Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New blog location

For reasons that remain unclear, my forward to my updated blog site stopped working. So come check out http://kathleenflinn.wordpress.com

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Power of Grief

Last Sunday, my Uncle John died. It wasn’t a surprise. In early May, his doctor predicted that a shift in his cancer meant my spry 78-year-old uncle had only a few weeks to live. His family began sending nearly daily mails with updates on his condition, a kind gesture. Yet, it began to feel like a dreadful clock ticking down. Why it affected me so intensely, I wasn’t sure.


When I read the email that he had died on my phone, I didn’t know what to feel. Mike took me out for a glass of wine, and I started to cry at the table unexpectedly. In the car, I burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably.

My Uncle John’s death triggered something. I’m grieving for my dad all over again. This shouldn’t be a surprise, either. Dad died 30 years ago from lung cancer. I was 13. In the photo in his obituary, my dad is standing next to my Uncle John as best man at his wedding to my aunt. My father died the day before Thanksgiving; my mother and I spent the holiday with my Uncle Mary Jo and Uncle John eating turkey entrees at a cafeteria. A couple days after he died, Uncle John bought me a journal. He took me aside. “I know how much you like to write, and it might be good for you to write down how you’re feeling now.” I filled every page of that journal within a week, and it inspired my lifelong habit of journaling.

But my uncle inspired people for a living. He raised millions for charity as a professional fundraiser, and spent years as a motivational speaker. He didn’t just do it at work, either; his sons both became fighter pilots, and one went on to become a doctor. Slacker.

Research suggests that children who lose a parent at a young age develop into more resilient and successful adults. Other studies indicate that children who lose a parent never quite recover fully. I think they’re both right. It’s fair to say that, as a teen, I never felt like anyone else understood what I was going through. Kids would complain about their parents and I’d just think, “Well, you’re lucky you’ve still got a father.” I felt pushed into adulthood early, and struggled between whether to act out or to try to be the perfect daughter that my father would have wanted.

Sixty percent of people who lost a parent during childhood say they would give up a year of their life just to spend one day with the person they lost. I know that I would. What would I do with that day? I’d start by introducing him to Mike, whom he would have liked.

Then, I’d like to cook with him. I’d ask him to show me how to make his chicken and dumplings. I’ve never figured that dish out. I’ve always thought that if I could make it, I’d have this grief thing beat.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bullshit, Revisited

Last week, video of Michael Ruhlman calling "bullshit" on people's claim that they don't have time to cook made waves online. The exchange started when IACP panelists Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg confessed that even though they're highly visible food writers, they sometimes use a favorite packaged sauce to speed up dinnertime. The panel was titled "The Death of Recipes?" and in a disclosure moment I should confess the inflammatory title was mine, since I helped put the panel together and engineered all the panelists on the stage along with Amy Sherman.

These few moments of exchange were my original aim. Does a confident cook need recipes, or just structure? Is a recipe meant to be blueprint or could cocktail napkin-style conceptualizing suffice? Or, sure recipes remain relevant, but does the world need 739,000 Google hits for the term “tuna casserole recipe?”

In a subsequent piece on The Huffington Post, Ruhlman clarifies that he wasn't saying bullshit to Page and Dornenburg but on the notion that people "don't have time to cook" in general.
Ruhlman wrote: "I wasn't responding to Karen Page personally--she was simply voicing what everyone seems to believe and propagate: that we all lead such busy lives that we have no time to cook. To repeat: bullshit. Maybe you don't like to cook, maybe you're too lazy to cook, maybe you'd rather watch television or garden, I don't know and I don't care, but don't tell me you're too busy to cook. We all have the same hours every day, and we all choose how to use them. Working 12-hour days is a choice."
The premise of his piece is that whenever food writers advocate "30-minute meals," they subtly help to relay a clandestine message on behalf of big food conglomerates that people need their processed foods since we're all so terribly busy.

I agree with Ruhlman that quick recipes aren't an answer. As part of research for my next book, I’ve been going into people’s homes to learn what lurks in their pantry and how they truly feel about cooking. I find that much of people’s thoughts that they are too busy to cook comes from a perceived lack of time, rather than an actual time crunch so extreme that there’s simply absolutely no time to cook.

There’s an odd concept that to spend time cooking is to waste time. Why? With food everywhere, you don’t need to cook. To some people, making a cake from scratch would be akin to washing clothes in a river. A student in one of my writing classes told me she lent a friend her beloved copy of Pierre Franey’s classic The 60-Minute Gourmet. To which her incredulous friend replied, “You’re kidding, right? You expect me to spend a whole hour on dinner?”
But as Ruhlman notes, time spent is a choice. I have a friend who works full-time and has two kids who have soccer practice three times a week. She used to stand watching along with lots of other bored parents, and then take them to McDonalds for dinner afterward. When she swore off fast food after seeing the film “Food Inc.” she scoured her schedule and found that “soccer practice was five hours a week, easy.” She arranged for a friend to ferry them there and back.

“I decided that the best thing I can do with that time is make them a good dinner rather than stand on the sidelines, watching them run drills,” she said. “It works out for both of us. I just make extra of whatever I’m doing for dinner and give it to my friend when she drops them off.”
But beyond time, or perceived lack of time, the reasons why people aren't cooking often evolves into something more complex. Among the reasons is what I refer to as "the will to cook." It's the mental challenge of focusing mental and physical energy on the task of cooking. That's the space where processed, takeout and fast food appears most appetizing -- and where food companies strike hardest to maximize profits. They aren't marketed as "convenience foods" for nothing. "Oh, I'm so tired, it will be easier to stop at the drive-thru." Such thinking if why some fast food chains such as Taco Bell sell 65% of their food through a sliding window.

