Miss Ginsu: About/Bio


Food Quote Friday: David Budbill

Purple Grapes in the Hand

Sometimes when day after day we have cloudless blue skies,
warm temperatures, colorful trees and brilliant sun, when
it seems like all this will go on forever,

when I harvest vegetables from the garden all day,
then drink tea and doze in the late afternoon sun,
and in the evening one night make pickled beets
and green tomato chutney, the next red tomato chutney,
and the day after that pick the fruits of my arbor
and make grape jam...

David Budbill from "Sometimes"

More colorful food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: Christine Rhein

Wild Parking Lot Raspberries

if we could hear bread rising, dew forming, the budding
of raspberries, the tear of a cocoon, a minnow's pulse,
our own cells growing, dying."

Christine Rhein from "Tuning"

More dewy, pulsing food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: George Orwell


"Red chilis spread out to dry in the fields, like huge red carpets."

George Orwell from his 23.10.38 diary entry

New food links — and another postcard from Cupcake — every Monday morning on missginsu.com

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Food Quote Friday: Linus Van Pelt

Pumpkin Patch at the Brooklyn Farm

"I've learned there are three things you don't discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin."

Linus Van Pelt (Charles M. Schultz) from "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"

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Food Quote Friday: David Shumate

Combo at Cafe Katja

"In the early spring I get together with all the people I've been in my past lives. We sit around the table at my grandfather's farmhouse — mashed potatoes, creamed peas, cornbread."

— David Shumate in "Welcome Home, Children"

More food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: Palme Vidar

My Bluefish

On Iceland:

"'This is a small country,' he says. 'We have always swung, between feast and famine. There have been terrible times before, too, when the sheep bubble burst and the herring fleet failed. We always hang on. And you know, we were not going in a good direction. When I was a boy, if you went to the harbour to fish and you got wet, you could not fish again until the next day, because you had only one pair of trousers. Today people have too many trousers.'"

— Palme Vidar in The Guardian

More briny food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: The Guardian

Curry Salad

"Anticipating the long and tense night ahead for him and his team, Darling had taken matters in hand at 8.30pm, personally ringing one of his favourite restaurants, Gandhi's in Kennington, south London, to order £245 worth of rice, karahi lamb, tandoori chicken, vegetable curry and aloo gobi."

— Patrick Wintour, Jill Treanor & David Teather for The Guardian
in "How an era in banking was brought to an end — over a curry"

A feast of spicy food quotes can be found in the Food Quote Archive.

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Food Quote Friday: Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Maple-Bacon Lolly

"The Pennycandystore beyond the El
is where I first
     fell in love
          with unreality
Jellybeans glowed in the semi-gloom
of that september afternoon
A cat upon the counter moved among
              the licorice sticks
          and tootsie rolls
      and Oh Boy Gum"

Lawrence Ferlinghetti from "The Pennycandystore Beyond the El"

More sticky-sweet food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: Ronald Wallace

Morning Table
Buckets of thanks for the photo to Flickr user jackrusher.

"Sometimes I wish I had habits a man wouldn't kick,
faults a good man could be proud of.
I'd be an expatriate from myself,
all ink-pen and paper in a Paris café
where the waiters were elegant and surly,
the women relaxed and extravagant
with their bobbed hair and bonbons,
their perfumed Galoises,
their oysters and canapés,
and I'd be writing about war and old losses —"

Ronald Wallace from "Literature in the 21st Century"

More extravagant food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: Paul Reyes

coffee cup

"The crowd swelled and ebbed with regulars dedicated to this brave motherland diet, in a tiny room packed with the odors of hot oil and coffee and sugar and warm bread. And sure, pork skins for breakfast might mean fewer days in the long run, but they added a weird rigor to the morning. If anything, the grease is sentimental."

— Paul Reyes in Harpers, October, 2008

Need seconds? More food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: Gary Fincke

"Whatever the Sunday, the sorrows kept the women in the kitchen,
My cousins and their mothers, my grandmother, her sister, all of them
Foraging through the nerves for pain. They sighed and rustled and one would
Name her sorrows to cue sympathy's murmurs, the first offerings
Of possible cures: three eggs for chills and fever, the benefits
Of mint and pepper, boneset, sage, and crocus tea."

Gary Fincke from "The Sorrows"

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Food Quote Friday: George Harrison

Guinness Chocolate Brownies

"Creme tangerine and Montélimar
A ginger sling with a pineapple heart
A coffee dessert — yes you know it's good news...
But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle."

George Harrison

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Food Quote Friday: Lewis Grizzard

"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato."

Lewis Grizzard

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Food Quote Friday: Marge Piercy

Espresso in Paris

"Mornings you go off in my mouth like an electric
siren, radiating to my fingertips and toes.
You rattle my spine and buzz in my brain."
Marge Piercy from In Praise of Joe

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Food Quote Friday: James Beard

Orchard-Fresh Plums

"There is absolutely no substitute for the best. Good food cannot be made of inferior ingredients masked with high flavor. It is true thrift to use the best ingredients available and to waste nothing."

