Posted in Food, Meatless Monday, Recipes

Dinner Tonight

Easy, fast, delicious. Greek pasta with spinach and feta cheese.

  
All you need is a can of tomatoes, canned white beans, spinach and feta cheese. I added fresh basil, oregano and garlic. Dump a large can of chopped tomatoes into a frying pan, add the herbs, garlic and beans and cook for ten minutes. Wash and chop 10 oz of spinach and add. Cook another 10 minutes. Serve with crumbled feta on top of chunky pasta.

Good and sans meat.

Posted in Food, History, Recipes

You Know You’re a Foodie When…

You spend most of the day reading the new copy of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, cover to cover. You have the facsimile 1896 version for comparison sitting right next to you.

image

This copy replaces the paperback version which is cracked in half and missing pages. This one is hardback and even thicker. And we won’t mention all the other editions sitting on the bookshelf.

Nuff said.

Posted in Boston, Food, History, Home, Massachusetts, Recipes

Something Old, Something New

coal stove
I think we’re out of coal, dear

Well, here we are at 2015. I’m ready for it to be a fine 12 months. I started the year by going back in time. I had to order a new version of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Mine falls to pieces the minute you open it. I didn’t get the requested item for Christmas, so I ordered it online. While I was browsing around I came across another book, intriguingly entitled: “Fannie’s Last Supper.” The author is Chris Kimball, the host of America’s Test Kitchen. He wanted to recreate a meal from the original, 1896 edition. I’m a sucker for stuff like that, so I ponied up and got myself an ebook copy, which I’m reading on my iPad (talk about juxtapositions!).

The book got some bad reviews on Amazon, mostly because the author found most of the recipes in the cookbook to be absolutely terrible. I think he’s being a bit hard on the old girl. That was then and this is now. If you can’t deal with soggy, overcooked vegetables and heavy cream sauce over everything, then do something else. Still, it’s an interesting read with lots of social and culinary history thrown in among the revised recipes and admonitions.

I have a few historical versions of this cookbook: a reproduction of the original, a reprinting from 1918 (with wartime recipes and suggested substitutions, another version from 1951 and another from 1965. The menus change pretty radically along the way, so I guess jellied salad and fish boiled for an hour didn’t withstand the test of time. At some point they swapped out coal stoves and added baking temperatures, thank God. Really, I don’t need to learn how to light and maintain a stove. Checking oven temperature is an absolute necessity, particularly in my crappy old stove. See? If I had the cast iron coal stove, I could have switched it over to gas and it would outlast me by 100 years. So, there, Chris Kimball!

Fannie's Last Supper
Nice cover

I have to say, I like the book, although he’s very snooty towards Miss Farmer. He did acknowledge her marketing and business sense, since the book is a classic and has been for over a century. It sold like hotcakes the minute it came out. It had precise weights and measures, suggested menus (holy cow!), information about cooking classes at the Boston Cooking School and even a section on cooking for the sick. Toast water, anyone? And how about this for brekkies:

Raspberries
Shredded wheat biscuits
Dried smoked beef in cream
Hash browned potatoes
Baking powder biscuit
Coffee

Burp. I’ll get a cramp in my hand if I copy down her suggested dinners. Would I make anything from the original cookbook? Probably not. Some of them really do sound kind of gross and the method of preparation would cook every bit of nutrition right out. Boil that sucker for an hour! Get the deep frier ready and pass the cream sauce.

Posted in Blogging, Bouncing Tigger's Vegetarian Recipe Challenge, Food, Recipes

Death by Chili Pepper

I’m trying to knock out a few posts while I have the energy and before my desire to run downstairs and finish my book finally overcomes me. I’ve been meaning to spend some time with Tigger’s Veggie Challenge and I think I may have found a fun post for this one.

I really like Indian food but my tastes, all with all westerners probably, are pretty calmed down compared to the real thing. I also love to watch cooking videos and came across a chef who I can’t stop watching. He’s a really nice, respectful guy and at the same time brimming over with enthusiasm about the dishes he demonstrates. He calls himself the VahChef (prounounced “Wah Chef”) and he cooks stuff from throughout India. Yes, I know there are a lot of different cuisines and there’s really no such thing as “Indian” food, just like there’s really no such thing as “curry.”

The VahChef invites people to upload their own cooking videos, too, which is rather cool. He also prepares some western dishes, but doesn’t seems as excited about them as the “Indian” stuff. My favorite part, though? This dude is NOT afraid of hot peppers. It’s hysterical: “first you add some chili, then you add some chili powder and then you add more chili if the dish is not tasty enough.”

Yow! It sounds great and deadly. I might try modifying his recipes so that I can actually make them.

On another note, I’ve been following some really ugly issues regarding women and women’s right, not only in India but in Nigeria, too. I know women in both countries have gone into the streets to protest these atrocities and I stand with them. I want those kids in Nigeria back and I want women in all parts of India to be able to walk the street unmolested.