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…

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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…

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:

Saints, Souls, and Haints: Eggs

From Memoirs of the American Folk-lore Society, Volume 4, published in 1896, by the American Folklore Society, folk beliefs about Halloween from early America. Most U.S. Halloween practices came from Scotland. 311. On Halloween put an egg to roast before the fire and leave the doors and windows open. When it begins to sweat a…

Idylls of Cuisine, #34

[A photograph, and nothing more, for silent contemplation.]* *Demon eyeballs, click on photo for recipe. Note: for the next two weeks, I'm working on a couple of intensive writing projects, so "Gherkins & Tomatoes" will of necessity be brief, with a look at "Saints, Souls, and Haints" in honor of the ancient traditions of Halloween,…

The Chicken or the Egg? 4. Egging Us On

A few days ago, I thumbed through the brand-new, hot-off-the-press version of Larousse Gastronomique. You know,  Julia Child's bedtime reading.  At least according to the movie, “Julie & Julia.” After all, Julia once remarked that, “If I were allowed only one reference book in my library, Larousse Gastronomique would be it, without question.” First written…

The Chicken or the Egg? 3. Instructions to the Cook

Eggs a guilty pleasure? There's a reason for that. Thanks to Dr. Thomas Royle Dawber’s research team and the famous “gold standard” Framingham Study,[1] eggs morphed into things to be eaten on the sly, enjoyed alone, like a whole bag of foil-wrapped Dove chocolates. Based on the weak statistical correlation between cholesterol levels and heart…

The Chicken or the Egg? 2. The Cooking of Eggs

There is reason in roasting of eggs! ~~~ James Boswell, Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides In nineteenth-century America, giddy with conquest and Manifest Destiny, domestic science denizens rose up, called themselves home economists, and jumped on the bandwagon of cleanliness and right thought. The results of that movement set the stage for today’s…

The Chicken or the Egg? 1. The Egg and Art*

The egg it is where it was at for Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, who once said, rather egotistically (!), that "When I was three I wanted to be a cook. At the age of six I wanted to be Napoleon. Since then my ambition has increased all the time" The other day, thoughts of…

Moonshine

Living as I do in the heart of moonshine [white lightning] country, I just about dropped the cookbook when I saw the word “Moonshine.” If it had been a Southern cookbook or a Foxfire book, I would have turned the page without a second thought and been done with it. But this reference to “Moonshine”…

Scottish Eggs, Anyone?

Scotland's been in the news a lot lately. But what do Scottish people eat? That's the question. Tea, most likely. That's a good place to start. Oatmeal, in scones and porridge (just for breakfast, you would hope). Yes. And whisky. Scotland produces some of the best whisky in the world. Smoky. Peaty. Can't go wrong…

Ham and Eggs

Omne vivum ex ovo. "All life comes from an egg." --Latin Proverb-- Eggs and Easter go together like...ham and eggs? Well, it hasn't always been that way. Christians first celebrated Easter in the second century A.D. and the Council of Nicaea, convened in 325 A.D. by the Emperor Constantine, set the official date for Easter.…

The Eggs Had It: Goodbye, “Cool Hand”

I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger? Paul Newman Paul Newman's death brought up many memories of his films. Since I am a "foodie," one scene in particular popped up in my mind. Yes, that gut-wrenching "meal" in "Cool-Hand Luke," when Luke (Paul Newman) stuffs himself with fifty hard-cooked eggs. Ouch. Thanks,…