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The movie was cute. Still waiting for a Julia Child movie though, that tells more about her.

Amy Adams made the Julie character as likeable as she possibly could. I went home and read part of the real blog after the movie, and had no problem at all seeing why Julia didn't care for it. And no desire to read the rest of the blog, or the book, or her other book for that matter (Julie that is).

Still - Meryl did a good job as Julia, although I think the real Julia is a bit less whimsical.

I did go out and buy Mastering the Art of French Cooking directly afterward, came home and read part of it and fell completely in love. I've already made beef bourguignon (spelling is probably wrong) and it was divine.

What are you? Recipe Follower or Recipe Deviant

I've cooked enough stuff that I have a pretty good idea, for MOST things, how the recipe is going to taste. So I deviate shamelessly.

If I'm not familiar with the combo, I will more or less follow the recipe, just making tweaks here and there.

For baking, I rarely measure. I've been baking stuff for a while and I can estimate a 1/2 cup pretty closely. Hey, some people have good knife skills, whereas I can measure without a spoon/measuring cup (usually).

It's funny, I'm a knitter and I'm the same way when I knit - I never follow the pattern, it always has to be tweaked!

I guess I'm not a stickler for rules. :)

5 Ingredient Fix? Really?

I have been watching her show and I don't think it's terrible. I haven't made a single thing from the show, which says a lot, that I have not been inspired by anything she's made.

I am a bit suspicious of the concept too - 5 ingredients is totally arbitrary. What is being left out of some of these recipes that would make it taste better, just because it would make 6 ingredients? To me, the little add-ons are what makes something special - chopped chives, thyme, garlic, onions, pepper flakes, two types of cheese, etc.

However, she does emphasize cooking from scratch with good quality ingredients. I think she's kind of on a Sandra Lee type level. If I have to choose between Sandra Lee and this lady having her own show... well, I don't think I even have to finish that sentence!

So like I said - she uses fresh ingredients, makes things pretty much from scratch (haven't seen her whip out a package of pre-chopped onion yet), and obviously using quality "special" ingredients is a big deal to her... so even though she doesn't inspire me, I see nothing wrong with it.

I do have to admit, before I watched her show this weekend, I had no idea that cream corn was made with "corn milk". Anytime I've seen a professional chef make it, they generally add cream or whatever. So I do intend to try that when I have a chance.

Oh, one last thing - I was reading a blog elsewhere that had a lot of comments on this show. The vast majority of them refer to her appearance or mannerisms. No wonder Food Network has become the cult of personality. Call me old fashioned - I couldn't care less what a chef is wearing, or how their ponytail is bedraggled, I want to know how they can cook!!

Strange food phobias?

I don't really have food phobias, but I do have food aversions. :) Which are much more common and therefore more fun to talk about...

My main aversion is fennel seed. I have not tried fennel root but I assume it has the same sort of smell/taste as the seed.

If I even smell it in my food, I don't want to eat it. Blech. It just doesn't smell or taste good to me at all. My body must be trying to tell me SOMETHING (even if it's just that I'm a nutball) and I'm gonna listen.

I have a similar aversion to bell peppers. I don't like how they smell and they don't taste good either. Green is the worst - I can tolerate red and yellow, although I still don't like the smell. But for me, if something has green peppers in it, it's essentially ruined. The taste permeates the whole dish. It ruins salsa for me.

Alton Fans: How about some metal for breakfast?

I saw this episode. I can't remember which one it was, though (I saw it recently). He crushed up the cereal, mixed it into a paste I think with water, and put it in a plastic bag. He moved the magnet around on the outside of the bag, and as he did so, a clump of iron started sticking to the magnet through the baggie.

I've believed for quite some time that almost all breakfast cereal is processed crap (except for shredded wheat and the like, perhaps), essentially junk food. THis confirmed it for me.

Dear Food Network, Please Stop

There is another aspect that bothers me about the shows on FN. Even with the good shows (Tyler, Anne, etc.) they don't seem to let the chefs do anything unusual. I mean, spaghetti and meatballs and steak are great, don't get me wrong, but what about preparing something other than classic American dishes?

There are only so many mac 'n cheese recipes one can stand...

