redirect to SUPER CHEF


Blogger.com - Bloggered


Bloggered No. 1, by Superchefblog

Superchefblog apologizes for publishing late yesterday. The reason is newsworthy in the blogosphere: Blogger was bloggered.

Here is how is unraveled, accordinging to Blogger.com:

Blogger Status

Monday, April 24, 2006

All publishing is broken right now. We’re working on fixing it.

Update, 10:15AM: We have Blog*Spot publishing working again. External publishing coming soon.

Update, 10:41AM: External publishing is working again as well. Plus users, we haven't forgotten about you.

Update, 10:50AM: Everything sorted out now and working fine. Expect possible transient slownesses as we shore up some of the quick fixes that we had to make.
Posted by Pete at 09:42 PDT
Later, though, this further word from Status:

Blogger Status

Blogger.com will be down on April 24 2006 from 4 pm PDT to 4:45 pm PDT due to planned maintenance. We’re sorry about the one-two unplanned/planned outage punch today, but we need to do some database maintenance. You will still be able to view your blogs during the outage. Be assured that when Blogger.com comes back, it will be shinier and happier than ever.
Posted by Pete at 11:32 PDT
In the interim, we had consulted Blogger.com's help page, to discover the following:

Blogger Help

Welcome to Blogger Help, a substantial collection of how-to and help documents to help you get more out of Blogger. Search through our collection with Article Search (to the right) or just browse through the categories below.

If you can't find what you need here, try asking the Blogger Help Group, or send an email to the Blogger support team and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
Except there is no email address listed.

What does that mean?

It means that Blogger.com has removed any means of communicating directly with technical support at Blogger.com itself: there are no longer any contacts listed for them, at least not on that page.

The Deliriums of the Ahauab of Xibalbá

Seems like just so much Chinese, mental torture to Superchefblog.

Previous articles:
Bothered and Bloggered by Blogger.com

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

--> back to superchefblog




'Bloggered' Design 1, by Superchefblog
Superchefblog has un-Bloggered itself -- no help from Blogger.com, despite their promises of help, never followed up.

Please revert to Superchefblog's regular web address:


We offer our Bloggered designs for general public use.

And we reserve this URL and website for further use during inevitable (it would seem) future Bloggered days.... 'Bloggered' Design 2, by Superchefblog 'Bloggered' Design 3, by Superchefblog

Previous articles:
Bothered and Bloggered by Blogger.com

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

--> back to superchefblog


Common Threads' World Festival


Common Threads logo

Alice Water's Op-Ed in the New York Times on Sunday, February 24, urged the country to move towards the model she has developed in the Edible Schoolyard at the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley: "The study of food, and school lunch, should become part of the core curriculum for all students from kindergarten through high school."

What does that mean practically? Money to support good programs across the country. One of these is the Chicago-based Common Threads:
The mission of Common Threads is to provide a sanctuary for children to find the common threads that embrace our diversity and differences. With food and other arts as our vehicle for change, our children will teach, learn, share, and embrace their own and each others common threads. For these threads will promote understanding of our shared interests and will enhance our appreciation for our cultural diversity.
The organization founded in 2003 by Art Smith, personal chef to Oprah Winfrey, is really focused on teaching needy kids about food through learning about other cultures.

Linda Novick, Executive Director, explained Common Threads to Superchefblog:
We teach children through cooking and food the values that are important to us all.
Common Threads started a World Garden with vegetable varieties from around the globe where children can learn about how things grow. In the winter children can take classes like Indian food followed by yoga, or Chinese cuisine followed by tai chi. Combining hand-on-experience with food from other cultures with exercise tackles both nutrition and obesity.

Common Threads will host the first annual "World Festival" event, on Monday, March 13, 2006, 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center. The World Festival will celebrate the food, drinks, music and instruments, arts, crafts, artifacts, customs and national costume dresses from countries around the world.

Food will be provided by celebrity chefs including Govind Armstrong, Ming Tsai, Cat Cora, Tyler Florence, Gale Gand, Paul Kahan, Rocco DiSpirito, and Suvir Saran -- all of whom serve on the Common Threads Chefs Advisory Committee.

