Archive for the ‘The Inedible Stuff’ Category

Tasty new header

November 16, 2008

Thanks to boxofbirds for making us a custom header!

jaq

My kinda pie chart

September 26, 2008

Pie chart

from past times

September 11, 2008

I have a fairly large collection of books about food, and part of that includes old gems like the 365 Days of Crisco (It’s Digestible!) and Into the Freezer (and Out!) and Diet in Disease.  I was thrilled to receive this link to a large digitized collection of pamphlets, housed at the University of Iowa: http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/szathmary/

jaq

Sawdust Cookies and Other Culinary Misadventures

February 29, 2008

When I was thinking about writing on the topic of culinary mishaps I figured I would remember some great story from when I was in college and first started cooking for myself on a regular basis, but I realized that the two worst disasters I could remember happened pretty recently. At first I was dismayed. How could I have so many disasters now that I have so much more experience? But then I realized it’s probably because I am much more likely to try brand new recipes, or just try to whip something up on the fly, which usually turns out OK, but can sometimes lead to “learning experiences.” (more…)

So many mistakes er, experiments

February 28, 2008

I was fortunate, in a way, to begin cooking very young. My mother worked two jobs and, as the eldest, housekeeping and weekday cooking fell to me. From about 4th grade, I’d done the summer 4-H cooking program, and had tasted the results of my classmates errors. Once you’ve had a cookie made with ½ cup of baking soda, instead of ½ tbsp, you never forget the importance of exact measurement and following the recipe. But I was very creative in the kitchen, and tried out flavor combinations that were never meant to be. Canned sweet corn? Let’s dump in a tsp of ground cloves! Eventually, I learned the value of a crowd-pleaser and started baking a pound cake for my brother and sister every day when we got home from school. We’d have it eaten and cleaned up before mom got home and she’d never be the wiser, except for the huge amount of margarine and eggs we were burning through.

There are so many mistakes just waiting to be made in every kitchen. Mistakes of equipment, whether failures or misuse; mistakes of ingredients, whether mismeasuring or mis-substituting or finding something crucial spoiled; mistakes of judgment. These last are my favorites, and the ones I seem to do best. (more…)

Culinary Mishaps #1: Hell-brisket

February 27, 2008

Once, when I worked as a nanny, I was asked by the boss to cook a beef brisket for her family. No notice, no time for a market run, using only what was in the house. I said sure, I’d cooked many briskets before. I prepped pearl onions, a bed of celery and carrots, some chervil and chives from the garden. I grabbed the brisket from the ‘fridge and realized it was… frozen solid. (more…)