Weekly Reading #7

Every Sunday (or at least by the following Wednesday) I’ll share the most interesting articles I’ve read on cooking, eating and food culture in the past week.

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Biscuits as far as the eye can see. 
  • The folks over at The Conversation have some bad news for you. Everything You Eat is Made of Chemicals. The humorous introduction to food science explains how the word ‘chemical’ is misused in the popular discourse around food. It also includes a video of a man pouring multiple cans of Coke on a cast iron trivet. What’s not to love about that?
  • The Difference Between Potato Flour and Potato Starch, by Gluten Free Gigi, is an important read if you intend to use either ingredient. One makes your biscuits thrillingly crumbly, and the other makes them taste like potatoes. Yikes!
  • Finally, in honor of starving writers everywhere, here is 23 Recipes that Celebrate the Humble Bean by Serious Eats. Go bean it up, my friends.

Weekly Reading #6

Every Sunday (Or Monday. Probably Monday) I’ll share the most interesting articles I’ve read on cooking, eating and food culture in the past week.

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Somehow, even though I didn’t have enough time to write a blog post yesterday, I did manage to make these biscuits. And eat all of them.
  • Food History Research Tips is the perfect starting point for any food history research project. The guide is hosted on the Food History timeline, and I wouldn’t recommend venturing into the main part of the site unless you have nothing to do for the rest of the week. It’s seriously addictive history.
  • The Kitchn answers the question: How Much Would You Pay a Professional to Babysit your Sourdough Starter? Reading this article, all I could think of was the scene in Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential where Adam the drug-addled baking savant rings his boss and yells at him, “Feed the bitch…feed the bitch or she’ll die!”
  • Opression Food is a video featuring Chef Sean Sherman (‘The Sioux Chef’). In response to the ‘food deserts’ wreaking havoc on many Native American communities, Chef Sherman advocates a return to pre-colonial foodstuffs as an act of political resistance. Fascinating stuff if you like your dinner with a side of politics.
  •  One for the gamers: some hero at Serious Eats has made the cake from Portal. Apparently It’s Delicious, No Lie.

 

Weekly Reading #4

Every Sunday (or in this case, Wednesday), I’ll share the most interesting articles I’ve read on cooking, eating and food culture in the past week.

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Mint iced tea, ready for MJ’s return from work.

General

  • A Bit About Cake Flour (And How to Make Your Own) by Sarah E Daniels at Food 52 was a particularly exciting discovery. Cake flour isn’t a thing in Australian supermarkets, but it most certainly is in American recipes. As well as explaining what the heck it is, Daniels reveals a hack for those of us not living in the USA. Give that woman a sainthood!
  • How Katz’s Deli Makes Their Perfect Pastrami is a fairly straightforward feature by Serious Eats. But the comments section is a thing of beauty. A lot of people out there feel strongly about Pastrami.
  • Recipe: Salvadoran Pupusas con Curtido (Masa Cakes with Cabbage Slaw). Little fried pockets of cheese in tortilla dough. These should be a part of your life.
  • Recipe: Singapore Noodles from SBS. Overseas readers, you’re in for a treat. The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) in Australia serves our many migrant communities. Over at their website they have a huge free archive of recipes written by professional cooks from every corner of the Earth. Start with this recipe for Singapore Noodles, and just keep going.
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My indoor basil plant. It leads a pretty tough life.

My Year at Leith’s: Presentation

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I made one for me too.

Weekly Reading #3

Every Sunday (or in this case Monday – but it is Labour Day), I’ll share the most interesting articles I’ve read on cooking, eating and food culture in the past week.

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Our Calamondin tree (also known as a Cumquat), with the first fruit of the season.

 

General

  • If you ever wanted to see a tiny steak being cooked in a tiny kitchen, today is your day. Head over to watch Tiny Steak from the folks at Tastemade, and revel in just how small a steak can be.
  • Gourmet Pizza from the KitchenAid website is my new go-to English-language pizza base recipe. It’s similar to many I’ve seen in Italian. On a related note, “pasta” means dough in Italian so the pizza dough can be called “pasta per la pizza”. Neat, huh?
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Mystery plant, courtesy of my friend P. Is it chilli or paprika?  I’ll find out when I bite into it.

