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The Foodie 13 « Foodie and the Everyman

Posts Tagged ‘The Foodie 13’

The Foodie 13 – All I Want For Christmas

Prezzie

Within the last week or so (or pretty much since US Thanksgiving rolled around) it seems that everyone and their dog has been compiling lists of gift ideas for the foodies in our lives.

But instead of telling you about great things to buy for everyone else, I thought I’d turn the idea on its head and do a round up of the various bits and bobs that I’m hoping to get this year.  You are welcome to provide your own gadget-y suggestions in the comments, of course.

However, before you start thinking that the publishing of this list is nothing more than a poorly veiled series of hints for the Everyman (or various other people in my life) I will assure you, it is not.  You see, I’ve made kitchen stuff off limits as a gifting inspiration for the Everyman.  A few years ago he bought me a gorgeous Peugeot red pepper mill as part of a Christmas gift (which I loved), but then for a birthday he bought me one of those ginormous chocolate fountains (which I was a little less stoked about).  To be fair, he had at one point heard me say that I wanted a chocolate fountain, but I’m very particular about the larger appliances that I allow into my kitchen, if for no other reason than the premium on our space.

Plus, to me a loved one should never give practical presents; that’s what my parents, friends and acquaintances are for.  Presents from loved ones should be frivolous extravagances that you are deserving of, but would probably never bother buying yourself, which in my case would be stuff like jewelry or spa days.  And there’s always that phantom ring that everyone’s been asking about and keeps hovering over our heads, because you know, shacking up is like so 2007… so put a ring on it already, right?

But no.

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The Foodie 13 – 13 Things You Didn’t Know About This Foodie

Beet-or and Fun-ion

I know, I know, I know.

It’s been like forever and a day since I last posted a Foodie 13.  The funny thing about it is I actually have one that’s completely written that I’d prepared back in August for while we were on vacation, but I just haven’t felt like publishing it since then.

Between work, Taste T.O. and various other ongoing stuff, I haven’t really had much of a chance to devote to this medium.  I heartily apologize.

Since I’ve been running this website for nearly 2 years now, I suppose it’s about time that I tell you all a little more about who I am and what makes me tick.

So, without further adieu, let’s take this opportunity to get a better acquainted, shall we?

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The Foodie 13 – Compulsory Kitchen Gadgets

Being that I was ruminating over my dream kitchen yesterday, I thought it would be wholly appropriate to delve into the various gadgetry that I find essential for any well equipped kitchen.  I tend to subscribe to the Alton Brown school of thought; meaning I try not to clutter my kitchen with single-use tools, because in most cases, less is more.

However, that philosophy hasn’t stopped me from the occasional impulse buy (really, who needs an ice cream scoop in the shape of a cow, anyway?)

So, without further adieu…

1 – Tongs – Ah, tongs.  Tongs are like the duct tape of the kitchen world; exceptionally versatile and always innovative in their usage.  I can use tongs to cook (clearly), but they also make great tools for holding oily pieces of paper towel when wiping down a BBQ grill, they’re key for retrieving foods from narrow-mouthed jars, and if you place half a lemon between the arms, the lever action makes a pretty bitchin’ impromptu juicer.

2 – A Santoku or other really sharp chef’s knife – My preference leans toward an Asian-style knife, and Santoku’s are notable for their comfort, reliability and precision.  A Santoku is a Japanese knife that is typically shorter, stouter and easier to handle in my dainty hand than a traditional 8 or 10 inch chef’s knife.  They occasionally have scalloped “divets” on the sides of the blade to prevent food from sticking to the knife, but Wikipedia informs me that these might not be entirely traditional.  As a rule of thumb, every kitchen should have one really solid, sturdy knife, and for my money, the Santoku does it in my kitchen.

3 – Salad Spinner – Even if you only occasionally eat your greens, it makes good sense to have one of these around because nothing deflates a salad faster than limp, water-logged leaves.  The internal bowl in the spinner can also double as a colander, and the whole thing can also be used (gently) for washing cherry tomatoes or delicate summer berries.

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The Foodie 13 – Least Favorite Foods

Well, it seems it’s about time again for another edition of the Foodie 13.

As much as I’ve tried to avoid writing this list for several months now, preferring to turn a blissfully blind eye on my own food phobias and dislikes, eventually I had to admit that there are some foods that I just won’t eat.  In Jeffrey Steingarten’s book, he tells us that in order to be a proper foodie, one cannot have aversions to eating, and while I try, there really are a few things I just can’t manage to wrap my head (or lips) around.

