December 22, 2014

tomates demi-secs

half-dried tomatoes

Taillevent didn’t write recipes for you or me. Irrespective of the fact that he was writing his recipes in the first half of the prior millennium, or as has been suggested, that he was dictating the recipes since he probably was illiterate, his intended audience was most likely his employer. His purpose was to provide a record of his cooking. more »

December 15, 2014

biscuit salé de riz et nori

nori-flavored rice crackers

Many food items are intumescent. Add the right heat, and they swell and become less dense. The cooked and dried pasta I used in my macaroni and cheese presentation is an example of intumescence. What causes the expansion is straight forward. When the pasta is cooked, cross‑linked starch molecules trap water droplets. more »

December 8, 2014

soupe de melon

melon soup

My mother insisted on serving me cantaloupe even though I hated it. The more often she served it, the more I hated it. I guess she thought she could win me over. Today, if I’m served a dish with even a single piece of cantaloupe in it, I send it back to be remade. more »

December 1, 2014

poulet riz

chicken rice

Good afternoon, folks. This plate of chicken rice from Maxwell Food Centre is pretty well known around the region after the SingTel Hawkers vs [Gordon] Ramsay competition. Of course, food lovers like me would definitely head down to try. Beware, the queue was long and the shop [Tian Tian, stall 1‑10] attracted tourists too. more »

November 24, 2014

bouillie de pop-corn

popcorn grits

I’m always getting polenta and pancetta confused. Not the actual materials but the words. I think it was in the 1990s when I first repeatedly encountered the words. I was using pancetta in a frisée salad that I learned early in my French cooking days, and polenta was showing up on restaurant menus with increasing frequency. more »

November 17, 2014

« gum drops » de orange sanguine

blood-orange gum drops

In his 1915 obituary for the dwarf actor Marshal Pinckney Wilder, Elbert Hubbard ends a paragraph where he described Wilder as having a sound mind locked inside of an unsound body with the sentence: “He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade‑stand.” Supposedly, this line is the original version of the common aphorism: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. more »

November 10, 2014

poulet au marmelade de épine-vinette

chicken strips with barberry marmalade

Is it the rectus femoris or the abductor magnus? According to Vaughan’s Notes on the Osteology and Myology of the Domestic Fowl from 1876, some anatomists consider the muscles to be the same and some consider them to be different. One friend thinks it may be the semimembranosus. I know it’s probably not the vastus externus since the muscle seems to be internal in the thigh. more »

November 3, 2014

pickles à la chaux éteinte

lime pickles

In early June, 1969, I quit school. I had just completed my second year at Rochester Institute of Technology, and my third year of college. Ever since I was first abandoned at the door of kindergarten class in 1953, a challenge I accepted somewhat stoically, daily attendance at school was never the high point of my day. more »

October 27, 2014

biscuits sablés de Douglas

Douglas' shortbread cookies

Today I spent way too much money on a cookbook. I think that at $500 it’s my most expensive book purchase. Even my 18th‑century French cookbooks come nowhere close in cost. The most I had previously spent was $420 on Modernist Cuisine, and that purchase has, for the most part, been disappointing. more »

October 20, 2014

haricots soufflées

bean biscuits

It’s been a Puccini sort of day. Giacomo Puccini has been in my head all day by way of my headphones. I’m currently on a writing binge, and I can’t write without filling my head with music being sung in a foreign language to block outside sounds. At the moment the music is Puccini’s 1880 graduation exercise Messamore »

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