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Posts Tagged ‘Food Media’

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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.

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

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TimesOnline has posted a food quiz quite ornamental to ascertain whether your foodie knowledge is all shining and bright.

The Christmas Food Quiz includes some good questions:

5. Who invented the notion of a frothing soup in the manner of a cappuccino?

a Alain Chapel

b Gordon Ramsay

c Ferran Adria
6. Which chef created a Xmas menu last year where dishes included Babe in a Manger and Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh?

7. Which chef quipped “the discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star”

a Apicus

b Brillat Savarin

c Carĕme
8. What game was originally played with champagne corks rather than balls?

a Table tennis

b Squash

c Billiards

It’s worth taking a gander at (to see if they can roast your goose or not).

Cheers!

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It startled me to see The Fireside Cook Book peering out from the bookstore shelf. The biggest surprise was how very new the book looked. The editions I’ve seen have been battered and worn, food-speckled, and with the non-shiny essence of the year 1949 – the date when The Fireside Cook Book was published for the very first time.

The new edition is red and green and yellow-brown and bright, and the illustrations – tossed in as if by a mad generous cook into a huge happy salad – are a look into another age of cookbooks.

Playful line drawings seem to be on almost every page, each one broadly drawn and colorful: An enigmatically smiling woman holds a garden spade as she bends over the earth almost-bursting out of her clothes while planting cauliflower in a garden as a little bird sits nearby watching her closely . . . a black-coated coachman throws delicately curled reins around the neck of a lime-avocado-green horse resembling a Lippanzauer as it pulls along a Cinderella-story coach labelled (writ large and bold and even saucily) SAUCES, and there upon the top of the coach sit the sauces in their jugs and bottles, merrily bumping along.

It all sounds just too precious. But it’s not. The book’s content crunches any initial questioning thoughts of ‘just too precious’ into a puff-ball which disappears with a slight ‘pouff!’ noise somewhere never to be seen again in the 1217 recipes on the 306 pages.

In this book are recipes, menu planning ideas, information on food purchasing, notes on seasonal cooking, the food of other lands and more. The recipes are written by someone who knows them too well to make a great fuss over them, someone who knows that any recipe ultimately answers to the cook, not the other way around – where cooks answer to the recipes which have somehow transformed themselves into pettily demanding divas. And yet the recipes in this book are far from unsophisticated.

This is not a specialist cookbook, though specialized ingredients and methods can be found in any given section. Beard’s mention of chayote, in 1949, is an interesting example of how very unassumably forward-looking he was.

Mark Bittman writes the foreword, and at the end of it comments:

“The man was born to teach cooking”.

I’m glad he wrote this, for the book jacket bio draws a strong picture of the other aspects of Beard: the well-qualified expert; the world-traveller; and the man who was quite intensely industry-connected.

My vision of Jim Beard (drawn from stories told to me by those who knew and worked with him during his later years in Manhattan) is in alignment with Bittman’s comment. I imagine him as consummate teacher first, bon vivant second, and writer through it all.

‘American Cookery’ is still my favorite book by Beard, but The Fireside Cook Book – this bright new edition – is coming right up close behind it as a very near second for my affections in the world of his writings.

Bread of a day, wine of a year, a friend of thirty years. I’ve always loved that saying. Maybe I’ll tag on to the end of it ‘a book of sixty years’.

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One of the great things about Gastronomica is that Darra Goldstein knows a lot about art. What I mean to say is that she knows a lot about Art. The good stuff, the stuff that is capitalized, the stuff that is artlessly artful.

Another one of the good things about Gastronomica is that there is a page on the website which features some of the AIF (Artists-In-Food) who grace the pages of the print journal. So right from the virtual page one can browse and click on the artist’s pages and see even more of their work.

What’s that you say?

Oh. Where’s the link?

Right here!

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I'm Not Sure I Like This Sort of Talk

Turtle Soup, anyone?

IN 1879, a homesick Mark Twain sat in an Italian hotel room and wrote a long fantasy menu of all his favorite American foods. The menu began as a joke, with Twain describing the 80-dish spread as a “modest, private affair” that he wanted all to himself. But it reads today as a window into a great change in American life — the gradual, widespread disappearance of wild foods from the nation’s tables.

Thus starts the succinct and warmly-laden op-ed from Wednesday’s New York Times. Strategically placed to be read on the day before our Thanksgiving, it reads in taste like an elegant prelude to the day – a frame upon which thoughts could be hung and embroidered.

Clicking the link to this story (which on my usual homepage was mixed in with all the other Thanksgiving offerings) the title appeared: ‘Where the Wild Things Were’. Maurice Sendak makes me jump with joy, so I started to jump with joy at even that least hint about anything to do with his books. If I were not just scraping by with barely enough sanity to know that I don’t want to embarrass my children by ruining the idea of ‘mother’ in some vital way for them, I’d buy and wear the T-shirt I picked up and held onto tightly at a store I saw recently – it was silkscreened with the cover illustration from ‘Where the Wild Things Are’. It made me sad to finally put it down and walk out of the store without it.

