Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Food Media’ Category

2381084047_d3984765c2
Yes, I said “that”, not “what”.

Interesting article from The Economist, titled “What’s Cooking” from The American Association for the Advancement of Science. (Please do ignore the obvious capitalized letters and what they state in the shortening of that group’s name).

YOU are what you eat, or so the saying goes. But Richard Wrangham, of Harvard University, believes that this is true in a more profound sense than the one implied by the old proverb. It is not just you who are what you eat, but the entire human species. And with Homo sapiens, what makes the species unique in Dr Wrangham’s opinion is that its food is so often cooked.

Cooking is a human universal. No society is without it. No one other than a few faddists tries to survive on raw food alone. And the consumption of a cooked meal in the evening, usually in the company of family and friends, is normal in every known society. Moreover, without cooking, the human brain (which consumes 20-25% of the body’s energy) could not keep running. Dr Wrangham thus believes that cooking and humanity are coeval.

In fact, as he outlined to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in Chicago, he thinks that cooking and other forms of preparing food are humanity’s “killer app”: the evolutionary change that underpins all of the other—and subsequent—changes that have made people such unusual animals.

Sounds good to me. In fact, it reminds me of a poem.

We may live without poetry, music and
art;
We may live without conscience and live
without heart;
We may live without friends; we may
live without books;
But civilized man cannot live without
cooks.
He may live without books,-what is
knowledge but grieving?
He may live without hope,- what is
hope but deceiving?
He may live without love,- what is
passion but pining?
But where is the man that can live
without dining?
Owen Meredith

Honestly, I got so excited about this idea that I just held out my hand to grasp my coffeecup and down a bit of the subtle delicious brew and was so focused on the page that I grabbed my pen and pencil pot instead, and almost swallowed a handful of sharp pencils and pens.

Uncooked.
That’s the worst part.

Read Full Post »

A few months ago I saw a bakers rack stuck in the middle of the cookbook section of my local Barnes & Noble. I got confused for a minute. It was like having a TJ Maxx Moment, if you know what I mean. Now the stuff on the rack, the ‘cookware’ to use the correct term (though usually I call them pots, pans, and ‘that thingie over there’) was very cute. And there was this big book with a photo of Mario on the cover hovering over the whole thing. Now Batali is no little flit in the night sort of chef. He knows what he’s doing, so I stopped to take a look. A song popped into my mind: Al Green, of course! ‘Love and Happiness’.

Oh yeah! I was feeling it. Mario was into it. Into what, you ask? Into spreading the love, the happiness, the sheer joy of having the right cookware (which we know as pots, pans, and ‘those thingies over there’)! And he’d brought it on home, baby. Right home to the center of the cookbook section.

I must not have been feeling the love that day, for apparently a noise inbetween a gasp, a guffaw, and a sad moan escaped my lips, which made several of the customers lounging about in the deep fat corporate-style beige chairs reading cookbooks while drinking up their jumbo-size Starbucks lattes slowly, like good little people, glance up at me cautiously.

Much as I respect Mario (and have no doubt, I do!) my traipse to cashier’s aisle was filled with a sort of bewilderment tossed with a hint of sadness. Where would it all end? Would the right sort of cookware to buy soon be falling off bakers racks towards me at Office Max? At the dentist’s office? Or maybe at the oil change place . . .

Yesterday as I drove by Barnes & Noble, I noticed a change. The Racks of Mario (as I’ve come to think of them) have moved forward and are now placed smack-dab in the front window of the store. No longer do they need hover self-effacingly in the cookbook section. No! The display window of the entire bookstore is the right place for cookware! (which we know as pots, pans, and ‘that thingie over there’).

Either that or those pots and pans need to be sold. Like, now.

391618099_99196de3d4

Mmm mmmm. Love and happiness. It make you wanna do wroooong, make you wanna dooo right.

Read Full Post »

Wiki Doodle Dandy has this to say about the dear man:

Švankmajer’s trademarks include very exaggerated sounds, often creating a very strange effect in all eating scenes. He often uses very sped-up sequences when people walk and interact. His movies often involve inanimate objects coming alive and being brought to life through stop-motion. Many of his films also include clay objects in stop-motion, otherwise known as Clay Animation. Food is a favourite subject and medium. Stop-motion features in most of his work, though recently his feature films have been including much more live action sequences rather than animation.

