Monthly Archives: January 2017

Onions….

van-gogh-still-life-with-a-plate-of-onions-january-1889-oil-on-canvas-50-x-64-cm-kroller-muller-museum-otterlo

Van Gogh, Still Life with a Plate of Onions, January 1889. Oil on canvas, 50 x 64 cm. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo.

 

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Union

Gretchen Rubin , the habits, happiness guru suggested  creating a one word theme for the year ahead.

gretchen-profile

I almost never think in one word. LOTS of words, easy. One? not quite my inclination.

I appreciate the focus, but was at a loss.

I pondered while I washed up the dishes in the kitchen sink. Some of my best ponder is at the sink, hands in sudsy water.

Not one word.

White Christmas, complete with Bing’s whistling – did he really do that that or was it added in? – That went through my head. Not one word.

white_chrismas_film

Pondered a little more, tidied up, read a little and went to bed.

Woke up in the dim, dark hours and wrote ONE WORD on my notepad. No lights, no glasses. Wrote it in the dark. One word.

In the morning, I checked out the word.

ONION

What did I mean by that?

 

That the year ahead would be in layers, smell bad and make me cry?????

That I need to cook more?

That I’ve been spending too much time in the kitchen?

That my Stir-The-Onions-Syndrome was going to pay off OR bring me down???????

Onions, suddenly everywhere……

onion-pi

Right. Onion pi.

 

After wrestling with the one word resolution, it occurred to me that this wrestling match was not over. I was literally in a headlock. Or literately.

My bedtime reading had been Rebecca Rupp’s How Carrots Won the Trojan War  – and the chapter that I read the night I woke with my word?

carrots-won-rupp

“Chapter Twelve. In Which ONIONS Offend Don Quixote …”

Well, how ‘bout that?

Clearer, but not better.

Reread the chapter…..and there was this:

“The crackly skin (officially known as the tunic) protects the scales from drying out. Because the bulb is a single entity rather than a conglomeration of separate cloves as in garlic, it was referred to by the Romans as unio, meaning united. From unio came the medieval French oignon, the Anglo-Saxon onyon, and the modern onion.” p. 197.

 

Maybe the word was

UNION

That made a whole lot more sense.

Cooking is all about unions – of flavors, of techniques, of foodstuffs, of people, of the past and the present, about time and place and memory and novelty, about fashion and availability, here and there and now and then….

Even if the meal is one orange

orangeplate-jens-mohrskoklosters_slott_

Still life Oranges Jens Mohr 1640

That orange includes the tree

oudry_orange_treeJean-Baptiste Oudry, The Orange Tree, 1740

And those who planted the orange trees, and harvested the fruit, and shipped it to you, and stocked it in the shop and took your money….and even if you have a tree in your garden, the orange still include those who saved the seeds and got them to wherever you are and taught you to eat them.

We’re never in food alone.

The State of the Union has been on my mind, too. Which reminded me that the states are all additions to the union.

Indigenous people, many nations, for several thousand years……

 

Europeans arrive. Spanish first in the 16th century, and in the 17th century the English at Virginia and Plymouth….and also the French and Dutch …..but another 150 years after that  Nation. Although we were called United States of America in the Declaration of Independence, we first needed Independence and the each of those states had to be ratified into the union ….

united-states-america

So the first state – Delaware – didn’t become ratified until December 7 1787. That’s just a short 230 years ago. So, starting in December, I’ll be posting about the foods in each of the fifty states. The Plates of the Union, as it were.

The story of food is about time and place and people. And people over time over place and other people. There’s always an outside influence.And you are what you eat….

But there are other unions on my mind…..

uam-logo

Unions, such as UAW Local 2320. Yep, that’s new for 2017. We voted on November 4th. The challenges, etc and all the other legal paperwork  continued through November, but on December 2nd, 2016 the Election count for the union was ratified. There will be lots more news about this  as the winter continues.

But for right now, there’s soup to start….or maybe it’s a stew….

 

 

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Throwback Thursdays

This might very well be the Introduction, or perhaps the Preface to “Do You REALLY Live Here? My Life as a Pilgrim”.

Foodways Pilgrim

I’ve been studying Thanksgiving professionally since 1980.

Semi-professionally since the Kennedy administration. My first area of expertise was the relish tray, specifically black olives,

Your Basic Black - olive, that is. Your Basic Black – olive, that is.

the canned pitted ones that fit over your fingertips so you can wiggle them at your brothers.

This is not me, and yet it was me....olives are very philosophical, as well as tasty This is not me, and yet it was me….olives are very philosophical, as well as tasty

My brothers were never the least bit squeamish, but they’ve always kept a respectable distance from black olives.

That first year of professional study was a fluke – a 10 week position as a Pilgrim at Plimoth Plantation.

I wasn’t going to make a CAREER out of it, and end up in Food Network Magazine’s Odd Job  or anything

How about a throwback to Thanksgiving? I hereby that Throwback Thurdays will be Thanksgiving themed here at Foodways Pilgrim

Here I am on How2heroes about…

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Red Light Green Light

There are TWELVE days of Christmas – all of you ever so eager to put those lights UP in November, don’t be in such a hurry to take them down – keep ‘em around at least until the 6th of January, the Feast of the Epiphany. That’s the day the Three Wise Guys, um, I mean Wise Men, finally get to the party. And let’s face it – January could use some low key good times, not to mention a little more light.

As for the red light….

Beets.

beetroot

Can’t beat them, so just enjoy them.

Last summer I used fresh tomatoes in salads and uncooked sauce for pasta. Once I found one recipe for uncooked tomato sauce, it seems as if there were thousands.

Or at least several.

Lidia!

lidia_bastianich_2014

Lidia Bastianich

Marian Morash!

vgcb

 

Total stranger from somewhere else!!

Newspapers and magazines…..

So when I got a new Italian cookbook (much of the Italian being American chefs in Italian restaurants…and the Italian cooking was restaurant cooking too.)

italian_intermezzo

 

AND

It came with music. To cook and dine with Italian music. The music was the deal-breaker.

As I was listening to Ciribiribin

– not to be confused with Chili Bean

 

I found yet another variation on the uncooked tomato sauce, but this one had a twist.

The variation called for beets.

RED LIGHT

That were cooked. For 1 1/2 hours.

Which is very different from uncooked. Or tomatoes.

So I really don’t know how this qualifies as a variation and not a whole new recipes.

BUT

I had beets….

GREEN LIGHT

So I scrubbed them, tossed them with a little olive oil and roasted them in a 350 oven for 90 or so minutes until they were tender.

I took them out of the oven and put some water on for the pasta…..

Alton Brown has embraced the cold water method for cooking pasta….

abeverydaycook

 

Cold water pasta is another post.

Anyhow,

While the pasta cooked

farfalle_pasta

Farfalle – butterflies!

I peeled the beets and cut them into a dice. Tossed with some olive oil wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Also some minced parsley and a little rosemary.

Added with the now cooked pasta and some ricotta, a 1/2 cup or so of the pasta water. Stir, taste, adjust, EAT.

It was pink…..and it was good.

It was NOTHING like the uncooked tomato sauce.

But it was delicious.

It was also good re-heated the next day.

 

 

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