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eG Foodblog: racheld - Thanksgiving and Goodwill


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I called my maternal grandmother Gramma and my paternal one Grannie.

It was Gramma who had the biggest influence on the way I think about food and feeding people.

my sister and I would spend a few weeks each summer on my grandparent's farm in east Texas. I remember padding down the dark hallway each morning, barefoot and in my nightgown. We would open the door to the kitchen and there my Gramma would be, dressed in her housecoat and wanting to know what we wanted for breakfast. The sky was the limit. I would usually ask for suasage and fried eggs and toast. My sister would ask for scrambeld eggs, bacon and biscuits. Gramma would fix it all and serve it so lovingly. The very few times( and I do mean very few) we asked for "just cereal," she would look almost heartbroken at not having the opportunity to cook for us. She gave us more than food at that kitchen table, she gave us so much love.

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

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Yankee-raised girl here with a completely Southern family. I claim both heritages as it suits me, thank you very much. Although I must confess I am much more like a northerner when it comes to writing thank you notes, fortunately those who taught me how to cook knew the southern secrets.

My father's mother is a bit of a cold woman and has always been called Grandmother. But my cousins who grew up in Texas and had ten years of knowing her before she got too lost in the bottle, call her Granny Goose. My father learned to cook from her, and Thanksgiving was something she excelled at. So now I have the family recipes for cornbread stuffing rich with bits of celery and egg, and good gravy, and smothered pork chops.

My mother's mother didn't think she was old enough to be a grandmother, and always insisted we call her by her first name, Peggy. She had a maid for most of her married life named Crezette (apparently a cousin of Lightning Hopkins, for those of you who know the name), and thus never became much of a cook. Crezette was famous for her biscuits, and big breakfast spreads, and taught my mother many recipes. Peggy only knew how to cook tuna fish cassarole with potato chips on top, or meatloaf with "fancy" green peas from the can along side. And though I've become a snob about lots of things, I still get big eyes at the very idea of that creamy casserole with the salty crunch on top.

I also have the gift of my great grandmother's recipes. She was named Granny and I'm told that she was a fantastic cook. My mother had many fond memories of learning to cook at her knee. Her family was from Alsace Lorraine, and had come to New Orleans when she was just a small girl. Her handwritten recipe book, titled "All the Good Things", occupies a place of honor on my bookshelf.

Thanks for the trip of memories - so appropriate on this nostalgia filled week!

The Kitchn

Nina Callaway

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Both sets of grandparents were known as Mama and Papa. My paternal great-grandparents were Oma and Sandwich Opa because they opened a deli when they came to the US in 1937. My maternal great-grandparents were Mamoo and Papoo.

I never knew my maternal great-grandfather, but Mamoo made the best cream of wheat I ever tasted. Creamy, with just enough milk and a hint of sugar. I was 4-years-old when she died.

Oma was an excellent cook. She never used measuring cups and we all struggled to learn how to make her amazing butter cookies. Oma also made fig and plum compote and homemade vanilla pudding. Her plum cake was to die for and she made this sticky chicken that I still can't figure out how to make. :hmmm:

Until now only my grandmother has been able to make the butter cookies, but she is 95-years-old now and can't see to bake anymore. The rest of the clan is still struggling to make them. My Dad and Uncle videotaped her making them, made her measure everything and then tried to make them themselves. They failed. I am been too afraid to try, but I have decided to try and make them next month.

I learned most of my baking skills from my paternal grandmother. She was an excellent baker up until a few years ago. She taught me how to work with pastry and how to make matza balls, chicken soup, roasted chicken and German yeast cakes. Her house always smelled of wonderful baked goods.

My maternal grandmother is also an excellent cook and she makes delicious stuffed cabbage, cherry cookies and my favourite coconut cake.

Sorry for the rambling. Now I have to go and wipe the tears away from my keyboard. I haven't seen my grandmothers in 3-1/2 years. I am going to see them next month. I can't wait to give them a hug.

