Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Now go out there and scare up some fun.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Kung Fu Cooking Lesson

Cranky made posole today from some leftover braised pork and a bunch of little ingredients that needed to be eaten up.
It was nothing fancy; the chicken broth was store-bought and the hominy was canned.
He got all the ingredients out, but he still wanted me to tell him how to proceed.
"Should I use half this chicken broth or the whole carton?" he asked.
The question stopped me. I finally said, "Wisdom, little shaolin scholar. The soup will know how much it needs."
OK, that's not really what I said. I said, "Just pour it in the pot until it's the right amount." I mean, isn't that obviously the answer?
Then he opened and rinsed the hominy and proceded to dump it into the broth.
"Patience, my valorous apprentice. Weren't you going to cook your onions and peppers in the broth first?" I asked. "That hominy is already cooked."
He couldn't wait to get the pork in there, either, but I held him off. Sometimes a pot of soup is not just a bubbling cauldron.
"Timing, Grasshopper. The pork has been cut into small pieces and will begin to fall apart."
Finally it all started to come together, and the beauty of waiting to add ingredients to the pot became perfectly clear.
When the vegetables were barely tender, he added the pork and some cubed, cooked winter squash to heat up. Then he added some chopped tomato just to warm through, not to cook.
He dished the soup and laid sliced avocados and torn cilantro over the top, and with a final, deft blow of his partly empty fist, showered it with a nice squirt of crouching lime.
This simple dish was magnificent, and so much of its success was from the timing of ingredients, the contrast in temperatures, and the layering of flavors.
(The hominy was none the worse for the extra simmering.)
Good work, Cranky.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My New Toy

A yogurt maker.
I know, it's nothing more than a fancy, plastic heating pad.
But the rounded dome lid is so cute, like a Volkswagen Beetle, and it comes with SEVEN cool little glass jars and white plastic lids.
I'm making my second batch today. First time I used commercial yogurt as a starter culture. This time, I get to use yogurt I made myself for the starter.
But the directions tell me I should only use my own homemade yogurt as a starter one time; then I'm supposed to go back to using store-bought yogurt (and then I guess I get to use my homemade yogurt as a starter, but only once, after that, and so on). Anybody know why this is so? Should I experiment with a quart of good milk and an "illegal" second-generation starter, or would that be a waste of money?
Verdict on first batch, pure and unflavored with any fruit/sugar adulterations: Yogalicious.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Gettin' Figgy Wit It

Such an influential miasma is the foodblogosphere.
Just when I was all involved with one blogger's fig jam, along came another blogger's tomato chutney.
As it happened, I was fresh off an experiment combining tomatoes and figs, and although that's not the happily-ever-after ending to today's story, it might explain how I wound up cooking a pot of fig chutney.
One more thing. I'm wallowing in a glut of recently harvested wild fennel seeds, and... well, you know how seedy figs are? And then there was that photo of the aromatic seeds swimming around in the tomato chutney... And.
So: Fig chutney. This is not a recipe (you know me better than that), this is just my notes.
Wash and cut figs into sixths. Cut up some onion into little, but still identifiable, chunks.
All right. Spoon a little honey into a saucepan. I used more than a little, because to me, figs taste like honey in a shell. Add a nice splash of wine to the honey (rosé happened to be on hand), and toss in the figs and onions. Warm it all up on low heat.
Now, start tinkering with flavors. I threw in fennel seeds, mustard seeds and black onion seeds. A little salt. A little more salt. A crack of black pepper. More Spanish sherry vinegar than I would have thought.
Taste, tinker. Taste, tinker.
Simmer, simmer, simmer.
An hour or so later, if it's to your liking (and the whole house smells divine), turn off the flame and let it cool.
This is not a heat-processed project; I'm still working up my courage for that. No, today, I just spooned the delicious goo into a clean jar and refrigerated it.
I'm going to slather it over a deconstructed chicken-potato curry. Kind of an un-stew. "Recipe" might follow; might not.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Tender and Callow Fellow