James Beard in The Fireside Cook Book

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Food Quote Friday: Orson Welles

Peanut Butter Bacon Crunch
PB Bacon Crunch ice cream

"I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts."
Orson Welles

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Food Quote Friday: Rose Art Industries

Ginny eats her cotton candy

"This unit is equipped with a safety system using magnetic fields, infrared beams, thermal controllers and time base logic to ensure the accurate and safe functioning of your new Cotton Candy Machine."

— Excerpted from the Rose Art Cotton Candy Machine Instruction Manual

More sugary-sweet food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: Kevin Fanning

Add Bacon
Illustration by Kean Soo

"In order to increase renoun, add 'bacon' to most any noun."

Kevin Fanning in Baby's First Internet

(Ladies and gentlemen, the defendant is guilty as charged.)

More salty food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: Calvin Trillin

The table at Il Posto Accanto

"Marriage is not merely sharing one's fettuccine, but sharing the burden of finding the fettuccine restaurant in the first place."

— Calvin Trillin in Alice, Let's Eat

More carb-heavy food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: William Butler Yeats

Vino at Baron Rouge

A Drinking Song

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

William Butler Yeats

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Food Quote Friday: Virginia "Pepper" Potts


"I'll have a vodka martini... with a lot of olives. Like at least three olives."

Virginia "Pepper" Potts in Iron Man

Thirsting for more? Find 'em in the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: Nikolai Gogol

fresh bluefish

" 'And bake us a four-cornered fish pie,' he said, sucking the air through his teeth and inhaling deeply.

'In one corner I want you to put the sturgeon cheeks and the gristle cooked soft, in another throw in some buckwheat, and then some mushrooms and onions, and some sweet milt, and the brains, and whatever else, you know the sort of thing. And make sure that on the one side it's — you know — a nice golden brown, but not so much on the other side. And the pastry — make sure it’s baked through, 'til it just crumbles away, so that the juices soak right through, do you see, so that you don’t even feel it in your mouth — so it just melts like snow.'

As he said all this, Petukh kept smacking and sucking his lips."

Nikolai Gogol from Dead Souls

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Food Quote Friday: Baron Wormser

a farm-fresh dozen

"What a person desires in life is a properly boiled egg. This isn't as easy as it seems."
Baron Wormser from A Quiet Life

More food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: Anne Sexton


"Someone once said:
Don't bite till you know
if it's bread or stone.
What I bite is all bread,
rising, yeasty as a cloud."

Anne Sexton from Snow

More food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: Benoît Charest

Daim Cake

"J'veux pas finir ma vie à Singapour
Jouer au dico manger des petits fours
Moi j'veux être zidiote
Triplement zidiote
Gondolée comme une Triplette de Belleville

I won’t be an old man in Singapore
Playing scrabble and eating petits-fours
I want to be wicked,
Utterly wicked,
Wicked like a Triplet from Belleville"
Benoît Charest from The Triplets of Belleville

More sweet food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

Cheers to chlotrudis.org for the translation.

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The Wisdom of Food Proverbs

Whenever I cook with tomatoes, I remember what my dad always used to say: "Where a tomato appears, basil is welcome." And you know what? It works. Bruschettas, sauces, lasagnas, salads, soups... When the tomato is involved, I add the basil and it's nice. This method might work less well in a salsa, but honestly, it wouldn't be bad.

That got me thinking about other food proverbs or traditional sayings.

Perhaps I'm just leaving a treasure of wisdom sitting out on the front stairs by ignoring the supposedly Polish proverb: "Fish, to taste right, must swim three times — in water, in butter and in wine." I generally just encourage my fish fillets to swim in a nice pool of olive oil, but I don't doubt that a few generations of unnamed ancient cooks are on to something.

There's certainly great truth in Benjamin Franklin's "Fish and visitors smell in three days." I've always tried to keep that notion in mind when I shop as well as when I travel.

As I poked around the internet, looking for food proverbs, I came up with "Talk doesn't cook rice," commonly credited to the Chinese, and "A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat," credited to anonymous, pithy New Yorkers. Both seem like very sensible, very practical notions.

Garlic Bulb
One free seat on the subway, coming right up.

And what about "There's no such thing as 'a little garlic'"? Much as I love the stuff, I've found that it really does proclaim itself the king of any dish in which it appears.

I think I'll have no trouble abiding the merry Czech proverb: "A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure." On the same tip, we find the Egyptian: "Do not cease to drink beer, to eat, to intoxicate thyself, to make love and to celebrate the good days." As an amateur hedonist myself, I couldn't agree more.

Most endearing among the food wisdom I found was this one, credited to an anonymous Chinese author: "When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one and a lily with the other."

I like that one a lot. It says a great deal about the value of beauty, and I'm going to try to remember it so I can keep it close at hand in my daily life.

Bread and Butter at Les Enfants Terribles

One last food proverb I found (commonly credited to an Arab source) seems less useful for developing culinary prowess, but ominously valuable as a life lesson, or rather, a warning: "He who eats alone chokes alone."

