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Anne of Green Gables: The Culinary Triumphs and Trials of a Titian-Haired Spitfire

30 Oct

Out of nostalgia, I started re-reading one of my favorite childhood books with one of my favorite heroines: L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. I had lucked upon the reruns of the PBS miniseries earlier in the year while I was in culinary school. After watching Anne of Green Gables again, I was instantly smitten and had to Netflix Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel.  To this day, I can’t hear the words “Anne of Green Gables” without picturing the stunning, spirited and poised Canadian actress Megan Follows who played the series’ namesake. She truly embodied that role and somehow made “that Anne girl’s” maudlin speeches equal parts heartfelt and humorous. And when she broke that slate over the ever-dashing Jonathan Crombie’s (Gilbert Blythe’s) head, it was magic. I’ll show you CARROTS!!!

Of course, I can never forget the genius supporting performances of Colleen Dewhurst and Richard Farnswsorth. I’m 34 years old, and it still brings a tear to my eye when Matthew succumbs to a bad heart in the middle of a cow pasture and, gasping his last breath,  tells  Anne that he “is so proud of his little girl.” (Matthew’s demise in the novel is much less (melo)dramatic, but nevertheless deeply touching given its roots in financial woes.)

While reading AGG this time around, it occurred to me that a large part of Anne’s education and “civilization” in Prince Edward Island (the P.E.I.) revolved around learning the domestic arts of entertaining and cooking.

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Food in Films: The Trip

15 Oct

For my second installment of Food in Films, I have chosen to review Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip. This was a movie that I had wanted to see in the theater; having missed the opportunity, I patiently bided my time until it was available on Netflix.

The titular trip is a tour of fine dining in Northern England. Steve Coogan, originally aiming to impress his foodie American girlfriend Mischa, has planned a romantic week as a celebrity restaurant reviewer for The Observer. Determined to keep the gig despite Mischa’s premature return to America (the two are taking a relationship break), he enlists Rob Brydon, “a short Welsh man who does impressions,” as his new companion-in-arms. Rob is known particularly for his Man in the Box routine.

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The Incredible Edible Marzipan: Play-Doh for Adults

29 Jan

Marzipan Pears and Lemons

I can’t remember my very first taste of marzipan but I know from an early age, that I was instantly hooked. My mom did her everyday grocery shopping at Giant, AP, and Safeway, but then there were a few trips a month to gourmet food retailers Sutton Place and Someplace Special. And it was at one of these gourmet retailers that I first begged her for a box of carefully selected modeled marzipan.

Maybe it was the doll house size or the exuberant colors of the marzipan that first drew me in, but the taste also captured me. It was perfumey and honeyed but with a slight bitterness and had a moist, tender and sticky core. For a small child, the charms of modeled marzipan were simply irresistible. Peeking through the glass display case and viewing the perfect lines of pastel-colored miniatures such as half-open pea pods containing, indeed, pea-sized peas, or tiny cats and rabbits with chocolate whiskers, and spotted mushroom caps, opened up a wondrous and fantastical universe for me.

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Heaven Can Wait, I’ll Take Entenmann’s: Confessions of Forbidden Food

8 Jan

IlovechocolatecoveredEntenmann’sdonuts…. There, I finally said it. It is a secret I have held for perhaps 10 years, as it has been at least that long since I held one in hand. I walk by them in the Harris Teeter with my head down. I spy them out of the corner of my eye, piled high on tables with coffee and crumb cakes (meh), poundcake (bleh), and chocolate chip cookies (hmmm) as I make my way to the dairy section to buy guilt-free cottage cheese with fruit or soy milk. But every time I take that stroll of shame, I end up fantasizing. Fantasizing about me face down in  a box of chocolate donuts, yellow cake crumbs flying out of both corners of my mouth, my face smudged (or fudged) dark with the evidence. Think Paul Giamatti in Sideways but with donuts instead. Why don’t I just give in, you say? Because with Entenmann’s chocolate donuts, there is no such thing as eating one. You’ll eat five before the box lid closes and you throw it away. Really, the Cracklin’ Oat Bran slogan works better here.

What suddenly made me confess my forbidden love for a product Krispy Kreme and other donut aficionados would deem wasted calories? This week, I have been enjoying my new subscription to the food literature journal Alimentum. Upon perusing its website, I came across a very intriguing  posting about “Secret Foods.” For confessing your food sins, you could get an additional issue free.

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Mallowing Out: A Resolution for the New Year

30 Dec

I gave up making promises to myself with the coming of the New Year long ago. If I am truly resolved to do something, I realized that it will happen regardless of whether I make up my mind in January or August. And if I’m not, well… no amount of January-induced-guilt is going to goad me into following through. So this year, I am keeping it mellow and not making any big plans. I’m also keeping it ‘mallow with some homemade peppermint marshmallows.

Peppermint Marshmallows

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