Sunday, January 4, 2009


Ripe apricots (Apricot photo by Rosevita at Morguefile)

The cantaloupe was divine. As in, touched by the square-tipped, deft digits of g*d herself.

With it, I had a ham and avocado sandwich on nine-grain bread. A boughten loaf, not bread I'd made myself, but it was still as good as.

As I ate, I watched Sara Moulton make fried rice (nothing new there), Ming Tsai combine edamame with olive oil (with his buddy that wacky Spanish chef Jose Andres), Lidia revisit Napoli, and the nerds at ATK discover that apple pectin will thicken a blueberry pie. The real winner of the week was, as always, Jacques Pepin (you can watch the episode here: Brush your thick bacon slices with maple syrup before microwaving for a taste sensation; use french-fried onion rings ground into crumbs as a coating for sole, served with anchovy butter (otherwise known as Colbert, does Stephen know about this?; canned apricots with heavy syrup added to a crepe-like batter will make a fast clafouti; and a molded rice pilaf with mussels, made me want to eat mussels. I'm pretty sure all of Jacques' offerings will make their way in Ginny Bates, they usually do.

Sara Moulton implied that Julia Child was a little over-fond of vermouth, and not for cooking purposes. Ming Tsai had a serving bowl with one side much higher than the other, an asymmetrical design that looked like it would be very fun to eat from. And, as usual, I looked for the name of someone I once knew in the credits of Jacques' show. It's filmed at KQED in San Fran, and a woman I once taught counseling to works there as the person who ensures that food as it is photographed looks yummy -- it probably wouldn't take so great, because of the tricks they employ to make it look good on camera. She used to entertain me with stories of what they did to soups or roast chicken to increase its photogenic appeal.

Lordy, she must be in her 60s now. What happened to us all?

A couple of weeks ago I went into my sock drawer looking for a wool pair and left it open. Dinah discovered it right away and has declared it Her Cave (which she pronounces as Cabe), so I've left it open. Sometimes when I'm in bed, I get that creepy feeling that I'm being watched. I look around and spot the tips of her ears extending over the edge of the drawer, a flash of tapetum from her eyes. I pretend like I haven't spotted her -- she prefers it that way.

I did play Tradewinds Caravans, choosing the most difficult character, Jinpa with the cursed children (her baby has fangs and spits fire) looking for magic remedies along the Silk Road. I've gotten too good at it -- I had amassed a fortune and a full set of elite archers, Bactrian camels, and a secret storage saddle within half an hour.

A gay man named Clark who was also at the White Night Riot wrote a comment yesterday at my post about it, revealing himself to be the one who used newspaper from busted open machines to start fires, hurling them inside the broken windows of City Hall and, eventually, into police cars. I've never seen anyone else write about that. It was thrilling. I'd like to meet him.

(I love the heading on this photo: Burning Police Car Of The Day. "Hundreds of protestors set on fire a police vehicle during a protest against power outages at Sanir Akhra, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2006.")

Okay, now to write For Real.

From The Ethicurean: The apricot is thought to have originated in China, with first cultivation by humans around 2000 BCE. The fruit spread west along the Silk Road as caravans carried gems, spices, ceramics and other fine goods between East and West. By the 1st century BCE, apricot trees had reached Iran, Greece, and Rome. The Greeks were unaware of the fruit’s Chinese origins and thought that the fruit originated in Armenia, a mistake that is preserved in the apricot’s botanical name Prunus armeniaca. The common English name derives from the Latin praecocium, meaning precocious, a reference to the fruit’s early ripening.

In the “great apricot belt” that spans from Turkey to Turkistan, you can find a dazzling variety of apricots: “white, black, grey, and pink apricots, from pea to peach sized, with flavors equally varied.” (The source of the quote and information above is The Oxford Companion to Food.)

P.S. My mother once said in front of my father and his Bible Baptist parents "If I were ever going to cheat on Harold, I'd find myself a quiet young man with an ass like a ripe apricot."

1 comment:

kat said...

remind me to give you my favoritest Jacques Pepin recipe ever. Poached chicken with a "puree" of cauliflower (it's not really pureed, but rather cut up into teeny pieces). The basic idea is that tons of butter and chives make almost anything taste delicious.