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I made you a video! It’s ridiculous!

16 Sep


Thank you  Mary Burwell for fishing the best cook book ever out of the library donation box and bringing it to me. My life is so much better now!

Cook Book Titling Gone Wrong

12 Sep


I’m sorry… but this is not an acceptable cook book title. I realize that at the time of publishing (1974) “that’s what she said” wasn’t yet a coined phrase, but surely SOMEONE in the editing office could have caught the hilariously suggestive nature of this title. Unfortunately I failed to document the introduction, aptly titled, “How to Stretch Your Meat”. I mean… REALLY.


13 Jun

God, NPR blew my mind twice in the car today. As in, oh, I’m at my destination, but I’m just gonna creep in the parking lot in my car staring intently at the radio while I listen to the end of this story! There were TWO amazing food related stories today, so I thought I’d reblog them here.

Clifton Lyles, Alaska Airlines chef

First, the chef in charge of airline food at Alaskan Airlines talks about trying to create an appealing menu while accommodating the challenges associated with flying (think re-heating, limited packaging, mass appeal, etc). Did you know that when you fly you lose 20-30% of your tasting ability!? That blew my mind! No wonder everything tastes and smells a little duller while in the air! Check out the story here.

Book Larder’s painfully well chosen storefront font 

Secondly, the gloriously inspiring feature on Book Larder, the cookbook-exclusive bookstore in Fremont that I immediately  fell in love with just from hearing owner Lara Hamilton describe the place while thoughtfully keeping The Eternal Food Muse (Miss Julia Child, obvs!) on the forefront of the story. I love Lara. I love Julia Child. And I’m pretty sure I want to marry Book Larder and I haven’t even met it yet. There’s a demo kitchen inside! They feature food bloggers and authors and cooks and workshops! And they just so happen to be reading Child’s My Life in France right now for their free drop-in book club meeting. Oh, you know, I’VE BEEN READING THAT TOO. While I looked at Book Larder’s website I had a strong desire to make out with my laptop. I wish I was kidding. Check out the story here! A day trip to Fremont with my tip money is in the works, with a little Paseo sandwich thrown in to make that day likely rival the awesomeness of any future wedding / childbirth / lottery winning, etc.

Meatcookery? Yes please, in festival form!

27 Apr

Another successful day at Goodwill, filled with an entire aisle of culinary delights! I nearly left with an armload, but forced myself (for the sake of my meager little cookbook cabinet) to do as the naturalists do and leave only footprints, take only pictures. Because seriously, my kitchen shoes were leaving black greasy footprints ALLZ OVER THE PLACE. First up is the gloriously named Festival of Meatcookery. I know when it comes to me and meatcookery, I’m only in if it’s a fucking FESTIVAL! Where the festival currency is meat! And platters of meat spill out of every storefront! And the blue ribbon goes to creations like these (!):

I don’t know what this is, but damn it if it’s not the most abstractly lovely meat creation I’ve seen in  long time (meat gelatins not included).

Next is the 1992 book, Bread Electric. Or is it Electric Bread? DAMN IT, GRAPHICS.

I love this book because it’s rock and roll, like Journey, and edgy like Madonna, BUT WITH BREAD. Bread instead of celebrities. It’s the only way to eat bread.

Then of course there’s Madame Benoit’s Library of Canadian Cooking. 

I’m just amazed that Canada even HAS 6,000 recipes. Like, not even in this cookbook, but in Canada in general. Ha! CANADA!

And with the prize for Best Cover Photograph, Scandinavian Cooking. This book confused me because it was mostly text and pictures of Scandinavian people, and I was like, what, do I eat the people? Where is the food? And most importantly, HOW DO I FERMENT A SHARK??? From what I can tell from this photo, I dice up the shark, stuff it in a jar with onions, carrots, and presumably some vinegar or something, and then serve it alongside the world’s tallest mini-martini. Dude. If King Arthur drank extremely tall mini martinis, he’d be all over this! The glass style really screams Knights of the Round Table… well, to me anyway.

Somehow I managed to refrain from purchasing every one of these gems, though I’m kind of having non-buyer’s remorse for Festival of Meatcookery. I mean, I, like any other self-respecting meat eater, could probably do with a little more party with my protein… but what’re you gonna do. I’m nearly positive that the weird elderly gentleman who hovered behind me in the cookbook aisle for a solid 20 minutes was just waiting for moment I put down the book. So it’s probably at his house. Right next to the Iguana Care Companion Guide and Time Life’s Collector Series of the Civil War. 

The good news is that I found, possibly, the saddest snowglobe ever to be manufactured.

Poor kitty. Always struggling to get it’s face out of the water, and never, ever succeeding. And with this as your companion, it’s time for bed. Goodnight, no nightmares of meat or felines, please!