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Oh my. I haven't been online all day and I feel like I've missed days of your foodblog but it's just beginning! What fun.

I kid you not, my Baba and especially my Zaida (grandmother and grandfather) Shapiro would have approved of this sandwich. (Really, my mother was a Shapiro). Hot mustard? :wub:


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What a wonderful blog...and who better to celebrate Thanksgiving with than Rachel?? I've been feeling like a fish looking for water since we came back to the States, and your blog is helping me re-assimilate. Thanks!

We called my paternal grandmother Nana. I don't remember much about her cooking, but she ALWAYS had a can of YooHoo for me in the fridge. I never drank YooHoo anywhere else, but I couldn't wait to drink it when I got to her house. Do they still make YooHoo?

My mom's Mom was called Busia. She came from the Old Country: Poland, and her cooking I remember! She made the absolute best pumpkin pie, it was only about an inch thick and it was pale orange in color, with little brown baked flecks, with a slightly sweet, off white, crumbly pie crust. The pumpkin wasn't too sweet, and it was light and fluffy, and actually tasted like pumpkin. There would be 7 or 8 pies laid out in the basement kitchen, ready for Thanksgiving dinner, but she always kept one whole pie for me, one I didn't have to share. We lost her unexpectedly and the recipe went with her. I could kick myself for thinking that I could get the recipe next Thanksgiving....

(and now I'm craving vanilla pudding!! These memories are just a wonderful thing to share!)

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One more thing to be grateful for this year.... Rachel is blogging!

Lucky lucky me! Good food and beautiful thinking / writing.

I had 2 "Nan"s, 1 "Nanna", and 2 "Grandad"s.

When referring to the Nans or Grandads in 3rd person, their last name was appended. Nanna was appended with her first name.

I have no idea if Nanna K could or did cook.

Nan W made big English fried breakfasts. I feel guilty for loving fried sliced bread, but there it is. Also bread & drippings. She introduced me to sharp cheddar and to green grapes, and made us "milky coffee": instant coffee, sugar and hot milk, even tho we were very young.

Nan C taught me to make jelly and jam the summer I was 5, when I picked clean the giant blackberry bramble in their backyard.

The grandparents all lived an ocean and a continent away, so visits were few and far between. I saw each Nan maybe 5x in my life that I can remember. Funny how food forms such strong memories.

In addition to Gramma and Grampa etc, the munchkin has a Granty B (Great Aunt B, that would be, to normal folk). Soon we will know how the paternal Aunties & Uncles will be termed.

As for that thankyou card thing.... its a compulsion. I cant rest til I send the darn things out either. But special STAMPS????? Woman, have you no pity? You do realize that I now have a mission at the post office.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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All the tales of grandparents makes me nostalgic, too. My maternal grandparents were Grandma and Grandpa. I don't remember him ever cooking and she was mediocre at best.

My paternal grandparents were Grandma and Skipper. He was the Skipper since my dad started referring to him on a long auto trip. He was the Skipper and Dad was the Navigator with Grandma as First Mate.

Grandma was an excellent and curious cook. They had had boarding houses in the boom towns of Nevada at the turn of the last century. She cooked and he worked as a millwright in the stamp mills.

No recent family members from any old country so it was mostly American home cooking unless Grandma G got recipes from our neighbors from other lands. She was using fresh herbs long before it became fashionable.

She made Pasta e Pesto but as the neighbor called it Basilico Macaroni, that was what it was called by all of us.

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Sorry for taking a break; there was a little emergency this p.m. and I had to dash off. Just got home thirty minutes ago.

Daughter had made a nice skillet of fried rice, mostly from leftovers; there was an extra pork tenderloin in the fridge, baked yesterday with its anointment of soy sauce and garlic. Slivers of that, little pearls of leftover Calrose, onions, peppers and bean sprouts---she's a genius.

