Saturday, November 29, 2008


I've been brooding over what to write for my last piece. So today after I made pancakes with my niece it hit me. That is what my final piece would be! It works out. My first work was about learning, the second about cooperation, now the third is about teaching. It's coming together!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Internet recipe!

So it's Thanksgiving, and I ran into a glitch earlier. After promising my mom that I would make desert, I return home from the store to find that the pie shell I was planning to use was broken! I had to come up with a delicious desert fast, and preferably one that was gluten free. In case you're wondering gluten is the part of flour that gives baked items their chewy consistency. My step dad is allergic to it. I wanted a seasonal dish, because hey, it's Thanksgiving. I had also bought a can of pumpkin. Pumpkin pudding, no too time consuming, pumpkin cookies, no wait those have gluten, then it occurred to me, pumpkin rice pudding. I hit the Internet looking for a source. I found this recipe from a favorite magazine Real Simple. I had to modify it as I had no orange juice. I also used lactose free milk and added a bit of nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. It turned out great and we all enjoyed it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Good God the God of Cookery!

This movie is fantastic. By the director of Shaolin Soccer and Kung-fu hustle, it's slapstick cooking comedy. IMBD describes it below:

The God of Cookery, a brilliant chef who sits in judgement of those who would challenge his title, loses his title when a jealous chef reveals him to be a con-man and humiliates him publicly. As this new chef takes on the God of Cookery's role, the former God tries to pull himself back on top again, to challenge his rival and find once and for all who is the true God of Cookery

The Food Lover's Guide to Paris

I'm becoming increasingly excited about my upcoming European expedition. So, when I found a copy of this book in the lending library at my apt. complex I had to nab it. One of the great things is that this book contains recipes as well as history, a couple lessons in french food vocab, geography, restaurant reviews and advice for navigating the Parisian dining scene. Fascinating!

Back Blurb-
"The indispensable guidebook to Paris -- by the incomparable French food authority. Patricia Wells knows exactly where to find the flakiest croisssants, the essential bistros, the most knowledgeable wine merchants, the richest, darkest chocolates, the most sublime cheeses, the earthiest charcuteries, the sturdiest copper pots, the cheeriest cafes, and the crusty loaf that all of Paris adores."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Moosewood Cookbook

This cook book is a classic. One of the best parts about it, other than all of the great vegetarian recipes and cute drawings, is the forward where the author Mollie Katzen gives her personal history in relation to the cook book. Following is a quote from the forward:

"I hadn't tasted a fresh green vegetable until the age of 12, when I was invited to dinner at the home of a friend whose mother had a vegetable garden. She picked fresh green beans for dinner and served them lightly steamed in bowls, with a little warmed milk poured on top. I went wild! This was a radical new discovery for me! I kept thinking about those green beans long afterwards- until I had my second experience with fresh vegetables at age 18 in, of all places, the college cafeteria"

She goes on to talk about her experiences working for and starting a restaurant, and how she came about writing and illustrating her vegetarian cookbook.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I presented my writing in class and is felt well received. People seemed to relate to my experience cooking a traditional dish with my grandmother. I think that's because the story is about family as well as being autobiographical, and it hit a cord. Everyone has a family right? We discussed how I would present this and where I was going with my writing. I think I'm going to try to write enough recipes to bind them into a small book and pass it out to the class. Here's a rough list of the recipes that I'm planning to include:

Sour Cream Pancakes
Stuffed Cabbage

Dad's Doctored Ramen
Microwave Peanut Brittle

Balsamic salad

I think this is how I'll organize them. It's still a rough idea though, if you have any suggestions. I was so glad for the help that the class gave me. It was good advice all around. I know I need to show more and not tell in my writing. I need to think about myself an the narrator but also, in some cases, the instigator. There is a transformation involved in the process of cooking but also in the collection of the stories. The process of transformation is key to theses stories, psychological transformation, the changes in a family relationship, and the change within. The recipe is a process, it is a form in which I can express my past and present roles. I liked what Holly said about the way I, as a narrator, was stepping up to teach my reader and then back to learn from my grandmother. I think cooking is really about communication and feeling, which is why it works so well for my self-expression.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


