Luang Probang, Laos, January, 2001 Mekong. Languid air. Languid river. Languid landscape. The captain replied, “Not bird,” while flapping his arms. Concise explanation for the steamed lunch’s outer wrapping not understood until his young son picks up what was set-aside, unfolds a wing, and starts sucking to retrieve every possible bit of flavor. Happy boy! … Continue reading Bat Boy!
Piping royal icing to construct a gingerbread house. When you want an icing to dry hard, like on a British Christmas Cake, or to use it as a glue piecing together sugar sculptures, like those for the Mexican Day of the Dead, or for a gingerbread house, then Royal Icing is what you need. My … Continue reading Royal Icing
Tart Paste Commonly called Short Paste. To one pound of flour, rub in a quarter of a pound of butter; make a whole in the middle; put in a little water, and two yolks and one white of an egg; put the other white of an egg on a plate, to beat up, and put … Continue reading Short Paste for a Covered Tart: Simpson’s Cookery, 1816
Who doesn't love a madeleine? The recipe I've used since I first bought the New Larousse Gastonomique (1977) is its recipe for plain madeleine. that makes it almost 40 years since I bought the book new when it came out. What I like about the New Larousse Gastonomique recipe is its utter simplicity. It's a poundcake. You mix … Continue reading A Fine Basic Madeleine Recipe from 1893
I've been reading the bread section from The Thrift Book: A Cyclopaedia of Cottage Management, a British book published in the 1880s. It is interesting for being written during a transitional period in home baking when bakers were shifting to tinned breads. The recipe for a cake couldn't be more different from modern bread and cake recipes … Continue reading Making Cake from Bread Dough circa 1880
Red wine, eaux de vie, and sugar are the basic ingredients for this wonderful warm aperitif from the walnut regions of France. Other ingredient most commonly mentioned in recipes, including oranges zest and cloves are optional. The bottle of vin de noix pictured above was given to me by Nina, the Parisians émigré from Belarus … Continue reading Vin de Noix
It seems impossible, but the fact is that Christmas wasn't celebrated in the United States until well into the nineteenth century. The Puritan settlers in New England did not celebrate any holiday that was not specifically sanctioned by the bible. Christmas is not a biblical holiday, and so Christmas was a workday. Even in the … Continue reading Charles Dickens and Turkeys
A turkey roasting from a string. String roasting is an ancient roasting method. It is a method that enables you to roast meat or poultry in front of the fire even if you don't have a spit. I own a beautiful old spit that is turned by a clock motor but I rarely use it … Continue reading String Roasting