Monday, May 11, 2009

Food, Glorious!

by Christine Wells

I've been on a health kick lately, and if there's one thing you shouldn't do when you're on a health kick, it's succumb to food p*rn. Don't ask me why I read Jenny Crusie's books when I'm on a diet. She always makes me hungry.

But I love reading about food. Food is one of the great pleasures in life. Well, it is in my life, anyway, and I'm trying *really* hard to find pleasure in green vegetables rather than pastries, and yoghurt rather than cream. Really. Hard.

And then I go and read a Jenny Crusie novel and I want cookies and Krispy Kreme donuts.

What is it about food?

Not only do we love to eat it, we love to talk about it, write about it, read about it and strangest of all, we are quite content to spend an hour simply watching it be prepared.

How often have I sat before a program on the Food Channel and the demonstrating chef says something like, "I wish everyone had smell-o-vision, because the aroma of this is absolutely divine."

But we don't, do we? We can't smell the food, we can't taste it. Often, we're not even given the recipe and we have no intention of hunting it down. We probably won't even remember the name of the dish the next day. Or if we do remember it, and buy the television chef's latest cookbook, that particular recipe is never in that particular book.

And yet, every Wednesday I wait eagerly for the next instalment of an Australian cooking show called The Cook and the Chef. I marvel at Nigella Lawson's capacity to add extra calories to just about any dish with a smile and a sensuous swivel of her hips.

Aussie Bill Granger serves healthy, luscious food at his beachside house, while Mark Gardner and Ben O'Donoghue prove that cooking and surfing go hand in hand on their show, Surfing the Menu. Jamie Oliver pukkas his way through the best of British. Two Fat Ladies, Delia Smith, Hell's Kitchen, Iron Chef--all of these television shows to show us how to make food we have no intention of making.

So who is your favourite celebrity chef and why? Have you ever made something they demonstrated and how did it turn out? What is your favourite book of food p*rn?

205 comments:

1 – 200 of 205   Newer›   Newest»
limecello said...

!!!

Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings said...

Great post Christine! Do you know my mouth watered just reading it. I have become addicted to the Food Channel a couple of times and yes I have made some of their delicious recipes and some have turned out better than others. Although I confess I only go for the easy recipes. My favourite is Nigella as well, because I just wish I could eat what she does and look that beautiful! I also loved a Canadian show but can't remember the name, the cooks name was Sandy and she got me back into yummy crock pot cooking. Yes I have heaps of recipe books too, including Ainsley (haven't cooked a thing from it LOL).

limecello said...

Heh, Christine, a post after my own heart. I think I made it clear in yesterday's post that... I like food. I also say, all the time, I'm happy to talk food with anyone really. (Unless it's about diets. One of my friends is on this no carb things; ridiculous because well, he's a guy that only weighs 130 lbs. And I already made him break it :D). I'm all for eating in moderation and having a healthy BMI (sorry, being of average size/weight for a country doesn't definitively mean you're not overweight).
Anyway, yes. I love food. I wish I had Bravo so I could drool over top chef. I'm amazed by all the things Ming Tsai can do with a master sauce on Simply Ming.
Iron Chef is one of the shows I try to watch regularly, and one of the competitor's restaurants was a place where I had one of the best meals of my life. (Sadly the same is not true for the one "Iron Chef" restaurant I've been to.)

I love Giada de Laurentiis, although I know a lot of people can't stand her for various reasons. I always adapt recipes. Even if I've never made them before. Sometimes this is good, sometimes this is bad. Aside from baking, if I've made it once, I won't look at the recipe again, really. I do like Nigella Lawson, though I don't know that I've made any of her recipes. Giada's seem to be hit or miss for me. And sometimes I watch food network for the food train wrecks. I don't care how much "mmm"-ing the person on tv does; I know some things are vile and disgusting and should not be put together. And if ever I were to make it (and sometimes I do out of sheer contrariness/morbid curiosity, and I'm right.) [I adored Jacques Torres in college...] Never really got to watch Jamie Oliver, though I like him too. And I like Anne Burrell too.

I want to be Luisa Weiss, however. Or Amanda Hesser. Or Jeffrey Steingarten, really. Actually, I want to be Padma Lakshmi. Haha.

...darn it. Now I'm STARVING. And I've been ... trying to be a good girl. Doing the 30 day shred and foisting off all my culinary creations on other people...

What a great post. And this likely is the last time I'll get the GR because 9 am classes start next week, so I'll have to actually sleep and not be up at 3:05 nabbing the chook. :D

Christine Wells said...

Hi Alaine! I do like your name, btw! What a great kingdom that Happy Endings place must be.

I, too, love Nigella and wish I could look that good. She's not a skinny wraith and obviously enjoys her food. I haven't allowed myself to buy one of her cookbooks because I'm convinced I'd double my weight in a week, but I do love watching her cook. Ainsley is another...Ready, Steady, Cook, anyone? Thanks for the comment!

Christine Wells said...

Lime, congrats on the rooster! Oh, wow, now someone else will have a chance. I hope you didn't stint on sleep just to nab the bird.

Yes, I know what you're saying. Diet talk is the most boring on earth...unless you're on a diet, too.

I'm in the middle of cooking 4 different dinners right now, one for each member of the family (don't ask). Must say, Jamie Oliver's recipes often don't work for me. (It's probably just me.) On the other hand, I love Donna Hay, who does a lot of Marie Claire cookbooks. Don't know if they're available in the States. More soon!

Helen said...

Well done limcello he did have a lot of chocolate yesterday so he may be hyped up

Christine what a great post I love food and am very partial to deserts but I gotta say I don't watch any of the food shows (actually not much TV at all) I have sometimes watched Huey's show in passing if something has caught my eye and have caught a bit of ready steady cook here and there but have never made anything from any of the shows that I have seen.

The last cook book I bought was a book called 4 ingredients and I got it more for Hubby than myself seeing as he is home while I am at work and he cooks dinner in the evening but he hasn't made anything from it yet I live in hope LOL.

Have Fun
Helen

Christine Wells said...

LOL, Helen, good luck with getting your dh to cook out of that cookbook!

Must admit I don't watch much television these days, either. When I had small babies and was on the couch a lot, feeding them, I used to watch TV, and that's when I discovered the Food channel and also Buffy the Vampire Slayer (but that's another post).

And hey, if anyone wants to sling me a recipe or two that they swear by, I'm all ears! What's your favourite dessert, Helen?

PinkPeony said...

Hey Christine! Congrats Lime...

I remember when I finally got the Food Network channel in my cable package and I didn't change the channel on the tv for two weeks.
I love to cook and bake and two of my fav people are Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa and Martha Stewart. I have all of the Barefoot Contessa books. Good food can be simple and stylish. Martha...well, until she came on the scene, I thought I was the only one to obsess over tiny things like "chive placement"...Her encyclopedic book on hor d'oeurves is a good reference book. Another is the baking book by Jacques Pepin and Julia Child. Nigella is great too. The last thing I made from a recipe was Alain Ducasse's
gougeres...I made it with sharp cheddar and almost ate the entire sheet pan. Reading these comments has made me hungry. :)

Christine Wells said...

Oh, PinkPeony, you're making me hungry, too!

Chive placement? Do you mean they way you garnish with chives and how they look on hors d'oeuvres? Wow, maybe I need that Martha book!

PinkPeony said...

Uh huh. Where the chive should be placed on the plate...aka...how to garnish without being cliche. I can't help it. LOL!
I love to make hor d'oeurves. When we're having a big crowd over, I don't worry about the main dishes, my focus is on providing a spread of hor d'ouerves that are different and visually appealing and hopefully, not something I've served before.

Marisa O'Neill said...

I can't believe you wrote this post Christine. I too have spent hours watching the food channel and I don't even cook! I'm mesmerized, literally.

Ok, favorite chef - you gotta love Paula Dean, right? she makes everything with butter, lots of butter. But I think my absolute favorite is Tyler Florence, he makes things I would actually cook and eat.

Christine Wells said...

OK, you are definitely the Queen of the horsey doovers, PP!

I love all those tiny little flavour bursts but I must admit I'm too lazy and impatient to make a lot of them. Hey, can I come to a party at your place, please?

And of course, one would never want one's chives to become cliche!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Marisa! Great to see you here:)

I don't think I've come across Paula Dean, but if her policy is bring on the butter, I'm there!

Know what you mean about likingshows where they cook what you can make. I also like to know how they do all that intricate stuff like spinning toffee and making those tiny vegetable stacks. Not that I'm going to try it myself, but I like to know:)

PinkPeony said...

Yeah, go ahead and make fun of me and my chive placement issues. I know appetizers and horsey doovers can be labor intensive and then they're inhaled and not savored by some guests who have no idea what they're eating... If you need some recipes, give me a shout. :)
Marisa..Tyler Florence moved to CA and lives less than an hour away from moi! He's great and Paula is so fun to watch...she's Buttered Lightening!

