Re: Bare bones cookbook.

1

Those rules are astonishing because they are bullshit. If you have $10 to spend on one meal, which is plenty, you have $10 to spend on an extra knife if you need it. And I've lived in some real shitholes that have nonetheless had gas stoves.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:27 PM
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If you have $10 to spend on one meal

A meal for four. And that's the fancy top-end version.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:32 PM
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THe lack of utensils and dishes does seem a bit extreme for people who can afford to spend $10 on a routine meal. These rules would seem to have been written by someone who hasn't ever looked at the cost of low end kitchen supplies. Lack of a stove is not quite as bad, but still, most people who need to cook for four will have access to a stove unless their utilities have been cut off, which is a common occurrence among the poor but also means no hot plate. The same applies even more to refrigeration.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:32 PM
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Apo, that ten bucks will buy you a half dozen kitchen utensils.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:34 PM
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Well, unless they're poor enough that every three months they lose most of their stuff to eviction. I hear it happens.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:34 PM
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You can hook up a hot plate to stolen electricity.

Now, a meal for four under 10 dollars cooked with nothing but the stripped ends of a live electric wire: that's a challenge! Zucchini-hot dog surprise? Yes sir!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:35 PM
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The issue with the 1-2 utensils, by the way, might be one of cleaning up. If you're doing your dishes in the bathroom sink, more than 1-2 utensils is going to be a real hassle.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:36 PM
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Or in a community sink, if you're sharing quarters with other families or something.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:38 PM
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I would have thought the thing with using few utensils and dishes was to cut down on prep and clean up time. That's a big deal for a lot of families, and leads to a lot of eating crappy prepared food.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:38 PM
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It can also be an issue of people living out of cars or squatting.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:39 PM
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Given those rules, I'm thinking Single Room Occupancy. The serves 4 rule, I'm guessing, is to provide two really big meals for one or two people.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:39 PM
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9 cross posted with 7, because I'm trying to bring old-time, polite manners back.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:40 PM
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In any case, I can pretty easily think of stuff that would work. Lots of pasta dishes, risottos, cheap meat based stews with lots of starch. Basically, be very careful with the use of fresh vegetables, avoid anything but the cheapest of meats, and treat all non starch products as primarily flavouring. Or in other words look at any peasant cuisine from anywhere in the world which were all about how to make eating the same damn starch product day after day palatable.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:40 PM
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Living in a motel/shelter with just a hot plate. DC did (does) that for families. So cleanup is with a sink or tub. Minimizing utensils and cookware makes sense.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:41 PM
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Multiply pwned.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:42 PM
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7-8 I take it you two haven't interacted much with folks who grew up in Russia back in the good old days.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:42 PM
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I'd bet you anything a fork is allowed along with a knife and a spoon.

The hot plate only is a burden. But generally you're looking at variations on mac'n'cheese, pasta dishes, mm, omelettes? Stews/soups. Not much meat.

Mostly I think you'd be going for those standards, but incorporating healthier ingredients, i.e. more veggies in the mac'n'cheese, scrambled eggs with leafy greens, and so on. You could make, say, a sweet potato or squash soup with apples in it, and throw shredded kale in the end product. Something like that. (Like that's going to get anything but an "ick" from the kids.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:42 PM
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(Like that's going to get anything but an "ick" from the kids.)

I thought poor kids were virtuous?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:45 PM
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I guess you're not going to be making the sweet potato soup doohickey if you're living out of your car.

Lentils.

Mostly you're going to be boiling things a lot, I think. Very little prep other than to roughly chop and throw it in.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:46 PM
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The constraints sound designed for the extraordinarily poor, i.e., SRO and car occupants and the like. I very much doubt that this is the population that is driving the poverty=obesity perception in the United States.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:49 PM
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I think minimizing prep and cleanup are the correct interpretations of the limit on utensils and dishes, but the refrigeration assumption works against that. I don't quite get that one--we're supposed to assume all the ingredients will be picked up fresh at the market daily? Or the recipe is just not supposed to include any ingredients that require refrigeration? (There go the omelettes, parsimon...)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:50 PM
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Risotto takes forever. My mother always bitches that a lot of the old-school peasant-y food presumes that women will spend hours slaving over preparation.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:51 PM
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Or, put another way, at the level of poverty suggested by the list we're talking about genuinely hungry people whose problem is getting any nutrition at all (and for whom highly fattening pastas, etc., would be just fine). These aren't really the folks do-gooders are thinking about when they are talking about bringing fresher foods to neighborhoods, limiting fast food restaurants, etc.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:52 PM
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Let's play the game where we take some recipe guidelines and make generalizations about a broad class of people.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:53 PM
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Do we do this often?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:54 PM
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16: and are therefore ignorant of their genius at efficiently washing a 15 piece flatware set in the effluent from a paper factory, or what?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:54 PM
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I think the ideas about traditional peasant food are on the right track. Simple, one pot meals like Cassoulet are the order of the day.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:55 PM
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Step one: Assume a stand mixer.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:56 PM
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All right, that made me laugh out loud.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:56 PM
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21 last: why?

26 Communal apartments were very common. That typically meant two rooms for a family with a common kitchen and bathroom shared between several families.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:57 PM
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Stand mixers can be run off stolen electricity.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:58 PM
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21: Yeah, I think we're looking at having ingredients on hand that will keep for a little while: apples, potatoes, carrots, onions, pasta, lentils, other dried beans, grains. Pantry stuff, in other words. No reason you can't have canned goods as well -- might be the only way to introduce, say, green beans or peas.

You can do a lot with that, in a single pot. You might pick up some fresh greens after work, or some eggs or cheese for special.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 7:59 PM
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30.2: I still don't get it as a response to 6 and 7. You know, because I'm a capitalist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:00 PM
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Trailers for sale or rent
Rooms to let, fifty cent
No phone, no pool, no pets
I ain't got no cigarettes...


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:00 PM
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Until I hear good evidence otherwise (including a meaningful response to 21, and also to Halford's fine points), I'm going to assume these rules are illustrative of the very tony Presbyterian Church's task force's, not Heebie's, unfamiliarity with the hidden knowledge required to survive when you're very poor.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:01 PM
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This isn't generalization about a broad class of people, SB. It's just trying to figure out what to make.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:01 PM
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Look, I'm not going to claim "poverty" -- I know a lot of middle-class-presenting white folx who've been waaaay broker than I've ever been. However, I have *seen* a lot of different poverty cuisines, and from that I deduce that the rules are based on a just-slightly-higher-than-lowest-common-denominator outlook on what it is possible to cook.

I'd agree that you're basically limited to a lot of sauce+starch+one protein dishes, without a lot of fancy simmering and dicing likely. I mean, 2 packs of generic mac+cheese with some canned peas (and no milk, just marg for the mac+cheese) would fit the bill pretty easily. And I gather the idea is to graduate people from that standard to something more healthy.

When I lived in my very first apartment, I had a gas stove & oven, some cupboards, a sink, a small pot, a large pot, a cast iron frying pan, a spatula, a couple of really cheap knives, plates, bowls, plastic tumblers and spoon/fork/knives. And I basically lived on spaghetti, mac+cheese, Taco Bell, rum and 3-litre fruit punch. Plus whatever I could steal from the hospital cafeteria where I occasionally worked. It was a somewhat bleak existence. Ska and science fiction saved me.

Anyway, long story short, it seems like a reasonable list of requirements.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:02 PM
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Risotto takes a good hour of solid work, but scales nicely so you can cook enough for more than one meal. This is true of a great many labour intensive peasant meals. Another advantage of cooked forever foods is that you don't really need refrigeration, if this really is a factor. You can just thoroughly reheat it on a daily basis and it will be fine.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:03 PM
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When I was living on like a dollar a day for food (plus about three times that for pot, before you get too sad) my roommates and I got quite extraordinarily creative in the ways we could monkey with ramen noodles. Still, nothing beat pure MSG on a saltine: it's like distilled chinese food!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:05 PM
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I mean, 2 packs of generic mac+cheese with some canned peas (and no milk, just marg for the mac+cheese) would fit the bill pretty easily. And I gather the idea is to graduate people from that standard to something more healthy.

Huh--I would guess it was more intended to graduate to adding the canned peas to the mac+cheese.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:05 PM
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I don't get the attack aimed at Jaime Oliver at the end of the post. So, just because he's tried, with some big faults, to do something about obesity and connections to poverty, we should hate him?

He does have the classic Progressive problem. He would like to genuinely help, but with that help does definitely comes an assumption that he knows better than they do about how to eat - and of course this is a very middle-class assumption. It is a condescending attitude, and belittles the very real problems of the people that he's trying to help, yes. However, taking the advice at the end of the post leaves us virtually helpless before we "solve the problem of poverty itself." (Which, really, when and how is that going to happen? Perhaps by people calling attention to the problems? And, hopefully, and I'll admit that this is where Oliver probably falls down on the job, then going after structural problems after bringing attention to it?) Saying that we must solve poverty before advice and help can be dispensed seems to say that the poor are just supposed to remain exactly as they are until "we" figure out the answer to poverty.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:05 PM
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$3/day for pot isn't a lot, Sifu.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:06 PM
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I do think that the scenario of a family of four living in a single room with access to a bathroom but no kitchen is a pretty common one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:06 PM
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42: well, okay, then you can go ahead and be sad, and I'll thank you for it. We were a lot more likely to run out of food than pot, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:07 PM
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$1/day for food is especially bad when you've got the munchies, it's true.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:08 PM
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Please overlook all the grammar errors in 41. I've had beer but no dinner and that apparently leaves me incoherent without actually being tipsy.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:09 PM
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I've had beer but no dinner

Excellent way to keep from producing dishes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:10 PM
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Callenbach's prescriptions in "Living Poor With Style" are relevant here. If I remember correctly, (and I used to study this book intently every night), he breaks it down as almost all non-fancy cuisines take the form of a starch, a sauce (either white or red) and a protein. So you can play around with his formula a lot and usually wind up with something relatively edible. Admittedly, risotto + white sauce + mock duck isn't going appeal to a whole lot of people, but it's possible to imagine choking it down if you had the chuck horrors.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:11 PM
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45: $1/day for food is especially bad when you've got the munchies, it's true.

No doubt. That's when you get into combinations like Captain Crunch + pinto beans + mandarin oranges. And as soon as you've done it, you know you've made a mistake.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:13 PM
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My mother always bitches that a lot of the old-school peasant-y food presumes that women will spend hours slaving over preparation.

So very true; I always run into this when I get it into my head that I want to make many of the classic Middle Eastern dishes in particular. (Although of course there are many that take almost no time at all.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:15 PM
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And as soon as you've done it, you know you've made a mistake.

Ha. I knew you were making a mistake even before you did it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:21 PM
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Probably because you're not stoned.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:22 PM
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To the extent that the linked post tries to cut back on efforts to boost the availability and consumption of fresh foods in poor neighborhoods, it's actively a bad thing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:25 PM
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53: Where did you get that impression?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:25 PM
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Look, I just don't want to talk about the Cap'n Crunch, okay?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:26 PM
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$3/day for pot isn't a lot, Sifu.

=about $90 a month, about a quarter ounce of decent stuff or a half an ounce of ditchweed. Depends on how many roommates he had, really.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:26 PM
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Rice, meet beans. Condensed milk, meet mac'n'cheese. Lentils a lot. Rice with a bit of whatever oil you have. usually veg oil, blech. Was a time we were nit far from the level described in the OP. Not too long though. Gov't cheese was a nice addition. The hard stuff keeps in milder climates, sans fridge.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:27 PM
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Na palubu nichievo nee spracivatz


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:27 PM
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to be clear, more than one would be a problem.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:27 PM
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A buck a day would be horribly difficult. $2.50 per person, per meal is just a question of teaching recipes and basic skills. Some cuisines do this better than others. Poland sucks but Italy, or France, or China, or India does quite well.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:28 PM
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I've eaten government cheese. Not my own though, just stuff people shared with me.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:28 PM
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$2.50 per person, per meal is just a question of teaching recipes and basic skills. Some cuisines do this better than others. Poland sucks but Italy, or France, or China, or India does quite well.

It really depends what kind of access to a grocery venues you have.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:30 PM
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58 to?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:30 PM
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63: Awesome Soviet ground-effect plane images linked on bOING bOING today.

Related: Remember how bOING bOING and Mondo 2000 and Wired used to have all those fashion spreads of wearable computers back in 1999? And now we have wearable computers, and they're iPhones. Weird.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:33 PM
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63: Also, are you going to translate it for me? My Russian, unlike my Spanish, does not improve with the addition of ethyl alcohol.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:35 PM
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The Polish version of this that I'm familiar with involved no access to non-seasonal veggies - a pretty serious handicap in Poland's climate, and only extremely difficult access to meat - wait a couple hours in line based on a rumour that may or may not pan out. Poland in the eighties, such a fun place. Fortunately, for longer stays in one place with parents around, dollars went a long way in a country where the average monthly wage was $30/mo at black market rates, a medical family whose peasant patients paid in pigs was also helpful. ( mechanics in parts, bookstore clerks in books, senior officials in favours, etc.)


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:39 PM
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54: My 41 was definitely reacting to a similar impression that Halford had, I think.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:40 PM
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67 further: IOW, the very last section of the article.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:41 PM
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NP - you wrote 'I won't get to like anything, don't ask' or at least that's what it looks like to me, but my Russian sucks and I'm just assuming that the 'po' prefix affects the verb 'to like' the same way it would in Polish.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:42 PM
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54: from quickly skimming, and probably misreading, the linked post.

Also, I'm sensitive on this issue because I sort of live in the ghetto (not really, but retailers think that the area is bad so we have similar retail options to much poorer neighborhoods, and there are some genuinely very poor people around). There's a new fresh food open air market that the local AME church runs in my ghetto neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday which is incredibly awesome. $10 buys me as much as $45 does at the local supermarket, which requires a car trip. Infinitely better than what's available at the local convenience stores, and while it's not solving poverty or probably doing much for the very poorest of the poor, it's making a lot of peoples' lives a lot better.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:43 PM
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Mac and Cheese + Canned Peas + Can of Tuna is known as "Tuna Wiggle" in my household.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:45 PM
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68: The Jaime Oliver snark? Or the sentence right before?

I do think Jaime Oliver is more or less a net positive, in an eXtreme Home Makeover sense. So I agree that that's unwarranted.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:45 PM
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Natilo, yesterday I spoke to a prospective graduate student, an anarchist who happens to be considering Minnesota as his other choice, and explained that I have "a friend who is an anarchist in Minneapolis, and he seems quite happy there." I then realized that if he asked me any questions about this "friend" I was in grave danger of coming off as totally insane. Fortunately, the power dynamics of recruiting prospective graduate students are such that he just smiled and nodded, pretending to be interested by my crazy talk.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:46 PM
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Another great story! No wonder you all wait with bated breath for my return.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:47 PM
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72: The Jamie Oliver snark, yes. But I think I may have been a little overly hasty in my reading, given that what she's probably trying to do is simply point out that this isn't a matter of choices (as I think he sometimes says), this is a matter of realistically having very little choice. I lump Oliver with the people also campaigning for grocery stores, etc; perhaps that is an unfair lumping.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:48 PM
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I once mentioned that I had a friend who might have overlapped in school and major with the other person in the conversation. They asked me the name, and I started to answer "M. Leblanc" and realized mid-open-mouth that I sounded like I was talking about my Friends, and somehow demurred out of the sentence (awkwardly).


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:49 PM
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It means "You can't cook anything on deck."

Peasant food involves a lot of canning and long cooking of tough bits. Tripe and tongue are both delicious if you give them half a day over low heat.

Paradoxically, here in "civilization" there is no decent salami (OK, for $30/lb you can get it, and there's a Milwaukee brand as well, Usinger's) and no decent pickled vegetables. The food part of the grocery store is smaller every year and the 4-color packaged part is bigger, also more nasty precooked meals under heat lamps. But condescend away, obviously those responsible for this understand food.

The recent Achewood about $7 potatoes that had been read to was quite funny, I thought.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:51 PM
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The constraints don't sound crazy to me (except for the 2 utensil limit -- is it so hard to wash an extra spoon?), and in fact, probably a quarter of the dinners I ate for a few years when I was a kid potentially could have fit the bill, even though we weren't particularly poor, and had a oven and a refrigerator.

(Why is it that American food so hard to prepare on the cheap? As tkm notes above, most cultures have cheap, delicious peasanty cuisine. The U.S. has several centuries' history of lots of poor people, but no culture of delicious poor people food.)


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:52 PM
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73: Tell me about it. I was just out with my old adviser, her husband, and my two best grad-student friends last week. I had to explain that their department has been "the Department" for the past 10 years for me, since the local @ist scene has a great deal of interpenetration with the department in question (you can probably guess what it is, but I'm not going to make it explicit in this forum.)

I say this without any degree of civic boosterism or prejudice, but I really believe that UMN-TC is the best big ten school for many majors. Where else to you have direct access to so much world-class stuff? Bloomington, IN? Lincoln, NE? Please.

That being said, it all totally depends on which program and which advisers you are looking at, of course.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:54 PM
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First, I note that you fail to mention Madison, WI and Ann Arbor, MI. And second, the University of Nebraska is not a Big Ten school, you loon. Still and all, UMN is the most extreme case I can think of a school whose reputation is nowhere near as good as it should be. And its reputation is very good -- at least in my field.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:59 PM
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78: no culture of delicious poor people food

OH NO YOU DID NOT!