I will be the first to confess I love white food. Pasta, yogurt, rice, calamari, cauliflower, potatoes, tartufi bianchi... You could make a meal out of it, and I often do (well, not very often with truffles).
But the current wisdom is that eating colorful foods is good for health. Blueberries, carrots, kale, beets. Yum. Not only is it good for you, it's good looking.
So it's lucky that the humble, wan, white cauliflower has been sharing market space lately with purple and yellow cauliflowers.
I bought a couple of deep yellow ones (the variety is called Cheddar) and subjected them to my favorite treatment: Slow roasting with a generous coating of oil and minced "dark" flavors: olives, capers, anchovy paste, garlic, a little preserved lemon rind and salt, of course.
I was surprised by the detectable sweetness of the Cheddar cauliflower. Not as "gassy" flavored as plain old white, it stood up beautifully to the treatment, but now I'm wondering if, next time, I might let the sweetness direct me into new territory, say maybe butter, a restrained dash of baking spices and a handful of walnuts. What the heck, maybe some cranberries too. Keep that colorful, healthy thing going.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Come And Get Me, Copper

Whoa. So this is illegal now?
Vegemite contains folic acid. Folate is good for you. To quote from The Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet:
Folate, a water-soluble vitamin, helps the body form red blood cells and aids in the formation of genetic material within every body cell.
But bizarre and useless U.S. food laws say that the only foods that may contain added folic acid are breads and cereals.
Therefore Vegemite is banned, as of now.
Um. Did you know strawberries and asparagus are good sources of folic acid? Liver? Sunflower seeds? Beans? Better not add any of those to your menu.
Pshaw. I find it ridiculous, and I'm going to go have a contraband sandwich. I figure I can get this jar to last me a little while longer; already, it's been in my pantry for — oh, gosh — years?
Then I'll probably have to switch over to Marmite, if that's still allowed.
Man. Sometimes I'm just embarrassed to be American.

UPDATE: Or maybe this whole kettle of concentrated autolyzed yeast extract is just one big misunderstanding. Thanks to a tip at Cooking With Amy, I clicked through to this story, which concluded that it is the Kraft corporation that has discontinued importing Vegemite because of a misreading of the FDA regulations. If that's true, the bottom line is still: No Vegemite.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Un-Artificial Dissemination

Ah, the power of the blogs. It's so nice to learn ideas and techniques from one another.
A couple of days ago, Sean of Hedonia posted his "recipe" for toasted pumpkin seeds, based largely on the recipe Elise of Simply Recipes had posted a year earlier. (I put quotation marks around "recipe," because Sean "writes" "recipes" just the way I do: as a very rough approximation — you either get it or you don't.)
I had missed seeing Elise's version, so it was lucky for me to read Sean's account of how Elise parboils the pumpkin seeds before slathering them with oil and popping them in the oven. (Her recipe says to boil them for 10 minutes; I took mine out after just five minutes.) This really does seem to tenderize the shells.
Then! Sean riffed on her version by seasoning his seeds with chile powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
I got to thinking a whiff of ground cumin would be tasty too, and when I was digging around in my spice cupboard, I came across some Chinese five-spice powder. (Never did find the cinnamon — but cinnamon is one of the five Chinese spices, along with fennel, star anise, cloves and Szechwan pepper.)
OMG! It was fantastic.
So, in the simplest of terms: Clean some pumpkin or squash seeds and simmer them in very salty water. Drain them and spread them on a baking sheet. Slather them with oil and sprinkle with cumin (use too much; you won't regret it) and five-spice powder. Bake at 300° until they're — well — done! (Go visit Elise for a more precise recipe; but note that she's baking at 400°, and "done" will happen sooner.) Let the seeds cool before you deliriously snack them into oblivion.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Not a Posed Picture

This is the little shallow pot we use to grow radish sprouts in, between the sorrel (top) and the oregano (lower left).
Apparently the other Sprout at our house thought it made a nice doggie bed. He slept in it for at least an hour today, only rousing himself when the camera came out.
Good dog. Nothing like some real dirt.
Does this make me a dog ranchin' bum?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Finocchio! How Gay

It's that time of the year, and I want to share it with you.
In Northern California (and probably many other places), wild fennel has gone to seed.
I collected wild fennel pollen last summer, but not this year. (I still have some of last year's — seems an ounce of fennel pollen goes pretty far.)
However, there are still plenty of seeds to gather, and I gathered some a couple of days ago.
Anybody interested in a Share Package? This is an idea I came up with for sharing surplus bounties of herbs, leaves, salt, spices, whatever you have a little extra of.
I'm trying out the idea of tagging it with a Technorati tag of Share+Package. Go check Technorati and see if anybody else is playing along with this scheme. That is, if you have abundance to share, please join the game.
(I do want to add that Technorati is not a really reliable way of getting information. I just checked. What a dud. Still — let's try.)
As for me, I will happily mail a nifty envelope full of wild fennel seeds to — oh, gosh, up to 10 people. Get my e-mail address by clicking on the enigmatic remark under my profile.
Technorati Tag:

Monday, October 16, 2006

Cheese Bomb

Impossible to photograph, but trust me.
This is a skull-sized blob of burrata, the incomparable fresh mozzarella balloon shot through with cream and left to percolate into an overindulgent interior of gooshy, macaroni-like, stringy goodness.
I didn't know what to do with it. The cheese lady suggested pasta, but at $12+ for a pint of this madness, I was hardly about to toss it with noodles.
So I pulled it from the refrigerator an hour before lunchtime, and let it gently come to room temperature. Then I coaxed it from the plastic container, where it had expanded to fill all the possible space, and placed it on a plate — where it continued to burgeon.
Uncut, it made for a horrible picture. I hacked a gash into one side and the interior splooshed out, all tubes and wires and — Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto, you're beautiful!
Well, even so, I wouldn't say that this is a beautiful picture.
But it made for such fun eating.
Can you believe that with all this cow fat, we felt the need to douse it with olive oil? A crack of black pepper, and it was total decadence on a fork.
We do have leftovers. Maybe I'll boil up some penne after all.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Is It Still the Weekend?

Not much activity chez nous, except for a trip to West Marin to visit the tiny, earnest, adorable farmers market in Point Reyes Station — where the produce is so bright and the eggs are so psychedelic and the flowers are so pretty and even the preserves are animated.

It's almost enough to make you wake up.

Friday, October 13, 2006

MEATHENGE: Baconny Almost-Goodness

No, seriously. You are reading Meathenge, not I'm Mad and I Eat. This is a special proxy edition by the real Dr. Biggles, hosted by his pal Cookiecrumb while cyber-tinkerings are completed on his balky website, whose keys and synapses and Internet tubes are no doubt clogged by tasty meat drippings.

"Can you hold please? I need to flip the bacon"

Busy doesn't even remotely come close to describe what I've been up to lately. And when I do have time? I'm so exhausted I sit down for my pre-bed nap. So, Monday I took the day off. I owed some friend a load of meat and I wanted to hit the road, do some travelin'.

It was finally time for me to visit Bud's Custom Meats in Penngrove California. But that was Monday Biggles, how come it's Friday morning and you still haven't tried the bacon? No time, that's why. I thought I just got done telling you that. You did, but then how come this entry? Well, because I had a great idea. What's that Biggles? Since I spend all day at work, why not just fry up the bacon here in my office.

Grand idea Biggles! Bacon in the office, why didn't I think of that? You did silly.

About 9:30 this morning I drove back home (six minute drive) and grabbed Bud's bacon and headed back to work. The kids asked why I was back home so quickly, "What'd you forget, Pops?" "My Bacon!" I said. They knodded and didn't say a thing. They're used to me, I suppose. It's normal for their father to dash in to the house and return with a pound of bacon.

See, years ago I did a fair amount of cooking in my office. Used to prepare breakfast for everyone and lunch sometimes. Well, years have passed and most of my equipment here has found other uses and homes. Such as the hot plate, it's now used for candle making. Just like that, see?

It didn't take long to get my work surface cleaned up and the electric skillet placed and hot. I needed something to turn the bacon with. I dug around in my utensil drawer and found a fork. That doesn't sound like me, I'm never without my tongs. Ah, there they were, tucked way in the back. Yay! Tongs!

From the outside the bacon had a rough, thick cut and it looks pretty. Upon opening I take a deep, deep sniff. Uh, smells like ham. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But there's no smoky goodness, none. Zip, nada. As you can see the piece size varies greatly, that's kinda nice. This way each piece of bacon throughout your meal has a different texture, size and varies with yummy fat content.

Man I hate this electric skillet. The bottom is so thin the food only browns well over the element and not over the entire surface. Dumb thing. But it got the job done and the bacon was ready in no time. I'm a huge fan of paper towels on the bottom and top, press well to soak up the greasy fatness. This way the crispy parts stay crispy and the chewy parts are chewy. MmMmM, chewy parts. Ghod I'm killing me.

I placed all the baconny pieces on a towelled plate and walked throughout the building handing out bacon to everyone I saw. It wasn't expected and the surprised and pleasant noises people made made it all worth while. How did it taste? So far everyone gave 2 thumbs up and thought it was most excellent. They liked the texture and the taste. While I agreed, I wasn't that impressed. There was negligible smoky goodness and that just blows my trip. Even at approximately $3.50 a pound for the sliced bacon, I'm not convinced I'd buy it again. While my other choices are 3 times the price, the smoky love is that important to me. Why? Because you can only eat so much bacon while you're alive. So you might as well make it superb bacon.