Laurie said...

My Fav is Rachel Ray. She makes things that look easy and appetising. She's funny and beautiful too! You can't beat 30 minute meals!!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Tyler Florence is my favorite to Marissa and I did try one recipe, it was fish and chips and it was great.

Christine Wells said...

PinkPeony, I was NOT making fun of you! I really do want to come to one of your parties. Pity your guests hoover the doovers without fully appreciating their complexity and flavour, not to mention the time it takes to get the fiddly things right!

I didn't know that one could be instructed in correct placement of garnishes. I thought it was an in-born talent, one that I do not possess. Maybe Martha is the answer to my garnishing woes.

Christine Wells said...

I'll have to look up Rachel Ray and Tyler Florence. I think RR is on cable here, but I haven't caught up with her yet.

Thanks for commenting, Laurie and Dianna!

Caren Crane said...

Christine, I'm convinced that many recipes are not quite as the chefs make them. I am often suspicious of recipes that call for odd amounts of things. I have a cookie recipe that calls for 4 TABLESPOONS of vanilla. Not teaspoons, tablespoons!! There is no way adding that much vanilla to a batch of cookies could possibly be a good thing. I've made it with 4 TEASPOONS and it's been great. Oy.

Lime, I really enjoy Giada, too. Personally, she grates on my nerves (though I can't pin down why) but she makes such heavenly Italian food! I usually just let her recipes wash over me and use them to influence my own cooking. I like having recipes as a guideline, to see what others think taste good in a dish, but I tend to use my own taste and discretion as far as spices and additives. *g*

Food is my favorite thing to have, talk about, shop for, smell, taste. I love everything about it. Anyone who has seen my thighs can attest how deep and wide and tall my love for food is!

Caren Crane said...

By the way, I can't watch Paula Deen. Bad enough that she lays on her nasally and MUCH exaggerated accent, but the butter is TOO MUCH. Anyone who has had triple bypass surgery (like Paula) should really lay off the butter.

I heard recently that until the mid 1900s, people in the southern US had the most healthy diet of anyone in the States...because they were POOR. They ate lots of vegetables and fruit and not much meat. Then along came air conditioning, fast food and commercial farming. Lots of fat and no exercise. We turned into the fattest people in the country in a few decades. Yikes! The last thing we need is Paula Deen "accidentally" dropping things in melted butter.

There are so many healthy southern dishes and ways to health up anything you eat. Paula is not indicative of genuine southern cooking, just what people outside the south think southern cooking should be like.

PJ said...

Congrats, Limecello!

Christine, you're making me hungry! I'm not in front of the TV that much but I do love the Food Network. Favorites are Paula Deen, Tyler Florence and Giada de Laurentiis. I've tried (and loved) recipes from all three of them. My niece makes the best buttermilk biscuits from a Tyler Florence recipe.

Christine, Paula is the Queen of Southern Cooking. Here's a link to her website.

http://www.pauladeen.com/

Read "Paula's Story". It's fascinating.

PJ said...

Paula is not indicative of genuine southern cooking, just what people outside the south think southern cooking should be like.Caren, I have to disagree. I think she's indicative of what southern (Georgia) cooking was to our parents and grandparents. Today's generation is more health conscious but I know many older people in my part of South Carolina and in Georgia (where Paula is from) who still cook exactly like she does.

Deb Marlowe said...

Hi Christine!

I'm with you. Love cooking shows!

I can't seem to fold laundry or iron without the Food Network on TV (or the Soup--love Joel McHale!) I'll watch anybody cook, although I've tried a few recipes from Emeril, the Barefoot Contessa and Rachel Ray and they've turned out well. Tyler Florence has several that I've wanted to try and my sister swears by his chili recipe.

I also LOVE Top Chef! My husband watches it and it makes him appreciate my cooking. He swears he wouldn't eat most of their food! LOL, gourmet, he is not.

Last week Carla and CJ from Top Chef were here in town!

Joan said...

Food Network + Joanie = nirvana..

I watch the Food Network constantly! One of the first shows I ever watched on it was the "Two Fat Ladies". The one poor soul passed on several years ago but loved the way they talked about the ingredients (took me a while to understand castor sugar was white sugar)

I like Paula Deen very much and while her butter cookery may be less than perfect health wise it tastes good. Portion control for ANYTHING is key.

Giada is fine, I like Ina (her voice is so calming). Tyler is ok but I LOVE Alton Brown. His show "Good Eats" teaches the science, history behind food and dishes with cornball humor. Really don't care for Bobby Flay though. No matter where or what he is doing, he comes across arrogant.

Oh, and Duff Goldman and Ace of Cakes. Man, I want to be a decorator there!

Food Challenges are my fav of all the shows. "Make a masterpiece cake with spinning sugar flowers in 8 hours and move the 2 ton thing to a table" Go!

I don't often try specific recipes but appreciate the skill needed to be a chef.

Oh, and I get hungry watching them :-)But then I snack when I'm watching "The Biggest Loser" too!

Donna MacMeans said...

Christine - You are so right. Why is it that gnoshing on forbidden sweets and reading romance go hand in hand?

I'm afraid I never got into watching cooking shows for all the reasons you cited. Plus I was so jealous of the number of dishes used in the preparation of said dish and the fact that all those dishes magically were cleaned, but not by the chef...well, that's the magic I wanted the clues for. Plus, isn't amazing how those chefs have these unique gadgets to do just the right thing at the right time? My gadget drawer is overflowing as it is!

My favorite celebrity chef is the one who feeds me without my lifting a finger - whoever that my be. I freely admit the way to my heart is through my stomach...and my cleaned kitchen (grin).

Amy Andrews said...

Hi Christine. Great topic! One of my favourites actually - food.

A big vote for The Cook and the Chef for me too. It's a must watch in my house on a Wednesday night. I saw one a couple of weeks ago where Simon did a potato lattice decoration thingy that I'm dying to try. And trust me, trying things these days in unusual for me. I used to adore cooking - desserts and sweet things my fav - then I had kids, a fussy one in particular which totally sapped all the joy of cooking from me. Cooking several different meals each night to cater to everyone's needs sure sucks the culinary juices from your soul.

Another fav of mine is Two Fat Ladies - talk about throwing some butter in with your lard!!! I saw them cook a goose once. They spent five minutes talking about how fatty geese were and then before they shoved it in the oven they slathered it with an inch of lard all over :-)

And hello, Nigella!! What an amazingly sexy woman. And my husband tells me that women who like food are incredibly sexy so I'm going with him on that.

Before I go just wanted to say, as I've just finished your Dangerous Duke, what an absolutely fantastic read it is. Thank you for such reading pleasure. I get so little time to read these days but you made me glad that I still do.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Ah...Good morning, Christine and everyone. Celebrity Chefs, huh?

Okay, have a confession...I'm a junkie and a thief. Not just of food network and other cooking shows, but of magazines, internet sites and friends.

Not only do I covet and steal recipes, I must make them my own. I'm a tweaker. Yes, you heard me...I tweak(not like a meth addict) every recipe I gather unto my stores. I feel they are the ground work only. They need more...salt, sauce, a different ingredient, cooking time, butter, less wine...something. Often I'll see an idea and then my brain is off and running...

Last night on Iron Chef America, the challenger made a fried rice cake...no, not one of those horrible crunchy things fried, but sort of like a potato pancake made of cooked rice and something else....... well, guess who will be experimenting with that at home?!?!

And, I have a whole file of these Suzy's recipes on my computer...

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Christine! Great post! I love cooking almost as much as I love reading, & I adore cooking shows. I don't watch enough of them (sadly) because we have the super-cheap cable that doesn't come with the Food Network.

But I do love watching Top Chef on Bravo. I'm fascinated by the combination of talented people, weird materials & limited time. It's just so watchable, even when you KNOW the results aren't really going to be edible in any practical sense.

For a while now I've been hoping to run across a rerun of the Ace of Cakes. I've heard they do some crazy things & would love to witness them for myself. Anybody seen this? Is it worth renting the DVDs?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Susan said: For a while now I've been hoping to run across a rerun of the Ace of Cakes. I've heard they do some crazy things & would love to witness them for myself. Anybody seen this? Is it worth renting the DVDs?..

Susan, YES! Duff is great entertainment and your girls will like watching to see what they create! That group he has working with him are phenomenal!!

Kirsten said...

Hi Christine! You know, I do love food, but I must admit that I've never quite gotten into the celebrity chef thing. I have a had enough time sitting still for TV anyway, and a cooking show would probably be too much for my adult ADD. ;-)

The last cookbook I got was something about recipes for Moms who want to eat healthy but only have 30 minutes to prepare meals...not exactly glamorous. Snort.