Posted by: OPINIONATED RED BEANS AND RICE | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 8:59 PM
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Yeah, I always get the big 10 confused with the other land grant ones. I've never been to Ann Arbor, and Madison is cool, but unless you're going to be a professor, a doctor, a lawyer or a bartender, what the fuck are you going to do in Madison after you graduate?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:01 PM
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unless you're going to be a professor, a doctor, a lawyer or a bartender, what the fuck are you going to do in Madison after you graduate?

Leave? (I'm not seeing the problem here.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:06 PM
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Mmm, poor people do make good food.


Posted by: Soylent McLean | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:06 PM
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First, I note that you fail to mention Madison, WI and Ann Arbor, MI.

And don't forget State College, PA!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:07 PM
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The U.S. has several centuries' history of lots of poor people, but no culture of delicious poor people food.

We do have the food that is associated with black people.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:07 PM
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78 I think part of it is that we've actually been a very rich country relative to the historical standard of living of peasants in Europe. The other part is that so many poor people were not that far removed from their countries of origin and simply cooked their ancestral cuisines as best they could given the ingredients available. The one thing we do have along these lines is the food of the southern Black population, who were both desperately poor and whose cultural traditions were to a large extent ripped from them. Plus they're relatively early arrivals.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:11 PM
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86: Yes, but I was thinking along the lines of the post. I guess I don't think of soul food as being easy or inexpensive to prepare.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:12 PM
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Pwns, delicious.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:12 PM
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Further to 88: easy or inexpensive for most Americans living in 2010 to prepare, that is.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:13 PM
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I lived off a giant pot of red beans and rice for almost a week, and the farts were so vile I don't think I could do it again.


Posted by: Abigail Adams | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:15 PM
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To supplement 87, I would add in Jackmormon's point about women's labor; most peasant cuisines are very labor-intensive and grew up before the Industrial Revolution. Once you get the switch to most people working for wages, you end up with very different diets. (I'm thinking of Sweetness and Power, with Mintz's claims that a turn-of-the-century English working class diet consisted in large part of cold meals - bought bread and bought jam, plus tea. Not sure how correct that is.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:17 PM
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||

My college decided to disable POP3 access to email. But get this, they FIRST disabled POP3 access, THEN they sent out the email announcing that POP3 access had been disabled. So I never got it.

GRRRRRRRRR

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:17 PM
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I'm not too familiar with soul food, but my impression was lots of beans, lots of rice, lots of cornflour flavoured with a sauce/stew of okra and/or greens with a tiny amount of cheap meat like ham hocks or pork belly added in. The standard peasant model adapted to local ingredients and customs. Is it that hard to prepare?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:17 PM
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81: I KNOW, RIGHT?!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRITS AND COLLARDS | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:29 PM
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I have always heard that okra is kind of a pain to prepare properly. This wiki-how does not disabuse me of that idea.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:37 PM
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On the OP, no one has linked to this, so I will!


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:40 PM
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That's needlessly fussy-- slice okra, sautee in hot oil until the slime stops, then combine safely with wet ingredients.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:49 PM
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96: Oh, but fried okra is so omfgood.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 9:52 PM
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"Articles for You to Write: ... How to Make Paper From Okra"
Wait, I'm supposed to do what now?


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 10:12 PM
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No Kobe in 100, because peasants can't afford the Wagyu beef.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 10:18 PM
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Seriously, there's a gajillion things that poor people could be doing to eat cheaper/better, but the time commitments involved in learning how and the upfront investment in even minimal equipment (seriously, when you're wondering if you can make it to Friday and payday on the $7 you have left, a $4 serrated knife is not a real option, much less a SWIPL decent knife) make good nutrition a near impossibility. It's the next level up (middle lower?) that could potentially make the investment. Even then, though, opportunity cost versus job training, picking up an extra shift, and so on make it hard to argue that there's a realistic way that personal nutrition is a lift-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps solution.

Take a look at this graphic. That's the god damned problem, right there.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 10:40 PM
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Even the traditional peasant cuisines that don't require a lot of time require periodic checking -- bread baking, for instance. It allows lots of home productive labor, but not a commute and a job.

Would crock pots be a good first cooking tool, then? They ought to keep the roaches out, food would be safe in the evening, works with cheap tough anything. Electricity cost?

From ruburban childhood: eggs really shouldn't need ot be refirgerated. They stay out in the nest for weeks while the hen is deciding to go broody.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 10:52 PM
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Isn't there some bit in Peasants into Frenchmen or something about rural France describing how at one time people would bake bread a surprisingly small number of times per year? Maybe this ties into that odd interpretation about the sources of medieval visions that included among causes moldy bread.

Why yes, I did not specialize in rural European history.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 11:06 PM
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Swedish rye cracker bread is supposed to have the hole in the middle so you can hang it on a pole. And yes, where fuel was expensive one baked heavy bread and rarely; I think it's in Braudel too.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 11:12 PM
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I lived off a giant pot of red beans and rice for almost a week, and the farts were so vile I don't think I could do it again.

I'm told your body adapts.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 11:14 PM
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I think Braudel might have been where I saw that at one point instead of having bread vary in price, price varied in amount of bread.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 11:16 PM
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Slightly on topic, I love that people have annotated this photo by labeling the foods.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 11:18 PM
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The best annotations are of the wall and table as "wood".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 11:43 PM
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The rules don't seem that unreasonable. They aren't that different from the way I cooked during my poorest student period and in crappy shared accommodation.* The only difference would be that there'd usually be two pots, so you could cook rice or pasta apart from the rest of the meal. There's a lot you can make that way. Guláš, risotto, soups, stews, dals, curries, various 'fried' rice dishes like pilaus, paella, etc.

The original poster can fuck off re: Jamie Oliver, though. He may be an infuriating and patronising little twat at times, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with attempting to improve how poor(er) people choose to eat as long as you acknowledge the real constraints on time and money that exist.

* I grew up on 'welfare', so I'm entirely familiar with it, but there were less constraints on cooking space and food storage then than later, when I lived alone.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 12:35 AM
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Yeah, I got completely sucked into Jamie's Ministry of Food and although it didn't really work out the way he hoped, it did have an effect, and I assume it still is, as the cooking classes are still going.

And um, risotto takes an hour of solid work? Yeah, sure, if you're going to make a perfect swpl/artisanal risotto, but fuck that, to be honest. When I make risotto, I do not stand there stirring continuously and it doesn't take an hour. It may not be the best risotto in the world, but it's perfectly tasty and just as healthy and nutritious as the hour version.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 1:20 AM
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re: 111

Yeah, there are all kinds of risotto like or paella like dishes where it's little more than: fry onion and garlic, chuck in meat (if raw) and fry a bit more, add rice, top up with water/stock, cook a bit, add veggies and/or cooked meat, cook a bit more, eat.

I've seen chefs on TV who argue that you don't really need to stand and stir the risotto the whole time. Stir a bit at the start to release some of the starch, then top up with a larger quantity of stock, and then bugger off and leave it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 1:47 AM
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I don't know enough about what's cheap in the US. In Britain, canned tomatos from Aldi or somewhere would be the basis of most things I'd make, because they're next to free, but that may not translate.

Much peasant food involves a lot of elapsed time but not so much actual work. I like clew's suggestion of crock pots, if they can be got, for that reason.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 3:10 AM
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112. From memory, I don't think Marcella Hazan stirs risotto constantly. And if that's good enough for her, it's good enough, period.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 3:12 AM
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re: 113

Yeah. For a while I had a food budget of about 12 quid a week. That was quite achievable with tinned tomatoes, bacon/pork off-cuts, buying whole chickens and jointing them, getting whatever green veg was seasonal and cheap, using pulses, various rices, and so on. The food wasn't bad at all. I did most of my shopping at the nearest supermarket, and then supplemented that by going to Halal/ethnic food shops for the things that were cheaper there.* Some of the things I cooked were slow, or slightly labour intensive, but I'd usually make enough for several days.

* Shopping in that kind of way isn't that difficult or time consuming if you live in an urban(ish) area. I'm fundamentally a lazy person, and it wasn't a problem. I'd imagine much harder in US-style suburban sprawls.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 3:31 AM
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I'd imagine much harder in US-style suburban sprawls.

Not so good if you live on a traditional council estate here either, to be fair. I can think of several areas of Sheffield where you'd have to push your buggy a mile or so to find a supermarket that sold much in the way of fresh veg at all, seasonal or not. I too lived largely out of halal shops when I was claiming, but there's a major cultural thing there if you're not middle class or hippy or both.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 3:57 AM
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On the council estate I grew up on in central Scotland the nearest supermarket was about 2 miles away. Maybe further. People walked or took public transport.

I was assuming that US suburban sprawl was worse even than that, because there might be no public transport, or way of walking.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 4:21 AM
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This actually makes sense - a lot of the skill of cooking under pressure of time, space, or cost (i.e. 90% of all cooking ever cooked) is all about minimising the number of process stages involved, which are usually manifested as more pots or utensils or heat sources, and levering up lots of the cheapest ingredient involved. Pasta is exhibit A. Even if you *have* more equipment, planning for simplicity is a good idea.

In so far as it reveals class assumptions, I think it actually reveals that your congregation has a rather realistic view of cooking under pressure (like grace under pressure...)

I take it the reference to cassoulet way upthread is a joke? It may be a one-pot dish, but it involves three different modes of cooking - frying (browning the meat), stewing (building the cassoulet), and finally baking in an oven (creating the crust). Actually, it's only a one-pot dish if you have a pot you can push through all three mode changes. (I speak as someone who recently cooked and served a cassoulet to French people - I felt like an Iranian nuclear scientist watching the centrifuge cascade spin up.)

It's actually surprising what you can learn about computer science from cooking and vice versa.

Amdahl's law - the more things you can do in parallel, the faster you can go, but the limiting factor is always the element you can't parallelise. The tradeoff between multithreading and consistency - this is the bit of classic British cooking that always bites you in the arse, you have several excellent ingredients that cook at wildly disparate rates but all have to arrive simultaneously. Scaling loop constructs - is it more important to break down your process into discrete steps, or minimise the number of steps? The eternal truth that both opportunities and problems arise at interfaces. There's always a bottleneck, but will it be in the CPU (i.e. on the cooker), the user interface (the cook's attention), disk I/O (getting to and from the fridge around the inevitable spectators), networking latency (the cook's relationship with those around him or her), or RAM (the availability of free space around the kitchen, which tends to act as a buffer for all the others)?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 4:22 AM
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The tradeoff between multithreading and consistency - this is the bit of classic British cooking that always bites you in the arse, you have several excellent ingredients that cook at wildly disparate rates but all have to arrive simultaneously.

Yeah, this is why cooking Christmas dinner is a pain in the arse, even though each element of it is easy to make. Much easier to make some (apparently) more fancy dishes where the ingredients are added in sequence, or where the prep can be done in advance and everything combined in a single step.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 4:30 AM
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Come to think of it, is Cooking for Engineers still going?

Anyway, post-digression, the advice reminds me of one of the most wonderful cookbooks ever, Katharine Whitehorn's Cooking in a Bedsitter. (Yes, that is the veteran journalist and feminist Katharine Whitehorn.) Which is all about cooking with very limited resources, and applying basic Mediterranean, Central European, and Asian styles to getting a vitamin-rich and palatable result.

A sort of punk version of Elizabeth David, and a hell of a social document of the late 50s/early 60s UK. This was pretty advanced stuff even for the elite of taste at the time, so there's a lot of information about how to source actual dried herbs.

There's a weird obsession with smells and various folk remedies for them - I've lived in one room with a meths stove on the table and a fridge, with the nearest water supply being the bathroom down the hall, but this just wasn't anything like as big a problem as she seems to have expected it to be for her readers. I really think this is a generational/class issue - who hates the smell of good cooking?

Other features - a real sense of feminist liberation, of both sexes, a block caps warning DON'T ASK HER TO WASH UP, a section on booze contributed by her husband (Gavin Lyall, the thriller writer) which is historically interesting in itself, and (on the edition I have) a superb first-run Penguin Modern Classics cover design - full cover chiarobscuro photography! White block-Helvetica titles! the European future!


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 4:36 AM
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That book sounds really great.

I have a couple of 1960s and early 1970s cookbooks. Margaret Costa's Four Seasons Cookbook,* for example, and a really cracking historical one by Elisabeth Ayrton called Cookery of England, which has recipes going back to the middle ages, and lots of background detail on changing fashions in British cookery. Both are really good, and the food in them is nice, leaving aside their interest as historical documents.

* which Nigel Slater apparently claims is the cookbook he'd choose if forced to only ever cook from one cookbook again ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 4:45 AM
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There's a writeup of the Ayrton book here:

http://www.librarything.com/work/96823


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 4:49 AM
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120: Seconded: all those meals, IIRC, are designed for a single gas burner.

Orwell on cooking:
http://www.theorwellprize.co.uk/life-and-work/featurecookery.aspx

which links to the excerpt from "The Road to Wigan Pier" on how the poor eat. Sounds very similar to the OP.

"In some districts efforts are now being made to teach the unemployed more about food-values and more about the intelligent spending of money. When you hear of a thing like this you feel yourself torn both ways. I have heard a Communist speaker on the platform grow very angry about it. In London, he said, parties of Society dames now have the cheek to walk into East End houses and give shopping-lessons to the wives of the unemployed. He gave this as an instance of the mentality of the English governing class. First you condemn a family to live on thirty shillings a week, and then you have the damned impertinence to tell them how they are to spend their money. He was quite right--I agree heartily. Yet all the same it is a pity that, merely for the lack of a proper tradition, people should pour muck like tinned milk down their throats and not even know that it is inferior to the product of the cow..."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 4:50 AM
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Good spot with the Whitehorn. I never owned it, but everybody else I knew did, which came to the same thing.

121. If I was going all Lady Bountiful and pushing a book at somebody with limited resources, I might consider Slater over Jamie.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 4:55 AM
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re: 123

Yeah, I get a bit ambivalent about 'lecturing the poor on how to eat', but at the same time, people could make nicer food, and spend less money with the right information. I remember my mum teaching one of our neighbours how to make a cheese sauce from scratch, for macaroni cheese; which was a revelation to her.* That it could be cheaper than the shop-bought stuff, and taste nicer, and wasn't hard to make.

* she's now a pub chef, funnily enough, although I don't think my mum can take any credit for that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 4:56 AM
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re: 124

Funnily enough, the one I've found most useful over the years is the Cordon Bleu book, the complete techniques one. Lots of information on butchery meat, basic techniques, timings, etc and I refer to it all the time when other books are vague or seem to be giving dubious information, and when I first started buying less processed meat it was the best source of info on how to handle it.

It's definitely not the book I'd push on someone trying to get to grips with cooking from scratch for the first time, though, as it's not really a recipe book. I'd imagine someone could produce a book [if they haven't already] that combined that sort of basic technique/choosing produce/timings/basics information with simple and cheap recipes, and which was accessible rather than poncy.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:07 AM
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Hey ttaM -- Really quickly, OT, I'm applying for some positions at colleges at Oxford and realize that I have no idea what stereotype they may have about why American scholarship sucks. Anything I should be aware of? (I know this is an issue with Canadian schools; one needs to be very clear that one has done a lot of very intensive historical research and read, e.g., personal correspondence from authors, which Americans aren't really known for.) Anything I should do to take care not to sound like a buffoon?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:08 AM
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Honestly, I have no idea. There are a lot of scholars here who were educated wholly, or partially, in the US so I don't think that's likely to pose any kind of a barrier. I could only speculate about what they might expect in your subject area, and the speculation could well be completely wrong! My experience in Oxford is in philosophy, which isn't going to translate to your area, I'd have thought.

Depending on the position [less so for a teaching fellowship], I'd expect that they'd probably be looking to see evidence of a good publication record, or the potential for one, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:13 AM
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all those meals, IIRC, are designed for a single gas burner

No - they are divided into two sections in each of the two halves of the book (Cooking to Stay Alive and Cooking to Impress), one section for One Ring, one for Two Rings.

(Another CS lesson from the kitchen there. How will you make sure your software installs correctly on different architectures, operating systems, etc? Makefile, setuptools.py, etc)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:21 AM
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Ah, OK. It's a TF, I have very little pub record, and we'll see. Everything feels like the lottery right now. My work is interdisciplinary in literature and philosophy, but the actual interdisciplinary kind, not the stuff where someone reads one line of Bacon poorly and turns it into lit theory.

I've never had bad run-ins with British scholars in my field before, actually, which surprises me, but also makes me nervous. Shouldn't I be a bit subject to suspicion?

The Canadians (one of my advisors is one) are pretty sure that people like me are ruining the world. They tend to focus on really small issues incredibly deeply (why a book has a particular title, etc.), and I'm doing a "here are a hundred years in the life of an idea" thing. The only bias in British English lit studies that I'm aware of is that Americans think they invented everything, and my diss makes it very clear that this is not the case for me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:22 AM
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re: 130

I sent an email to your blog address. I might be able to comment on the specifics of a particular college [I can certainly tell you what that college might be like]. But anything more is probably going to need a subject specialist.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:32 AM
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Amdahl's law - the more things you can do in parallel, the faster you can go, but the limiting factor is always the element you can't parallelise. The tradeoff between multithreading and consistency - this is the bit of classic British cooking that always bites you in the arse, you have several excellent ingredients that cook at wildly disparate rates but all have to arrive simultaneously. Scaling loop constructs - is it more important to break down your process into discrete steps, or minimise the number of steps? The eternal truth that both opportunities and problems arise at interfaces. There's always a bottleneck, but will it be in the CPU (i.e. on the cooker), the user interface (the cook's attention), disk I/O (getting to and from the fridge around the inevitable spectators), networking latency (the cook's relationship with those around him or her), or RAM (the availability of free space around the kitchen, which tends to act as a buffer for all the others)?