Or, another common scenario. A person opens a cupboard and pulls out a box of pasta mix. “Oh, I worked hard and need to relax. This will be easier and cheaper than cooking pasta from scratch.” Let’s take one product, Parmesan Cheese flavor from Pasta-a-Roni. It’s meant to approximate the flavor of pasta tossed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. It contains 28 ingredients. On top fo that, it requires adding milk and margarine to cooked pasta.
What’s the realm of modern food writing needs isn’t more quick recipes but more basic consumer reporting. Pasta Roni costs $1.89 at my local Safeway. Sounds cheap, right? It equals $4.88 a pound for pasta, dried cheese and some chemicals. By contrast, the store’s brand of organic whole wheat pasta is 89 cents a pound.
As Ruhlman states, if you love this product and your life is great, fine. But with high sodium, low fiber and low in other nutrients, it’s not a terrific food choice if you’re overweight like two-thirds of Americans or suffer from high blood pressure like 35%.
We need to focus more on encouraging people to think about their food choices. We should make more of an effort to convince people if they have the time to make pasta and add milk and butter, they have time to make it themselves.

Even in her day, Julia Child fought the war of convenience food. She was telling people to cook with whole foods even as the well-intioned Poppy Cannon went around waving her can opener. Julia persevered. She influenced, inspired and educated.

In my research, I’ve listened to stories of frustration, self-doubt and guilt over not being able to cook. Getting people to cook more lies less in diminished cooking times and more in promoting confidence and knowledge. That’s what I think Jamie Oliver is attempting in his Food Revolution. To me, that’s the story.
Selling people processed food — basically dressed up army rations — requires the food industry to continually sell people the idea that they have neither the time or skill to feed themselves. This results in everything from factual slights of hand to bald-faced lies. After all, this is the industry that claims Sugar Corn Pops can be “part of a nutritious breakfast” and Doritos are “heart healthy.”

Food writers can help counter all this disinformation. We need to help re-educate a nation of potential cooks who have lost their way to the kitchen. There’s one important point in all of this that’s squarely in line with Ruhlman’s argument, even if it isn’t obvious. Namely, cooking for yourself frees you from being taken advantage of by The Man. Everyone loves that.
"Hey, you there, are you happy allowing faceless multi-national conglomerates to feed you? Companies so interested in their bottom line that they have sold you tainted milk from China, laced their foods with pesticides and carcinogenic food attitudes? Did you know that even though it seems cheap, a lot of processed food is significantly more expensive and also damaging to the environment? Did you know that big food companies invest in fast food companies? Will you feel as good about that $1.50 can of tuna once you know that they're being hunted to extinction in the name of cheap protein?"
In her keynote at IACP, Ruth Reichl noted that each of us has power to wield over companies. “You get to vote for a president only once every four years. But you vote with your dollar every meal, every day.”

My call to action for food writers, including food bloggers, is call bullshit on food companies more often. Ask harder questions. Be better reporters. Wrest yourself from what I call “the Foodie Bubble.” Don’t wax poetic on ramps and perfect peaches at the farmer’s market. Start spending time watching real people shop in your local supermarket. Hundreds of stories lie in those middle aisles.

Our goal should be to help more people decide for themselves that they don’t want their dinners to come from the fast food lane or the frozen food aisle. All are worthy goals, no matter how long it takes to spread the word.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

I'll be in Portland this week for the annual International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conference. If you're heading the conference, look me up. I'll be helping to host the first-time attendee session at noon on Wednesday, plus a hands-on social networking session that afternoon. Thursday is a blur of activity, but if you're here be sure not to miss the opening session, and later "The Death of Recipes" with Michael Ruhlman, Andrew Dornenberg and Karen Page. The other hot session that I'll be helping with on Thursday is the sold-out demonstration/discussion with famed food stylist Susan Spungen titled "Messy is the New Black."

There are still a few spaces for a cool morning of dual sessions I developed called "PBS Now And Then." First, we'll show an episode of "Gourmet Adventures with Ruth" starring famed food writer Ruth Reichl. After the screening, I'll lead a question-and-answer session with the audience and via Twitter

At 10:30, Judith Jones will take the stage. Judith was Julia Child's lifetime editor at Knopf, and is herself something of a culinary icon. We'll be airing scenes from "The French Chef" and "The Way To Cook," with Judith offering commentary as we go along. Afterward, she will also take questions from the audience. I'm pretty psyched about both, but there's something special about the Judith lineup. Maybe it's just my enduring fondness for Julia Child.

If you're in Portland but not attending the conference, come check out the Culinary Book Fair from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. It's the only place where you can meet up with 50-plus cookbook and food writers in one place -- including me -- all for just $10 admission.

Finally the week will end with IACP's first-ever food film festival, hosted in conjunction with Foodista.com. You can read all about it here. Admission to each film is $10 whether you're attending the conference or just a member of the public, and each will have a great questions-and-answers panel afterward. I'm excited to meet Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show myself...

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

'Scuze Me While I Kiss The Sky...

Posted by: Lisa Simpson

Meyer Lemon season is closing down, and with it my heart. Generally only available during the winter months, they start making an appearance in the produce section around ChristmaKwanaKah and go until about now. They smell like the prettiest lemon. If you ever see a woman with freckles rubbing lemons behind her ears at Safeway, I SWEAR that is not me.
I cook with Meyer lemon the most- the juice is sweeter and less pucker-tart than a standard lemon, and I’ve been told that you can eat the skin, biting into the fruit like an apple. Which seems like a huge waste to me, since the skin is my favorite part. Using a microplane, rasp some of that zest into salads, over poached eggs, a nice sprinkle on any fish or pasta. But mainly, make Limoncello.

Every time I sip limoncello, I think, "Scuze me while I kiss the sky...". There is something magical about it, it makes me think of sunshine.

But limoncello has a bad reputation here in the states. Who hasn’t been to Italy and had the meal of their life capped off with a shot of limoncello (which the Italians believe helps digestion, and who am I to argue?) but then gotten home with their bottle and opened it with an expectation of a revisit of that fabulous meal, only to discover that limoncello in the US tastes like Nyquil. Or worse, been given a bottle by someone who raves about it, only to taste it and wonder if everyone who comes back from Italy is off their rocker.

I don't know exactly why production limoncello tastes like cold medicine. But for the amore de la Madonna, why spend $30 to $100 when you can easily make it yourself and it’s perfectly awwwesssoomme. My friend Maggie Savarino told me a few years ago how to do it. Probably you'll be humming "Purple Haze", too.