7750 Petaluma Hill Rd.
Penngrove, Ca.94951
(707) 795-8402


Note: Bud's is still most certainly worth a trip, even if I wasn't impressed with their bacon. Penngrove is about the size of a pork butt and just as pretty. Please visit Chilebrown's Meat Adventure to Bud's Custom Meats a while back.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

From Nuts to Nuts (And Soup, Too)

Am I nuts? I've been putting off participating in this post because, of all the memes food bloggers participate in, this one lays my soul a little too bare. (And to think I have no problem at all admitting things like buying bottled ranch dressing or snacking on Gummi Bears.)
This one is called The Foodblogger's Welcome Dinner, a daunting little project cooked up by Angelika at The Flying Apple. The premise is that we describe a sort of "signature menu" of the meal we'd be likely to serve to fellow food bloggers.
Eep! As I said to Karina of Gluten-Free Goddess, who tagged me, I'm the kind of person who tears open a bag of Doritos when guests drop by and hopes for the best. A signature menu? How about a takeout menu?
Karina's proposed menu was a veritable cornucopia of New Mexico treats; perhaps it was a fantasy menu. Who'd ever be able to pull off that kind of planning and cooking for company?
So I probed the "reality" lobe of my culinary brain, and happened upon a flashing sign that said "Do What You Can."
I took that to mean "Take It Easy" as well as "Do What You Have Done" (a time-honored rule for entertaining that most of us are wont to break now and then — but not on my blog, not for this meme).
Adding in a little seasonality to the mix, I came up with an easy, somewhat do-ahead, comforting, and yet gently impressive repast.

Spiced Walnuts

Mushroom-Scallion Soup in Beef Broth

Beluga Lentil-Celery Root Salad

Homemade Pork Sausage With Warm Potatoes and Cabbage

Pecan Tassies

What to drink with all these courses? Champagne, of course.

Notes: The spiced walnuts are from a recipe in Fran McCullough's Good Fat Cookbook; they are flavored with salt, dried oregano and cayenne, and I make them all the time.
The soup — well, it sounds good in my head; haven't made it yet.
The lentil-celery root salad is something I dreamed up several years ago, and naturally it varies each time I make it. I'll do it again soon and post a recipe; it's that good.
The sausage is from a Jacques Pepin recipe; it seems to be foolproof, because this fool keeps having success with it. Recommended.
I'd never heard of a "tassie" until my mom lent me a borrowed copy of Martha Stewart Living. Seems they're adorable little tarts baked in mini-muffin pans; here's an Internet recipe (scroll down) that seems accurately transcribed, although not as detailed in the how-to as Martha's elves originally wrote it.

Oh, I gotta tag some people now. Um...
Sher at What Did You Eat?
Anni at Life Is a Banquet
Anita and Cameron at Married... With Dinner

that's enough.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

'Tis the Seasonal

Boy, a local, seasonal eater could go a little crazy these days. The summer's bounty has culminated in a full-on harvest, right here in the middle of a sunny October, and who am I to disobey?
So lunch — on the patio — yesterday was one of those insouciant melanges of "What do we need to eat up, honey?"
We had a couple of tomatoes, set aside from the mini-marathon of tomato sauce-making. We had some cukes and onions. As usual, there were pitted kalamata olives in the fridge, and a beautiful hunk of feta cheese. Oh, but wait.
There were figs.
And why not, I ask you?
Cut, toss, douse with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. (We forgot to use the onion, but I'm 99% certain it might almost have been close to nearly perfect with the figs. I wasn't afraid to try. But we forgot.)
For everybody else, 2006 seemed to be the year to combine watermelon with tomatoes. For us, it was figs and tomatoes, and it was good.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ranch Dressing, or Your Slip's Showing