So this week I'm presenting some of my hybrid writing. I though to give it some context, I wanted to show some visuals about the food, It can be kind of hard to imagine without pictures.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Saveur Magazine

Welcome Home
by Todd Coleman

Southern United States
When I was 13, I moved from Germany—where my father, a major in the U.S. Air Force, had been stationed for seven years—to a town called Niceville, in the panhandle of Florida. It was a cultural shift that hit me right in the stomach. As a family, we were used to eating out a lot, especially on the weekends, but now we had no idea where to go. Figuring out what to have for breakfast was especially difficult. In Germany, the morning meal had been either an at-home spread of hard rolls, cold cuts, jams, and butter or an elaborate officers' club buffet of scrambled eggs, casseroles, carved meats, and composed salads. In Florida, we felt lost, and for a period we resorted to heating up frozen Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches at home. Then, one Saturday morning while driving through the nearby town of Shalimar, we saw it: a bumblebee yellow, letter-tile sign towering alongside the road: waffle house.

We pulled in to the parking lot, walked inside, and settled at a spacious booth by a window. To my 13-year-old eyes, the place was a Shangri-la, from the eye-popping laminated menu emblazoned with color photographs of egg and hash browns combo plates to the mad yet graceful dance of waitresses, busboys, and line cooks in black aprons toiling in an open kitchen and shouting phrases like "Pick up on the wheat toast!"

The waffles were crisp-tender and topped with a scoop of butter, the eggs for the omelettes were whipped in milk shake machines (see page 97 to see how it's done), and our plates came garnished with a wonderful, creamy hot side dish that my dad told me was called grits. One of my favorite breakfasts was Hashbrowns All the Way: a mess of shredded potatoes fried until crisp, smothered with onions, studded with chunks of hickory-smoked ham and diced tomatoes, blanketed with american cheese, and topped with chili.

If my family and I happened to be traveling in neighboring states, we could almost always find a Waffle House where we would feel at home—at home, but somehow better. Going out for breakfast at a Waffle House felt special, but not in the way a fancy restaurant lunch or dinner feels special. Ensconced in our booth, each of us digging in to his or her own, made-to-order breakfast, we could relax, enjoying the chance to be together in a bright, convivial place where the juice and the coffee kept coming. As the years passed, I graduated from going to the local Waffle House with my family to going with my friends: it became my breakfast place. Even better, it was a place where I could eat breakfast at any time of the day or the night.

Eventually, I moved up North and discovered a land without Waffle Houses. The chain, which got its start in 1955 in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, now comprises more than 1,500 locations in 25 states, but virtually all of them are in the nation's southern tier. I soon realized that millions of Americans had never heard of this breakfast institution. Since I left Florida, I've become loyal to any number of lunch and dinner places, but I've never found a breakfast joint to replace the Waffle House. Whenever I'm traveling in the South, I stop at the first one I see.

My most recent return pilgrimage happened to be to a Waffle House in East Point, Georgia, on a busy Sunday morning. Taking a seat at one of the red-topped stools at the counter so that I could get a glimpse of the action in the kitchen—a spectacle I find as entertaining today as I did when I was a teenager—I ordered a meal of eggs and cheese with raisin toast and hash browns and took in my surroundings. An Al Green song was playing on the jukebox, and, all around me, people were eating breakfast: churchgoers, young families with babies, groups of teenagers, highway workers, and others.

I reveled in the staff's endless stream of dialogue-on-the-fly, snappy exchanges that served as grease for a smoothly functioning breakfast-making operation: "That was a cheese omelette plate coming how?" a cook asked a passing waitress in a white shirt and black visor. "Covered," she replied without breaking her stride. "What with?" the cook asked. "A pecan waffle," she said, as she grabbed a plate of bacon from the counter next to the grill. The cook flipped an omelette onto a plate and concluded, "That'll work." Just then, my breakfast arrived.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dramatic• Magical• Cooking

I truly love this book. It is a novel by Laura Esquivel made from monthly instalments. Each part involves a recipe and evolves into a story about romance, magic and Mexico.

