August 25, 2014

les bonbons de Martha Washington

Martha Washington candy

Martha Washington didn’t make chocolate‑covered candies. Chocolate is not an ingredient in any of the recipes in either of the manuscripts now given Martha’s name. Other ingredients of these modern candies were also missing from the recipe collections. Dried coconut wasn’t quite yet making the trip to Northern Virginia. Sweetened condensed milk, wouldn’t exist for almost another century. more »

August 18, 2014

bouffées de thon et algues

tuna puffs

For me, as a typical west‑coast, middle‑class kid, the iconic dish in the 1950s was a tuna casserole prepared from a can of tuna, a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup diluted with milk, and a 12‑ounce package of egg noodles. Before baking, the casserole was topped with crumbled potato chips. more »

August 11, 2014

gluten de blé braisé avec cinq-épices

five-spice braised wheat gluten

When I seriously started cooking Chinese food in 1975, there was one ingredient that I would run across in certain cookbooks that I had no interest in finding or trying. It only appeared in cookbooks written in China for a Chinese audience, and I was lucky that many of these books had been translated into English in Hong Kong and thus were not Americanized in any way, including removing ingredients not available in America. more »

August 4, 2014

mousse de carotte séchée

crispy carrot foam

I recently have had the opportunity to eat at a number of modern, high‑end, hard‑to‑get‑a‑seat‑at restaurants. These have been great meals full of attractive dishes and exotic ingredients. For the most part, everything was tasty. A few times, some of the dishes seemed to be on the menu more for effect than taste. more »

July 28, 2014

palmier de parmesan

parmesan palmiers

Pity the poor palmier! It’s an orphan. No one claims to be its mother or father. No one stands up and says: “I made the first palmier.” Many sources claim that it came about early in the twentieth century, but none give a traceable reference. The earliest mention I can find in my books is in the 1938 edition of Larousse Gastronomiquemore »

July 21, 2014

faux boules de pain azyme

fake matzo balls

If the average Jewish mother making matzo balls for her family Seder is a sprinter, my mother was a matzo‑ball marathoner. In the 1950s and into the 60s, she’d prepare the matzo balls for the local temple’s community Seder. This usually meant making between 900 and 1000 matzo balls for a single meal. more »

July 14, 2014

panna cotta au sésame noir

sesame-seed custard

There are certain brands for which I can accept no substitute. Heinz Ketchup is the first that comes to mind. There’s no other ketchup that tastes as good on a hamburger or fries. I feel the same about Best Foods Mayonnaise. The latest addition to my “no substitutes list” is Roland Classic Coconut Milk. more »

July 7, 2014

boulette des crevettes

shrimp dumplings

After 18 hours of flying and 6 hours or so in three different airports, we arrived. It was about two in the afternoon when we plopped on our beds. After an hour of napping, we headed into Singapore’s 35 °C (95 °F) air made heavy with the near 100 percent humidity. We didn’t stray too far from our hotel, but we did take the escalator underground at the nearest subway station to purchase our EZ‑Link cards so we could use the city bus network to get around town. more »

June 30, 2014

confit de saumon

barely cooked salmon

I’ve attended the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery each summer since 2008. I’m told by outsiders that the food and accommodations were atrocious when the Symposium was at St. Andrews College. Now the food is mostly great, and the rooms—if you know what to ask for—are quite nice. The nicest meal was, I think, in 2009 when Raymond Blanc of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons prepared the Saturday evening meal for the attendees. more »

June 23, 2014

pleurer les bébés

cry babies

I like old recipes. Maybe it’s an ego thing. Like I know something you don’t. Old recipes work for me. I know that when a recipe calls for pounding the sugar in a mortar and then sieving it, the recipe is from a time when sugar was purchased in solid loaves or cones. more »

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