Buy a fifth of your favorite Vodka, because if you don’t like the vodka, you’re not going to like the limoncello. Drink a shot or two, to give yourself some room to work in a couple weeks. Trust me.
Take 8 or 10 Meyer Lemons. Make sure they smell good and Meyer Lemon-y, and make sure they are organic- all those chemicals settle in the skin of citrus fruits. Wash them well (see above, where you didn’t see me rubbing them on my pulse points).
Zest the lemons, use a funnel and pack the zest into the vodka bottle. Replace the cap. Shake the bottle. Walk away. Come back tomorrow, shake the bottle and walk away. Repeat every day for a couple weeks.
Make a simple Syrup- a cup of hot water and 1.5 cups of sugar, stir until dissolved, then pour into the vodka bottle. (that’s why you drank a shot or two a couple weeks ago). Wait another week, shaking every day.

Strain the zest from the bottle.
Return the limoncello to the bottle. Store it in the freezer. Keeps forever. Or, like at my house, about til the end of Summer.


You can give Limoncello away as ChristmaKwanaKah presents. You can brush it on pound cake, or you can do a little cocktail with a shot of soda water or a float of lemon sorbet, or you can do it the way Italy does it: eat too much then fix it with a few ounces of chilly, bracing lemon liqueur and see if it doesn’t make you feel better.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dubious inventions of the week


The Wine Rack that can hold a full bottle of wine and an 80-ounce beer belly. I idea of drinking beer through a straw makes me want to vomit. Get them both from Amazon.com.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Julia Child makes an omelette

A chef at Le Cordon Bleu once said, "Once a person learns to make an omelette, he will never go hungry." His point was that even if a person is poor or rushed for time, an omelette can be made for less than 50 cents and five minutes. Doing research for the next book, I came across this link of the fabulous Julia Child demonstrating how to make one.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

How a baseball, dental floss and lightbulb could help you lose weight

As part of research for the new book, I poked around online for information about serving sizes. I stumbled upon a useful interactive online tool from WebMD that equates serving sizes to everyday objects. Definitely worth a look. Time and again, research shows that people with unrealistic ideas of portion size have a much higher tendency to be overweight.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

68 hours in New Orleans

Every so often, but not often enough, life requires me to venture to New Orleans. This past week, Mike nad I headed south for an Ace Hardware convention. (It's a long story, but suffice to say that Mike is interested in opening a hardare store in Seattle.) It's safe to say that on the surface, I don't dig conventions. The food is generally abysmal and I'm not keen on the whole herded-like-cattle aspect. But secretly, I get all nostalgic thinking back to my first conventions in the mid-1990s. (I fondly recall Milia in Cannes, France, in 1995. CD-ROMS were the big news then...)
The primary goal of the hardware convention is to get store owners to buy stuff. So, three of the grand halls at the New Orleans convention center were packed to the gills with every possible thing you could feasibly find under the roof of a hardware store, from the requisite hammers and nails to a field of faux Christmas trees. The paint area was highlighted by a pair of jesters made out of varying colors of painters tape. I spent two hours in the kitchen area, weighing whether being tied down to Seattle was worth acces to wholesale Le Creuset cookware.
Weary from it all, we had to eat. First, we dined at August, the home of celebrity chef John Besh. John wasn't around, but we did meet his marvelous executive chef. With shining, dark paneled walls and weighty chandeliers, August defines southern elegance. We both chose the five-course tasting menu with wines to match. The strong line up started with a creamy cauliflower soup studded heavily with lobster roe, and shifted into a hearty yet complex veal dish with spring onions atop local greens.

The next afternoon, free of the convention, we hung out in the French Quarter. From our perch at Johnny White's on Bourbon Street, we watched the scene below. Right at 6 p.m., a guy dressed up as a giant hand grenade started his shift outside the the Tropical Isle bar, promoting their signature drink. We watched as people embraced him in photos and, occasionally, punched them as hard as they could. The poor guy. I'm so glad that I don't have to work as a grenade.


Our last meal was at Le Foret, an elegant, new restaurant in the Central Business District. Like August, it's a white tablecloth affair with servers adorned in ankle-length aprons who reflexively call everyone "sir" or "ma'am." We wanted sazeracs, and since our server and the bartender couldn't agree on the superior way to make one. Rye whisky with absinthe or Maker's Mark with herbsaint? So he brought us a version of each.

From there, we had more cauliflower soup, this time a slightly more delicate variation studded with lobster and topped with just a hint of caviar. Mike ordered the tasting menu which had a serious standout item: a foie gras "soup" with layered with gruyere. Think French onion soup, but with foie gras. The lush, soft texture of the liver paired with the salty unctuousness of the cheese was arguably one of the best things that I've tasted in the past couple of years. In fact, I barely remember the rest of the meal other than it was all good. I'm not sure if that's due to the fabulousness of the foie gras dish or that we started dinner with double sazeracs.

We headed home early hoping to catch relatives who ventured over to Seattle from Spokane. Even though we changed our flight to arrive four hours early, they left just as we arrived, leading us both to wonder: Why didn't we stay? Did I mention that it was Pirate Week in New Orleans?

Monday, March 15, 2010

What's the Gardening Class Before Remedial?

Written and Posted by: Lisa Simpson

I am going to show you something that is terrifying and might not be appropriate for small children or people with a tendency to faint or throw up. Okay, ready?

Here it is. It’s my yard.


Isn’t that just Stephen King can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head, afraid to sleep without a night-light scary? All that empty space.

Kathleen lives on a standard Seattle lot, and manages to grow basil, tomatoes and herbs. By Seattle standards, I live on property that should be enough land to qualify as a sovereign nation. I can't figure out why the tulips don't bloom. Maybe they're not tulips. The deer killed the raspberries when they slept on them for a week. I have managed to not kill the previous owner's rhubarb.