Have a favorite? I'd love to hear it. Post in the comments and you can share with anyone else who happens along this way on a quest for food wisdom.

Cheers, all!

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Food Quote Friday: Herman Melville

Ginger Stars

"Copying law papers being proverbially a dry, husky sort of business, my two scriveners were fain to moisten their mouths very often with Spitzenbergs to be had at the numerous stalls nigh the Customs House and Post Office. Also, they sent Ginger Nut very frequently for that peculiar cake — small, flat, round, and very spicy — after which he had been named by them. Of a cold morning when business was but dull, Turkey would gobble up scores of these cakes, as if the were mere wafers — indeed they sell them at the rate of six or eight for a penny — the scrape of his pen blending with the crunching of the crisp particles in his mouth."

Herman Melville in Bartelby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street

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Food Quote Friday: May Sarton

The Mangosteen

"Now for a little I have fed on loneliness
As on some strange fruit from a frost-touched vine—
Persimmon in its yellow comeliness,
Of pomegranate-juice color of wine,
The pucker-mouth crab apple, or late plum—
On fruit of loneliness have I been fed."

May Sarton, from Encounter in April

More sweet and bitter food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: George Carlin

"Ever wonder about those people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward."

George Carlin

More cool, refreshing food quotes can be found within the food quote archive.

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Food Quote Friday: Julia Child

Rich Chocolate in Barcelona

"I'm awfully sorry for people who are taken in by all of today's dietary mumbo jumbo. They are not getting any enjoyment out of their food."

Julia Child, as quoted in Esquire

More sinfully delicious food quotes can be found within the food quote archive

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Food Quote Friday: Men at Work

Image by Kham Tran

Buying bread from a man in Brussels,
he was six foot four and full of muscles.
I said, do you speak-a my language?
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich.

Men at Work from Business As Usual

More salty, yeasty food quotes can be found within the food quote archive

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Food Quote Friday: Alice May Brock

"Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good."

Alice May Brock

More food quotes can be found within the food quote archive

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Food Quote Friday: MFK Fisher

Spinach Soup

"I don't think we eat enough soup here in the States. It can, and often should, be a meal in itself, as an occasional good book devoted to the subject tries to prove. What is better, more resting on a Sunday night than a tureen of steaming, buttery oyster stew, plenty of little round crackers and some cold white wine or lager beer?"

MFK Fisher

More steaming, buttery food quotes can be found here

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Food Quote Friday: Gary Johnson

Mango-Glazed Mahi Mahi

"How simple life is. We buy a fish. We are fed.
We sit close to each other, we talk and then we go to bed."

— Gary Johnson from You made crusty bread rolls...

More simply delicious food quotes can be found in the archive here.

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Food Quote Friday: E B White

black grapes

"We should all do what in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry."

E B White from The Letters of E B White

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Food Poem Friday: Edward Lear

cheese at the ferry market

"They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,
To a land all covered with trees,
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
And a hive of silvery Bees.
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
And no end of Stilton Cheese
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve."

Taken from The Jumblies by Edward Lear

Going to sea? Take along a few choice food quotes.

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Food Quote Friday: Robert Stephens

Top Ramen Noodles, Chili Flavor

"Even now, when I do a slide show of the Geek Squad story, the first slide is a photo of ramen noodles. Because for me, ramen noodles are the international symbol for struggle.

All start-ups are like college students. They have nothing. They have hunger, they have desire, they have vision, and they can dedicate themselves to the business because they usually have no families to support. The absence of resources is the key to innovation."

Geek Squad Founder Robert Stephens in Escape Magazine

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Food Quote Friday: Horace

The Crepe Complete
The traditional crêpe complete: cheese, ham and a soft-centered egg. Mmm... So simple. So tasty.

"A hungry stomach seldom scorns plain food."


Hungry for more food quotes? Find 'em here.

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Food Quote Friday: Charles Reznikoff

Man with an Apple
"A Mounted Man with an Apple" from the peerless NYPL

"Showing a torn sleeve, with stiff and shaking fingers the old man pulls off a bit of the baked apple, shiny with sugar, eating with reverence food, the great comforter."

Charles Reznikoff

A deep bowl of food-quote comfort can be found here.

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Food Quote Friday: Nigella Lawson

"I think we all live in a world that is so fast-paced, it's threatening and absolutely saturated with change and novelty and insecurity. Therefore, the ritual of cooking and feeding my family and friends, whoever drops in, is what makes me feel that I'm in a universe that is contained."

Nigella Lawson in escape magazine

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Food Quote Friday: Graham Greene

Cream Tea at Podunk

"Tea at college was served on long tables with an urn at the end of each. Long baguettes of bread, three to a table, were set out with meagre portions of butter and jam; the china was coarse to withstand the schoolboy-clutch and the tea strong. At the Hôtel de Paris I was astonished at the fragility of the cups, the silver teapot, the little triangular savoury sandwiches, the éclairs stuffed with cream."