Discontinuing momentarily my musings on ‘what motherhood should be’, Maurice Sendak and goofy T-shirts I continuing on with reading the NYT piece.

The authors name was Andrew Beahrs, writing from Berkeley, California. Andrew Beahrs – where had I heard that name? Berkeley I dismissed from my mind – as much as I could, anyway. This wasn’t going to be about Sendak but it just might be good anyway.

Andrew Beahrs rocks when talking Twain. (Or when talking Samuel Clemens, who of course was who Twain was.) Here’s another snippet from his piece:

The Pilgrims appreciated wild foods for their contribution to survival; Twain, for their taste and their hold on his memory. All saw the foods as fundamental to the America they knew. None would have imagined that many would one day be seen as curiosities.

After finishing reading this piece, I knew where Andrew Beahrs had entered my mind before. And why this all seemed vaguely familiar.

In the Gastronomica Spring 2007 Issue: Investigations – Twain’s Feast – “The American” at Table, Beahrs writes of Twain and of the American foods he described in ‘A Tramp Abroad’ in a much more extensive piece. Not an appetizer, limited in size to the smaller plate of the op-ed page – but as a longer piece, as a full-course meal.

(That particular issue of Gastronomica is one of my favorites to date. If you do not subscribe to the journal, there is one downloadable article per month available through the website. The Spring 2007 offering was not the Beahrs piece, but H.E. Chehabi’s ‘How Caviar Turned Out to be Halal’ is an astonishing tale of political intrigue, social mores and tradition, the ways of formalized religion, ritual, and more.)

From Publisher’s Weekly Oct. 10, 2008:

Penguin Press has just acquired Twain’s Feast: ‘The American’ at Table. Laura Stickney beat one other bidder for North American rights via Emma Sweeney. In the book, author Andrew Beahrs will search for America’s lost foods with Twain as his guide, weaving passages of Twain’s writing and historical research into a narrative of Twain’s travels; Sweeney compares the book to Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma (also published by Penguin Press) or Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral.

Yes, I think I’ll read it. 🙂

Links:
“A Tramp Abroad” by Mark Twain (section with menu)
New York Times Op-Ed “Where the Wild Things Were” by Andrew Beahrs

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Moira Tuscanaro

Moira Tuscanaro

Catty Corner with Moira Tuscanaro

As a cat, I must say I admire Gwyneth Paltrow. She is cool, elegant, sleek, and can even smile like one of us – which we cats like to see. And she can act, which is so very much like us too!

Today I learned there is more to Gwyneth than just these things to admire. People Magazine bellowed out the headline below with a

thorough article to follow

Gwyneth Paltrow Just Says ‘No’ to Personal Chefs

I have nothing against personal chefs, myself. I’ve even known a few! They have been kindly sort of people, always carrying food about here and there. But to “Just Say No to Personal Chefs” is a lifestyle choice ( of course we cats do not have lifestyles we merely have lives and nine of them to boot) and lifestyle choices must! be respected.

Then I happened across even more current news about Gwyneth!

News about her life (and lifestyle!) is everywhere – and honestly, I can see why. The New York Times reports that not only does Gwyneth now have a job talking about food while driving all over Spain. . . . but that she even got to be on the Oprah show to let everyone know about this fun activity!!!

Ms. Paltrow, the 35-year-old star of films like “Shakespeare in Love,” was admitted to the group, and the show, “Spain … on the Road Again,” is already a game-changer for public television in terms of attention. Even Ken Burns, PBS’s biggest star, didn’t get a segment on “Oprah” for his epic World War II documentary series last year; Ms. Paltrow and Mr. Batali, however, nabbed an entire hour of exercise talk and Spanish cooking on Wednesday.

All this may not be understandable to some of you women reading.

You may be asking “How does she do all the cooking for the family as she tells us in the first story (and all without a personal chef!) yet also travel around the world at the exact same time doing television shows and talk show performances?”

You may even be saying to yourself “Why is it that I struggle with finding the time to even do the grocery shopping and make the family meal each day when I am not even traipsing across Europe with a couple of old bald guys getting paid good money to be filmed while we talk, laugh together, and eat things???

You may be wondering how this all can be.

As a cat, I do not wonder.

I know how to be in two places at the same time. My mistress will vouch for me on this one. I can be laying my decorative fur all over her clothes while at the same exact time, not be found anywhere at all, if she is looking for me. It is a talent.

And I am even willing, as Gwyneth is, to travel across Europe being the singularly attractive one wherever I go. As we cats so often are.

For I am a Cat and this is our way of things.

Gwyneth apparently has discovered our way of things. I admire that.

But really though I am not sure whether to purr to meow.

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