In the first two years here, most of our spare time was spent simply cleaning up the property. Amongst the 50 year-old apple trees was a leftover collection of rickety buildings (one held up by a single piece of lumber wedged in a corner), piles of junk (we lost count of the freezers we found in a blackberry bramble. 15? 20?) and enough rats to convince me that a Disney movie about a rodent with chef-aspirations was not a cute idea. Where most people saw potential we saw another long weekend trying to convince the HazMat dump to accept paint cans that had last been opened in the Truman era.

It’s uncharacteristic of me to be the “yeah, but” person. I want to do something, plant something, grow something. Yeah but… mosquitoes, deer, rabbits, hardpan, wetlands, compost. Yeah, but… slugs, moles, crows, micro-climates, mulch, frost dates, weeds…. People see potential, but like any blank slate it’s intimidating to not know where to start. You want me to organize your office, your house, your life? I can do that. I haven’t a clue how to grow a tomato, much less a slightly overgrown and benignly neglected English/French garden with benches and flowers and a wood-burning oven. How does any of that happen without a staff and groundskeeper and a couple hundred years of heredity?

The East Coast and the Olympic athletes have had a rough winter, but for the rest of us here it’s been a lovely early spring and I keep looking out my window at this stretch of green grass and I keep thinking I oughta do something with it. I thought about what I buy most at the market (herbs, potatoes, collard greens, lettuces) and I think I can grow that stuff. So I’ve sent off for a seed catalogue and I’m thinking about, you know, gardening, in general because I’m so inexperienced I don’t even know specifics to consider. Listening to Real Gardeners talk about soil prep and amendments, temperate zones and compost composition is like listening to adults in Charlie Brown cartoons. Waahh Wahwah wahwahwaahh.


My mother and grandfathers have green thumbs that I hope are laying dormant within me and I think I have a gardening book from Sunset magazine somewhere. Maybe I’ll discover my inner farmgirl. I’m hoping to get some thyme out of it.
Any suggestions on the tulips?


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Food memoir writing contest

I'm all for people getting into the food memoir writing game. A commenter turned me onto an interesting contest for the next couple of months on Women's Memoirs. The gist: Submit up to 1,000 words based on a food memory, along with a recipe and photo(s). The site is running two contests, one for March and another for April. Full details here.

I bring it not to promote their site, but sometimes you need a reason to sit down and write. Maybe you're just waiting for one?

I'd consider it but I'm writing about 80,000 words worth of food memoir right now... speaking of which, I have to get back to it.

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

The news from Singapore... and elsewhere

So I never thought I'd find myself under Gordon Ramsey. Figuratively, of course. Years ago, I interviewed romance novelist Susan Elizabeth Phillips for the Chicago Sun-Times. During the interview, she spread out the various international editions of her book. She said the strangest thing about writing books was knowing that someone, on the other side of the world, is reading your words while you're probably sleeping.

I thought of that this morning as I opened up my daily Google Alert for The Sharper Your Knife. Who knew? My book was included in a roundup with Gordon Ramsey, Michael Pollan and David Chang -- in Singapore. In the same alert there were links to a site selling it in India. Kind of crazy. I've run into other odd other-side-of-the-world, such as a friend who sent a photo of it for sale in the Cairo airport. Google turns up a lot of sites in Asia since the book is available in Chinese. Rather surreal, actually.

Of course, the phrase "the sharper your knife" uncovers some other results as well. Links to people with knife fetishes, cutlery manufacturers, hunters and the like. The creepiest, of cousre, are hits on an otherwise little-trafficked member of a Midwestern militia who apparently uses the phrase and the full name of my book frequently in his anti-everyone-in-charge rants.

I'm going to focus on Singapore.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Seattle Book Examiner interview

Meant to put this up earlier. Here's a nice Q&A that I did last week with Danielle Dreger-Babbitt. My favorite part of the interview:

SBE: Favorite place to eat in Seattle?
KF: Anywhere that I'm dining with my husband, Mike.

If you're not familiar with Seattle Book Examiner, check it out. Danielle does a good job of rounding up and covering local literary events. It's a good bookmark for book lovers.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Grandma's yeast pacakes

My mother has been experimenting with various recipes in an attempt to replicate my Swedish great-grandmother's yeast pancakes. My mother says that her grandmother woke at dawn and made pancakes; if you slept in, you didn't get any. Apparently, the pancakes were worth getting dressed in the dark. In honor of National Pancake Day, here's the most recent email on the subject from her:

On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 12:22 PM, Irene Flinn wrote:

Hey kids, I made these pancakes today - they are really good, I think. They are almost like crepes. I started with a recipe and have been changing it.

I think you'll like them. I bake them on my round cast-iron griddle. The batter is very thin so you have to make plate-size pancakes. I like them because the syrup doesn't sink in like it does the cake-like pancakes.

I made yeast-raised belgium waffles last week - I'll send you that recipe too.

Love you,

Hugs, Mom


YEAST PANCAKES

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 3/4 cups milk, scalded then cooled to lukewarm
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tbsp. oil (or 4 tbsp. Smart Balance margarine)
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon baking power
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in mixing bowl. Add milk, sugar, salt, and spices. Beat in rest of ingredients with rotary beater until smooth. Cover and let rise in warm place about 1 or more. Batter will be light and bubbly.

Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate overnight. (Do not refrigerate more than 24 hours.) When ready to make pancakes, preheat the griddle, grease lightly, if necessary.

Stir batter and drop from tip of large spoon, or pour from pitcher onto hot griddle. Turn as soon as top turns bubbly. Bake other side until golden brown. Pancakes will be thin.

Makes about two dozen four-inch pancakes

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Monday, February 22, 2010

The Curious Revelations of Olde Cookbooks

As part of my research for the second book, I've been reviewing some old-time cookbooks. This morning, I'm looking at some that belonged to Lisa's grandmother. Vintage cookbooks offer an interesting snapshot of the culinary trends and habits of their time. Consider the "Unusual Holiday Cheese Ball" recipe from the Kenwood Ohio Women's Club Cookbook circa 1968 that combines cream cheese, crushed pineapple, chopped onion, green pepper pecans. It's just one of 13 cheese ball recipes. (The club included a handy "Where to Find it in the Bible" as part of its reference section.)