Previous articles:
Jamie Oliver: School Lunch
Alice Waters: Ms. Smith Goes to Washington

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

--> back to superchefblog


La Bonne Cuisine


La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange One way to get an education is to pick someone you admire intellectually, and read everything they've read. Would you become the next Albert Einstein or Nelson Mandela if you read the contents of their libraries? Perhaps, perhaps not. But what if you read (and used) the library books of Julia Child or Daniel Boulud. It would be a great start to really knowing great cuisine.

La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange: The original Companion for French Home Cooking (Ten Speed 2005) is just such a book you might find on their shelves.

Julia Child used it as a model for her classic (check the back cover quote "(A) book that I adore and that was my mentor in my early days in France..."), and it is still a great introduction to good French cooking. It was first published in 1927 and became the cooking bible of 20th century French home. The book's enthusiastic translator, Paul Aratow, one of the founders of Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Hollywood producer of such cult classics as Sheena, used his original French copy as the foundation Chez Panisse's dishes:
I discovered La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange in a little bookstore in the Latin Quarter. I was fascinated by the book. It was so precise, so assured. Every page contained another revelation. I felt that I had found culinary gold. Bridging the gap between her career as a professional chef and her life as a housewife, Madame Saint-Ange finds a sophisticated compromise between professional haute cuisine and the home hearth. (p. 3)
It is that balance that seems often lacking in cookbooks today – they are either written by professional chefs who show off their recipes that no home cook could hope to recreate, or by chefs who oversimplify and talk down to the American abilities.

The Foreward (p. 1) by Madeline Kamman also relates how she came across her first Saint-Ange, her mother's 1929 copy. She puts the book into context of the many cookbooks written by women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, of which this is the best example. It is hard to come up with an American equivalent, for the book is not merely The Joy of Cooking, for it reaches beyond everyday fare and is far more personal and in depth.

The first chapter entitled "What You Need to Know" is full of now-dated information, like how to use a coal-fired cast iron stove but it is fun to read what cooks had to do on a daily basis (that we, thankfully, do not). At times the book is merely a curious historical document. Mme. Saint-Ange warns housewives, "You should never disposes of old papers, trash, etc., in the firebox. If you have something to burn in the firebox, you must add it when the fire is already burning extremely well." (p. 7) But that personal tone is found in the very useful recipes, and brings them to life. Julia Child's recipes for Blanquette de Veau may be even longer and more complete, but Mme Saint-Ange's (pp. 293-295) is more approachable and somehow, more understanding. She suggests how many onions and mushrooms to allow per person (two small onions and one mushroom), what kind of pot to use (she is against cast iron that gives a "grayish off-color tint"), and then, in her very practical way, writes about how to hold and serve the dish, "First, if you have enough cooking utensils and do not mind washing one more, the simplest thing to do is lift out the pieces of veal with a fork, let them drain, then put them in a saute pan" (p. 295).

The chapter on "Cooking Techniques" (p. 25) in the front of the book is full of insights into why different techniques work. Braising is all the rage among chefs like Tom Colicchio (see Super Chef, chapter 5), and Madame gets right to its core:
Braising is much more than a cooking method, it is also about what you put in the pot – such as slices of fatback bacon, poaching liquid, wine, eau-de-vie, etc. These additions are what gives the meat succulence. (p. 25)
She admonishes against the use of meat that is too small and encourages larding, which is thoroughly explained on page 11. One can imagine Madame tapping her wooden spoon on the student's notebook and saying, "Pay attention and follow my directions!" -- with a glint in her eye.

Her recipe for Tradition Pot-au-Feu (pp.84--5), a deeply rewarding hearty soup for this time of year, is full of precise information for the novice soup makers, and yet the details and explanations are not tedious to read for someone well versed in the making of a proper potage. Why arrange bones on the bottom of the pot and the meat on top? "The meat is gradually penetrated by the heat which forces out the impurities in the form of foam that would otherwise cloud the bouillon." (p. 84) Madame instructs on how to skim the foam three times, regulating the boil by adding water, and then finally adding vegetables.

This is a cookbook to read as much for her meticulous instructions and classic recipes as for Madame's voice of authority, which comes through in her own words in her Notice or note to her readers (p. 5): " One last word, and it's personal. In this book, we have condensed the results of more than 30 years of practice and study applied to culinary education. This lengthy effort permits us to have a valid hope in the usefulness of the work." (p. 5) And the hope is justified, for this is a supremely useful and wonderful book.