I did read In Defense of Food recently (Michael Pollan). It's about the tragedy of the western diet, how it's responsible for all our chronic health problems, etc. I would highly recommend it to everyone -- with the caveat that after you read it, you will be horrified and depressed at what you normally eat.

And then if you're me, you'll wander around in a fog for the next couple of weeks, trying to decide how to get yourself to eat more kale.

And then you'll give up (but not entirely) and have another bowl of white rice with butter and salt...and a carrot on the side. :-)

Amy Andrews said...

Ooh Suzanne - yes!!! I lurve recipes. I rip them out of mags all the time and have a special folder I file them all in. I rarely make them - see aforementioned joy-of-cooking-suckedfrom-my-marrow post - maybe 10% and usually Xmas ones at that. BUT I adore collecting them. Addiction springs to mind here. Because you never know, one day...one day... I may just make it. Maybe when the kids have left home the joy of it all will return to me...
I'm talking from scratch here. AT the moment I'm a great, what I like to call, food constructor. That is taking already prepared things and adding them together to make a meal. I'm fabulous at that. So it is haomemade but with a LOT of help ;-)Some pre-prepared pasta (the very best) and some divine pasta sauce ( also the very best) and hey presto - a meal in 10 minutes!!
The wonders of modern technology!!

Suzanne Welsh said...

LOL Amy...most moms cook like that, especially if you're desperate to get your kids to eat anything. Right now I have "Tuesday Night Dinners" at my house. I'm off on Tuesdays, usually and my kids come for dinner depending on their work schedules. On top of that two of them are pregnant, so I have to fix stuff they ask for.

We had Italian Mac&Cheese (a stolen and tweaked version of one I saw Rahel Ray make one day) for my daughter's birthday. We've had this before, but then she threw in a twist...

"Can we have sugar snap peas?"
"You mean just the peas or the peas in the pod."
"Peas in the pod, cooked. I had it at a restaurant the other day and they were great. Been craving them ever since."

What the heck, okay...

melt 1 TBS butter and olive oil in saute pan pm high. Toss in two packages of fresh, washed sugar snap peas. Salt and white pepper. Saute until al dente. Serve.

Freaking awesome. Even 1 month old granddaughter devouered them!!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Okay, my computer I swear leaves off letters and numbers...it was 17 month old granddaughter!!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

I'm not a big cook, and I don't watch the Food Channel like my sister does, but like Marisa I like Paula Dean. Her foods aren't full of ingredients I don't even recognize, and she's a funny Southern gal.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Speakin of Paula Dean, Trish...Have you ever had her corn casserole? It's super easy and a family must-have for holidays.

1 can cream of corn
1 can whole corn drained
1 cup sour cream
1 box jiffy corn muffin mix
1 stick melted butter

Grease the insides and walls of a casserole dish, (one with high sides). Dump all the ingredients in the dish and mix well, cover with grated cheese. Bake uncovered @ 350 x 1 hour. To.Die.For.Good.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Christine! Another food lover here :) Our family's current celebrity chef favorites are Alton Brown and America's Test Kitchen (with Christopher Kimball, et al). We've made a couple things from Good Eats (including the fried chicken, if I recall correctly), and a bunch of stuff from the America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated cookbooks. A basic is their book, The Best Recipe--extremely useful.

Probably one of the first celebrity chefs to catch our attention was Jacques Pepin--we made a few things from The Complete Today's Gourmet, including his roast chicken recipe--yum! And not terribly difficult, that one. (His deboning techniques are breathtaking to watch--haven't mastered those yet! ;))

A couple of foodie books we really enjoyed: Cooking for Mr. Latte: A Food Lover's Courtship, with Recipes (by Amanda Hesser); Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential; and Michael Ruhlman's Chef books. The last are pretty hardcore serious foodie; we haven't read much like that recently. A couple other authors whose cookbooks we've enjoy--Nina Simonds (Asian cuisine) and Ken Hom (Chinese). We've watched Ming Tsai and Martin Yan, too--I find Ming's stuff a little "foofy" sometimes ;)

Congrats AGAIN on the GR, Limecello! :)

Joan said...

For a while now I've been hoping to run across a rerun of the Ace of Cakes. I've heard they do some crazy things & would love to witness them for myself. Anybody seen this? Is it worth renting the DVDs? OMG gosh YES Susan! Watch it anyway you can!

Those decorators are artists and the commradarie that the whole group has???? Really comes across.

The office manager Mary Alice often squees over meeting some famous person (this past week they did a cake for the 100th episode of LOST) but me? I'd squee over meeting her! Or Anna or Geoff or Duff or...any of them!

Joan said...

The first celebrity chef I ever watched was some guy named Han.

His show was "Han can Cook". Entertaining.

He recently was on a tour of HOSPITAL cafeterias though, promoting a cookbook and healthy eating but cafeterias? Really?

jo robertson said...

Food, glorious food! Always a fav topic, Christine!

I have to say I love listening to Paula Deen, not only for that marvelous southern accent, but because EVERYTHING'S better with butter!

I find cooking shows very soothing and love to have them on for background "noise." Sometimes I even write down the recipes, but I hardly ever cook them. My cooking days are over!!

p226 said...

I'm hungry.

Pissenlit said...

Congrats, limecello :)

Ya know, I've never been big on Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I had one once...*shudder*

My favourite celebrity chef is Curtis Stone! Yummy!...I mean...he makes yummy food! *shifty eyes* He also makes it look super easy which is great for me since I don't actually cook(so I don't try it out)...I can just pretend that oh ya I know how to make that stuff, it's a snap! *snarf* Though because of Curtis, I got to be all-knowing when my friends decided to try making crème brulée. It didn't quite turn out right but that was totally not my fault...they didn't entirely listen to the wisdom of the Take Home Chef. :D

Huh. I don't think I have any book of food p*rn, let alone a favourite! Weird.

traveler said...

I watch the Food Channel regularly and enjoy my favorite chef, Giada. Her food is diverse, healthy and so appealing. I have tried a few of her pasta and vegetarian dishes which were wonderful. Her recipes are simple and easy and look attractive.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I'm with P226. Reading all this, I'm hungry!

Great post Christine! :>

I love food stuff. I love to cook and bake, although I don't have as much time for it as I did before I was writing all the time!

My fav chefs have always been Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet; Justin Wilson, the Cajun Chef; and the Barefoot Contessa. Love the simple, no-nonsense, but really good food they all focus on.

That said, I also adore Top Chef. I love the sheer competition of taking ingredients and making something edible and fabulous under the gun. Pretty cool. And you learn new terms - amuse bouche, anyone?

Grins.

Caren, I kinda hafta agree w/ you about Paula Deen. I like her, I think she's funny even tho' she's a bit of a caricature of a Southern cook. Ha! Interestingly enough, my family splits the difference in the styles you mentioned. My Mother's people, in NC, are more the simple, healthy cook types. My Alabama and SC relatives go for the butter every time. Ha!

Kirsten...kale? Really? I hate kale. Collards now, THOSE i can eat, but kale? That would send me reeling too...

Nancy said...

Alaine, I love Nigella, too. I'm not a gifted cook, and I have to stick pretty closely to recipes.

Nancy said...

Limecello, I used to work for a Nationally Known Weight Loss Company, as they say on Jeopardy, and BMI is important. My main concern most of the time is whether my clothes fit. If they do, my BMI is usually good.

We watch Iron Chef late at night. The food prep part doesn't fascinate us, though the dh pays attention because he actually is a creative cook, but we find the judges' comments interesting.

Nancy said...

PinkPeony, our main concern when people come over is cleaning off the table. *g* In fact, that's one reason we invite people--so we have to clean up the table.

Keira Soleore said...

Christine, I gasped at the last word of your post. Did *she* really write *that*? I went back up to check whether your name was really next to the title for the post. It was. Scrolled back down. And gasped again.

Well, well, well. Learn something new everyday about people you know.

My guilty pleasure is the reality show TOP CHEF on the U.S. cable channel Bravo, like IRON CHEF and other cooking contest shows. And I adore celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. He blogs well and is articulate and witty on his own show NO RESERVATIONS.

As for me, I want easy-peasy recipes or I make random stuff up. My only requirements as a cook are: I cook fresh veggies, it's nutritious, it's hot, it's edible. My husband on the other hand will surf the web, print out recipes, and cook *koff* once a week only *koff* but we dine well that night.

Anna Campbell said...

He's back with his lady love, I see. Congratulations, Lime!

Christine, what a lovely post! I agree about Jenny Crusie making me hungry (mind you, sadly lots of things make me hungry). Another writer whose descriptions of food always have my mouth watering is Barbara Samuel/O'Neill/Ruth Wind. She really concentrates on the sensual pleasures of life in her books and food is one of the big ones. I adored her THE RECIPE FOR LOST HAPPINESS but I think I was constantly craving dinner the whole time I read it!