She also made a dish of broccoli and snow peas, with a bit of Hoisin, some soy, garlic, fish sauce and a few fried shallots. It was wonderful to come home to a good hot dinner on this cold night. Somebody (probably online) is teaching her some GREAT dishes.

She can tell you the recipe for the Bhindi Masala tomorrow---I know it's okra, tomatoes, and lots of lovely air-perfuming spices.

I forgot to mention: I was so excited that this was about to begin, and Susan said to post after midnight---I woke shortly before then, and I've been enthralled and haven't been to sleep since. The sillies are about to set in, and since today's posts were so long and wordy, I think I'm going to bid all good night and gently fade away.

It's been a WONDERFUL day, a SUPERLATIVELY great day, with so much interaction and interplay and all the absolutely priceless Grandma stories. I did not imagine such a response, and am just awed at the memories and emotions that flowed from that one simple question.

Tomorrow: A little trip to a German Bakery, perhaps to the Hispanic one just here near our house, and friends to dinner!!! Our best friends have always celebrated Thanksgiving with us, but this year, this IMPORTANT year, they are invited to the home of their lovely daughter's Intended, with all the import of that gathering and meeting. I'm glad for them and they will join us for a good old Southern dinner tomorrow night.

Good Night, my lovely friends. It's been one of the most memorable days of my life.

Moire non,


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I just got home from work, fixed some food, and set up my laptop in front of my dinner to read while I eat..... I wish I had some Rachel-like words to give my thanks, here at Thanksgiving week, for the perfect eG blogger on this occasion.

Y'all, as she would say, are putting it into words, so add "inspiring" to the many descriptions we have for Rachel.

...And add stunning photography to captivating, beautiful prose when we are talking about her talents.

Best of all, she is genuine and sincere -- she has a real appreciation of food and drink and all it means.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, with special thanks to Rachel.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Oh, My. I am humbled and amazed. Styron and Fisher all in one day, and a wonderful day it has been.

Since I'll be away all day Friday, I plan to post a little surprise, a little silly thing, just for entertainment's sake. I do hope that those of you making your own memories with your children or grandchildren will read it to them, or let them read it at the computer with you.

And now, good night to all. Thankfulness is just the beginning.


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Oh, My, again, Susan. That, as Groucho Marx used to say, is "an e-comium of which I am not worthy,"---probably just before he said the one about he wouldn't belong to a club. . .

This has been a stunning, wonderful day. I just throw pages into boxes, boxes into closets, and there sit my thoughts.

I post a few, and the whole world opens like Dorothy's door. Wow.

Y'all just DO beat all.


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Rachel, you made me late for work this morning! I had a few extra minutes and decided to check eG, and had to read every word of your blog before I could leave.

You've opened the floodgates to so many amazing stories, at the perfect time of year. My grandmother (wai po, chinese for maternal grandmother) was the cooking influence in my family. She's in a nursing home now and can't cook, but I managed to get some lessons from her when she was still able to get around in the kitchen. Chinese meat pies, scallion pancakes, braises, egg drop corn soup (and not the goopy stuff you get for takeout). Last night I made one of her really simple soups: sliced lamb, cucumber, garlic and cilantro. It took me right back to her kitchen...

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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.

I'm enjoying your blog even if I'm probably going to have to finish it next week, as life has taken a busy turn and then we're away to the in laws for Thanksgiving itself. I need more TIME!

Both sets of grandparents were simply Grandma and Grandpa (pronounced gramma and granpa, the d's were always silent). My paternal grandparents were not much of an influence, as they lived 8 hours away and that was a LONG distance to drive in those days, especially on the East Coast. I know they loved us, and when we went to visit them we always ate homemade sauerkraut and hard boiled eggs pickled in beet juice, both of which seemed very exotic to me at the time.

My maternal Grandmother was THE influence. Grandma was definitely a force: extroverted, opinionated, generous to a fault, she was definitely a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately she was also very difficult to live with, at least partially caused by her chronic depression.