This is a favorite passage of mine. This event transpires around the cake hat Tita was forced to make for the wedding of the man she loves (Pedro). She had cried violently into the cake and when served at the wedding reception it had a magical effect:

"The moment they took their first bite of cake, everyone was flooded with a great wave of longing. Even Pedro, usually so proper, was having trouble holding back his tears...But the weeping was just the first symptom of a strange intoxication-a acute attack of pain and frustration- that seized the guests and scattered them across the patio and the grounds and in the bathrooms, all of them wailing over lost love. Everyone there, every last person, fell under the spell and not very many of them made it to the bathroom in time- those who didn't joined the collective vomiting that was going on all over the patio. Only one person escaped: the cake had no effect on Tita. The minute she finished eating it, she left the party."p. 37-38

They made a movie out of it too. Below is preview, although I don't think it could match the quality of the book.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fictional cooking?

Eccentric writing is celebrated in many a genre. Still, in cooking discourse there aren't many offshoots into the fictitious. So, when Holly handed me "Country Cooking From Central France: Roast Boned Rolled Stuffed Shoulder of Lamb (Farce Double)" by Harry Mathews', I had no idea what was in store for me.

"...The risks were lessened by placing the diaphanous bags in woolen reticules. It is still incredible that no damage is ever done to them on the way to the stuffing tables. To avoid their cooling, they are carried at a run by teenage boys, for whom this is a signal honor: every Sunday throughout the following year, they will be allowed to wear their unmistakable lily-white smocks."

In this passage they're talking about fish-roll stuffed clay ball that, in a provincial French town would be grilled in the most unlikely way. This short story about food was so convincing! The way things are worded; I wanted to trust the narrator. But, when the Matthews wrote that his friends in Paris marinate the lamb roast in their bidet, I had to laugh.

The tone of this writing has a distinct nostalgic feeling. It is an anecdote, a history, and a commentary as much as a recipe. "Country Cooking" talks about far more than food. Ha, I love it!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The First Oyster

This is a passage from one of my favorite books about cooking, Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential.

“We’d already polished up the Brie and baguettes and downed the Evian, but I was still hungry, and characteristically said so.
Monsieur Saint-Jour, on hearing this- as if challenging his American passengers- inquired in his thick Girondias accent if any of us would care to try an oyster.
My parents hesitated. I doubt that they’d realized they might actually have to eat one of the raw, slimy things we were currently floating over. My little brother recoiled in horror.
But I, in the proudest moment of my young life, stood up smartly, grinning with defiance, and volunteered to be the first.
And in that unforgettably sweet moment in my personal history, that one moment still more alive for me than so many other ‘firsts’ that followed- first pussy, first joint, first day in high school, first published book or any other thing- I attained glory. Monsieur Saint-Jour beckoned me over to the gunwale, where he leaned over, reached down until his head nearly disappeared underwater and emerged holding a single silt-encrusted oyster, huge and irregularly shaped, in his rough claw like fist. With a snubby, rust-covered oyster knife, he popped the thing open an handed it to me, everyone watching now, my little brother shrinking away from this glistening, vaguely sexual-looking object, still dripping and nearly alive.
I took it in my hand, tilted the shell back into my mouth as instructed by the now beaming Monsieur Saint-Jour and with one bite and a slurp, wolfed it down. It tasted of seawater…of brine and flesh…and somehow…of the future.
Everything was different now. Everything.
I’d not only survived- I’d enjoyed."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tasty Test

Home made "Pain aux Chocolate" the cheater way:

  • Toast good bread, Butter it
  • Top with chocolate sprinkles
  • Enjoy your desert