Actually I'm not really into food p*rn on TV. Not sure why. Often they combine it with a travelogue or something else but I still don't watch. Don't think I've ever watched a whole episode of Jamie or Nigella. We used to subtitle the Japanese version of Iron Chef and the misery of that was such, I can't bear to watch the show. I know, I know, I'm hopeless!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Keira, I had to go back up and see what Christine said! LOL

My DH will cook too - LOVES Bobby Flay! In fact, we had a "Bobby Flay Night" with 3 other couples several weekends ago. HUGE fun, great food and a lot of laughs.

Like Suz, I'm more a "get a recipe and adapt it" kinda cook.

Nancy, my DH and I joke ALL the time about inviting company over as a catalyst to clean up the house/porch/yard, etc. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, and I should say he's made some fab stuff from both the Bobby Flay "Boy Meets Grill" recipe book, and the Weber Grill Book.

If you or your man like to grill, both are AWESOME cookbooks. :>

Christie Kelley said...

Great post, Christine. I'm really not into watching other people cook. I don't watch the Food network or Hell's Kitchen or any other food related show.

I enjoy cooking when I have the time (which isn't very often). But I do love to bake.

Nancy said...

Christine, I suspect garnish placement is like napkin folding. Either you have a knack for it or you don't.

I seriously don't.

But I make a mean tomato sandwich. *g*

Nancy said...

Jeanne, the dh likes to cook on the grill. I thought about getting him that Bobby Flay cookbook, not that he ever follows a recipe. His improvisations generally turn out well, though.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ha! Nancy, 'round here recipes are more like that joke about rules..."Guidelines, they're more guidelines than rules..."

Grins.

jo robertson said...

Jeanne wrote: Nancy, 'round here recipes are more like that joke about rules..."Guidelines, they're more guidelines than rules...This would be the dh's approach!

Generally, his adaptations work out well. Except when he decided to saute chicken in wine in a cast iron skillet. The wine and the iron reacted, and the chicken became, er, gray.

Tasted okay as long as we didn't actually look at it.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Jo, I'm ROFLMAO. I did that once when I was in college. Was HORRIFIED. Called my Mom. Uh, no help. She was a tee-totaler who never used alcohol in cooking. Called my sister - the gourmet - and she laughed until she nearly cried. She did, however, tell me that I could probably still eat it...Unfortunatley, I'm so visual, I just couldn't stomach it. Pouted for days over that one, obviously, I still rmember it! Ha!

p226 said...

LOL

Gray chicken? I would've told everyone it was stir-fried alien.

Christine Wells said...

Hi PoshT! I'll take your word for Southern cooking. Maybe one day when I come for a visit, you can take me somewhere to sample the real thing. I must admit, I've never had fried chicken that wasn't from the Colonel!

Christine Wells said...

PJ, that is a remarkable story. I love hearing about people who dig deep from nothing and make a success of themselves. It's even better when they make it, doing something they love. In fact, come to think of it, that's usually the way most people make a success from nothing, isn't it? Doing what they love.

Christine Wells said...

Hi, Deb, my sister! Hey, another thing we have in common--husbands who despise gourmet food. My dh's general term of that stuff is, "It doesn't have African artichokes, does it?" So when I read a recipe with ingredients that you can't get in a very basic supermarket, I know it's not going to tempt him. Still, my father had very simple tastes and my mother managed to 'educate' him. So it can be done:)

Christine Wells said...

Joanie, I ADORE the Two Fat Ladies. They have (had) such a jolly English way about them and they always cooked for interesting people in castles and army barracks and so forth. Plus, they were very earthy and knowledgeable about food. You felt they got most of their produce straight from the farm.

Christine Wells said...

Donna, so true! I think it's so sexy when a hero feeds a heroine in a romance novel...and cleans up afterwards!

And yes, all the prep work and cleaning up that these celeb chefs don't have to do--here, we have a fellow called Huey and he has Mr. Moon who does all his shopping and prep work. I want a Mr. Moon for my very own!

Christine Wells said...

Hi AA, thanks so much for saying you enjoyed The Dangerous Duke! And I so agree about fussy eaters. I mentioned I was cooking 4 different meals last night--one for each member of the family. Usually dh and I would eat the same but I'm on a healthy eating plan and he needs his potatoes, so we don't eat the same dinner. Then I have one son who won't eat anything but mac cheese and one who will eat anything but mac cheese. Sigh. But they eat about 2 hours before the adults sit down to eat, so we all end up having something different.

I still enjoy baking, and I enjoy trying out a new recipe from time to time, but it's certainly not something I'm up for on a nightly basis.

Christine Wells said...

Suz, sounds like you're a born cook. I do fiddle a bit myself, but rarely with a cake or something that needs the correct proportions. I'm not confident enough to do that. But any savory dish usually has my own spin.

Oh, and we love getting your recipes in the lair. Keep them coming, Suzy!

Christine Wells said...

Susan, I get really anxious when I watch cooking challenge shows. There's always that chef who is really nice but just can't get his act together in the kitchen, or the last minute disaster that keeps you on edge. i don't know about Ace of Cakes. Sounds interesting!

Christine Wells said...

Kirsten wrote: And then if you're me, you'll wander around in a fog for the next couple of weeks, trying to decide how to get yourself to eat more kale.Snork!

Please, what is kale? It doesn't sound very tasty.

anne said...

Lovely and interesting post today Christine! I am an avid Food Channel fab. I enjoy seeing the creations and watching certain chefs at work but my favorite is Giada. Perhaps because she is so petite, smart and her dishes look delectable.

Helen said...

Christine
I don't hold out to much hope of hubby making anything yet although he has had a look at it so maybe if I am really lucky LOL

Favourite desert that is a tough one I love trifle and tiramisu anything that is custardy and chocolatey Yum

Have Fun
Helen

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Kale is in the cabbage family, but its a really dark green. Very high in iron and all that. Can be very bitter too. Urg.

Gotta say if I had Mr. Moon, I'd cook more. Ha!

P226...fried alien...snork. Fried..snork. Yeah. Wish I'd thought of that. Then again, still probably wouldn't have et it.

Treethyme said...

I don't like Krispy Kremes (Dunkin Donuts are my weakness), but I love Chicken Marsala, which was also the focus of one of Jenny's books. Can't read that one without getting hungry!

And after reading Delicious by Sherry Thomas and Barbara O'Neal's The Lost Recipe for Happiness, I felt as if I'd gained ten pounds!

Christine Wells said...

AA, I know what you mean. These days, even meals with friends tend to be takeaway or a barbecue at best. I wish there were more pre-prepared meals that my family would eat!

Christine Wells said...

Suz, those sugar snap peas sound delicious! And while I know your family is smart, I thought your 1 month old was pretty precocious tucking into peas:)

Christine Wells said...

Hi Fedora--all of those chefs you mentioned are new to me. I'll have to see if we get any of them here. Mostly we get Australian or English programs.

I think the first TV chef I saw was an English fellow called Floyd (?) I'd need VA to set me straight, but his policy always seemed to be slosh a bit of wine into the pan and set alight!

Christine Wells said...

Joan, interesting about Han because I think Jamie Oliver recently went on a crusade to improve nutrition in school cafeterias around the UK. It was so frustrating for him, poor lad, and you could tell he was busting a gut to show the dinner ladies they didn't need to ladle lard and melted cheese over everything. I don't know if he succeeded, but it was a stellar effort.

Christine Wells said...

Jo, snork at everything's better with butter. Sadly, that is very true.

Christine Wells said...

P226, you crack me up. Fried alien? Snork!

Christine Wells said...

Pissenlit, I've never tried a Krispy Kreme. They've only just arrived in Australia recently and I've sworn off donuts but I will try one some day, just so I can read a Crusie book with insider knowledge. Research, you know.

I'm guessing this Curtis chappy is a tasty dish all on his own! Must look him up. For the recipes, of course!

Snork about the creme brulee. I have made it because it's one of my dh's favourites and it means I can use a mini blowtorch. Haha.

Christine Wells said...

Hi traveler! Giada sounds great. It must be a lot harder to find good vegetarian recipes, although I'm sure it's a lot better now than 10 years ago. Thanks for commenting!

Christine Wells said...

Jeanne, we get the Barefoot Contessa here, too. I must look her up again.

And yes, I didn't realize Keira thought I was so straitlaced! Hee, it's fun to shock people sometimes. Glad you took it in your stride, Duchesse!

Christine Wells said...

Snork! Nancy, I love the comment about cleaning off the table. Often, our guests are there, helping us clean off the table. With close friends, we will often invite them over for takeaway. When you all have small children, all you want to do is relax and catch up, not slave in a kitchen. One day, I'll get back into proper cooking but for now, everyone seems happy enough to take it easy.

