Saturday, August 23, 2008


One of my hard and fast rules is to never trust anyone who doesn't really enjoy food. People who only eat the same things over and over, without any joy, generally approach life the same way. Those people and I will never have much in common.

This morning I came across the a list of foods everyone should try at least once via:

The instructions were simple:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. (Links to definitions are in green.)
3) Cross out - or change to red items that you would never consider eating
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

The list:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea

Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (?? might have - can't remember)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi (I might have made this with one of the random curry mixes from the Indian market, but can't be sure)
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (Clam chowder yes. Sourdough bowl no.)
33. Salted lassi (I've had sweet lassi but not salted)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (do earthworms count?)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting m
enu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I will never eat durian (scary Asian fruit that smells like moldy dead feet, compost and pond scum). I will never eat horse. (Sorry, but watched read to many "Black Beauty" novels as a child). I will never eat Kaolin (and hope that I never have the need to).

Other items on the list delighted me.. I have a box of Lime Green Pocky sticks in the garage now. I throw them into the kid's lunches because the boxes are covered in Japanese and Japanese junk food is so much cooler than ours.
Fried Plantains...sitting on the back patio at Cuba Cuba with a Kristini (not named for me, but how could I not love it??), fried plantains and guacamole is like taking a mini tropical vacation without having to pack or wax.

Given the list originated in the UK, I can forgive a few obvious omissions. Green Chile. Fresh Peaches. Homemade butter caramels. Food so luscious no commentary is needed.

The best result of this exercise is not the resulting shopping list (where can I buy a goat?) , but the very simple reminder that we live in a big, bright, beautiful world, and its really our duty to constantly explore and expand our notion of what's good.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I see a cabinet and I want to paint it black....

You know those little things in your house that you really don't like, but live with anyway? With me it was my kitchen cabinets. They were that 1970's oak and not in good shape. I'd post a picture, but realized that in the 10+ years we've lived in the house I really don't have any good shots of them because I never liked having them in the background. Think orangey, grainy, dirty, grimy, old and you will have a pretty good image.

I could strip and stain them, but since I wasn't terribly fond of the wood grain to begin with, not worth the effort. Paint? But with 4,806,3062 different colors I couldn't decide.. White simply won't work with my greasy-fingered young-uns. Red would be fun, but for about a week. Green? (I already recycle) Beige? (snore) Purple? (Yikes)
So like all good design dilemas, I eliminated everything that won't work and examined what remained... which in the end was literally the absence color.

Convincing your husband that by painting your kitchen black won't lead to a sudden desire to start going to goth shows and sleeping in coffins is not easy. Thank goodness for the google image search... there were lots of normal looking people cooking with cream of mushroom soup in kitchens with black cabinets.

Like childbirth, the process was painful and not something I'm ready to talk about quite yet. But the end result is better than I could have imagined and not something I'm ready to do again for at least nine months.

Monday, December 17, 2007

musings from a crockpot crackpot....

I have the ugliest crockpot on the planet. So ugly, that its ashamed to be photographed. Its so ugly it will never be retro, like those early 60's pink appliances. Its a melonish, mustardish, speckled moldy-orange color, and isn't even made of crockery, but some metallic, teflon coated substance that sits on a separate griddle. But like most things, its what inside that counts.

Today, there was split-pea soup inside. I've been a split-pea soup lover since childhood. Blame the George and Martha books. For those who were deprived, George and Martha are hippos and best friends. In one story, Martha makes lots split-pea soup because she thinks George likes it. George does not. George despises split-pea soup, but he doesn't want to hurt her feelings and pretends to eat it. So he is forced to find all kinds of devious ways to dispose of the stuff, my favorite being dumping the soup in his shoes. Since childhood, the image of him with soup in his shoes has made me smile, and contrarily I've turned into a grown-up who is very fond of both making AND eating split-pea soup.

For years I've used the split-pea soup recipe from the "Good Enough to Eat"cookbook. But this morning, stressed for time, energy and motivation, and the thought of having to do dinner was more than I could bear. Half-asleep, I threw in a Women's Bean Project Soup mix into the ugly crockpot with a ham hock and two cans of chicken broth and left for work. When I came home it was like alchemy. My normal recipe, which takes twice as much work, and couldn't compare. This soup was good. Like both the kids had two servings, good. Like you could throw it in a shoe, and serve it to hippos, good. And at this crazed, stressed out, impossible time of year, for the simple and sublime to happen at the same time ( in the most humble of crockpots) - is a true christmas miracle.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cobwebs & Cookies

First, I need to get the cobwebs, dust bunnies and stray bits out of dog hair out of the corners of this place... its been that long since I've visited my blog. Luckily, my blog isn't like my daughter's Tamagotchi where neglect sends it the thing into a squacking tizzy that reminds you how painfully self-absorbed you are for living your life instead of tending to your technology.