A lot of his movies, like the short film Down to the Cellar, are made from a child’s perspective, while at the same time often having a truly disturbing and even aggressive nature. In 1972 the communist authorities banned him from making films, and many of his later films were banned. He was almost unknown in the West until the early 1980s.

Today he is one of the most celebrated animators in the world. His best known works are probably the feature films Alice (1988), Faust (1994), Conspirators of Pleasure (1996), Little Otik (2000) and Lunacy (2005), a surreal comic horror based on two works of Edgar Allan Poe and the life of Marquis de Sade. The two stories by Poe, “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” and “The Premature Burial”, provide Lunacy its thematic focus, whereas the life of Marquis de Sade provides the film’s blasphemy. Also famous (and much imitated) is the short Dimensions of Dialogue (1982), selected by Terry Gilliam as one of the ten best animated films of all time.[2] His films have been called “as emotionally haunting as Kafka’s stories [3]

If one meal is not enough, there is more to watch on YouTube. Just whistle. You do know how to whistle, don’t you?

Just pucker up and blooooooooowwwwwww

Read Full Post »

In this vintage ad from the 1940’s we’ve now discovered how the Chiquita Banana Helps the Pieman – and have also had a fascinating demonstration on how to flute a banana.

But that’s only dessert. ‘Where’s the beef?’ (Clara would ask) – and here it is:

Recipes from Gourmet magazine during the 1940’s, from the archives. Note the simplicity of the instructions, and remember – the founder (in 1939*) and publisher of Gourmet was a fellow named Earle MacAusland, who loved huntin’ and fishin’  . . .  in a gentlemanly-gourmet sort of way.

Tequila Por Mi Amante

Oyster Waffles Shortcake

Creamed Woodchuck

Bachelor’s Defense

Moving right along, if you’re still prone to hunger pains, to some

Blacktail Buck Steaks

finished off with (don’t forget the banana pie too)

Imprisoned Fruit

. . . the recipe for which starts off with

Look over your tree carefully in the springtime, when the blossoms are gone and the fruit is just beginning to form. Choose a few choice specimens, each at the end of a branch, and insert the branch gently into the neck of a large bottle, until the fruit is well inside. The next job is to support the bottle so that it stays in place in the tree. This may be done with ropes, if the tree is large enough, or it may be necessary to build up wooden supports to hold the bottle.

At first, the native feel of the menu made me think of gentle old-timey innocent images in my mind. Little boys goin’ out to catch a mess of fish, oh so cute in their rumpled overalls

282203684_fcd08edfe9

But then upon musing on the menu components a bit further, it seemed to me that (more likely) the intent of all this cooking (whether done by the above-mentioned ‘bachelor’ or by his feminine equal) would be in hopes of something more along the lines of this, from Tino Rossi, 1945:

P.S. Edit added: *This date (1939) is not confirmed by source (yet). No bessame mucho here. Yet. 🙂

Read Full Post »

2656560719_0dc710d64c_o

Ouch. It’s January 2009, and wallets previously ready to fly open at the slightest beckoning call of the local free-range organic rabbit (head still on, bones intact, tiny tail bone looking rather pitiful now shed of its cute fluffy fur) for $7 per pound – which effectively makes the cost of the meat shorn of the bones somewhere around $15 per pound – those wallets are balking.

But it is not 1940. And we are not in London. And we are not kept busy in the ways the Women Firewatchers shown in the above photograph (from British Vogue in 1940 by Lee Miller) were kept actively busy at that time.

But getting back to the wallets of 2009. Some will still open. Many more will not.

Pain shows in the hearts and faces of men and women when facing their finances. Not only have their retirement funds been hobbled but food – right now – today! – is becoming more and more expensive. What’s a person to do?

This poverty is a different shape, here and now in 2009, than it has been in times past. For aside from the fact that the grocery stores are still filled to over-brimming with every product from almost everywhere in the world, there is the question of those wallets. Are those wallets as damaged as they have been in past times of hardship? Not being an economist, I can’t answer that.

But I do know that in past times though there may have been mortgage payments and utility bills and all the usual expenses of day-to-day life, there was no monthly cell-phone bill . . . there was no monthly cable or internet connection bill . . . there was no high health insurance payment due . . . there usually was not a second or third car payment bill due . . . and let’s not even start talking about the cost of a higher-education where funds must be saved or financed for the Masters or Ph.D rather than for the Bachelors degree – which now for the most part is about as useful to the job-seeker as a High School degree was in times past – useful, that is, as a mere nod into the door of a low-paying entry job.