Another book, Grandma's Recipes, is a typewritten self-published collection of recipes developed by an actual grandmother, Malinda Gregory. Her recipes are straightforward flavors of classic Americana, from apple pie to meatloaf to baked beans, with some intriguing throwback dishes such as lemon bisque, brown bread and applesauce cake.

Many in this lot offer truly useful information, such as substitution lists, roasting guides, suggestions on using leftovers, getting stains out of clothes, quantity cooking, etc. They also offer curious recipes that to cook them now would be something of a culinary anachronisms. Mayonnaise biscuits, spoon bread, jam cake, milk icing, fried calf's liver, hot lemonade, cabbage gelatine and pimento cheese spread.

It's also notable that so many of the recipes are now so easily or generally purchased that you don't see recipes for them anymore, such as homemade catsup, condensed milk, soda crackers and hot dog relish. There's also a recipe in one for "white sauce mixture," which is essentially the base of most condensed soups.

And, of course, there's a few quirky gems, such as the a step-by-step guide to cooking squirrels and possum, plus a recipe for "mountain oysters," also known as testicles cut from bull calves, courtesy Plantation Recipes and Kountry Kooking. Sounds tasty, no?

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

IACP preview event in Seattle

This time, it's personal.

For those of you who know me, I spend a lot of time working with the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). I volunteer as the head of the Food Writers, Editors & Publishers section, and this year agreed to be on the programming committee for the annual conference in Portland.

Honestly, it's been a lot of work. Sometimes, it's hard to justify doing so much work for free. But then, I look at what we've changed and put together and it's all worth it. If you haven't checked out the conference this year, read more. I'm personally delighted with the revamped Culinary Book Fair. (I even came up with the new name. Yay!)

I'd love to personally share with you what we've put together as part of a special networking event in Monday, February 22nd. Whether you're a culinary veteran, author, newly minted food blogger, student or even someone contemplating a career-change to follow a passion in the food world, maybe the conference in April may be worthwhile for you.

Why not come find out? You don't need to be a member, past or present to attend the preview. Details below. Space is limited.

Time: 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday February 22nd

Where: Cicchetti Kitchen & Bar, 121 E. Boston St., Seattle (behind Serafina)

Cost
: $25 for IACP members, $30 for non-members (includes family-style service of Cicchetti treats and some donated wine; other wine, cocktails and beverages no-host)

RSVP: Space is limited; please RSVP asap to Cynthia Nims at cynthia@cynthianims.com or 206-935-2109.

Pre-payment is requested. Please send checks, payable to Cynthia Nims, to: Cynthia Nims, 3731 SW Rose St., Seattle, WA 98126 (or send your payment to me via kathleenflinn@hotmail.com at Paypal and I'll hand over the funds to Cynthia.) Hope to see you there.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Recipe: Spicy Creole Shrimp with Pasta


So before I left for New York, I spent some time retesting dishes for the upcoming Bed & Bookfest at the Skamania Lodge organized by Kim Ricketts Events. Since the weekend takes place right after Mardi Gras and Creole/Cajun dishes are among my favorite food, I decided to teach a menu that I'm calling "Lunch from the French Quarter." The gumbo recipe is from my book. I developed the recipe below based on a dish that I had in New Orleans during a rushed trip to the Crescent City during my book tour last year.

The menu will be part of a two-hour demonstration at 9 a.m. Saturday February 20th, and will then be served to everyone in the class for lunch. If you sign up for the Bed & Bookfest, the cooking lesson plus a special reception on Friday night will be included in your stay. There are a few spaces left, so sign up if you're so inclined via Kim Ricketts' site or the Skamania Lodge or call (800) 221-7117.

Lunch in the French Quarter

Greens with creole mustard vinaigrette
Shrimp, sausage and chicken gumbo
Spicy creole shrimp with pasta
Boubon Banana Foster Crepes

Spicy creole shrimp with pasta

This is a twist on the New Orleans classic of barbecue shrimp, normally cooked with shell on and never actually touches a grill. The result is quite hot; for a milder dish, omit the second round of heat in the fresh pepper. Old Bay is readily available in supermarkets, but if you don't have it on hand, any spicy spice mix will work. Serves six as an appetizer and four as an main. Be sure to serve with lots of warm French bread for dipping in the sauce.

1 ½ pounds shrimp, shells reserved
2 cups of chicken stock or water
2 teaspoons Old Bay spice
1 teaspoon thyme or mixed Italian herbs
Few pinches of cayenne or red pepper flakes, depending on taste
Several cranks black pepper

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
½ cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small fresh red or jalapeno chili, minced (optional)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup tablespoons of lemon juice
¼ cup white wine
1/3 cup chopped parsley
8 oz. of fettuccine or linguine pasta

Take half the shrimp shells and combine with the stock and let simmer at least 10 minutes or until you finish the recipe. Strain and set aside. Boil the pasta according to package directions in highly salted water. Drain without rinsing, and set aside.

Combine the Old Bay, thyme, cayenne, a few cranks of black pepper and shrimp in a bowl, then toss to coat. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat until a sprinkle of water dances on the surface. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink, about two minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs to a bowl.

Lower the heat to medium and add the butter. Once it melts, add onion and garlic and sauté until softened, about three minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, the stock and white wine and reduce briefly, about five minutes. Taste, adding salt if needed. Add shrimp and sauté for about a minute. Transfer shrimp and sauce to large bowl filled with prepared pasta, toss with parsley.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The great flood of Paris


One hundred years ago, Paris suffered one of the worst floods in its recorded history. The Galeries des Bibliothèques has compiled an online exhibit to show off some of the striking images from the flood, including an interactive exhibit with more than 1,300 photos. At one point, the water hit more than 20 feet above normal levels. The flood crippled the city's infrastructure, leaving many Parisians stranded when even the trains could not longer operate after several major stations flooded, including the Gare D'Orsay on the right bank. The images are striking, often haunting reminders of mankind's fragility compared to the brutal force of nature.

I was so intrigued by the imagery that I ordered a copy of Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910 by Jeffrey H. Jackson, just published by MacMillian.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chocolate destinations

Latest gig for Bing Travel focuses on destinations for chocolate lovers. The slide show/story focuses on a dozen yummy places, from a spa in Argentina that will literally cover you in chocolate to decadent martinis in Manhattan.

