Tasty Tidbits: February News Peruse

Every now and then, I come across foodie stories that I feel compelled to comment on. Then there are stories where commenting to the screen isn’t enough (come on, we all do it) and I do another Fabulous Foodie News Peruse to share those thoughts and opinions with someone other than the cat. This is round up of just those kind of stories.

food_news_peruse

  • Beans Do Not Belong in Chili” declares the Slate headline. Well, I don’t know about that. I have tried and enjoyed beanless chili but I am firmly in the “beans are perfectly welcome in my chili” camp. I spent my childhood in Texas eating chili and every year perused the offerings at the Chili Cookoff competition at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Beans were found in any number of those dishes and no one spurned them, called them goulash or declared them out of bounds.  I say, “Yes” to beans in chili. What say you?

  • If you consider the fact that potatoes are one of the most thrown away household groceries on both sides of the Atlantic, you might think people were already buying more potatoes than they know what to do with. Add that to the chips, fries and mash consumed by the ton when eating out and you might also think tater sales were pretty good.  And yet, apparently that is not enough for the U.S. Potato Board (there is a board for everything, trust me). What are they doing about it? According to Food Republic the U.S. Potato Board Is Firing Up 500 Food Trucks To Sell More Spuds. OK, who’s not buying and eating their share of spuds? I can’t do this all by myself people!

potatoes

  • Hardly a week goes by when I don’t see yet another article declaring that they have found the IDEAL way to make scrambled eggs. This week is no exception with epicurious suggesting that “The Ingredient Scrambled Eggs Are Always Missing” – oh really? Now, scrambled eggs are one of those things people hold VIEWS on – but my preference for soft/firm/with cheese/without can depend on my mood. I am TOTALLY on board with the addition of a certain amount of really good cheese to a scramble now and again, however. How say you, foodies? Should cheese be ONLY involved when it comes to omeletes or are you happen to cheese up a scramble as well?

eggs_toast

Pickled And Baked

It’s not what you think.

I’m not wallowing in wine or whacked out on weed. (At least not right now.) I do, however, have homemade bread baking in the oven, and I’ve just put up a bunch of pickles.

Again, it’s not what you may think. I haven’t joined a commune in Vermont, delved too far into the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder, or taken up extreme right-wing ideologies and moved into a nuclear bunker in Tennessee. I’m just trying to stay hip. And for once, I’ve found I haven’t already aged out of the latest trends.

Both baking and pickling are tres chic here in the UK. That runaway smash tv show The Great British Bakeoff has taken the nation by storm over the last few years.

mary-berry

What was once the province of the WI has now become a national craze. Artisan bakeries are opening across the land, companies are holding their own employee cake contests, and near strangers are getting friendly jabbering about their Genoese sponges.

In the restaurant and television cookery worlds, pickling is equally de rigeur. TV shows like Masterchef: The Professionals are giving us weekly bites of the latest fine dining trends, and along with pistachios, apricots, cauliflower and cured mackerel, pickled vegetables adorn pretty much every plate. In fact, sometimes they’re all on the same plate, which strikes me as a digestive challenge.

Pickling

Now I don’t, as it happens, have much of a sweet tooth. I’m not a big fan of cakes or pastries. And I’ve never before felt a particular need to knead. Nor do I, living on the third floor of an apartment block as I do, own acres of farmland replete with legumes that need preserving before they rot.

But still, a boy can get to feeling left out.

So what to do about it? Continue reading “Pickled And Baked”

Spaghetti: Dressed For Dinner

We recently celebrated Spaghetti Day here at Fabulous Foodie. Deborah’s fabulous post about the various forms of- and sauces for- spaghetti got me to thinking about what a large part spaghetti has played in my culinary life.

