There is a theory when it comes to treating allergies that if you give the patient tiny little bits of the item they are allergic to over a period of time, they will eventually be able to tolerate those allergens. This works mostly with treatable allergens such as dust and mold. The sad thing about food allergies is that no serum has yet been created (they’re close with peanuts). Your only option is one the allergist glibly refers to as “avoidance”.
I’m pretty good about avoidance, for the most part. I eat the plasticy soy cheese, drink soy milk, soy sour cream, etc. I can be satisfied with soy alternatives for some foods, and I’m more than happy to not be supporting the mainstream dairy industry. But there is no soy-based replacement for really beautiful artisanal cheese.
Thus, there are times when you just have to look Death in the face and say, “Fuck you, Death! I am eating this brie!”, and be willing to live (or not) with the consequences.
Continue reading “Cheese Please!”
Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen by Naomi Moriyama and William Doyle
There’s an old phrase about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. For the first time ever, North Americans are applying that philosophy to eating and dieting. After all, we figure, how can those French ladies eat all that wine and cheese and still stay so svelte and stylish? It only stands to reason that eventually our gaze would focus on Japan. Long considered one of the healthiest societies on the planet (Japanese people, particularly women, have the longest life expectancy of any culture, and also have the longest quality of life – that is, they are far less likely to spend their final years in a nursing home or suffering from severe illness), it stands to reason that the Japanese would have some secrets to share that could help us doughy North Americans get slim and healthy, too.
However, like every diet plan out there, there’s a catch, and this one, like the “French Women” diet that is currently all the rage, involves an overall change of philosophy and lifestyle that many North Americans may not be willing to make.
It’s no surprise that many cultures equate good food with a mother’s love. Until the past couple of decades, a mother’s role in every culture has been to take care of the children and prepare the food for the family. In Japan, that role is taken one step further, and Moriyama relates a story about a letter sent home from school when she was a child, indicating that all mothers were expected to provide their children with a “love-packed lunchbox” every day. No pressure, ladies, no pressure.
Continue reading “Review – Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat”
Can’t you just hear the French schoolchildren taunting one another? Much as we play the “my Dad’s tougher than your Dad” game here in North America, one expects children in the south of France to try to one up each other over bouillabaisse.
Because every family has their own recipe. And every family’s recipe is a closely guarded secret. What I found in my Googling adventure in an attempt to track down a bouillabaisse recipe is that they can vary greatly. The only commonalities are fish, tomato, orange peel and saffron; everything else is up for grabs.
This is very much the same in Atlantic Canada where every family has a chowder recipe, and every kid is certain that their family’s chowder recipe trumps all others. Nobody makes fish chowder like my Dad (well, except for me), and it was an alternative to my Dad’s recipe that got me thinking about bouillabaisse.
Continue reading “Le bouillabaisse de ma mère est meilleur que le bouillabaisse de votre mère.”
You know, you can take the girl outta the goth; you can destroy her Sisters of Mercy albums, you can slather her in cold cream and get all that black gunk off her face, you can take her bat-shaped purse away, you can take her black clothes and… well, nevermind that. But sometimes you just can’t take the goth outta the girl.
Such is my love for Charles Addams. So when Greg called me up to tell me he was spending foolish amounts of money on the Deadwood DVD box set, he softened the blow and assured my co-operation by informing me that he had also ordered me the Charles Addams cookbook.
It’s not really a cookbook. It’s actually a collection of his food-related cartoons (many of which feature the Addams family characters), interspersed with recipes for various wacky and unappealing delicacies such as blood pudding, stewed pigeon and potted squirrel.
About half of the cartoons are new to me, many mere sketches that have never been published. I’ve got four or five Charles Addams books, so to find new stuff is quite delightful.
I doubt I’ll be making stuffed beef hearts any time soon, but the “Mushrooms Fester” sounds quite good, and there’s even a recipe for fiddlehead ferns, although if you followed the directions, they’d be overcooked and underseasoned.
I still don’t get how Morticia was ever able to cook anything without setting those sleeves on fire, but then she probably enjoyed it.
The gold box. In India, or Indian culture, this comes bearing a sweet gift. For us, it was a gift to ourselves. The small pink packets are one of our main reasons for a venture across town to Little India. The packaged cakes were just an added bonus.
Continue reading “Packages From India”
At first, we weren’t sure we had read it right. Scrolling across the screen on the 24-hour news channel was information about a Sweets Expo at the Toronto Convention Centre. It took some investigating to finally find the website: http://www.sweetsexpo.ca. No, Beavis and Butthead, not “sweet sex po”, get your minds out of the gutter. Sweets Expo, aka, a room full of candy.
Bright and early, there we were, headed into the convention centre, the smell of sugar surrounding us. However, had it not been for two things, the Sweets Expo would have left a rather sour taste in my mouth.
First of all, it hadn’t been especially well-promoted, as far as we could tell. That fast-moving news scroll was the only mention we had seen of the thing, and judging by the turnout, not many other people knew about it either. And apparently, the same amount of effort that went into promotion went into attracting exhibitors. It was considerably smaller than we expected, and with a couple of exceptions the calibre of product wasn’t that great. None of the many Toronto area chocolatiers were present; Stubbs, Soma and JS BonBon were not to be found. There were also none of the chain, or indie, candy stores – no Sugar Mountain, Tutti Frutti, Nutty Chocolatier or Candy Island. Also, no big brand names – no Nestle, no Cadbury.
Continue reading “How Sweet It Is”