 

My Year at Leith’s: Menu Planning

  • Plan a Dinner Party from the Kitchn is all about finding the joy in entertaining. As the author Sarah Kate Gillingham writes, “A dinner party menu usually doesn’t come out of thin air, it comes from a place of excitement.”
  • Writing from a more formal perspective is cook Anna Watson Carl at Tasting Table, with Dinner Party, Demystified. Her approach is similar to mine, but she explores why it works in much more detail. That might have something to do with the fact that I’m a housewife and she is a food writer specialising in entertaining. Go figure.
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Zool’s little hand, closing in fast on the Rosemary. She ate a fistful while I was taking the photographs and seemed to enjoy it.

Weekly Reading #2

Every Sunday, I’ll share the most interesting articles I’ve read on cooking, eating and food culture in the past week.

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Wholemeal Vienna loaf,  ready for the oven.

General

  • The Feminist Guide to Being a Foodie Without Being Culturally Appropriative from Everyday Feminism. ‘Appropriation’ is basically using someone else’s culture in a way that makes them feel totally icky. While exploring other food cultures is one of life’s true pleasures, it’s not cool to assume your friend with Chinese heritage somehow knows the location of secret ‘authentic’ dumpling restaurants.
  • Ariel Knutson over at The Kitchn ponders Is Marie Kondo’s Radical Approach to Kitchen Organization Right for You? I am a total Konvert, in my final stages of using her method to declutter my home, so the answer for me is “Heck Yes!” What do you think, readers?
  • Food Writing that Pays Well, with a Nutrition Degree by Dianne Jacob at Will Write for Food. If you’re into food writing and haven’t yet read everything Dianne Jacob has ever written, this is a great place to start. Author of the food writer’s bible, Will Write for Food, Jacob is all about taking a professional approach to your food writing career.
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Ginger Nuts, from my high school home economics textbook Cookery the Australian Way.

My Year at Leith’s: Accurate Measurement

  • Mise en Place at the Reluctant Gourmet is a beautiful ode to taking an organised approach in the kitchen. The thrust of the article is that “mise en place is also a state of mind”. (The author G. Stephen Jones totally has my number in the section entitled “What most home cooks do”.)

Weekly Reading #1

Every Sunday, I’ll share the most interesting articles I’ve read on cooking, eating and food culture that week.

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In my kitchen this week: the last few tomatoes from the garden that managed to evade Zool’s clutches.

 

General

  • The Serious Eats Guide to Food Photography. A serious (but not intimidating) guide to food photography from Serious Eats. Alright, maybe it’s a little intimidating. Just perhaps I spent the hour after I read it checking the price of stock photo services. But it’s packed with useful tips, so go read it.
  • The Food Lab: A New Way to Cook Pasta? J. Kenji López-Alt blows my mind, and sends Italian grandmothers spinning in their graves, by suggesting cooking pasta in a tiny amount of non-boiling water. Madness.
  • Pasta Bigoli over at Cook in Venice is a lovely rambling history of this pasta shape.  It covers everything from the etymology of the name to the fact that in pre-WWII Venice the strenuous task of turning the bigoli press usually fell to one of the household’s daughters.  (No surprise there.)
  • A Serious Bunburyist has one of these presses! He is making bigoli! (Apparently the press really is very hard work.)
  • Ciao Chow Linda has her mother’s bigoli press! It is called a torchio machine! (And she too confirms that yes,  they take a lot of muscle).

My Year at Leith’s: Accurate Measurement

  • The Little Glass Bowls I Can’t Cook Without. Falling firmly into the ‘measure ingredients before you start cooking’ camp is Joe Brown at Gizmodo. A self-confessed small glass bowl aficionado, he rhapsodises about Pyrex 10oz Rimmed Custard Cups as an ingredient organizational tool. He’s also a former chef, and might just know what he’s taking about.
  • How Salty Should Pasta Water Be? In my quest to follow Leith’s directive to measure accurately, I looked up what the pasta/water/salt ratio should be (disappointingly, it wasn’t “some, some, and some”). Daniel Gritzer at Serious Eats covers the issue in depth, complete with a table involving percentages to one decimal point.