Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
Archive for May, 2010
Why make your own ice cream? One reason: it makes people happy! And while the paddle is churning away, you can dip into Of Sugar and Snow: A History of Ice Cream Making, by Jeri Quinzio. Quinzio, a food historian and the author a previous book on ice cream, leaves no Eskimo Pie unexamined in her painstakingly detailed exploration of ice-cream making from its beginnings in mid 16th century Europe to its meteoric rise in popularity during the early years of the 20th century in America.
City and suburban residents who want fresh eggs, milk and produce are raising animals, poultry and bees in their yards. Leslie and her guests, Oakland-based urban farmer and author Novella Carpenter, and Rebecca Katz with San Francisco Animal Care and Control, look at a growing trend — backyard farming in urban areas.
No longer will I over-complicate my feelings toward cherries. I will do my best not to think of them as symbols of transitory beauty, who in desperate need to retain their youth, turn to alcohol for support. Instead, I will eat them and enjoy them as they come. And when I dip into a brandied one or two come winter time, I will no longer view them as Helen Lawsons-in-a-jar.
The first cherry of the season is always the best. Although I know what a cherry tastes like, I’m still always a little pleasantly surprised when I first bite into one after months of going without. But I don’t eat just any cherry. I want a cherry that is firm to the touch, the skin taut with its underlying juices, and deep deep red. Keep those mushy cherries away from me. I want no part of them.
For me — again, the non-expert — Grahm repeatedly uncorks sweet, thoughtful conceits about wine that make me eager to improve my grasp — not on know-how and scoring systems, but the mystery and magic of wine, to see it as a lovely, boundless parcel to discover and unravel in the same way I’ve devoured popular music and steeped myself in its history, absorbing its movements and collections of characters, coming to understand first-hand how certain changes and instrumental colors render certain effects on a listener.
Megan Gordon reviews Kim Boyce’s incredible cookbook, Good to the Grain. Boyce will be at Omnivore Books tonight (Monday 5/24/10) where you can hear straight from the source how baking with whole grains is not just a way to substitute ingredients to create a healthier recipe, but rather, is a new and exciting way of experimenting with baking to create rustic, delicious, and truly original desserts. An inspiring and exciting new book.
“Is this Satan’s dinner party?” asks my companion, eying the whole skinned goat hanging from hooks in the middle of the room, surrounded by eager diners digging into plates of raw goat carpaccio. No, it’s just The Butcher and The Chef, an underground dining event that’s demonstrating, in the most deliciously visceral way possible, just how food goes from animal to ingredient.
And it’s also due to the fact that I now understand where Thousand Island dressing is coming from. There is nothing tropical about it. Its success can be traced to a thrifty 19th Century New York housewife, a famous stage actress accused of getting a little too hot and heavy with her co-star, and a hotel magnate whose most famous hotel gave its name to another salad.
Mother’s Day this year was a bit atypical. My interest in urban farming had peaked with the possibility of raising goats in my Oakland backyard and I needed a dose of reality. So, instead of brunching with Mom I spent the morning learning about goat husbandry in an Urban Goats 101 class at the BioFuel Oasis.
Current wisdom, however, holds that cookbooks are becoming obsolete. While food blogs and recipe-rich websites like Epicurious have been around, relatively speaking, for ages, most web-savvy cooks — skittish about the potential havoc erupting pots and mishandled cutlery are capable of causing — balk at positioning their precious laptops too close to a rowdy kitchen fray. Enter the iPad.