I remember being a child watching my dad make his spaghetti Bolognese sauce, and how – though it’s certainly my own sauce now – mine is based on his. Yes, I know that sauce is actually called a ragu, and that in Italy it’s never served with spaghetti (except perhaps resignedly to tourists) because spaghetti is the wrong shape and texture to properly hold the sauce, but like everyone who didn’t grow up in Italy, that’s the way I first ate it. And it’s still how I prefer to eat it to this day.

bolognese-sauce

As a teen, I learned how to eat spaghetti properly, instead of cutting it into childishly spoon-able lengths; how you gather a few strands on the tines of your fork, and twirl the fork against the side of the bowl or a spoon until they’re neatly twined around your fork. And how it’s actually okay to slurp a bit , just to get those few recalcitrant straggly ends into your mouth. (At least it is in my house.)

Then I remember how I learned to cook spaghetti (and all pasta) properly:

Continue reading “Spaghetti: Dressed For Dinner”

Jan 3: Chocolate Covered Cherry Day

I went to see if I could find some interesting or odd details about chocolate covered cherries when I was brought up short by the SHOCKING number of recipes online for making your own chocolate covered cherries.

choc_cherries

Don’t misunderstand. I love chocolate covered cherries but at no time, in no way and in no circumstances that I could ever imagine would I make them. Who does that? Anyone?

10 Best (Non-Baking) Uses for Bicarb

Before anyone asks: yes, my fellow Americans – bicarbonate of soda is the same as baking soda. Now that we’re on the same page – Happy Bicarbonate of Soda Day!

There was a time when I assumed the only thing bicarb was good for was, once mixed in with water, as a hangover remedy. These days I bake more so I realize there’s more to it than that. But I’ve also realized in the past year or so, that its usefulness as a tool in the cleaning arsenal around the house is unrivaled. Well, only rivaled by lemons. Between bicarb and lemons, I hardly need anything else.

Bicarb_lemon

I’ve been switching to greener cleaning options these days – for a number of reasons, chief among which is the obsession that cleaning product manufacturers have these days about scenting EVERYTHING. They clearly have a very different understanding of the word “lemony” or the phrase “pine fresh scent” than I do. YUCK!

baking-soda-for-cleaning

So, I thought to mark the occasion of Bicarbonate of Soda Day, I thought I’d round up a few of the ways I used bicarb around the house. You may find a useful tip or two – and by all means, share any others you might have.

Continue reading “10 Best (Non-Baking) Uses for Bicarb”

Foodie Resolve: To Avoid Resolutions

I don’t know about you but after the relentless crunch of holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, I need a break. As a result, I tend to ignore the culinary holidays during the first half of January.  If you’re one of those people who always makes the infamous “I will lose weight in the new year” resolution, you may wish to consider ignoring them as well.  The first half of January makes it pretty clear that the culinary calendar is against you.

January 2 is Buffet Day. Seriously? On January 2? Why not simply INVITE people to break all those New Year’s resolutions. Cruel, I call it. Even more cruel – you know what else Jan 2 is? National Cream Puff Day. Yeah, that’s right. Cream Puffs. Go on. Resolve to lose 15 lbs. Just not on Jan2.

Buffet

Maybe wait until the next day? I mean, one more day … oh wait.

Continue reading “Foodie Resolve: To Avoid Resolutions”

Chocolate Covered Anything Day

All bets are off! It’s Chocolate Covered Anything Day! Or as they say in Ghostbusters:

“Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…  The dead rising from the grave!   … Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”

Look, don’t get me wrong – I’m all for chocolate. Pretty much any time of the day or night. No one was more thrilled than I that individually sliced chocolate slices have now seen the light of day.  But you can’t just go throwing chocolate on things willy-nilly. I mean, you can but why?

Continue reading “Chocolate Covered Anything Day”

All About Ambrosia

Ah, ambrosia, food of the gods. Usually served with nectar, tipple of the gods.

I somehow suspect that it is not that ambrosia that they meant Ambrosia Day (Dec. 12) to celebrate. No, I believe that it is a day devoted to ambrosia the fruit salad, staple of the Southern table. Not as lofty sounding perhaps but certainly more accessible to those of us not numbered among the deities.

ambrosia

Continue reading “All About Ambrosia”