Christine Wells said...

Keira, you're so lucky your husband is a creative cook. Mine will do a BBBQ but I have to make all the preparations beforehand and clean up afterward! Sometimes, if I get all the million ingredients for it, he will make jumbalaya, but that's about it.

Oh, and no, I didn't write that objectionable phrase. No, uh-uh, that wasn't yours truly. Pristine Christine, that's me.

Christine Wells said...

Wow, Anna, I didn't know you weren't into cooking shows. Honestly, if I have free time I don't watch them as they are a waste of time (see post). I'm never going to make anything from them. But I do get sucked in if I have other stuff like folding laundry to do. Rather watch that than most reality shows on TV!

I think I'll have to get Barbara Samuel's latest. It sounds divine!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Suz, sounds like you're a born cook. I do fiddle a bit myself, but rarely with a cake or something that needs the correct proportions. I'm not confident enough to do that. But any savory dish usually has my own spin....

Christine, this is how I explained it to my daughters. Baking is like a chemistry experiment. You must follow the instructions. You might add a different flavoring or applesauce instead of oil and sugar, but you must have the right amounts of stuff in the right order in order for the experiment to be a success.

Now cooking? It's like art. You use all five senses. You create. It's a jolly good time in a pantry full of paints!!

Tonight it's Chicken Fajitas.

Coat chicken breasts on both sides with mixture of salt, cumin, smoked paprika and peppe,r (I eyeball these at about a 1tsp each into a bowl then mix together before putting on the meat).

Place chicken in a narrow baking dish, (I use a glass pie pan), bake at 325 for about 45 minutes. Take out and let cool, then cut into 1/2 inch strips.

Juliene a red and a green bell pepper, as well as a half of a large sweet onion. Saute in butter and olive oil mixture. Add some salt. Once veggies are slightly tender, add chicken to heat through. The rub on the chicken will flavor the veggies.

Serve with soft taco shells and trimmings!

I use four chicken breasts, and hubby eats the left overs one night while I'm at work.

His quote, "These are way better than Chili's fajitas."

Anna Campbell said...

Sadly, Christine, I'm a devotee of real estate shows set in the UK. I think it goes back to my childish dream of one day living there. Of course, it's dream England, not real England, but the dream is powerful. I can tell you property prices in Essex, if you're interested!

Nancy said...

p226, if only we had thought of fried aliens!

And they would've tasted just like chicken . . .

PinkPeony said...

Nancy...tomato sandwiches?

I love tomato sandwiches...with Duke's Mayonnaise which we can't buy in CA so a friend in AL brings it to us when he's here for business.

Cassondra said...

If I had the food channel I would never do anything. The food magazines are bad enough. I refuse to subscribe to any but Food & Wine though, so I keep it in some moderation. I get good recipes out of there. Never made one that didn't work or wasn't good, which is better than I can say for most cookbooks.

And yes, now and again I do buy a celebrity book, but I promise that I cook out of them. I actually make the recipes. I'll google recipes by a particular chef until I find out whether they actually work, then if they do and I like them, I'll buy the cookbook. That said, I have bought a few because I saw something in a magazine that looked good and tasted good when I made it, then bought the book it came out of and it was the only good recipe in the book. That made me mad.

I love good food of all kinds. Okay now I'm hungry..gotta cook dinner. Roast chicken I think. Mashed potatoes. I feel the need for comfort food. Oh, and my Amish customers gave me a quart of fresh strawberries today so tonight I'll have strawberry sundaes! Yum.

(Yes, I'm seriously breaking my diet with the sundaes.)

Beth said...

Christine, I adore the Food Network and I'm constantly trying new recipes *g* Some of my favorites are Paula Deen, Tyler Florence and Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

I've tried recipes from quite a few shows and enjoyed most of them. There's a new show on, something about 5 ingredients, that's pretty interesting. Very simple cooking but the recipes seem to really work :-)

Cassondra said...

Christine Wells said:

I must admit, I've never had fried chicken that wasn't from the Colonel!
Oh, Christine! This is AWFUL! Okay everyone, we need an intervention. It was one thing when Christine had never had Texas-style wedding cake. But fried chicken?!!!!!

We cannot let this one go by. We have to get her some decent fried chicken when she comes to the States this summer.

Suzanne Welsh said...

But fried chicken?!..

I think I'll let you Southern ladies do that. I've never quite mastered the Southern Fried Chicken like I'd like to!

ellie said...

I so enjoyed this post today Christine. Food is such an attraction these days. What we eat, what we serve and the books that are out there are so attractive and lovely. I have been watching the Food Channel. Who can resist it. I enjoy Watching Giada and her amazing culinary delights.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy...snork...aliens...taste just like chicken! HEEEHEEE - would that be the other green meat? Bwah-ha-ha!

Christine, we must get you REAL chicken when you're here.

Cassondra, my fav is Bon Appetite. I had to stop getting it. I would want to do all the dishes and I just don't have time! SO luscious.

Christine, I know what you mean about the take out food when you have friends over. We have another couple we do this with - when we need an INdian food fix. Ha!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Cassondra, can I crash this fried chicken feast? I've never had it apart from the KFC here either. It's not really a staple diet here. And what on earth is chicken fried steak? Heard about that on Jeopardy the other night. Sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen!

Cassondra said...

Anna said:

Hey, Cassondra, can I crash this fried chicken feast? I've never had it apart from the KFC here either. It's not really a staple diet here. And what on earth is chicken fried steak? Heard about that on Jeopardy the other night. Sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen!Well....of COURSE you can join the fried chicken feast! Wait. What am I saying? I won't be there. But I'm certain you'll be invited.

As to the chicken fried steak...I am apparantly not southern enough for that. They serve it around here in the meat & threes, but we never had it when I was a kid, and where I grew up, nobody else ever cooked it either. It's a sort of chopped steak coated with batter and deep fried like "traditional" fried chicken. I'm not sure where the "chicken-fried" comes in except maybe the coating looks sort of like the coating on KFC.

Now let me address KFC and this chicken coating everyone associates with the south.....

The truth is, I'm with Suz in that I never mastered the true "coated with batter" southern fried chicken either. Because I don't like it. That's not what I ate growing up. I think it's a myth perpetuated by the food industry.

My fried chicken is fried in a skillet like my mom does, and I like it better than anybody else's. I've seen a few recipes in foo-foo magazines recently for chicken fried this way--NOT with a coating of batter around it like an alien pod--and I'm glad to see the return of what I consider to be the true fried chicken of the south. They didn't have money for all those fancy batters! They just salted and peppered the chicken pieces, coated them in flour and fried them in a skillet.

It's really good that way. My favorite way to eat chicken. That said, when you come here, no doubt you'll probably have something closer to the myth than to my chicken. As Nancy would say, alas.

Christine Wells said...

Jeanne, we have a barbecue (grill) cookbook that has never been used. But I should encourage my dh to branch out more. I think he just needs a nudge in the right direction.

It's quite remarkable if you have a man who grew up in a traditional family, how little they know about cooking. You realize there's a lot that they don't put in the recipes that you've learned watching your mother (or someone like Nigella) and you just do it without thinking.

Christine Wells said...

Christie, I love baking, too! Pity we're on that health kick, right?

Christine Wells said...

Nancy, a well made tomato sandwich is truly a piece of art:)

I agree, I doubt I could learn much in the way of garnish placement. I just don't have the magic touch!

Christine Wells said...

Jo, snork over the gray alien chicken! But that kind of thing is so easy to do. I think to be a top chef you need to know a lot about chemistry.

Jeanne, you too? Aliens everywhere!

Christine Wells said...

Anne, you know I really have to be suspicious of a petite cook! Only kidding, but I must admit I admire the generous proportions of Nigella Lawson.

Christine Wells said...

Ooh, Helen, tiramisu is a favourite of mine, too! Trifle reminds me of my childhood. Haven't had trifle in yonks!

Christine Wells said...

Thansk for explaining kale, Jeanne. I still think red meat beats any vegetable for high iron content, but I could be wrong about that.

Yeah, don't blame you for not eating the alien chicken.

Christine Wells said...

Becke, weren't the Madeleines in Sherry Thomas's Delicious just melt in your mouth scrumptious? I'm sure I put on many pounds while reading that book.

I love hot cinnamon donuts, no matter where they come from. Ahhh, donuts.

Christine Wells said...

Suz, I actually have all the ingredients for those fajitas in my kitchen. I might try them tomorrow night! They sound divine!

Christine Wells said...

Anna, Jamie and I used to watch Location, Location all the time. Is that the one where people renovate a house and then put it on the market for a profit? There was a really savvy woman who hosted the show. I used to get so frustrated when the people wouldn't listen to her advice and then they'd make a loss and it's just devastating! But so addictive. Maybe that's why we liked it--high stakes and conflict.

