Elizabeth and I spend hours each December discussing which version of A Christmas Carol is best (This year I’m kind of leaning toward the Muppets one?). It’s a tough choice because they all have their moments. But the 1951 version is in the running for me every year because of the Cratchit family’s reaction to the goose Bob’s bought –– the sheer joy of a family in tough times savoring a simple pleasure gets me misty every time. I’ve always wanted to get in on some of that Christmas goose joy. But the Christmas goose is a weird thing.
Antoine-Auguste Parmentier, for whom potage Parmentier and a host of other potato dishes are named, is the rare agronomist whose life makes for an interesting read (George Washington Carver is another and after that I’ve got nothing.) While we now think of the potato as central to European peasant cuisine, that wasn’t the case in Parmentier’s time, prior to the French Revolution. An import from South America where it was a staple for the Indians of the Andes, the potato hadn’t caught on as human food in Europe and was thought to only to be edible only for animals. [Read more…]
If you’re a regular reader, you’re probably asking yourself right now “Wait, am I going crazy? Doesn’t Brooklyn Supper already have a roast chicken recipe? I thought we were just discussing that in my blog club the other day. That was, like, their second post. A classic.” Let me explain. You’re not going crazy. We do have a roast chicken recipe. That’s a very good memory you have there. It was actually our fifth post, but you were pretty close. We posted it all the way back in July of 2008, which was really a different time. Like people were already really annoying about bacon but they hadn’t gotten all weird about pumpkin pie spice yet.
In the intervening years, though, a few things happened that made us want to redo our roast chicken piece. [Read more…]
If my rural southern forbears found out that each year I seek out the chance to pick apples, they’d probably be disappointed that I didn’t own the orchard but glad that it was something easy like apples instead of something gross like tobacco. But when they found out that I actually pay for the privilege of doing farm work, they’d all keel over dead on the spot (hopefully after producing whichever offspring ultimately led to my existence). Why on Earth, they would wonder, would I pay to harvest fruit? And even worse, why would I drag my children into it?
Blue crabs are serious business in Virginia. I spent my high school years in Spotsylvania County, which is not on the Chesapeake, but is close enough to boast a few crab shacks and quite a few roadside vendors who do a brisk business. So, while I’ve eaten plenty of crabs, mostly steamed, it’s mainly been as a guest rather than a host. When we decided to make crabs for Elizabeth’s birthday party, I was simultaneously excited about taking on something new and a little gun-shy, haunted by the memory of a Lobster that Would Not Die a few summers ago. But, since all household tasks involving killing creatures larger than flies fall within my purview, I took a drink and got to work. [Read more…]
Summer fun has never been my kind of fun. I don’t like heat. I burn easily. I like wool sweaters and socks, thermoses of hot soup, and ice hockey. So when we decamped for Virginia, my plan for May to September was to ride out the daylight hours indoors with the AC running full blast and then sit on the porch with a beer and/or bourbon after sundown. Our dear friends (and distant relations) Patrick and Freedom spoke highly of their swim club as an antidote to Virginia summers, but I was skeptical. Pools, after all, are places where books get wet. [Read more…]