Taking a dip

At a New Year’s party in Berlin, I was happily playing sous-chef for Tiffany. As a token North American, I was told to make “some sort of dip” for a crudité platter. In fairly short order, I assembled something passable from convenience store cheese that resembled a plasticine version of Boursin, sour cream, and sundry seasonings. In the end, two dips were served, since Kristin brought mock crab dip (Note: this is different from mock-crab dip, though both are good).

That had me thinking about the whole premise of dip and who might have invented it. Some internet searching for “dip capital of the world” only led to sites with observations about chewing tobacco. Eventually, I stumbled across a site about queso cheese dip, but still I was unsated, hungry as I was for the origins of a completely unnecessary foodstuff. Continue reading “Taking a dip”

The treasures of old cookbooks

Books have always fascinated me, especially old ones since they tell so much about the previous readers. Dog eared pages, margin notes, bookmarks, and newspaper clippings tucked between pages are always great finds. Few things in life are better than finding century old pressed four-leaf clovers. But books are only so useful, since a person can’t reasonably eat them for breakfast.

Cookbooks are a compromise, and my favourites are splattered with bits of recipes, whipped up in a hurry, perhaps 60 years ago. This is important trace evidence that the recipe might be good.

Full of recipes that are truly hard to imagine eating.

Continue reading “The treasures of old cookbooks”

How to spend a Sunday morning with a duck

Step 0: Buy a duck. (Saturday afternoon)

My friend Alisa sent me a link for a soup recipe, and I felt compelled to make it. The soup called for duck stock, whose procedure was briefly described in the article. I announced to Kristin that I was going to make the soup, including the stock, so she took me to a shop in Charlottenburg where I could easily buy a whole duck. I impulse bought some chicken wings while I was there but held myself back from the trays of glistening offal.

My first whole duck

Continue reading “How to spend a Sunday morning with a duck”

Why I hate the term “foodie”

B. R. Myers sums it up in his book review The Moral Crusade Against Foodies (subtitled “Gluttony dressed up as foodie-ism is still gluttony.”) in the March issue of The Atlantic. I’ve always had a hard time with the term. I suspect it’s because deep down I feel guilty and selfish for being borderline obsessed with food. Myers writes that foodies are “single-minded … and single-mindedness—even in less obviously selfish forms—is always a littleness of soul.” Ouch. Also, it’s probably because I just wouldn’t be accepted. After all, I can’t stand eggs. Continue reading “Why I hate the term “foodie””