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Jul 23 2006

The Return of the Appetite

Pineapple-glazed tofu

Thanks to my pal and ex-sister-in-law Liza, who sent me an excellent Cook’s Illustrated vegetarian recipe book as a convalescence gift, I was able to wolf down this delightful pineapple-glazed tofu and spicy cucumber salad for dinner last night.

Liza also sent me a hilarious book called Stiff, which is about human cadavers. The first chapter visits the merry world of severed heads. Gripping stuff.

Obviously, I can’t use both of these books at the same time.

79 comments

  1. Mandos

    What’s that red translucent stuff?

  2. Twisty

    Onions. Red onions, sliced 1mm thick with a mandoline, and marinated in rice vinegar syrup.

  3. schatze

    Oh my. I put tofu and cadavers in the same class as far as stirring my appetite. I have never met tofu nor a cadaver that really made me smile and both tend to put me off my feed. That is the prettiest tofu dish, but alas, still tofu. Never confuse these two books, please. Low fat cooking with cadavers is going too far. Head cheese is bad enough as it is (in my book, anyway). It is very nice to see a lovely plate of food and nicer still to hear you had the intestinal fortitude to tuck into it.

  4. Agelena

    If you like the “Stiff” book, the same author (Mary Roach, right?) has also done a nice one called “Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife.” Ectoplasm and tofu?

  5. Sara

    How nice that looks! Between this and a lovely cadaver book, who wouldn’t be cheered up?

    So, are you vegetarian now or completely vegan? If you are allowed to eat butter, go to this site and read about the pie. It might inspire you.

    Eggbeater, the site of Shuna Fish Lydon, an eloquently passionate San Francisco pastry chef

  6. jennifer

    Cook’s Illustrated has a vegetarian cookbook? What’s the title?

  7. Vibrating Liz

    I made the mistake of reading Stiff on an airplane last month. The cover alone was enough to alarm the hell out of my seatmates. And the disgusting snorts and honks and gargles I kept making trying to supress my guffaws didn’t help one bit. Then of course I got to the chapter about plane crash remains, which elicited a round of high-pitched nostril squeals and high-velocity complusive foot jiggling. I’m surprised they didn’t gang up and throw me out the emergency exit somewhere over Kansas.

  8. Femme

    I read Stiff while on a plane to St. Lucia – have yet to read the chapter on plane crashes, but loved the rest of it.

  9. Hattie

    Glad your appetite is back, Twisty!
    Tofu is good when slathered with peanut sauce. Asians often use it combined with small amounts of meat in stir fries, etc. too. I serve it about once a week.
    My daughter has been a vegetarian since she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25. Six years later, she has never been healthier. So it’s a good thing if you do it right.

  10. Pony

    tofu=phystoestrogens

    look it up

  11. Jodie

    Two books to add to my amazon wish list.

    I’ve seen those severed heads at a plastics conference. It was a very weird experience.

  12. Pony

    Jodie–WHAT?

    I’ve already signed to donate me. You mean I’m just going to end up testing Volvos or boots? Could the boots at least have spurs.

  13. alphabitch

    Let’s not panic. The research is not conclusive on soy or phytoestrogens, etc. I wouldn’t go out of my way to take soy supplements or replace all dairy with soymilk, but I am reluctant to stop using tofu altogether. I happen to think it’s yummy.

    Yes; it’s best to eat it in moderation (like most things); yes, it’s best to read the label and choose organic tofu that is made with calcium carbonate as a solidifying agent (or that is otherwise calcium-fortified); yes, it’s gross and tasteless if you don’t cook it properly.

    That Cook’s Illustrated veg cookbook is quite good.

    You have the right idea slicing the tofu quite thin. The more surface area & less volume it has, the more sauce (and therefore flavor) it absorbs.

    One of my favorite tofu recipes is to slice it as you did in the above photo, then slice an onion (maybe 3mm w/ the mandoline) and layer the two in a small casserole along with plenty of your favorite barbecue sauce (bottled or homemade). Bake for 40 minutes or so until the onions are nice & soft. Then take it out and make sandwiches out of it on some good wholegrain buns or other bread product of your choosing.

