Monthly Archives: March 2007

Spaghetti grows on trees… (an early April Fool’s)

I grew up hearing about this spaghetti harvest hoax from my dad– and this year is the 50th anniversary… Here’s to you, Dad!

Funky cuppa tea

I went to my favorite tea store last week to stock up. One of my favorites is #211 (Creme de la Earl Grey, they call it) and another I like is a black tea they have tossed with rose petals. I bought some of each and brewed a cup of rose tea the next day. But, it smelled funny and tasted the same. I drank it just in case my nose was wrong… but it was not and the honey in the cup did not help much. I smelled the bag it came in and noticed the rose was overwhelmed by something smokey, something lapsang souchong-y. The usual tea seemed to be mixed with something more of an oolongish shape and color. So, what was it? I never found out. Took it back yesterday and (without the original bag or a receipt) got a replacement bag. Of 211. Back to the usual, I guess. Cheers!

What Mr. Bean thinks of French food…

For anyone who wants to buck the French-food-is-the-pinnacle-of-all-food-trend, read this from the Observer Food Monthly!

It’s never too early for ice cream…

Here’s something I wrote last year about these amazing MooBella ice cream machines. I’m a huge, huge, fan of these and I can’t wait to see more of these machines around. Maybe by summertime?

Baking with Limes

eggs-and-tree.JPG lime-cake.JPG

Sometimes you need an excuse to bake. I don’t mean baking cupcakes from a box (they need no excuse– I bake a few dozen and freeze for a quick fix later on). I mean the kind of baking that takes 2 people, 3 parts, 4 hours, and several cups of tea to perform. And, in this case, made more complicated by the fact that we were lacking hot water for the between batter and frosting cleanup of the stand mixer bowl due to a water heater melt down in the basement that morning. The plumber came, but was finished before the cake was, he missed out. N and I made a lime sponge cake, based on a recipe we found in Cook’s Illustrated — one that was actually written by a pastry chef I once worked alongside. We baked the cake and then cut each layer in half, filled with lemon curd which we did not make (would take too long to set). The flavor of the purchased curd was not what I had in mind, but the cake made up for it, at least. Once constructed, we covered the whole thing with fluffy white lime-juicy frosting. N made sweet little cowlicks all over it with the offset spatula. Very nice. We ate slices with cups of tea and even Mr. Food put aside his books long enough to try some. Not bad for an afternoon’s work– but next time I’d like to make my own curd, and N would prefer a frosting that didn’t taste so much of Cool Whip. Stay tuned. Next month– potato roesti and a recreation of the 80s product, Jell-O 1-2-3, courtesy of Carolyn Wyman’s lovely book

Doughnuts, but not for eating

A doughnut that only happens in the wintertime! A natural phenomenon!

Why I won’t eat canned tuna

In short, it smells funny. Also, it reminds me of high school lunches.

But before that, when I was too small to be entrusted to make my own lunch, Grandma “Monkey” would make me and my brother the best tunafish sandwiches (I think I actually called them that). My elegantly tall and thin grandmother hated to cook — she actually owned the I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken — would mix a can of tuna with delicately chopped celery and a bit of lemon juice. I was by all accounts a picky eater but would eat these without complaint. Glass of milk on the side, please.

I continued to eat tuna sandwiches and even to enjoy them much of the way through high school. But then there was the summer I think of as the time of too much tuna. Though I must have had some retail job or another, I ate at home quite a bit. My stepmother loved these stinky sandwiches (and still does, somehow) and made them every day for lunch. I can still see the can opening, fish crumbling into the big wooden bowl, adding some mayo and celery and smooshing some between slices of wheat bread. I ate them day after day those few months and have never done since. I should have eventually picked up a knife and some peanut butter and made my own lunch, but for some reason I never did. Half a lifetime later, I still can’t be in the same room with a can of tuna.

Late last year L brought out a fancy can of tuna and offered up a taste. A squinched nose gave me away– could it be she had never realized what effect that summer had on my taste for tuna? I paraphrased but agreed to try it despite our history together (me and the tuna, that is). Well, we won’t be seeing that happen again anytime soon! I still leave the room when Mr. Food pulls out his can for an occasional lunch. My day-job boss also eats the stinky stuff once in a while. Too bad I can smell it in my office too. At least the rest of the time I can avoid canned tuna, and I hope that someday (in line with peanut butter bans perhaps!) my little hypothetical kids won’t have to put up with it at school. Unless, of course, they take after their father.