Christine Wells said...

Nancy wrote: p226, if only we had thought of fried aliens!

And they would've tasted just like chicken . .
ROTFLMAO, Nancy!!!

Christine Wells said...

PinkP--real, egg mayonnaise is one of my biggest downfalls. I love mixing it with a tin of red salmon or in a cold chicken salad. Mmm.

Pissenlit said...

Christine Wells - I'm guessing this Curtis chappy is a tasty dish all on his own! Must look him up. For the recipes, of course! Actually, the picture you have on the post of Surfing the Menu is of Curtis(not Mark) and Ben. Perhaps it's a previous season(series)? He currently has his own show in the States called Take Home Chef where he accosts people in the supermarket and sort of plans a menu with them, buys the groceries and goes back to their home to cook it all for them.

Christine Wells said...

Cassondra, strawberry sundaes sound delicious, especially on top of that comfort food!

I bet you're a great cook, just as you are fab at everything else you do.

We have a mag here called Gourmet Traveller and my BFF's husband will often whip up a cake out of there. He's an engineer and an absolute blokey bloke, but he is also a wizard in the kitchen--because he likes to eat. Lucky girl!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Beth! I know you're also a fab cook and I'm not surprised that you try your hand at celebrity chef recipes.

The 5 ingredients thing sounds like a great idea. I've often thought a computer program where you could simply punch in all the ingredients you have in your pantry and fridge and come up with a recipe to fit would be a really handy thing -- I suppose that shows you how much I like planning meals and grocery shopping!

Nancy said...

Cassondra wrote: That said, when you come here, no doubt you'll probably have something closer to the myth than to my chicken. As Nancy would say, alas.Indeed. The chicken I grew up eating was also not as heavily floured. I don't trust "southern' food at any eatery outside the South because you tend to get the stereotype rather than the true. Especially if grits are involved.

And that is alas-worthy. *g*

Christine Wells said...

Cassondra, about the fried chicken--no one makes fried chicken here. And even if they did, I'm betting it wouldn't be a patch on the proper southern-style cooking.

Hee, I can tell I'm going to be as big as a circus tent by the time I leave D.C.!

Virginia said...

Congrat Limecello on nabbing the rooster!

Great post Christine! Who doesn't love food, my problem is I like if to much! I usually don't watch to many food shows. Although I like to listen to Paula Dean. I think I just like that southern accent she has. Then again she does cook with butter which makes foods so much better! I cook everyday myself but I don't use a cook book. Sometimes I will go by a recipes, but most of the time I just do it.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Ellie! Thanks so much for commenting. A few have mentioned Giadia so I'll have to check if we get her here in Australia.

I'm starting to regret my choice of topic today. Having trouble not hopping into my car to hunt down some tiramisu!

Christine Wells said...

Jeanne, we have about 5 Indian restaurants within 2 minutes of our house. It used to be Thai and now Indian is taking over. LOVE Indian food, so I'm not complaining but I feel sorry that they're all in competition. Also wish one of them was Japanese. I love Sushi!

And yes, who has the time to spend hours in the kitchen these days? My dh has simple tastes and would prefer grilled fish or steak to just about any fancy dish I can come up with. But I will get back into it one day...

Nancy said...

PinkPeony and Christine, summer doesn't officially arrive at our house until I've had a tomato sandwich made with a vine-ripened tomato.

The dh usually puts in a garden, but neither of us gave it a thought this year. We're now a bit late for putting in tomatoes, but the weather stays warm long enough in the fall that we could get some. Good thing there're farmers markets!

Nancy said...

Jeanne, the other GREEN meat? LOL!

Christine Wells said...

OK, Cassondra, now I'm REALLY hungry! Your way of frying chicken sounds so tasty and a lot healthier, too!

Nancy said...

Helen, tiramisu and trifle are two of my favorite foods. I don't know how to make either, and that's probably a very good thing.

We go out on birthdays to the restaurant of the birthday person's choice. I always pick a particular Italian place because they have tiramisu servings that're literally as big as my face.

Speaking of BMI . . . :-/

Suzanne Welsh said...

C...I'll add the mac and cheese to the fried chicken meal if someone else wants to cook greens!

Christine Wells said...

Pissenlit, I'm red-faced here. Sorry, I have watched the surf the menu show and never caught their names--just filched them from the web page where I got the photo. That will teach me to do a slapdash effort. So is Curtis an Australian/New Zealander? I didn't know he was in the States.

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, it's terrible, isn't it? I'm sitting here fanging for some food! And it's all YOUR fault!!!

Nancy said...

Cassondra wrote (and Jeanne agreed): We cannot let this one go by. We have to get her some decent fried chicken when she comes to the States this summer.I hope this quest proves more successful than last year's fruitless search for a DQ Blizzard. I still can't believe there's no DQ in downtown San Francisco.

Christine Wells said...

Virginia, I could listen to a southern accent all day. I'm with you on the butter. Sadly, I never cook with butter unless it's a special occasion or dinner party, but it is very noticeable when it's there.

Nancy said...

Christine wrote: I've often thought a computer program where you could simply punch in all the ingredients you have in your pantry and fridge and come up with a recipe to fit would be a really handy thingI'm still waiting for the Star Trek galley machines that'll just make whatever I say.

Christine Wells said...

Nancy, tomatoes just seem to be made of sunshine, don't they? I love thick slices of vine-ripened tomato with roast beef and spinach leaves on rye. Mmm.

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, I'm really embarrassed that I can tell you this, but, no, that's Property Ladder. And as you said, wasn't it frustrating when she gave those people such good advice - how lucky were they? - and they ignored it? Location, Location and Location, Location, Location were Phil and Kirsty helping assorted people buy properties across the UK. Usually in places that made me drool with envy. Another favorite was Selling Houses and Selling Houses Abroad with Andrew Winter. He's now living in Australia and doing an Australian version of the show which was the most popular show on Lifestyle TV here last year (tragic I know that too!). But I don't think it's a patch on the UK versions. Perhaps because I don't fang after the houses quite so much ;-) I really do think I was meant to live in a Georgian manorhouse in Suffolk! With a shooting box in the Highlands! Not that I'd shoot anything, of course!

Christine Wells said...

LOL, Anna, I know what you mean.

And Nancy had to bring up the DQ blizzard. We are going to be ROLLING back to Oz at this rate!

Christine Wells said...

Nancy, you crack me up. I was sort of talking about the realm of possibility here.

And didn't they have some sort of machine that produced meals in the Jetsons?

Christine Wells said...

Oh, yes! I didn't think I had the right title. I remember, it was Property Ladder.

One day, Foanna, when you and I are NYT bestsellers many times over, we'll go a time-share in a Georgian manor house in Suffolk! With or without the hunting box. What did Oscar Wilde say? The unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Cassondra said: It's really good that way. My favorite way to eat chicken. That said, when you come here, no doubt you'll probably have something closer to the myth than to my chicken. As Nancy would say, alas.

Well, you'll eat it that way at my house, ladies. :> It's GOOD stuff, even if I'm the one makin' it.

Whoever it was that said something about Duke's mayo - gotta say, BEST mayo Ever. (also, sugar free!)

And the best pie crust & cake makin' flour in the world is White Lily. Both Dukes and White Lily are hard to get outside the South. *pout*

I cook w/ real butter because I trust cows more than chemists. :> And I agree w/ you Christing that iron content from red meat - preferably steak - is the best way to improve your iron evah.

Caren Crane said...

I just wanted to mention that our Romance Bandits gift basket is currently only going for $83 at Brenda Novak's auction for Juvenile Diabetes research. This is a cause near and dear to my pancreas *g*, so hop over and bid to win lots of Bandita books and prizes!

Pissenlit said...

Christine Wells - Heh, I've never actually seen the show. From my googling efforts, I have deduced that it was Curtis and Ben for series 1-3 and then Mark and Ben host series 4(I think...). And yes, he's Australian. :)

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, I just read in the Raleigh paper the other day that they are going to stop milling Red Band flour. It was a NC staple and I really liked it for biscuits. It's getting harder and harder to find good flour for biscuits and pie crust. White Lily is now milled somewhere different than it used to me (and not in the south). There are almost NO flours milled in the south anymore. One of the few left is Swansdown cake flour. Heaven knows how much longer it will be available!

Treethyme said...

Caren - I've got a bag of books up for auction with Brenda Novak, too. I'm going to pack the books separately and just fold up the tote, because there are now too many books to fit in it! Bidding is at $59, here is the link:
http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/Bidding.taf?_function=detail&Auction_uid1=1379114

Caren Crane said...