    You can also cook this in a crockpot if you’re into that sort of thing. I often bring this to potlucks at work where I expect to find people who won’t touch tofu. They generally like this quite a lot. And it’s good cold, also.

    Another good way to cook it is to dredge the slices in either falafel mix or veggie burger mix and pan-fry them quickly in olive oil. Then use the pan to saute a mixture of shredded or julienned carrots, red cabbage, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, kale, etc. which you’ve mixed together and tossed with some more of the falafel mix (add a little water if needed and let stand a bit so that the falafel mix absorbs some moisture).

    Serve tofu slices on hamburger buns, topped with the vegetable mixture. Some people like ketchup and mayo on these, but I prefer Try Me Tiger Sauce. Or Inner Beauty Hot Sauce.

  14. attrice

    That looks yummy. So glad to see food blogging again!

    WRT the whole soy debate. Yeah, the research is far from conclusive. Not to mention there is far more evidence connecting animal protein to cancer than soy protein (see: The China Study.)

    Also, take anything the Weston A Price foundation says with about 40 metric tons of salt.

  15. Pony

    The recipe above reminds me of the recipe for cooking a loon. At the end of the long sweaty day over the hot stove, you serve the mirpoix and throw out the loon.

  16. Indri

    Twisty, you take awesome pictures of food. Is this something you’ve ever done–or thought about doing-professionally?

  17. norbizness

    It’s even better mixed into a Sonic Oreo Blast! No foolin’. Well, not so much the green onions.

  18. Jodie

    No, no, Pony, it was a plastic surgery conference!

    The physicians/nurses were learning how to insert goretex strips into various facial areas to permanently plump up lips, cheeks, or other areas.

    Some of those who were there (like my group) went on to use their knowledge to recreate facial features devastated due to cancer, accident, burns, or what have you, but for most it was a prettification seminar.

    And I suppose it would have been too much to have carted 50 cadavers to the conference. And not so good to practice on living people. But still very weird.

  19. vera

    My family’s favorite way to eat tofu is to slice pieces about 1/4 inch thick, pile them up, top them with dried shaved fish and freshly grated ginger, and then pour a bit of soy sauce over the whole thing. The tofu should be very fresh. Find a good source — the Japanese part of town, if you live in a town with a Japanese part — and serve it chilled.

    Mmmmmm. But then, we’re half-Japanese.

  20. Pony

    Vera I love that tofu dish. The other one I like is Japanese too; tofu skins in little pillow shapes stuffed with vinegared rice. Then, there’s the Vietnamese one which is deep fried tofu squares cut into palm sized triangles, with a pocket cut into the long side of each triangle, and that stuffed with minced shrimp and something else. I think it was then fried again. But not greasy at all, just finely crisp. Actually kind of like Twisty’s slices look.

    But this piece of Stilton on levain raised French bread with afters of B.C. cherries is pretty good too.

  21. Pony

    Oh I see Jodie. I was lodged in Hotel Cadaver there, with Amazon’s summary of the book Stiff rocketing around in my head trying to get out.

  22. Ms Kate

    When I took gross anatomy, all the brains of the cadavers were in jars on a shelf at the edge of the room. The one that went with mine had been labeled “Abby”, as in “Abby Normal”.

    I don’t ever want anybody to do that face plumping thing to my severed head at a conference. Now I know what to stipulate.

  23. Ann Bartow

    Have y’all seen this yet?
    http://www.limbsandthings.com/uk/products.php?sectid=&id=60100

  24. Pony

    “Trainer can be presented in other positions”

    I have no words.

  25. alphabitch

    norbizness — I just a couple of hours ago consumed a portion of a chocolate malt prepared by an unsupervised 6-year-old. When we all proclaimed that it was right good, he brought everyone another round.

    I just thank god you weren’t there helping the kid.

  26. Pony

    Norbizness got a blender?

    One whole pineapple. Pineappled ya know?
    One litre vanilla soy milk
    One thumb sized piece peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
    One-half teaspoon tumeric
    One tablespoon lime juice

    Blend. Chill.