Ya ever dress ranch-style? You know, little fringed cowgirl skirt and vest with a tin star, those cute little red boots and a perky Dale Evans hat whipstitched around the brim...
Oh. Wait. That's a childhood fantasy, or maybe a Dixie Chicks album cover. Ranch dressing nowadays means white goop you put on a salad.
Now, you may know that I'm generally anti-commercial salad dressing. It's just no trouble to put some stellar ingredients in a jar, give it a quick shake, and onto the arugula it goes.
But I will confess a weakness for the taste of ranch dressing, all creamy and buttermilky and how-the-heck do they make that stuff? In fact, despite the fact that I seem to have trained my taste buds to the point that I can detect the awful industrial taste of factory farming in salad bar offerings, I still get a little thrill from the tinny flavor of the sticky liquids on display there: ranch, Italian, blue cheese... all fake, all kinda electric, like Halloween candy. Just call it slumming, I guess.
I bring this up because late last August the San Francisco Chronicle did yet another of its Taster's Choice roundups, where a distinguished panel of food professionals does a blind tasting and critique of a sampling of store-bought foods in a single category, and on August 30 the category was ranch dressings.
I don't always agree with Taster's Choice conclusions. In fact, of the store-bought food items they've judged that I happen to have tasted myself (OK, not many: canned clam chowders, dried pastas, maybe some others), I mostly disagree.
But, oh, you should have read the rave reviews the panel gave to (fanfare) — Safeway Ranch Dressing! It scored enough points to enter the so-called Taster's Choice Hall of Fame. (And come to think of it — aw, nuts — shouldn't it have entered the Hall of Tastes Pretty Good? Who cares about famous food?)
Safeway's ranch dressing was described by the panelists thus: "good buttermilk flavor," "quite well-balanced" and "tanginess, spices and herbs very well balanced." Oh, there was more. Lurid come-ons about its texture sealed the deal. I had to have a bottle.
How bad could it be? I'm known to eat salad-bar dressings!
But after shelling out over four dollars for a huge plastic jug of this goo, I have my own pronouncement on Safeway Ranch Dressing: Suckety-Poo. Horribly fake. Creepy, burny, unknown flavors. Unhappy homogenized consistency. It went straight into the trash.
So. Back to homemade dressings. Which brings up today's happy ending.
Cranky and I had lunch yesterday at, where I had a simply perfect little salad dressed in a crème fraîche vinaigrette. It seemed to have a subtle flavor of, oh, freshly grated horseradish, I think. It was light and tangy and very well balanced. It reminded me of a ranch dressing with very good manners, and it was REAL.
Next time I get a hankerin' to dress my salad like a cowgirl, I'm makin' the dressing myself.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Bright Red Heart of Darkness

I am melting down 15 pounds of tomatoes for freezing. I bought a lug (is that the word? a big box...) for $12 at the market Thursday, and I'm more than halfway finished cooking them.
The tomatey ladies we bought them from say the price is going up next week because the season is petering out. Heck, I barely got started. Earlier this summer, I just wasn't in the mood to make sauce. Plus, I barely ate any raw tomatoes at all. What a lousy summer.
So this is a last-chance grab, a kind of lonely, dark, sad picture... with a perfect bright spot right in the center of it.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Where Ideas Come From

I like to read new cookbooks from the library. I can spend a day or two thumbing through the pages, making up my mind whether it's a book I'd like to own.
Boy, have I saved a lot of money this way.
The last book I didn't have to buy was written by someone whose heyday in the cooking world was a few decades ago, and even though his/her newest effort (neat trick, eh, keeping his/her identity a secret) has been well received, it just struck me as a teensy bit frumpy.
I don't clamor for ultra-modern recipes. I love my old, dowdy cookbooks. But this one was an encyclopedic bore, so back to the library it went.
Whereupon I checked out another fat, new cookbook, this one a collection of recipes from a food magazine I don't even like. I haven't thumbed through it completely, because it, too, bores me. But I did get one good idea from it, which I have transformed here so completely, you'd never be able to guess which book the idea comes from. (See, I'm nice that way, not wanting to trash people in public. Oh, no. You're right. I'm not always nice.)
Anyway. It's a big, one-skillet potato pancake. What a neat thing! I made mine from grated white- and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes instead of "real" russet potatoes. There's a grated onion in there too, along with a beaten egg and salt and pepper. Fried on both sides, then topped with a medley of butter-roasted fruits (fig, peach, pear, apple) and sliced radishes (so yummy when they're cooked in butter). Then crumbled goat cheese over it all before a quick lick of the broiler flames.
It's not desserty at all, not even close, and it bears no relation to the recipe that gave me the idea, other than the fact that some potatoes were shredded for a big, one-skillet pancake.
Cranky called it a Sweet Potato Pizza in a Pan.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

