Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bread from Levain from my EBBP3 Box

Just out of the oven, a country loaf made from a levain received from Petula, my Euro Blogging by Post sister from Italy. I received a wonderful box filled with candies, torrones smothered in chocolate; 2 bars of dark rich chocolate for use in cooking something truly memorable; a tiny Italian cookbook written in French; chamomile tea and a wonderful chatty letter written in very good French, because Petula doesn’t speak English “so good,” such a wonderful box of goodies.

My thanks to Johanna, the Passionate Cook, for hosting this edition of EBBP.”

Monday, January 23, 2006

Fresh Eggs

Eggs fresh from the henhouse can’t be beat. Their yolks are rich in color and sit high in the white; not like old eggs that spread out across the bowl and have little color to recommend them.

If, per chance, you have found an egg you are not sure is fresh, float it in a bowl of water. If it sinks below the surface of the water line to the bottom of the bowl, it is fresh. If it bobs on the surface, either horizontally or vertically, break it into a saucer and smell to see if it’s fresh before using.

The color of an eggshell is not an indication of one egg being better than another, i.e., brown over white. All eggs would be white if not bathed in a shower of dye or not as they are laid. Different breeds of chicken lay different colored eggs. Shell color is not a reflection of fertility or quality. Allowing your chickens to run free and to scratch among your plants for bugs and seeds will insure that you have the most nutritious eggs.

Store your eggs in a cool place. Sitting out at room temperature, except when in preparation for use as an ingredient, will shorten their keeping quality and appearance.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

The War That Made America

The War That Made America begins this Wednesday evening on PBS. Several of the actors who bring such authenticity to their roles are reenactors and provided their own "kit" and accoutrements. Let my 18thC world come alive for you this week - history as you've never seen it.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cooking the Old-Fashioned Way - Edition #2

Cancelled due to lack of participation

In view of the string recent disasters that have hit around the world this past year, I would like to challenge you to practice now picking up the pieces and getting on with life. What would you do if tomorrow morning you have nothing left but a pile of mud, little or no potable water and cooking implements you are not familiar with? What will you cook if you know how to use that round bottomed cast iron kettle (can it be used without a crane since the round bottom will not rest easily on a pile of rocks surrounding an open fire) or the lone ceramic pot that somehow has escaped the mass destruction around you? How will you start a fire to cook—there are no matches (they’re all wet) nor gas nor electricity?

January 29, 2006, is Cooking the Old Fashioned Way (CTOFW) second edition. Where I live it is now the middle of winter—across the world it’s summer. Quick, stop where you are, no matter what your climate, season or country, and look around you, really look. Are there communal ovens in the village square? Is there a windmill or watermill nearby? Are you in a city where no one raises a Victory garden—just concrete? Make friends with the elders in your communities, raid the attics for dusty journals and recipes and look into the cellars for old pots. Learn now how they are used. Learn how to make potable water or other beverages. Discover alternate methods of cooking, other than “in” something. Can you think of ways to cook on something with natural energy? Can you find growing in the hedgerows and meadows and estuaries food items that will feed people of all ages and health/dietary conditions (some cannot eat foods for religious reasons or because of injuries)? Once you’ve managed to prepare it, can you store it?

Mrs. D over at Belly Timber will be continuing her amazing Flu Journal, and I hope to see many amazing ways of cooking, storing and surviving to share with you.

Blog about what you’ve learned on or before January 29, 2006, at midnight--give us pictures of the cultural differences in food preparation, storage and the food in your area that might survive catastrophe. If you do not have a blog, send your entry to me and I will post it for you. Please send entries to: with “Old Fashioned” in the subject line. If you cannot blog this time around, you will have another chance at the end of April. Let’s prepare now—before we have no choice.

Cooking the Old Fashioned Way - Edition #2 - January 29, 2006

Cooking the Old Fashioned Way - Roundup #1 - October 23, 2005

Friday, January 06, 2006

12th Night Ball

It's that time of year, the end of the winter holidays. Old Fort Niagara's 12th Night Ball is Saturday night, January 7th.

In New Orleans and Montreal and Paris 12th Night will be celebrated as Epiphany or Three Kings Day, January 6th. Part of the celebration will be the cutting of the King's Cake, a gallette du roi, made of frangipan and puff paste. To those of you lucky enough to find the fève in your piece, enjoy being king or queen for a day!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Nominee - Best Theme - 2005 Food Blog Awards

Dearest readers and friends,

Thank you so much for your nomination again in this year's 2005 Food Blog Awards category for Best Theme. I am very honored and pleased. Please cast your votes here. My competition is stiff and each competitor is worthy of the honor.

A special thanks to Kate Hopkins, The Accidental Hedonist, for hosting the competition. Her efforts inspire us all!
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