Thursday, September 15, 2005

Thursday morning quarterback

Readers interested in Lafcadio Hearn, mentioned above should check out John Thorne's Serious Pig. Hearn was an Irish-Greek newspaperman whose interracial marriage was not popular in Cincy, and so went to New Orleans (he ended up in Japan). Thorne's writing on New Orleans does not quite match his work on Maine, but it is well worth reading. This jambalaya recipe from Cooking in Old Creole Days -- and its juxtaposition with "riz à la valencienne" -- suggest rather strongly a kinship with paella that was not apparent from the Joy of Cooking version my mom used to make. Also supports a derivation from jamòn, of which I had been skeptical.

Yesterday's NYT: As far as Johnny Apple goes, Gawker Media pretty much says it all. Even if Julie Powell is huffing dust from the crypt of Erma Bombeck, she wins for, um, getting off "nut bags" in paragraph 2. However lovably idiosyncratic Bruni finds "the rules and rhythms of David Bouley," they have little to do with the seasons if he's serving fava beans and asparagus in September. WTF?

LAT: Regina showed admirable restraint printing the following without comment:

Judy Jurisich, of the New Orleans Cooking Experience (a cooking school taught by chefs), says that Cajun and Creole are 'two of the three indigenous cuisines' in America, with Tex-Mex being the third.

For starters add: Yankees, Pennsylvania Dutch, and what I'll call Gadsden Purchase (NM/AZ food, distinct from Tex-Mex) for lack of a more elegant term. southerners might have further additions. Did you understand Russ Parsons's explication of corn genetics? I rather suspect that you didn't, and I regret the suggestion that technique is a suitable replacement for the flavor the man has bred out of our food.

Janet Fletcher reveals a fascinating dilemma in the Chron:

A devout Muslim, Lahlou serves no pork and observes the month-long fast of Ramadan. "That's when I become a better cook," he says. "I have to rely on smell." At sundown, when he can check what he made during the day, he almost always finds the food properly seasoned.

Such asceticism would undoubtedly kill me -- although I might have a fighting chance without pork. Fletcher, by the way, is coauthor of the soon to be released Niman Ranch Cookbook, which will probably have some good ideas for pork.

On teh internets, don't miss the Cod's attempt to go local and Pim's description of the vulgarest sushi dinner ever. Yuck.

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