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 »

October 13, 2014

mariné zeste de pastèque

pickled watermelon rind

Pickle as a noun meant the kosher dills from a local German delicatessen. Pickled as an adjective meant herring in sour cream. Both were part of my childhood, introduced to my palate by my Bavarian‑born mother. At the same time, watermelon indicated a very hot day when we’d eat outside rather than in our hot kitchen. more »

October 6, 2014

ambroisie de pêche

peach nectar

Ambrosia is the nectar of the gods, or at least that’s how I remember it being described a long time ago in a class dealing with Greek myths. The memory is very faint. It was some time in elementary school. All those gods and their petty grievances made no sense at all to little me. more »

September 29, 2014

œufs brouillés parfumés aux cèpes

porcini-sented scrambled eggs

The afternoon in 1955 that my mother’s first television was delivered, my brother and I tried to watch Rin Tin Tin through a screen full of snow. (The roof antenna had yet to be installed.) I’m sure it was shortly thereafter when I saw my first cooking program, or at least my first cooking segment on some morning show. more »

September 22, 2014

carpaccio d’agneau

raw, sliced lamb

Lisa has some very tasty loins. Perhaps I should explain? Lisa is a ewe, but that in itself doesn’t explain everything. As I previously wrote, I periodically purchase a lamb from a rancher an hour south of where I live. He slaughters and dresses the lamb early in the morning. I pickup the carcass within a few minutes of him finishing, and then drive it to the school where I teach the occasional knife skills and butchery class. more »

September 15, 2014

biscuits « Oreo »

“Oreo” cookies

In 1824, Charles Caleb Colton wrote: “Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery,” and we’ve been stuck ever since with similar phrases to excuse our copying the work of others. In my estimation, no other field has as much copying as cooking. Whether imitating, duplicating, mimicking, simulating, or outright plagiarizing, to say that copying isn’t commonplace in cooking is to deny that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. more »

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