Monday, November 7, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
"She sighed, never enjoying suspense. It held one in thrall, plucking at tired nerves, and she was already tired. She would love to have a warm bath now - how many days had it been? - and then sit down to an America dinner. "Of hot dogs," she heard herself say, and was looked at in surprise by Farrell.
"Hot dogs?" he said. "Are you all right, Duchess?"
She laughed. "Just wistful."
Hot dogs? Yes please. We even had some in the fridge, along with some leftover hamburger buns that we reappropriated. I think that Mrs. Pollifax would have applauded our resourcefulness, and I for one, applauded their tastiness.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
At my local Publix or Whole Foods now, when I feel the rock hard peaches and pears, or I try to pick up a scent from the unforthcoming melons, when I bring home green beans or zucchini that have little more taste than the water with which they have been abundantly irrigated, not to mention the times that the musty smell of long storage forces me to discard what I have just bought, I think of the fragrance and juicy sugary flesh of the primazaro's fruits, of the concentrated flavor of his vegetables, and I wonder why we in America can't have better-tasting produce. Why aren't we showing the people who raise our produce how to be better farmers? Not necessarily organic farmers, or more efficient farmers, just plain old cultivators of good food. If our vegetables had taste and cooks were shown what they need to do with them, which is very little, everyone would eat more vegetables. Italians don't eat as many as they do because a government agency or the press tells them how healthy it is for them. They eat them because they taste so good. It is through irresistibly good taste - never mind "organic" or other fashionable categories - that food makes people happy and healthy.As someone who likes to eat lots of fruit, vegetables, and fresh herbs but doesn't have the money to even shop at musty old Whole Foods, I am constantly disappointed by the mediocre quality of the comparatively inexpensive produce I buy. Sadly, even if I do spend a lot it rarely makes a difference, unless I am getting my produce from a local farmers' market. I find it really frustrating both that I can't get good quality produce, and also that eating healthfully has become so demonized in America. Eating healthy foods, lots of vegetables and fruits and fresh homemade meals is great! It tastes great and makes you feel great. If that's not good living then I don't know what is. (And I certainly don't think that eating a ton of really unhealthy processed foods all of the time qualifies).
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Now after reading repeatedly about this ah-mazing sinfully delicious readily available item, I have held my ground and steadfastly avoided trying one myself. Now I have to admit it: I've never been to McDonalds. Never ever. I'm afraid that if I met Kinsey in real life that she wouldn't like me very much. Now that I think about it she probably would think that I was a health nut who took food a little too seriously. I have taken up exercising in the mornings though, so maybe we could go jogging together? Oh who am I kidding, Kinsey is a lone wolf, and I refuse to eat crummy fast food! We'd drive each other craaaazy.
In order to get a taste of this much talked about burger, I decided to take on the challenge and made my own version. A simple 1/4 lb beef paddy spiked with some garlic and worcestershire sauce grilled to perfection and topped with a generous squeeze of ketchup and yellow mustard a sprinkling of chopped white onion and topped off with a classic sesame bun.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
So far, I especially enjoyed her description of her first encounter with American food. While humorous, her grief over her inability to connect with or understand American cooking is clear.
Victor had taken me to a coffee shop where he ordered what he called the national dish, hamburger. He poured some red sauce from a bottle over it and encouraged me to try it. "It's called ketchup," he said, "and it's tasty." I was not prepared for its cloying flavor and I found it inedible. (That sweet taste over meat was an experience that I would be subjected to again, bringing me grief at my first Thanksgiving dinner.) The coffee tasted as though I had been served the water used to clean out the pot. I thought to console myself with dessert. I was able to figure out what the words "coffee cake" on the board meant, and that was what I ordered. It was stupefyingly sweet and loaded with cinnamon, which I loathe, yet with not the slightest trace of coffee flavor. "This must be a mistake," I said to Victor, "there isn't any coffee in here." "Oh, it's only called a coffee cake because it is served with coffee." To this day, I am mystified. A chocolate cake has chocolate, an almond tart has almonds, an apple pie has apples; why doesn't a coffee cake have coffee?In comparison to her struggles trying to find comfort and familiarity in the foreign and often alienating supermarkets of New York, when she returns to Italy she quickly falls into a natural rhythm when it comes to her cooking. With her return to her homeland she finally finds comfort and confidence, cooking intuitively, seasonally, and joyfully.
My cooking was very simple, usually guided by the vegetables that looked best to me that day. We might have pasta with zucchini or fresh tomatoes or cauliflower, or a frittata with asparagus or green beans or peppers and onion, sausages with fresh borlotti beans, veal stew with foraged mushrooms, or my mother's veal roll-ups, of which Victor was so fond. From a trip to the fish market, I might have brought back sgombero, small mackerel that I cooked over the stove like a pan roast, in olive oil, garlic, and rosemary. Or a kilo or more of our tiny Adriatic clams, peppery and soft like butter, a small mountain of them sauteed with lots of olive oil, garlic, and parsley, which we would eat with nearly their weight in marvelous crusty bread, sopping up their juices. Those noontimes together at home gave us such strength and encouragement.Great, now I want to move to Italy.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Now what does this have to do with food? Well, since I don't have many actual memories of my grandpa, I have to rely on stories about him. One thing that everyone seems to agree on when it comes to my grandpa is his appetite and sheer ability to eat huge quantities of food while maintaining a trim figure. My grandma was famous for her cooking. My grandpa was famous for his eating.When my we moved my grandma out of her house last year I came into an early inheritance of sorts. Lets just say I can cross "casserole dishes" off my hope chest wish-list. The one thing I got though, that didn't scream Grandma, was the The Great Hot Air Popper™, which I was told belonged to my grandfather.
I love the hot air popper. Sure it's a little funky. It worries me a little bit how the plastic smells when the machine gets really hot. But it definitely beats the pants off that icky ubiquitous microwave popcorn everybody eats these days. Plus, when I make my popcorn it makes me think of the stories my grandma and dad told me about going to the drive in theater with my grandpa, and how they would fill whole paper grocery bags with popcorn and he would drive too fast over the speed bumps in the theater lot and how much fun it was.
So in the spirit of healthy snacks, especially those passed on from one generation to the next, I suggest making a batch of home-made popcorn. Oh, and my grandma suggests pairing it with a show, right now she's loving Human Target, but she also recommends Covert Affairs, and always reliable Murder She Wrote reruns.
Air Popped Pop Corn
1/4 cup dried yellow corn kernels
Tablespoon of Butter (optional)
Salt to taste
Put the corn in the popper, plug the machine in, placing a large bowl under the chute. Meanwhile, melt the butter either in the little container atop the machine or in a little skillet on the stove. Toss the popped corn in the butter, coating evenly. Season with salt to taste.
Or you can just eat it plain, like I sometimes do. Crunchy, healthy, easy and economical, just the way I like my snacks.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
I recently bought a box of low-calorie chocolate covered ice cream popsicles. Yum, right? WRONG. There was something so cheap and sad about the way that they tasted. They were depressing and not at all satisfying. I forced myself to eat them up as quickly as possible, not because I actually enjoyed eating them but because I wanted them gone. What I'm trying to say is this: icky sweeteners are cheap and fake, they leave a bad taste in your mouth. Apples, however, are about as real it comes. Not only do they taste good, but you can feel good about how good they are for you. It's like a snowball of goodness. Did I mention that they come prepackaged in individual servings?
Plus, I've heard that they keep the doctor away.