Give me hashed browns off a griddle and flapjacks browned beside them that are not made from a mix. What has happened to the crisp waffle with warm maple syrup? On comfort days in sloppy clothes, I don’t want macadamia waffles with exotic grains.
–Barbara Kafka on comfort food
Friends, neighbors, countrymen–I know you’ve all been long-awaiting (salivating?) over my return to this blog. Yes, I’ve left you hanging for a couple of weeks, and I profusely apologize–in my favor, though, I did do like three posts right in a row before I left. I’m sure you needed three weeks to process it!
Nobody has expressed any opinion either way as to which style of post they like better, so I’m going to keep doing it in the new style until I get bored and want to change it again. Fair enough?
And away we go!
Interestingly . . .
Citric acid is sometimes mixed with salt to create “sour salt,” a kosher product often used to flavor dishes like borscht.
Egg whites are often used to clarify stocks by helping to remove sediment and particles. A common type of clarified broth is consommé, or, if you’re really extreme, a double consommé, which has twice the flavor because it has been reduced by half.
Clotted cream, much like clabbered milk, is cream made by heating raw milk until the thickened, clotted cream forms on the surface. The English, particularly in Devonshire, are fond of eating this on top of bread, scones, or fruit.
The cobb salad came about when the Brown Derby’s restaurant manager, Bob Cobb, invented it in the 20′s as a way to use up leftovers.
Coconut oil is one of the very few non-animal saturated fats. Unripened coconuts have flesh with a jelly-like consistency that can be spooned out of the husk, unlike the firm meat in ripened coconuts. Coconut milk and cream are not natural by-products of dismantling the coconut; rather, they are made by cooking water with coconut meat and then straining well.
Egg coddlers are special containers made for the process of making a coddled egg–an egg that is placed in an individual container, then set into a pan of simmering water, or by lowering eggs into water that has come to a boil and has been removed from heat. Don’t get the wrong idea, though–coddled eggs aren’t spoiled, they’ve just received a lot of nurturing. (See what I did there?)
The cola nut is the basis for our–guess–no, guess–our cola, which many Americans consume on a regular basis. Caffeine and theobromine are derived from the cola nut; this is, purportedly, where the slightly bitter flavors of cola come from. If you can taste the bitter under all that sugar.
A complete protein contains “adequate” amounts of the nine essential amino acids. Most animal foods are considered naturally complete, but vegetarian sources often need to be paired to get enough amino acids.
A continental breakfast was not named that because it sounds fancy on hotel menus. It was created as a light counterpoint to the heavy English breakfast. Those damn redcoats.
While cooking spray is an excellent lubricant for health-conscious people, if you spray it near an open flame, it will explode and melt your face off like Charlie Sheen.
(Just an aside — there are so many terms in these chapters that try to make me go to other chapters and glossaries, and then, when I get there, they re-direct me somewhere else. It’s like they managed to build bureaucracy right into a book.)
The dish country captain is a supposed “American classic,” named for a British army officer who brought the dish back from India. I’ve never heard of this dish. (Apparently, it’s chicken, the holy trinity, tomato, parsley, currants, and curry slow cooked together and served over rice with toasted almonds. That sounds like a real American classic to me.)
Coush-coush, a Cajun breakfast dish consisting of cornmeal cooked into a thick porridge-like consistency in a hot pan that promotes browning at the bottom, shouldn’t be confused with couscous, which is granulated semolina that is often cooked as an accompaniment like pasta or . . . well, huh, how bout that–it’s also cooked into a porridge. Moving on, then.
Crab Louis (or “crab Louie”) has a very controversial origin. The dish itself is fairly straightforward–lump crab, mayo, chili sauce, cream, scallions, green pepper, and a splash of lemon juice and other seasonings. Credit has been attributed to at least three different chefs, however–the chef at Seattle’s Olympic Club, the chef at Solari’s in San Francisco, or the chef at the St. Francis Hotel, also in San Francisco. Will we ever know who truly created this mysterious dish?!
Crème fraîche, which was featured in the capper of season 14 of South Park (watch it) is naturally thickened in France by bacteria that exist in the unpasteurized milk; in America, buttermilk or sour cream must be added to create this product, which is extremely expensive to buy at the grocery, but very easy to make at home–if you’re not squeamish about letting your dairy sit out overnight.
To crush food means to grind it down into its finest form–crumbs, powder, or a paste. Also refers to the complete obliteration of one’s enemies.
The cucumber has been cultivated for thousands of years. The wax that often coats the outside of cucumbers is edible, but might taste gross–you may or may not need to remove it.
Bizarrely . . .