  27. Lisa

    Oh, well, if we have moved on to blenderized thingys, here is my friend Jennifer’s recipe for a cooling beverage. You know, to beat the heat.

    White Peach Margaritas

    2 cups sliced frozen white peaches (or not frozen, if you’re desperate, like today)
    3/4 cup tequila
    1/3 cup triple sec
    Juice of 1 large or 2 small limes
    2 cups crushed ice
    2 tbsp sugar

    Blenderize until all your heat rash is forgotten….

    I blame the patriarchy for global warming! Now pass me another.

  28. Lisa

    I forgot to say that I agree with Indri about the food photography around here. Beautiful, appetizing, and professional-looking as all get-out.

  29. femhist

    Twisty, however did you get your tofu so perfectly browned? Mine never seems to turn out that pretty. Also, do you happen to have the name of said cookbook? Back in my meat-eating days, I loved Cook’s Illustrated, and I would be excited to find a veg cookbook from them. When I googled it, what came up was “A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen” by Jack Bishop. Is this the one?

  30. speedbudget

    Twisty–I feel so cool now; I’ve actually read something you’re reading! I read _Stiff_ many years ago. I found it to be one of the coolest books I’ve ever read poolside–I learned a lot, and people were unbelievably curious. I met a lot of people that summer, and it cemented my decision to donate organs and/or myself at the end of my life.

  31. ArtsyReader

    Breakfast:
    You take your frozen ripe banana
    You take your vanilla soy milk
    You add oh, a double shot of espresso or so
    Blend and serve.
    Yum.

  32. Sara P.

    a fun guy!

    http://dannysmensstudies.blogspot.com/

  33. Sasha

    I feel like a dope asking, but will somebody please point me to the reason for some relationship between carnivorosity and the malady in question? Surely I should already know this.

    Good that your appetite and the food pics have returned.

  34. Pony

    The concern is estrogen, xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens.

    But it’s not only carnivosity. The estrogens in plants are of concern too, particularly those in soy, and especially for women who have some cancers, are in peri or post menopause, either natually or surgically.

    You can look here for information about estrogen as a “hormone replacement” or “hormone therapy”:
    http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/whi/index.html

    Here about xenoestrogens, estrogens in the environment:
    http://www.fwhc.org/health/xeno.htm

    Here about phytoestrogens, estrogens in plants:
    http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/FactSheet/Diet/fs1.phyto.cfm

  35. Sarah Parry

    Reassurance that being a veggie doesn’t always have to centre around a life full of half-baked macaroni cheese.

  36. KMTBERRY

    Are dead MALE animals full of estrogen too?

  37. slade

    Is meat avoided because of the ‘growth hormones’ that are pumped into cattle? Of course, this growth hormone is estrogen. Or is there another reason? I found a farmer (in Ohio, so not a rancher) who raises grass fed cattle….yum.

    I know of this controversy regarding soy/tofu. Is tempeh better than tofu as far as the estrogens?

    Twisty…I’m glad your appetite is back. I used to whip up some extra firm tofu in a food processor, add some melted semi-sweet chocolate and a bit of honey….great by itself and or could put it in a pie shell and sprinkle nuts on it. I fixed this for my ‘meat and potatoes’ family and they told me I was lying about it being tofu.

  38. Erin

    I loved Stiff. I forced it on all of my loved ones after I finished reading it. It’s a veritable wonderland full of disturbing facts to share with friends and random others. Tell people that the tissue for penile enhancement surgery often comes from cadavers and holy cats, do you ever get a reaction. Incidentally, it’s also a great book for public transportation on hot summer days when you don’t want people to talk to you.

    I’m also fond of a very spicy coconut tofu as prepared by a hole-in-the-wall Asian joint (a guy, a wok, his assistant, some stools, and a Coke machine) in the neighborhood. I think the recipe is Burmese. That and the vegan chocolate mousse from Whole Foods are the only tofu dishes I love.

