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Food (179 posts)
All of which would horrify a true home economist, a housewife (as stay-at-home moms were called back when we were allowed to ignore our kids all day) like Bettina, of the 1917 cookbook A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband.
This cookbook, which is not nearly as titillating as its sensationalist title suggests (unless you have some really creative uses for vinegar sauce and weak coffee) is the subject of Sadie Stein's great essay "Ways and Means" for The Paris Review. A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband, as Stein writes, is filled with vignettes of the fictional Bettina and Bob's married life, complete with recipes perfect for the thrifty wartime bride with a hankering for pimentos. Bettina has great passion for "the word 'economical,' her energy-efficient fireless cooker (a slow cooker of sorts), and the budget notebook that is her preferred topic of dinner-table conversation." She lectures her husband on the price of steak, the joys of buying in bulk.
The book is a hoot as far as retro recipes go. All that white sauce! But, as Stein points out, "the emphasis on modern methods, labor-saving devices, and the science of housekeeping—not to mention that suffragette brunch!—is clearly intended to inspire the young bride not just with confidence but with a sense of the importance of her role." You must read her whole essay, in which Stein discusses her project of cooking every recipe in the book —the results are hilarious. But what strikes me most is how Stein writes, "like any young bride of 1917, I wanted to enter into Bettina’s perfectly ordered existence." She calls the book "a bastion of make-believe order in a scary world."
How appealing! Because this world, it is scary and complicated and messy, in ways that no one can protect her family from, no matter how hard she tries. And personally, I rarely savor a sense of the importance of my role as a "young bride." My resting state is more general befuddlement. So while Bettina's menus and mathematics give me palpitations, I do very much like the idea that I could take control over my home life and better manage household expenses, that the food I prepare for my family could impose a sense of calm, instill some order. Would Bettina allow a toddler to mash $3 worth of Dr. Prager's fishies into a cup of pink milk? I doubt it! If only I, like Bettina, could plan my menu a week at a time, intelligently using leftovers in an organized manner, cheerily reminding my family of how efficiently our little industry could operate. And you know, maybe with the right recipes and a better attitude, I can.
Food That Calms and Comforts
Menu Plans for Cleansing
New Chicken Recipes for Family Dinners
Oatmeal. The trick to chewy but not mushy oats is in the cooking time. Resist the temptation to set the timer for 9 hours. The oats--even those sturdy steel-cut ones--will lose all texture if you cook them that long. Although some recipes call for just 4 to 6 hours of cooking time, you may prefer to have a bit more sleep than that. So 7 or 8 hours is a fine compromise. Just before going to bed, combine 1 cup of oats and 3 cups of water in a slow cooker. Set on low, cover and cook. In the morning, stir in milk, cream, spices or fruit to taste.
I told myself I was going to gift a scrumptious Snickers to the next downtrodden-looking stranger I saw, but as I walked down the street I started to lose my nerve. Who would accept candy from a stranger? Haven't we all been warned enough not to do that? Then I spotted her -- my perfect target. A tired, 60-something woman got off the bus in front of me and started shuffling along, hunched against the cold wind. I took a deep breath and handed her the candy bar. A look of classic-New Yorker-refusal flickered across her face, but then she looked up and realized I wasn't trying to sell her something or grab her purse or worse of all ask for money for Greenpeace. "Here," I said, feeling like an idiot. "It's, ah, a random act of chocolate." (Somewhere at the Mars Candy Company marketing headquarters, copy writers were giving each other high fives.) She looked confused and then smiled very slightly and said, "Okay." I watched her walk away with the candy, triumphant. She had smiled very slightly! She was going to go enjoy a sweet treat, and wonder all night about the stranger who brightened her whole day! Or else she was going to throw it away in the next trash bin (no, wait, maybe she isn't as neurotic as I am.)
There are many ways to make this decidedly un-fancy food. And if you're getting ready to watch a big game this weekend (Ravens, Patriots, Giants and 49ers fans, we're looking at you), here are a few of the most interesting ones we've seen, from some of the most best-known food blogs on the web. Just be sure you eat it straight from the bag. Putting Frito Pie in the spotlight is one thing, but putting it in a bowl is quite another.
The Pioneer Woman
This version is robust and classic, with beef, beans, spices and masa.
In keeping with Texan chili tradition, there are no beans in this hearty mix.
The site actually shares four ways to make the chili, from one with butternut squash, to Cincinnati-style, which has a touch of chocolate.
