Who among us does not recall "licking the beaters" when Mom (in her quaint apron) had been baking?
Who has never run a finger inside a bowl used for making, say, muffins, and licked off the uncooked dough residue?
We know you're out there!
Now--- acknowledgment of this happy and innocent indulgence many years ago led to the creation of ice creams containing, supposedly, "cookie dough." As in Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream.
(In the course of my intense research for this post I came across this hilarious, off-the-wall rant from 2004 on "How Much (C.Dough) Is In Cookie Dough Ice Cream?")
Across this great nation, people who stand in front of their fridges inhaling uncooked c. dough straight from the packaging of Nestle's Toll House Cookie Dough are getting freakishly ill and tummy achy from E.coli bacteria contained therein. 25 have been hospitalized.
Please do not do this, even with another brand of c.dough. This is a revolting and no longer hidden habit of yours, and we regret that you have become really, really ill from pursuing it.
You might look into purchasing and consuming library paste, if it still exists. Oddball kids at school used to eat it, back in the day.
Today I will go to Pars Restaurant in Albuquerque where I will eat stewed eggplant with cinammony overtones, along with aromatic rice. I will have yogurt with chopped veggies on the side. I will have tea in glass cups without handles, but before that I will sip the yogurt , mint and fizzy water drink known as "dugh."
If I decide to indulge in what we once ate regularly in Iran, as Peace Corps vols, I will try chicken kabobs, the chicken marinated overnight in a tasty yogurt concoction. ( We became veggie-fishitarians in 1975...) The rice will be served with grilled tomatoes, a tiny dish of sumac, and a raw egg. I will mix the egg into the rice and sprinkle some sumac on top.
I will likely finish up with two tiny pieces of baklava, seasoned with rose water.
I will wear green.
On and on roll the foodish stories:
1--Michelle in the veggies, cutting lettuce
2--Seed company sales soar as more Americans "discover" veggie gardening
3--Urban dwellers grow food on their rooftops
4--Kids eating healthier foods at McD's??
5--The healthy role model Prez buys burgers? Is that allowed?
But somehow all this breathless excitement over what many people and institutions have been encouraging for decades is irritating me.
You mean there's a link between what we eat , how much we weigh and how we feel? No way.
There's a link between healthy eating and lower healthcare costs for all Americans? Who knew?
Cooking veggies properly makes them appetizing to young and old alike? Amazing!
Front lawns are a waste of land, soil, time, wildlife, money, and they pollute as well? Wow.
If you don't ever introduce little kids to fast food joints, you have eliminated a major negative issue for all eternity? You don't say...
Afloat on my raft (bed), (thank you, Colette,) due to a recurrent back pain thing, ( grrr...), I have been laptopping this morning, and was just guided by the Internets to two stories with a perverse food linkage.
First, a car bomb exploded in an Iraq market among early morning shoppers, doing the usual horrendous damage. According to the WaPost, "Body parts mingled with vegetables lying in pools of blood. Fires burned afterward."
Tuesday an explosion at a ConAgra plant in North Carolina that turns out Slim Jims killed at least two people.
I have written more than once here about the obvious contrast between people out and about buying food in order to nourish their families and bombers out and about in order to maim and destroy their fellows. Alas, here we go again. My sect/tribe/family/political party/region/religious belief is superior, so therefore you, whoever you are there randomly fingering the cucumbers, must die!
Anyway--the thought of people dying in pursuit of the creation of Slim Jims revealed that
this ubiquitous American jerky product is made from, among other unknown ingredients, "mechanically separated meat ( MSM,)" in this case, surprise, chicken! According to Wiki, in MSM bones that might have a bit of meat still attached are forced through a sieve-like machine that separates the meat from the bone and extrudes a paste-like substance.
Mind you, when Mad Cow or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy started to appear in humans, this MSM process involving beef was banned in both the US and the UK. Apparently bits of bovine spinal cord were turning up in hot dogs and such, so...