Pablo, my other love

29 Jan

Despite the glorious convenience of online food resources, I really can’t live without my cookbook collection. Obviously I love checking out the daily food porn on foodgawker and scoping out everyone else’s food blogs, and I definitely use google searches for recipes in a pinch. But something about flipping through the pages and tangibly identifying ingredients I have on hand rather than bumbling through an online idea of a page is much more accommodating to my meager little brain. So for the most part, cookbooks it is.

If you’ve read anything on here it is immediately apparent that I am totally obsessed with How to Cook Everything. Well, maybe obsessed isn’t the right word. If How to Cook Everything were a man, it would be that reliable, sensible, never-fails-you but a little on the traditional side of things kind a guy. I want to marry How to Cook Everything. But recently I stumbled upon the Bon Appetit cookbook at the Goodwill and purchased it, read some recipes, and immediately developed an unbridled crush on it. If I’m already married to one cookbook, surely my interest in the more exotic, adventurous cookbook is cheating. It’s lacking in some basic I-Need-You departments, but it has all the flair of a TGI Friday’s employee vest. Well, minus the tackiness. Plus the dazzle-you factor. Sorry, I just got home from a long and crazy night working at the bar and now I feel a little punch drunk. But seriously, the vest analogy makes sense, right? I thought so. The Bon Appetit book just has that little umph that I’ve been wanting THIS WHOLE TIME that I’ve been with How to Cook Everything!

Well, my BF4E (wow!) came over before work and I made her and C dinner from the Bon Appetit book; basil and goat cheese stuffed chicken. I don’t know if it was because I was listening to Riley (and in the background, C watching “Willow” [!?!?]) or because I always fail to read instructions thoroughly, but in classic uh-oh-sally form I realized AFTER I had finished assembling the damn things that I had done it ALL WRONG. I was like, “oh, la, la… mixing all the things together to mash onto the chicken, then roll it up, bake it, voila, time to talk about GIRLY STUFF!” but then realized that no, these creations were distinctly of the not-impressing-your-guest variety and now it was TOO LATE. I guess the egg and breadcrumbs and butter and what have you were supposed to act as a coating before you tied the little suckers up in kitchen/camping (whatever’s on hand, man!) twine, but now all that junk was smeared onto a nearly-flattened chicken breast, rolled, and tied in three places and there’s NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT! But what would you know, I made some mushroom-wine reduction with an absolutely ludicrous amount of butter, served the chicken medallions over rice and even garnished the dish, and it was good. No, it was fucking good. So there. Turns out you didn’t even need the recipe from your exotic, foreign boyfriend on the side cookbook ANYWAY. You got this alllll figured out.


6 Jan

The other day at Goodwill I stumbled upon possibly my favorite old weird cookbook yet. Sunset’s undated book, “Cooking with Casseroles” is an absolute goldmine of terrible ideas. Nearly every recipe seems to call for ground beef, canned beans, Worcestershire, and either a can of condensed soup or gravy (I’m not even going to touch upon canned gravy now. Woof). It’s actually pretty astounding how many recipes can be made out of essentially the same ingredients.

Upside Down Meat Pie, anyone? How about a Rolled Meat Pancake?!? I am baffled by the Beef Casserole, Chinese Style: ground beef, frozen peas, celery, mushroom soup, onion, cream, salt, pepper, and potato chips. I’m guessing that the Chinese element at play here is… uh, peas? But surely, the inexplicable addition of potato chips and table cream make this an indisputably American meal. Really, I can’t think of anywhere else in the world that would come up with combination of ingredients.

Some recipes I cannot even fathom the results of, like the Chicken and Tuna Pie. It’s got a can of tuna, a can of chicken noodle soup, cracker meal, bacon, and parsley. If I weren’t so afraid of actually having to eat what I pulled out of the oven, I’d like to make this and see what on god’s earth it manages to look like if not a generous pile of vomit. Or, I know, let’s have Yummy Balls for dinner! I mean, really. How has that ever been an acceptable name for a dish? And ok, I can’t decide if my favorite is the aptly name Mystery Casserole or the Spaghetti Beef with Mixed Nuts. Someone, please persuade me to try to make this, and then come over and eat it/provide moral support- I’m burning with curiosity here!

P.S. My latest article for the Cascadia Weekly came out on Wednesday! Check it out!


The Monstrosity of Vintage Cookbooks

8 Dec

Check out this absolutely glorious aberration of cookbookery! Prepare to be appalled and infatuated: The Monstrosity of Vintage Cookbooks

I’m just glad to see that other people are enjoying the types of cookbooks that I seek out in thrift stores. I’ve got a pretty atrocious fondue book, as well as a book of totally inedible salads, but if I found the book that this blogger found, I’d be crying in joy. Santa, FIND ME THAT BOOK ON EBAY.

This is not from the linked cookbook, but it is still a rare and priceless treasure.

