Something We Dreamed

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Archive for May 2009

How to Cook a Wolf

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Stretching MeatBad boy Bourdain’s rant about expensive foodstuffs got me to thinking about M.F.K. Fisher and her eloquent instructions for war time cooking (see How to Cook a Wolf, copyright 1942).

I may still be employed (for a few days), but I’m already panicking about keeping the wolf at bay (food, as you may have guessed, is never something I leave to chance). Thank goodness I still have bookshelves piled high with the wise words of cooks who have lived through much harder times.

The well-traveled writings of Paddleford and Fisher, especially, are offering up deeper comfort than ever before. Fisher’s descriptions of leisurely lunches in quaint French auberges — which I found so romantically intriguing in the past — have now given way to a fascination with instructions for grinding up cheap meat and whole grain into vitamin-rich pastes.

I hope I’ll never have to buy a bottle of Kitchen Bouquet to color up my own paste concoctions (a la M.F.K).

If need be, I’d rather sell off my cookbook collection.

Tony Bourdain’s Les Halles cookbook would be one of the first to go. I’ve owned the book for years, yet it has never inspired me to cook a single recipe. For nourishment, I much prefer Mr. Bourdain’s serious writing: Typhoid Mary, the story of America’s most infamous cook, is at the top of my all-time-favorites list.

EAT IT UP: Food Buzz You Should Be Reading/Watching Today

Waste Not, Want Not: The Sun Times

Typhoid Mary: Villain or Victim?: Nova

Great Depression Cooking: You Tube

Cooking for Less: OC Register


Written by Kate Blood

May 29, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Bad to the Bone

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Anthony Bourdain speaking in Cupertino, May 28th, 2009

Anthony Bourdain speaking in Cupertino

Yes, boys and girls, he is just as handsome in the flesh. He swaggers across the stage like Captain Jack Sparrow and sprinkles references to his role models as easily as potato peelings on the kitchen floor. He’s the Keith Richards of the dining room: he should have dropped dead long ago, but thanks to Lipitor, he’s still rockin’ & rollin’.

What’s the glam rock god of food TV thinking about these days? Tony is pissed off at Alice Waters (and, of course, Rachel Ray) and he’s thinking we’ve all started to “fetishize” those organic/sustainable/pristine ingredients Waters is championing.

Just take a look back at Jacques Pépin’s life (as Tony suggests). Pépin’s autobiography (The Apprentice) recalls childhood days cooking with his mother and using ingredients the market stalls couldn’t sell to the more well-off. The beat up goods Jacques bought home for mum were inexpensive and old and it took skill to stew that dubious junk into something memorable. Yet great dishes, like Coq au Vin, were (and still can be) crafted from such crap.

“It’s not about the best ingredients,” Tony ranted, “it’s about taking the second best shit and turning it into something wonderful!”

Think about pots of beans and dandelion greens, and remember, there is hope for a bright culinary future.

As Tony noted: “The engine of gastronomy has always been deprivation.”

How to Cook a Wolf?

Top Ten Anthony Bourdain Insults.

Written by Kate Blood

May 28, 2009 at 10:27 pm

“Maybe it’s something we dreamed” – Clementine Paddleford

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Prep for a dish of spring peasWelcome to Something We Dreamed – which is something I’ve dreamed up to help me cope with the formless days of unemployment that are fast approaching. But fear not! I have a new SUNY research project about to begin – on women cookbook authors – and there should be plenty of interesting bits and pieces that I can share with you as the work progresses.

Here’s the first:

“Maybe it’s something we dreamed” is a quote from cookbook author Clementine Paddleford taken from the book Hometown Appetites written by Kelly Alexander and Cynthia Harris. I’ve just started reading, and can not put the book down! Paddleford was the food editor of the New York Herald Tribune and a national correspondent for This Week magazine from 1936 until her death in 1967. In 1953, Time magazine awarded her with the title “Best-Known Food Editor” and, according to the book’s authors, Paddleford was “the first person to truly define ‘regional American food’.”

I’ll tell you more about Ms. Paddleford in my next post. Until then, check out the web site for Hometown Appetites:

– Kate


Dining (and Duking) with Elaine:

It’s Salad Day for Weeds:

The Celery Soda Chronicles:

Written by Kate Blood

May 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm

What in the World Are They Eating?

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Easy WaysAs I’ve been reading about the life of Clementine Paddleford, I’m learning and thinking more about how food has gone beyond the science of home economics to become a passionate pleasure. Paddleford, a licensed pilot, happily flew herself around the globe, “traveling an estimated fifty thousand miles a year” in search of tasty casserole recipes.

In my soon-to-be jobless state, I’m temporarily grounded, but I can still search the global internet for tasty examples of what people are eating.

Now I’m really hungry, so I’m going to dig into a homemade peanut butter and cherry jam sandwich before I head off to Tony Bourdain’s lecture at Flint Center: If I can sneak a few photographs, I’ll post them later tonight!

Written by Kate Blood

May 28, 2009 at 1:13 pm