I'm married with one cat and dreams of a Yellow Submarine kitchen with a good gas stove.

  • Location: Alameda, CA

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Poll: Ranch Dressing on Pizza - Way or No Way?

If the pizza's bad enough that dipping it in ranch dressing will improve it, it's bad enough not to eat in the first place.

No. Thank. You.

The 87 Greatest Food Moments in Hollywood History

@Indy: No, I'm just passionate about food on film.

@Teachertalk: (waves) I remember Tom Jones. I even mentioned it in my rantlette. And I was even alive then, albeit far too young for the content of the film. I'm betting my parents left me with a sitter to see that one.

Oh, and I thought of another good food moment on film. In Monty Python's Life of Brian when he gets the job as a food vendor at the gladiator matches. "Lark's tongues, wolf nipple chips, otter noses...."

The 87 Greatest Food Moments in Hollywood History

@salpico: I'm ashamed that I didn't think of Cagney's grapefruit! In fact, he has a duo of great grapefruit scenes, because he uses a grapefruit to threaten to hit Eve Arden in One, Two, Three!

The 87 Greatest Food Moments in Hollywood History

That is one of the weirdest lists I've ever seen. It's got some really bizarre choices (Harlan Pepper's nut naming from Best In Show? Really? It's a nice enough scene, but it's hardly a Great Food Moment in Film) and it's missing some obvious requirements.

Where is the great roast chicken seduction from Tom Jones? The banquet scene from Beckett? The pie fight from The Great Race? Dinner on the ship in Galaxy Quest? John Goodman scarfing down fried chicken and squashing the frog in O Brother, Where Art Thou? Erotic use of butter from Last Tango in Paris? I've never even seen that last one, but it's infamous enough that I've been hearing about it for most of my life!

For a more obscure moment, how about the hiding of the whiskey in Tight Little Island?

And 87? Really? What a strange number to choose.

Oh, and one more thing. It's not a film, but a television series, but for my money one of the very best food moments on film ever is the figs in I, Claudius.

Do you think about what you are going to eat later when you get dressed?

I might decide against a white blouse if I'm eating something messy based in tomatoes. Then again, I don't actually own a white blouse, so it's not that hard to do.

I do think about what I'm going to eat later... but how I dress is rarely based upon the food. Where I'm eating may influence it a little (is it a fairly fancy place? a neighborhood casual place? fast food? my couch?), but the actual food or the amount available, not so much.

Favorite Kitchen Appliance/Gadget

I think the most important thing is to really, honestly consider how and what you tend to cook. After all, what one of us can't get along without is the sturdy kitchen arm another of us leans on. I couldn't do without my KA stand mixer and my rolling pin, but then I bake a LOT. Someone else may get far more use out of a rice cooker, which is something I can't imagine myself using very much. Yet another recommends an immersion blender, but the only use I've found for that so far is to redecorate my kitchen with lentil soup! Seriously, I was given one once, but I never did get the hang of the thing and I gave up. One person will swear by microwaves, another by toaster ovens, and yet another will sneer at anyone thinking either has any place in a serious kitchen.

My primary piece of advice in re: kitchen gadgets is to only invest in the ones you think you really need. As @wadejay says, many of them aren't really necessary if you have a really good knife or two and the chops (pun only partially intended) to use them well. Live with your cooking for a while and figure out what tools will do you the most good before you offer up valuable counter/drawer space to them.

Have you seen a copy of Nigella Kitchen? She's got a couple pages of it dedicated to listing her all-time worst/most pointless kitchen equipment purchases and listing how they didn't fit into her life. It's a sobering list.

Culinary No Fly Zones

@Mizbee: But if all I'm going to taste is the garlic butter, why bother with the snails? I can drink garlic butter by the gallon without putting snails in it.

Also? Not a fan of raw oysters... or much of any oysters. I've tried. I can get smoked ones down in small quantities. That's about my limit.

But I'll happily let you have my snails and my oysters. Enjoy!

@BitchinFixins: You know, I might have trouble going there, too.

@hungrychristel: My advice? Stop trying liver, at least for a while. It sounds like it's just not your thing.

Is It Worth It? (Part 2)

I think it depends on a number of factors, such as: how much you enjoy the process of bagel making, whether you have access to really good bagels in your area, and whether you have the time to make bagels when you want them.

Some people will find it absolutely worthwhile to make their own, and others won't.

The Strangest Burger I've Ever Eaten, From Chalet Regain in France

(rolls about on the floor, helpless with mirth)

(Gawks in disbelief)

(goes back to rolling about, helpless with mirth)

Egg yolks - What should I do with them?

I don't know about you, but I would whip up a yummy buttercream to go with that cake!

Cook the Book: 'The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat'

Well-raised meat animals are raised to eat what nature intended that animal to eat, given the room to move as nature intended them to move, and slaughtered humanely.

My latest food obsession...

Cold soups.

It's funny, the weather felt like february until the middle of june, whereupon it suddenly decided to be the middle of august. I'm spending my days covered in sweat and hating the idea of anything warm. And so I'm tossing any veggie that can be eaten raw into the food processor with water or broth and whatever seasonings sound good.

Fun, easy, and Mr. Twistie is - like me - a complete soup whore.

...squirted out of my nose.

Maybe too many people feared the 'squiting.' Or maybe not enough people have ever squirted anything out their noses.

There's got to be a word for that. Projectile Rhinosquirtitus?

...squirted out of my nose.