With that out of the way, its back to business. There has been knitting...
This started out as a Twinkle Diagonal Stitch sweater for me. A week after I saw the pattern in Vogue Knitting, I saw Nordstrom selling the same exact sweater from Twinkle for 381$.
That's insane, I thought, I can knit that *and* if I use the Lion Brand Thick and Chunky, I'll save myself 320$!! Feeling quite smart, I knit a gauge swatch that seemed close enough.. but not close enough for comfort. After two weeks of very enjoyable knitting, I tried on the body to find it wayyy to small. There is a reason that the Twinkle Classic Elite yarn is 17$ a skein, and Lion Brand is only $4.99. Karma does not like knock-offs. Happily, my daughter does.

And there has been eating. Saturday, I stopped by our local Indian market, looking for dinner and emptied out their frozen food coolers. I got frozen naan (that yummy flat bread), frozen Palek Paneer, frozen samosas, and spice mix for Chana Masala (Curried Chickpeas). It was all amazing... like getting really great take out, but half the price, and four times as healthy. I'm now on a mission to check out the frozen food sections of all the other ethnic markets in town. No more frozen pizza for us!

But the best discovery has been this recipe.
In a season of baking bacchanalia, chocolate chip cookies seem like a bit -well- boring. But these are everything a chocolate chip cookie should be. Sweet, but not cloying. Crisp, but not brittle. Chewy, but not gummy. I've tried the Neiman Marcus cookies, Toll House and everything in-between. This is the only recipe I've found worth the considerable restraint it takes not to eat all the dough before baking.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Comfort food

Today it was 100+ degrees and the summer doldrums hit me harder than an Ike Turner wanna-be. The airconditioning seemed to be too hot or too cold. The kids seemed to be in under a different force of gravity than the rest of the world, because everytime I turned around they seemed to be dropping, breaking or spilling something.

But this spicy little number put the spring back in my step. Everything I love about Buffalo Chicken wings was amplified - crispy spicy chicken with cool creamy slaw made my belly very very happy. True, slaving over the stove frying chicken isn't most people's idea of spending a hot summer afternoon, but OmyOmy was it worth it. I need to plot my strategy now to make sure I get the leftovers tomorrow.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I should have known better....

In case you haven't noticed, there hasn't been a rash of finished objects on this blog lately. Life follows art (or is it vise-versa?).

I've been hit with a string (no pun intended) of bad knitting mojo. From the lost sock incident, to the sweater that will not end.... I've been knitting a lot but don't have much to show for it.

But when I committed to Tea Rose Halter Top from the Spring 2007 Interweave Knits I thought this would be the pattern that would change all that... the would be the pattern to put the spring back in my needles. And for a while - deep in the first blush of young love - it did. The lace fell into place and the cotton-ease yarn had beautiful stitch definition. It was as if fate brought us together until the one dark day when I let doubt creep in... when I thought that maybe the designer didn't know what she was doing and that I needed more proof. I decided to try the sweater on mid-project.

Of course the stitch protectors at the end of the needles popped right off as I squeezed the circulars past my shoulders - and with them went six rows of stitches. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, but reconstructing lace with YO and INC and DEC in random places requires a more evolved knitter than I can ever hope to be. I managed to sort-of reconstruct my indiscretions, but I knew the trust was gone and I couldn't go on. There was nothing else to do but cast off and hoped for the best.
In the end, I was left with a too-short halter that left my heart (and breasts) naked and exposed. Maybe someday I'll find the words (and the perfect edge pattern) to pick up the stitches and mend my wicked ways ... but for now its a reminder to be more patient and trusting.

Monday, April 30, 2007

petty diversions....

For my dear friends and all of us who love them, this last weekend has been impossibly sad...
No matter what Oprah and all those airy-eyed people on 'The Secret' videos say, really really bad things do happen to good people for no good reason. I keep wishing, wanting, manifesting someway to make it all better for them, but I can't and for that I'm angry at God, the goddess and the Universe right now.

For relief, I turned to one of my favorite knitting-porn sites, Garnstudio. I love the fresh-faced Swedish women relaxing on the beach in their easy, free-flowing, European cardigans. However, tonight, they must have been cleaning out the archive from the ABBA concert collection, because when I clicked on the link that lets you see the most recently patterns, I saw this:

Nothing says 'knit-me' like sleeves that can be used to smuggle chihuahuas over the border.

It felt good to smile and laugh and I hope that through all of this my friends can too...soon.