  39. Pony

    Yes, fermented tofu, aka tempeh, and other fements. The Asians (in Asia) really eat little tofu. They eat a whack less protein than we do altogether and what they do is in all the food, not just in animal or soy protein. That’s why they have different disease mortality types than we do. All food has protein. It’s almost impossible to eat our daily calorie ration and not get all the protein we need, without convoluted combining, or fake food, or supplementing except B12

  40. Shannon

    When I lived in Prague, my roommates and I would splurge on (crazy expensive, probably imported) tofu once in a while — we only had a hot plate, but this recipe worked like a charm. Slice the tofu thin, press out as much liquid as you can using a towel, marinate it in orange juice with your standard salt, pepper, garlic and then pan-fry. Yum. I miss that stuff. It never seems to taste the same now.

    Did you make the rice vinegar syrup? Is it just reduced, or does it have sugar/anything else added to the reduction?

  41. Pony

    And I should add, although I gave a tofu recipe I don’t use it myself. For those who are interested in eating whole food that has little processing or additives: you could scarcely get a more processed food than tofu, and double that for Soy *milk*.

  42. bitchwhoblogs

    I also loved Stiff.. I read it during my one word title phase – first it was Salt, then Stiff, then 1968, and then Cod. I know I read some others – travelling a lot, I recall, and it was like an aiport bookstore scavenger hunt.

    I cannot figure out the soy thing. As a DES daughter, really I prefer DES Dudette, I really try to wrangle the whole phytoestrogen and hormone disrupter mess… sigh… its a lot… though I have to say, My Year of Meats, does a terrific job and as an entertaining read….

    And as for the mandoline- I keep cutting my finger tips off with it. Great for getting rid of those pesky fingerprints so my civil disobedience past won’t get into the way of a future career in, say ah, cat burglarly or something… I love how the veggies look, I just hate all the bleeding!!

  43. MzNicky

    Twisty, I’m so happy that you’re now a veggie head. That makes you just about perfect in my book, not that anyone ever reads it.

    As for the rest a yez: What’s with all the harshin’ on poor little ol’ tofu? Like you’d really rather put into your mouth a forkful of the hormone- and god-knows-what-all-riddled flesh of a perfectly innocent and defenseless fellow sentient being that was unspeakably tortured and then brutally killed in order to end up on the end of your fork? Please. Plus, I believe Twisty has in the past expressed her fondness for tofu, so there, that’s it.

    Hattie: Your mention in passing that your daughter had breast cancer when she was 25 YEARS OLD seems not to have received the proper expressions of absolute horror it should have. 25 years old. Holy shit. Having had it a few years back my own self, and having a 27-year-old daughter my own self, whose grandmother on her dad’s side ALSO had it, may I say holy fuckall christ, and how very glad I am that she’s okay. And a vegetarian besides.

  44. MzNicky

    bitchwhoblogs: I was just wondering about that with the mandoline. My fingers and hands already bear too many scars from decades of kitchen duty; that particular piece of equipment makes me wince just to look at it. My food processor has two different blades for slicing, one 4 mm. and the other 2 mm. Not translucent-caliber but close enough so that I still have nine fingerprints. Lost the right ring-finger one in the great paring knife/potato-salad war of 1984. During that particular emergency-room trip, the doc said if I’d only brought it with me he coulda stitched it back on. No, it didn’t disappear into the potato salad. At least I don’t think it did. I was too busy screaming and fainting to remember.

  45. pony

    What’s with the tofu is it’s a phytoestrogen, and phytoestrogens can be carcinogenic in some instances. My instance, for instance.

    Also, who says the food choices are tofu, animal or starve?

  46. pony

    Question to blog owner: has something changed with the password thingey? I never seem to have to use a password anymore. Anyone else notice that?

  47. vera

    Pony: Twisty has had to request a sign-in for a while now. She’s trying to avoid “looney spam,” if I recall correctly. I can certainly sympathize what that.

    Maybe you signed in a long time ago and your browser has signed you in automatically ever since, up till now. One thing I know about browsers — they’re nice and friendly for a long time, doing great things for you like filling in forms automatically and remembering your user names and passwords for you. And then one day without warning they’ll suddenly turn on you, and make you remember a password you’ve long since forgotten.