— Graham Greene from The Comedians

Sample more savoury food quotes here.

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Food Quote Friday: Madame d'Arestel

Hot Chocolate with fresh-whipped cream at Angelina in Paris

" 'Monsieur,' Madame d'Arestel, Superior of the convent of the Visitation at Belley, once said to me more than fifty years ago, "whenever you want to have a really good cup of chocolate, make it the day before, in a porcelain coffeepot, and let it set. The night's rest will concentrate it and give it a velvety quality which will make it better. Our good God cannot possibly take offense at this little refinement, since he himself is everything that is most perfect.' "

— as quoted by Brillat-Savarin from The Physiology of Taste, 1825

Sip up more decadent food quotes here.

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Food Quote Friday: Aldous Huxley

Herbs from the Marche d'Aligre

"The scent organ was playing a delightfully refreshing Herbal Capriccio — rippling arpeggios of thyme and lavender, of rosemary, basil, myrtle, tarragon; a series of daring modulations through the spice keys into ambergris; and a slow return through sandalwood, camphor, cedar and newmown hay (with occasional subtle touches of discord — a whiff of kidney pudding, the faintest suspicion of pig's dung) back to the simple aromatics with which the piece began. The final blast of thyme died away; there was a round of applause; the lights went up."

Aldous Huxley from Brave New World

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Food Quote Friday: Mark Morris

fish within fish

"Fish and chips used to be a poor man's treat, but with the prices,
it's becoming a delicacy."

Mark Morris, a London fishmonger

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Food Quote Friday: Marion Cabell Tyree

Baguette at Les Enfants Terribles

“I would say to housewives, be not daunted by one failure, nor by twenty. Resolve that you will have good bread, and never cease striving after this result till you have effected it. If persons without brains can accomplish this, why cannot you?”

— Marion Cabell Tyree from Housekeeping In Old Virginia

Be not daunted... more crusty, chewy food quotes can be found here.

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The Trouble with Truffles

"Ye, the first parents of the human race, whose gourmandise is mentioned in history, you who ruined yourself for an apple, what would you not have done for a truffled turkey?"

— Jean Antheleme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

Unless you live near the forest and keep a trained pig, black truffles are a luxury item. An ounce is of those things you really can't justify purchasing.
There's always something else that's more practical, more important... A bill. A water filter. A dentist appointment. Ointment for your pet pig's snout rot.

I suspect that's why one of my coworkers teared up on seeing the black truffles my boss gave each of us over the holidays. Twelve black truffles nestled into twelve little cups of white rice. They were ugly. They were beautiful. I was immensely pleased.

Truffle nesting in rice

What I immediately learned is that the gift of a truffle isn't simply a gift, it's a culinary challenge. I'd had truffle oil and truffle butter, of course, but I'd never had a truffle in my hands. Never cooked with one. A truffle neophyte, was I.

Our company lawyer enthused about the wonders of truffled eggs. "Just put your truffle in the refrigerater in a container with a dozen eggs," he said. "In a day or so, you'll have truffle-flavored eggs. It's amazing. They're great in omelettes or scrambled."

My Larousse Gastronomique agreed.
"When you feel like eating boied eggs, if you have some truffles in the house, put them in a basket with the eggs and the next day you will have the best boiled eggs you have ever tasted in your gastronomic life." (M. des Ombiaux)

Perfect. Two days of downtime with the eggs would buy valuable time while I decided what to do with my stinky little friend. I put my truffle in a zip-top freezer bag with a dozen organic eggs and rested the nest on the bottom shelf of the fridge, a decision I'd soon regret.

The next day, my boss asked if I'd used my truffle yet. No, I hadn't.

He had already made a special trip to Raffetto's on Houston street to pick up some of their artisanal pasta.

"Have you been to this place? They make it right there in front of you. It's been there for a million years or something. But I gotta say, it was the most bizarre experience. As I was buying the pasta, people were doing some kind of confessional at the checkout line. To the checkout clerks. Amazing stuff. Stuff like, 'You don't know what your pasta means to me and my family.' 'It's not the holidays if we don't have your pasta.' And you could tell they meant it. All these amazing quotes just pouring out of people. And yeah, the pasta's pretty great."

He'd been thinly shaving his truffle over cream-sauced pasta and using truffle butter on bread, potatoes, steamed green beans... everything. "When you peel the skin off the truffle, before you slice it," he said, "save the peelings and put them in some butter. You can amp truffle butter up with truffle oil, too."

My boss was using his a cheap plastic mandoline to shave his truffle. Thanks to my outrageously expensive culinary school degree, I figured I could make paper-thin slices with my super-sharp knives. Some of my other coworkers were less confident about their truffle-handling prowess. "Are you getting a slicer for it? I'm going to check at Macy's to see if they have them there."

Truffle Scrapings

By this time I'd decided that my truffle would meet its end in a truffled roast turkey. After all, the great Rossini (clearly a fellow who knew how to eat) claimed to have wept only three times in his life: "Once when my first opera failed. Once again, the first time I heard Paganini play the violin. And once when a truffled turkey fell overboard at a boating picnic."