Book presents and breakfast feasts

29 Aug

My latest dilemma with this food blog is half the time I make regular-person food and even though it takes time and tastes good I don’t feel like it warrants the whole, “hey, let me just bust out my camera and photograph this for ten minutes before I eat it,” you know? What am I supposed to do, write about some fairly standard stir fry? I’d be like, so then I chopped a bunch of vegetables and added a bunch of soy sauce and spicy junk and oil and served it over rice like every other person in the world does 8,000 times a year. Please, read my blog. I’m desperate.

So you know, I’m just not gonna do that. Luckily when my sister, Beth and her boyfriend, Jeff visited me this weekend I scored something food related to take a photo of.

Beth works in a really sweet bookstore so she’s always throwing rad books my way. She brought this with her for me so that we could collaborate on an awesome taco night for my mom’s birthday next weekend. I haven’t decided which tacos to bust out, but prickly-pear margaritas and stuffed peppers are definitely on the list. Beth has good ideas.

They came up for a wedding and when I gave them the tour of my tiny little house, Jeff spotted my Bullet Bourbon bottle on my nightstand (I use it for a water bottle because it’s the only container that my cat can’t stick his face in. GUH.) and was like, “BULLET BOURBON. You two really are sisters.” And then I remembered my sister’s and my shared love of all things whiskey, so after C and I picked them up from the wedding shuttle we stopped by Uisce’s to check out their whiskey menu. Uisce’s is an Irish pub and known for their whiskey selection. Being a total sap for whiskey (a love song might be in the works…) I should’ve been frequenting this bar long ago, but last night was my first time in there. I avoided it because I was afraid… NOT OF THE WHISKEY. Of the bartenders. I had this fear of going up to the bar and being like, ONE WHISKEY, PLEASE, SIR! And them being like, you moron. It’s a whiskey bar. WHAT KIND OF WHISKEY. And then I’d falter and get embarrassed and skulk away because let’s be honest, I don’t really know shit about whiskey. One day when I’m staggeringly rich I’ll have a complete knowledge of the finest liquors that my monkey barkeep (who I will have trained to talk via a tiny robotic speaker) will have educated me about. But that’s not going to happen for at least another six months, and in the mean time I usually make the classy request of “whatever’s cheap tonight.” I know, I’m full of charms.

But I asked for the whiskey menu, balked at the space where Bullet should’ve been but wasn’t, then found out they had it, just not on the menu. So Jeff and Beth and I got our Bullet on the rocks, C got some ale, and ALL WAS WELL.

This morning I was feeling like an epic breakfast, so Beth and I ran to the Co-Op for ingredients. I made smoothies with kiwi, banana, strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry (and orange juice and vanilla yogurt. YUM.)

my favorite glass.

Then I put together a scramble with crimini mushrooms and… oh wait. Hold on, SIDE NOTE TIME. Every time I buy or write about or talk about crimini mushrooms I say Criminy! mushrooms. Like I’m in the backwoods in the olden times and someone was like,”Snake! Snake in your boot!” And I go CRIMINY! Which, according to wikipedia, which I trust for pretty much everything, is a curse word from the 1600’s meaning CHRIST! Crimini mushrooms have a totally different pronunciation that I just can’t seem to grasp, so I’m gonna go ahead and call them Criminy! mushrooms. Every time. From here on out. ENJOY, SUCKAS.

Ok, back to the scramble: Criminy! mushrooms, yellow pepper, spinach, red onion, eggs, Tapatio hot sauce and salt and pepper. Easy peasy. Then we scored some English muffins (half of which were already moldy when we purchased them! Yes! I love surprises!) with blackberry jam homemade by two of my coworkers. DELICIOUS. Nectarines, chicken breakfast sausage, and it was a done deal. I’m still full.

So tonight’s plan includes mooooore fooooood! And mooooore driiiinks! My favorite things! The local gastropub, The Copper Hog is starting an industry night tonight for food service and bartender folks. You bring in your paystub to show that you are indeed a hash-slinging kitchen wench and they give you a membership card that gets you 20% off every Sunday. At least I think that’s how it works. Regardless, I’ve got my paystub all tucked into my purse, ready to get my card and get some Copper Hog goodies tonight. Score!

Possibly the best book review of all time

5 Aug

Alright, pals. In my mind, cooking really come down to doing something awesome and caring for another human being. That, or totally fucking losing yourself in steamed crab claws so that when you eat them you’re all wild-eyed and clawing for more so quick you end up with bloody thumbs (can you tell what I had for dinner last night?). What I’m trying to say here is, look people, COOK FOR THE RIGHT REASONS. And don’t be a douchebag. If you’re confused, check out this hilarious book review by Lindy West (my favorite Stranger writer) on a new, crappy cookbook entitled, Cook to Bang: A Lay Cook’s Guide to Getting Laid.


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