Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Waiter, I'll have a meme sandwich on meme, a side of meme, and can I get some extra meme with that, please?



Jello salads at the notsupermarket. In Madison there's a mammoth store that stocks at least a dozen different kinds of these. I have a friend who used to take out-of-towners there to marvel at the array.

These are just the amuse of this evening's post. And so...

I.

First was the 23/5 meme. Remember that one? Bloggers were instructed to dig back to their 23rd post and reprint the fifth sentence. At some point people stopped tagging new bloggers with this one, giving the excuse that the meme was old and tired. They said things like, "Those who wants to participate can consider themselves tagged." Now I've decided to meme myself crazy here, so I'll take that tag and offer this:

"That's a shame, because homemade ice cream is a pure delight."

This is from my gingersnap ice cream post of July 31. I stand behind my statement of more than four months ago but at the same time I should say that winter has dampened my eagerness to eat ice-cold things.

The point of this exercise, I think, is to show that a brief, arbitrarily selected passage of a blog is likely to be emblematic of the whole. Yup.

I'm going to pass this one on to Robyn, who I hope won't be offended by being tagged with a stinky, rotting meme from, like, forever ago. I've had fun just now with 23/5 and I hope she will too.

II.

"Cooking at someone else's house," observes The Seasonal Cook," is a royal pain in the neck." Thus she pitches this meme query: what essential items do you need when cooking in someone else's kitchen? (She asked this question a couple of weeks ago and wondered if it "would it simply fizzle sadly in a wave of indifference?" Not at all!)

I don't often cook in other people's kitchens but when I do I always wish I had:
-my knives and cutting boards
-my pans--the heavy, non-non-stick ones (by now there should be a better way of describing these but I can't think of one)
-kosher salt
-homemade chicken stock
-fresh unsalted butter

What do you consider essential? I mean you, Katherine and you too, McAuliflower.

III.

This meme is more informal, so no tagging. I love to see pictures of other people's kitchens, especially kitchens that look like they're really being used on a regular basis (as opposed to the kitchen porn in magazines and on TV). I've seen kitchens on display in various blogs and, sorry, I can't be bothered to figure out which posts those were and link to them.

Our kitchen is nothing special. The pegboard for hanging pans is an homage to Julia Child.





IV.

Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen has tagged me in the mother of all culinary-themed memes: I am supposed to name my ten favorite foods. Holy Guacamole. Golly Tamale.

I have decided to make two lists. You might think of them as the top twenty, actually. The top ten are starchy Jewish foods (ironic because Kalyn avoids most of these things and it's because of her that I'm doing this in the first place) and the next ten are either not starchy or not Jewish (except in the sense that I eat them and I'm Jewish). Each list is in alpha order.

Starchy Jewish Foods:
1. Bagels, in order of preference: H&H (NYC), Fairmount (Montreal), St. Viateur (Montreal), St. Urbain (Toronto), New York Bagel & Bialy (Chicago suburbs), Bagels on the Square (NYC, for sentimental reasons), Gryfe's (Toronto). I baked bagels once and it was interesting but the product of my labor was not satisfying.
2. Blintzes, cheese filled of course.
3. Challah, preferably made by me.
4. Cholent, the bean stew that cooks all night beginning before sunset Friday to become Saturday's lunch. According to Jewish cooking maven Mitchell Davis, cholent has its origins in medieval France (the word probably comes from a combination of chaud, or hot, and lent, or slow) and is the precursor of cassoulet.
5. Kasha varnishkes. Varnishkes are bowtie noodles and the word, apparently, has no known etymology. My preference is for kasha varnishkes made with onions, mushrooms, and about three piecrusts worth of butter.
6. Knishes, in order of preference: beef, potato, spinach, kasha.
7. Kreplach, the Jewish version of wontons.
8. Kugel, lokshen (noodle) or potato.
9. Latkes (potato pancakes) with sour cream and applesauce.
10. Matzoballs.

Not Starchy Jewish Foods:
1. Beef, braised. Brisket, boeuf bourguignonne, short ribs, pot roast. Better than steak.
2. Butter. Cold, room temperature, melted.
3. Cheese. These are some I've enjoyed lately: cheddar, feta, Gorgonzola, Manchego, Pecorino Toscano. I would really kill for soft, creamy raw milk cheeses like the kind we had in France. Not a person; perhaps a pet.
4. Chocolate, dark.
5. Cocktails like Manhattans and Martinis. But not before a nice dinner out. They're just too damn big and I end up drunk and sleepy by the time the food comes.
6. Coffee, dark roast, never milk or sugar.
7. Cured meats: salami, corned beef, sausage, bacon, ham, never tried any I didn't like.
8. Noodles, all kinds.
9. Rice, which may be the world's greatest food.
10. Tomatoes and all the things you make out of them: sauce, salsa, ketchup, ratatouille, pizza margherita, and so on.

Now I get to pass along the blessing that is the top ten meme. I tag the food pornographer, the chocolate lady, and Barbara. You're it!

***



Finally, I thought you'd like this elderly accordionist who was entertaining handicapped Christmas shoppers at Tarzhay this morning with songs of the season. They had him starting at 8, which is earlier than he would like, but it's better than another place that had him starting at 7:30.

12 Comments:

Blogger Kalyn said...

Very nice job on this. You really gave it an interesting twist.

11:09 PM  
Blogger mzn said...

Thank you, Kalyn, for thinking of me.

11:22 PM  
Blogger zp said...

"Cholent, the bean stew that cooks all night beginning before sunset Friday to become Saturday's lunch. According to Jewish cooking maven Mitchell Davis, cholent has its origins in medieval France (the word probably comes from a combination of chaud, or hot, and lent, or slow) and is the precursor of cassoulet."

As a grad student, I am one with the bean. This dish sounds exciting and fun and I may be cooking it in someone else's kitchen someday soon . . . which I love because everyone I know has more tools and expensive ingrediants than I do.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Barbara Fisher said...

The top ten foods? Oh, no! How to choose?

Oh, dear. You have sideswiped me.

I shall have to think upon it.

And to call me a food pornographer, and a chocolate lady?

Why, my mother would be scandalized, perfectly horrified.

It's wonderful.

;-)

8:56 PM  
Blogger McAuliflower said...

Ooooo good one... as I'm 'real world' considering the question you lofted at me...

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Fesser@gmail.com said...

Exactly the things I wish I had in re cooking at someone else's house. I'd add a gas stove. There is always something odd missing, but I enjoy the asking, and when told it does not exist, exclaiming "You people live like savages."

12:03 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Thanks very much! Working!

re tsholnt (cholent:
the word tsholnt meant "hot" and it does come from the Old French word for hot (note that "ch" was likely to have been pronounced "tsh" in French. But the bit about the word for slow is belongs to the regrettable category of Fakelore of the Living Dead. Some folks must have thought that if one French word was good, two would be even better. A journalist once even quoted me as saying this, even though I had told her that tsholnt means hot and the folk-etymology about “slow” is bogus. What a nightmare. There it is, forever, in print, quoting my good name. Out of the depths of my affliction I called to the lord.

9:58 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

))

*forgot to close two sets of paentheses!

10:03 PM  
Blogger mzn said...

I pronounce it "tsh." Do some pronounce the "ch" as in challah?

Now I'm worried I might have harmed Mr. Davis's good name. I must go find his cholent recipe to see if I misremembered that. He definitely says the dish is a precursor of cassoulet, though. I have a fondness for his Jewish cookbook in part because he is a fellow Torontonian.

2:14 PM  
Blogger BNA said...

Thrilled to see that someone else included "things made from tomatoes" on their list!

3:24 PM  
Blogger Katherine said...

Odd that you should ask re: necessities in strange kitchens--my family is headed to the beach for a week to do all our Christmas baking in someone else's (rented) kitchen. I'll post soon on what I packed and what I wish I'd packed.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Katherine said...

Meme completed: http://toastpoint.blogspot.com/2005/12/theres-no-place-like-home-someone.html

10:57 PM  

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