On Christmas Eve, I went to the refrigerator (it was strangely fragrant as I opened the door) and discovered that the my lumpy black compatriot had scented the dozen eggs, yes. He'd also assaulted the milk, the cream, the pitcher of water, the sticks of butter. Everything permeable tasted of truffles. Apparently, a zip-top plastic bag was no match for the power of truffle.

As I sipped my cup of truffle-scented coffee, I decided to douse the little guy with olive oil, which would, with any luck, seal in the truffle power and gently scent the oil. With scent that strong, who needs a pig? I feel like I could root out truffles on my own.

Truffle Scrapings

Soon after, I made the truffled turkey. It was good. Was it transformative? Maybe I needed to slice up few more truffles to really open the gates of gourmet heaven.

My favorite part of my truffle experience was actually the simplest usage: a schmear of truffle butter across good fresh bread while I waited for the turkey to cook.

Second-favorite usage? A truffled turkey pot pie made with the leftovers. But then, who can't be wooed with homemade pot pie, truffles or no? If you don't happen to have truffles, throw some sliced mushrooms into the vegetable mix. It'll still be tasty.

Truffled Turkey Pot Pie

1 prepared pie crust
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 Tbsp truffle butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock
2 small potatoes, scrubbed and diced
2 cups truffled turkey, chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped (optional)
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 prepared pie crust
1 6" x 6" sheet puff pastry, thawed

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Pierce the pie crust with a fork several times and bake for 15 minutes, or until very lightly browned.
3. Meanwhile, heat a tall-sided skillet or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and pour in the olive oil.
4. Cook the onions, celery and carrots about 10 minutes.
5. Melt in the truffle butter.
6. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.
7. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
8. Add potatoes and simmer until fork-tender.
9. Stir in turkey and parsley (if using). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
10. Pour mixture into baked pie crust.
11. On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry until it's large enough to cover the pie shell. Trim away any overlapping pastry.
12. Cover the pot pie with the rolled pastry and brush the top with the beaten egg. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until crust is golden. Serve hot.

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Food Quote Friday: Otto von Bismarck

I love sausage
Sausages & cornichon at Le Baron Rouge, Paris

"Those who love sausage and obey the law should not watch either being made."

Otto von Bismarck

Find more spicy food quotes here.

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Food Quote Friday: Ray Nargis

charming coffee cup

"When I am old I'll drink whiskey in the morning
And coffee at night
And laugh and spit and swear wherever I want.
When I am old I'll help Girl Scouts across the street
Even if they don't want to go
And I won't have a car
And I won't have a bike
And I'll walk everywhere."

— from Ray Nargis' poem "When I am Old"

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Food Quote Friday: Col. Robert Johnson


"The time will come when this luscious golden tomato, rich in nutrition, a delight to the eye, a joy to the palate whether fried, baked, broiled or even eaten raw will form the foundation of a great garden industry."

- Col. Robert Johnson

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Food Quote Friday: French Peasant in Love

A postcard sent by a peasant from the Vendée to his fiancée

"You're so fresh and lovely the only thing I can compare you to is fields of young cabbages before the caterpillars have got to them."

from Graham Robb's The Discovery of France

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Fig Quote Friday: Platina


"Some figs are called Chian from a place, taking the name from a city in Syria. I think the African fig is so-called from that province. The anxious Cato brought its fruit into the Senate when he was seeking a third Punic War and badgering the senators, especially those who did not think it at all the stuff of Roman virtue that Carthage be destroyed. As soon as he said, 'How long do you think this fruit has been picked from its own tree? Since all agree that it is fresh, know that it was picked not three days ago at Carthage, so close is our enemy,' at once the Third Punic War was launched, by which Carthage, once the rival of the Roman Empire, was destroyed."

— Platina from On Right Pleasure and Good Health, 1465

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Food Quote Friday: Anais Nin

lush cherries

"For the first time I know what it is to eat. I have gained four pounds. I get frantically hungry, and the food I eat gives me a lingering pleasure. I never ate before in this deep carnal way ... I want to bite into life and to be torn by it."

Anaïs Nin (1903-1977), from Henry & June

Craving more luscious food quotes? Browse more here.

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Food Quote Friday: Pablo Neruda

Tomatoes in the Barcelona Boqueria

"the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness."

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) "Ode to Tomatoes"

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Food Quote Friday: Wendell Berry

market strawberries

"Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup."

Wendell Berry

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Food Quote Friday: Eleanor Lerman


"So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea."

From Starfish by Eleanor Lerman

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Food Quote Friday: Michael Ondaatje

Gelato in Tavernelle
"Gelato in Tavernelle" from thisismolly @flickr

"He walked out of the hospital into the sun, into open air for the first time in months, out of the green-lit rooms that lay like glass in his mind. He stood there breathing everything in, the hurry of everyone. First, he thought, I need shoes with rubber on the bottom. I need gelato."

Michael Ondaatje in The English Patient

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Food Quote Friday: Ulysses S. Grant

shallot gone wild

"I will not move my army without onions."