Anne Burrell comes the closest in terms of them letting her do unusual things... olive oil cake, duck confit, etc. but I imagine that they have toned her stuff way down for the "home cook". (although I suppose Ina and Giada stray from the beaten path a tad, but not much)

I can't remember the last time that someone prepared a dish I had never heard of on FN. And I don't get out much, so it wouldn't take much! :) That's really what I want to see, not 5 million variations on lasagna or corn fritters or whatever.

"French" or Cultured Butter

I made cultured butter by adding a bit of buttermilk to some cream and leaving it out for a while (basically the same thing that's in the link a few posts above). I then made butter, but I made it into ghee, so it's hard for me to tell that it was cultured. I'd like to try it again and just make butter with it, and use the butter to see if I can tell a difference.

I honestly thought I was the ONLY PERSON in America trying to make cultured butter, for any reason... :) I'm glad I'm not the only one who's into this sort of thing!

Tomato Sauce outta can? Gross!

If someone used one of the regular canned sauces, like Prego or something, I would be able to tell right away.

Conversely, if someone makes a fresh tomato sauce with fresh basil and other ingredients, I would presumably be able to tell (hasn't happened to me yet, unfortunately). But, in my opinion the taste between Prego and a from-scratch sauce is pretty big.

There is a lot of room in between, though... there are some tomato sauces that use more natural ingredients, and have a better flavor (don't have that "sweet syrup" taste). Then there's buying a sauce and simmering it with additional herbs and such. Not sure if I would be able to tell in that case.

Perhaps your friends were simply expressing their admiration for a homemade sauce versus the presumably less healthy store-bought sauce that has ingredients, such as corn syrup, that they don't wish to consume?

Bad Kitchen Habits

My main bad habit is that I'm a terrible, terrible slob. Not just in the kitchen - EVERYWHERE. I don't even have people over. Who wants to see my mess of a house? My excuse is that I'm a single mom... whine, whine...

I keep thinking if I decorated it and made it homey, I would be so much more motivated to keep it clean, but I totally suck at that.

All of my smaller bad habits get eclipsed by this one. Although, I also tend to do too much cooking (I just get kinda inspired, and carried away with it!).

I love hearing everyone's little confessionals. :) It's like postsecret, only for cooking!

Cast iron - gunk in the bottom?

I am more confused than ever, honestly. Use dish soap, don't use dish soap. Use a wire brush, don't use a wire brush. The black stuff is good, the black stuff is bad. I didn't realize that there was so much disagreement on how to clean ast iron...

Does Pork Contain tape worms in it????

Grumpy Old Man - wikipedia is not a very good source of information for most topics (especially those with some controversy) and this one is no exception. It is not an unbiased article.

I know little about irradiation. However, as with pasteurization of milk, while pasteurization had good benefits in terms of decreasing the risks of illness, it also fundamentally changes the milk and decreases its nutritional content, taste, and structure. So I would have concerns about whether this also happens with irradiation (and virtually any process which is going to have that kind of an effect on the bad buggies is going to have an effect on the food fundamentally in some ways, so I think it's a valid concern).

Light Butternut Squash Recipes

I can vouch for Ina's butternut squash salad, it's on the Food Network site and it has an apple cider vinaigrette and the whole thing is AWESOME.

Do you let guests know they're eating raw eggs?

I think the egg risk is WAY overblown, personally.

It is the responsibility of a guest to make sure that they aren't being served something that they object to (i.e. a vegetarian)... not the responsibility of the person graciously fixing the meal and providing it.

Personally, I would make the dressing without egg before I would announce it to everyone like that, because it would seem in bad taste and kind of a mood killer for the dinner. But honestly, it would not have occurred to me to warn someone about the egg any more than I would warn someone that their steak had defrosted on the counter instead of in the fridge, because I forgot to do it last night, or that the steak I cooked was medium rare.

What are your strange, secret and personal cooking tips?

Two words:

Alton Brown.

host of "Good Eats". Known in my house as "The King".

I also watch a lot of shows on the Food Network and have found it to be extremely helpful. The more, the better.

Oh yeah - and also, don't be afraid to fat up or salt up your cooking (as Anne Burrell might say).

Those are my secrets, but I'm not that great of a cook. :) I think that years and years of practice and experience are the key.


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