    I should know; I currently make my living writing browser documentation. That’s what I do for the patriarchy, which I blame for bad browser behavior.

  48. Sasha

    Pony: Thanks. I had a general sense of the estrogen problem but (fortunately) I had not delved into it enough to make the meat connection. I appreciate the enlightenment.

  49. hexy

    One of my all time favourite tofu recipes involves slicing it thinly, layering it in a baking tray with onions and mushrooms, drenching the whole thing in orange juice and soy sauce and baking for half an hour. Yum.

    Or, for comfort food, fry and drown in satay sauce or teriyaki sauce. Yum.

    I loves my tofildebeaste.

  50. Ledasmom

    Those of you who have and use mandolines, what brand do you have, would you recommend it and was it ridiculously expensive? I want one every time I make cucumber salad. I believe the purpose of red onion in cucumber salad is to disguise any little blood drops that may have inadvertently been dripped into it.
    When I was a child, my taco-preparation task was the grating of the cheese, and I don’t believe we ever had bloodless tacos.

  51. grrr kitty

    I do the finger slice-n-dice thing with plain ol’ knives. if I encounter resistance while chopping stuff, I immediately bear down harder on the knife, regardless of whether or not my own digits are in the way. before it became necessary to pick my nose with a crochet hook for the rest of my life, I purchased a small food processor.

    A durable yet handsome mandoline can be had for about $30.

  52. slade

    I loved My Year of Meats, bitchwhoblogs. What a great read. I may pick that up for a re-run.

  53. Pony

    Thanks Vera re the password.

    And yes, Hed I’ll be monitoring Vera’s blog for mushroom recipes. :)

  54. Ledasmom

    But what brand or make is durable, handsome and $30, and where does one buy it? I’ve got a cucumber in the fridge just waiting to be turned into wafers and subjected to vinegar.
    Although, for truly yummy cucumberage: peel, seed and dice fine, do same with extremely ripe tomato (chop it and let it drain a bit so your salad isn’t watery), mix with good Greek yogurt, plenty of chopped fresh dill and a decent slug of good olive oil, pepper perhaps, crushed garlic if you want it. You could throw in a good sweet onion too, or some finely chopped red or green peppers, or both. Pinch of sugar if you like; squeeze of lemon wouldn’t hurt, or vinegar if you don’t have lemon. If you’ve made it right you don’t need to put it in serving bowls; you just eat it all right out of the mixing bowl.

  55. slade

    To those of you in Austin, Chicago, NYC, Kansas City: you may want to check out this movie….(whenever I see Austin, I think of you, Twisty)

    http://www.freedomtofascism.com/

    Hopefully it will receive a wider release if these cities do well. Please buy tickets so eventually it will come to Ohio.

    Thanks….and btw, I have never heard of a mandoline….all I could think of was those little baby guitar thingies. lol.

  56. grrr kitty

    hi Ledasmom, I got mine online at Sears:
    http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&vertical=SEARS&sid=I0093600050004500085&pid=00867008000
    (I hope that link works). The brand is Asian Origins.

  57. Beth in Michigan

    I may have to print off this page just for the tofu recipes, my mouth is watering here! Off to google mandoline.

  58. Pony

    KMTBerry

    Dunno. But nearly dead male animals apparently are:
    http://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/AlzheimersDisease/dh/3788

  59. JackGoff

    Twisty, that looks amazing. Tofu is becoming my absolute favorite thing to eat, with this barbeque glaze my girlfriend makes. Nothing tastes better after you marinate the tofu then grill it. Glad to hear you’re eating again!!! :D

  60. Violet

    I wish Americans would stop abusing tofu as a meat substitute. There are few crimes against cuisine greater than tofu hot dogs, lasagne, and hamburgers. Tofu should be eaten as tofu – preferably with ponzu or a suitably light shoyu, (soy sauce) topped with ginger paste and finely chopped scallion. Twisty’s “agedofu” recipe at least acknowledges tofu as a singular ingredient and not some tortured fascsimile of an unhealthy American meal. For the same reason animal lovers and vegetarians don’t keep artificial animal head trophies on their walls, tofu eaters shouldn’t transform this simple culinary delight into a dreary substitute for bad food. For healthy and appetizing Japanese recipes, I recommend Harumi Kurihara’s bestselling cookbook that is available in English.