- Ulysses S. Grant (1822 -1885)

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Food Quote Friday: Beethoven

Cool yogurt soup
A cool, soothing yogurt-spinach soup basking in my windowsill.

"Only the pure of heart can make a good soup."

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Hungry for more food quotes? Get 'em here.

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Food Quote Friday: Andrew Marvell

Fruit at the Atwater Market in Montreal

The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass

Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) from "Thoughts in a Garden"

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Food Quote Friday: Richard Shea

caught eating

"One never knows where the most ambitious eaters among us live, but I am confident we will identify incredible eating talent during the 2007 circuit."

— Richard Shea, president of Major League Eating

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Food Quote Friday: George Miller

Lil Frankie's Pie

"The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again."

George Miller (1950-2003)

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Food Quote Friday: Edward Bunyard

Pera Perla
Pera Perla from the peerless NYPL Digital Image Gallery

"It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption."

Edward Bunyard

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Food Quote Friday: Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The greatest delight the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me and I to them."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

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Food Quote Friday: Josh Billings

Breakfast at Le Pain QuotidienBrekkie at Le Pain Quotidien

"Never work before breakfast; if you have to work before breakfast, eat your breakfast first."

Josh Billings (1818-1885)

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Food Quote Friday: Bill Buford

perhaps a wheat?

"A white truffle, which elsewhere might sell for hundreds of dollars, seemed easier to come by than something fresh and green. What could be got from the woods was free and amounted to a diurnal dining diary that everyone kept in their heads. May was wild asparagus, arugula, and artichokes. June was wild lettuce and stinging nettles. July was cherries and wild strawberries. August was forest berries. September was porcini."

-Bill Buford in Heat

Pile your basket with wild food quotes here.

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Food Quote Friday: Thomas Wolfe

"There is no sight on earth more appealing than the sight of a woman making dinner for someone she loves."

Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938)

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Got Gloves?

Armadillo from "Animalloys: an un-natural history series" at the NYPL

Sometimes you run across a shining gem that requires little in the way of introduction. Case in point: Tips on preparing armadillo from the Field Guide To Meat by Aliza Green.
1. Remove the glands from the legs and back of the armadillo, then clean and cut into serving pieces.
2. Brown in a little oil, covered, until light brown. Stir in enough flour to absorb the oil. Season as desired.
3. Add a small amount of water, barbecue sauce or chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until fork-tender.

Note: Always use rubber gloves when handling raw armadillo, because it can carry leprosy.

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Food Quote Friday: Chekhov

16 Varieties of Gooseberries
16 Varieties of Gooseberries from the NYPL

"A man wants nothing so badly as a gooseberry farm."

- Anton Chekhov

Craving another mouthful of tangy food quotes? Check 'em out here.

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Food Quote Friday: Sydney Smith

Shallot gone wild from missginsu at flickr

"Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl and, half-suspected, animate the whole."

- Sydney Smith, (1771-1845) from "Recipe for a Salad"

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Food Quote Friday: François Rabelais

Family of FSA client shredding cabbage
Family of FSA client shredding cabbage, from the peerless NYPL Digital Gallery

"Oh thrice and four times happy... those who plant cabbages."

François Rabelais

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Food Quote Friday: Robert Lewis Stevenson

Ferry Market Cheese Counter
Cheese bounty at the Ferry Market in San Francisco from missginsu @ Flickr

"Many's the long night I've dreamed of cheese — toasted, mostly."

Robert Lewis Stevenson

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Food Quote Friday: John Tyler Petee

Roast potato vendor and his movable oven on an east side street from the NYPL Digital Gallery

“Pray for peace and grace and spiritual food,
For wisdom and guidance, for all these are good,
but don't forget the potatoes.”

— John Tyler Pettee in "Prayer and Potatoes"

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Food Quote Friday: Pyotr Kropoptkin

"If you want to know the people of a nation, I am sure you can judge a great deal
more about them from their cooking and eating traditions than you can from the words
and actions of their public officials."

-Pyotr Kropoptkin in Mutual Aid

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Food Quote Friday: H. D. Thoreau

Brussels Sprouts and Pecans
Brussels Sprouts with pecans — oiled, seasoned and ready to roast (from MissGinsu @ flickr)

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each. Grow green with the spring, yellow and ripe with autumn."

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

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Food Quote Friday: Nikos Kazantzakis

Tapas at La Bodegueta in Barcelona
Tapas at La Bodegueta in Barcelona from MissGinsu @ Flickr

"How simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. All that is required to feel that here and now is happiness, is a simple heart."

Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) from Zorba the Greek

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Food Quote Friday: Cassells Household Guide

Mark Twain's 70th Birthday Party
Mark Twain's 70th Birthday Party from the peerless NYPL Digital Gallery

"The millionaire too often lacks acquaintances of congenial tastes, and is compelled to fall back on gorgeous profusion to bestow lustre on his table. On the other hand, a person of more slender means is liable to fall into the error of supposing that his friends do not care to dine at his table, unless he imitates the surroundings of the wealthier classes. It occurs to comparatively few persons that the chief charm of a dinner-party lies in ease of manner on the part of the host and hostess, together with all the arrangements of the entertainment being in accordance with the income and the natural mode of living of the entertainer."