Suz, your Paula Deen is recipe is EXACTLY the sort of thing I hate. Jiffy corn muffin mix should be outlawed. I am nothing if not opinionated about the utter disgustingness (yes, that's a word) of sweetened cornbread. Ack!

PJ, I love you but we have to agree to disagree about Paula. First of all, none of my old-timey relatives could afford butter. They all cooked with bacon grease! Now if she was a REAL southern cook, she would be using the bacon grease. Of course, then she would need yet another bypass surgery. *g*

Christine Wells said...

Oh, wow, Jeanne! Does that mean we'll get to sample proper fried chicken at your house? Yay, I am so looking forward to this!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, I absolutely agree with you about butter, Jeanne! I do a lot of baking so my fridge is always stockpiled with butter up to the wazoo which causes people who visit to look at me very strangely. Not sure whether they're worried about my cholesterol or my sex life!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, and please check out the Bandit Basket in the Brenda Novak auction. It's got some truly amazing things in it!

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, I love kale! It's much less bitter than some other greens and available a good bit of the year. I love kale and collards!

Christine Wells said...

$83 for our basket is great, but I'm betting we can get more. Thanks for the heads up Caren. HOpe everyone will go and bid!

Christine Wells said...

Thanks for the info Pissenlit. I was beginning to think I had the wrong show entirely:)

Caren Crane said...

Christine, my older daughter asked for a creme brulee set for Christmas two years ago. She really just wanted the torch. We're such suckers we got it for her. Now I can't get her to make creme brulee for love or money. The fascination is gone!

Cassondra said...

Suz said:

C...I'll add the mac and cheese to the fried chicken meal if someone else wants to cook greens!

Ha! Yes, mac & cheese. Only in the south is mac & cheese a vegetable. ;0)

Caren Crane said...

PinkPeony, Duke's mayo is the best! I used to love a kind of mayo they had in Texas called Blue Plate. Couldn't get it in NC, but we have Duke's. Good stuff!

Christine Wells said...

Well, ladies, there is no accounting for taste, is there? Everyone is different--food is just the same as books in that respect.

Fo, snork about the butter! Your cooking is fabulous, so you can have all the butter you want in your fridge. I know you don't make them with butter, but I'd go a loooong way for your crispy roast potatoes!

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra, I'm with you and Suz. That is exactly how we make fried chicken in my family. It's good to wet it with some milk or buttermilk before dredging it, too. Definitely the best way to cook fried chicken in a massive iron skillet!

Christine Wells said...

Caren, it's such a shame when a great supplier goes out of business, isn't it?

I wish mac & cheese were a vegetable--it's all my son will eat for dinner! And yes, I have tried pureeing veges and sneaking them in but he always knows...

Christine Wells said...

Caren, the blow torch is a huge attraction. But of course you can make brulee under the grill. It's just not as much fun.

So...what is your daughter doing with that blow torch??

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Christine, I'm about to have crispy roast potatoes for lunch (amongst other mildly more nutritious stuff!). I don't think I've ever wanted a lunch more. This blog has tortured me!

Caren Crane said...

Ooh, crispy roast potatoes? I want you to make those in DC, Fo. I think Jeanne will sacrifice her kitchen to the cause. *g* And I will make you REAL cornbread (which has no sugar in it a'tall). Liz Bemis (a card-carrying Yankee) was dubious about the buttermilk cornbread sans sugar. She took one bite of mine and said, "Oh, my God! That's the best thing I've ever put in my mouth!" It really is good.

Caren Crane said...

Christine, I have no idea what the blowtorch is doing now. I'm not sure I want to know, either. I assume it's sitting innocently in the pantry, but you know about assumptions...

Christine Wells said...

Annnaaa! Can you wait about an hour? I'll drive up and join you!

Cassondra said...

Caren said:

Jeanne, I love kale! It's much less bitter than some other greens and available a good bit of the year. I love kale and collards!

Okay, did somebody give a good recipe for cooking kale and/or other greens?

I will now hand over my southern girl badge (which I never really had anyhow cuz I only type southern, and when I'm in England nobody knows I'm from the states.) because I've never cooked a turnip green. I've never had kale either. My mom fixed it, but I didn't like greens when I was a kid. I love turnip greens now, though I don't know how to cook them well. So give with the greens and kale recipes already!

Christine Wells said...

Posh, better not to think about where that blowtorch is! LOL Now I bet you'll go and hunt it down.

Cornbread sounds fabulous! Hmm, maybe I'll have to make something from Oz. Pavlova, maybe? Oh, well, we'll always have Tim Tams.*g*

Caren Crane said...

Oh, yes, the Pavlova! Pavlova goes well with everything. Even kale!

Nancy said...

Christine wrote: Nancy, you crack me up. I was sort of talking about the realm of possibility here.Yes, but why dream small? We non-cooks have to have some hope for becoming normal. *g*

And didn't they have some sort of machine that produced meals in the Jetsons?I believe they must've. This is clearly a widely held desire.

Nancy said...

Caren, my parents kept a can of bacon grease on the stove. Everyone I knew did. If they needed grease, they scooped some out, plopped it in the pan, and were good to go. My dad used to put some of it in a pan with leftovers to warm up for the dog.


My mother used to say she was going to be reincarnated as a Northcott dog.


The dog later had to have her pancreas removed because of too much fat in her diet. Really.


Why is Blogger taking out paragraphing tonight? Anyone know? :-/

Christine Wells said...

Actually, there isn't a lot of Australian cuisine that you can't get elsewhere.

Pav and Kale. Sounds... interesting. We prefer whipped cream, passionfruit, kiwi fruit and strawberries, down here.

Snork! Nancy, if I had one of those machines, I could die happy!

Christine Wells said...

Nancy, we didn't have grease, but we did have this lard bought in cubes called supafry. My goodness, that takes me back. It was pretty early on in my life when my mother switched to olive oil, though. I'm sure our cholesterol is the better for it. I quite like the taste of olive oil so I don't feel deprived.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Definitely the best way to cook fried chicken in a massive iron skillet!..

Caren, I told my sister I get to inherit mama's cast iron skillets, coz I'm the only one who knows how to use them!! And that's how my mama makes her fried chicken AND her cornbread. I never had yellow sweet cornbread until I moved away from home.

PJ said...

Caren, my maternal grandma always cooked with lard, and home-churned butter was on the table (and used liberally) at every meal. It's a wonder anybody in the family lived past the age of 40!

I hadn't read that about Red Band flour. That makes me sad.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna said: Not sure whether they're worried about my cholesterol or my sex life!

OMGosh!! Nearly spewed Diet Coke.

Caren, I'm so bummed about the non-South-milling news! *pout* What a shame. Yummy on the greens. I haven't gotten the hang of cooking kale. No one else in my house will eat it. I love turnip greens, creasy greens, and dandelion greens, but they're hard to find up here. I'm with Cassondra, if you've got a good recipe give over.

As to cornbread...YUM. Can't wait to try yours. Love hushpuppies too.

PJ said...

Nancy, my grandma did that with the can of bacon grease too.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

PJ, I have all these recipes from the 40s, written in my mother's hand in fountain pen, using lard, butter, fat back, etc.

Nancy, we used to keep the can of bacon fat too. :> Best stuff in the world.

PJ, I'm not so sure about the "living past 40" because it's all natural. No chemicals. Probably better for us in the long run, even if we had to moderate the quantity!

Suzanne Welsh said...

So give with the greens and kale recipes already!..

Cassondra...

one mess of greens, mustard or turnip, soaked in ice water until clean, about an hour. Chop coarsely.

Heat up some bacon grease in a pan, I fry up half a pound, take out the bacon, toss in half an onion diced and greens. Sautee until tender, add salt and pepper.... Transfer to platter and toss on crumbled bacon.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

OOooh, yummy, Suz. Hey, do you get creasy greens where you live?

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra, the beauty of greens is, you don't do much to them at all. The hardest part is washing them. This recipe is really good for collards and kale. If you have turnip greens, you'll want a bit of sugar in them (about a teaspoon) to take the edge off.

Wash about 2 lbs of greens and get all the dirt and grit off. Just shake off the excess water, but don't worry about getting them too dry. Remove the tough stems and ribs.

Cut up the greens to the size you like (I leave mine pretty big) and put them in a big pot (I use a dutch oven about 3 inches deep that's pretty wide). Add a chopped or sliced onion. If you have a ham hock or ham bone, throw that in there too. Sprinkle the greens with about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and a couple teaspoons of salt. Add a little water to the pan (enough to cover the bottom, as much as an inch). Bring to a boil, cover the pot and simmer for about an hour (or less if you like your greens more al dente). Adjust seasonings at table. Good with corn bread, tomatoes and crispy potatoes. *g* For turnips, you'll want to serve them with vinegar or pepper sauce.

Caren Crane said...