In times of hardship one looks to times of past hardships for answers: what to do, how to survive. There’s also the sense of seeking reassurance that indeed, people did survive. They did live and love and eat and hate and plot and plan and dream and finally either regain their feet – or if not – simply go on living, somehow.

One of our most-revered writers on life, food, and hungers – MFK Fisher – wrote a huge body of work during the 1940’s during times of war and some hardships. Consider the Oyster (1941) was written as she and her husband Dillwyn Parrish fled a war-torn Europe to come back to the US. Dillwyn was dying – in a most painful way – in a way where his body was slowly, bit by bit, being claimed by Buerger’s disease. How to Cook A Wolf was published in 1942 – the year when the rationing (already in place in England) finally came to US shores.

Tires were the first item to be rationed in January 1942 because supplies of natural rubber were interrupted. Soon afterward, passenger automobiles, typewriters, sugar, gasoline, bicycles, footwear, fuel oil, coffee, stoves, shoes, meat, lard, shortening and oils, cheese, butter, margarine, processed foods (canned, bottled and frozen), dried fruits, canned milk, firewood and coal, jams, jellies and fruit butter, were rationed by November 1943.[3] (Source wiki-rationing-US)

How To Cook A Wolf is full of information about how to survive when there is little to survive on. I’ve read this book more than once, in varying circumstances. The time I most appreciated it was when I moved to Paris into a wonderful apartment whose heating system required the insertion of coins into a small box on the wall. It seemed apt to read MFKF then and there.

Much of what is in this book will not be accepted by today’s readers, looking for answers in terms of ‘what to eat’ when the pocketbook is hurting. Gently given advice to ‘Go fishing for your dinner‘, or to ‘Gather wild foods for the one daily meal’, and ‘Eat mush‘ (recipe provided) come to mind.

In 1943 MFKF published The Gastronomical Me – to my mind the greatest of her works. Here is life, punctuated by food. Food is the thing that binds, that ties, that rocks, that cradles – a river that the larger themes of existence flow upon, with the prose of MFKF as wind goddess moving it all along.

Then followed a novel, then the translation of Brillat-Savarin’s The Physiology of Taste, and An Alphabet for Gourmets.

There are many ways to face being pinched by the dollar. As for myself, I won’t try cooking and eating mush – unless I really have to. And I am grateful that my days are not spent scanning the skies for warplanes and fires.

But I will read MFK Fisher. And not just only (or not even substantially) for the advice she gives (though some of it is good).

I’ll read her just for her words, alone. They’re better in some ways than even the most perfect slab of Kobe beef.

An added bonus? They are sustainable.
………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Live recording of Billie Holiday from the 1940’s: Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do

Read Full Post »

Postscript: A selection from Betty MacDonald’s classic book The Egg and I was one of the featured works included in Molly O’Neills’ American Food Writing – An Anthology with Classic Recipes.

Read Full Post »

789951153_e07ac18aa4

The Saveur 100 is a quite marvelous list of Things Foodie. If you think it impossible to try all one hundred in a year for reasons of time or money you might be right.

But more important, in choosing which ones you really should try – is your horoscope sign. The food you choose must fit you or quelle horreur! I know from my own experience that chipmunk is not made for cats of my sign. Let’s not go into details.

The fact is, if you do not listen to the stars, the same thing may happen to you! The foods you dine upon need balance your system, and the constellations tell us how to do that. Or, rather, they tell me!

It is approaching dusk now, and I do not have much time to dictate this report.

Aries: With your dominant keyword of “I Am” co-residing with the element of fire, ‘Everyday Heroes‘ by James Villas (#26 Saveur 100) will cool your flames and salve your need for a show-off dish that also warms the tummy. The recipe for Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Raclette, Herbs and Prosciutto is a masterpiece that can be quickly prepared so that you needn’t waste much of your precious time, yet you will be looked upon by others as a superhero-style cook.

Taurus: You are represented by the words “I Have”, Taurus – and the earth is your element. Mix it up a little bit with this ‘Foundations of Flavor‘ entry by Clifford Wright – a well-respected author. Harissa (#35 Saveur 100) will get you popping and sprightly, which is always an excellent thing for a Taurean to aspire to, particularly in the middle of winter when the warm quilt on the couch may be beckoning so very much.

