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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

pastry board

The heart of a family beats in the heart of the home, the most important room ever built, the kitchen.  Bedrooms are useful for procreation, occasional rest, and recreational sex when it can be finessed.  The bathroom is for necessary functions and cleaning up, but who cares what anyone does or does not do there?  The living room is a dying concept most people use as a hallway between the front door and the kitchen.  For these reasons, plus her delightful wit and insight, Bee Wilson has written the perfect book for food lovers, chefs, cooks, and the families they feed, Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat.

No matter how many cook books you own or how many cooking shows you watch, this little historical romp will delight and inform.  You may have authored books on cooking; but you don’t know all the things she knows and shares.  I recommend you begin reading with a nice note card as your book mark, so you can jot down the things you want to look for the next visit to a kitchen store.  And the book may send you on a mission to find and use again something you inherited from your grandmother.

I know it sounds a bit spooky to say the author makes measuring cups interesting, and ice cream makers fascinating; but there you have it.  Her explanation of the utility of the wire balloon whisk and the rotary eggbeater may make you want to get yours out and give them a name, or at least to write a note on to whom they go when you die.

John Hink, my friend and co-conspirator on  this blog, was so delighted with illustrating the book review he chose two of the most precious items in his kitchen to photograph.  I am here to tell you the soul power of Bapka and Hink’s Mom are still in the pastry board and general store rolling-pin because there is no one the length of Rhodes Street in Akron who can match him when he works from the pastry board.  You doubt my word, call him and ask for proof and a cup of coffee.  Charles Marlin

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From 1953 to 1963 we lived with my maternal grandmother, Bapka.  I remember her telling me that years previous she had a carpenter make her pastry board for 50 cents.

On that board she rolled pie crust for her wonderful rhubarb pies, and for her delicious chicken soup, she would make a nest of flour in the middle of the board, break eggs into the middle of the nest, and then her fingers would get to work.  Of course the eggs and chicken for the soup came from her back yard coop.

The board went to my Mom and now I have it along with Mom’s rolling-pin which Bapka also used.  The rolling-pin is not the kind Julia recommended, but mine is very special since Mom and Bapka used it and I think of them both when I roll out pie dough.     John Hink 

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Hail to the chef, The Cricket Inn on Rt 322 between the Marianne Estates and Shippenville PA is a great soup-and-sandwich shop.  For the old timers, it’s where Judy’s Motel once stood, that later became The Keg & Crate, and then burned down.  The Cricket is in a section of the old motel, with bright yellow doors.

Dave Woolslayer, graduate of Clarion University and Community College of Allegheny County, opened last June, and keeps hours 7 to 7, Tuesday through Saturday.  You can order takeout at 782-3355, but you will miss the fun of eating in.  The decor has a little bit of everything for a friendly, funny atmosphere.  Just when have you dined under Picasso’s Guernica?  Never, I bet.  If you plan ahead, he does cakes and pies to order.

I can personally attest to the tasty Crabby Club that could hold its own on the East coast.  I also enjoyed the Grilled Meatloaf sandwich on dark, marble bread with spicy Dijon mustard.  I have had three of his own soups: Potato, Ham & Pea, and Mulligatawny, each excellent.

If you really plan ahead you can order the Cricket Special.  The organic, cage free crickets are shipped live, dipped in a very light batter, then lowered into hot oil with an Asian strainer for less than a minute.  I am not allowed to say how he lifts the fragile cluster out of the strainer on to paper towels and then to an arranged bed of fancy lettuce on a presentation plate, dressed with drizzled pomegranate sauce.  If there are crickets separate from the cluster, they are arranged as though guarding the cluster.

 

 

If you like to eat in local spots where you know who does the cooking and serving, you can talk to the big one who brings your minus because the big one is Dave.  Charles Marlin

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Cooking your way through the war gorged Middle East and living to write about it turns out to be not only possible but entertaining.  Now that Annia Ciezadlo has done it, it is not recommended for anyone else..  The book is Day of Honey: A Memoir Of Food, Love, And War.  The author is an American journalist who married an American educated Lebanese journalist, and together they shuffled off to Baghdad in 2003, and spend the next six years either in Baghdad or Beirut, sometimes separated but often together.

