Like a lot of folks who love to cook, I love prepping for Thanksgiving—a practice that, for me, generally begins mid-October when the November issues of my favorite food magazines come out. I still love print, particularly for food. A printed page continues to feel a little more committed to me, and I fully recognize that could be generational. Hopefully, this issue of the LCF Update 11-9-17, will bridge the gap between the two mediums a bit.
Of course, all food publications this time of year go a little haywire. It’s pretty much impossible to put every recipe you want to try on your harvest table, even if you’re serving upwards of 20 people. So when something looks good, even if it’s decidedly thxgiving-y, I make it any time in November. Subscribers will already have seen this week’s article on cranberries, as well as 3 possible ways to eat them: Sparkling Raw Cranberry Orange Relish, Ruby Red Cranberry Beet Sauce, and Sweet Savory Cranberry Beet Ketchup. You can freeze those for the big day, or start using them now if you can’t wait. Totally up to you.
Meanwhile, my favorite magazine article I’ve seen so far has been a round-up in Rachel Ray Every Day. The magazine version goes by the title, Thanksgiving in the USA. The online version doesn’t satisfy to the same degree, but the premise remains great. 5 chefs from 5 distinct immigrant traditions—Israeli-Persian, Mexican, Syrian, Carribean, and Greek—throw down in the kitchen. The article sort of (? or am I being too literal?) indicates that you can serve a dish from each of these cuisines on your table at the same time. I’m not quite up for that; Jerk Sweet Potatoes with Persian-Style Turkey with Walnut-Pomegranate Sauce seems a bit outré to me. But I am, of course, perfectly willing to concede that the editors intended no such fusion. More importantly, the article beautifully illustrates that food inspired by another place’s cuisine is not just appropriate for a Thanksgiving table, it’s downright patriotic.
Because what I love, love, love is the way that the article emphasizes that the diversity of this ongoing experiment called the US is key to understanding what makes it/us unique. “American cooking, like the country it nourishes, is restless, dynamic, and constantly changing,” wrote Dale Brown in 1970. That’s how he opened the American Cooking volume of Time Life’s Food of the World series. When I read it earlier this week—how I love that series—I realized that “we are what we cook” may be even more accurate than the “what we eat” version.
A few things I’m looking forward to tampering with this week:
This Potato Parsnip gratin from Cooking Light has inspired me. I love a gratin, but man, this recipe looks complicated. So I think I’ll fiddle with it a fair amount. I mean, gratins are pretty easy. So I’m going to work on a blueprint style recipe that’s maybe a little easier.
Meanwhile, I had a grand old time making a potato waffle this week, the model for the cranberry ketchup photo. That waffle maker can be a pretty swell tool, particularly when paired with a spiralizer. So before long, you should be able to jazz up your brunch or supper table with a savory waffle from whatever veggies you have on hand.
I’ve been cooking with kale WAY before it was cool, a legacy from my first husband’s Portuguese family. Kale soup with chorizo is ultimate Portuguese comfort food. While it’s been nice to watch the sturdy green’s popularity grow, it’s unfortunate to see how dreadfully it’s used. I’m continually appalled by the kale salads served in high end delis around the country that are basically inedible. You wouldn’t be too far off if you think they call it “dinosaur kale” because you have to have T Rex teeth in order to chomp the stuff down. So…watch your email.
The LCF Update 11-9-17: Reading, Watching, Listening
Despite David Yaffe’s sometimes breathless fanboy tone, Reckless Daughter, his biography of Joni Mitchell is proving to be a great read. Yaffe’s very good in analyzing Ms. M’s music and poetry, and his reporting on her life resists what must have been a strong temptation to go tabloid. I’m still reeling a bit from The Case of Lisandra P., by Helene Merillon, a superb thriller based on a true murder case in Buenos Aires. Like all good mysteries, grief and sadness remain the dominant themes; I wanted to know why Lisandra had been killed because I cared about her, not because L is for Lasso or some damn gimmick. So I think it could take me a bit before I can settle into another novel.
Steve and I just finished The Same Sky on Netflix; only one season of this show that crosscuts between 1970s east and west Berlin. Eye candy abounds in the fabulous 70s harvest color scheme and sculpted German faces, and the story offers a peek into the extreme—oh, let’s be euphemistic—challenges—of living on the east side of the wall, as well as the hermetic world on that little island that was the west. Going farther north, our third season of Borgen has finally arrived at the library. Borgen is a dynamite series about a female prime minister of Denmark, which cannot sound interesting, but is the best damn political show anywhere with master class acting.
I promised my daughter I’d revisit the Smiths, and she’s made me commit to The Queen Is Dead. Meanwhile, Steve and I will be ushering for Chanticleer, a