Yo Bo Cantina Marks My 20th Story Published!

I am very excited that this week marks my twentieth (20th) published food story for Wiser Time Publishing, better known as the West Of and James Island Messenger newspapers. I joined the team last October. For a full slideshow of the stories in print, and links to the submitted stories, click here.

Charleston’s food industry hot trends are taco and tequila joints, Neapolitan (aka wood-fired) pizzerias, and kitchens serving farm-to-table dining. The craft beer scene continues to grow as well–I look forward to the Bay Street Biergarten (if you remember the Boathouse, Arizona’s, Rice Mill on East Bay, it’s in that building) opening in September. There’s also a new brewery in the Upstate (Greenville-Spartanburg), Quest, which I hope to see distributed in this area soon.

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Here It Is

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A key lime, honeydew frozen pie, with a Yoda theme. I was told the ears should be shorter and have more of a paisley shape/waviness to them. I used a diagonally split bread pan for this go round. Next time, I could use a half-size bread pan.

There are other things I would do differently, including:

–use cream cheese in addition to sweetened condensed milk

–simmer the key lime and honeydew juice down to a thicker consistency, for lots of flavor, but far, far less water. I am storing the pie in the freezer because anything less is far too warm here in the steamy South, even a 38 degree fridge.

–I would really like to find Oreo crumbles for the crust. Chocolate grahams are okay, but Oreos would be preferable.

I was happy with the color and the flavor of honeydew with key lime.

Usually I post the recipe but since this one is still under construction I will hold off. I used a 6″ springform pan for the middle circle, and as I said before, a diagonally split bread pan for the ears.

Dining in French..a fun alphabet

Do you eat something if you can’t pronounce it?

When I am out with friends or family, I am the one explaining terms.

When I write stories about exotic foods, I assume my readers would like to know more what they could be eating–delicious delicacies that aren’t apparent due to the language barrier. I describe the food and its preparation in English, followed by the foreign word in parentheses (just so it’s a little more familiar.)

For Bastille Day, I thought I would make a translated alphabet of French food-words diners may encounter. For extra fun, I thought I’d rhyme the end of each sentence with the French word.

A is for aubergine: but if I say eggplant you’ll know what I mean.

B is for bouillabaisse: a brothy, herbed seafood soup will bring a smile to your face.

C is for croquette: a potato dumpling you can’t forget.

D is for du jour: it means of the day with much allure.

E is for eau: it means water, just so you know.

F is for fraise: it means strawberry, a summery craze

G is for gâteau: it means cake, add glacé for ice cream also. 

H is for haricot: means beans, and now you know.

I is for ignames, but that’s yams where I’m from.

J is for jambon: it means hamI won’t go on and on.

K is for kumquat: a small citrus fruit–you know what? Nous Americains also say Kumquat.

L is for Lyonnaise, a hearty, meat-n-potatoes dish that’s sure to amaze.

M is for macaron, meringue, and madeleines, different cookies worth trying when you get the time.

N is for neufchâtel: a soft cream cheese that puts you under its spell.

O is for oeuf: it means egg, do you need proof?

P is for poulet: means chicken, cooked in many delicious ways.

Q is for quiche: It’s an egg-based, veggie and/or meat pie that never contains peach.

R is for roux: a flour and fat base for sauce? ‘Now that’ll do.

S is for serviette: it means napkin, now don’t forget!

T is for tartare: raw chopped beef, herbs and raw egg not for the faint of heart.

U is for ustensiles, as in utensils: when cooking for friends, you find they’re indispensable.

V is for vichysoisse: a classic potato-leek soup that hits the spot.

W is for Wallons*: their must-try Liége waffles are powdered sugar-festooned.

X is for xeres: a vinegar made from sherry.

Y is for yaort: is yogurt, so tasty with chopped fruit.

Z is for Z de la Arjolle: the only Zinfandel made in the whole (of France, that is. This once thought all-American grape is actually related to one grown in Italy and Croatia.) 

Have a great Bastille Day 2013. Hopefully I didn’t drive anyone ‘mad’ with this post.

*okay, this was a stretch. “Wallon” is the word for a person from Wallonia, or the French part of Belgium. It’s a rare “W-word” in the French language (if you’re ever playing French Scrabble). If you’re ever in Wallonia, no waffling, just try the waffles. Chocolate syrup probably ‘festoons’ better than powdered sugar, but I digress.

NOTE: In 2015, I recalled this food rhyme and how much fun I had writing it. I fine-tuned some the rhymes that weren’t that great. There will be a French in the Americas poem.

Feast Your Eyes: Babette’s Feast (1986)

As Bastille Day arrives this coming weekend, it’s hard to pick just one food film with a French connection. The French have contributed so much to the language, flavor, and art of food (much like politics and fashion).
But this go ’round, I choose Babette’s Feast. I know, I know, it is a foreign film in Danish with English subtitles, but its heroine, Babette, is French. 

When revolution breaks out in her native country, French refugee Babette appears at the door of two sisters in Jutland, Denmark. She carries a letter from an old friend of one of the sisters, and she seeks shelter in exchange for performing domestic work, including cooking. The sisters accept, though running a parish they inherited from their father, they are used to a diet of dried fish and fairly plain food that reflects their outlook and devout faith. Fancy, succulent French cookery is not their style, and they do fear its potentially soul-corrupting influence. The film delves into each sister’s past.

The film is based on a short story by Isak Dinesen. Dinesen is most famous for her memoir, Out of Africa. Coincidentally, it too was made into a film in the 1980s, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

TRIVIA: Denmark has no official independence or national day.