So, this week I give you the top hate-ons from that list.  You’ll probably find them more surprising than you’d think.

1 – Oranges – Ever since I was a very small child I have hated the taste of orange, whether in full fruit, flavoured items or juice form.  Out of everything on this list I can say with certainty that it is the one thing I disdain the most.  I’m not really certain how or why it all started, but I recall I had a problem with the pulpiness of it as a wee one, and found it distastefully bitter.  To this day, when people try to peel and segment oranges around me (as one reviled ex-coworker used to do all the time) it literally makes me nauseous and I find I have to leave the vicinity.

2 – Soy Milk – One of the primary reasons I’m convinced I could never be a vegan is that I can’t seem to stomach soy milk.  And believe me, over the years, I’ve tried.  For some reason, no matter what variety, flavour or brand, it always seems to have an unpalatable chalkiness and viscosity that I just can’t get over.  If they ever manage to make soy milk that doesn’t actually taste like soy, I’ll be the first one to sample it.  But for now, no dice.

3 - Kiwifruit – I find this unpleasant on so many levels.  The fur for one, is off-putting.  The texture is slimy.  The flavour is too astringent.  One of my biggest pet peeves about my beloved ice cream establishment, Dutch Dreams, is how they arbitrarily plop a kiwi-laden scoop of fruit salad on top of every ice cream order.  I’ll sometimes bother with the other fruit, but the kiwi is always the first thing that gets jettisoned or fed to the Everyman.

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The Foodie 13 – CanCon Cookbooks

Yup, it’s about time for another gloriously informative Foodie 13.

Being such a proponent of local food, I thought that perhaps it was time to round up the best Canadian content cookbooks to go with all of that local food.  After all, who better to instruct you on how to cook local bounty than those who live in the same climate?

You may notice that the list skews heavily on the non-television personality side of things, and that is completely intentional.  With the exception of James Barber (who really was a national treasure) and Elizabeth Baird (who I don’t believe is actively on television anymore) you will not find any “brands” gracing this list.  Instead, it contains books that were written by artisans who inspired me, and masters who impressed me with their craft.  And in case anyone was wondering, Susur’s book was left off the list because I just don’t have enough hours in the day to cook his kind of food.

1Jamie Kennedy’s Seasons by Jamie Kennedy – As magnanimous in print as he is in real life, Seasons is jam-packed with the best of Kennedy’s local, seasonal, artisanal eats, including a recipe for his trademark frites.  The accompanying vivid photos make even the humblest of recipes seem absolutely drool-worthy.

2 – The Heaven On Earth Project by Michael Stadtlander – Part arthouse project, part beautiful story, this cookbook chronicles the building and usage of some of Stadtlander’s more esoteric statuary on his Singhampton farm/restaurant property.  A very intimate peek into the mind and heart of one of Canada’s greatest culinary geniuses.

3 – Fat by Jennifer McLagan – My favourite of McLagan’s two books (the other being Bones) even though I adore bone marrow, (which is both a bone and a fat) Fat unravels the stigma behind… fat.  A book filled with richly descriptive recipes, colorful photos and reasons why high quality fats (in limited quantities) should be a part of everyone’s diet.

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The Foodie 13 – Quintessential, But On The Fringe Herbs And Spices

Spice

Seasoning.  Flavour.  Herbs.  Spice.

Food is generally palatable (unless you really don’t know how to cook) but can usually be improved by the addition of that little something extra.

This instalment of The Foodie 13 takes a look at the herbs, spices and seasonings that you might not have previously considered or cooked with, but are actually rather essential to having a well-rounded spice pantry.

So, without further adieu…

1 – LavenderI’ll admit that it’s gentle hue, which is both a colour, flavour and fragrance, was something that has grown on me slowly over the years.  Once relegated to old ladies’ soap dishes, lavender is now coming out into the spotlight to shine in more mainstream preparations.  It’s faintly floral, herbal notes are a perfect compliment to a myriad of dishes, from roasted meats a la Provence, to sweeter endeavours, like the chocolate chip lavender fookie (big fuckin’ cookie) I made several months ago.  Plus, one whiff of it’s heady aroma can make you feel like you’ve been summering in the south of France.  Not bad for a handful of powdery blossoms, eh?

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The Foodie 13 – Recommended SOLE Media

I’ve been quietly ruminating over my impressions of Food Inc. for a little while now.

