’t a sauna, but a granary (now used to 'store' various guests) - good guess, however! Sauna was across the courtyard, and looks pretty much the same, just with a chimney The picture is taken in July on Kassari in Hiiumaa/Dagö, one of the islands on the west coast. Saunas in Estonia are as essential part of our life – and lifestyle – as they are in Finland. Throwing a sauna party would guarantee a good turnout of friends any time
      Finally, a map of Northern Europe, so you’d know exactly where I’m located:

      Head ööd! [Good night!]
      I'm off to bed now, but will be back soon. And of course, if there are any questions, however specific or general, then 'll do my best trying to answer them!
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