Monday, June 27, 2011

Colocasia (aka Taro)

Our fabulous market is among the nicest things about living in Stockfish CA. On any given day there will be something for sale which I have never seen. This is taro. I have used its in mature form, but never as a whole young plant. The base was peeled, the whole thing chopped up and simply steamed. It was quite like spinach, as the lady said it would be. So a little coconut milk, some turmeric and fenugreek, a little green chili pepper. Really quite remarkable. Why is this not more popular? The ancient Romans ate it. Especially popular in Cyprus, to this day. And of course all SE Asia, Hawaii, West Africa, S. America. So what happened in the West?

Monday, June 6, 2011


Hey Folks, I SO enjoyed that last giveaway that I thought I'd do another. Partly motivated by the fact that the publisher sent me many copies of this encyclopedia, because I pimped it for them, but also because I'm moving my office soon - just one door down, but clearance is good.

This is the A-Z ENCYLOPEDIA OF FOOD CONTROVERSIES AND THE LAW, 2 vols. edited by Liz Williams, whom you might know as director of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in Nola.

What is the historical, etymological connection between the legal term tort and the culinary term torte? Post your answer here as a comment.

UPDATE: Several of you came quite close, especially with tort, deriving from medieval legal French via Latin toquere to twist, i.e. twisted and mischevious. The torta also comes from the same verb in late Latin. Torta panis was to start a flat bread, almost certainly twisted or braided, given the name. Then applied to any flat confection, tarts, tourtes, torta in Spanish is still a bread.

Ali's is the funniest though. Tell me where you live and I'll send it along. I know Australia, but where???!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Cheese Blintz

Aren't these gorgeous? I was making blintzes on TV yesterday morning and the newswomen (Mae and Britta) so distracted me and wanted to help that I never had time to roll it out. So I had to come home and make these. (Incidentally, locals, if you know meteorologist Britta Merwin, I fed her her very first blintz.) And if you attended the Jewish Food Fair today the crepes for the blintzes were made by me, at least the frying stage.

Here's how: batter is about a cup and a half of flour, two eggs, vanilla, a tsp baking powder, a spoon or two of sugar, and enough whole milk to make a light thin batter. OH and add a few tbs melted butter too. Fry these up in butter in a VERY hot nonstick pan, as thin as you can. Swirling the pan is the trick. Fill cooled crepes with a mixture of cream cheese, cottage cheese, sugar and vanilla. Roll up as you see them here, and dab with raspberry jam. Your own of course! Honestly, I haven't eaten one in years and years. Fabulous.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia GIVEAWAY


The Monster four volume FOOD CULTURES OF THE WORLD ENCYCLOPEDIA is now in print. Seeing how most of you will not be likely to lay down $380 on amazon for this baby, and seeing how I have many copies taking up my dwindling office space, I thought I'd just give away a set. They weigh a ton - around 150 chapters, covers the whole world.

SO, the first person who can guess my favorite Spanish soup (I did happen to write the chapter on Spain) by 9 PM tomorrow will win the entire set. OK, no point in waiting until tonight!


BiblicalFoods with the tenth answer - salmorejo cordobes - after only 20 minutes.
Congratulations! Those of you who guessed gazpacho were very close, but the correct answer was right there on page 27 of The Lost Art. It's a thicker much more interesting kind of gazpacho. BiblicalFoods please get back to me via email and tell me who you are!! and give me an address, because there was another correct answer from David Farris. I'll put the whole beast in the mail today if you can get back to me soon via kalbala at pacific dot edu.

UPDATE 10:47 PM: I have to say I would never have guessed in a million years that the winner is the dad of one of my favorite students, who I had the pleasure of meeting at a talk/book signing last summer. Maybe I talked about the soup! THAT worked out perfectly, huh?