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the holidays

You don’t have to be Jewish to love Passover

But if you are trying to get high fructose corn syrup (or corn or grain products) out of your family’s diet, foods that have been produced specifically for the Passover season (March 29th through sundown, April 5th this year) are your friends. I went to my local ‘large regional supermarket chain’ and found that the Passover display was already up: matza, coconut macaroons, breakfast cereals, baking mixes, potato flour, you name it. These are products that although you will want to read the ingredient labels just to read them, it is not as if you will have to read them to catch the manufacturer in putting corn products into them. Corn and other grain products are forbidden for Passover, so products are manufactured specifically with that in mind and the manufacturers’ premises are rigorously cleaned and inspected by religious authorities before the manufacturing process takes place to make sure that there is no ‘chametz’ (grain products) left behind to contaminate the manufacturing processing equipment. (more…)

Winter Picnic

coleslawGroan. Right about now, the thought of turkey anything is enough to make the residents of Chez Siberia lock themselves in the bathroom (and considering that there are only 1.5 ‘necessaries’, this could result in a rather interesting game of musical toilets..), but even the Siberians must eat. And, as luck (bad) would have it, The Boy had a birthday celebration intermixed in all this and asked for (hurrah!) a meal that actually hearkened back to a period when our family was…mmm…shall we say….how should Aunt Toby put this? (more…)

I’m a pundit. Who knew?

turkeysoupYou never know, when you get involved in this blogging business, into whose mailbox or IM or FB or other ‘social networking’ la-di-dah your words and pictures are going to land. I was notified by a kind friend that my Thanksgiving piece (post both here and back with ‘the folks what brung me’ back at had been picked up by an electronic publication which, shall we say, is at a slightly more rarified level than my little postings here. 10 Recipes the Pundits Love

I’m not going to take offense at the ‘he’ business because the writer also referred to ‘flower’ when discussing someone’s gravy recipe. This appears to be a “I trusted the spell checker” problem rather than any wish to poke a stick into your Aunt Toby’s eye. (more…)

Show Some Respect for the Honored Dead — and make Turkey Soup!

turkeysoup If your house is like mine, the carcass from yesterday’s dinner turkey got a piece of aluminum foil thrown over the top of it and is sitting forlornly in the refrigerator, having been combed for odd bits of meat over the past 24 hours.

And you are really quite fed up with it sitting there and are about to unceremoniously throw the poor thing into the garbage, scraping out the roasting pan and letting it be done at that.

“Step away from the roaster, Sir (or Ma’am) and no one will get hurt.”

Now is the time to show some restraint and respect for the poor bird who “gave it up” for your family yesterday. We’re going to turn it into soup today! You will need: the turkey carcass and hopefully the pan that you cooked it in with all the lovely stuff still in it, plus a little salt or a can of chicken or turkey broth. (more…)

Christmas Fruitcake Fit to Fight For: Dundee Cake

dundeecake This year, Christmas fruitcake has had a powerful competitor in terms of being the go-to punchline as the number of plays on Sarah Palin’s hunting prowess and the loss of poor Rudolph seem to have flooded the internet.

Once this season is over (and, one would hope, Ms. Palin and her hunting rifle will be put away to be played with some other time), fruitcake will again take its place in American humor along with jokes on wives, mothers-in-law, and George W. Bush’s prowess with a bicycle.

Frankly, I’ve never understood America’s seeming equation of fruitcake with the legs of couches, WMD and so forth – why use fruitcake when Lutefisk is at hand? (A Swedish-American co-worker from Minnesota described this traditional Swedish dish to me as “fish flavored soap.”)

Then again, I never had American commercial fruitcake until I was well grown.

I was brought up with my mother’s holiday dainties from the UK: Christmas “hard” pudding (“hard” as in soaked in brandy, lit on fire and served with an alcoholic sauce over the steamed cake-y pudding) and HER fruitcake, which is called Dundee Cake. (more…)

Cheap and Good: Christmas Breakfast

xmasbreakfast Ah, Christmas morning…filled with the sounds of ripping paper, “Dad, where’re the batteries?” and “I’m hungry…”

We’re back in the kitchen (you guys think I really live here, right…kicking the sleeping bag back under the table) with the thought of Christmas Day, which is usually filled with eating things that you would frankly shudder to think about on any other day, capped with a dinner (either at your house or someone else’s) that will send you waddling for the bathroom (and the antacids) later on.

Any way to stop that? Well, I’m not sure, but I’m a big proponent of getting a good slug of protein in the morning and also of the “anything you can shovel into a tortilla” form of breakfast. (more…)

Surviving Holiday Entertaining Without A Second Mortgage

We’re back in the kitchen (because that is seemingly where Aunt Toby lives – check out the sleeping bag under the dining room table) because…sigh, it’s the holiday season.

(Cue scary music; big organ sounds and the deep-voiced actor we all know and love: “It’s the holiday season; the time when friends and family…..” screech as the needle goes over the record.)

If you are like me, “holiday entertaining” are two words that rank up there with other two-word favorites: “root canal” and “emergency hysterectomy.” (more…)

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