If a holiday celebration was held at Gram's, she cooked. She was a good, capable midwestern cook - not very inventive, but very rarely making anything inedible. (Her red jello salad with canned fruit cocktail topped with a dollop of mayonnaise being the notable exception for me.) Her repertoire ran mostly to roast beef, ham, turkey, or hamburgers with the appropriate sides.

But Gram also baked. Most of her recipes came from Mrs. Worman, one of her friends. These recipes were so good that they're now family staples - we all have copies of the recipes for Mrs. Worman's Butter Cookies and Mrs. Worman's Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, among others. These are the tastes of my childhood.

When Gram passed on, I asked for her cookbooks. Sadly, most of them had been lost/given away through the years, but she had two church cookbooks left. And yes, I have them now.


who is drooling over your bakery pictures

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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Damn these pregnancy hormones, the day started with a few tears and got worse when I came on here and read this wonderful blog and the lovely references and memories of grandparents.

I had a Grandma on my dad's side. Grandma made chutney and jam and cooked wonderful meals with fresh veges from grandpa's garden. She made cakes, lamingtons and all things sweet and bad for you. She was a lot older than my Oma. Oma is Dutch and her cooking was/is not standard Australian fare (thank goodness). Oma's kitchen was big enough for me to "help" from an early age. She had a wood stove and we were allowed to heat up stew or casserole etc in the saucepans from a little metal tea set. Oma made food with lovely spices and flavours.

My children have a Grandma and Grandad, and an Oma and Grandpa as well as Great-grandmothers - Granny and Oma Mab (my Oma).

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Whew. Just got caught up with this wonderful blog. Warm, evocative, sentimental writing, some of the best photos of baked goods I've ever seen, great-looking wooden utensils and blue glass, and real down-home cooking and memories mixed in. Indeed, Susan chose the right week for you to blog.

I never knew Grandpa Davis, as he died before I was born. Grandma Davis -- I called both her and Dad's mom "Grandma" -- was a jovial presence in my life for the first eight years of it, but I remember her as vividly for her last year on this planet, hooked up to an oxygen tank, barely able to move around her house.

The bulk of my grandparenting, and all the Sunday dinners, came from the Smith side of the family. I spent almost every Sunday with Grandma (Smith) and Grandpa, during which time we would go on scenic drives around the region--up to Fort Leavenworth, over to see the Civil War cannonball still lodged in the Johnson County Courthouse portico in Lexington, to Topeka to see where a tornado had taken a bite out of the state Capitol dome, and sometimes all the way across the state to St. Louis. Grandma would always pack sandwiches -- liverwurst and cheese was (and remains) my favorite -- and we'd eat at a rest stop somewhere on I-70 on the way down.

If the trip was to a place nearby, the day ended with dinner prepared by Grandma. (Some of it would be cooking before we departed.) All of it was good, and the veggies usually came from the garden Granddad (and Dad, after Granddad died) tended, but what I remember most were the rolls she baked--hot out of the oven and so delicious. (Well, I do have one other vivid memory: Granddad letting me have a taste of his Coors at age four.)

Thanksgiving was when Grandma pulled out all the stops. Turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, collard greens, cranberry sauce -- jellied, thank you -- and more of those wonderful rolls, topped off by pumpkin pie for dessert.

I guess my own Thanksgiving efforts are an attempt to channel Grandma in a different place and context.

Going back to your initial post, Rachel: Indiana "the northernmost of Southern states"? I know that southern Indiana, like southern Illinois, has much in common with the lands across the Ohio, but I've never thought of Hoosier country as particularly Southern. I would sooner attach that designation to my native Missouri, which recapitulates just about all the country's regional splits within its borders -- and which was a slave state, after all.

Or do you live in Kentucky now?

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Great blog, rachel!