Cassells Household Guide, c.1880

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Food Quote Friday: James Beard (yes, again)

valentine heart cookies

"I am still convinced that a good, simple, homemade cookie is preferable to all the store-bought cookies one can find."

James Beard (1903-1985)

Want to make the cookies? Here's the recipe. Happy Valentine's Day!

Shortbread Valentine Hearts (Makes about 20)

3/4 lb unsalted butter, softened (3 sticks)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups unbleached pastry flour
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the sugar crystals:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 drop red food color

Other equipment:
Cookie sheets
Heart-shaped cookie cutter
Cooling rack
Clean, dry jar with a tight-fitting lid

1. Pour the granulated sugar into the jar, add one drop of red food color, close tightly and shake well to distribute the color
throughout the sugar.
2. Cream butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy.
3. Sift flour and salt together and blend into the butter mixture.
4. Gather dough, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour (or overnight).
5. Preheat oven to 350°F.
6. Roll the dough on a floured surface to 1/8-inch thick. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut cookies and
transfer them to ungreased cookie sheets with a metal spatula.
7. Chill for 30 minutes, sprinkle with colored sugar and bake until just golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.
8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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Food Quote Friday: Xenophon

Ginger Gold Apple
Ginger Gold Apple at the Midtown Farmers' Market in Minneapolis, MN

"You should watch yourself throughout your life, and notice what sort of meat and drink and what form of exercise suits your constitution, and you should regulate them in order to enjoy good health. For by such attention to yourself you can discover better than any doctor what suits your constitution."

Xenophon, from Memorabilia: Recollections of Socrates

(Bountiful thanks to J.)

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Food Quote Friday: Meyers & Martin

granola and yogurt with fresh strawberries
Granola and yogurt with fresh strawberries from MissGinsu @ Flickr

"...Manson’s violent, antisocial behavior might have been avoided if only he had put some chopped walnuts in his granola."

- Kristin Meyers | Joby Martin in the Monterey County Weekly

Find more crunchy, nutty food quotes here.

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Food Quote Friday: Ming Tsai

Ginger-Duck Soup at the Slanted Door in San Francisco
Ginger-Duck Soup at the Slanted Door in San Francisco. I would eat this constantly if I were given the opportunity.

"I don't belive in putting a nuance of ginger in a dish such that you can barely taste it. If you say there is ginger in the sauce, you should really be able to taste it."

- Chef Ming Tsai

Find another batch of spicy food quotes here.

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Food Quote Friday: "Doug Larson"

rainbow swiss chard

Some richly hued rainbow chard leaves from my CSA

"Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon."

-The (possibly fabricated?) English writer, Doug Larson, (1902-1981)

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Food Quote Friday: Parisian Street Hawkers

Brassica capitata alba, et viridis = Cauolo Bolognese = Chou
Brassica capitata alba, et viridis = Cauolo Bolognese = Chou from the rich files of the NYPL Digital Gallery

"Choux gelées, les bons chou gelées!
Ils sont plus tendres que rosée,
Ils sont crû parmi les poirées
Et n'ont jamais été grêlées!"

"Frozen cabbages, good frozen cabbages!
They are more tender than the dawn,
They have grown amongst the white beet
And never been struck by hail!"

- Parisian street hawkers' cry, circa 1220-1900 (via the Larousse Gastronomique, of course)

More tender food quotes may be found here.

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Food Quote Friday: Ananios (Ananias)

Image from the NYPL Digital Image Collection

"If a man were to lock in his house a hoard of gold, a few figs, and two or three men, he would find out how much better figs are than gold."

-Ananios (Ananias), 6th Century BCE

A hoard of food quotes can be found here.

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Food Quote Friday: Fran Lebowitz

"If you're going to America, bring your own food."

-Fran Lebowitz

Ooo. Burn. Find more food quotes... here.

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Food Quote Friday: Frank Lloyd Wright

Image from the exceedingly useful NYPL

"Dining is and always was a great artistic opportunity."

-Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867-1959

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Food Quote Friday: Thomas Keller

"I wonder if I love the communal act of eating so much because throughout my childhood, with four older brothers and a mom who worked in the restaurant business, I spent a lot of time fending for myself, eating alone — and recognizing how eating together made all the difference."

-Thomas Keller (1955-)

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Food Quote Friday: Cezanne

Cezanne's Still Life with Apple
Cézanne's Still Life with Apple

"I wish to astonish Paris with an apple."

-Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)

Nip into more astonishing food quotes here.

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Food Quote Friday: Paul Harel

"Palpating, crackling, splitting on the grill,
Boudins whistle louder than blackbirds in April."

-Paul Harel

Find more crackling food quotes here.

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Food Quote Friday: Homer

"Then all day long until sunset we sat dining on a bounty of meat and fine wine, and then we went to sleep on the beach."