The more I try to collect my thoughts, the angrier I find myself getting.  Actually, perhaps that’s not quite the right word.  Indignant is probably closer to the mark.

The movie itself is brilliantly made, and walks the fine line between eye-opening/educational and graphic/sensationalism rather successfully.  It’s an important movie, and one that I hope will get a more widespread release, because I think it’s something that people need to see.  Here in Canada, (according to tribute.ca) it is only being screened at 2 theatres; one in Toronto and one in Montreal.  I’m somewhat surprised that nobody bothered to get it into a major urban market like Vancouver, but maybe the powers that be think (like I sometimes do) that they’re a bit ahead of the curve when it comes to getting back to “real” food, anyway.

In light of that, I thought this would be the perfect platform to discuss what I consider to be essential reading/viewing material for those interested in the  SOLE food movement.  Some of these may not exclusively focus on SOLE, but in the instances where the overall message meshes nicely with those ideals, I have chosen to include them on the list, anyway.

So without further adieu…

1 – The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan - When I first picked up a copy of Michael Pollan’s seminal work, I thought it was quite a novel idea.  The thought of tracing one’s food back to it’s source was entertaining, in a wouldn’t that be nice to know kind of way.  I was never a big fast food/junk food supporter in the first place, but after reading this book, I found my opinions changed in ways I hadn’t expected, specifically pertaining to organics and the skewed view we all have of them.  I’ve yet to meet a person who’s read the book and not had their food philosophy altered.  If you’re interested in re-evaluating your relationship with food, this book is a great place to start.

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The Foodie 13 – Desert Island Fare

I probably spend more time than is normal thinking about what I would do if I ever became stranded on a deserted island.  I can assure you there’d be no montage of Castaway or Blue Lagoon moments, but if there were other people trapped with me, I imagine it would quickly devolve in a similar manner to Lord Of The Flies.

Because of that, I keep a mental list of comestibles I’d want to have with me if that were ever to go down.  The ironic thing about that statement of course, is that if (heaven forbid) it really did happen, there’s no way I’d be prepared enough to have all these good eats with me.  But a (slightly delusional) girl can always dream, can’t she?  With these 13 paradigms of culinary excellence to keep me company, I’d never be wanting for more.

So without further adieu, but in no particular order…

1- Czehoski‘s bacon poutine - There’s nothing better on a grey and blustery day than digging in to a bowl of this salty, creamy, crispy perfection.  If you’ve never tried bacon gravy before, you’re probably asking yourself, what’s the big deal?  Can it really be that different?  Trust me hombres, it can and is.  This poutine is what dreams are made of… decadent, curd-filled dreams.

2- Fat Willy’s ribs - Fat Willy’s is a little hole in the wall barbecue joint in the suburbs of Chicago.  I never expected we’d fine transcendent barbecue in Illinois of all places, but ever since we came home, I’ve had vivid dreams about the smoky tang I experienced there, sometimes to the point that I’m awakened from chewing on my own pillow.  Delish!

3- Terroni‘s mezzo mezzo - This appetizer platter is constantly changing, but always includes some meat, some cheese, some bread and some fruit or veg, plus a small dish of honey for dipping.  My favourite has always been the roasted pear that’s often a mainstay of the dish, and marries well with so many things.

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The Foodie 13 – Non Fiction Food Writing

It’s about that time again…  Well, actually it’s a little overdue for that time, but I’ve been madly twirling lately, so you’ll have to forgive me for the slight delay.  On deck this week is a dissertation on the 13 non fiction (food-based) stories I can’t live without.  So, without further adieu, on with the show…

I should probably preface this by admitting that I have a monstrous collection of food-based volumes.  I’m a pretty voracious reader and every time I go to Chapters I invariably end up with a stack of food books I had no intention of purchasing when I walked in.  My addiction has gotten so bad that we’ve had to purchase additional bookshelves just to store all my crap.  Given that, I’m sure you can appreciate why I spend a portion of every day wishing that the stupid Amazon Kindle would come to Canada already.  My list is devoted to those particular books that followed me home and found a permanent place in my heart.

1- My Life In France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme – Julia Child was such an incredible culinary force.  If you’ve ever watched her on TV, then you know she was larger than life (though in real life she was quite Amazonian, too).  This book is her story as told to and through her nephew Alex Prud’homme.  While at times it is sad (there were a few spots that caused me to cry) it’s primarily a jubilant tale of a woman who truly lived and loved life with all that she had wherever that might be.  On top of that, it allows the reader a unique perspective into the creation of her 2 most famous publications (Mastering The Art Of French Cooking Vols. 1 and 2).

2- Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell - Yes, another book that involves Julia Child!  As I’ve mentioned before, I feel a certain kinship with this tale.  The first time I read it, it really spoke to me because I’ve also felt stuck in a dead-end job wasting my god-given talents.  That the spasmodic Julie Powell is a part of the story is almost irrelevant; the moral to be taken away is that sometimes the best way to get out of your rut is to continually challenge yourself.  As is the case with just about any half decent book these days, they’ve made this one into a movie – one I will most likely not see unless it’s on a flight or some other captive audience situation.  Nonetheless, the essence of the tale unites and inspires.

3- The Omnivore’s Dilemma/In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan - I’ve listed both because one is really just an extension of the other.  I consider both to be essential reads for anyone claiming to be concerned about the state of our food supply and the ethical, local, organic sustainable movement.  Captivating, well written and thought provoking, they are proof positive that Michael Pollan should probably be running the US Department of Agriculture and saving us all from ourselves.

4- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver - I was initially drawn to this book because of it’s beautiful, homespun dust jacket, but once I explored the content within, I was completely and totally entranced.  I credit Barbara Kingsolver and the impact this book had on me with shoving me wholeheartedly into growing my own rooftop garden last year.  This is an amazing tale that represents just how much heart, soul, time and love really need to go into nourishing oneself and your family.  It goes on to show that a little effort and toil is always worthwhile.

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The Foodie 13 – TV Shows

If anyone’s been wondering, running a semi-successful food blog can be exhausting.  I have no shortage of inspiration and ideas to write about, but finding the time to get it all down on virtual paper can be a bit of a challenge.  Plus I impose deadlines on myself (like posting a new Foodie 13 every 2 weeks or so) to try and ensure I’m keeping things fresh and relevant for followers from the internest.  With that in mind, I give you our next installment of the Foodie 13

There’s nothing I love more than foodie TV.  Growing up I could sit and watch cooking shows for hours on end, always captivated and entertained by what was happening onscreen.  When the Food Network finally came to Canada, it was one of the first times I felt like there were other people out there who were just like me.  There’s something so magical (and perverse) about the seeming perfection that’s portrayed on food television that I can’t get enough of, even though like most media, it upholds an unrealistic and mostly unattainable ideal.  As an adult, I find it’s almost the only television I bother with anymore, except for the occasional movie, infomercial (for laughs) or gameshow (Supermarket Sweep anyone?).  So, in no particular order, an ode to some of my favorite TV pleasures both new and old, beloved and reviled.

1- Iron Chef (Japan) - Plenty of people hate this show and think it’s terribly gimmicky, but it’s exactly that kitschiness that I love.  From the bad dubbing and voice-overs, to the cardboard cutout-like poses of each of the chefs, it’s so over the top that you can’t look away.  A few things I especially loved about this program were the Prince of Pasta’s rising out of the floor second-rate intro, the floor reporter always calling for Fukui-san (which to this day I still think of as squeegee-san), and the papi (grandfather-like) Japanese chef Rokusaburo Michiba.  Attempting to watch the American version proves that it literally pales in comparison, and as I’ve noted before, I can’t even be bothered to watch unless Jeffrey Steingarten is on.

2- The Urban Peasant - Watching reruns of this show today is proof that the sands of time can soften memories.  When I was younger I was transfixed by James Barber drunkenly cooking up a storm, but when you revisit the show now, you realize how unappetizing and unsanitary his food and preparation are.  I liken that time in food TV to the wild west; an era where people did not know better, or necessarily realize what would make good TV.  It was definitely the polar opposite of the hyper-stylized completely pre-prepared Rachel Ray type shows we have today, and for that reason alone, it makes it on my list.  Plus, you can’t deny that he always looked like he was having a rollicking good time!

3- Good Eats - Long before Alton Brown became the affable, American version of Shinichiro Ohta, there was (and still is) Good Eats.  A show for the food geek in all of us, Alton managed to combine science, cooking and some unique comic performances into one tight and tasty package.  Always informative, the show specialized in not only teaching you the recipe, but explaining the why behind the recipe too.  I value Alton Brown’s opinion so much that when I once saw a $200 blender on one episode, I ordered it the very next day.  And while the RPM turned out to be nothing more than a flashy kitchen gadget with a tachometer, the show’s cooking advice has never steered me wrong.

