Never buy chopped dates

One of Tiffany’s rules of life

Chopping dried dates is a sticky, time consuming, delicate job. It requires a sharp knife, a special technique, and time.

Pre-chopped dates are terrible — dry, woody, gross. Convenience versions of foods which were once revered have made eating a sad affair. Do not participate in the perpetuation of the abomination of food and eating.

Make a space, make the time, and do it right.

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Shopping Tactics: Candy Corn

I thought I’d share my tactics for shopping for candy corn to help those of you in North America* make the most of the Halloween candy shopping preseason (ok, so I guess it’s not really the preseason anymore now that it’s October). My tactics are based on years of research, though not the 30+ years (ahem) you might expect. I was ambivalent about candy corn when I was younger and I got sick of it pretty quickly. I didn’t start craving it until I left home and my cravings got stronger when I moved abroad. Now it is the only reason I get excited about Halloween.

So wrong, yet so right.
Candy corn on my desk: these days it’s impossible to work without it.

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Military Meals

My friend Mike from London / university / St. Thomas sent me a link from Saturday’s New York Times to a gallery of military meals. It’s fascinating. I had several reactions:

  • I get nostalgic seeing that generic Canadian moist towelette
  • PAPER matches? (hangs head in shame)
  • I’m sure those all those soups and stews look less like vomit when they are in a cup
  • The Americans provide tortillas but still refuse to admit Spanish should be an official language
  • The German matches are so cute! Hedgehog!
Screenshot of the galley from the New York Times article “A Taste of Home in Foil Packets and Powder”

Summer Potluck

We gathered together some friends this past weekend for some food, some drink, and some good conversation. As always, I did put some thought into the menu for the event. This group is a touch more adventurous than average but the group comprised a lot of kids. The folks over 30 only just barely outnumbered the folks under 8. Since the main goal for hosting the event was to catch up with some of my favourite people, I didn’t want to spend any time in the kitchen. I wanted as much of the food as possible to be served cold or at room temperature and for it to be easily self-served. I figured the less distracted I was at the event with food, the more time I got to see my friends. Also, almost everyone attending offered to bring a little something. I’m too much of a menu control freak to allow for an entirely potluck event. I planned to cook some items that would anchor the party and then everyone else chipped in everything else.
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Cookbooks as Gifts

So… speaking of bridal showers. I’m going to one next week. The bride-to-be isn’t an epicurean by any means but she does have an interest in cooking and baking. She’s registered for a gorgeous glass cake stand and some decorating bags and tips. Clearly, I had to buy these things for her but also wanted to pick up a few cookbooks to help her get her library started.

Giving cookbooks as part of a shower gift is something that I do often. It’s usually themed, like, a bartending book with a blender or a book on slow cooking to go with an enameled cast iron pan, for example.

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