Gemini: “I Think” is who you are, Gemini. At least we think that is who you are. Your element is air, of course. Anyone can see that. To your airy nature it will be important to add oil, from ‘Pantry Essentials’. Tourangelle Roasted Pistachio Oil (Saveur # 15) will have you sliding merrily through life as you drizzle it upon hot boiled baby potatoes (so cute!). This oil has an ‘intensely nutty flavor’. Well, so do you, dear Gemini – and a delightfully nutty flavor indeed!

Cancer: Cancer, your keyword is “I Feel”. Funny for a crab, but nonetheless there it is. As a water sign you will need an anchor to set your sights upon this year in what you eat. ‘One-Dish Feasts‘ offers this in the Soulful Supper (Saveur #84). Perloo is the name of the dish. It is a close relative to jambalaya. Please don’t worry about the shrimp in the recipe. They did not feel a thing. Neither did the kielbasas or the little grains of rice. A sturdy dish for a superficially sturdy zodiac sign who nonetheless prefers even a bit more sturdiness, often.

Leo: Lionhearted Leo, my cousin. Purrrrrr. Fire is your element. Your keyword is “I Will”. Your sensual nature will be well-fed by ‘Poet of the Everyday‘ John Thorne (Saveur 100 #24). After checking your mane hair one last time in the mirror, do run out and buy a copy of any of his books. Your lion-heart will be filled with just the sort of things you like: ideas, words, and to-do lists from the ideas you find.

Virgo:I Analyze”. Yes indeedy you do, Virgo. Mew mew. Yet as an earth sign you also are quite serious about proceeding with giving form to what you analyze and decide upon. Would you like to make your own ketchup, dear Virgo? It could be the most perfect of ketchups. You could make it exactly and precisely the way you, and only you, expect ketchup to be. ‘Do It Yourself’ Homemade Ketchup (Saveur 100 #37) is a good place to start. Undoubtedly it will not be quite right, the recipe. But after all, that is what you are here for – to correct it! Purrrrrrr.

Libra: Air sign Libra, your words are “I Balance”. Goddess knows you try to. It’s quite possible that you may need to go shopping in order to do so. ‘American Bounty’ (along with me, bien sur meow meow) will tell you exactly where to go: ‘Pomegranate’ (Saveur 100 #79) in Brooklyn. They have every. single. thing. you would ever. want to eat. And besides, it’s in Brooklyn and we all know that all Librans simply adore Brooklyn.

Scorpio: Water sign Scorpio who says “I Desire”.  There is something within the Scorpio spirit that calls for Sofrito (Saveur 100 #62) by Oswald Rivera. A ‘Foundation of Flavor’, it is serious enough for you to take it seriously yet it will lighten your sometimes world-weary sense that nothing is as it really should be.

Capricorn: “I Use” is Capricorn. Bound to the earth, there must be something found to serve the purpose and serve it in the correct manner. Yet the wind calls the Capricorn out to the wild. ‘Great Home Cooks’ may answer the call with ‘Swedish Venison Burgers’ (Saveur 100 #28). It is worth gnawing upon.

Aquarius: As an air sign whose keyword is “I Know”, there is not much that gets by you, dear Aquarius! You will gather friends and enemies alike around the table while making complete and full annotation of any juicy bits of gossip that feed your curiosity. To do this in an exemplary manner, you will need a ‘One-Dish Feasts’ entry. ‘Lasagne’ – Golden Standard Vegetarian Lasagne even! fits your needs to a T. (Saveur 100 # 36). It will make everyone, including you, very happy.

Pisces: “I Believe” is your keyword, water your element. One might think that sweet as you already are, Pisces, more sugar would not be needed. But I assure you, the stars are calling your name with this sugar. ‘Pantry Essentials’ has an ‘India Tree Sparkling Sugar’ (Saveur 100 #4). It comes in different colors (the one shown is turquoise!) and it is even crackly. Which you should like a whole lot. Purrrrrrr. Rrrrp?

Twilight is here. I must go. Remember, let the stars lead you to your destiny. Whatever it is. Whatever it may ask you to put in your mouth.

I am a cat. I know these things.

2559877374_cbe5623563…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

I am Moira’s mother. Prrrrrp. She is right. You must listen to the stars.

2565557133_577e43e8cc

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »