Friday, December 28, 2007

What the World Eats

Dom Bettinelli points out this photo essay, What the World Eats.

On some levels it is what we would expect with many packaged foods from the Westernized countries. On the other hand, I was stunned to see that a German family spends $500 per week to feed 4 people. Now what would this have been if a French family had been shown I wonder? I always am told that they spend on food the discretionary income equivalent to what Americans spend on technology. I have to say that I am now feeling better about my weekly grocery store bill as it generally is below the American ones I saw and I always thought it was pretty high.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Joyful Anticipation of the Coming Celebration

wassail

Then up rose Mrs. Cratchit, Cratchit's wife, dressed out but poorly in a twice-turned gown, but brave in ribbons, which are cheap, and make a goodly show for sixpence; and she laid the cloth, assisted by Belinda Cratchit, second of her daughters, also brave in ribbons; while Master Peter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes, and getting the corners of his monstrous shirt collar (Bob's private property, conferred upon his son and heir in honor of the day) into his mouth, rejoiced to find himself so gallantly attired, and yearned to show his linen in the fashionable Parks. And now the two smaller Cratchits, boy and girl, came tearing in, screaming that outside the baker's they had smelled the goose, and known it for their own; and basking in luxurious thoughts of sage in onion, these young Cratchits danced about the table, and exalted Master Peter Cratchit to the skies, while he (not proud, although his collars nearly choked him) blew the fire, until the slow potatoes, bubbling up, knocked loudly at the saucepan-lid to be let out and peeled.

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Omelettes Made in a Ziploc? That Just Ain't Right.

It's funny ... and weird ... and kind of intriguing. A homemade boil-in-bag breakfast. Men in Aprons have the instructions if you want to give it a try.

This really seems perfect for guys. It combines a science experiment with breakfast.

My secret informant, Siggy, confides that he has tried it and "it works great!"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crunch

This is a homemade Toffee-Popcorn-Nut recipe that my parents made without fail for every Christmas.

Me?

Well ... Dallas is so much more humid and I run out of time and ... ok, look, I'm not going to lie, especially with Santa checking that list. It's just that I will always put the other recipes first and by the time that I am nerved to deal with molten hot sugar, Christmas is upon us and we have more cookies than we can ever eat. "Why make more sweets?" I tell myself.

Also, truth be told, the humid weather does have something to do with it as well. I want it crunchy and chewy ... not soft and sticky. That ain't easy to achieve unless the Crunch is made only a day or two before Christmas, just when the time crunch really takes hold on my schedule.

Now that I have all that avoidance out of the way, I have to say that this is the popcorn that ruined me for any other toffee popcorn experience. Seriously. Nothing else stands up to that chewy, buttery, crunchy combination.

You know, this year I actually may make it. I can't stand to think of the girls never having this delicious stuff. Yep. I'm doing it for the girls. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Crunch

Step 1:
2 quarts popped corn
1-1/3 cups pecans
2/3 cup almonds
Mix popped corn and nuts on a jelly roll sheet (cookie sheet with edges).

Step 2:
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
Combine in a 1½ quart pan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes or until mixture turns a light caramel color.

Step 3:
1 teaspoon vanilla
Remove caramel from heat, mix in vanilla and pour over corn and nut mix. Stir to coat well; spread out to dry. Break apart and store in tightly covered container. Makes about 2 pounds.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I Don't Know About The Tom-inator, But ...

... I have no doubt that the rest of this is the best barbecue in Atlanta. Our co-worker Chris's brothers run it and he's given us some of their ribs as a Christmas gift before. Mmmm, mmm, good! As this Fox News guy attests to.

Fine Art Friday

Red Wine by Qiang Huang,
the featured artist in today's
Fine Art Festival.