The NYT has traced the first nachos back to Piedras Negras, Mexico, in 1940, with just three ingredients. As the story goes, a group of women walked into the Victory Club in Piedras outside business hours. Aiming to please, Ignacio Anaya, the maître d’hôtel known as Nacho, ran to the kitchen and made a quick appetizer with ingredients he found. Today’s nachos know no end to their variations: They can have a number of seasoned layers or simply be topped with cheese sauce, like those sold at concession stands. But the simplicity of its original, with its barely salted chips, nutty melted cheese and briny pickled jalapenos, is sure to charm true nacho fans.
“we’ve all invested emotionally in nachos.”
credits: Christoper Simpson(NYT) and Simon Andrews- food stylist (NYT)
shared a kitchen and an online live cooking class
with one of my grandies today
a fast-working sur la table pastry chef
equipment, ingredients, and time
we both worked hard for 2 hours
improvised along the way
scrambled to find things
as the chef added in a few surprises
like making two royal icings
of different consistencies
white chocolate melted
dark chocolate melted
coloring the icings
buttering and chilling the pan
after many, many steps
we had pretty much trashed the entire kitchen
but in the end
we had created
wonderful french madelines – vanilla bean halloween style
more tiny cakes than cookies.
“cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. and cooking done with care is an act of love.”
on this day in 1964
a perennial favorite of children
“mary poppins,” premiered.
julie andrews as mary, sang and danced her way through this happy film
her famous ‘just a spoonful of sugar’ song danced through my head
as i continued my foray into bread making with my latest project
cinnamon swirl donut bread
i think mary would have been quite impressed/horrified by all the sugar involved in this one
is was not only a sweet donut loaf
but was swirled with cinnamon, sugar, and molasses
and in the final stages
the entire loaf
still warm from the oven
was dipped in melted butter
then rolled in a mix of brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon
that melted together
creating an outer crust
this was not a loaf for the feint of heart
nor amateur sugar-eater
a little went a long way, but pretty tasty, all in all.
next up – beer bread
i wonder what movie from my past that experience will trigger.
“if god hadn’t meant for us to eat sugar, he wouldn’t have invented dentists.”
image credit: walt disney pictures
“i was 32 when i started cooking; up until then i just ate.” -jc
happy memorial birthday to julia child,
american chef extraordiniare , rebel, eccentric, pioneer, lover of all things butter
and the one who brought the art of french cooking to america.
“with enough butter anything is good.”
“miss child is never bashful with butter”
jc -i plan to whittle a stick of butter into a smaller stick of butter today in your honor.
image credits: (b/w) google. com, (color) butter sculptures, pennsylvania state fair
I’m not gonna’ lie, i’m pretty good with toast.
“What is the right way to cut a piece of toast?”Diagonally, insists the narrator in NIcholson Baker’s novel “The Mezzanine.” It creates a “triangularly cut slice” which in turn yields “an ideal first bit.” With rectangular toast, you must “angle the shape into your mouth, as you angle a big dresser through a hall doorway.” (Dwight Garner, NYT book critic’s new essay on the literature of breakfast food.)
“i have trouble with toast. toast is very difficult.
you have to watch it all the time or it burns up.”
-julia child, master chef (1912-2004)
credits: New York Times, Dwight Garner, Nicholson Baker,”The Mezzanine”, google images
watched a live cooking lesson
with chef isabella
working from her home kitchen
making pasta primavera
she’s italian, passionate, spirited, direct
i learned some techniques
as well as
her recipe, hand gestures, italian numbers, and lots of improv skills
at one point in the lesson
part of her burner broke
she just cursed and moved to another
there was a live feed for the 500 of us who were watching
at one point, her husband, pazzo, who was helping
made his own funny comment to the viewers on the feed
pazzo to everyone:
“omg, lmao. $100 says that stove is gone when the quarantine is over…if not sooner!”
no wonder they are married
no wonder it was all so fun
no wonder i’m going to make pasta primavera
brilliant, every minute.
“i’m not sure I’d write a good cookbook, but I might make a good cooking show.”
the origin soup
on thursday I went home with a cold
looking for comfort food
not wanting to go to the store
I made soup out of what I found in my kitchen
I put it all in a crockpot, turned it on, and waited it out
after 4 hours
it did NOT taste good
I added more herbs and some fresh salsa
I waited it out
nope, not good
added more things
now on day 4 of the soup saga
added in even more things
add in tomatoes
but that can wait
until the morning
it’s now taking on
a creamy porridge texture
still slow cooking it
some beans still hard
still does not taste good
now a lot of soup
I could easily survive
the rest of the winter
if snowed in with this soup
it would still not taste good
but I would never go hungry
this might go on forever
like a sourdough starter
perhaps I can pass it on
to my children one day
tomorrow will be the best day ever
when the soup will all come together
I just know it.
“cooking is the art of adjustment.”
– jacques pepin
the recipe said it was easy
only 4 ingredients
they did not say
not to wear a white sweater with bell sleeves when melting chocolate
don’t forget that you have to individually unwrap each caramel
while chocolate is still warm and not solidifying
that the peanut butter chips won’t actually drizzle
that the caramel will come out in blobs
that the chocolate on the bottom won’t easily come off of the foil
that the slab will not actually break in the right way
that the 4 ingredients will re-solidify in the disposal
that the whole thing will not resemble the picture
that it will still taste good if people are daring enough to try it
that this will be a one-time recipe for me.
‘just because you make a good plan, doesn’t mean that’s what’s gonna happen.’
the master-chef sisters of hungarian strudel
“You need an egg, two spoonfuls of lard, and a pinch of salt, followed by flour, a dash of vinegar, and just enough warm water to create a dough with a dumpling-like consistency.” This is part of the traditional Hungarian strudel recipe that Ilona and Erzsébet, elderly sisters and lifelong baking partners, learned from their late mother. In their small village of Tura, an hour outside of Budapest, the sisters regularly bake the delicate pastry for up to 500 people for weddings and community events.
In the short documentary Strudel Sisters, directed by Peter Hegedus and Jaina Kalifa, Ilona and Erzsébet share how a family tradition evolved into a livelihood. Their quirky rapport may as well be part of the recipe—no strudel-making session is complete without bouts of bickering and singing.
“I loved the sisters from the first time I met them,” Kalifa told me, “and I knew straight away that we had to make a film about them. They are really special people with big hearts and a great sense of humor and just have this warm, grandmotherly feel, which instantly resonated with me.”
Authentic strudel-making is a dying art. It requires a certain moxie: the dough must be worked vigorously in order to activate the gluten, after which it acquires a threshold of elasticity, allowing the baker to stretch it until it’s tissue-thin and nearly translucent. Then, the filling—most commonly grated apple, brown sugar, lemon, and cinnamon—is added intermittently between the pastry layers.
While making the film, Kalifa and Hegedus were lucky enough to taste five different types of the sisters’ strudel. “My personal favorite was the cheese strudel,” said Kalifa. “Strudel is part of their DNA. They’ve been making strudel all their lives, and you can tell.”
“first bake the strudel, then sit down and ponder.”
credits: emily buder- author, peter hegedus/jaina kalifa – video/photo, the atlantic
About This Series:
A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.
with the big holiday looming
don’t spend a minute worrying about
what to do with all the leftovers
the solution is just waiting for you to discover
what’s the weirdest jello recipe you’ve ever been served?
was it considered:
a salad substitute?
a side dish of the main meal?
“it’s as if we spend our entire lives avoiding Jell-O
but it is always there at the end, waiting.”
-john grisham, ford county
image credit: kraft/general foods – vintage ad