One Thanksgiving when I was just a tiny tadpole of a kid, my grandmother was enjoying one of the turkey legs when my cat - whose table manners left much to be desired - leapt up on the table and began a tug-of-war for that joint.

My terribly proper grandmother bopped my cat on the head with the turkey leg and went back to eating. My cat never jumped on the table during a meal again.

Candy for wedding favors?

@hmw: I think the homemade spice rub sounds like a fabulous favor! Tasty, not overdone, low-cost, and easy to transport. You can't do much better than that.

Candy for wedding favors?

I used that old chestnut of Jordan almonds. I figured if people didn't take them, I could eat all the leftovers. MWAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!

What? I actually really like Jordan almonds! And some people did take them and eat them.

That said, I recommend @jpeckjr's suggestion of a single excellent truffle, assuming you have a temperature-controlled enough environment. It's hard to go too far wrong with chocolate. I didn't give chocolates largely because we were married in a redwood grove in June and there was no way to be sure the chocolates wouldn't melt.

The best non-food favor I ever got at a wedding was wildflower seeds in a small ceramic bowl the MOB made. She was a talented amateur ceramicist, so I keep the bowl for condiments, and the seed could simply be strewn across a lawn or field in hopes of pretty flowers rising up at some point.

I threw the seeds into a vacant lot I felt needed prettying up. It was cool the next spring to see poppies and other cheerful flowers pop up randomly.

What are your favorite Talk memories?

Okay, my first thought was Not Your Mother's Meatloaf, but that's been covered, so I have to bring up Kenji's boiled water recipe. That was awesome fun. Ditto to @dmcavanagh's vote for any of the @salpico's MIL stories. I have never met the woman, but I fear her... sometimes to the point of stringing garlic around my neck to ward her off.

Okay, I wear the garlic as a fashion accessory, but I'm hoping it can multi-task.

Chain Reaction: Chili's

The one time I ever ate at a Chili's, I didn't have a burger. Unfortunately, everything I did order was so greasy that I have never bothered to eat there again. From reading this, I am not inspired to change my routine.

Secret recipes: yay or nay?

I don't want any secrets about my recipes. Even if - as in CatBoy's example - I can't be absolutely specific, I'll give it as close as I can. No, I won't hold anything back. No, I won't keep it for only certain people.

After all, when my father died (he was the last parent to go) one of my brothers took Mom's special cookbook with all her signature dishes on the understanding that he would make copies for the rest of us. It's been thirteen years. I still have no recipe for her chestnut stuffing, her ginger steamed pudding, her cranberry jelly and sorbet, her meat pies... they're all languishing somewhere in a file on my brother's computer (if he ever got that far!) and the only one of her special recipes I have happened to be on a slip of paper that she used for a bookmark somewhere along the line in another cookbook... that I just happened to choose from her collection when we were cleaning out the house.

No, I don't like to keep my recipes secret. I want people to enjoy cooking and eating them. Besides, I don't have any kids to save them up for. Anyone who wants them is welcome to cook them, alter them, and enjoy them in any way they please.

Oh, and in case you're keeping track of the generational thing, I'm forty-eight.

Switch up your palate

@tastefixation + 1.

Sometimes I'll want nothing but eggs for breakfast, other times I want cold cereal, yogurt, or toast and bacon. I'll go on kicks where I cook a lot of pasta for dinner, or soups and stews, or chops... and then I want something else, and I do that.

I may get stuck in a rut, but never for long.

Eating at Someone Else's House

If someone has a significantly dirtier kitchen than mine, I probably don't want to eat there... but then again, I'm a craptastic housekeeper who isn't much exercised about hunting down and slaughtering every germ in the world. I clean the clear areas of my counters, my stovetop, my oven, and my dishes well and I don't let my cat on the counters. Beyond that, everybody takes their chances with my kitchen.

Funnily enough, I have yet to have anyone turn down an invitation to dinner for anything other than a previous engagement... in which case they always seem to negotiate for a re-scheduling.

Cook the Book: 'Latin Grilling'

Are you kidding me? I have to choose just one thing??????

Um... okay... carne asada!

But just about anything Latin and grilled is beyond fab and gear in my book.

Bake the Book: 'Whoopie Pies'

Another sad soul who has never had the pleasure, here.

If I win this book, though, I'll bake up a batch ASAP and feel the love.

Three times's the charm!

Over the years, I've gone back and revisited things I didn't like the first time, because tastes do change. Sometimes it's a matter of changing the texture somehow, and sometimes I just plain hate the flavor and nothing is ever going to change that.

Tripe, mushrooms, and cherries are things I will just never like. At this point, I figure if I was going to start liking them, I would have before this. After all, I'm forty-eight, and I have tried all these things in dozens of different ways prepared by really talented cooks doing their best to make them interesting/palatable for me. Just. Not. Working. I give up.

On the other hand, I loathed parsnips and beets for years. I still have to do something with the texture of beets and I need something to cut the sweetness of them, but I've found a couple ways I can eat them happily (beet risotto and borscht with a LOT of other veggies and beef in it) and I have grown to really love parsnips.

House-smoked, House-brewed, House-this, House-that

Definitely siding with dbcurrie here.

As for whether or not it's better if it's housemade, well, that depends very much on both the talent and the tastes of the person developing the recipe.

Anyone can come up with a recipe. Not every recipe will be good. Even an excellent recipe perfectly executed may not be to your individual taste.

Still, if a restaurant goes the extra mile by making things that are often bought in, I'm willing to give them a go and see whether I think they do it better or not.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.


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