Friday, October 31, 2014

Anything that Moves by Dana Goodyear [book review]

Warning: I am going to talk about something you may find a little disgusting.

I'm part of a food-related book club called The Kitchen Reader. (Actually, I'm its facilitator, too.) Our October book is Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture by Dana Goodyear, chosen by Melissa of Melos Bookshelf. Modern Western eating patterns are so different from other cultures and times. This book chronicles some of the fringe eating that is emerging (or re-emerging) in America.

While the book has lots to say about eating organ meats, raw milk, live seafood, and so on, an issue that caught my eye was about insects. Eating insects is a polarizing issue, but probably shouldn't be.

A quarter of the world regularly eats insects, did you know? I learned that from a recent National Geographic print magazine. (Two of the pictures in this post are snaps of the September 2014 issue.) In fact, please go watch National Geographic's short animated video called Edible Insects. It's less than two minutes long. Go on, it's quite educational!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thai Basil and Cashew Stir-Fry

Sometimes my body just craves a big pile of vegetables. One of these days was last week during my half term holidays. After ten weeks at school my body was run down and seeking nutrients. What I needed was more sleep, less stress, and some highly healthy food.

In the past I have arrived at my half term break on the verge of illness. Many years I have made it to the Saturday after school ends and succumbed to a cold or the flu. I have laid on the couch and dribbled away my holiday.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Quinoa, Broccoli, and Bacon Fritters

You might not know this about me: I am obsessed with correct punctuation. It began as a young child. Thanks to my book-loving parents, I owned more than 200 books by the time I was nine, and they were alphabetised and organised on my bookshelf.

My father took a break from his work to do a PhD when I was ten, and he moved our family to Scotland to complete it over five years at the University of Aberdeen. It involved a huge thesis and he talked about it constantly with our family. I was old enough to understand a little of the subject matter. His thesis later became a 380 page book called Attributes and Atonement: The Holy Love of God in the Theology of PT Forsyth.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

French Onion Soup

Onions are a thing of beauty, aren't they? No? You think they are too mundane to be beautiful? They have such a humble exterior, hiding away those lovely, thin layers.

In a passage I found so memorable in the book The Supper of the Lamb, Robert Farrar Capon writes about how to meditate on an onion. "Take one of the onion (preferably the best looking),... and sit down at the kitchen table.... To do it justice, you should arrange to have sixty minutes or so free for this part of the exercise. Admittedly, spending an hour in the society of an onion may be something you have never done before.... Onions are excellent company."

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Molecular Gastronomy by Herve This [book review]

This month I have been dipping into Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor by Herve This as part of the Kitchen Reader book club. It is a guidebook about the chemistry and physics behind cooking processes. It reports on cooking experiments from a scientific and analytical standpoint.

There are 101 chapters! Each one concerns a discrete cooking question. What difference does it make to salt meat before or after adding it to a hot pan? What is the effect of resting the meat after boiling or frying it? What makes a souffle rise? What kind of wine makes the best marinades? What are the preferred cheeses for fondue?


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