food


My mother’s 97th birthday was April 7. She used to make some damned fine chicken cacciatore. So in celebration of her birth month, I invited my friends who used to dine on her cacciatore for dinner in which I tried to recreate Ma’s cooking. I had her well-loved and well-worn recipe, but I was nervous that I couldn’t duplicate it.

As any cook knows, recipes are only suggestions. You add a little more of this, a little more of that, to make it your own. I was pretty sure I knew how Mom fudged the details—because the things she would add would be the same as the things I would add.

I was still nervous.

Still, I persisted.

Friday, I got out the old cast iron Dutch oven and went through the paces. The cat, who hadn’t smelled chicken cooking in my house for a long time, followed me from room to room meowing because she wanted to make sure she got her share. (She did.) I let the cacciatore cool then stuck it in the fridge overnight. On Saturday, all I had to do was reheat it and cook the spaghetti and garlic cheese toast.

My mother had this theory of feeding people which boiled down essentially to “too much is never enough.” Many who have eaten at her table learned the hard way to wear loose clothing and to eat sparingly of the oer d’oeuvres because Mom’s servings were large—with a rich dessert to follow. Also, asking for seconds usually meant you got a plate heaped as full as the first.

I didn’t honor that tradition. (Sorry, Ma.) We had plenty to eat but we’d all agreed there would be no oer d’oeuvres and I let everyone choose their own serving size. Rich dessert afterwards, yes. We’re none of us ascetics, after all. But somebody else was responsible for the sweets. (And he did a fine job, bringing a tiramisu and serving portions almost as large as the diners’ heads. Mom would have been proud of him.)

I’m happy to report that the cacciatore tasted just like Mama used to make. I was so happy that I could recreate such a well-loved taste from my past. It let me know she was still with me.

Still with me, but still missed.

Random quote of the day:

“There are only three things which make life worth living: to be writing a tolerably good book, to be in a dinner party of six, and to be travelling south with someone whom your conscience permits you to love.”

—Cyril Connolly, in a Daily Express symposium, quoted by Alec Waugh in “Self-Portrait – Nearing Sixty,” My Brother Evelyn & Other Profiles

south4WP@@@ 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists.”

—Dr. Joan Gussow, New York Times, May 4, 1986

 cows4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“So, what’s it like in the real world? Well, the food is better, but beyond that, I don’t recommend it.”

—Bill Watterson, “Some Thoughts On the Real World By One Who Glimpsed It and Fled,” Kenyon College Commencement, May 20, 1990

 food4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“A dinner without cheese is like a pretty woman with only one eye.”

—Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste: or Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy, tr. L. F. Simpson

cheese4WP@@@ 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Tell me what you eat: I will tell you what you are.”

—Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

eat4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.”

—E. B. White, The New Yorker, December 8, 1928

 spinach4WP@@@

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CHINESE EGGPLANT* IN AFRICA

 

 

I wasn’t even hungry. Especially for eggplant.

 

 

*Engagement

Random quote of the day:

“Everything is of one substance. It is custom, not reason, that sets the temple apart from the house, mutton from human flesh for the table, bread from vegetable, vegetable from meat.”

—Diogenes of Sinope, in 7 Greeks: Translations by Guy Davenport

 mutton4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you, and be silent.”

—Epictetus, quoted by Walt Whitman in “Samples of My Common-Place Book”

 eating4WP@@@

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

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