In Cantonese, we call our paternal grandmother "Ma Ma" (more like "Maa Maa", need to lower the Arr sound. As "Ma Ma" (short Arr) means mother), and our maternal grandmother "Poh Poh". Thanks to the Chinese single-syllable words, and repetition to make it easy for young children. But... like many things Cantonese, we usually add a meaningless adjective "Ah" in front of a noun. So more commonly you would hear "Ah Maa" and "Ah Po". (Same way that I got my nick name "Ah Leung" :smile: )

I look forward to seeing some of your daugther's cooking. :raz:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Oh Rachel, I just have to delurk to say this.

I have loved and faithfully followed all the foodblogs on eGullet (often several days or weeks after the fact, due to shiftwork-related exhaustion), but I never dared hope to see you blogging.

I love your lyrical style or writing, so evocative, so glorious.

Hats off to you!


" ..Is simplicity the best

Or simply the easiest

The narrowest path

Is always the holiest.. "

--Depeche Mode - Judas

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My maternal grandmother, an extraordinary lady, is a cancer-sufferer but is still going strong as she approaches her 91st birthday in January. I call her Lola, Filipino for grandmother, and miss her terribly. She was a school teacher, classical pianist and preacher's wife (my Lolo, 15 years her senior, passed away some 17 years ago), creative enough in the kitchen to feed the inevitable crowd gathered in her dining room on a shoestring budget even during the leanest of times.

For a couple of years, my Mom and I lived with my grandparents before we emigrated to Canada, and I'm certain that my love for food was born in her kitchen. One of my earliest memories is the sweet, musky smell of a batch of Lola's guava jam simmering on the stove and her arms around me as I helped her stir the pot... or scattering grain across the back yard and watching the chickens come running... or standing in her kitchen doorway, clutching a mango pit in my little four-year-old hands and grinning with delight as the juice ran down my chin and my elbows. On special days, the two of us would bundle into a pedicab and take a ride to the Magnolia House ice-cream parlour. I'd chatter all the way there with giddy excitement, and our exchange would invariably go something like this. "What kind of ice cream are we going to have, Ying (a childhood nickname)?" "Any kind you like, Lola... but Super Mocha only, okay!" I'd slide into the booth beside her and we'd spoon into the pint of ice cream together... my mind's palate can still taste that creamy coffeed goodness.

Recently, while hunting through family archives to dig up photographs for my son's school project, I came across the travel journal I kept during my last visit to the Philippines eight years ago. In one entry, I reflected about comparing hands with my Mom and my Lola one afternoon, three generations of hands with the same slightly crooked pinky finger. I held up my hand against my Lola's to measure and was astonished to find that our hands are virtually identical. Small, strong hands, hers worn from years of caring for others. That afternoon, I remember wishing that my hands would be as capable as hers and my Mom's had been in motherhood... comforing, nurturing and sure.

My Lola is very special to me and I do miss her so. Thank you, Rachel, for opening the floodgates of memory for so many of us.

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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Good Morning, Everyone!!!

It's just a joy to hear all the memories, to bring out all the memories, to give a remembrance to our past. I've felt a tug on my heartstrings every time I open a post, scrolling down to hear the names, to hear the thoughts, the little quirks and the great and wonderful amount of interest given by our grandparents. And the theme is kin, as well: Kitchen, cooking, eating together.

I love the shapes of the names---all the ahhs and ohs and MMMMMs in the forming of the syllables. And we are learning of each other, of our past experiences, and childhood memories are sometimes the sweetest. I think of our grandmothers, how early they must have risen, have dressed and gone into that sunrise kitchen, cranking up the woodstove, the Tappan, the General Electric, getting the scents of the familiar into the morning air.

I cannot tell you how appreciative I am of the trusting aspect of all this, how we remember and share with each other, digging deep into the sense-memories, the scents and the tastes---that coffee ice cream; the liverwurst sandwich, packed in waxed paper and crinkled open miles from home; the kimchee with its pungent authority born of careful preparation; the fresh-from-the-hen-with-your-own-hands egg not five minutes from the nest, served up golden on a plate.