She survived by learning the foods of both countries, aggressively reaching out to citizens and members of the press community for friendship, and accommodating her very prickly Lebanese in-laws.  This is not to say she was not abused and deeply stressed by the violent conflicts and sectarian hatred.  Even by her own account she came near a breakdown.

So the book is a surprise.  It is a happy account of learning and enjoying national cuisine, and if you want to continue the pleasure, the book ends with recipes, a food bibliography, and a list of food websites.

If one happens to be compiling a list of books with memorable mothers-in-law, this title must be added.  Umm Hassane takes no prisoners.  Charles Marlin

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More recipes of pozole are desperately needed despite the current number on the internet.  Why?   You may ask.  Because it’s a great soup, easy to make, colorful, and subject to all the variations your family and friends want.  Yet another reason we need to spread the word about pozole is that The American Heritage Dictionary failed to include the word.  Careless and unprofessional I say.

After a can of Progresso pozole which I enjoyed I thought this is something I can do and write about.  In one sentence, this is a chicken broth, pork, hominy, and chilies soup.

Begin with 3 boxes or 96 oz. of chicken broth; 2 lbs. of pork boneless ribs cubed into bite sized pieces, salted and peppered to taste and sauteed; two 15.5 oz. cans of white hominy drained and rinsed, and two 15.5 oz. cans of yellow hominy drained and rinsed.

With some of the chicken broth for liquid, puree the  white hominy, 1 tablespoon of chopped green chilies, and 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic.  Depending on your preference, the green chilies could be upped to 2 tablespoons.

In a soup pot, combine all the chicken broth, sauteed pork, and pureed hominy.  Hold back until the last 30 minutes of cooking for the yellow hominy as it can get mushy if overcooked.

For seasoning, add 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of oregano, salt and pepper to taste.  To get a dark red color to the soup add 3 1/2 tablespoons of paprika.  If there are no witnesses, red food color may be added.

Slow cook, stirring occasionally.  The time can vary, but give it at least an hour and a half so the pork is tender.

The garnishes are very important.  Go wild.  Cilantro, lime, sour cream, sweet onion, radishes, shredded cabbage, whatever comes to mind.  Tortilla chips on the side.  Charles Marlin

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Clarion River at Canoe Ripple Road Clarion County

 

Cozumel—Clarion     The proprietor is from the island of Cozumel, south of Cancun, so this is the real thing.

Michelle’s Cafe—Clarion     The best coffee in town and where many of us hold regular office hours.

This is a photographic trip around Clarion County for the places we love to meet friends and enjoy a meal where we do not have the dishes to take care of. These are the best known places in every community and without them our sense of community would be tested.

I began the series by taking a couple of river shots because those views belong collectively to all our communities. If you think I may have missed your favorite Meet And Eat place, send a comment. I picked 16 to show three at a time, but there is nothing special about the number 16. We can add more.  Charles Marlin

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Clarion River at Canoe Ripple Road Clarion County

 

Carriage Inn—Knox    The lobby and restaurant are freshly spruced up.

Pizza Pub—Clarion   I love their Wedgies.

This is a photographic trip around Clarion County for the places we love to meet friends and enjoy a meal where we do not have the dishes to take care of. These are the best known places in every community and without them our sense of community would be tested.

I began the series by taking a couple of river shots because those views belong collectively to all our communities. If you think I may have missed your favorite Meet And Eat place, send a comment. I picked 16 to show three at a time, but there is nothing special about the number 16. We can add more.  Charles Marlin

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Clarion River at Canoe Ripple Road, Clarion County

Penn Dragon — Clarion    The welcome is as as gracious as the buffet is generous.

Korner Restaurant —  Sligo    If you aren’t here at least once a day you don’t live in Sligo.

This is a photographic trip around Clarion County for the places we love to meet friends and enjoy a meal where we do not have the dishes to take care of. These are the best known places in every community and without them our sense of community would be tested.

I began the series by taking a couple of river shots because those views belong collectively to all our communities. If you think I may have missed your favorite Meet And Eat place, send a comment. I picked 16 to show three at a time, but there is nothing special about the number 16. We can add more.  Charles Marlin

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