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Euell Gibbons

When I lived in Germany as a teenager, my biology teacher did not show up one day. She ate poisonous mushrooms, and died. That's all it took for me.

Apr 10, 2014
pitterpatter in General Topics

Dried mushrooms? What's the point?

Same here. Can't say enough positive things about this seller of porcini, saffron and vanilla beans! And their extracts are really good, too.

Feb 11, 2014
pitterpatter in General Topics
1

Saffron-is this a good deal?

I buy the best I can find (saffron.com) by the ounce, and while it will last me a while, I give much of it away to friends who REALLY appreciate my little offering which would cost them a fortune if they bought (much inferior) little quantities in those little glass jars. Sames goes for vanilla beans.

Jan 17, 2014
pitterpatter in General Topics
1

Any pâte de fruit recipes or wisdom to share?

Vitpris is hugely expensive, and I can only find it in large containers -- much too much for my use. Caitlin, I was just now going to pose the same question. I am going to try my hand at this today, using liquid pectin and blueberries and strawberries that I froze over the summer. There are so many opinions and recipes on the internet that I spent a whole morning digging through these and I guess I'll just pick one and go with it. If everything fails, maybe I will spring for the Vitpris and some Boiron purees, but the shipping is incredible. Most sites charge $50 for a single $18 kilo of puree.

Dec 02, 2013
pitterpatter in Home Cooking

Favorite bread for Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches?

Cranberry walnut bread from Bobolink Dairy.

cowsoutside.com

Dec 02, 2013
pitterpatter in General Topics

Should home ec classes return to schools? - the sequel

There were no teachers in the room, and I don't think the parents were limited in any way. This was eight years ago. Our town and local K-8 are both very small. I don't think everyone knows everyone -- I certainly don't, as I don't have kids of my own so never got to know folks through that avenue. However, there must be only one or two degrees of separation for everyone in town, so people are accountable for their behavior. I am interested in learning whether the school has changed its policy --

It is rather horrifying how many "non-essential" programs have been dropped, especially when you consider how much we pay per student to educate them. If we are not the highest in the nation, we are pretty darn close.

Nov 27, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

Does anyone actually like Sandra Lee?

Yeah, I saw that this morning, and thought "who cares about the turkey." All I could concentrate on was how well she spreads cross-contamination around. Her bare hands go directly from the turkey to her knife, from the turkey to the oven door handle, and in so many other ways. At least she should have made mention that if hand washing scenes were edited out of the final cut, one should be aware of the toxic bomb an inexperienced cook can shower all over a work space.

Nov 27, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

Should home ec classes return to schools? - the sequel

Several years ago, a friend and I volunteered to teach kids to knit in an after-school program, here in NJ. There were no background checks, approval from above or any commitment for long term -- just a huge amount of appreciation from all the students involved. I guess times have changed. What I remember most is that we expected about 5 fourth-graders, and 25 signed up. The parents who chaperoned really wanted to learn as well, so it was chaos all around.

As for Home Ec, I think it is really important for young people to learn to appreciate wholesome food by having them introduced to vegetables and other things they may scorn. Fresh tomato sauce on whole wheat pasta; mushroom and spinach on pita bread as shortcut pizza; roasted carrots -- what is not to like? Perhaps the best way to do this is to have classes teaching them how to prepare simple food that if actually nutritious, to wean them off of chicken nuggets and Burger King.

Off topic, but perhaps even more important is to bring back music and art classes.

Nov 27, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

STTP [Sodium Tripolyphosphate]

Thank you for the link. I spent some time researching STTP, but this article summarizes everything I learned plus so much more.

At work, my maniac purchaser keeps buying fish from China, though my boss has told him not to (but never follows up). The "Alaskan Pollack" is treated with STTP (says so on the box) so one day, I weighed it before defrosting, then afterward, and measured the liquid seepage. 55% shrinkage! Conversation with purchaser: "Are you aware of the shrinkage?" "Yes." "Are you aware that this is processed in China?" "Yes, and I don't give a f***." "Why do you keep buying it?" "Because it is $1.10 per pound."

$1.10 per pound???? For fish???? And that is at retail, not wholesale. I simply refuse to cook it. My diners, who are young, mentally ill people at a residential home, will get a plate of beans before they ever touch that stuff.

Nov 23, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

Crazy people and their cookware obsessions...