Book details:
Barnes & Noble

Previous articles:
[Cookbook Reviews - complete]

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

--> back to superchefblog


Betty Crocker Podcast


cover of Cocina Betty Crocker Jamie Oliver is doing it, so is Emeril, so why not Betty Crocker?

All are creating downloadable podcasts of recipes from their books and television shows. Betty's entry is with two shows, Betty Crocker Red Spoon Diaries for Big Red, the colossal, basic cookbook from General Mills that features American cooking at its simplest. The other is targeting young Hispanic Americans who want to cook American food and have picked up the bilingual version of Big Red, Cocina Betty Crocker (click here for previous review).

General Mills told the Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal that since their launch in late November, the podcasts have been downloaded more than 10,000 times -- enough traffic to land them in the Top 100 List of food podcasts on Apple iTunes, though they have not broken that number down between the Spanish and English podcasts.

It is hard to believe that hip Latinos are downloading podcasts for Swiss Steak and Sloppy Joes when they could be choosing the latest hip-hop song or tango... The Spanish podcast is hosted by General Mills employee Ursula Mejia-Melgar, who shares recipes from the book as well as tips and other ideas in seven- or eight-minute segments. The English version features Heidi Losleben, a cookbook editor for the company, who also has a blog about learning to cook using Big Red (which worked for blogger Julie Powell's now defunct Julie on Julia.

Luis Fitch, principal of the U N O advertising agency in Minneapolis, which claims to be the only advertising agency specializing in the Latino market in that market, is surprised by the marketing push to ipods.
It makes sense, it's easy, they (General Mills) have the content, they get it translated and do voice over. And they are getting a lot of media attention, but in English. But for un-acculturated and semi-acculturated Hispanics the last thing they want to learn is American food. It isn't part of our culture: we miss our food, novellas, movies. Why would I want to learn to make apple pie when I can go to a supermarket and buy one? I haven't met a Latino who thinks American food is better.
He says that young Latino kids with ipods won't be wasting their time downloading recipes. Cooking in Latino households is learned from parents and grandparents, not from cookbooks, and still less from podcasts. Fitch also points out that few General Mills brands exist in Latin countries: Betty Crocker is unknown.

The Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal quotes Kim Walter, director of book and online publishing for General Mills' Equity Enterprises publishing division:
Betty Crocker is not just a brand, she's a person. Her persona is so expandable it enables us ... to try these different channels of communication and reach out in different ways.
In fact, Betty Crocker is a brand and not a person, and an unknown brand to most Latino consumers. Podcasts are cheap to produce, but who really is going to listen? Spanish language students?

Previous articles:
The Ethics in Betty Crocker?
Syndicated: Superchefblog on Betty Crocker
Houston Chronicle Interviews Superchefblog
Cocina Betty Crocker: Portent?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

--> back to superchefblog


Learn from Japanese Food TV


Hosts Hiroshi Sekiguchi and Yuji Miyake of Japanese 'Which Dish?' , courtesy Of Yomiuri Tv via Washington Post

Imitation is the highest form of flattery -– and now that the Food Network has borrowed sucesful Japanese formulas like Iron Chef and its US spin-off Iron Chef America , are more such shows slated for American airwaves?

According to a Washington Post article (Print versin) by Anthony Faiola:
Food has long been a major staple of Japanese broadcasting. But with most popular cooking and gourmet shows far cheaper to produce than star-powered dramas, TV producers and researchers say food shows now account for an estimated 35 to 40 percent of all domestic programming.
Sounds like there are plenty of hits to borrow. Could NBC by borrowing from Japan, like the Food Network with Iron Chef?

The Post states, "Presentation and visual appeal are as important as taste" -- a standard cliche in the absence of any taste via TV to date, despite a recommendnation for "Smell-a-Vison" by super chef Susan Feniger (see Super Chef, p. 162. This is not to be confused with "Odorama," the special effect used by director John Waters in Polyester).

Of course, the Japanese are fascinated by sophisticated cooking, not the Rachael Ray-brand of peppy and cheap which sells so well in America. Perhaps with more care American food TV can also encourage better eating and better cooking.

"The Japanese love the culture of food," said Yukio Hattori, one of the creators of Iron Chef, now with nine (9) food-related shows on the air in Japan. "But we have to be careful. We don't want to lose sight of the need to eat right."

