Friday, November 20, 2015

No Salt, No Sugar

I use one tablespoon of salt a year in my home cooking. I use no sugar. The practice is not a big ideological or medical deal, it just seems prudent and reasonable. 

Avoiding the two additives has improved the cooking. Flavor comes from carefully selected and handled ingredients. Vegan bouillon cubes, a dried vegetable flake mix from the spice shop at the Market, dried onion and garlic, and first quality olive oil supplement the spice rack.


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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Kitchen Stand-bys

Apples are bred for good keeping qualities. Oranges aren't bad, either, nor are onions and garlic. Root vegetables and cabbage are good for a month or two in the refrigerator.

Deli staples like olive oil, canned fish, various pickled things, pasta, and hard tack supplement rice and beans. 

Canned fruits and vegetables and dried mixes earn their keep as well when they're available to supplement whatever fresh goodies are in the refrigerator.

These old-school allies make short work of a shopping trip, not to mention putting dinner together. I don't use them for every main meal, but they make it easy to relax as the dinner hour approaches and I consider the menu.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Attention To Detail

The essence of Deft thinking is to gain the most effect or the most utility with the least time and labor. Most of the strategies in this blog are half-forgotten old ones dating back to the turn of the twentieth century or earlier.

The secret ingredients in Deft are attention and fine motor skill. Simple, elegant housekeeping strategies collapse into squalor when haste or overload speed up basic processes like hanging towels on the rack, folding napkins, or setting an entry hall to rights. A room furnished with no more than the essentials depends on careful staging and maintenance to present itself to best advantage. That said, such a room is also a cinch to clean and a supportive joy to live in.


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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Home Grown

So-called potato chip technology has transformed more than the way we read the list of ingredients. A mylar bag puffed tight with nitrogen pads a parcel every bit as well as bubble wrap. 

I secured a shipment to my kid's office with my his favorite local junk food and some mailing tape. He said the staff fell upon the packing material. As the holidays approach, consider.


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Monday, November 16, 2015

Washday Food

When mamma had to chop the wood to boil the water to cook the linen on Monday, she was unlikely to serve beef Wellington for dinner. New Orleans' answer was to set a pot of red beans and ham hocks on the back of the laundry stove. I haven't boiled a pot of napkins in quite a few years, but it's always good to have an excuse to cook simply. Red beans are selling so well around here that I had to stop cooking them ahead of time on Sunday, because they were nearly gone on Monday afternoon. The secret is in the hock. 

Pizza, too, as I recall, was a convenience food for the housekeeper. It may have been a bake day answer to the heavy labor of producing bread. The original Neapolitan pizza is a simple round of dough oiled and covered with slices of garlic and pieces of tomato pulp. That's my favorite format, easily rationalized as low-calorie.


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More after the jump.