Cheese + Flour + Yeast + Salt + Eggs = The Ancient Mystery of Bread

To contemplate bread even more, please go my previous post, Panis Gravis, or, Bread, Endless Nurturer. I’ve baked bread for years and years. In fact, except for the odd hamburger bun, my family never eats “boughten bread,” as my mother-in-law called it. In a time when “carbohydrate” evokes images reminiscent of horror films, singing the…

Another Holy Trinity of the Kitchen: The Magic of Milk, Eggs, and White Flour

Every time I pour crêpe batter into my 8-inch Teflon*-lined crêpe pan, I see deep scratches, the ones that Habiba made with the fork she used while cooking a three-egg cheese-and-herb omelet one wintry Moroccan morning. The scratches don’t affect the pan’s performance, just as wounds and scars don’t fundamentally change who we are and…

Eating the Wild Air …

From the first gasping breath, when tiny hands claw at air, reaching futilely for an anchor, a rope, air feeds us. Even  fish of seas and lakes and rivers seek that building block of air — oxygen. Fire roars when coddled by oxygen and whimpers like a teat-deprived newborn lamb in its absence. Steam, the…

Water, the Essence of All

Begin with a washing of hands, cleansing and purifying, before approaching the stove, as to an altar. Pouring water into a pot, do you remember the source? Rain, clouds, rivers, streams, lakes, oceans … Transformation, from elements and compounds and chaotic matter to life. Essence. Alchemy. In your hands, a cook’s hands, water shape-shifts into…

Shrovetide Pancakes — A Shrove Tuesday Tradition

Shriven/Shrove: archaic : to confess one’s sins, especially to a priest* When they heard the “pancake bell,” people flocked to the church to be “shriven” or confessed on Shrove Tuesday, and ready to make the pancakes that date back to Saxon times. If you think of Shrove Tuesday pancakes as stodgy, thick American pancakes, think…

Butterfly of Winter — Fabergé’s Mardi Gras Egg

“Carnival is a Butterfly of Winter whose last mad flight of Mardi Gras forever ends his glory.” ~ Perry Young, The Mistick Krewe: Chronicles of Comus and His Kin Theo Fabergé,  grandson of Carl Fabergé, created this dazzling egg to commemorate Mardi Gras in New Orleans:

John Evelyn: Cook, Or, the 17th C. Man Who Would Be a Locavore

Omnia explorate; meliora retinete (Explore everything; keep the best.) ~~ Evelyn family motto Somehow, and how I wish it were so, it would be nice to time-travel, to sit at table with the people I’m meeting through their words, written by long-dead hands with quill pens and India ink. One of my new “acquaintances,” if…