Supercalifragicabbage

How do you name a recipe? Does “polenta” by any other name (“mush,” for example) taste as sweet? As our incontestable authority on naming, Anne Shirley, said, “I’ve never been able to believe it.”

Of course it matters what a dish is called!

That’s why my sister has insisted on calling one of her specialties “Soupe au Fromage” instead of “Cheeseburger Soup” (the unappetizing title on her recipe). This is also why it’s so painful when my dad obnoxiously pronounces soufflé “sow-ful.” And it’s why dishes like Jambalaya, Minestrone, Tapioca and Tamales are always so appealing when planning a menu.

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When I made this Mediterranean dish for the first time, I loved it instantly. I knew I would make it again and again — but there was a problem (or five). The book I’d adapted it from titled the recipe “Braised Cabbage with Red Beans and Rice.” Continue reading

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Discambubolated

Spring is such a disorienting season. Yesterday, at this time, I was stretched out on the grass in the sunshine, thankful for the breeze that kept the heat from getting too intense. Today, I’m fighting with the wind to keep my hood up and wishing for a heavier coat.

I’m also discombobulated realizing how close I am to the end of another semester. I’m amazed—but how can I be so shocked when I’ve been so desperately aware of the crawling countdown to summer?

Still, I love spring—so bring it on. To celebrate the discombobulation of this lovely season, I’m throwing my blogging pendulum to the other side of the food spectrum from last week. If any of you were unsettled by last Friday’s  bean bread, you can relax. Today, it’s only oatmeal.

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A Mad Experiment

Does it sound too pretentious to call this creation “avant garde?”

I’ll accept any of the usual connotations—from daring and innovative to just plain weird.

As far as kitchen experiments go, the recipe was a surprising success. But in a parade of beloved, more traditional breads, I’m afraid it might need an intellectual term to hide behind.

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Stone Soup

I am always in the mood for soup—especially in winter, when I’m desperate to warm myself up from the inside out.

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In the dining hall, I always make a beeline for the soup zone, and at home, you can catch me finishing leftover chili for breakfast.

Speaking of leftovers—this is a great way to use them. Soup is the contortionist of the kitchen—you can twist it into whatever shape you like best.

Or, if you’re a stranger in a stingy town, you can use a rock, plus whatever your gullible benefactors have on hand.

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Learn to Burn

In cooking, “burnt” is usually an undesirable flavor.

Of course, fire is sometimes used for dramatic effect. And some people say they prefer their hot dogs or marshmallows this way, but I think that’s generally an indicator that they lack a) practice or b) patience.

Burnt sugar, on the other hand, requires a bit of skill. You don’t actually want to burn it—just caramelize it. Most Americans are only familiar with this flavor in old-fashioned burnt sugar cake.

I’d pass on that dessert, but  this dish, which also features burnt sugar, is one of my favorites.

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Improv Trifle

In January, I borrowed my first e-book from the library. Crazy.

I’d read about this kind of innovation while researching tablets for an electronic media class, but since I don’t own an e-reader, I didn’t anticipate trying it out.

I love libraries, and any option that enables them to offer more resources is worth pursuing. Still, I prefer to read ink on paper. While it was intriguing, clicking to check out didn’t give me much of a thrill.

The book‘s contents were much more exciting—truly top-notch writing about food. I particularly loved this article by Daniel Duane.
And it ties in so nicely with this post.

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Simply Smashing

Jack-o-lanterns taught me to be cynical.

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They also taught me to be creative—or maybe that was my dad.

He has a talent for carving goofy faces (especially eyeballs). Plus, he was always man enough to take care of the smelly goop.

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