The irony, of course, is that I don't actually like chocolate. I neglected to report on my earlier slide show for Bing, which covered a few great supermarket destinations.

For those that know me and/or read The Sharper Your Knife, yes, I recognize that I am now writing for my former employer...

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Argggghh! Gasparilla




I spend the last weekend of January each year dabbling in theater makeup. My friends and I rise at 5 a.m. to get tarted up in pirate gear and head down to the Tampa Yacht Club helping to turn upstanding members of the area's business community into scar-riddled pirates. My standard greeting to each of 35 or so pirates goes something like, "Hello, I'm Kathleen, I'll be disfiguring you today..."

Afterward, they get on a tall ship and pretend to take over the city before jumping aboard floats to toss beads to the crowds as the Big Parade of the Gasparilla Pirates Festival weaves seven miles through the city of Tampa. None of us makeup mavens watch the boat; instead, we go to my friend Cherie's house for her husband's succulent pork ribs, aka "breakfast ribs" since we invariably break into them by 11:30 a.m.

Full from ribs, we wander a few blocks over to the parade, a scene which feels an awful lot like Mardi Gras with beads and drunk people. This year, we stood under a mostly leafless tree as cover from the blowing rain and gray skies; the tree caught nearly as many beads as we did.

Afterward, we wandered to a friend's house where I did my Annual Arranging of the Deli Tray ceremonial duties while sipping bourbon and sprite. My goal next year is to somehow get on one of the floats in the parade. Anyone seeking some extra krewe?

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Recipe: Pasta with olives, tomatoes and tuna

This is a cheap and easy meal to craft from pantry staples. The tuna bumps up the protein quotient, but it's optional. You can use fresh or canned tomatoes, but if you use the latter, be sure to drain them well. Cook the pasta in liberally salted water, and then reserve some of the water for the sauce. Be sure to taste before salting the final product; the salt from the olives and the pasta water may offer plenty without adding more.

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 handful of green olives, sliced
A handful or so of chopped tomatoes, canned or fresh
1 bay leaf
A big pinch of mixed Italian herbs
A pinch of red chili flakes
1 cup of pasta water
6 oz. of whole wheat pasta, such as spaghetti, linguine or angel hair
1 6 oz. canned tuna (optional)
1 tablespoon of basil or parsley, chopped (optional)

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and olives, sauté for one minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, herbs, pepper flakes and a pinch of salt and a couple grinds of fresh pepper. Sauté until the tomatoes begin to soften. Add the pasta water and reduce by half. Add in the cooked pasta and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Add in tuna and parsley if using, and serve warm.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Hunger Week: Braised pork with cabbage, tomatoes and pasta

First, you’ll want to do a simple braise of the pork. Braise simply means to simmer in a bit of liquid with a tight cover to keep in the steam. It’s a vital lesson to learn to utilize inexpensive cuts of meat. You’ll need about 3-ounces of pork per serving. Leave the vegetables, but remove the rest of the pork and refrigerate for other meals. The key to a good braise is to brown the meat thoroughly. You’ll likely collect a layer of brown gunk at the bottom of the pan. That’s good. It will come up when you sauté the vegetables and add the water or stock. Use a heavy bottomed pan with a tight-fitting lid. Since this cooks for a long a time, don’t use bouillon cubes in place of stock; the result will be too salty. Use plain water instead. If there’s a bone, save it to use for split pea soup or black beans. Serves four, just under $1 per serving.

Basic braise
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3- to 4-pound pork shoulder or picnic ham, cut into one-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stems of celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
A big pinch of mixed Italian herbs
A cup or so of chicken stock or water

for this recipe
½ head cabbage, shredded or sliced thin (about eight ounces)
1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
4 oz. whole wheat wide pasta, cooked

Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the cubes of pork in batches and brown well. Avoid crowding. Set aside. Add additional oil if needed and add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaf. Sauté until the vegetables are soft, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the browned pork, herbs and stock or water. Cover and simmer in the oven for about two hours.

Using tongs, carefully remove the pork from the broth, leaving the vegetables and broth in pot. Return about a 1 ½ cup of the diced pork back into the pan. Let the rest cool briefly, and refrigerate for other uses. Add the shredded cabbage, the tomatoes and potatoes and return to the oven for about 25 minutes. Add the cooked noodles, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Other uses for leftover pork
- Soft pork tacos: Add 1 ½ ounces of pork to taco, add shredded cabbage, black beans, cheese
- Breakfast burrito: scramble one egg, add one to two ounces of shredded pork, black beans, cheese and roll up in burrito
- Add to bean soups or stews
- Toss with pasta, tomatoes and other vegetables

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hunger Action Week

Hunger isn’t something that happens only in third world countries. In fact, the United Way of King County (UWKC) reports that roughly one in four residents in Washington state don’t have enough to eat.

To highlight this issue, the United Way is sponsoring The Hunger Action Week. The gist: to get people to live on $7 a day, the amount that food stamp recipients receive for sustenance. It’s what they call “an exercise in empathy.”

I’m traveling this week, attending the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. But last week, I took on the challenge for a couple days before I left. Try it yourself. Rummage your cabinets, “eat down” your fridge. Be mindful of what you buy and feed yourself and those around you. But more importantly, donate your time and money to help eradicate hunger. Tune in the United Way or your local food bank to find out more. And see what else is up this week on the United Way's Hunger Challenge Blog.

Tune in to see my recipes throughout the week.

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Hunger Challenge Week: Meals for Three Days

So, officially, we did three days of our Hunger Week challenge last week, before we went on vacation to Utah. Here are the results:

The Strategy:
I wanted to make our food healthy and filling, as well as inexpensive. A few rules for saving money, many of which we employ regularly.
  • Don't rely on “white” food. Whole wheat pasta and white pasta costs roughly the same.

  • Rely on realistic and true portions. Americans have “supersized” our servings, especially when it comes to protein. A serving of protein is four ounces, about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand.