Good Food TV can and should foster both.

If you can't get it right from Americans, why not borrow more from the Japanese?

Previous articles:
Iron Chef America Meets Survivor
[Food Television - complete]

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

--> back to superchefblog




Google Video logo

OK, animal rights activists: what would happen if "they" could fight back?

Move over, Meatrix: meet the Matrix Cow, if you dare...

Click here to watch today's Friday FOOD FLICKS feature:
Matrix Cow
(run time: 2 min 33 sec)

Matrix Cow

Stay tuned for more "Food Flicks" each Friday!

FOOD FLICKS: Swedish Chef & Squirrel Stew
FOOD FLICKS: Dan Barber in Blue Hill
FOOD FLICKS: Curry-N-Rice Girl
FOOD FLICKS: Julia Child Interviews
FOOD FLICKS: Gordon Ramsay the Sailor
FOOD FLICKS: Google Video

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

--> back to superchefblog


Foie Gras War: Bird Flu!


Bird Flu examinations, by Ilya Naymushin/Reuter in The Guardian

A quick news sweep reveals that the Foie Gras War -- the war to ban foie gras due to the pain inflicted upon fowl by the process of gavage -- continues unabated.

In Israel yesterday, where conflict with Palestinians makes daily headlines, the High Court of Justice still makes time for geese -- and yesterday, ruled against the Geese Growers Association, ordering an end to gavage with the immediate slaughter of 57,000 geese, a cruel victory for Let the Animals Live and Anonymous for Animal Rights, reports The Globe.

Back here at home last week, the Humane Society asked the Food Network to take foie gras off the air. The Humane Society singled out re-runs of Iron Chef because of its "Battle Foie Gras" episode. Their request should prove relatively easy to comply with, as the Food Network moves further and further away from Fine Dining into lower-cost ingredients and dishes and shows a la Rachael Ray.

It's not that foie gras is gone or even going. It is still a norm in Fine Dining. The New York Times still talks about it as an important part of Fine Dining, as in this recent article about David Kinch, or this article about home dining. In Washington, DC, at the National Gallery of Art, foie gras lollipops were served as part of a fete for the largest-ever Dada exhibit, reports The Washington Post.

Foie Gras Torchon by Ultimatepicure on Flickr

No, the joke on anti-foie gras activists is that they may find their banning efforts moot and, worse, the public mood swinging back for foie gras -- as the Asian Bird Flu (or "Avian Influenza") begins to ravage duck and geese stocks, making foie gras rare. According to The Financial Times (also, Print version), the European Union (urged by France and the Netherlands) is already planning bird flu vaccines limited for 900,000 ducks and geese in three high-risk risk areas, "including the Landes region that is a leading producer of foie gras."

So, despite (or, from Mother Nature's viewpoint, perhaps to spite) the costly, exhaustive efforts of anti-foie gras campaigners to humanize gavage through celebrity endorsements and the gorey, bizarre, and often brilliant poster campaigns (e.g., PMAF and Animauzine) of activists, we may soon see a foie gras hunger roll through the world as never before.

Soon, we may be seeing gorey pictures depicting vicious flu-murders of foie-gras-producing geese and ducks, while the rich endulge in a little gavage themselves on scarcity-priced foie gras.

Previous articles - Bird Flu:
Bird Flu Death Count Passes 50 in Asia
Food Vermin -- Bird Flu, Next Course?

Previous articles - Foie Gas War:
Foie Gras War: Liver is for Lovers
Foie Gras War: Rocco Saves Seals
Gordon Ramsay v James Bond
Foie Gras War: Voodoo and Vigilantes
Foie Gras War: Chicago Slaughterhouse
New York Times on Foie Gras
Before STORE WARS: The Meatrix
Foie Gras War 2: Ban All Poultry?
Foie Gras War
From Boulud's gourmet hamburgers arise... delicate Philly cheesesteaks?
Super Chef vs. Governator: Todd English Fights For Foie Gras Rights