  61. Mandos

    Then, Violet, what do you recommend as a meat substitute? (not that it matters to me since I like to eat cute animals.)

    It’s not just the Japanese who use tofu anyway.

    And I find it hard to believe that not one vegetarian has one of those tacky singing fish thingies.

  62. darkymac

    Here’s a little snack from Woody Allen.

    the Superman knows that marbleized meat and creamy cheeses with rich desserts and, oh, yes, lots of fried stuff is what Dionysus would eat—if it weren’t for his reflux problem.

    A mob of one’s most respected chefs and pundits – at a big local food industry bash – have just finished dealing with a stew of roo and mustard that would have been impossible to present in the menu snap above – being as it looked like anything ensauced with dijon and cream always does, namely beige and oily-ish.
    It needed absolutely nothing extra to be a stunning meal, and indeed anything along the lines of green, red or yellow vegetation would have wrecked the mouth feel.

    But the need to picture, as well as the mantra that main dishes always have to be artistically presented had all getting served a white hex plate with a too-small serve of the stew topped with a tottering hat of midyim and capsicum slices and a half-moat of a pine-nut/parsley blender whiz thingy.
    Fair enough. The stuff was colourful and snappable with this dress-up, but not every main dish is concentrated enough that a small portion satisfies.
    And in this case, the stew, like rabbit, is a gentle and warming taste that is destroyed by any other intrusions.
    One was not alone in asking the server to return with seconds – - sans vegetation.

    Bon appetit!

  63. darkymac

    This is to confirm that membership of WordPress no longer appears necessary in order to post here.

    This poster is definitely not logged on but, as the above post proved, is able to post without moderation queueing.

    A couple of test posts will follow using other browsers and after clearing all caches.

  64. darkymac

    Test made without logging on to WordPress, using Safari

  65. darkymac

    Test with Firefox, cache emptied, javascript on.

  66. Kelda

    Stiff, My year of meat – this thread is just about books I like? And tofu.

    According to the grauniad, is not tofu that is the problem, but the fact that jsut about everything that enters your gob is full of soy. Cannot find the link at the moment, but because soy is so versaitle it’s in everything from bread to chocolate to processed meats. The difference between poison and cure being in dosage, it’s those things that you should probably be worried about, rather than a rather nummy tofu meal as featured above.

    Violet – I do have a fake animal trophy on my wall. It’s a furry moose head, and it’s great :)

  67. Betsy

    When I was a kid my dear Granny used to take my cousins and me to the weekly church supper. We would often make a carrot cake to take along. I grated so much of my knuckles into the carrots it got to be a running joke.

    One night one of the nice ladies complimented us kids on the cake we’d made. “Thanks, I put a little of myself into everything I do,” I said. I heard my cousin chuckling in the background.

  68. Kelda

    Oh, the grauniad means the Guardian – they used to be famous for their spelling mistakes.

  69. Ledasmom

    Thank you, grr kitty, the link works fine. That looks just about right. Went to farmer’s market again today and found the booth with the Asian stir-fry greens (I had never seen some of these greens) and fresh dill and pea tendrils and baby bok choy.

  70. Hellatia

    I have been lurking for a bit here but the sliced fingers kinda got to me. I do have a rather spendy mandoline with which I have sliced my own digits. Mostly,however, I avoid all bloodshed with something called an ulu which is also called a–get this–woman’s knife. No blaming! Honest to Jah the chicks of the arctic know well how to slice their blubber and spare their own. Here’s a link for youse: http://www.athropolis.com/arctic-facts/fact-ulu.htm

    happy chopping

  71. Ledasmom

    Anyone have one of those wooden bowls with the knife shaped to fit it? It’s got a handle on top, kind of like a bench knife, and usually two parallel curved blades. That was the best thing for chopping hard-boiled eggs.