  • Make one big meal on the weekend, another during the week and then strategically use the leftovers. In this case, I bought one meat item (pork), and then utilized the bones or the meat over three days into four or five meals. For the next round, we might use one whole chicken. While the initial investment is $5 to $6, we leveraged the full nutritional value, and using the meat as a flavor and extended it with vegetables and grains, such as beans or whole grain pasta.

  • Learn to make no knead bread. The dough can be made ahead and left in the fridge, and then quickly shaped into loaves. On average, a loaf costs about 50 cents.

  • Buy herbs and spices from a place from you can buy a small amount from a bulk supply. Sure, Italian herbs are $6.49 a pound, but they're so light that an ounce equals three or four tablespoons and yet cost only 40 cents.

  • Learn to make stock. It's cheap, and you can use stuff that you'd normally throw away (bits of carrots, onion skins, etc.) A homemade quart of chicken stock can be as little as 35 cents per quart.

  • Eat apples as snacks. By the bag, they're inexpensive and the pectin keeps hunger at bay. (A good tip for weight loss, too.)
Staple groceries
This was about $30 for just under a week for two people, extended with some pantry items

1/2 doz. eggs (60 cents)
Carrots (69 cents a pound)
Yellow onions (five pounds $3)
Celery (69 cents a pound)
Potatoes (5 pounds for $2)
3 ½ pound picnic ham w/bone ($2.19 a pound)
Whole wheat wide noodles ($1.25 on sale)
Whole wheat linguine ($1.50 on sale)
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes ($2)
1 lb. zucchini (69 cents, on sale)
2 heads of garlic (45 cents)
1 lb. split peas ($1 on sale)
1 lb. black beans ($1 on sale)
1 ½ lbs. cabbage (59 cents a pound)
1 qt chicken stock (homemade, about 40 cents per quart)
Bay leaves (15 cents, bulk purchase)
Mixed Italian herbs (38 cents, bulk)
Red pepper flakes (28 cents)
½ pound of cheddar cheese ($3.99 lb. on sale, $2)
1 5 lb. bag apples ($3)
1 jar peanut butter ($1.60)
whole wheat tortillas (10 for $1.50)

Other staples: Whole wheat flour, white flour, yeast, olive oil, sugar, grape jelly, butter

Day 1:
Breakfast: Omelet w/cheese, toast made from homemade bread (70 cents per serving)
Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich (66 cents per serving)
Dinner: Braised pork with cabbage, tomatoes and potatoes ($1 per serving)

Day 2:
Breakfast: Toast with peanut butter, banana (40 cents per serving)
Lunch: Black beans with brown rice (68 cents per serving)
Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with tomatoes, olives and tuna (76 cents per serving)

Day 3:
Breakfast: Breakfast burrito with leftover pork, scrambled eggs and black beans (90 cents per serving)
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich (75 cents)
Dinner: Braised pork tacos with shredded cabbage, brown rice, black beans and tomatoes ($1 per serving)

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Upcoming events

I'm bi-coastal next month. These are the only events that I'm doing until late April. I've got a book to write, after all...

Future of Food Writing
First, if you have any interest in food writing whatsoever, you should seriously consider attending the Future of Food Writing conference Feb. 12-15 in New York City. The lineup for the discussions on Saturday is a crazy patchwork of some of the most influential food writers in the industry. The other two days focus on the nuts and bolts of food writing and how to break into the business.

I'll be speaking on a panel on Saturday afternoon about penning a best-selling food memoir. Also sharing their thoughts are Monica Bhide, Mimi Sheraton and Betty Fussell, moderated by veteran food writer Judith Weinraub. I'll be staying for the cocktail mixer afterward.

Skamania Lodge Weekend
The following week, I'll be the featured author of "Bed & Bookfest" at The Skamania Lodge nestled above the beautiful Columbia River Gorge not far from Portland, Ore., in a very special weekend presented by Kim Ricketts Events.

The weekend includes a special reception on Friday night, at which I'll offer the first-ever reading of material from my new book. The next day, I'll lead a cooking class and you'll join me for lunch. The package includes a copy of The Sharper Your Knife, accommodations, the reception, class and lunch. Should be fun. I'm looking forward to it. $209 for a single, $289 for a couple. Sign up here.

Coming up: IACP conference in April and a week as a guest teacher at Racho La Puerta at the end of May.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Book No. 2

It's official. My second book will be published by Viking/Penguin sometime in early 2011. Tentatively titled Changing Courses, the book will be a memoir with recipes, and more or less picks up where The Sharper Your Knife left off.

The primary focus will be on a research project that I developed in the past year or so to try to understand why people don't cook, and what kinds of fundamental skills they need to learn to give them more confidence in the kitchen.

You might be thinking, "Hey, I don't remember reading about that anywhere on your blog." And you're right. I like my blog, but selling books is what keeps me from having to return to my day job...

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Culinary trends from the last decade

Seemingly everyone is writing about food trends from 2000 to 2009, but I was struck by how much I agreed with the list put forth by the The Food Channel. I've included only their top 10 overall trends here, you can read about their full take on all kinds of trends on their site.

Cupcakes
This is part of what I personally call the "Decadence in Small Doses Movement." It's a remedy to an ongoing conflict about weight and diet. Sure, cake with frosting is bad, but this is so small, it's just a serving size, right? Hey, it's going to keep me from eating an even-bigger slice of cake, right? And I deserve it. That's how people end up forking over $4 for a cupcake. But NPR recently reported that a large 6.5 ounce "designer" cupcake (from New York's Crumbs Bakery) had 780 calories, 107 grams of carbs and nearly 36 grams of fat. From a dietary standpoint, that's much worse than a Big Mac, which contains 576 calories, 32 grams of fat and 38 grams of carbohydrates.

Bacon
In the wake of the 9/11 disaster, comfort food took on a major theme in American cuisine, hence the firm interest in all things pork, notably bacon. It got so much attention that it even ended up on pizza and in desserts. It's hard to dismiss the power of pork; I have a jar of Baconnaise in my fridge. I'm so ashamed, but I think that says everything.

