Thursday, June 11, 2009

We grew up gourmets and never knew it

The yuppies have discovered weeds as gourmet fare. Nine bucks a pound for dandelion! By that measure there's at least ten thousand bucks worth of valuable gourmet salad out there in the lawn right now.

It's hard to believe the author of this article in The Wall Street Journal missed Chima de Rabe. I remedied that with a comment to the article. As I write this I still have two containers of this Spring's rabes in the freezer. And, I happen to be eating a sandwich of boiled ham, rabes that I thawed the other day and a little mayonnaise on slices of Corropolese split loaf. I generally prefer this particular sandwich on a seeded football roll; but we're out of them right now. It used to make Pop crazy when he would see me putting mayonnaise on a sandwich of rabes and ham; but that's not why I still invariably do it.

Also, she specifies two changes of water for boiling Pokes. I can't imagine that Mom or Aunt Mary R did two changes of water, and I certainly never have; which may explain why there have been incidents of rapid necessary movement to the necessaries room related to the consumption of Poke Salad over the years. It's very difficult to resist the temptation to pick larger and larger and leafier and leafier shoots as one gets tired when picking Polks, which also may explain the incidents.

And, she mentions Burdock but doesn't mention that the leaves are poisonous, or at least that's what Mom believed, although the internet seems not to think so. Mom and Grandmom L only used the thick stems of the leaves which they called Cardunes and prepared by battering and deep frying. Next Spring I'm going to pick Cardunes and try to recreate that recipe. As I recall they had a unique flavor somewhat like, but only somewhat like, the battered and fried celery we do at Christmas.

And, since I'm on the subject of food, I should mention that Linda and I ate our first Swiss Chard from the garden on Tuesday, probably the earliest that it's ever been ready for picking. We've been eating lettuce for a couple of weeks; but slugs are multiplying and ravaging it now, probably due to the very rainy weather we've been having for the past week or so.

Finally, if you are one of the few people who still actually, you know, like, read, like, books, you may find this article by Ann Kirshner in The Chronicle Review interesting. She tried out all the current modes of reading and listening to Charles Dickens' novel Little Dorrit to see which she liked better. I can only wish she had gone further into the issue of the differences between sight reading and audio since I find them such distinctly different experiences.

Most interesting paragraph - "Readers are passionate and opinionated advocates for their preferred formats. Flip announced that she reads only hardcovers; end of conversation. "I get it," said Bill, watching me read on the iPhone: "You like your books little." Bob is no Luddite, but he insists that Steve Jobs has bribed me, since the Kindle is so obviously superior. Just wait for the Apple tablet," advises techno-sage Joe. And Judith derides my affection for audiobooks as "not really reading.""

For the record I will only read a hardback if I can't get a paperback. Something about a hardback book intimidates me and causes me to treat it too carefully. I can dog-ear the pages to mark my place or break the binding of a paperback by bending it back to hold in one hand; but I can rarely bring myself to treat a hardback book so cavalierly no matter how cheaply I bought it. And, I find listening to an audio book so different from reading the same book that I will often read an especially good novel immediately after listening to it and vice versa. Also, she doesn't mention the obvious next step, which is to combine audio with a video formatted somewhat like the succession of still pictures that Ken Burns used in his Civil War series on PBS. Soon technology should allow relatively easy mating of period pictures with text. So you could see a street scene related to a passage of audio or a picture of an animal mentioned in an audio passage as you listened, for instance.

And, really, really, finally, since I've been on the subjects of yuppies, books, reading and cooking; here's an interesting article by Jennifer Reese on Slate about a book about a whole different way to think about cooking. One suspects that Linda will come home to find something really new and different on the table one of these days; but not 'til after she has endured Lobscouse, which I still haven't gotten around to making even though Alex tried it and praised it pretty highly.

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