Stories

A Farm-to-Table Meal by the Cookbook Club

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by Sue Doeden

cookbookclubjuly2010_014.jpgLast night my cookbook club got together. We meet once a month, taking turns hosting at our homes. Our host chooses a theme and each member finds a recipe from a cookbook, usually a recipe they haven't yet tried. We show up for the gathering with a dish to share, a copy of the recipe for each member and the cookbook it came from. Thus, the name Cookbook Club.

Our theme last night was "Farm to Table." We started the evening with two appetizers. Watermelon Salsa was one of them. Pat didn't get the recipe from a cookbook, but from a friend in Arizona. She used a carved watermelon half to serve the salsa and garnished it with fresh flowers from her garden. Can you tell she's an artist? It looked beautiful and tasted wonderful. I've shared her recipe below.

The other appetizer was a delicious pizza made using a recipe from fine cooking magazine, Salade aux Lardons Pizza developed by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.

Summer

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by Seale Ballenger

van-gogh-vincent-starry-night-7900566.jpgWhat is it about rocking on a porch and hearing the low mournful call of a train in the distance that helps to melt away life's stress and worry?  Or the peaceful sound of midsummer leaves rustling in the tree tops as the wind blows gently through them?  

The white noise of cicadas softly buzzing in the afternoon heat that lulls one safely, in a trance-like state, from chaos to comfort?  Or a cool breeze on a quiet summer day followed by a tranquil afternoon shower that provides an assured respite from all of life's weary travails?  

The sound of raindrops tapping against a tin roof...thump, thump...thump, thump...that eases one toward solace and comfort?  Or the joy of song birds heralding the dawn and later marking twilight as they shepherd day into night?  The smell of gardenias blowing through an open window or the joy of starlight blinking gracefully against an inky sky?  

Harmony and peace are always there.  Simply stop, be quiet, still, and listen...

 

My Diet, C'est Moi

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by Carolyn Foster Segal

frenchwomenfat.jpgI’ve just bought a coffee, and now, seated at my table for one, I am pulling my book from my bag, when I notice that the woman at the next table — also alone—is shyly watching me from behind the covers of her open book. We smile and exchange tentative comments about our reading selections.

My book is Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, which I’ll be teaching in another hour. My book is a dystopian study of a postmodern, neo-colonial world, in which the women wear color-coded baggy gowns—kind of like Sarah Silverstein’s Emmy gown, but with even more material. I’m much more interested, however, in my neighbor’s choice: Mirielle Guiliano’s French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook. She is three-quarters of the way through and tells me that it is riveting and—the most important point—helpful. It is only later—much, much later, after I have endured contemplating what I call the leek-soup-trial—that I will reflect upon the fact that this scene took place in McDonalds.

Sweet as Pie

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by Jesse Sirkus-Brown

nycmh_phototour10.jpgWhen you’re in love, sometimes you fight. It can be said an altercation or two is inevitable. It is as natural as bugs dying in your bathroom, flowers losing their bloom in the winter, and  food cravings when you're pregnant. Even domesticated animals like cats and dogs do it!

Fighting, arguing, disagreeing or whatever suits the fancy of the debater can be as unpleasant and that is why, after an elongated tête-à-tête was resolved I wanted nothing but a slice of pie à la mode to ease my emotions.

In a city as big as New York, this shouldn’t have been a problem but verbal combat can leave gaping wounds and with vital emotional juices still oozing decision making, never my strong point to begin with, took the rear seat.

We went wandering. Anger aroused, wagers were placed. I bet you can’t find apple pie. I bet I can. We fought some more, in the streets like immature children, found some pie, argued some more, I ate the pie, wretched pre-packaged pie, silent treatment. That didn’t last long. Tears and all the rest before temporary resolution occurred. Circle game.

Cooking with Mad Men

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by Carolyn Foster Segal

madmen.jpgThe drinks menu is easy—anything from scotch on the rocks to wine to martinis to Mint Juleps. And we know what brand mad men and women smoke, at least for now—Lucky Strike. But what do mad men and women eat? When they dine out in season four, it’s Chicken Kiev. And when they’re staying in—well, it’s easy to see why they don’t eat in very often.

In the first episode of the new season, Dan’s housekeeper told him that she had made pork chops—surely enough to drive a man not only to drink but to thoughts of an earlier season, when Betty, jumping up from the table to fetch his dinner, perkily asked, “Hot or cold”? Did we ever see Betty eat, even when she was pregnant? Most evenings she was brooding at the kitchen table, nursing a glass of wine. As little Bobby says, “Mommy doesn’t eat.” I can recall only two noteworthy exceptions: the vision of Betty—in the same episode as Bobby’s observation—devouring a chicken leg after her one-night stand with a stranger and her tryst in a sweet shop over a dish of ice cream with future- second-husband and Freudian-father-figure Henry Francis.

 

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