Sliders
It's rare to see a menu these days without sliders. From a production standpoint, any kitchen monkey can produce them. They're fast to get to a table, since even the meat can be pre-cooked and reheated. But the big reason is that they're a good cost point for restaurants. After all, you often pay roughly the same price as a full hamburger, and for about half the protein.

Gourmet Burgers made with Kobe or Angus Beef
Yes, cried restaurateurs, a new wa y to get diners to pay up to $30 for a hamburger! The most disgusting thing that I ate in the past three years was a Kobe beef burger; both greasy and bland, it left an unpleasant mouth feel that took a full day to get over. As a steak, Kobe beef is tricky to prepare, which is why it often gets ground into hamburger, something that mocks its delicate flavor and texture. Personally, I think this is a huge waste of carefully produced meat.

Superfruits such as Acai, Pomegranate and Blueberry
Once Oprah says she trusts it, there's no going back. But be warned: don't buy any processed foods (think: blueberry Eggo waffles) with the notion that you're getting any kind of benefit. Most "blueberries" in processed foods are actually dyed pieces of apple.

Sushi
Amazingly, cold raw fish truly caught on the U.S. in the past decade, to the extent that even my local grocery store has a sushi bar. And that's a problem. Big supermarket chains could care less about sustainable sushi fishing practices, and it's one of the many reasons for over-fishing of tuna.

Oils, such as olive oils and truffle oils
I'm pleased with this trend. Olive oil is one of my favorite souvenirs from traveling to Italy or Spain, but in the U.S., my favorite supermarket brand is Lucini. But be warned -- most truffle oil is crafted using synthetic thioether, an odorant found in truffles.

Whole grains, such as polenta, risotto
Thanks to the likes of brands such as Bob's Red Mill and Kashi plus some great press and terrific books on the subject, whole grains seem here to stay.

Artisan foods, particularly in breads, cheeses and dark chocolates
This is so true that the word "artisan" has become horribly abused. "Artisan" means that it's been hand-crafted by a skilled crafts person. If you buy bread that's been mechanically made in bulk at the central location of your supermarket by a high school dropout earning $8 an hour, it's not "artisan" anymore.

Coffees, teas
Once Starbucks got everyone used to paying $3 for a cup of coffee, the flood gates opened. Blooming teas and artisan coffeehouses, it all goes hand with the Decadence in Small Doses movement. Hey, I work hard, I deserve to spend $14 a pound on this special whole bean coffee, right? I am fine with $4 for a small pot of rose petal tea.

Go to FoodChannel.com to see their thoughts on the past decade's biggest food influencers, restaurant trends and more.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

What I didn't get for Christmas...


Not enough people think of ham as a souvenir from a trip abroad. And really, what's a better souvenir than actual food from the place you've visited? Sure, it violates a whole lot of U.S. importation laws, but who could not wish for a better gift than the Wurstkoffer, a special briefcase-style luggage item to store up to 19 beloved sausage-style items?

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lost: Silver Laptop, Silver

If you happen to be flying from Seattle to Orlando on Alaska Airlines and find a silver VAIO Sony laptop, let me know. Mike and I didn't have seats together on our flight heading home to see my family on Christmas Day. Thanks to all my flying about on book tour stuff, I got bumped to first class and he didn't. Just as we boarded, I took it out of his computer bag, placed it above the seat and forget it there.

I had hoped that his good karma from the flight would wear off on me, too. He was seated in 7F, a window seat. At the last moment, a young Japanese man sat in the middle. In broken English, he asked Mike if he would change seats. "She is my ... partner... friend?" he tried to explain. Mike turned to see a tiny Asian woman bouncing and waving in 13D, wedged between two American women. "First time in America from Japan. Disney World," he explained haltingly. Mike contemplated the six-hour flight time, his window seat, her middle seat. "After takeoff, OK?"

When Mike went back to row 13, the woman next him commented, "You're a better person than me," she said. "The young woman asked me, but I didn't' want to give up my aisle seat." Then, Mike explained that he knew what it meant to sit with your girlfriend or wife, since he wasn't sitting with me, but since I fly so much, I had a higher status on the airline and I'd been bumped. I'd offered him my first class seat, but he had insisted that I take it. She asked what I did that required flying so much and he explained I was an author. "Oh, what does she write?" And he told her about my book. "I read that!! You're MIKE?!" she exclaimed. "You know, in the book, I thought that no one could be as nice as she described you, but you know, you really are that nice! Wow!"

It turns out that her son came to an event that I did at Ciao Thyme in Bellingham, Wash. He read the book, enjoyed it and gave it to her. I met her when we landed in Orlando. Small world, huh?

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Monday, December 21, 2009

The Ultimate Gift: How to Cut Up Food Toy

OK, so this is what you give all the children on your holiday list when you're a cooking teacher who has written a book with the word "knife" in the subject line. It's so perfect that I'm speechless. Here's the official product description: "This set contains eight pieces of wooden food, a cutting board and a wooden knife. Food makes a fun “CRUNCH” sound when sliced. With 31 pieces, it’s also a great way to introduce the concepts of part, whole and fractions." And it's just $15 from Amazon.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

The 10 Best "Best of 2009" Food Book Lists


It's that wacky time of the year when everyone seems to out their "Top 10s" from the year. It's no different with lists about food books. So here's my own: The Top 10 "Best of 2009" food book lists. The most common entries on all the lists? Momofuko by David Chang, Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller and How to Roast a Lamb by Michael Psilakis. These are listed in no particular order. I selected them based on the site or publications regular reviews and whether I agreed with them or not, and if I understood why they selected the titles, even if I didn't necessarily agree with their conclusions. I was disappointed to see so little literary food writing represented in any of the lists, with the notable exception of Frank Bruni's Born Round.
  1. NPR: Top 10 Cookbooks of 2009

  2. New York Times 2009 gift guide for cookbooks

  3. Publisher's Weekly, the overall list and the food-related titles

  4. Eat Me Daily: The Best Cookbooks of 2009

  5. Omnivore Books on 7x7 San Francisco

  6. Serious Eats
  7. Amazon.com
  8. Village Voice
  9. David Leibowitz
  10. Epicurious.com

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