  72. Rachella

    Hello all. . .I just discovered y’all and I’m in heaven.

    Re mandolines. I have an expensive one and a cheap ($35) one. I use the cheap one all the time (4-5 times a week) for slicing everything.

    The cheap one is a “Swissmar Borner V-Slicer Plus” and it works fabulously. You really should use the tool that comes with it to hold the veggies in place. I have a somewhat skewed ring fingertip and, hence, can speak from experience. This dohickey works very well because it has little prongy things to hold it in place.

    I adore you all.

  73. pony

    Yes ulu’s were women’s knives because they were used for work on skins, hides and carcasses. Traditionally only women did that work.

    Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner is an excellent film about Inuit told from their perspecitve. Should be available at any good alternative video store, or from the National Film Board site I linked in another thread. It’s a story about survival and treachery (oh and there’s lots of patriarchy blaming to be had) at the turn of the millenium, in Inuit with English subtitles. Nudity and blubber eating.

  74. Ledasmom

    Please tell me that there is, in fact, an official film-rating abbreviation for “Nudity and Blubber Eating”.
    I just made near-perfect braised baby bok choy and nobody else in this family is smart enough to eat it. Sucks to be them.
    Rachella, what do you use the expensive mandoline for? Does it have functions that the cheap one knows not of? And does anyone have a really good recipe for that thing with the fried green beans and the spicy pork? You know, the one that, if you’re in a really good Chinese restaurant, they make with the foot-long or asparagus beans?
    I am not worried about slicing my fingers with a mandoline, because my worst finger scar, about an inch long, is from one of those awful cat-food cans that you don’t need the opener for, you know, with the pull-off lid. I figure that when my fingers’ times come, they come.

  75. darkymac

    It’s got a handle on top, kind of like a bench knife, and usually two parallel curved blades. That was the best thing for chopping hard-boiled eggs.

    That appears to be a doppio mezzaluna. A grand mincing machine and indeed the cleanest egg-chopper. Being too lazy to fetch out — and clean up — special tools, one keeps the big chef’s knife sharp for most mincing, but the chopping of egg demands the mezzaluna.

  76. Rachella

    Re the expensive mandoline. Like the expensive food processor, it is now gathering dust at the back of the cabinet. However, were I to want to julienne a lot of veggies, the expensive one has replacement blades that make matchstick and regular french fry size sticks (or batons, it’s a french mandoline) very quickly. I find I never do that and if I need half a cup I can slice with the cheapy and julienne by hand. The expensive one also will probably stay sharp long after the cheapy has been replaced. It’s also bigger than the cheapy, which will stand on its end and has a small footprint.

    One thing about less expensive veggie cutters is they don’t stay sharp forever. I use mine and they get dull and must be replaced every couple of years.

  77. Jezebella

    It is nearly lunch time here in Mississippi, and you all are making me hungrier and hungrier.

    The doppio mezzaluna sounds like an outstanding device for making egg salad & the like, I’ve never seen one of those. By the way, if you Google “doppio mezzaluna”, darkymac’s post (two or three up from here) is the first result. inneresting, yah?

    I find, however, that the more I cook, the less kitchen gadgets I use. I use the chef’s knife for everything slicey, dicey, and choppy. I’ve switched almost entirely to cast-iron skillets (I now have them in three sizes and finally, FINALLY, can fry an egg overeasy properly). Here in the Deep South one can find used, and therefore properly carnivorously lardically seasoned ready-to-use cast iron skillets. In fact, after the hurricane, a group of local New Orleans locals bought a truckload of cast-iron skillets and commenced to seasoning them and passing them out to those who’d lost the family cast-iron in the floods.

  78. Pony

    Cast iron frying pans are a staple here too Jezzabella, although perhaps less so for the present generation of cooks than mine. They were and still are a stalwart in the bush. MMMM pickerel and bannock cooking over an open fire next to an ice-cold northern lake.

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