4- Cook Like A Chef - I’m almost positive this show never aired outside of Canada, but I couldn’t help but include this small piece of Canadiana.  The premise behind Cook Like A Chef was a revolving cast of great Canadian chefs, showcasing their unique talents for the world to a cool, jazzy tune with lots of 360* shots.  Typically each episode consisted of 2 or 3 segments of the chefs preparing tasting portions of their signature dishes.  Notable names attached to the project included Ned Bell, Michael Bonacini and Carolyn McCann Bizjak, most of whom are probably unknown outside of the Great White North anyway.  While the show originally aired in 2001 shortly after the Food Network’s Canadian inception, it’s been enjoying somewhat of a renaissance now that the Food Network has put a greater focus on Canadian content again.

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The Foodie 13 – Pantry Essentials

Human beings are creatures of habit.

Ever noticed you’ve eaten the same few foods for breakfast or lunch every day for 3 weeks straight, or regularly cooked with the same flavor profiles week in, week out?

If you ask anyone who loves to cook, they’ll probably tell you they have a few favorites or secret weapons in their arsenal used to spice up everyday meals.  In this installment of The Foodie 13, we’ll take a look at the few staple ingredients I always need to keep on hand.

1 – Chili Salt - I first started grinding my own chili salt last fall, after my Chinese 5 Color Pepper plant produced so many little peppers that I didn’t know what to do with them all.  A small bite on the deck early one morning convinced me they were much too piquant to eat on their own, and by that time I’d already canned my pickled jalapenos for the year.  Not wanting to waste any of my harvest bounty, I buried the chilis in a jar full of sea salt.  Once the chilis were completely dehydrated, I dug them out, removed the stems and then pulsed them with salt in the food processor.  A tiny pinch is all you need to make any dish sing; from simply grilled grass-fed burgers, to sticky roasted pork belly, to sumptuous salted caramel, everything it touches tastes that much better.  The bit of kick it brings to the table isn’t half bad either.

2 – Tomato Powder - Several years ago while walking home from work one day, I discovered The Spice Trader, at the time a newly opened flavor emporium.  I wandered in curious and walked out with $250 worth of oils, vinegars and spices – there really are some things I have no restraint over.  While there were many more exotic spices purchased that day that I still love and use all the time, tomato powder is the one I most often come back to.  A pinch of it often turns up to season my grilled grass-fed burgers, and a few dashes works wonders in a marinade or dry rub.  It can be stirred into sauces for a quick and concentrated hit of flavor, or dusted onto bread dough before it goes into the oven.  While the texture and color may remind some of the crusty clumps that can be found at the bottom of a bag of ketchup chips, I can assure you that tomato powder is to it what olive oil is to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter; a relative only in that they share a similar name (in the second case, that would be fat, in case you’re wondering).

3 – Coffee Olive Oil - Another one of my prized finds from that first outing to The Spice Trader was a rather expensive bottle of coffee olive oil.  It may sound strange, and it’s definitely a little extravagant, but the 500 mL bottle will last you forever (if it’s properly stored) and has a multitude of uses.  Start off slowly by using it instead of regular olive oil in an oil and balsamic bread dipper.  The roasted, nutty undertones are quite unlike anything else; except perhaps coffee (which I don’t drink, so I wouldn’t know).  It tastes divine drizzled on fresh tomatoes off the vine, sprinkled with a pinch of salt and a few basil leaves, and adds that bit of je ne sais quoi to a loaf of focaccia just before it hits the oven.  Used to dress a simple sauteed mushroom sauce for pasta, there’s almost nothing better.  The first time the Everyman tried it he said he didn’t like it all that much, but since then I’ve used it in a variety of foods that he almost always loves (and usually doesn’t even discern that this is what’s in there).

4 – Sherry Vinegar - It’s only recently that I’ve started to enjoy sherry vinegar, but it’s one of those things I can’t believe I missed out on for so long.  I first purchased some at the beginning of the year to make one of the many homemade chorizo recipes I was testing.  The chorizo recipe may not have wowed me (it was the one that turned out watery and unappetizingly grey) but the sherry vinegar came out a winner.  Its flavor marries well in pickling liquids, vinaigrettes, and especially the fresh shredded vegetable salad I make that the Everyman loves so much (beets, carrots and sunchokes or celeriac).  Now that I’ve found it, I can’t live without it, and I’m coming up with more uses for it every day.