We say, "Here, this is mine. This is who handed me a spoon, who stood me on a chair, who let me stir and pat and taste." And though we had patted out one biscuit with clumsy hands, we beamed proudly when the entire pan was presented as "our" work.

More markets, cooking, bakeries, little peeks into my kitchen to come.

moire non

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I really had three grandmothers -- two by blood, and one fictive. My mother's mother was called Grandma ("Gramma"). The main thing I remember her cooking is stuffed cabbage, with dried fruits and ginger snaps. I always loved it, but when my mother and I have made it from her recipe, it's never tasted like I remember it. Maybe I just don't like it as much, or maybe it's missing the magic of a grandmother's love. I still miss her. Grandpa ("Grampa") died when I was four or five, so I don't remember as much about him, except that he was so tall (only 5"6', but I was little then) and a benevolent presence. I remember him giving me guava juice to drink when I visited my grandparents in Miami in 1969.

My father's mother was called Baba, Ukranian for Grandmother. My father drove us across the Queensborough Bridge every Saturday to visit Baba, and I always remember the delicious smell of the bread baking in the Silvercup factory below the overpass on the Queens side; even though Silvercup bread was not good, the smell of it baking was delectable. Baba was a diabetic when I knew her, so I remember her having various kinds of dietetic cookies around, like Stella d'Oro breakfast treats. But I also remember that there was always ripe fruit and compote - not for drinking, but for eating. Stewed prunes and so forth. And I always liked it. I also remember that there were almonds and filberts and walnuts in quantity and a wooden nutcracker that we passed around. Baba was a forest Jew, having been born in a village in a forest clearing in what's now Ukraine (then part of the Austrian Empire). There were always flourishing, leafy plants of all varieties in her apartment. Unfortunately, I never met her husband, who was a heroic labor organizer: He died when my parents were not yet engaged. Baba died when I was eight, and it took me some time to get over that, because we were very close. She used to sing me a lullaby from the old country that had a melody like one of Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances (actually, all of those dances feel very nostalgic to me, and I have a deep affinity to them). I remember that when Baba died, people came to our apartment and I think some of them brought food for us. We had cold cuts like tongue, pastrami, and turkey; cakes, vegetables and fruit, I think. I remember that many relatives and friends came by and my father was reeling and my mother wasn't doing so well, either. Put yourself in the place of an 8-year-old who had never seen his father so shaken and who was upset himself and unable to fully comprehend what was going on, other than that someone he loved and who loved him had just died. I felt that it was a good thing that all the more distant relatives and friends came by to distract us, be stronger than us, and bring us food, although the whole thing seemed a little unreal to me. I thought it was too bad when they left and we were left by ourselves again.

My fictive grandmother was Mrs. Carr, whose first name was Ethel. She was a Baptist from Mississippi, and lived on 112th St. and Lenox Av. in Harlem when that was a really awful, dangerous neighborhood. She used to come once a week or so and help clean things in my parents' apartment, and she also sometimes babysat me (she loved children and was an excellent block-player). But as I recall, she never arrived emptyhanded. She always came with some wonderful home-cooked delight - sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, apple pie, black-eyed peas, collard greens, cornbread, bread pudding -- you name it. My mother always told her she needn't have, but it gave her pleasure. My mother paid her as well as she could from funding from a Danforth grant for her graduate school, which had a line item for child care. Later, when Mrs. Carr was too old and frail to work and I was older and didn't need a babysitter so much, the checks continued to come, and my parents just sent the money to Mrs. Carr. She was invited to come and have dinner with us every so often, and my mother would cook for her. She was a wonderful person, and my taste for soul food comes from her beautiful soul. I remember that in spite of all the hardship she endured, she always had a smile for everyone and called everyone "Sugar," not because they were sweet but because she was. After her apartment had been burglarized five times, my mother prevailed upon the proud old lady to leave behind her beloved neighborhood church and friends and accept an offer from a nephew to move into his place in the Pittsburgh area. We never heard from her after that, so we figured she must have died shortly thereafter.