I wouldn't say that I am particularly obsessed, but I have a lot of stuff. I cook for big parties at friend's homes, and over the years seem to amassed an extraordinary number of terrine molds, weird stuff like an idli cooker, 16 pieces of All-Clad --- all of which I use, and a dozen or so Le Creuset. My house has two kitchens, a large pantry and a hallway that are all stuffed with stuff. I use everything, and am always on the lookout for more. The J.B. Prince website is a very dangerous place to visit! Those vintage mixers got me thinking ---

Oct 22, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

Mollie Katzen-Moosewood Cookbook.

Oh they very much approached her after her book was written, with anger and heartbreak. Understand, this was the hippie era. The folks working there were young. People did not think about things like lawyers, law suits, etc. No one could have predicted how popular her book would become.

All Moosewood books that followed were written by the cooperative. Molly's next book was the Broccoli Forest, which had nothing to do with Moosewood, and I don't know for sure but assume that she disassociated herself from all members, as none of them wanted to ever hear from her again.

Oct 15, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

Mollie Katzen-Moosewood Cookbook.

I must respond. I learned to cook from this book (Russian cabbage borscht, mushroom strudels, cardamom coffee cake and so much more). I must also add that as a teenager I enjoyed and was inspired by the original Moosewood restaurant that was located in a basement of the old Clinton House in Ithaca. Additionally, I worked at Moosewood while plying my way through college. I grew up in Ithaca, went to Cornell, and everyone who is of my generation from that neighborhood knows that she simply stole those recipes developed from innocent and creative young folks whom, like myself, simply enjoyed fussing around with food while pleasing people. The original coop of people that made Moosewood possible, some of whom are still there, will never forget nor forgive.

Oct 15, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

Your Favorite Nut-Heavy Dishes

Savory "cookies" with Roquefort and pecans
Gorgonzola and walnut sauce for pasta
Hazelnut semi-fredo
Chocolate hazelnut ice cream
Cold sesame noodles
Homemade almond butter with honey and cinnamon
Almond macaroons

Oct 13, 2013
pitterpatter in General Topics

Your Favorite Pasta Dish?

Saute bread crumbs in butter, toss with pasta with lots of chopped, flat-leaf parsley, then grate bottarga over the top. Best pasta dish ever.

Aug 02, 2013
pitterpatter in General Topics

Regular Chopped Judges-- how are THEIR restaurants?

Beyond horrible? Let us say way, way, way beyond horrible. And the service, oh, I can't go there.

Jun 10, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

Best baking oil?

Ditto on the coconut oil for cookies and also brownies. For cakes, I use extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil, or almond oil. These may change the flavor profile of certain recipes, but in my experience, always for the better. For pie crusts, butter only -- the best, unsalted butter I can find, but I think I will try coconut oil the next time I make a crust or shortbread.

These ingredients can be quite expensive, and I am quite poor, but this is how I spend my money as it is simply my priority. After all I have read about how canola, soybean, and other refined oils are processed and what goes into them, all I can say is "eeew."

Jun 06, 2013
pitterpatter in Home Cooking

Favorite Convenience Food?

My local supermarkets have great olive bars, which include much more than olives. A platter of roasted tomatoes, some olives of course, a few mozzarella balls, meaty grilled artichoke hearts with stems, a few stuffed grape leaves, and pronto: a convenient and great tasting light meal without effort.

May 30, 2013
pitterpatter in General Topics

Very interesting article from Smithsonian about why we like what we like.

Very interesting indeed, and it absorbed me enough to take me away from the stress of my work -- not easy to do! Just as an aside, my first food memory was sitting in my high-chair and my parents gave me Roquefort just to see what my reaction would be. As an adult, I worked for a cheese importer/distributor and tasted perhaps 2,500 cheeses. My favorite, to this day? Roquefort. And I rarely eat or cook anything that is not Indian or Thai, for the amazing complexity of their flavors.

Also, while simple music can become, after time, boring, I still swell to Eric Satie and many of the "repetitive" choruses in Bach Cantatas, though my go-to is Bartok, and my roommates in college never understood, though tolerated, my morning ritual of his piano concertos.

My thoughts are that tastes evolve, but as the article writer states, the concept of "taste" is underpinned at an early age. Thank you for the link.

And P.S., Michael Moss's book is fabulous. Read it, loved it.

May 24, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

James Beard Awards

I apologize. I was referring to restaurants and chefs in NYC and in no way wished to demean hard working and talented writers.

May 14, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

James Beard Awards

As once an insider, I know that these are rigged. It all has to do with who has the best PR person, at least in NewYork.

May 13, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

Cicadas Anyone?

The people of Cambodia use spiders as a major source of protein, and have learned how to cook them to be delicious. A guy down the road from me, in NJ, raises them for food, and is quite successful. You skewer them like kebabs then deep fry them. I never considered the "fuzz" on them.