How to Cook Beans, A Simple Recipe

1) Make friends with Dr. Biggles.
2) I mean really good friends. Food-swappin' friends.
3) See if you can drop by Meathenge Labs on a smoking day. You'll know you're getting close to his house from the little twitch your nose starts making when you're still a few blocks out.
4) It would be ideal if Biggles is smoking these crazy pork rib-thingies with the strange gizmo-shaped bones. And that dry spice rub? Oh yeah.
5) Take home the bones. You already ate the meat.
6) Brew the bones in some water with herbs. Take deep, appreciative breaths (it's cleansing; think "om").
7) Watch the water turn dark and murky and idiotically smoky (this picture was taken at about the 5-minute stage; more transmogrifications were yet to come).
8) Cook some dried white beans in this water. C'mon, ya moron, you know how to do that. A little salt and pepper. Don't add anything tomato-ish until the beans are tender. I tossed in a couple of diced carrots, a little chopped chard, a sploosh of olive oil. Didn't need any onions.
9) Pull out those crazy gizmo bones and see if any little bits of meat want to be scraped back into the pot. I got lucky.
10) Gosh, I hope I get to try this simple recipe again.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Don't Feel Bad, San Francisco

They're French. They don't really understand how we eat around here.
Don't feel bad if you didn't get three stars, or even one.
The Guide Michelin ratings bestowed upon local restaurants yesterday don't mean a thing.
That's the way I see it. I'll continue to live it up at Zuni, Piperade, Isa — really good local places that were completely overlooked by the Michelin people (update: not overlooked; just not awarded stars; my bad).
And I'll still go to Chez Panisse, even if it's only ranked at one star. I've always liked Aqua, but now that it has earned two stars, I'm a little nervous. Will I ever be able to get in again?
It's so sad to see Hubert Keller and Roland Passot feeling bad over their respective one-star ratings. Come on, guys! You're still stars in my book.
It's also sad to see San Francisco feeling so insecure that the Chronicle had to put the story on the front page this morning, above the fold. Are we that easily wounded? (Yes.)
Here's the thing. San Francisco racked up fewer top-ranked restaurants than New York. That's good! I mean it, really good. You don't want to be a New York restaurant, where all the meat is sugared and the produce isn't as fresh as it needs to be and food comes out of the kitchen under a useless metal dome which the server removes with a flourish as if you care and the only reason people go to restaurants is to see who else is there and they just don't get it. At all. No.
Celebrate your starlessness. Celebrate your true California self.
We invented food on the West Coast, after all: M.F.K. Fisher, James Beard, Helen Evans Brown, Julia Child — and only later did our deep, abiding, truly intelligent love of genuine eating migrate east to New York, where, paradoxically, they continue to worship Europe with its calcified culinary rules of tradition and formality and sauces. They're still getting it wrong, thank you very much, Jean-Georges.
I say hooray for us and pooh on Michelin. It's a tire company, fergodsake!
Don't even get me started on Zagat.

Monday, October 02, 2006

What About the Kids?

We know that Rep. Mark Foley sent some inappropriate e-mails and IMs to underage male pages in the Congress.
We know that Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is calling for an investigation of the case.
We know that Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is saying he didn't know how bad the situation was, that he's only just now learning of the utter horn-dogginess of Foley's communications.
We know that Foley checked himself into an alcohol rehab program over the weekend.
Obfuscate, obfuscate, obfuscate.
What about the kids?
Is anyone looking out for the emotional welfare of all the young pages that Foley befriended under false pretenses?
The first kid whose so-called "over friendly" e-mails from Foley were revealed — the ones that Republicans think are merely... well, let's let White House spokesperson Tony Snow characterize them: "naughty" — was revolted! He thought the messages from Foley were "sick, sick, sick." He was uncomfortable, he told his parents so, and that ought to be enough. The kid was uncomfortable.
Foley is a predator, and all we see is Republicans and Democrats trying to spin this situation to their own benefits.
They need counseling. Reassurance. They don't need to be the discarded tissues of this ugly truth.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Grace from Fall

Oh, I got plans for this. It's an acorn squash variety, named "leopard," I think. I think.
See, October happened today. And summer... Well [lips making little Peter Sellers puff of air against pinched fingertips] — she is gone.
So, with a cache of collected autumnal produce from not one, but two successive farmers markets (one yesterday in the Fillmore district in San Francisco and one today in Marin), Cranky and I have dreamed up a dish that we believe reflects the transition of summer to fall.
Just not sure I'm going to get around to making it today, because Cranky is in the kitchen broiling tomatoes and cheese on toast. Now, that's a last gasp of summer.
The squash might have to wait a day.