-Homer (circa 8th Century BC) in the Odyssey

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Food Quote Friday: R. W. Apple

"American Danish can be doughy, heavy, sticky, tasting of prunes and is usually wrapped in cellophane. Danish Danish is light, crisp, buttery and often tastes of marzipan or raisins; it is seldom wrapped in anything but loving care."

R. W. Apple, Jr. (1934-2006)

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What's that on your shoulder?

crazy crepe chef
that crazy crepe chef from the missginsu photostream at Flickr

This just in from J... yet more evidence that each of us is insane in his or her own special way.
It is the Way of the Web to show us all things, even things we'd never have thought to seek. In this case, it was the Wikipedia entry for former supermodel Helena Christensen (known to me as "the chick from the video for Chris Isaak's Wicked Game"), which includes this entertaining observation:

"Whenever my head is like a maze, I turn to the easy things in life, the things that mean the most to me: sex and cheese. These things are connected. Truth be told, I love all cheese: French cheese, Italian cheese, even British cheese, but Danish cheese is the greatest. I get my best nightmares after I eat Danish cheese. Actually I've seriously thought about getting a cheese tattoo. A nice Edam on my shoulder, maybe."

I'm not immune to the charms of a quality cheese, but... gosh. Victoria's Secret underwear models tattooed in cheese. It's like the embodiment of a lonely affineur's wildest cheese-cave daydreams.

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Food Quote Friday: Alfred Lord Tennyson

apache reaper
Image courtesy of the NYPL Digital Library.

"Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly
Down to tower'd Camelot"

- Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

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Food Quote Friday: Hot Chocolate Season Opener

"If any man has drunk a little too deeply from the cup of physical pleasure; if he has spent too much time at his desk that should have been spent asleep; if his fine spirits have become temporarily dulled; if he finds the air too damp, the minutes too slow, and the atmosphere too heavy to withstand; if he is obsessed by a fixed idea which bars him from any freedom of thought: if he is any of these poor creatures, we say, let him be given a good pint of amber-flavored chocolate... and marvels will be performed."

- Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)

Drink in more rich, smooth food quotes here.

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Pasta sans soul, per favore

A charming passage from Paolo Villoresi's little book, Whole Wheat My Love:
Concerning methods for determining when pasta is cooked, I have heard nearly everything, including the suggestion of throwing a piece of pasta against the wall. If it sticks, it is ready, if not, you must repeat the operation a bit later. Horror and error!

In reality, to determine whether or not pasta is cooked, it must be tasted with the teeth. I set a kitchen timer for one minute before the cooking time indicated on the box. Then I taste the pasta several times to be certain it is al dente. The pasta is ready when it is "without a soul!" In other words:

a. pull out one strand of pasta
b. bite it, and look at the center of the strand
c. if a white point, the "soul," is visible, the pasta is not yet cooked

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Food Quote Friday: Ann Patchett

"From my table inside I watch the glamorous women outside who are lunching on Spa Cobb salads without blue cheese or dressing. The man with the bread basket wanders from table to table, lonesome as a cloud. When he comes to me his basket is full and perfectly arranged. He gives me a smile of sincere pleasure when I tell him I will take both the sourdough roll and the cheese stick."
-Ann Patchett (1963-)

More food quotes, high-carb and otherwise, here.

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Food Quote Friday: John Gunther

"All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast."

- John Gunther (1901-1970)

Find a steaming-hot batch of wholesome food quotes here.

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Food Quote Friday: Charles H. Baker, Jr

"Words to the Wise No. VII. Offering up an earnest plea for recentness in all eggs to be used in cocktails or drinks of any kind, for that matter. A stale or storage egg in a decent mixed drink is like a stale or storage joke in critical and intelligent company. Eschew them rabidly. If really fresh eggs can't be had, mix other type drinks, for the result will reflect no merit round the hearth, no matter how hospitable it may be."

Charles H. Baker, Jr. (from the 1939 volume: The Gentlemen's Companion: Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask"

More supremely fresh food quotes here.

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Food Quote Friday: George Bernard Shaw

"What use are cartridges in battle? I always carry chocolate instead."

- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

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Food Quote Friday: Ed Levine

"Labor-intensive handmade food is under siege in contemporary culture, but it’s still thriving in Brooklyn, and the infusion of hipsters has reinvigorated it. They recognize the value in old style, third-generation bakers and sausage makers because they’re searching for things that are real. In part thanks to them, Brooklyn’s still full of honest food."

-Ed Levine, quoted in Edible Brooklyn

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Food Quote Friday: Washington Irving

"Sometimes the table was graced with immense apple-pies, or saucers full of preserved peaches and pears; but it was always sure to boast an enormous dish of balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog's fat, and called doughnuts, or olykoeks — a delicious kind of cake, at present scarce known in this city, except in genuine Dutch families."

Washington Irving (1783-1859)
from Knickerbocker's History of New York

Thanks to Mother Tongue Annoyances for today's quote.

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