While I have encountered a few wild tarantulas in my yard, no scorpions and for that I am grateful. Tell me how to get rid of the stink bugs. My dog will eat any insect except for those.

May 13, 2013
pitterpatter in General Topics

Cicadas Anyone?

I will try anything at least once, and as I live in a place where these things are going to be abundant, I have been following recipe blogs and know that I will be frying some up "just to see." If they taste like soft shell crabs, my favorite food, then I expect to be delighted, though I will not force them on my friends. By the way, whole tarantulas are also quite delicious and much like soft shell crabs.

May 13, 2013
pitterpatter in General Topics

What equals a complete protein, vegetarian-wise?

Besides grated Brazil nuts, flax seeds and a few black olives, where are you getting your fat from? You don't put any oil on your salads? You need fat. It just needs to be the right fat.

May 12, 2013
pitterpatter in General Topics

Storing Spices in the Fridge or Freezer

I usually buy whole spices in 1/4 pound quantities and keep them in Ball jars, with no worry about loss of flavor. I buy saffron by the ounce, and keep that in the freezer, as well as lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, with no problem whatsoever. My saffron is still good after two years. My refrigerator is too crowded with condiments and the like to harbor my spices, except for fresh ginger and turmeric. As I am fortunate to have Asian grocery stores nearby, I don't worry about spices becoming old. The only concern I have is bugs like them, especially the dried peppers, which is why the Ball jars are so important.

May 10, 2013
pitterpatter in General Topics

At chicken plants, chemicals blamed for health ailments are poised to proliferate

Clearly you know much more about the chemistry of these processes than I do, and appreciate your erudition. I really wish some agency with authority can come forth with trustworthy, hard science to alleviate my fears which I know many other consumers share. I approach many of my concerns about our food supply based on voluminous reading on the subject, with so many contradictions, inadequate data, opposing agendas and hidden political motivations. I want the facts, the real facts. Any suggestion as to where I can learn from the best?

May 01, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

At chicken plants, chemicals blamed for health ailments are poised to proliferate

Well, ammonia is a neurotoxin, and I don't know much about those other chemicals, but it also bothers me that workers are becoming very ill in these plants. I have concern for the workers -- that in any way misguided? If you have faith in the USDA, fine. I am skeptical. If we are going to great stronger pathogens because of these practices, that concerns me as well. I understand the need to feed people, but don't think I am at all a terrified kook for wanting to eat, or having the people of America eat, chickens raised and slaughtered in such a way that these measures are not necessary.

May 01, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News
2

At chicken plants, chemicals blamed for health ailments are poised to proliferate

You would have to read the article to learn that our chicken is sprayed with toxic chemicals then dipped into an ammonia bath, to rid of salmonella and other nasty bugs. The workers are exposed through breathing these chemicals and are suffering from all kinds of ailments, primarily to their lungs, and government agencies are not at all concerned. They rely on testing from the chemical companies themselves. And we are eating this stuff.

Apr 30, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News
3

At chicken plants, chemicals blamed for health ailments are poised to proliferate

One person commented, "Anyone who reads this article should be terrified." No kidding. I just removed chicken from my shopping list. Thank you for the link.

Apr 30, 2013
pitterpatter in Food Media & News

Help! Need info on "Wild Caught Alaskan Pollack" imported from China

I cook for a healthcare facility and am unfortunately beholden to our purchaser. He keeps buying seafood from China, because it is cheap. I have been forced to cook the above mentioned, which has 50% shrinkage, because he pays only $1.50 per pound for it. This stuff scares the wits out of me. I have been surfing the internet, but cannot find anything specifically detailed about this product. I need to go to the director with solid evidence that were are serving something that we should not. Can someone direct me to a site where I can find irrefutable information? Thanks in advance.

Apr 21, 2013
pitterpatter in General Topics

For all the Brussels Sprouts Haters - what don't you like about them?

I absolutely love arugula, kale, broccoli, cauliflower -- this is a list of my favorite vegetables -- and absolutely hated brussel sprouts until recently, when I roasted them to the point they were almost burnt, and they were delicious. I felt that hate for cabbage as well, then learned to saute it with apples and lots of butter, and like that very much. My mother always boiled brussel sprouts and cabbage until soft and flabby, and the bitterness was overwhelming. But don't get me started about rutabagas and turnips, off topic. Cannot, will not, ever grace my mouth, though I have tried these again in my adulthood. Interesting, though, that arugula is a cruciferous. I never would have thought.

Apr 19, 2013
pitterpatter in General Topics