Rachel, thank you for helping me to remember my grandparents. I love and miss them all and I hope they are enjoying their alternate existence, whatever state they are in.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"


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With all the rushing about yesterday that came up unexpectedly, we got a bit off the schedule we had planned. Daughter's Ma Po Tofu dinner turned out to be just the dish of fried rice when I got home out of the cold night.

So, I think she'd like me to show you a previous pan, a little photo-taking when I was learning to use the camera and she was in the kitchen.

All set out, ready to go:


My Daddy always said, "There's no way to mess up a dish by starting with some fried onions and peppers---except maybe boiled eggs and Jello." This one just uses onions. And Garlic.


Tofu is like a teenager looking for a peer group; it takes on the persona of its surroundings


Sizzling up the garlic, ginger, onion in peanut oil: This is when the house gets irresistibly fragrant. Daughter works nights, and comes in ready for dinner, when I'm barely vertical. She goes cheerily into the kitchen, chopping and slicing, setting out all the necessaries in a little tableau.

Then, when the cooking starts, we're all enveloped in a fragrance, a blanket of warm anticipation that says, "Eggses---who needs eggses? Toast? Who ever heard of such a thing---I want Ma Po Tofu!!!" I usually do the rice, three cups of Calrose, the short, roundy little grains. I like the washing, the squeezing of those little dry kernels as the warm water flows into the pot. It usually takes about three rinsings to get the water JUST clear enough, then a little salt in the palm, a stir as it comes to the boil, then the gentlest possible flame, to collect its thoughts and turn into perfect little translucent pearls, tender and soothing under the heat of the spicy cloak.


In between came the saucing, the mixing of all the flavors in a bowl, the careful hand with the hot elements, the generous one with the sweet and rich. A simmer, a stir-in of the slurry, and it's a lovely pool, ready to receive the chunks of tofu and give them their new personality:


And here 'tis, our little kitchen version of a lofty dish, learned at the feet of the Master:


We somehow even happened to have a set of his dishes:


Fried rice, just like last nights---onion, sliced pork, bean sprouts:


Pay no attention to the dumplings lurking on the sidelines--they came out of a box.

But the dipping sauce was Heavenly.

Our feast:


So---that was supposed to be dinner last night, and since we have people invited for a couple of other nights, and Thanksgiving night, etc., this was it, in retrospect.

Gee, I wish she'd worked LAST night---she'd be in the kitchen right now, stirring up that heavenly aroma.

Edited by racheld (log)
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Hey, Y'all!!! A little tech support, if you can.

I was just sailing along, uploading pictures, and now when I get to the part that says "Browse" and click on that, I go to my big list of pictures I want to select from, but it won't let me double-click to get them. As soon as I do the double-click, it zooms right back to the browse screen and I've posted THREE little totally black pictures in my steadily-getting-fuller albums.

Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong?



I GOT it!!!! It was a re-size thing, and it's working now. Couldn't let you miss out on looking into my coffee cabinet and fridge, now could I?

Edited by racheld (log)
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Rachel, I will be sure to drive up to Indy to that deli the very next time I visit my son in Bloomington.

I lived for 5 years near Bedford, IN, and I can vouch for the "Southern-ness" of the area.

When your choices at a "meat and three" or buffet include hominy, ham and beans and fried cabbage, you are closer to Atlanta than to Chicago.

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      The first week of November are „autumn holidays“ in the area where I live. We wanted to use that time to go to Paris, but when my parents-in-law somewhat surprisingly announced they‘d be coming over from Spain for the whole of November, we scrapped that idea and looked for something more German …
      So … Berlin. Not the best time to travel (cold & rainy), but with a couple of museums for the little one and the slightly older ones to enjoy together, plus some food options I was looking forward it was a destination we could all agree on. The Covid19 warnings in the Berlin subway support that notion …

    • 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


      Beef with Bitter Melon

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice


      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.
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      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.
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      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.
    • 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. 


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    • 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


      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.
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