Archive for December, 2007



December 20, 2007

WND is on hiatus until the New Year.


WND – Shepherd’s Pie

December 13, 2007

In fairness to British cuisine, there’s a lot of it that I like – Toad in the Hole, Ploughman’s Lunch, Bangers ‘n’ Mash. I even genuinely like Haggis* as long as I don’t think too hard about what’s in it. By the same token, however, there’s a lot of British food that’s fairly inexplicable – Bubble ‘n’ Squeak, kippers, kedgeree (for breakfast? really?), blood pudding.

One of the many moves of my childhood was to Hong Kong where I acquired a pristine British accent (it didn’t last, much to my parents’ disappointment) and a somewhat curious fondness for baked beans on toast (from a can, on the whitest bread you can find – I make very good homemade baked beans; they don’t taste right on toast). I did not, however, pick up a fondness for Shepherd’s Pie because the filling is usually watery, the mashed potatoes are gluey, and the whole thing is a festival of blandness.

About 10 years ago Britain got tired of its reputation as a land of lamentable food, and there was a rash of bistro pubs that opened making gourmet versions of traditional pub food. This Shepherd’s Pie would be right at home on one of those menus. Mind you, the recipe comes from an Italian chef who lives in California, so it’s probably about as far from a traditional English Shepherd’s Pie as you can get and still have it be recognizable.

* Yes I know it’s Scottish, but I used to eat it at a pub in Edinburgh so in my mind it’s pub food.

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SND – Holiday Edition

December 6, 2007

Thanksgiving dinner may not be a true MND experience, but there were 7 people involved AND I had access to a working oven, so I’m counting it.  Especially since I’m really behind in posting and “Sunday Night Dinner” appears stalled. I blame the holiday season. And traveling for work. 

Dressing (or stuffing) is one of those things that one tends to cook just once, maybe twice, a year – but it’s for meals that people expect to match their built up expectations, so it better be damn good. About 3 years ago, I decided that I wanted to learn how to make my MawMaw’s stuffing because no holiday family gathering would be the same without it. I think I finally have it down – though I’ve altered it slightly because, well, I think it needed a bit of kick. 

I was always a bit weird about what I would eat for Thanksgiving and Christmas as a kid (expecting, for some reason, that canned pineapple and black olives always be available. These made up a large portion of my meal. No, I can’t really explain it. MawMaw was very nice for indulging me. ) I always ate about a forkful of stuffing because it was expected (much like the black-eyed peas at New Years), but I wasn’t a big fan – it tended to be a bit too dry for me.So, below is the slightly altered family recipe. 
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WND – Birthday Related Baking

December 6, 2007

Baking : Chemistry as Cooking : ____________

(a) Rhetoric
(b) Postmodernism
(c) Mathematics
(d) Alchemy

It’s worth noting that this is an entirely self serving analogy since I cook all the time but only bake sporadically.

. . . . . possibly it’s also worth noting that I was a medieval history major who got there via fantasy novels and gothic churches.
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