21 October 2009

Culinary Backwater

It is irritating to me that because I live in a relatively small town that there are so many culinary things we miss out on. Sure we have a couple of decent farmers' markets that do stock a good bit of local produce, which I think is a good thing, but nothing like those of New York, which I have only seen on television and in magazines - I mean Union Square market is almost enough to make me want to go to NYC, and London which I have been to and love love love. Not to mention Logan Square in Chicago - I'm envious.

If I could have an ideal food-city, this is what I would like
An exciting diverse farmers' market that features local fruits and veg - not art and books or at least if it does - 75% fresh local fruit, veg, and herbs and 25% detritus. Local dairy with fresh milk, ice cream and butter - I won't say cheese because we have a GREAT local innovative farm just across the border - did I say GREAT? Sweet Home Farm is amazing but fresh butter, milk, cream, and ice cream would really be super. Oh, and how about local flowers for those not so inclined to grow their own.
We have some fine interesting restaurants but what would be cool is if you knew they were using local produce. Come on Global Grille - give it a try. Now I should put in this many many local restaurants use local seafood - duh - no brainer, but how about some support for small farms in the area. No one even reviews restaurants for our local newspaper - that's a travesty.

Markets I like
Nature's Produce - new and well stocked and nice staff - go their often (excepting when decidedly lacking a kitchen)
By-Pass Market - in Milton - v.g. and worth the drive, esp since it takes me right past Steven's Market Deli (best potato salad in the world)

20 October 2009

More thoughts to manage

Okay, I've been thinking of using the recipe diary (still need a less gay name) to help me sort out what is happening in my kitchen brain while I can't be in the kitchen. Perhaps it will help me get started again, but also help me sort out what to make each weekend so we can have good things to eat while living in a space that seems so. very. small.
So this weekend I made tortellini, mac n cheese (don't even ask the question, because I won't dignify it with an answer), sloppy joes, lasagna, and just to have on hand, hummus and mushroom onion pate* plus grilling out - hopefully it will be a tolerable week.

We had the skillet lasagna last night -- another good call from America's Test Kitchen -- so good and easy I may never bake lasagna again - who knew? 

Missed the greek fest - damn it, but will try for greek food later this week. 

*resisting urge to say yummy.


I'm rereading Emma for the millionth time and I still don't like her. I think it's the idea that so many people defer to her but there is no reason that should be excepting that she's rich - and maybe that's Miss Austen's point - money rules everything. It's so very apparent the importance of money in other books - first and foremost Sense and Sensibility sinking from grandeur to virtual poverty (although they could still keep a couple of servants) as the Dashwood sisters do. It's very apparent in Mansfield Park as illustrated by the squalor that Fanny Price comes from and temporarily returns to with the thought of teaching her a lesson. Northanger Abbey, while not strictly about money, is impacted greatly by a misunderstanding about the worth (interesting choice of word) of Catherine Morland. And you could go on...
But back to that deference to Emma - I find it annoying. That said, Emma does say things or at least think things that others of Austen's characters might not admit to - especially as it concernes Mrs. Elton. A more odious creature, I cannot imagine, but Emma and I think the same thing. When Emma thinks that the best that can be said of her is that she is "very pleasant and very elegantly dressed." I couldn't help but think of how that would come out where I live. "Why, she's so sweet" - the southern insult to end all insults.

By the end of the book I will like Emma - she will have learned that she doesn't know everything yet and will have come final to realize who she really is, but until then I'll continue to dislike her. Miss Austen is again correct, she created a character only she could like.