When Cheetos show up on the menu
Try tossing Fritos into cookie dough
Dr. Oz's favorite healthy junk foods
If this bleary week has you feeling a little blah, you're not alone. In fact, this past Monday (and the third Monday of every January) was the officially designated "Blue Monday," so-called for its unique blend of crummy weather and Christmas hangover, which cause a melancholy possibly felt more acutely over in the UK, what with their lack of MLK day and all. Still, all of us can relate to the midwinter blues, that sinking sense that the fun part of winter is already over when so much still lies ahead, and there's not much to look forward to unless you're really exceptionally into shoveling snow and carb-loading on the couch.
Well, residents of Kingston, England, have come up with a way to remind themselves and each other that messages of happiness and hope can be found in the unlikeliest of places. Like a bowl of "Alphabetti Spaghetti."
Just watching this video makes me a little happier. Who can bummer out when there are grown people playing with their food, crafting uplifting words to cheer us all? The winning message: There is more to life than beans. Truer words have never been, ah, assembled out of noodles.
More Ways Carbs Can Make You Happy:
The Healthiest Pasta Dinners
Good Carbs...That Taste Great
A long, stressful day at work or canceled dinner plans is all it takes for me to toss my eat-healthier resolution out the window and dive, frazzled and hungry, for the nearest take-out menu. And a household of specific dietary needs (vegetarian for me, gluten-free for my spouse) only adds another hurdle to getting a quick, no-guilt dinner on the table. Luckily, the freezer aisle has expanded way beyond salisbury steaks and limp lasagna, to flavorful meals that also cater to special diets. Whether you're gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian, you have more healthy options than ever before. Here are six brand new ones worth considering:
Evol Bean & Cheese Enchilada Bowl (vegetarian, gluten-free)
Mourning the loss of burritos on your gluten-free diet? Dry your eyes and open wide: Evol layers pinto beans, cilantro-lime rice, cheddar cheese, and roasted corn between layers of corn tortillas.
Healthy Choice Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables and Rice (vegetarian)
We love the uptick in non-pasta options for vegetarians in the frozen aisle. This entrée, part of a new line inspired by Top Chef, spotlights grilled eggplant, broccoli, and tomato over barley and rice.
Amy’s Teriyaki Wrap (vegan, gluten-free)
Take a break from Amy’s much-beloved mac-and-cheese and try this tasty mix of organic tofu, brown rice, and broccoli. The wheat-free wrap, made from rice and garbanzo flours, has a rich flavor and slightly spongy texture, which keeps the filling moist.
1. Homemade, from-scratch versions can be really, really good. In a taste test at the site Instructables (a spin-off of the MIT Media Lab), an organic, vegan Twinkie cake with gluten-free filling beat a traditional one that was made with cake mix and vegetable shortening.
2. They're the last-minute dessert your guests will love. You can adorn Twinkies with melted caramel, whipped cream, sprinkles, colorful frosting, peanuts or nearly anything else you might put on a banana split.
3. Pumpkin Twinkie Bread Pudding. And other inventive (and, yes, bizarre) ways to doctor up the humble cake.
4. They actually don't keep indefinitely. At the end of "food clone" master and former Oprah Winfrey Show guest Todd Wilbur's excellent video on making your own Twinkies (and even fashioning your own Twinkie tin foil pans), he opens up a 13-year-old box of the treats. Watch the clip to find out what Wilbur does with them.
First, there's truffle salt, such as this Sicilian one, which contains sea salt and dried summer truffles. A 3.4-ounce jar costs just $19 and can turn French fries, steak or corn on the cob into a luxurious meal or snack (Oprah sprinkles it on popcorn). Truffle oil is another option; La Tourangelle sells both white and black truffle-infused oils for $17 each. White has a smoother taste; black is more intense. A little drizzle goes a long way, on pasta, mashed potatoes, pizza or roasted chicken. Then there's truffle butter, which can go into most savory dishes that call for butter, spoon for spoon. You can also brush it over meat before serving or--the most decadent way to enjoy it--spread it over toasted baguette. D'Artagnan's 3-ounce tub is $8.
A mail-order black truffle pizza
Macaroni and cheese get the truffle treatment
How Sheryl Crow likes to use truffle oil
Higher in protein than most grains, quinoa has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture. Rinse a cup of quinoa in a strainer first, then add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes, and fluff with a fork. O mag assistant editor Rachel Mount likes to stir frozen blueberries and coconut butter into the warm grain; the fruit melts and turns the dish deep purple.
First, cut off both the little nub that sticks out and the opposite, flat end of the fruit. The pomegranate can now stand on either end, since there are even surfaces on both sides, and you'll be able to see 4 to 6 sections, divided by white membrane. Score the peel along each membrane, going from one end to the other, not cutting deeply--just an eighth of an inch or so.