This is really brilliant.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:15 AM
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Like 128, I'd be very surprised if there were an anti-American bias in most subjects at Oxford; my college teaches (it says in our prospectus) about twenty subjects and only three of those subjects have all-British tutors, and one of those only because there's one tutor who is British. About half the subjects have at least one tutor who is American, or American-phd, or previously had a tenure-track job in America. Oxford is (whatever else is wrong with it) surprisingly enthusiastically cosmopolitan.


Posted by: Abelard | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:22 AM
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Yes, the reference to cassoulet was a joke. You can tell when I'm saying something serious because I end my comment with a serious face. :|


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:27 AM
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I really think this is a generational/class issue - who hates the smell of good cooking?

Landlords who forbid people to cook in their rooms--see the link in 97, where a woman disguises her crockpot as a pencil holder. Also a big issue for some artists I knew who were living illegally in their studio.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:45 AM
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In college we weren't allowed to cook in the dorms, so we'd put a wet towel under the door and cook into a toilet paper roll stuffed with dryer sheets, pointed out the window. I think the RA could still smell our cooking, but the RAs probably all cooked, too -- this was college -- so they weren't going to bust you unless you were, like, cooking all the time or going to class super fed or something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:51 AM
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I used to see "no heavy cooking" caveats on apartment listings, which I always understood to mean "no foreigners with their weird foreign foods." In France, at least, that was definitely what the landlord or the primary tenant meant.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:00 AM
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Sifu ate so much food in college that now he's confused all the time.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:04 AM
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"I used to see "no heavy cooking" caveats on apartment listings, which I always understood to mean "no foreigners with their weird foreign foods." "

Maybe it meant "no Agas".


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:24 AM
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I'm imaginingg the voice of Nigel Planer, from The Young Ones.

"Like, less of the dead animals man, that kind of cooking is heavy ..."


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:26 AM
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If I were preparing this kind of guide, I might do some stuff about technique--like how to carmelize onions, the difference between adding garlic early and adding it late, blooming your spices, etc. There's a lot you can do to make stuff taste better that applies whether you're making stew or risotto or stir-fry. Also some tips about bulk spices, which are so much cheaper than jarred that it's ridiculous.

I think I'd also start by asking people what they usually cook when they cook, and building on that. Canned soup? How about carmelizing some onions and sauteing some collard greens and then adding the soup? Etc.


Posted by: Renfrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:26 AM
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141: So what is the difference between adding garlic early and late? A sharper, more conspicuous garlic-y taste if you add it late?


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:52 AM
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I lived off a giant pot of red beans and rice for almost a week, and the farts were so vile I don't think I could do it again.

I'm told your body adapts

Yes, your nose becomes accustomed to the smell of the farts, so it isn't so bothersome.

I like that that the person felt the need to go presidential when discussing flatulence.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:53 AM
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142: If you add it to sauteing onions early, it burns. Garlic doesn't take intense heat well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:57 AM
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137: Last apartment we moved out of we cleaned pretty heavily and even went to the trouble of renting a carpet cleaner to make sure things were nice for the next renters. We still got dinged pretty heavily on our deposit, most obnoxiously for what the property managers termed a "spice smell" throughout the first floor.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:07 AM
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There's a weird obsession with smells and various folk remedies for them

I notice people in older books talking about the smell of onions as a problem, which seems really alien to me. They certainly smell while you're cooking, but pleasantly, and I've never noticed that a person smelled like onions. (Garlic, yes -- it's not objectionable, but I can smell garlic on people. But not onions.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:14 AM
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142: LB is right, but also if you add it early to a very liquidy saute (say a big pot of greens) you get a mellower taste (although it can be very garlicky and suffuse the dish) while if you add it right at the end, yeah, it's much sharper.


Posted by: Renfrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:18 AM
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146: I wonder if that's due to selective breeding. Cucumbers, the most tasteless of vegetables, were once rather bitter till that was bred out in commercial varieties. I wonder if olde onions had a stronger scent.

(Also: if I was writing a cookbook for the poor I'd talk about frying spices rather than blooming them. The later is just jargon.)


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:25 AM
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I notice people in older books talking about the smell of onions as a problem, which seems really alien to me.

Exactly. Obviously, landlords are a regular theme in the book, but that's in part a circular argument. Why did they care so much?

Frankly, mine would have had every reason to object to my cooking over a Trangia stove as this did actually result in fire breaking out on one occasion (fortunately it was extinguished before any lasting traces were left). But not the fucking smell.

It's possible that it's something to do with 1950s style British cooking. Another raw onion with your Brown Windsor soup? Most agreeable, Norma.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:31 AM
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149: Was cooking in an apartment more of a real poverty marker? That is, a respectable person who didn't have a middle-class household with a full kitchen and such should be living in a boarding house, and eating food prepared by the landlady, not cooking for themselves. Only the grindingly poor would be preparing food in a small apartment. So food smells wouldn't so much be offensive, as proof of social impropriety?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:36 AM
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the only thing we ever cooked in the Columbia dorms that we weren't supposed to was meth. I'm surprised more people didn't complain, actually.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:44 AM
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Frankly, mine would have had every reason to object to my cooking over a Trangia stove as this did actually result in fire breaking out on one occasion (fortunately it was extinguished before any lasting traces were left). But not the fucking smell.

Uh, the smell is how the landlord knows you're cooking.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 9:13 AM
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But is not a reason to object to it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 9:17 AM
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Yeah, I think there's a sort of superstitious reaction to the smells -- cooking smells prove that you're either a social deviant or breaking the landlord's rules, so they're a problem, so they must be offensive in themselves, so they must be hidden even when the social deviance/rulebreaking aspect doesn't apply.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 9:20 AM
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"who hates the smell of good cooking?"

150 makes sense to me. Also, without clothes dryers, your clothes smell like the more lingering cooking scents. That combined with reheated cabbage makes George Gissing cry.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 9:21 AM
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153: No, but it's a reason to try to get rid of it, which is probably at least part of why Whitehorn is interested in that problem


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 9:23 AM
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This is my point. Why did they care so much?

So food smells wouldn't so much be offensive, as proof of social impropriety?

This is my theory.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 9:24 AM
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Early 20th-century novels do seem to use food smells as an indicator of squalor though. Boiled cabbage!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 9:25 AM
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Boiling cabbage really does smell foul. When I was growing up, my parents never fed us any brassicas other than steamed broccoli, because they'd both been emotionally scarred by the horror of growing up in a house permeated with a thick miasma of boiled cabbage fumes. I had to discover that cabbage was tasty as an adult.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 9:28 AM
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Also, laundry is cheaper and more frequent now -- if food smells get stuck in your clothes, that might be nasty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 9:29 AM
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151: I'm quite surprised, too. Cooking meth smells horrific. Not that I've done it, mind you, but I lived in a place where the previous inhabitant had cooked meth in a closet and months later, after professional cleaning, the closet was still unusable due to the smell of hyper-mega-ultra-super-duper-concentrated cat piss.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 9:38 AM
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Also, crisp, browned garlic (provided it's not burned) is fine in the right context.

British food in the 1950s was hideoously bland, and when I was a child it wasn't uncommon to hear older people whinging on about how onions were bad for their digestion and stank, etc. Even before I knew the expression, I thought, "fuck 'em".

Boiled white fish drowned in a plain bechamel flavoured with about three leaves of parsley was about par for the course.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 9:44 AM
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I'm fairly sure there's something in Whitehorn about the solution to the smell of boiling cabbage being to stop boiling cabbage...but I've just checked and this is actually original. Another marker of a good book - it's nearby when you want to refer to it.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 9:55 AM
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I have a terrific 1968 "what to do if" book by Katharine Whitehorn on social etiquette as the changing times were impacting on it:

Collapse of clothes: pants [ie knickers]
Usually you feel them going; grip your arms to your sides and make for the Ladies. If they actually descend, it depends where you are. At a big binge, kick them off and walk away; if there's furniture, foot them under it (but remove later in order to avoid divorce action between your host and hostess); if concealment is hopeless, look down and say, "You can't rely on anything these days," and calmly pick them up.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 10:00 AM
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164 reminds me of the terrific bit in George MacDonald Fraser ("The General Danced at Dawn") about his desperate attempts to stop his kilt falling off while commanding the guard at Edinburgh Castle.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 10:15 AM
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Katharine Whitehorn just shot to the top of my library list. I thought Elisabeth Luard was untoppable ('didn't your mother teach you anything?') but she doesn't manage that.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 10:31 AM
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But back to 162, and the simultaneous blandness of USian food... Fiery spicy food was high-status when spices were expensive, and there were enough strong pickles and cheeses that poor people seemed to have tolerated smells too. Then there's some continuous Victorian-to-now fear of smells and flavors in cooking. Why the switch? where? when?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 10:33 AM
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Back to the OP, I'm sort of unhappy with the linked post from Delia Christina. Advice on how to improve your life working with what you've got can certainly be condescending and useless, but it isn't always -- the reaction to Jamie Oliver seems over-the-top hostile (unless the JO show referenced is stupider or nastier than seems likely -- I haven't seen it). There are all sorts of structural reasons why poor people have a hard time cooking and eating good food, but that doesn't mean that more information can't help at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 10:36 AM
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||

A donor is offering us a very large sum of money to implement The StrengthsFinder somehow into our campus in a very big way, up to our discretion as long as we have results! and outcomes! (It's a Myers-Briggs type thing.

He is not affiliated with the stupid survey thing, he's just a very enthusiastic business man who used it in his own company and just loves the hell out of it.

Anyone who has seen it have reservations big enough to compensate for a lot of money? The whole thing is weird.

|>


Posted by: President Stregthsfinder | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 11:03 AM
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166: Hope you're not looking for it in the Los Angeles Public Library, because they don't have it. Sadness emoticon.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 11:09 AM
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168: It would be fine without the FU-JO at the end, though, right? "Middle-class progressive attempts at reform can be more condescending than helpful" is a useful corrective; "fuck your particular effort on general principles" less so.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 11:11 AM
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was still unusable due to the smell of hyper-mega-ultra-super-duper-concentrated cat piss.

Oh man. I feel naive for not realizing that must have been what was going on in a friends' newly moved into apartment's hall closet (in an area of town where meth production is likely). We decided they must have had like, 6 cats with bad aim.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 11:20 AM
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171: Well, the post DC links to seems to me to have similar problems: http://www.fatnutritionist.com/index.php/if-only-poor-people-understood-nutrition/ , although it doesn't say anything about Jamie Oliver.

The post makes the good and useful point that if you're really broke, a lot of junk food is a good deal in literal terms of calories per dollar, and that explains a lot of the food habits that look misguided to well-meaning middle class people. But it still seems to take it as a given that it's patronizing and condescending to provide any sort of food education/advice to poor people, and to assume that poor people's eating/shopping habits are universally well optimized for their needs given their circumstances.

And, while condescenci


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 11:24 AM
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Sorry about that, hit post in the middle of a sentence and now I've forgotten what it was going to be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 11:26 AM
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The condescenci.

I'm so using this.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 11:27 AM
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. But it still seems to take it as a given that it's patronizing and condescending to provide any sort of food education/advice to poor people, and to assume that poor people's eating/shopping habits are universally well optimized for their needs given their circumstances.

That's just utter bullshit. All kinds of junk food makes sense when you are skint, and time-poor, and have a bunch of kids to feed and not a lot of free time to cook in. But there are also lots of ways of making cheap, fresh food that can fit with that too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 11:59 AM
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And I'm being too hard on the linked post. Reading the comments to it, she's really not categorically opposed to food education. She just seems to be weighting the harm of condescension more heavily than I think is really a good idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 12:13 PM
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170:

Geez, most of her books are scarce in the US:
http://www.worldcat.org/search?qt=worldcat_org_bks&q=Katharine+Whitehorn+&fq=dt%3Abks

tho' available for small price and larger shipping from the UK.

Which is the title with the knickers advice, please?

The condescenci wind up in a murder-revenge tragedy, right? Let's not go there.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 12:15 PM
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"whitehorn's social survival" pub.methuen


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 12:20 PM
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My condescenci show up from time to time the decry the naïveté of political expression on the blog.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 12:28 PM
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177: I rather like this that she quotes:

Is it our role to teach the poor how to live quietly on less than minimum standards of health and decency and how to starve on minimum wage? Do we teach them how to budget malnutrition more neatly? Or is it our job to struggle for those minimum standards...?

But then, I would.

One problem with a lot of the discussion that one sees about healthy eating for poor people is that the discussion is not poor-people-led.

Another is that poor people are always positioned in terms of lack--middle class people have knowledge to share, while poor people just have organized ignorance.

A third is social work itself in its worst incarnation--jobs for middle class people teaching poor people how to be poor. I was reading that Colorlines interview with the woman who was selling food stamps, and she said something like "Oh, I've been to all the jobs programs; they told me how to dress for job interviews--which I already knew--but nobody could actually offer me a reliable way to find work". The jobs programs provide jobs, yeah, for the people working in the jobs programs.

Create a program that arises from group discussions with poor people who are looking to learn new stuff about cooking, split the fine-grained planning work between working class people with either a social work or a cooking background and whatever professionals need to be involved, and if there's actual money coming into the program, make sure it finds its way as much as possible to the people the program serves. That might work.


Posted by: Renfrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 12:31 PM
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Yeah, that sounds sensible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 12:36 PM
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Just for background (and on the off chance that some here have missed it), John Scalzi on being poor:

Being Poor

Published by John Scalzi at 12:14 am [Sep 03 2005]

Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.

Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they're what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there's not an $800 car in America that's worth a damn.

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends' houses but never has friends over to yours.

Here's the rest.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 12:43 PM
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||
Had to fire someone for the first time today. I guess it went pretty well, considering it was someone I've been friends with for almost a decade. But it was still pretty awful. And I even had to be the bad cop -- which is usually how it winds up for me in those types of situations. Whatever. It's not as though my karma is without stain anyway.

Life really sucks sometimes.
||>


Posted by: William Howard Taft | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 12:53 PM
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Sorry WHT! That sounds extremely awful.


Posted by: Renfrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 12:56 PM
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Tangential to 183, Scalzi has a Big Idea up today by my friend the funny astrophysicist. Popular physics with cartoons!


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 1:05 PM
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Neat. Which one of the authors is your guy?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 1:10 PM
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Wow, I want that book.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 1:53 PM
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181.last is pretty much what JO's Ministry of Food is trying to do.

So until we are prepared to solve the 'problem' of their poverty first, perhaps we should keep mum with our 'advice' to poor families about making better nutritional 'choices'.

No, I don't agree with this. JO for example is a chef - he wants people to be able to cook decently and he's putting effort and money into that. It's not his responsibility to stop poverty, surely?

DC's statement would mean that none of us are ever able to help to alleviate a problematic situation, unless we're prepared to solve the entire problem first. Which is just wrong.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 2:05 PM
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DC's statement would mean that none of us are ever able to help to alleviate a problematic situation, unless we're prepared to solve the entire problem first. Which is just wrong.

Is there a pithy Latin phrase for that logical fallacy? Because it is a fallacy that comes up over and over and over again, particularly in political or legal conversations.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 2:25 PM
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187: Dave. Pal from 8th grade German and high school nerd rock band.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 3:03 PM
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Because if there's one thing known for shifting the terms of politcal conversations, it's pithy Latin phrases.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 3:14 PM
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Quod erat demonstrandum.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 3:24 PM
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I made the mistake of watching Jamie Oliver's TED talk, in which he previews some of this new show of his and yells at Americans because he loves our country so much. Clips highlight Jamie humiliating a mother by piling a week's worth of the food her family eats on a table and accuses the woman of murdering her children. He also says our generation's worth of children will die 10 years younger than their parents, because that's something we know.

The problem is that I do agree with a lot of what he says. He asks a group of children what a bunch of vegetables are and they have no idea--not tomatoes, eggplants, beets, potatoes even. I bet they'd have gotten carrot and apple right. But it's true that there is basically no formal education in what food is. We're taught silly things like the nutrition pyramid, and in home ec they might show you how to make pizzas from canned biscuit dough and bottled sauce. But a lot of people can't identify half the veg in the produce section, and even more have no idea how you'd prepare it.

I'm not sure you get there by screaming that some mother is responsible for the murder of her children because she ordered pizza.

There's talk above-thread about cookbooks and stuff, and, as much as I despise them, there are a few Food Network shows that show pretty easy, cheap, fast meals to make and how to move around the kitchen without a lot of fuss. Rachael Ray irritates me, but her lessons--wash all the veg at once, have a bowl or bag to put food waste in, time your pasta and your sauce--are really what makes the difference between dreading being in the kitchen and feeling capable and efficient.

But we'd do a lot better with more books like Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which I have brought up too many times here. It's really just a big list of things you might find in the store, followed by instructions about what you can do with them and what they might go well with. Hey! How about a TV show in which they focus on one ingredient every 10 minutes or so? This is what escarole is. This is what radishes are. Here's how to roast a squash.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 4:56 PM
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In home ec I learned what scurvy was, and where the term "limey" came from. I also learned the causes of Beri-Beri, the apocryphal origin story for the pretzel, how to snap a girl's bra (but not when), that vanilla extract had a ton of alcohol, and what to do if you're teaching a home ec class and some kid drinks all the vanilla extract (you chase him with a knife). The secret to curry ramen (you add curry powder to the ramen), I had to learn on my own (this is untrue. My roommate told me).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:19 PM
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Clips highlight Jamie humiliating a mother by piling a week's worth of the food her family eats on a table and accuses the woman of murdering her children. He also says our generation's worth of children will die 10 years younger than their parents

sounds like an excellent way to combine two usually incompatible types of ego gratification -- being a saintly do-gooder and being a bullying asshole.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:19 PM
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190: I'm sure you could translate 'don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good' into Latin. Online gives me 'operor retineo perficio exsisto hostes hostium of bonus', so, not pithy yet.

One ingredient every 10 minutes sounds fun, and possibly easy to tune to what's in the market in the broadcast region.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:30 PM
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But a lot of people can't identify half the veg in the produce section, and even more have no idea how you'd prepare it.

A recent radio segment -- or perhaps something I read -- described a woman's methods for making ends meet for herself and her husband now that they've both been laid off. She's getting, she said, a pound of pinto beans a week from the soup kitchen, and hasn't a clue what to do with them, so she's just piling them up on a shelf.

It'd be a good move for said soup kitchen to provide photocopied instructions for anything remotely unusual.

In general, yeah, not knowing how to prepare things in even the simplest way is a major stumbling block for a lot of people -- income doesn't have a lot to do with it except insofar as a very low income person probably doesn't have cookbooks or a computer, maybe no television, so all that wonderful information out there is effectively inaccessible.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:32 PM
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re: 196

I like how you've come to that conclusion from basically fuck all.

FWIW, he doesn't come across as either a saintly do-gooder or a bullying asshole in any of these shows, and I'm not especially a fan of him, or his TV programs. At worst he gets up on his high horse a bit, and he then puts a shit load of time in getting involved rather than fucking off to his Essex mansion and counting his money.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:34 PM
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The other block, at least in my family, comes from the head of the household. Mom couldn't introduce a new ingredient because Dad wouldn't eat it. There seemed to be some anxiety that eating vegetables (other than a few on an approved list) would turn him into a fag. It's quite possible that this is just my family. If he went to a dinner with business associates at a restaurant, he'd eat anything, but not if Mom made it; she was clearly trying to "change" him.

In general, I think our generation is doing a lot better, strictly food-wise, than our parents. They didn't have a tenth the variety or access to information about health and cooking we do. There is even more fast food now, but a lot less reliance in the home on cans. The problem is that the parents of grown people now seem to have been the lost generation w/r/t cooking lessons in the home. My mom has almost no friends who know how to cook at all. It shocks me. And my HS friends used to show up at our house and eat our leftovers, just because they were real homemade food.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:39 PM
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here seemed to be some anxiety that eating vegetables (other than a few on an approved list) would turn him into a fag.

Only true for endive, as it turns out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:43 PM
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199: Yeah, Jamie's problem seems more like a lack of rhetorical sophistication rather than a lack of goodwill and meaningful effort. And in his school lunch projects, at least he seems to be surrounded by a lot of people willing to do the math and talk to admin about how to make it work, rather than just standing around yelling at fat people for being stupid.

Also, I'm slightly biased in his favor because he was the first person I saw cooking on TV who does it the way I do. Go to the store with a vague idea, come home, and start making things in a quick and haphazard-seeming fashion, eat.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:44 PM
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(BTW, this clip at Videogum with evil moron Sandra Lee nearly barfing in super-slo-mo made me laff.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:46 PM
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(It's obv she just makes really elaborately unpleasant "yum" faces, I guess, but still funny.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:48 PM
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Optimum hostis meliori non sit.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:48 PM
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re: 202

Even the 'teaching the poor how to cook' show is largely about getting a grassroots self-help/self-education movement going, rather than about middle-class blow-ins lecturing people. He does tend to clump around a bit in big heavy rhetorical boots, as you say, but he genuinely doesn't come across as excessively judgemental. He is, ultimately, a TV chef, so there's a limit to what he can do, and he over-reaches but I wouldn't want to judge him too harshly for what is, I think, at least an attempt at drawing public and political attention to the causes he's pushing [basically better food for children and people on low incomes].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:50 PM
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198: There was a story to that effect in the NYT article on the "new poor". Really striking, given the propensity to suggest beans and rice as a straightforward way to get cheap meals with enough protein. As you say, a basic recipe sheet along with the weekly food box might go a long way.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 5:55 PM
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Mom couldn't introduce a new ingredient because Dad wouldn't eat it.

We came from the same family? Meat and potatoes, meat and potatoes! No rice!! No beans except for baked beans! Canned vegetables!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:06 PM
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169: Well, the book/process is fairly inoffensive, and it's nice that they're focusing on building people up versus tearing people down, but if you implement it the way they're implementing it at Fortune 500 Company X, it's an irritating waste of everyone's time. But if the money's right, I say go for it.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:08 PM
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Rachael Ray irritates me, but her lessons--wash all the veg at once, have a bowl or bag to put food waste in, time your pasta and your sauce--are really what makes the difference between dreading being in the kitchen and feeling capable and efficient.

Agreed on both the irritation and the utility.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:16 PM
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a basic recipe sheet along with the weekly food box might go a long way

Not to keep harping on it, but it is weird how this aspect of things is apparently overlooked by some providers. Empowering the disempowered (in this case, low income hungry people) has to include information that can in turn be passed on. Before you know it, everybody's explaining to each other how to cook those dang pinto beans.

Lest it seem like I'm venturing into the dreaded "teach the poor how to eat" territory: my CSA, patronized by mostly UMC types, seems to think everybody knows what to do with kohlrabi or kale. They don't. It's not the CSA's responsibility to tell us what to do; on the other hand, you get members mumbling about how they don't like all this kale we're getting, 'cause duh, what're you supposed to do with that, anyways, so we don't want all this kale next year. Same phenomenon.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:21 PM
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With the UMC types I feel comfortable saying, you know, fucking ask the farmer/go online/look in a cookbook if you've got a lot of kale.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:25 PM
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I have discovered that one should make kale chips when blessed with a surfeit of kale. (I think it works best with the curly types. Lacinato kale is too good to use that way, and I don't think it would get as delightfully crispy.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:31 PM
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Some people don't have time for that, nosflow.

(We quit out CSA because it had too much kale. Or, I don't really know if it was kale--I don't know what kale looks like. It had too many unidentifiable vegetables. I can only identify, and only know how to prepare, the big five.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:37 PM
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213: Please share this kale chips receipt. Receipt. RECIPE. If you would. I'm intrigued. (Though actually we usually get the non-curly leaf kind, and here you see my own version of mumbling about what the CSA provides.)

212: Yeah, I know, but what can you do. Plus, if you ask the farmer, you may get cluelessness. The farmer person has segued to a kind of clueless farmers team. They fired the old one, and the new ones have No Idea what kinds of peppers these are. Someone told me at the end of last season that all the things in this box of miscellaneous winter squash were squash. I observed, mildly, that those things there were eggplants. Weird.

More seriously, members started up among themselves a recipe sharing thing two years ago, and it's helpful. It's supposed to be a cooperative, after all.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 6:43 PM
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214: I can only identify, and only know how to prepare, the big five
Spoken like a true fan of Judge Dredd


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:03 PM
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Gosh, my CSA put a double-sided 8.5x11 of recipes and storage information into every bag. It was great -- one could go through the manifest and the recipes and make up a weekly menu and not have limp yuck at the end.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:05 PM
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The big five. What could they be?

Potatoes.
Broccoli.
Carrots.
Tomatoes?
Lettuce?

Onions, but what you think to do with them on a stand-alone basis?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:09 PM
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You can also make pesto out of kale. Just put it in a blender with olive oil, garlic and dill.

Last summer was my first effort at serious gardening, and I planted a lot of chard and kale, without realizing what I was getting into. The stuff is amazingly easy to grow--I was up to my ears in the stuff. Also some chili peppers which turned out to be too hot to consume more than a teaspoon of. I wound up with a couple gallons of frozen pesto in the freezer and a half dozen jars of pickled peppers. I will probably still be working my way through this stuff this time next year.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:27 PM
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Celery
Carrots
Corn
Onions
Iceberg Lettuce


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:27 PM
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Also, you can roast kale. Braise a big leaf with olive oil and salt and stick it in the oven, and it comes out all crispy. (This may be the same thing as the kale chips () talked about.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:29 PM
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221: Pretty much - except tear it into bite sized pieces, roll it in a little apple cider vinegar and olive oil, spread it out in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. Fulfills a definite craving for something salty and crispy, goes well with beer.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:46 PM
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1. Old egg
2. Styrofoam cup
3. Mystery meat
4. ?
5. ?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:54 PM
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must have been what was going on in a friends' newly moved into apartment's hall closet (in an area of town where meth production is likely).

Gah, get on the Mexican bandwagon everybody. Cheap, good purity, and none of that blowing up and/or giving cancer to you and your neighbors.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:55 PM
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I'm making kale chips right now, thanks to this thread.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 7:56 PM
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Blowing up and/or giving cancer to your or your neighbors.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:01 PM
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Yay. I like them a little burnt, but that's probably just me.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:01 PM
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Brock obviously means the holy trinity, plus tomatoes and peppers.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:09 PM
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gswift, we need to talk.


Posted by: Internal Affairs | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:10 PM
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roll it in a little apple cider vinegar and olive oil

"roll it in" means toss it in?

And it doesn't wilt in the 400 degree oven? Huh. I'll try it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:14 PM
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230: Yes, toss would have been the better choice of words there.

It does wilt, and then it crisps. It's odd but tasty.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:15 PM
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Goddamn, but these things are incredible. Now making second batch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:19 PM
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Cool. I'm totally signed up for kale chips whenever we get some kale.

If Brock can't recognize and prepare at least: onions, carrots, celery (these being, I think, the holy trinity), tomatoes, peppers, garlic, potatoes, broccoli, lettuce, then I must make a terrible face at him.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:24 PM
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For some reason, my dad would eat artichokes and asparagus, but we weren't allowed to have any.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:40 PM
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Your dad is weird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:44 PM
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Brock is also weird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:46 PM
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190: post crock ergo propter crock (the instances of "of shit" are implicit)


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 8:50 PM
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236: Heroically weird.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 9-10 10:22 PM
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223

4. Mouldy cottage cheese.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:30 AM
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gswift, we need to talk.

Another classic NIMBY problem. I'll bemoan the decline of American manufacturing as much as the next guy, but I'd rather not get exposed to some tweaker's death trap of a lab.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:58 AM
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I wonder if the promo and rhetorical structure for Jamie Oliver's project hasn't been infected a bit by the earlier success of the various Gordon Ramsay shows, which really do all shape themselves round the proposition that you can rescue idiots* from themselves by repetitive shouty bullying**, which is really really not jamie's on-air shtick

*the idiots are self-selected, of course, and know what's coming: nad some of them appear to be committed to serving cockroach nibbled instant mash as fine cuisine
**it's interesting how widely cheered Ramsay's recent fall from grace was in the UK, when his IRL restaurants began to lose money and there was a much-publicised affair (which I myself took to be invented and publicised by him, to distract attention from his business calamities...): the public -- by which I mean myself -- had gone from being entertained by his shows***, to being bored by their formulaic lack of imagination ("We've hit rock bottom").

***which were a kind of oath-drenched version of an older and very effective name-and-shame british project, improving the food industry by holding it up to scrutiny kitchen by kitchen: the "Good Food Guide" and etc...


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:47 AM
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Kitchen Nightmares is awful, though I can't help but enjoy the bit in the F Word when he takes his top off ...


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 3:13 AM
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There was also the boil-in-a-bag incident.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 3:18 AM
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Oh, man, I wish that my non-profit which runs some group homes for people with major mental illness could learn some of this stuff. The people at the top are trying to push better eating, but they've got some middle-class assumptions. (A salaried doctor is still a doctor.)

Maybe 60% of our clients have diabetes. They cook a proper dinner, but people are responsible for their own lunch and breakfast--even though most of the food is locked up.

My toothless, diabetic client really likes soup. When she asked for some, the staff member gave her ramen. I asked if they had anything in a can, and he offered her a jar of corn. A couple of minutes of searching found cans of beef and chicken soup with vegetables.

I think that their budget is $200/week for 8-9 people. If anybody has any tips on easy materials to use to teach someone with diabetes who has a *very* limited attention span how to make marginally better food choices, I'd love to hear about it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:36 AM
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This has got to be food you can eat without teeth for now. I've been trying to get her to go to the dentist to get dentures, but she maintains that she spent a lot of money to get nice teeth with diamonds in them; they're just invisible to other people.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:03 AM
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What's her ethnic background, or really, can you figure out what she ate as a kid? If there's a better diet that she can be reminded of, but would still be familiar, maybe that would help? But I don't know anything about diabetes, other than that carbs are bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:14 AM
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She's African American. If you ask her her ethnic background, she'll say that she doesn't identify with any specific group or ethnicity "other than the people of Rox/bury."


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:24 AM
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other than that carbs are bad

NOOOO!!!! Carbs have to be controlled. Different thing entirely. Almost all people with diabetes carry biscuits (cookies) or chocolate bars with them to eat if they feel themselves going hypo.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:24 AM
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And generally, I gather, carbs that release their sugars slowly are to be preferred [except for hypo prevention, as OFE says]. Keeps the blood sugar levels on a nice even keel.

That said, my ex, who was diabetic, ate whatever she wanted as she controlled it all with insulin.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:25 AM
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That said, my ex, who was diabetic, ate whatever she wanted as she controlled it all with insulin.

I know people like that, often substituting "drink" for "eat". They don't tend to age well.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:32 AM
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re: 250

Yes. She wasn't a big drinker, but she did have hypos more than I think was healthy. And, as is the way, would get quite irrational and sometimes refuse to eat something during a hypo.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:35 AM
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There are also, of course, big differences among Type I, Type II on insulin, and Type II controlled by diet and glucophage. In the latter case, hypoglycemic episodes are pretty unlikely, and you do want to limit carbs overall. In any of the cases, though, this is true as a general rule: carbs that release their sugars slowly are to be preferred, and it helps to eat carbs as part of a dish or meal with non-carbs in it as well, to further smooth the introduction of sugars to the bloodstream.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 6:09 AM
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This is Type II--overweight and atypical antipsychotic induced. Anyway, I'm mainly looking at pretty simple stuff on basic healthy eating period. Full Stop.

Her psychotic ramblings and possible dissociative periods make sustained concentration difficult. I told her that eating lots of donuts was a bad idea, but that if she wanted one it was better to eat half of one, and then she said "and save the rest for later."

Forget about eating 5 small meals a day. Buying her own food would be a challenge, since there's no supermarket accessible by public transportation, and she has serious money management issues that she has no interest in working on. Her $40 weekly check gets blown pretty quickly. So, we're looking at sandwiches and soup for the time being.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:10 AM
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In any of the cases, though, this is true as a general rule: carbs that release their sugars slowly are to be preferred, and it helps to eat carbs as part of a dish or meal with non-carbs in it as well, to further smooth the introduction of sugars to the bloodstream.

Isn't this basically true for non-diabetics as well?

And people, the Big Five isn't literally five vegetables any more than the Big Ten is literally ten schools. I didn't bother to count. But we're talking about the basics. Although parsimon's list of "onions, carrots, celery (these being, I think, the holy trinity), tomatoes, peppers, garlic, potatoes, broccoli, lettuce" definitely contains plenty of things I wouldn't have any idea how to prepare (onions, tomatoes, peppers, garlic; carrots, celery and lettuce I wouldn't know how to cook, but would eat raw). Broccoli, corn, lettuce, canned peas, carrots, and canned green beans are pretty much the only vegetables I gew up eating. Occassionally cauliflower mixed with the broccoli.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:23 AM
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The Big Ten is too ten schools! It's an athletic conference.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:29 AM
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255: Sadly, however, there are eleven schools in it now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:31 AM
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And looking for a twelfth.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:31 AM
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Whoa! I had no idea!

I think I was attributing to Brock the reasoning I had about these things (Big Ten, Big Eight) when I would hear them referred to as a kid: Oh, they must just mean the ten biggest schools. I could never figure out why some people talked about the ten biggest and others about the eight biggest.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:33 AM
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Big Eight

Which is now the Big 12.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:39 AM
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I've been trying to get her to go to the dentist to get dentures, but she maintains that she spent a lot of money to get nice teeth with diamonds in them; they're just invisible to other people.

I'd be inclined to suggest something to her about the importance of having a dentist clean, maintain, whatever her diamond teeth and maybe try to package dentures as a protective cover for the diamond teeth. But maybe such a strategy is more apt with a 3-year-old than an adult suffering* delusions.

*Is "suffering" really the right word? Maybe "living with" or "entertaining" would be better.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:40 AM
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I hated the concept, but I did like how they put a background "11" into the logo. Maybe they can fit a "2" into the G-T slot.

And the Big Ten's academic counterpart, the sinisterly-named Committee on Institutional Cooperation, already has 12; it includes former member UofC.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:41 AM
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I'm not sure how the reasoning in 258 could lead to the conclusion that the Big Ten wasn't literally ten schools.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:43 AM
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258: In a similar situation, FORTUNE (allcaps. They're very serious about the allcaps) gets all cranky when people refer to the FORTUNE 100, or the FORTUNE 50. The phrase is trademarked, and it's FORTUNE 500, not whatever number you want to talk about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:46 AM
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So Brock only knows how to prepare big vegetables? Like pumpkins?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:54 AM
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Brock's take on vegetables sounds a bit like my parents. Individual vegetables as things in and of themselves (insert veggie into spot on the plate reserved for side dish), rather than something you can cook with to add more flavor to all sorts of things, both meat and vegetable. When I'm visiting my parents and want to cook something, I'm always puzzled that they don't have onions. How do you start cooking 90% of dishes, if not by sauteing onions?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:55 AM
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How much time do you all spend cooking/baking/in the kitchen, and how many days of the week?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:57 AM
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Di, That's a good idea, but she also believes that she's had 49 operations in her mouth and just doesn't want to see one.

She's had quite a colorful life in her mind. She works as a private eye for Delta and is a heart surgeon on the weekends.

I think I'm going to have to give up on the dentist for now, though I do tell her about my own positive dental experiences. She had an appointment at a Community clinic and acknowledged that eating without teeth was hard, but she backed out in the end.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:57 AM
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262: I don't think there was a specific metric for "Big" in my head, just whatever 10 the person talking happened to think were really large (/important/good).


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:57 AM
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266: Quite a lot on weekends, almost none during the week.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:58 AM
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Is "quite a lot" three hours a day?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 7:59 AM
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266: A guilt-inducing almost-not-at-all at this point, unless eekbeat's in town. I find cooking for one sort of not worth it, which I really ought to get over.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:01 AM
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Pretty close, although that would probably count cooking time rather than just active prep time. I usually do three meals each day (cooked breakfast and dinner, sandwiches or something for lunch), and then cook/bake some stuff for the week.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:01 AM
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Broccoli, corn, lettuce, canned peas, carrots, and canned green beans are pretty much the only vegetables I gew up eating. Occassionally cauliflower mixed with the broccoli.

This is my childhood also. Occasionally brussels sprouts. All because my dad won't eat onions, peppers, or celery, unless they're in some minced or powdered form where he can't tell what they were.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:03 AM
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How do you start cooking 90% of dishes, if not by sauteing onions?

And this is exactly what makes cooking difficult to learn, for someone who didn't grow up with it at all. (Or, at the very least, for me.) People always tell me to get a few cookbooks and "just learn to cook, it's not that hard", but I have several cookbooks and they're mostly useless to me because they're full of things I don't understand. 90% of dishes do indeed seem to start with sauteing onions, and I have no idea what the word "saute" means, or how to do it to an onion. I know it's something involving a saute pan and a stove, but beyond that I'm lost. And the cookbooks are full of this stuff: saute, simmer, blanch, roast, baste, braise, etc. I know what "fry" means, and what "bake" means. And reading definitions of these terms doesn't shed that much light--e.g., SauteM: "To cook food quickly in a small amount of fat in a pan over regulated direct heat." Huh? How much heat? How quickly? How do I know when the food is done cooking?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:08 AM
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I find cooking for one sort of not worth it, which I really ought to get over.

That's funny, I've been having almost the opposite experience. I'm really used to cooking for one, and to having enough leftovers for one or two more meals. Now when I cook for myself and Sifu and everything gets eaten up, I find myself getting a little annoyed that I did all that work for only one meal. Of course, with another person to do half the cooking, it all evens out in the end.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:08 AM
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I am very food oriented, and in the time before baby, I would cook none on Saturdays (but did grocery shopping then), a good three hours or more on Sundays (with some of that time not being active prep time, but letting things roast or whatever), and something like half an hour each weekday. Snark makes breakfast (say, coffee and toast) and lunch (say, an omelet or grilled cheese) on days when we're home. Sometimes there is an extra burst of kitchen time somewhere in the week if I get inspired to do some project, like pickling or baking something.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:09 AM
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274: It's probably frustrating to hear, but the best way to learn from the point where you are (have directions, but want more specifics) is just to do it. A lot.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:11 AM
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There is also time spent on Saturday thinking about the food I've bought as well as putting it away. I spend about fifteen minutes before shopping and half an hour after, putting together some quick plans for what I need to cook to get a week's worth of meals out of it, so I'm ready on Sunday.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:11 AM
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266: How much time do you all spend cooking/baking/in the kitchen, and how many days of the week?

After years of study, heebie began to detect patterns in the comments at the blog where she posted. Eventually she gathered the nerve to ask directly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:12 AM
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274: You could ask questions here as you go -- like the egg question but with real food.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:12 AM
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279: When you're doing field work, you must invest a lot of time up front making sure the natives are comfortable with you as part of their environment.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:13 AM
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re: 274

Saute just means 'fry'. But with onions you're normally just aiming to do it gently, so they go soft, and change to being more transparent, and possibly a bit golden in colour. You aren't frying them hard to make them crisp up, or look carbonised.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:13 AM
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I AM TOO A REAL FOOD!


Posted by: OPINIONATED EGG | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:13 AM
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Brock sounds like a man who could use a little time with the (right shows on the) Food Network.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:14 AM
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282: "gently"? Does that mean "low heat"?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:17 AM
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FRIST!


Posted by: OPINIONATED CHICKEN | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:17 AM
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How to saute onions: First, obtain your onion. Get a medium-sized pan. Put in some olive oil (like a tablespoon or two). Chop up the onion into fairly small pieces (like 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch on a side), turn the burner up to medium or medium-high. Let the olive oil heat up for a minute or two. Put the onions in. Stir the onions frequently but not constantly. They will start to get a little more translucent. Once they start browning to a noticeable degree, your done. The whole process shouldn't take more than 6 or 8 minutes.

[Cue foodie people to make quibbling alterations.]


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:18 AM
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Brock, you obviously have a computer.

http://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+saute+onions


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:18 AM
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282: Brock probably needs to be told that the onion must first be peeled and then chopped before sauteeing.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:19 AM
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s/b "yore", obviously


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:20 AM
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289: At the first link on the google search page, step #1 is "Buy onions".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:21 AM
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See, this is why I think the 'just practice' advice makes sense: maybe you want to cook the onions on medium-high, as Natilo advises. Or maybe you have other things to chop up in the meantime, and so you put them on lower so that they soften slowly and you don't have to worry about stirring them as much. Maybe you're using more or less oil, or a heavier or less heavy pan, so the chances of them sticking are different. The only way you can really get a feel for it is to do it.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:22 AM
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Oh yes, it is a good idea to peel the onion first.

Also the size of the chopped pieces will vary a lot depending on what you like/are cooking.

Also, after peeling, but before chopping, run cold water over the onion to wash off some of the volatile oils (or whatever they are) and cut down on the crying.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:23 AM
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But seriously, just do something. If you like the results, do it again. If you don't like them, come here or someplace else where there are people who cook, complain in detail, and someone will make fun of you and then tell you what you should have done differently.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:26 AM
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Also helpful: how to chop an onion.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:27 AM
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There are cookbooks that explain basic techniques. The Cordon Bleu book I mentioned above explains basic techniques [and also some fancy ones].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:28 AM
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re: 289

When I was in my first student flat, a friend's sister was visiting and I was chopping an onion. I cut it in half with the peel on, about to remove the peel from the halved onion.

Friend's sister, interrupting patronizingly: "You have to peel them before you cook them"

Entire flat burst out laughing, as for the previous 8 weeks they've been watching me make a proper meal every night, sometimes with more than one course, while they've been eating beans on toast.*

* I was a bit older than my flatmates, and had been cooking for a while.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:30 AM
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294.last: Ya shoulda done the breast milk.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:30 AM
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[Cue foodie people to make quibbling alterations.]

You need to toss in a pinch of salt.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:30 AM
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287: You can do it in a lot less oil than that, is my only quibble. A teaspoon is usually fine.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:30 AM
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One teaspoon for a whole onion?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:33 AM
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288: that link tells me to put the onions in "once the pan is hot enough" and to stop cooking them "when the onions are done (after between 5 and 20 minutes, depending on how well done you want them)". Both of those are the sort of things that are perfectly clear if you know what you're trying to do--what the basic process involves, and what the end product should look and taste like. But they're pretty vague when you have no idea.

And look, I'm not claiming this can't be done. Just that it's not as easy to learn as people who are fluent in all of this seem to think. Keep in mind that "saute onions" isn't generally the goal, it's only a portion of step 1 even in most simple recipes, something that's supposed to be done while you're also doing three other things.

287 (supplemented by 293) is actually fairly clear, I'll admit. I wish I had a cookbook written at that level. The problem is that it would contain 12 recipes and would be 300 pages long.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:34 AM
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301: I'd probably do 2 for a large whole onion, but 1 for a half or a small, sure. But I get queasy over too much oil. Sensitive tum.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:34 AM
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Friend's sister, interrupting patronizingly: "You have to peel them before you cook them"

This is my entire life with my family (of origin). I didn't realize the extent until Jammies started pointing it out. They explain the most idiotic shit to me all the time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:35 AM
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Depends on your pan. I'd use a tablespoon or two, but in a nonstick pan I could see managing a small onion in a tablespoon.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:35 AM
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AWB has some sort of magical sauteing powers I can only dream of! I'd definitely burn it with that little oil.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:37 AM
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Yeah, for a small onion I'd only use a little oil. A teaspoon or so for a smallish onion, or maybe a tiny bit of butter as well as the oil. Some food seems to really benefit from more oil at the initial fry/saute stage [Indian, for example], but mostly I try to not use too much. Just enough to let the onions cook and stop them sticking.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:38 AM
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304: My mom does this to me too, though she knows full well that I am a better cook than she is. Bustles around me the whole time, saying, "You might.... um... wanna think about..."

When my ex started doing it, early in our relationship, I found myself saying, firmly, "Get out. There is a chair. Get a drink and sit down." Whatever fantasy we had about cooking together went out the window pretty fast.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:39 AM
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For Ethiopian, I sweat the onions without any oil at all. It can be done!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:40 AM
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What are good finger food vegetables for a 10 month old? All I can think of are cooked carrots. I'd be a little worried about things like peas still. And things with skin - green beans, broccoli - are actually a little hard to gum through, even if you've got hard molar gums. Or maybe they're fine; I haven't given this a ton of thought.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:40 AM
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302: The first link is not so good (including "buy onions" as a step is probably a tell), but the third one (How to Saute an Onion | Cooking for Beginners | Basic Recipes) is better.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:41 AM
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Just that it's not as easy to learn as people who are fluent in all of this seem to think.

I don't think it's necessarily all that easy. But I did teach myself. There's a level of detail that can only be learned by doing.

It's an ongoing process to become a really intuitive cook, but it shouldn't take more than a couple of times -- if that -- trying to saute onions to do it well enough not to ruin whatever you're cooking.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:42 AM
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Brock, do you have a Joy of Cooking? For (almost) every ingredient, there's a section called About [Ingredient] where they'll explain the basic stuff like how to peel it or when it's in season.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:42 AM
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Peas are fine; they mash them with their tongue mostly. Avocado is always good, and tofu cut in chunks.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:42 AM
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It's a natural instinct, I think. I find it hard to resist stirring the pot when my wife is cooking. Which she hates, as she's someone who likes to carefully arrange things in the pan, while she gets on with other things ( < miaow >and with letting the stuff in the pan get nicely burnt < /miaow > ), where I prefer to just randomly stir things and keep them moving while I work.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:43 AM
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312: Cubes of roasted squash/beets/rootveg? Easy to nibble, sweet, good shape?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:43 AM
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310: Pears are fruit, but they're nice and soft. Squash and sweet potatoes? White potatoes too, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:44 AM
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One good way to test if the food you're cooling is coming out the way you'd like is to taste some as it cooks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:46 AM
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310: Cheese? Of a softer variety, I guess.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:46 AM
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"cooking". Stupid tuning phone.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:47 AM
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Stupid tuning phone.

Just don't use it to tune in a recording studio.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:48 AM
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319: Cheese, the other white vegetable.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:48 AM
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Man I had some real onion sauteeing disasters: half a cup of oil, turn the heat on as high as it will go, toss in onions and wander off: deprecated.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:48 AM
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Thanks all! Excellent. Yeah, we already give her pears/cheese/crackers. She's getting fed up with the pureed vegetables though.

She's gotten way more opinionated about food lately. For the first time I've had to assess whether or not it's worth picking a battle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:49 AM
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Jesus, Sifu. No, that won't end well.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:49 AM
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I have no idea what the word "saute" means, or how to do it to an onion.

Upthread there was some discussion of how teaching the poor to cook is patronizing. I think that educated people tend to forget how useful education is. They forget that most of the things they know, they actually learned at one point.

In my youth, I was a highly effective dishwasher in a little French restaurant. Two of the cooks hated the third one and liked me a lot. Ultimately, I got his job, and it was pretty traumatic for all concerned, since my cooking skills were on the level that Brock describes.

They were able to make a functional cook out of me, but I haven't forgotten how tough it was to teach me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:50 AM
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To amend Josh's brilliant observation; "The narcissism of small food preparation differences".

And I suspect Brock's never going to "get it" because you've got to care about aspects of the end product in a way that I suspect he does not*.

*Alternatively people come to value the process itself, and I will go out on a limb and predict that Brock will not come to this either.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:52 AM
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319: Cheese, the other white vegetable.

Huh. Reading comprehension; I haz it. No wait! Pepper jack. Babies probably love it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:52 AM
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We started doing some basic cooking quite young. My sister and I took over cooking the daily meals fairly regularly from about age 13 or 14. But it wasn't anything complicated. We'd usually been shown the basics, and left with the recipes. But when I left home I didn't really have skills much beyond how to use a knife, and how to fry stuff, boil stuff, and use an oven. No fancy techniques, it was the absolute basics. It was all vegan food, though, so I did know how to prep vegetables.

Plus we had a year or two of cooking at school.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:53 AM
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To amend Josh's brilliant observation; "The narcissism of small food preparation differences".

And I suspect Brock's never going to "get it" because you've got to care about aspects of the end product in a way that I suspect he does not*.

There is plenty of cooking to be done without getting it the way you crazy people get it. I bet Brock just wants to start tossing some spinach and tomatoes into the hamburger helper, or roasting some vegetables on the side.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:55 AM
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Delia. UK commenters don't laugh. She has her uses.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:55 AM
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re: 331

I wouldn't laugh. I quite often crib from her website for cooking times or basic recipes for stuff I don't know or can't find in a book.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 8:57 AM
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UK commenters don't laugh.

I kept reading this as descriptive instead of instructive.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:00 AM
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But when I left home I didn't really have skills much beyond how to use a knife, and how to fry stuff, boil stuff, and use an oven. No fancy techniques, it was the absolute basics.

But honestly, that stuff is like learning to read -- it doesn't seem like much looking back, but once you know it nothing else is that daunting, and it's hard to manage the first steps if you come to it late.

I learned less than you did as a kid -- my parents cooked, but we didn't make dinners on any level beyond "put the premade mac&cheese/meatloaf/whatever in the oven at 4:30". But just goofy baking and watching food get cooked was enough to make learning how to cook reasonably competently undaunting. (Not that I'm a skilled cook. But if you give me a recipe and enough time, it'll turn out mostly like it was meant to.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:01 AM
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Remind me why one hates Delia? Didn't she go through a phase like "First, buy a frozen bag of cooked potatoes"? Our own Sandra Lee (hideous vid linked above) is famous for this on her show, but the biggest problem is that SL seems to have no taste buds (the easiest way to dress a crown roast is with a large packet of taco seasoning! a great asparagus soup is made by blending raw asparagus into a can of asparagus soup!), and her recipes don't, in fact, save any time or money. Delia seems like someone who knows how to cook but is making concessions.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:01 AM
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re: 333

It's sneers or sniggers all the way. Occasionally a simper ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:01 AM
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I bet Brock just wants to start tossing some spinach and tomatoes into the hamburger helper, or roasting some vegetables on the side.

You're one step beyond me--it's more that I'd just like to stop eating carryout burritos/chinese/pizza every night. Well, not every night, but most nights. When I eat at home, it's things that don't require preparation. E.g.: last night's dinner was a can of sardines and tortilla chips. That's not atypical.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:02 AM
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There is plenty of cooking to be done without getting it the way you crazy people get it.

But if you refuse to start until someone tells you exactly what temperature the oil should be before you put in the onions, you're never going to do any of it. It's less a question of "getting it" than it is of "doing it".


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:03 AM
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re: 335

It's food snobbery, basically. She does a pretty good job, to be honest, of getting across good basic cooking technique, and her recipes are well-tested and work. She did, back in the early 1970s, and then again recently, do some of the 'buy a bag of frozen X' cookery stuff, but that hasn't generally been her schtick. She is a bit odd, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:03 AM
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I walked in to the kitchen last night and found one of my roommates making some spaghetti sauce. He's recently taken to shopping at the new Trader Joe's near us and seems not to have cooked much before. This is the second run at tomato sauce that I've witnessed; the first was a complete disaster. This time, the pan had a whole can of peeled, stewed tomatoes and a whole, completely uncooked onion sitting in it, not stirred, kinda cooking together. It's not how I would have made tomato sauce, but after a half hour it smelled fine. I suspect it was cheaper and better tasting than he could have gotten elsewhere, and maybe he'll improve his technique over time. (Or maybe not; plenty of people remain at the "rustic and functional but not really fit for company" cooking level, and that works just fine.)

Once you learn how to saute an onion, that part of any recipe becomes stress free, and your limited cognitive capacity can move on to the next thing. Eventually, easy dishes really are easy, because you see at a glance how they're to be carried out, and hard dishes become realistic because they're mostly made up of steps you're familiar with.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:05 AM
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330: Just sayin' what it looks like from the Brock side of the "don't get it" line--where I firmly reside. And yes, I get frustrated at my kitchen incompetence from time to time and strive to "learn" a little, but it does not stick very well because it turns out that I just do not really care that much. I even wish I cared more--it would certainly be healthier*--but turns out I really don't.

*Semi back on topic to the post, are there not statistics that show that time spent in food preparation is inversely correlated with being overweight (or something like that)?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:07 AM
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339: Maybe it is similar to how Americans feel about Rachael Ray. Saying "EVOO" and other sad little catchphrases may actually be helping people cook better. And I've made stuff I've seen her prepare on the show; it's good food. There's just something about her that smacks of someone who spends a lot of time talking to herself in a mirror.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:07 AM
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My mother is a fairly serious cook and I think she tried to teach us kids without forcing us, but somehow I still left home without knowing how to fry, boil, or bake. I swear to you that I have more than once wanted to hard-boil an egg and only remembered Wodehouse's description of someone as being a real twenty-minute egg. (PROTIP: that's too long.) The Joy of Cooking has been a fucking godsend.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:08 AM
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333: occasionally they smile in a superior fashion. Except for the Scottish ones. Levity causes us pain. We express happiness or humour by stabbing.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:09 AM
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Once you get the hang of sauteing onions (it really will only take doing it a couple or three times), buy a jar of minced garlic. Now you can saute any greens (collards, spinach, bok choi, turnip greens, kale, you name it) by sauteing some garlic in the oil for a couple minutes, then tossing greens right on top and stirring until they become really bright green.

After that, google how to roast vegetables. Basically, it's just cutting them into bite-sized chunks, brushing them with oil, sprinkling with salt, and sticking in a ~400 degree over for 20-25 minutes.

With just those two operations, you'll have expanded your vegetable cooking repertoire massively.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:09 AM
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Brock, the way you feel about cooking is how I feel about home repair. All those things people say to do could mean so many things at each step. Now I really like Youtube for explaining stuff. You look and there are seven poorly edited videos for anything you might be interested in. Watch four minutes of each, and you've got a pretty good idea what is going on. It is nice because I can re-watch a section a bunch of times without tiring out my instructor.

The other thing about cooking is that you'll generally end up making something that's food. Baking, for example. There's a spectrum from crackers to cake. You might not land where you wanted on the spectrum, but you just pretend you meant to make brownies all along and you serve it to hungry people.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:10 AM
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Backing up JP, the investment of time that would be required to make any real progress does in my mind seem to dwarf any possibly payoff, even though I think the payoffs are very real.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:10 AM
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I agree with Blume in 338.

Last night, we didnt have much of a dinner plan.

So we cut up some chicken and threw it in a pan. I covered it with some sauce I found in a local El Savadorian grocery and cooked it. In a separate pan, I cooked some eggs with Sirachi sauce, then added some onions. Mix together and eat with some guacamole on the side.

BR was doubtful, but it was yummy.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:11 AM
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340: This is not too different from how Max made pasta sauce. He put the can of tomatoes through the food mill first, then warmed it over low heat with a split onion, a garlic clove (neither to be eaten), and olive oil in it. It's actually pretty tasty. If you store it in the fridge with the onion and garlic sitting in it, it develops a nice flavor.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:12 AM
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re: 344

To be fair, if we can't find a chib close to hand we can express it through headbutting. Because otherwise we'd have to repress the emotion, which isn't at all in our national character ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:12 AM
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337: Do you like roast chicken?

If you buy a whole chicken, throw it in a roasting pan (that's any metal or ceramic container that can survive oven temperatures, that's of a reasonable size in relation to the chicken), and jam it in a 400 degree oven for about an hour, it'll be a roast chicken. Put some potatoes, sweet or white, in next to the pan, and they'll be baked potatoes at the end of that time. Buy a frozen vegetable and cook according to package directions, and you've not only made dinner, but you have leftovers to eat without preparation the next night.

Once you've done that a couple of times, you can look at a recipe and see if you care enough to improve on your results some.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:13 AM
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400 degree oven, that is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:13 AM
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I am not ashamed to admit that The Joy Of Cooking is a VERY cool book. Who knew that it had so much interesting stuff in it?!?!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:13 AM
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351: (Take the plastic off the chicken!)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:15 AM
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re: 347

It's not really a big investment in time. You just do a bit at a time, as you go along, and move at whatever pace feels natural.

It seems to basic to me. We need to eat, and it's nice to eat food that tastes nice. Basic cookery skills are a route to producing cheap, tasty food. How hard can it be?

Especially when the alternative is a lifetime of eating shite ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:15 AM
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Another way to learn how to cook:

Go into any ethnic grocery store, pick up something, and sweetly and earnestly ask:

What the hell do I do with this?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:16 AM
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(And the package of squishy stuff out of the chest cavity of the chicken.)


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:16 AM
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I really hate a dirty kitchen, and I really hate cleaning the kitchen. So I don't cook much. I'm willing to steam frozen vegetables to go along with cereal or a sandwich.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:17 AM
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351: Huh. Doesn't it require some sort of seasoning, or preparation? (And the potatos have to be wrapped in foil, right? That's one of the few miscellaneous things (I think) I know.)

I would have to buy a pan, but that sounds doable.

Maybe I'll get a copy of Joy of Cooking. (So it can sit unused next to my other cookbooks.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:18 AM
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351, sadly, does reveal the sort of cook I am at heart.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:19 AM
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357: ??


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:19 AM
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302: That link tells me to put the onions in "once the pan is hot enough"...But they're pretty vague when you have no idea.
I'm not completely sure if this is the standard practice, but I heat the oil until the onion (peppers, tofu, what have you) sizzles when put in the oil. This happens sooner than you might think, so don't leave the pan alone for a long time. A good way to test the temperature is to add a little bit of what you're going to cook to the oil and see what happens.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:19 AM
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359: Never wrap potatoes in foil. If they're bigger than those little baby potatoes (2" across), give them a few stabs with a fork/knife to let the steam out. If you want to be fancy about it, drizzle them with oil and sprinkle on some salt.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:21 AM
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361: A whole chicken/turkey will usually have a bag of giblets hidden inside. Like its mom packed it a lunch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:21 AM
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A good way to test the temperature is to add a little bit of what you're going to cook to the oil and see what happens.

Or flick a tiny bit of water in, which is my mother's wildly-unsafe-and-yet-still-I-do-it method.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:21 AM
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356: Go into any ethnic grocery store takeout joint, pick up something, and sweetly and earnestly ask: How much is this?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:22 AM
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359: seasoning makes it taste nicer, but it's not essential. And baked potatoes don't have to be wrapped in foil. If you use foil, you get a sort of thin-skinned moist baked potato; if not, it has a thick, leathery/crunchy skin. Whichever you prefer.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:22 AM
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359: If you put salt and herbs and so forth on it, it'll be better, but doing literally nothing but putting it in a pan in the oven will produce a reasonable tasting roast chicken. In your shoes, I'd try it the stupid way (which I totally do on occasion when I'm in a mood) first, just to get through your head that doing everything else is optional and screwing it up won't necessarily ruin the food.

Don't wrap the potatoes in foil -- I don't know what the point of that was ever supposed to be, but it just makes them damp.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:22 AM
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moist baked potato

Yeuch. Dry! Fluffy!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:25 AM
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363: well, damn. I wonder why I'd always heard to wrap them in foil? That's how we made them at the fast food place I worked as a teenager, and I was pretty sure I'd seen home cooks do the same thing.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:25 AM
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Oh, I agree. The crunchy type is far superior. But for some reason, when you buy a baked potato down here, it's the moist type (and they call it a jacket potato). Evil. Wrong.

(Best kind: cooked in the embers of a fire. Brush off the larger chunks of ash before eating. Check for adhering embers to avoid mouth burnination.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:26 AM
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Youtube: roast a chicken. All of those maybe be even fancier than you need to be, but I bet that if you watched three or four of them, you would identify common elements. Those common elements would be what LB says in 351.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:27 AM
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I always thought you had to have foil, too. Maybe from tossing them in the campfire.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:27 AM
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You don't even need foil for a campfire, though you have to not mind eating a bit of ash.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:28 AM
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Youtube shows me how to hive a loose swarm of bees. I haven't tried it yet, but I've watched three different videos, so I'm pretty confident.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:28 AM
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Now, this is disgusting. I just don't believe you can keep from eating ash without using tinfoil.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:28 AM
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doing literally nothing but putting it in a pan in the oven will produce a reasonable tasting roast chicken

I definitely did not know this--thanks. Does it work with tofu?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:29 AM
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376 crossed amusingly with 374.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:29 AM
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No, if you want a roast chicken you have to start with a raw one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:30 AM
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Roasting a chicken, once you get the basic one down, you can try rubbing the top of it with a bit of oil, some salt and pepper. Push a citrus fruit into the cavity. Roast it with a little silver foil over the breast area until about 30 minutes before done, and then remove the foil to crisp it up.

The citrus flavours will have infused a bit, and the foil keeps the flesh slightly moister than just roasting uncovered for the whole time. Easy-peasy.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:30 AM
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Also, very important .. if anyone suggests you cook or prepare okra, punch them in the mouth.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:31 AM
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I'm not anti-Delia but I can't use her advice as it depends on having cooking surfaces as expansive as the Serengeti.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:33 AM
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This thread is making me hungry, you bastards.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:33 AM
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Totally agree about not wrapping potatoes in foil. Completely pointless.

Seasoning is a matter of taste. IMHO everybody else on god's earth over-salts everything and quite often in restaurants to the point where I can't eat it at all. But I'm a bit of an outlier.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:34 AM
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Also, very important .. if anyone suggests you cook or prepare okra, punch them in the mouth.

Agreed. You should go to the Kashmir on Spital Hill in Sheffield if you want okra.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:36 AM
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370: Some cooking techniques prove that people have nasty fucking taste in potatoes. If you roast them dry, they're much softer, less waxy, and absorb butter in the most yummy way. Also: dry roasted potatoes make the very very best gnocchi. No one will tell you this because all the recipes are wrong, but I have experimented a lot, and dry fluffy potatoes are the best.

377: Sorry, but tofu you have to do something to. Some people cut it into strips, lay it on paper towels, weigh it down with plates for an hour to dry it out, and then marinate it. I am lazy, though, and just pat it dry, toss with marinade, and roast. Or I fry it (instructions elsewhere in the archives). Frying may be a bit much to ask at this stage. So:

Tofu marinades are easy because you can make it taste like whatever you like. You can buy a sauce, pretty much any sauce, from the Asian section of the grocery store, and use that. You can use barbecue sauce. You can make your own (equal parts rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar, with ginger, garlic, whatever?). You can just salt them a bit. But whatever you do, you need to add some flavor to tofu, or else serve it in something highly flavored, like a strong miso soup.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:36 AM
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386: are you using "roast" and "bake" interchangeably?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:39 AM
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Further to 379: I'm bad with tofu, but if you remember the thread where Sally was going to go vegetarian, people gave me all sorts of tofu advice.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:39 AM
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Last step to 386: Preheat the oven to 400F. On a silicone sheet on a pan, lay out the pieces of tofu. (Or oil a glass pan or non-stick baking sheet.) Bake for like 30 minutes or to desired crispness. Tofu is really wet so you can cook it just to the point of hot firmness, or all the way to french-fry crispy without burning it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:39 AM
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But whatever you do, you need to add some flavor to tofu,

Or, you could lift extremely heavy for a couple months in preparation for a competition, in which case your body will change your tastes and plain tofu will taste amazing. But I think buying any sauce from the Asian section of the grocery store would take less time overall.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:39 AM
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re: 386

When I used to make tofu, I'd cut it into strips, dip in an egg wash, and then roll in some spiced flour [black pepper, bit of salt, maybe some chili powder, cayenne or paprika], before frying in oil to give it a slightly crispy spiced coating.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:40 AM
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Worlds easiest tofu marinade: Soy sauce + orange marmalade. (If you are just a teensy bit less lazy, add some ginger and garlic.) This is also very nice grilled, since the sugar gets crackly.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:40 AM
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387: Yeah.

388: That's where my tofu-frying advice is! Did you try doing it, LB?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:40 AM
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390: I like it right out of the tub (esp. that dense fresh Japanese kind), raw, dipped in soy sauce. But I wouldn't advise it.

391: Yum -- like Korean-style? Or I think that's just egg-wash, no flour. That stuff is delicious though. (AS IS OKRA PREPARED EXACTLY HOW YOU DESCRIBE IN 391.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:44 AM
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387: Yes, roast and bake both mean 'cook in the oven without covering in liquid'. Usually roast gets applied to meat and bake to not-meat, but there's no real difference.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:46 AM
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re: 394

I've never eaten Korean food. It's not common in the UK, but if that's how they do it, cool. It's something I came up with by copying some meat recipe or other that I'd read, I think.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:48 AM
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393.2: Yep. I liked it, she wasn't psyched.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:48 AM
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Cooking/CS crossover strikes again. "But exactly what temperature in degrees counts as sauteing?" is equivalent to "are you sure this is the formally optimal solution? I can't risk opening my text editor without knowing EXACTLY the code I'm going to write 346 lines from now!" Just throw some code in the oven and see if it returns a roast chicken, and if not, try something else.

I have had excellent results from smearing mustard on the outside of the roast chicken, btw. It's counterintuitive (mustard? chicken?) but it leads to crispy, spicy skin.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:48 AM
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Friend's sister, interrupting patronizingly: "You have to peel them before you cook them"

A guy I knew offered to help with prep before a dinner party, so the host gave him a cucumber and asked him to peel it. After a few minutes quietly working away in a corner of the kitchen, he gave up in frustration and handed her the cucumber with half the skin clawed off. Because it's supposed to peel like a banana, right?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:48 AM
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I was not clear on 395 before this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:49 AM
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It's counterintuitive (mustard? chicken?) but it leads to crispy, spicy skin.

Deviled, as it were.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:49 AM
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re: 398

There's a really nice rabbit recipe I've used which is basically that. Joint the rabbit, chuck in a roasting dish with some onions. Liberally slather the rabbit bits with mustard. Add some dried herbs or other. Cook until good.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:51 AM
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To Bave's 340: if he had cut the onion in half, wouldn't this have been Marcella Hazan's basic tomato sauce?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:51 AM
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I have had excellent results from smearing mustard on the outside of the roast chicken, btw. It's counterintuitive (mustard? chicken?) but it leads to crispy, spicy skin.

If you smear anything on chicken skin which draws out the moisture and dries onto it, it'll lead to that. Plaster of Paris is not recommended, though.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:52 AM
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Now, this is disgusting. I just don't believe you can keep from eating ash without using tinfoil.

What's disgusting about eating a bit of wood ash? It's sterile, isn't it? Admittedly you don't want to eat vast amounts, but a few flecks won't do you any harm. And you may not have tinfoil.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:53 AM
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399 is hilarious. Whenever anyone asks to help in the kitchen, I usually find a chair at least six feet from me, and ask them to look pretty and make conversation. Watching people hold knives wrong or bustle around aimlessly makes me TENSE.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:54 AM
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Plaster of Paris is not recommended, though.

Or Damp-Rid.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:54 AM
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re: 406

Yeah, the knife thing makes me tense. Or, just as bad, when someone asks me to help and then hands me some pathetic paring knife.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:55 AM
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382: the kitchen RAM issue. If anything else is struggling, it tends to be OK as long as you've got enough free space to handle the queue, or pre-fetch things from the cupboard ahead of time. If, like Delia, you can afford to throw hardware at the problem. This scales until you need to buy a house with a bigger kitchen.

That's how we made them at the fast food place I worked as a teenager

This is the food equivalent of MS Visual Basic, right?

Really, I strongly recommend the book I was talking about above - it's full of specific advice along the lines of "this is a lettuce. do not bake it. see under "bake"".


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:55 AM
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What's disgusting about eating a bit of wood ash?

It tastes like ash! Also it gets stuck in your teeth.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:56 AM
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I'm loving those comparisons Alex. You're totally right.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:59 AM
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359: Seasoning the chicken helps, but you really have a lot of flexibility. Joy of Cooking or How to Cook Everything have good pointers about seasonings to use. You do not need to wrap the potatoes in foil (this seems to be a myth promulgated by the foil makers). If you're baking them whole, poke them a few times with a fork so that they don't explode from the steam that builds up. You can also slice them up and put olive oil and spices (maybe the same spices as on the chicken) on them. You can also use the same slice-and-roast technique with carrots, onions, parsnips or other root vegetables, and a mix of root vegetables works nicely. NB: When roasting chicken, be sure to use an instant-read thermometer to make sure that it's cooked to the proper temperature (you can find cooking temperatures in your cookbooks). Once you've turned the thermometer on, poke it into the the thickest part of the chicken's side (i.e., the part that has the most meat between it and the hot oven) and wait until the thermometer reading stops rising. Don't touch the thermometer to bone, because that will throw the reading off. You want to make sure that the meat has reached at least the minimum proper temperature, because parts of the chicken can be raw even when others are mostly done.

361: The chicken processer will often put a bag containing the giblets (liver etc, good for gravy(?)) in a plastic bag inside the chicken's cavity. Be sure to remove this before cooking.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:00 AM
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Well, true, but it's drowned by how awesome the rest of the potato tastes.

399: I savour the memory of a friend of mine (now quite a good cook) attempting to make mashed potatoes for the first time. It took him an hour and a half of exhausting labour and the end result was a small bowl of, basically, starch soup. Only then was he informed that you boil the potatoes first and then mash them, rather than mashing raw potatoes by brute force and then boiling the result.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:01 AM
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If you're baking them whole, poke them a few times with a fork so that they don't explode from the steam that builds up.

Fun fact -- if the potato does explode because you didn't poke it, about half of it will be spread all over the oven. The other half will be really really really good -- if I could make potatoes that fluffy/crispy without the explosion, I'd do it an awful lot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:02 AM
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The last really good Korean restaurant I was in was 1. vegan 2. in Chicago 3. run by a cult. Their leader (whom they call something like The Supreme Master) is an extremely stylish fashion designer whose philosophical belief system runs to 1. dress nicely 2. don't eat animals 3. be good to each other.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:02 AM
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NB: When roasting chicken, be sure to use an instant-read thermometer to make sure that it's cooked to the proper temperature (you can find cooking temperatures in your cookbooks).

Not necessary! At about an hour, it'll be done, maybe a little overdone. The instant read thermometer is nice but optional.

Remember, we're talking to Brock. Don't frighten the man.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:03 AM
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375 - Oh, I listened to that woman catching a swarm of bees on The Archers - it sounds pretty easy.

Whatever the number was - heebie, finger veg: my friend's baby who is the same age as HP seems to love sweet potato wedges. I can't remember anything useful from personal experience. I was so crap with the last two that they were lucky to get one meal a day by that age, let alone three. They certainly didn't get 'baby food', just whatever we were eating.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:03 AM
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This time, the pan had a whole can of peeled, stewed tomatoes and a whole, completely uncooked onion sitting in it, not stirred, kinda cooking together. It's not how I would have made tomato sauce

MORE FOOL YOU!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:04 AM
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Except, ugh, don't cut tomatoes in the pan with knives.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:04 AM
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if I could make potatoes that fluffy/crispy without the explosion, I'd do it an awful lot.

I have an idea! You could wrap it foil to collect all the 'splodey bits.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:04 AM
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Further to 416: And if it is underdone, throw it back into the oven for another fifteen minutes and it won't be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:05 AM
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Also: Jacques Pépin's "La Methode" and "La Technique" are good guides for basics, with step-by-step instructions and loads of photos.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:05 AM
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420: ^in


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:06 AM
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I see that I have been pwned by Blume.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:06 AM
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Only then was he informed that you boil the potatoes first and then mash them, rather than mashing raw potatoes by brute force and then boiling the result.

!!

415: I haven't been here, but it's near where I used to work and I meant to. Legend has it that the relevant cult leader was really into weightlifting. It was like a weightlifting cult. (Megan--he died, so they may be looking for a replacement cult leader!!)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:07 AM
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ttaM, there's a Korean place in Albemarle St, off Piccadilly. My parents, C and a couple of kids have eaten there, but whenever they mention it, they start laughing. I'm not taking this as a recommendation.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:07 AM
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This thread is really making me feel like I could easily do more in the kitchen.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:08 AM
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Anyway, what shall I cook for dinner tonight? I have nothing in the house, so have to go out anyway, so all suggestions welcome. If it can be wheat-free and dairy-free, so much the better, as my mum is coming in a couple of hours.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:09 AM
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416: I mention it because I myself have undercooked a chicken, and it's something to avoid.

421: If you feel comfortable carving the chicken (roughly carving is fine) you can carve it and then return the carved meat to the oven until all of it looks done.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:09 AM
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I generally roast chicken longer than an hour. But maybe I'm using larger chickens?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:09 AM
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There used to be a Korean place on Poland Street, too. No idea if it's still there. It seemed fine to me, but I have nothing to judge it by. However, it was full of extremely fat, well-dressed Koreans, which seemed like a good sign.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:10 AM
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395 surprises me. I'd always assumed that baking meant thermal energy entirely coupled via conduction, while roasting implies a significant optical component to the thermal transfer. In my understanding it's not roasting unless there is something red hot with a direct line of site to the dish. Of course the experienced cooks are no doubt right about this, but I believe their correctness reflects a profound defect in reality.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:10 AM
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Asparagus! Now's the time!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:11 AM
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re: 428

Czech Gulas? Fry onions and garlic, add stewing meat and fry a bit, add caraway seeds, cumin, paprika, some dried green herbs, and some stock. Cook until meat is done, then thicken. Or, alternatively, dust the meat with flour before frying, and then it'll thicken itself. Corn flour at the end if you want to avoid wheat.

Some people prefer to grind or pound up the caraway seeds first, and I usually add some chili flakes or cayenne to spice it a bit.

Serve with starchy stuff -- mashed potato or rice are both good. Traditionally it'd be dumplings (knedlik), but they are hard to make.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:12 AM
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togolosh, how do you process the fact that you would bake something and roast something by exactly the same process? (On pan, in oven, same settings?)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:13 AM
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430: 400F might be hotter than you're roasting?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:13 AM
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In my understanding it's not roasting unless there is something red hot with a direct line of site to the dish

Isn't this grilling?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:14 AM
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413 is funny, and reminds me of me executing this command on a linux machine:
sudo rsync -r / /backup/

This was meant to make a copy of my entire hard disk onto a backup hard disk - hence the -r option to recurse into all directories and all file systems. Unfortunately, unix/linux machines have special file systems for system internals that contain things like /dev/random, which gives you a random number every time you call it, and /dev/zero, which is the same but with zeroes...several hours in, KDE4 crashed, but the kernel soldiered on all night...oh how we laughed...you need the -x and -l options to stop it hopping file systems and stop it trying to resolve all sym links.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:14 AM
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The oven just knows! Sometimes it turns on the glowy bits, but not for cakes!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:14 AM
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425: Sri Chinmoy! Once in high school a friend and I dropped a bunch of acid and ended up walking the length of the island of Manhattan, top to botton, ending up in the WTC (the underground levels of which were basically a shopping mall). As we were wandering around confusedly this woman, wearing a sign around her neck explaining that she had no tongue (paging John Iriving), walked straight up to us and pushed this trippy stickers that said SMILE towards us. We immediately whirled into some kind of daft "dude man whoa" space. I'm guessing it was a space with which she was familiar. In any event, she gave us each copies of Sri Chinmoy's autobiography before going on her way.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:15 AM
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Further to 436: And I am thinking of a pretty small chicken.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:16 AM
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re: 441

I'd be roasting at about 200 degrees civilised.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:16 AM
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Which is about 390F.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:17 AM
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430: Or you like your chicken more thoroughly cooked. I don't know about the UK, but there's a large difference between the degree of cookedness in chicken that I grew up with and the apparent standard in the US, which is about 3/4 cooked by my standards. I never order chicken in restaurants here because there's a significant probability that it'll be inedible.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:18 AM
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or "fuckwit".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:19 AM
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446

Good paprika and caraway are hard to find.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:19 AM
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440 is kind of wow. As in I think I'd find that whole day both terrifying and exhilirating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:20 AM
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Supreme Master! A couple of years ago, posters appeared around London's commuter rail network advertising SUPREME MASTER TV, and giving an immense amount of really specific information on how to set up your satellite TV rig to receive. Channel polarisation! Orbital inclination! They didn't quite start with "first, find a high quality iron ore deposit and perhaps some gallium arsenide", but you could see it from there.

There's actually a restaurant round here run by an acolyte. It's always struck me as looking foodpoisony but perhaps I should try them?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:20 AM
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444. Chicken not so much here, yet. Duck, yes. Given up on it in restaurants.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:21 AM
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435: I assume that roasting in that case is a euphemism for "baking but we'll pretend because we don't have a proper fire." It's obvious that I'm completely wrong about this, but my heuristic works if you think about cooking with a campfire. The roasted stuff is exposed to the flame, the baked stuff is not.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:23 AM
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a pretty small chicken

This prompts a question which had not occurred to me previously: do people eat chicks (baby chickens, that is)?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:24 AM
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451: Yup. Real small.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:26 AM
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do people eat chicks (baby chickens, that is)?

Under the name of poussins. Half grown, really - there wouldn't be much meat on a hatchling.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:26 AM
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That's interesting about Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce. I am now extra glad I didn't go in and "correct" my roommate's cooking.

My other roommate is has mastered a number of Central European and Jewish dishes (his braided challah is to die for), but he has really sloppy kitchen practices that drive me crazy. I can't be in the kitchen when he's cooking, and sometimes the vegetables in his soups are cut so coarsely (as in, a giant parsnip cut into maybe three pieces) that I don't like eating them.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:26 AM
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re: 451

Poussins are pretty commonly eaten.

From wiki:


In Commonwealth countries, poussin (or less common coquelet) is a butcher term for a young chicken, less than 28 days old at slaughter and usually weighing 400-450 grammes but not above 750g. It is sometimes also called spring chicken, although the term spring chicken usually refers to chickens weighing 750-900g.

In the United States of America, poussin is an alternative name for a small-sized [cross-breed] chicken called Rock Cornish game hen, developed in the late 1950s, which is twice as old and twice as large as the typical British poussin.

They are great. You can spatchcock them and then cook them under the grill in about 30-40 minutes.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:27 AM
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444: Huh. I think a chicken is done the instant the thigh bones aren't bloody (those should be the last to cook). I'm not fanatical about making sure I don't overcook, but every second past that point is uselessly drying out the meat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:27 AM
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pwned by the gentleman from Sheffield.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:27 AM
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Apologies for 452. It's a bit shocking if you haven't seen it before and aren't Southeast Asian.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:27 AM
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re: 456

I don't like it when it has that rubbery wet texture and slightly grey colour when it's just cooked past the food poisoning stage. I definitely cook it more [which would be typical in the UK], but not to the point of dryness.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:28 AM
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You can spatchcock them

IT'S MOLE.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:30 AM
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448: The restaurant in Chicago used to be called Alice and Friends, but now seems to go by Loving Hut (good grief). It was *really* good, but I have zero idea if there's any uniformity to the Supreme Master restaurants. She's entirely dodgy, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of her restaurants are too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:31 AM
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I don't like it when it has that rubbery wet texture and slightly grey colour

Picture me bridling as I say "I like my chicken rubbery and grey!"

No, actually, I just don't recognize what you're talking about. I've never noticed a chicken cooked so the bones weren't bloody being either rubbery or grey.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:31 AM
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Well, if no one else gives me any suggestions, I'll do gulas. Think all I need is caraway seeds and meat. If I did a vegetarian version too, what vegetables go well with caraway? 5.35pm - should get off my arse and do something, but the fucking children (well, at least one of them) are being really annoying this evening so I am hiding.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:32 AM
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If I did a vegetarian version too, what vegetables go well with caraway?

Pretty much anything I'd think. But back in the day I've had bastardised gulas made with haricot beans or chick peas which was fine.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:39 AM
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re: 436

Potatoes are nice with caraway. Mushrooms are also good in gulas. In fact chucking a half a teaspoon of caraway in with potatoes while they boil is good [if you are serving them unmashed].

I just buy the usual Schwartz caraway seeds. My wife doesn't like them whole [finds them too bitty and the slightly aniseedy flavour too intense], so I use the same quantity [teaspoon or so for a large pot] but bash or grind them first.

http://www.expats.cz/prague/article/czech-cooking/czech-gulas/

That's a fairly standard recipe, not that different from the one I make [which is pinched from a book, and from my wife].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:40 AM
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It's a bit shocking if you haven't seen it before and aren't Southeast Asian.

It might even be shocking to a Southeast Asian who's not seen one before, racist.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:41 AM
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There's a Loving Hut in Palo Alto!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:42 AM
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And San Francisco!!!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:42 AM
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Noticed that recipe doesn't say how long to stew it for, but basically, until the meat is nice. I use turkey thigh, or pork, or sometimes beef, and it takes about 1 hour - 90 minutes.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:42 AM
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Different food, though.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:43 AM
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470: Yeah, weird. They're all related and share a website, but "each location has its own unique menu."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:45 AM
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471: But they're all vegan and "non-profit." Likely because the profits go to the Supreme Master.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:47 AM
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466: Possibly! I just know a lot of 2nd-gen SE Asians whose parents LOVE balut and talk about it a lot, even if the kids have never had it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:47 AM
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spatchcock

Improbably perhaps, this is now stuck in my head to the lyrics of Tom Jones' "Sex Bomb". As in, "Spatchcock, spatchcock. You're my spatchcock!"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:47 AM
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Beets, I'd say. That's part of the borscht combination, no?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:49 AM
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Yeah, some recipes for borscht use caraway as a flavouring.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:50 AM
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Tom Jones

The combination of food talk and Tom Jones reminds me of this stand-up routine that kills me every time.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:53 AM
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you could lift extremely heavy for a couple months in preparation for a competition, in which case your body will change your tastes and plain tofu will taste amazing.

This just confirms my basic suspicion about my body: it wants me to be a bulky, brawny weightlifter. (I foil it by never lifting anything or eating.)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 10:54 AM
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JM is already bulky and brawny! A brute, in fact.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:02 AM
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I could kick neB's ass any day of the week, sure, but my body seems to want 20-30 pounds more muscle.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:08 AM
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I wonder how long it would take me to eat a roast chicken. This thread is making me ravenous.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:10 AM
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You say you could, but when will you?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:11 AM
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my body seems to want 20-30 pounds more muscle

If I said I had a 20-pound muscle, would you hold it against-- Wait, this doesn't quite work.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:11 AM
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If you had a twenty-pound muscle, apo, I'd need a pulley system to hold it against me.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:14 AM
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Against you, that is. (Dammit!)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:14 AM
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486

I only threaten to beat up boys so they will pin me. No matter what happens, I win!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:15 AM
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Megan wouldn't.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:15 AM
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Wouldn't what? Need a pulley system for your twenty-pound muscle?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:17 AM
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I only threaten to beat up boys so they will pin me. No matter what happens, I win!

Yeah, until one of them just breaks your arms.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:18 AM
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Heart! I meant heart.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:18 AM
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484: And you call yourself burly. Twenty pounds isn't that heavy. Admittedly, it sounds bulky enough that I'm not sure what else anyone could reasonably do with it, but not heavy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:19 AM
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Is a pulley the same as a tuggie?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:20 AM
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486: Ah, tenth grade, wondering how much tickling and play-wrestling I had to do to get kissed. (Why not make a move myself, you ask? There's a reason I had a sad, confused dating career.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:21 AM
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And you call yourself burly.

Well, no. My anti-body-building system has been quite effective, actually.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:24 AM
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493: Wait, are we allowed to ask boys out now? I have never succeeded in this. I figure it's pretty fair that they have to ask me out, and I'll be happy to do the initiation of sexual contact. But no one has ever said yes to me if I asked them out. Even with my straight male friends or longtime boyfriends, it's the same way. If I ask, the answer is no.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:28 AM
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Once every four years in Ireland, AWB.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:30 AM
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Right? It's like there's a weird little bubble of 1950's sexism that follows me around wherever I go. Either that, or I am interpersonally repulsive (though sexually acceptable!).


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:31 AM
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If I ask, the answer is no.

We could start a club.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:33 AM
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495: The last time I was single was Clinton's first term. Before that, I asked boys out occasionally. Occasionally they went out with me, but it seemed to be more out of confusion than because they wanted to. Never went anyplace much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:34 AM
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In one humorous example, I asked a guy I was dating if he wanted to do something on a particular evening, and he said absolutely not, there was other stuff he had to do that day, but he'd be in touch. He called me a couple of days later to ask if I was available to get together on the aforementioned evening, not, apparently, remembering that I'd asked him out.

One of my male friends regularly asks me what I'm up to on a particular night. If I respond with "Nothing" then he will ask to make plans. If I respond with, "Nothing. Wanna do something?" then he will say he's really sorry, but too busy with other stuff to see me, OK? Not kidding. 100% infallible.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:37 AM
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500: OK that is just weird.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:38 AM
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488: Yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:39 AM
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Is it only for dating-dating that your magic works? What if you're just making plans with a friend who is a guy, and you happen to suggest the activity first? I have a hard time imagining Bave or Chestnut acting so peculiar.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:39 AM
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497: Or you taste in men runs to the anxiously masculine. Maybe it's a delivery thing? I'd be much less likely to agree to a date with a woman who asked in a particularly aggressive manner, or who displayed too much familiarity given our previous interactions, f'rex.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:40 AM
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503: She did say "straight male friends".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:40 AM
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Twenty pounds should be fine. What lift? How many reps? Can we talk about protein now?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:40 AM
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507

All those things people say to do could mean so many things at each step. Now I really like Youtube for explaining stuff. You look and there are seven poorly edited videos for anything you might be interested in. Watch four minutes of each, and you've got a pretty good idea what is going on.

Yeah, exactly. The recipe says "sautee half an onion." Okay, I know that that involves cooking it in oil, but I certainly don't know how to do it without someone showing me. Next recipe. "Knead until firm." Nope, someone will have to show me what these things mean.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:41 AM
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504: So someone asking you out should be reserved, yet coolly correct. Good to know.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:41 AM
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"Knead until firm."

This doesn't sound like a plausible instruction for cooking, per se.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:42 AM
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In light of 500, scratch 504.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:42 AM
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Hmmm. I'm only surprised because I'd say I come up with an activity and check around for people (some of them straight men!) to do it with for most of my outings. If I waited for them to ask, I'd miss all sorts of stuff to do.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:43 AM
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It's like there's a weird little bubble of 1950's sexism that follows me around wherever I go. Either that, or I am interpersonally repulsive (though sexually acceptable!).

Probably just intimidating.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:44 AM
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507: Saute onion

They'll show you as many times as you want. Sometimes the instructions are slightly different, and that is because it doesn't matter very much.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:46 AM
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Can we talk about protein now?

I'm leaving that low-hanging fruit. Because I'm a feminist.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:46 AM
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I have a hell of a time making plans that anyone else will go along with, but that's men and women. So mostly I don't, and just go along with whatever anyone comes up with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:46 AM
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504: Sure, I guess anxiously masculine in some ways, but, compared to regular American dudes, the guys I date/hang with are total poofs.

And the familiarity thing is funny, because it depends on how you look at it, I guess. The last time I'd seen guy #1 was when he asked me to get out of bed, get dressed, and take a car over to his apartment at 2 in the morning--which I did. And the guy friend #2 has asked similarly extraordinary things of me, as a friend. Both of those guys had even done amazing things for me. But saying yes when I ask them out is a step too familiar?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:46 AM
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516: Nope, not too familiar at all. I figure once you've done the bonedance and parted on good terms it's certainly acceptable to ask someone if they'd like to spend time together.

Perhaps you are just a statistical anomaly. I don't think any of my male friends would have a problem with a woman asking them out, but I wonder now. These sorts of things tend to happen away from observers, so I have very little grasp of how they generally play out. Suffice to say I'd certainly be into getting asked out.

And of course, now that I think of it, I might have been asked out last weekend but was too fucking dim to get the message. "We could do X at place Y and time Z" isn't a general observation about agency, is it? Goddamn it!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:54 AM
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Late to this, but the people upthread saying you just have to get into the kitchen and start cooking even if you don't know what you're doing have it exactly right. It's actually fairly difficult to make something completely inedible, but if you do manage it, the only consequence is that you're eating takeout half an hour later than you otherwise would have been. (Assuming that your food budget can withstand buying takeout when you've already bought the ingredients that were to become your supper.) Plus, now you know something about what not to do next time, and you have a story. Success!


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:55 AM
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And of course, now that I think of it, I might have been asked out last weekend but was too fucking dim to get the message. "We could do X at place Y and time Z" isn't a general observation about agency, is it? Goddamn it!

Men.

OTOH, if you're interested, this sounds as if it's still salvageable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:58 AM
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While I'm being super late: LB's 294

come here or someplace else where there are people who cook, complain in detail, and someone will make fun of you

sent me up the garden path. Come to Unfogged, where there are people who cook, and who complain in detail, and who someone will hey what? The first two made so much sense...


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:01 PM
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I have a hell of a time making plans that anyone else will go along with

Sometimes I wonder whether people know how high other people's rejection rates are. I'll get turned down for (a play, a plant show, a new cafe) by three or four people until I find someone who can and wants to go. I suspect the only difference is that I don't mind and keep asking people.

The post that gets the most hits on my old blog is the one on getting people to come to a party. I hope I reassure people when I say that my most established, best parties still only draw at most twenty percent of the invitees. It is hard to see all those searches on "will anyone come to my party?".


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:01 PM
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519: Yep. It wasn't quite as blatant as my paraphrase, but still I'm a dumbass. Certainly salvageable.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:06 PM
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I suspect the only difference is that I don't mind and keep asking people.

At this point I'm set in my ways, but I do plan to try to teach my kids what you say about inviting people to things in the hope that they don't grow up like me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:07 PM
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I have a hell of a time making plans that anyone else will go along with

I have a bad habit of reflexively declining to add any new obligations to my schedule when I'm feeling really busy/stressed. It's left me high-and-dry on many a, say, weekend when I'm suddenly scratching my head: "Why didn't I [do X thing that a bunch of friends are off doing]? I have nothing to do."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:07 PM
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And of course, now that I think of it, I might have been asked out last weekend but was too fucking dim to get the message. "We could do X at place Y and time Z" isn't a general observation about agency, is it? Goddamn it!

The story of my life between 18 and 25.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:14 PM
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Ugh, I know that headspace. The last six months or so before I finished my dissertation, I had hardly any social life at all. Not because I was writing 24/7 -- no one can sustain that for so long -- but because planning something was So! Stressful! What if I planned something, but then I needed to write then?!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:15 PM
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The secret is to remember all the times when I declined something for reasons that had nothing to do with the asker. (I also consider accepting rejections gracefully as the price for being able to reject whatever I don't feel like doing.) Also, to occasionally swallow the sting of it. But mostly, those are outweighed by having company to see that interesting thing.

I would, of course, love to have an automatic companion like a sweetheart. But these are good skills to be able to fall back on.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:15 PM
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"We could do X at place Y and time Z" isn't a general observation about agency, is it? Goddamn it!

I have to say, this is one of the things I'm enjoying about online dating so far. At least in my interactions to this point, that ambiguity has been completely absent.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:20 PM
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And yes, I realize I just completely jinxed myself.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:21 PM
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So wait, you've actually gotten dates?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:24 PM
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530: Yep. And been asked out, even.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:25 PM
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God damn.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:28 PM
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Not that I'm anything but happy for you, you understand.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:29 PM
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I sometimes would like to get back into it, but after having a lot of crap experiences, and knowing exactly how much bullshit I'll have to swim through, it's not very tempting. One does not want to write a profile that says, "Please do not contact me if you are going to be violent, rapey, suicidal, sullenly silent, or dishonest about your marital status while on our date" and yet one doesn't want to deal with any of that shit again! I guess telling people not to threaten to commit suicide on a blind date wouldn't stop them anyway.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:33 PM
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I have a bad habit of reflexively declining to add any new obligations to my schedule when I'm feeling really busy/stressed.

I'm not convinced this is a bad habit.

But I am temperamentally a hermit.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:34 PM
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It's a bad habit.

I guess telling people not to threaten to commit suicide on a blind date wouldn't stop them anyway.

Yes, and all you'll do is put off people who know better in the first place.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:38 PM
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535: Well, it's okay if you're not lonely. Back when I was single, as another hermit, I would avoid socializing and then sit alone being depressed and friendless, which is counterproductive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:38 PM
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The final couple of years of graduate school turned me into a bit of a hermit, too. I haven't fully emerged. Before that I was out and about as much as possible, and pretty gregarious. Now, not so much. I mostly stay in my little dank hole and count my pages ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:38 PM
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It should be noted that Josh's experience in no way reflects mine.

Also, Supreme Master! I once patronized one of those restaurants, which was always referred to as the Vegetarian Cult. For a time they had big screen tvs set up by the tables, broadcasting her talking. From Wikipedia:

In 2004, an artificial island and 330 foot long boardwalk created in the Biscayne National Park cost $1 million USD to remove after being illegally constructed by Ching Hai, known locally as a wealthy property owner under the pseudonym Celestia De Lamour.

I find that pseud hilarious.


Posted by: briefly visible | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:40 PM
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count my pages

ttaM is actually yeloF kraM ?!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:41 PM
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536: You could shorten the profile to "seeks someone to pay the excess on my emotional baggage" - at least it would be funny.

I don't think I've heard the suicide one?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:41 PM
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532: You don't have to sound *quite* so surprised.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:43 PM
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541: Not something I want to relive. You can imagine.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:43 PM
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I don't believe I sounded surprised at all; in fact, I was concerned (though not so much that it showed, I guess) that you not get the impression that I was reacting with disbelief. Rather with chagrin.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:46 PM
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(But the suicide stuff wasn't about me or our date, FWIW.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:46 PM
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Back when I was single, as another hermit, I would avoid socializing and then sit alone being depressed and friendless, which is counterproductive.

Yeah, I've done that, and it was bad.

I'm really lucky, as I've said before, that living in the same town for a long time makes it easier to build up a group of friends without being outgoing.

But, there's also nothing good about agreeing do do something out of a sense that getting out of the house is a good thing and then getting there and realizing that you really don't have the energy to socialize with anyone.

There are days when, genuinely, I only have energy for about 20-30 minutes of real social interaction in the day (fewer of those lately, which is a good thing) and, frankly, two 15 minute phone conversations are a better use of that energy than going out.

But, again, I'm on the extreme end of "social interaction always takes energy, even when it's enjoyable." I recognize that this isn't true for everybody.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:48 PM
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521.2 -- I've read that post and thought it was just proof that you are cooler than I am. A 20% acceptance rate would leave me with maybe 1 or 2 people unless I were just inviting a bunch of completely random people. Which doesn't make for much of a party.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 12:59 PM
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547 = me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:00 PM
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The thread has moved on, but if you'd like to roast a chicken you could date happily, the recipe in The Best Recipe is pretty great.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:01 PM
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SUPREME MASTER!'s Wikipedia page is a wonder to behold. I propose we should use "Supreme Master! Funny Non-Saint Stories" for something. Also, this:

Her flamboyant dress sense has been criticised as unsuitable for a Buddhist monk or nun. In October 1995 on Ching Hai Day, she wore queenly robes "under orders from God," riding a sedan chair carried by eight bearers to the cheers of "your royal majesty". In her lectures, Ching Hai explains that her way of dress is a statement to prove that one does not need to dress as a nun or monk to achieve enlightenment through her Quan Yin Method.

"In Septober 2010 on Unfogged Meetup Day, bitchphd wore queenly robes "under orders from God"..."


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:06 PM
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I would say that Brock should almost certainly not experiment with tofu until he's more comfortable cooking. If you can make a stirfry, you can make delicious tofu, but he's not there yet. Brock, when I was learning how to cook as a sullen teenager -- something my mother, who is herself a kind of awful, chicken-breast-andveg-from-a-can cook, insisted on, and it was a really good idea -- a thing I often made was meatloaf. (I was never big on roast chicken, although I frequently made chicken stirfry.) I'm not sure I can summon to mind the mentality of not knowing how to cook, but I'd practice with two or three simple meals (LB's roast chicken recipe, maybe with some garlic in the cavity when you're feeling advanced; meatloaf; vegetable soup; spaghetti with homemade red sauce; pancakes; scrambled eggs; brownies). I don't cook much any more, so my skills are somewhat rusty, and when I do cook I tend to make soups or stews, as they require less precise timing and exactitude. Starting at the baseline that I'm at, it's pretty hard to make truly objectionable soup.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:10 PM
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Depends on your party, but yes, for a dancing-type party, I'd invite the entire Ultimate frisbee list in Sacramento, which might be a couple hundred people, of whom I know half. So, sortof random. Once the party gets going, I've had people wander in off the street.

I don't throw those any more, really. But I'm willing to have pretty broad boundaries for a big party. For other stuff, I collect people by ones and twos. It adds up after a while.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:10 PM
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I like Snarkout's list of simple meals. Those sound useful and accessible.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:12 PM
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People who invite dozens of strangers to their parties are several evolutionary levels above any of my friends. Megan's example is not for mortals to emulate.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:21 PM
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So you wouldn't toss out an invitation on Unfogged? It isn't that different.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:26 PM
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...toss an invitation out to Unfogged...


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:27 PM
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Nah, we aren't strangers.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:27 PM
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555: Not to my home I wouldn't. Meeting people in a bar is one thing, and of course I am personally deeply and truly in love with anyone who reads this far down an Unfogged comment thread, but an invitation to my apartment to anyone who happened to come across it? No.

Not a safety reaction so much as a 'What if the only people who show up are people I don't know at all, and they're in my house so I can't leave?' reaction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:28 PM
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Neither is an Ultimate player.

Mostly, I don't see what the downside risks are.

Being ignored? Yeah, that's why I say party invitations take work.

Pre-selected strangers showing up? Eh, they're probably of a type, and that's enough to know.

Socially awkward party? That's what party planning is for.

Out of control rowdiness? You've got some friends to back you up; not everyone is a stranger.

What's the specific bad thing that could happen?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:31 PM
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The Chestnut, referenced by Megan above, used to hand out invitations to our parties at the coffee shop where he worked. (We made really cool little invitations.) His criterium was that the person had to be someone he could imagine one of the three of us wanting to do. Those were crazy parties, and I don't think that method would ever work in NYC.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:31 PM
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560: It worked in Midnight Cowboy.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:33 PM
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We used to have open invitation ladies with bands at our house. Great fun until these dudes stole a bunch of stuff and we had to chase people with axes (okay, one axe) to get them to leave.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:33 PM
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What's the specific bad thing that could happen?

The worst that ever happened at one of ours was that someone stole our blender, drew giant penises on the walls of the common stairs in our building, and went into my room and sprayed lotion all over my sheets. We got over it pretty quickly.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:33 PM
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558 answers 559. Yeah, that's why I set the field in advance. Co-hosts are best, and I like to know at least a handful of people who are sure to show up.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:35 PM
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Honestly, once you have a reputation for having open invitation ladies at your house, you're going to start attracting people you may not want.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:35 PM
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Goddamit. "ladies" s/b "parties". What's with you, phone?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:35 PM
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What's the specific bad thing that could happen?

Like I said -- my house is full of people I don't know and I can't leave because I'm already home.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:36 PM
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We used to have open invitation ladies with bands at our house.

Were you living in the middle of a desert, or did you take the axe to the neighbours' phone lines so they couldn't call the cops and get you raided? Parties with bands are raid magnets IME


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:38 PM
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I have the feeling that Megan's concept of "co-hosts" is similar to my concept of "guests".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:38 PM
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I like to know at least a handful of people who are sure to show up.

See, once I have a handful of people sure to show up, I've got a party (by my standards) right there and wouldn't need to add unknowns to the list.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:41 PM
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A co-host also feels the need for a party, chooses the party concept, invites other people, helps clean, chips in for whatever you're serving and helps clean up. That more than I usually ask from a guest.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:42 PM
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568: white kids in a bad neighborhood with friendly neighbors. In fact, at the party in question we called the cops, but they wouldn't come.

It was, in retrospect, shocking what we got away with. In addition to the bands in the basement we had party guests all over the street, a muscle car peeling out up and down in front of our house, and a good hundred and fifty bicycles locked to the fence of the former catholic school (next to a still-active comvent) across the street.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:45 PM
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Jammies loves big blow-out bashes. The key for me is to take a moment now and then to exit to the bedroom and chill with the cats or something.

I think my favorite group size is 3-7 people or so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:45 PM
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Did I ever tell the story of the roommate who threw a party on the very night my other two (then-married) roommates were returning from a long week of travel on a midnight flight? Boy, that was a fun 1am phone call* to field. ("You need to come home now, because Husband and I might kill Roommate if he doesn't end this party NOW.")

*call because I wasn't home at the time. I had made it very clear to party-throwing roommate that this idea was BADBADBAD and I was getting way the hell away from the forthcoming mess.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:49 PM
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BADBADBAD

Was it Superbad*?

*Which had the kind of party I once enjoyed, but would dread these days.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:51 PM
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Why was that your problem, Stanley?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 1:54 PM
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575: It was quite the rager. Like maybe 100 waste-faced people in our rather small house and yard. Christmas break = perfect storm, since lots of people are home to visit their families with nothing much to do.

It was, in hindsight, mildly amusing to have to explain to many drunken friends, "Yes, it's very nice to see you, but you really do need to leave now, I'm sorry to say."

576: I'm not sure I understand. My problem was that two roommates were going to show up sometime after midnight after a long day of travel to a houseful of people they weren't anticipating.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:00 PM
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Yes, and those two people could explain the problem directly to the host. In person, even.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:01 PM
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578: Ah. Yeah, the livid roommates called me to see if I would come help shut the party down, which I did as a favor to them. Does that explain it?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:08 PM
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It explains that you're nicer than I am. If I'd already warned against it and made myself scarce, I don't know that I'd come home to do the kicking-out. Seems like a good time to have my phone off, says the cowardly avoider.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:13 PM
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which I did as a favor to them.

This is the key. I was also under the impression that you felt a misplaced obligation to handle the situation beyond speaking up ahead of time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:13 PM
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People have different roles in the world. Megan's roles to create parties. Stanley's role is to break them up.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:17 PM
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What happens when an unstoppable party starter meets an immoveable party breaker upper?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:32 PM
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Could God throw a party so big that He couldn't break it up?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:32 PM
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Arrested Development clip on the other thread reminded of hot ham water.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:34 PM
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584: A party of strangers on a bus.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:35 PM
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583 - This feels familiar somehow.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:40 PM
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583: Desultory conversation and tepid glares.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 2:43 PM
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Socially awkward party? That's what party planning is for.

Party... planning? You know, I think this is the sort of thing where I'm as out of my depth as Brock is in the face of food.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 3:36 PM
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It's dangerous to show up for a party long after it's reached its expiration date.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 3:40 PM
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When I threw big parties, I put a lot of work into creating an experience for the guests. So I gave a lot of thought to traffic and staging areas, stuff for them to do that would draw them into interacting. I generally had a goal of slightly dissociated ecstatic trance (which was incredibly hard to achieve for everyone at a party), and put a lot of effort into creating conditions that would let lots of people achieve that (besides drugs and alcohol).

There are other party goals, of course, but that was what I was aiming for with big night-time parties. It was a lot of planning and work up-front.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:12 PM
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So I gave a lot of thought to traffic and staging areas,

Megan plans her barbecue.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:28 PM
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There used to be a Korean place on Poland Street, too.
One of my favorite NY shop signs, seen in pre-yuppie Greenpoint - "S.Y. Kim's Kosher Grocery Mówimy po polsku"

Roasting chicken - great roast chicken is an art, good roast chicken is no work at all. And thermometers... stick a knife in a joint when it should be about done, if it bleeds clear or mostly clear (tastes vary), it's done, otherwise, stick it back in the oven and check in ten minutes.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 4:46 PM
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To drag food back to programming; what Brock needs to become an agile cook is some time spent pairs cooking.

(Sequined leotard admired but not required.)

Hey, Brock, JP, does this amount of cooking instruction seem condescending? Wait till we tell you how to collect your garbage.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 5:59 PM
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"Extreme cooking" sounds as if it would be featured on one of those unappetizing Food Network programs, though.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 9:01 PM
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Isn't it already? Bang? Pow?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-10-10 11:10 PM
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what Brock needs to become an agile cook is some time spent pairs cooking

Good point. It's very true that tests are fundamental to successful cooking.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 3:18 AM
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Some non-poor people need basic remedial cooking skills classes as well. Apparently some idiot on the NYC City Council wants to ban restaurants from using any salt whatsoever in their kitchens. He claims that since those who want salt will be able to add it at the table it won't make a difference. This is clearly someone who hasn't ever done any cooking.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03-11-10 10:58 AM
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