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

--> back to superchefblog


Bones: Jennifer McLagan


Bones, by Jennifer McLagan Never skip the Acknowledgements section of any book: it is often a treasure trove. It can tell you about who the writer has worked or studied with, befriended or loved, and it can tell you of any special arrangements that made the book possible. It is especially true in Bones: Recipes, History & Lore (William Morrow, 2005) by Jennifer McLagan. She starts by thanking grandparents, aunts and mother and then includes this interesting reference:
Leila Batten and Stanley Janecek at Whitehouse Meats, John Rierkerk at Second Wind Elk, Elizabeth and Peter Bzikot and their sheep, Chang Lin at Pisces Fish, and Mary Lou Dolan at Beretta Organic Farms. My butcher in Paris deserves special mention. Watching Joel Lachable work is a joy and an education. It reveals the art form that is good butchery. I often don't want to cook the meat he has prepared; I am content to just admire its beauty. (pp. ix-x)
Google them all! Then set out on a trip to eat their succulent meat and fish, or just admire it.

In an era of Mad Cow Disease and carbon monoxide infuse plastic wrap for steak (see the terrific article by Marian Burros in The New York Times yesterday), the glories of butchers and farms seem so out of place. And yet, who can forget the physical power of a great butcher who can dissect an animal into such pleasing parts?

What makes bones so special? You can feel your bones in your arms, jaw, or legs. The fact that bones in our own bodies are so easily mentally connected to the bones of a steer or a hen, while muscle itself is given so many other names (beef, chicken, pork, veal and so on) gives bones a special place. We know what they are and yet what is so magical is the flavor they give food when cooked together with muscle.

Bringing back that flavor and bone-in cooking is Jennifer's mission:
Restoring bones to their deserved place in our kitchen will not be easy. Firs, we must fight against the current fascination with fast and quick, boneless food. Then we need to familiarize ourselves with the whole animal, its essentail structure. When we understand where the bones are, we will be able to cook the meat attached to them. (p. 3)
Of course the problem in this age of filet-filled supermarkets is finding that great butcher to provide you with all those bones in the first place.

The chapter on Beef and Veal (p. 7) starts with a wonderful black and white photograph by Colin Faulkner and descriptions of the animals and butcher's cuts. There are fine recipes for stock and consommé (pp. 12-5), and then plenty of recipes for ribs and steak. Four Bones in One Pot (pp. 37-8) is one of the more fanciful recipes with beef shank, short ribs, oxtail and marrow bones and plenty of vegetables. There is a simple straightforward recipe for Roasted Marrow Bones (pp. 44-5) served with either Fleur de Sel (for us Francophiles) or a Parsley Salad (for Anglophiles). Jennifer has an essay on bone marrow, useful for reading while devouring marrow on toast, on page 51, with the extra tip for the cautious: "Spinal marrow is found in the bones of chops and ribs, the neck, and tail. The safest bone marrow is that from the leg bones, because it has had no direct contact with the brain."

There are chapters on Pork (p. 53) with nifty information about ancient use of bones as musical instruments (p. 89) and Lamb (p. 91) with a curious bit of information about lamb bones used as ice skates in the Bronze Age (p. 104) and bone games like jacks (p. 117). In the Poultry chapter (p. 125) among the recipes for duck and turkey, the story of wishbones is explored in several essays, one primarily on the Anglo-Saxon traditions (p. 137) and another on a Persian Wishbone games (p. 153). Although, it is marvelous to see a recipe for Spicy Steamed Chicken Feet (p. 161) an overlooked delicacy, there is no Persian poultry dish like Fesenjan , the walnut-and-pomegranate-syrup-laced chicken stew, mentioned to accompany the wishbone game.

There are also fine chapters on Fish (p. 165) though not mollusks for obvious reasons and Game (p. 199), with no less than four recipes for rabbit including Rabbit in Saffron Sauce with Spring Vegetables, in which the rabbit liver is served as a spread for accompanying bread (pp. 216-7). There is also a great tidbit on Bone China (p. 219) appropriate to read while eating off your favorite (bone china is 50% bone ash).

Jennifer managed to find bone desserts for her final chapter, Bonelogue (p. 239) pointing out that gelatin used in many desserts is made from boiling animal feet. If the idea of a savory dessert made of bones or marrow bothers you, try faux Bone Cookies (p. 243), based on a recipe for osi di morto and shaped to look like Milkbones.(Ruff, ruff, yum, yum!)

Book details:
Barnes & Noble

Previous articles:
[Cookbook Reviews - complete]

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

--> back to superchefblog