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The Foodie 13 – TV Personalities

A conversation I had with the Everyman last week inspired the topic for our second installment of The Foodie 13.

As we enjoyed a dinnertime nosh, we started talking about some of our favorite foodie TV hosts of all time.  It became apparent to me a long time ago that people’s tastes in television personalities are as varied as their tastes in clothing.  My mother, for instance, loves Martha Stewart (creepy), The Two Fat Ladies (weird and unhealthy) and Ina Garten (uber-annoying).  Then there are people who enjoy Guy Fieri (so I’m told) and Rachel Ray (I have no idea why).  One thing that the Everyman and I agreed on was how awesome it would be if they gave Ted Allen and Jeffrey Steingarten a show of their own.  It would be like a modern version of the odd couple… only foodie-focused.  It got me thinking about who would make my list of top TV personalities… so in no particular order, let’s find out, shall we?

1- James Barber - A perennial favorite in my household growing up, James Barber was a character that was easy to love.  Though it’s likely he was always pickled-drunk, he was entertaining and amusing, and had much to do with inspiring my love of cooking and food over the years.  To watch his show now is both reminiscent and horrifying; it’s a wonder that I never noticed how unsanitary cooking shows used to be back then.

2- Alton Brown - A man of many talents and one for all seasons.  Whether laughing along to bad jokes or skits on Good Eats, or being captivated by his Feasting on Asphalt (or Waves), Alton Brown is as approachable and charismatic a host as you could hope for.  He’s educational and fun, and seems like the kind of guy I’d like to talk to over a beer (if I drank beer).  I won’t comment on his appearances on Iron Chef America, because I like to pretend they didn’t happen.

3- Ted Allen - Trendy enough for the younger generation (due to his tenure on QEFTSG), but non-threatening enough that your grandmother could fall for him, Ted Allen is a lovable, foodie TV fixture.  I mourned the loss of him during season 5 of Top Chef, but was taken by his new Good-Eats-meets-Popular-Science show Food Detectives.  I hear great things about Chopped too, but have yet to see an episode here in ass-backwards Canada.  From what I’ve heard about it though, it sounds awfully similar to the show that personality #9 hosts.  Plus, he’s not nearly as creepy looking when he’s in motion! :)

4- Jeffrey Steingarten - While he has yet to be granted a show of his own, his appearances on Iron Chef America are usually the only reason I’ll tune in.  I set the Tivo to record and fast forward to 15 minutes in – the point where they introduce the guest judges.  If Jeffrey’s on, chances are I’ll continue watching.  If Jeffrey and Ted Allen are there, I can’t not watch every gory moment.  The two of them together are like a train wreck that you just can’t tear yourself away from.  Never before has a curmudgeon been quite so entertaining, though I’m still trying to figure out how he managed to become so damn famous in the first place…

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The Foodie 13 – Cookbooks

As promised earlier this week, we’re unveiling a new feature at Foodie and the Everyman today; book reviews and recommendations!

This also dovetails nicely with another addition to Foodie and the Everyman that I’ve started called The Foodie 13The Foodie 13 will be an ongoing series of lists about 13 really neat things in specific categories, that I intend to publish several times a month.  For our first Foodie 13, I thought I’d pick a subject that is near and dear to my heart; cookbooks!

So, without further adieu, and in no particular order, here are the 13 cookbooks I can’t live without:

1- Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn – There’s much that can be said about this great book, but primarily it’s the one I credit with sparking my carnivorous love affair.  After less than 10 minutes of paging through the book I was already plotting exactly where in my shoebox apartment I could fit a Bradley smoker.   Each new recipe I try from the book spurs me on to try even more.  A real winner.

2- Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas and Sweet Accompaniments by David Lebovitz - A fantastic book laced with great recipes for enjoying the simple pleasure of homemade frozen desserts.  Since purchasing this book I’ve sampled approximately 20 of the recipes, and not one of them was bad.  The pear sorbet is definitely a recipe of note, as are the spicy, crinkled speculaas cookies, that are meant to be folded in to recipes but are amazing in their own right.

3- Local Breads by Daniel Leader - This is the most recent purchase on my list, so I can’t vouch for a very large percentage of the recipes yet.  From what I’ve already sampled and pored over pictures of though, it’s clear to me that this is a book worth having, as it conjures up an intense hunger every time I read it.  The pictures peppered throughout the book are colorful, rustic, and absolutely delicious.  And the Parisian daily bread is to die for, and as I’ve said before is worth the cost of the book alone.

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