Sound yummy? Jerky is an ancient form of food preservation, traditionally involving strips of meat, often seasoned, dried using low heat, or sun, or air. Simple, basic.
BTW Eating chicken spinal cord bits is evidently ok. As far as we know. Have a Slim Jim.
And now, the happy food news from my bin garden here in the American Southwest.
First of all, the spicy Asian micro greens have been superb. My cukes are climbing up their helter-skelter trellises, the tomato plants are robust, their protective marigolds gleaming. The eggplants are looking healthy, and the zucchs, plus two unknown squashes, show great promise. I seem to be too late for the carrot seeds I had on hand, I recently decided I was not a huge radish fan, so other than a basket of mesclun coming along nicely in the shade, more or less, that's it.
No chiles! Who knows why not...? I completely forgot about my love of banana chiles and pasta. Damn. Maybe the Home Despot still has some of those plants.
We do have basil, sage, chives, mint, and nasturtiums. And I may grow some radishes after all, so as to harvest the spicy flowers for use in salads.
Meanwhile, I am buying up two huge clusters of chard each weekend at the Farmers Market, while they last. And garlic, lettuces, cherries, and strawberries, honey,too, all local, of course. Did I mention blueberry turnovers from the Swiss baker there?
As for Drink----the joys of Brazil's national drink, caipirinha, were introduced to me recently at still terrific Zia Diner in Santa Fe. How I missed this when actually in the country of Brazil several years back is beyond me, other than that our little foodie family was on its way "around the world in 5 weeks" and not spending wildly on hooch.
In any event----yum. Several pieces of crushed lime, sugar, ice cubes, and cachaca, alcohol always described as rum-like rather than rum, perhaps because it is derived from fresh sugarcane juice, as compared to molasses, itself a by-product of sugarcane.
This simple beverage is so delicious and refreshing the woman I was dining with had to restrain herself from finishing my drink when I went to the loo. Now that's friendship, people.
Last night I was flipping about in tv land when I landed on what looked like a documentary on ABC.
Experts were proclaiming that the Roman Empire failed in large part because it was unable to grow enough and transport enough grain to its people. It could not feed its Empire. This was not news to us, yet we were grateful to hear it humming forth from network tv. (The population of the city of Rome itself dropped from 1 million to about 30,000 at the beginning of the so-called Dark Ages.)
People into the story of food know that food issues underlie all of history. And yet food is still seen as a wacky topic for a museum...from some.
The show was Earth 2100.
It was the best of movies, it was the worst of movies, and it certainly was one of the longest movies, ever. Inexplicably titled The Secret of the Grain in English, ( Le Graine et le Mullet in French,) the film is set in southern France, in the pretty port of Sete, one of the many towns we explored in the course of writing our book about the food heritage of France. It revolves around a huge, dynamic Tunisian immigrant family and their attempts to create a fish and couscous restaurant in an abandoned boat, starting with a huge party on board for the town's movers and shakers. Talk about long story short........while capturing the lively essence of this hard-working group of people, and the delights of couscous and mullet, the director, Abdellatif Kechiche, parks the camera inches from each characters' face. It was painfully suffocating, as if I were sitting in the front row, and wearing the wrong glasses. He employs maybe 6 long shots, and few midrange shots, in this endless movie.
And where he could have taken 1 minute to establish that an element of the feast was missing, the director lingered 10, maybe 15 minutes, with each character repeatedly saying the same lines.
And yet....the couscous and the mullet, the interrelationships, the performance of one young woman who makes the project happen, are worth renting the DVD for. You can fast forward! Think of that. Perhaps in his next film, Kechiche will discover the joys of editing.
This line about the movie from NY Times critic A.O. Scott does zero in on the key element for those of us who relish food in film.
"And the richness of “The Secret of the Grain” — the secret, as it were, of its deep and complex flavor — lies in the close, tireless, enthusiastic attention it pays to the most mundane daily tasks, especially those involving food."