Monthly Archives: October 2011

Go ahead and get stewed

Whipped cream isn’t whipped cream at all unless it’s been whipped with whips. Just as a poached egg isn’t a poached egg unless it’s been stolen from the woods in the dead of night!

~Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Prepare for the pears

They're almost here!

One of the things I like best about fall, besides the fact that cascading cashmere is far more effective than skimpy sundresses as fat camouflage, is that the cold weather brings fabulous, fresh pears. Unlike many people, I greet the annual Harry and David shipment from Aunt Bunny with genuine enthusiasm that borders on rapture, rather than the usual “How the hell are we going to eat all these friggin’ pears?” And I want you to join me.

Here’s the skinny on pears:

For eating: Comice is by far the best. Bartlett will do (canned pears are Bartletts).

For cooking: Seckel or Bosc. They’re grainy.

Anjou can be used for either, though they’re not the absolute juiciest.

Pears are picked when they’re still quite hard and inedible, because if they’re allowed to ripen on the tree they get all mushy and nasty. Once a pear is picked, it generally takes from five to ten days to get ripe, depending on what kind it is. Refrigeration will retard ripening, but I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to put pears in the fridge – you’re playing with fire, or ice as it were – and they’ve probably already been refrigerated in transit at least once.

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NEW FEATURE: Become the mistress of your domain with “Your Kitchen”


In the coming weeks, I will boldly go where no slattern has gone before with the inauguration of a new feature, Your Kitchen. This page will feature exciting and innovative ways to master the most onerous of the domestic domains by reducing painful cooking and cleaning time that could be better spent in more pleasurable pursuits. You know the kinds of things I mean – watching I Love Lucy rerunsinventorying your shoes, painting your toenails, or passive-aggressively nagging your better half for being such a monumental failure at Spacely Sprockets that you can’t afford to enlarge your domestic staff of robots. Should be fun!

Mind your manners

Have you ever seen Spode eat asparagus?
Revolting. It alters one’s whole conception of Man as Nature’s last word.

Bertie Wooster

Eggs: The perfect food unit

Eggs benedict. Sublime at any time.

I love eggs as much as I hate green peppers, which is to say quite a lot. Really, can you think of any other food that is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, stays fresh indefinitely and costs so little? Not even the mighty brownie, though a perfect meal at an time of the day or night, can last more than a week, even in the fridge. On the other hand, if I’m being frank, and I do try to be, brownies never last more than about an hour in my house anyway, so freshness is really not an issue. The egg, however, lends itself to infinite uses and when properly prepared is both tasty and nutritious, so let’s talk eggs.

First, quality. I’m willing to pay for free range, hormone free, vegetarian feed eggs, but I draw the line at organic. Seems unnecessary to me, but you may feel differently, and if so, go ahead and pay for them. The conditions at big chicken farms are notoriously dreadful and even though I’m not over fond of birds in general, it’s just not right to treat any of God’s creatures inhumanely, so I support the little guys who do right, or as right as can be expected, by their livestock, which is also karmically sound in my opinion. And when it comes to karma, I really can’t be too careful though, of course, I can’t speak for you.

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