Sometimes having zero context gives freedom, but there is a fine line between having the freedom to use your own style and messing up what others hold very close. Food, on top of being nourishment, is such a sentimental thing. People talking about food go on about grandmothers. Cooks with amazing training and mind-boggling skills devote hours recreating junk food from their childhood. It goes even further when things get cultural. It goes back far further than grandma in cases like these and my instincts, as I found in this case, are often wrong. Continue reading
After being disappointed by several new highly regarded, cheffy cookbooks over the winter, I decided to pull in the reins a little and look to some of the classic teaching cookbooks – I mean, I could not stop buying them altogether. In an earlier post, I referenced the Good Cook series as great resources, so I picked up a rare UK only edition on Game. Searching for old cookbooks reads a bit as I was record collecting and it is not entirely far off. There is a collection aspect to it. There is the thrill of the hunt, like record collecting. And like collecting classic records, the content is, in many cases, timeless when you hit on some great books. When I was searching for the Good Cook “Game” book, the Foods of the World series kept coming up in searches. Like the Good Cook series, it is a Time-Life series, but from earlier on - the late 1960s/early 1970s. When I looked into the books, it seemed the be encyclopaedic – 54 volumes with narrative and recipes. I found a used complete set online for a few bucks per book and picked it up in short order. Continue reading
It has been months since our trip to Charleston. As mentioned in a post about boiled peanuts, one of the stops we the local farmer’s market. We picked up those green peanuts, and we also picked up a bag of hibiscus buds. The reality of actually having to figure out what to do with them did not hit me until we arrived at home. I tossed some into a salad as both color and flavor – the buds carry a subtle acidic tanginess, but then thought I might buy myself a little time and went into preservation mode. Continue reading
If you read enough about food, and I read far too many things about food, certain things begin to stick in your craw. I understand you might still be thinking about your meal again. For the third week in a row your mind is blown? You notice certain writers lean on the same crutch over and over again. You notice phrases like “figured out what men crave”. Continue reading
Late in 2008, we took a trip, or better said, we ran away to Kauai. After a very difficult year, we spent years worth of earned air miles and almost all of our vacation days on a trip where we spent mornings alone on the beach, afternoons driving up and down the North shore, and the evenings drinking cava and eating poke. That is a gross simplification of our trip, but from moment one to the step off of our return flight, it was one of the most restorative periods of my life. Continue reading
We host a dinner party periodically which is actually just a book club to which my wife belongs. Typically those types of groups are simply drinking clubs, but this one adds food and actual books. About a week before book club, I realized my original plan of serving cassoulet had been done before. By me. Last winter. It seems as when the weather grows cold, I cook beans – large pots of beans with sausages and off cuts.
Actually I should have never been surprised. Beans and meats are fantastic and this weather has forced my hand. Only, I am not a repeater. Knowing fabada is a not-so-distant cousin to cassoulet, I figured there must be more cousins. I just needed to look. Continue reading
In preparing for a dinner party, I started by making a batch of linguica. A fresh sausage smoked like Andouille, but with the flavors similar to Spanish chorizo, linguica is delicious and versatile. Great in beans, with vegetables, and on a bun, this sausage of Portuguese origin deserves more recognition. Continue reading
Raindrops on roses. Bright copper kettles and warm, woolen mittens. Coffee and cured meats. These are a few of my favorite things. It is already February, but in November I was in a particularly Julie Andrewsish mood, so I decided it was time to combine coffee and cured meats.
There are foods which you go out of your way to eat. A canele from Bad Wolf coffee, churros from Masa Azul, and tots from Nightwood are a few for my family. For me, there are also a few. One is pozole from Butcher & Larder. Driving a half hour for soup is something that requires a certain dedication, but I am nothing short of dedicated about B&L’s pozole (think “Faithfully“). Being short sighted, I never buy more than a quart when Chris and Rob make a batch. With the Chicago weather hovering near zero for basically a whole month, I was left without pozole for most of it. Continue reading