Suz, we called those "wilted" greens. Man, are they good! You can only have them about once a year, though, or you have to schedule an angioplasty. *g*

Jeanne, what the heck is a creasy green?

Caren Crane said...

Nancy and PJ, I remember the grease jar (with strainer) was a staple of the well-equipped kitchen. My mother had one shaped like an apple that sat right next to the stove. I remember it was kind of a shock when she stopped cooking with bacon grease. I'm sure with all the heart disease in our family (and cholesterol issues) that was a good thing, though!

PJ said...

Jeanne, they weren't much into moderation. :)

I'd love to have some of my grandma's recipes (she taught me to bake) but, unfortunately, my uncle's spiteful wife threw them all out.

I can still remember the taste of butter straight from the churn. Nothing like it!

Cassondra said...

Posh said:

And I will make you REAL cornbread (which has no sugar in it a'tall). Liz Bemis (a card-carrying Yankee) was dubious about the buttermilk cornbread sans sugar. She took one bite of mine and said, "Oh, my God! That's the best thing I've ever put in my mouth!" It really is good.
You must prove this to me. I like cornbread that is half cake. (it includes sugar) because that's how my grandmother made it. I've never had sugarless cornbread that was decent. Tell.

PinkPeony said...

White Lily flour is hard to find these days, but it sure makes the best biscuits. Same thing with good cornmeal. I'm down to the last jar of Duke's Mayo. You can buy it on the internet now. :)

Cassondra said...

PJ said:

It's a wonder anybody in the family lived past the age of 40!
You know, I just don't believe this. I know it's the common knowledge and the belief that has been beaten into the psyche of the public, but that don't make it so. My family lived longer than most people live now. I think it's the lack of exercise and the extreme abundance of stress in our lives that is killing us. Not our diets. But it'll take a couple hundred years for them to prove that.

There. I said it. And I admit to not being politically correct. And I use butter. Have done so for years now, because I've always trusted cows more than chemists. I don't think pumping our bodies full of fake stuff is a good idea. I just don't. There. I said it. Yup. Okay, I'll duck the flying fruit now.

Cassondra said...

Posh said:

Jeanne, what the heck is a creasy green?
I wonder if it's "Dry Land Creases"--it's a type of cress but it grows in the fields in spring. Like watercress, it's used as greens, but you have to use the dry land creases when they're really young and tender. They get bitter as the season wears on. Like...if you didn't eat them last month (March or April) it's too late.....

p226 said...

See, I have this gourmet visual in my head now.

Gray alien meat (which tastes like chicken) with a couple of olives for eyes, and greens for a wig.

Put two plates together face-to-face, add a couple of LEDs, and voila, flying saucer servings.

Instead of a napkin, you set the table with a carefully folded tinfoil hat.

Ambiance.... it's all about the ambiance...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

No flying fruit from me - but I'm with you on the butter! - so no worries. Grins. Besides, why would I want to throw perfectly good fruit?

Grins.

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra and PinkPeony, White Lily makes the best cornmeal, IMO. It's important to get Martha White self-rising buttermilk (white) cornmeal mix. The kind that says "Hot Rize". *g* You absolutely just follow the recipe on the bag, with a few important notes.

1 egg, beaten
1-1/3 c. milk (note 1)
1/4 c. oil or melted shortening (note 2)
2 c. cornmeal mix

First, take an iron skillet (a MUST) and put about 1/4 c. Crisco in a lump in the pan (I don't measure, I just scoop and splat.) Put the skillet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.

Meanwhile, beat the egg in the bottom of a medium mixing bowl or, preferably, an enormous mixing cup (like, 6 or 8 cup size). Add cornmeal mix, milk and oil, then stir only until mixed. Let sit until oven finishes preheating.

Using a heavy oven mitt(s) remove pan from preheated stove. Immediately pour the mixture into the hot pan and quickly put back into the oven. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and quickly flip cornbread using a heavy spatula (metal works best). Put back in oven and bake 5 minutes more. Take out of oven and slice immediately. Serve hot with BUTTER. Die happy.

1. I don't use sweet milk unless forced. I generally use 1-2/3 c. buttermilk for extra heavenly results.

2. I use canola oil for the batter, but it is IMPERATIVE to use Crisco to melt in the pan. Anything else simply doesn't get the same results.

Don't try this recipe in any other sort of pan, because it just won't work right. I use a 10-inch iron skillet, though a 9-inch one will work, too.

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra, that would make sense about the creasy greens. We don't get much watercress this far south, but I know it's lovely. Haven't had Dry Land Cress, but if it's like watercress, I'm sure it's divine!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Cassondra said: Jeanne, what the heck is a creasy green?
I wonder if it's "Dry Land Creases"--it's a type of cress but it grows in the fields in spring. Like watercress, it's used as greens, but you have to use the dry land creases when they're really young and tender. They get bitter as the season wears on. Like...if you didn't eat them last month (March or April) it's too late.....

This would be EXACTLY! They grow in the fields and in the medians on the highway, and on the verges along the roads. My mom used to embarass the devil out of us by stopping by the road in the early spring to pick them.

Now I miss them. When I lived in Durham, there were a couple of stores where you could get them in early spring. I'm not sure I could pick them myself - not sure I'd recognize them growing wild. :>

Caren Crane said...

P226, I think that's about like the Jetson food delivery system. Maybe that's what they ate!

I remember hearing when I was little that in the future we wouldn't even have to eat, that we could just take a capsule or something. That, frankly, horrified me!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Caren that recipe sounds FAB!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

P226, the ambiance on that one sounds faaaaahhhhbulous!

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, that's so weird! I've never heard of creasy greens. Then again, I'm not a native. *g* I imagine it would be a really early spring thing, as Cassondra said. I know there are quite a few greens you can eat when they are young and tender (like dandelions). I probably have a salad growing in my weedy yard right now. *g*

Joan said...

Instead of a napkin, you set the table with a carefully folded tinfoil hat.ROFLMAO.....

Joan said...

Butter. Does. Not. Have. Trans. Fat.


That's all I have to say about that.

~Forrest Gump

Caren Crane said...

But it DOES. HAVE. SATURATED. FAT. And those with family histories of heart disease (like me!) should enjoy butter in moderation. I do love me some butter, but I only allow myself to have it sometimes. Olive oil is our friend!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Joan said: Butter. Does. Not. Have. Trans. Fat.

See? Gotta love those cows. :>

Cassondra said...

Love me some butter.

Love me some olive oil.

Preferably at the same time. IN the same dish.

Slurp.

(grin);-)

Cassondra said...

I am going to do this cornbread recipe and see if I can make it any good.

Thanks Posh!

I dunno if I can find the greens. I'll look in the grocery.

Anna Campbell said...

MMMMM, roast potatoes were yummy, as was pumpkin. Oh, and I had lamb chops too ;-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

oddly enough, I can get past the lamb thing and really enjoy it. Can't eat veal though.

Annie West said...

Christine,

How did I not know about this fabulous post? Wow. Yes, I'm a fan of 'The Cook and the Chef'. DH and I watch it each week in between wrangling our own evening meal into shape.

Cooking celebrity chef dishes? Again, DH is the one to talk about. He's done wonderful Rick Stein and Ainsley Harriot recipes. I've tried Delia Smith several times (speaking of adding calories) and even recipes from Australian Gourmet Traveller, but only when I'm feeling adventurous. I still remember organising a dinner based around several of those tricky recipes only to discover a friend was bringing his sister who'd turned up from interstate - and she was a professional foodie! Stressful but a good night.

Best of luck with the healthy eating.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

BTW, Anna, love me some fried taters too.

Hi Annie! Great to see yoU!

Christine Wells said...

Wow, you ladies feel strongly about butter!

Fo, glad to hear about those taters, precioussssss. And I can recommend if you're into marinades, there's a fabulous Maggie Beer cabernet one that is perfect with lamb cutlets. Yum!

Christine Wells said...

Annie, you poor thing! I would hate to cook for a professional foodie! We have one friend who is very particular. She makes me nervous when I cook for her, and of course that makes it worse! I'm sure you did a great job. Rick Stein is fantastic for seafood, isn't he? My father loves his show and he doesn't even cook!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Christine said: there's a fabulous Maggie Beer cabernet one that is perfect with lamb cutlets. Yum!

Oooh, sound's d'lish! (but beer AND cabernet?)

Christine Wells said...

Jeanne, Maggie Beer is the brand:)--that's Maggie in the photo about third down the page of my blog. Erk to beer and cabernet!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Whew! So glad to hear it. I just couldn't imagine a beer/cab combo that would be...um...any good.

Grins.

Anna Campbell said...

OK, we need to get this to 200 comments. One more, people, come on, one more! ;-)

flchen1 said...

LOL, Anna! Happy to oblige :) And mmm... butter! mmmm....

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