Clabbered milk, or milk that has been curdled and thickened, is often “enjoyed” as an “icy-cold” drink in the south. Excuse me, I’m going to go “enjoy” hugging my toilet while I vomit. (Hey, southerners–you know, the English make a very similar product, but they don’t enjoy it as a refreshing beverage . . . )
The colostrum, also known as “beestings,” is the foremilk produced by cows during the first five post-birth milkings. The colostrum is extremely nutritious, full of antibodies and vitamins, so it is touted as a remedy and used for healing benefits. Because, you know, that newborn doesn’t need it or anything.
(I could make this whole section dairy-based–people do some weird things with dairy.)
A fungus that feeds on corn and makes the kernels swell up to 10 times their normal size, cuitlacoche (also called corn smut and maize mushroom) is considered a delicacy by gourmands and a plague by farmers. I got hopeful when I saw “corn smut,” but it turns out it’s not farming porn.
(So, I go to flickr and put in “corn smut.” A bunch of really gross pictures came up–not porn, but actual corn smut. So you get this instead. You’re welcome.)
Foreign customs, terms, and foods
A dish à la Clamart refers to a dish that is garnished with peas–or potato balls. Dishes à la Crécy, on the other hand, have been cooked or garnished with carrots.
Concassé is a mixture that has been coarsely chopped or ground. Traditionally, this is made of seeded and peeled tomatoes, which, I can tell you from personal experience, is a total pain in the ass, especially when you’re sharing two pots of boiling water among thirty students.
Confit, a specialty of Gascony, France, has its roots in an ancient cooking technique where meat is preserved by salting it and cooking it slowly in its own fat.
In Puerto Rico, they serve coquito at Christmas, which is a coconut-flavored egg nog. Much like a mojito, you can (and, in my opinion, should) prepare coquito with rum.
On second thought, this doesn’t look very appetizing. I prefer the picture I found of Señor Coquito:
Yeah, that’s way better.
In France, gherkin pickles are called cornichon.
Coulibiac is the French version of the Russian kulebiaka, and consists of a “creamy melange” of salmon, rice, hard-cooked eggs, shallots, mushrooms, and dill in a brioche pastry. Usually, the dishes they describe in here sound kind of iffy and I would never actually make them–but I think my husband would dig this, and I may give it a go. I’ll let you know if I do.
If you order crêpes suzette, what you should get is a dessert of crepes in orange-butter sauce which are doused in an orange liqueur and then “ignited to flaming glory.” If your crêpes suzette doesn’t come with flaming glory, you should demand your money back.
In France, a croque madame is a battered and toasted ham and cheese sandwich (which is a croque monsieur) with the addition of an egg. In America and Britain, a croque madame has neither ham, nor egg, but does have chicken–so I guess that’s something? (Personally, I think America and Britain need to seriously re-think their appropriation of the term “croque madame” for a chicken and cheese sandwich.)
In the Oaxaca region in Mexico, clayudas are made from large corn torillas which are baked until crisp and filled with such ingredients as aciento (“a grainy pork fat”, mmmmmm), refritos, cheese, vegetables, or salsa. So, you know, basically just about any kind of food.
The roe of a crustacean (such as lobsters or scallops) is called coral, because of the color it turns when cooked.
Although it’s often found wild growing in American corn fields, corn salad is considered a gourmet green, and can be served in salads or steamed as a vegetable. (It is not, however, part of the corn plant.)
Crosnes, also called “Chinese artichokes” or “Japanese artichokes,” are tubers that look like caterpillars and taste like sunchokes. They are native to China, but are thusly named for the French city where they were cultivated in the late 19th century.
(Gotta keep going . . . *breathes and does some stretching exercises* I’m in the Cr’s now! Almost there!)
Unfortunate wording, coincidences, hilarious descriptions, and funny terms
A citrus stripper is the item used to cut long strands of citrus zest. I wish I had known that before I paid that girl $20 to dance with some grapefruit.
Even better than citrus strippers.
From the people who invented haggis: cock-a-leekie is a Scottish soup made with, you guessed it, chicken and leeks, and sometimes oatmeal and cream. Not only does it have the kind of name that a toddler might bestow upon it, it also sounds thoroughly gross. (Sorry, Scottish people who may be reading this, but the idea of chicken, cream, leeks, and oatmeal together? Blech.)
Apparently, comfort food “should make you shut your eyes, rub your tummy, and say ahhhhh.” The Book also describes them as “a culinary hug.” Aww.
Congee is described as a “gruel” of boiled rice and water. Yum.
The coppa in coppa ham is Italian for “cup.” Does that mean … no, that’s too easy… aw, screw it: so how much do you need, a coppa ham? Yuk, yuk, yuk.
[I am told by a Twitter friend that coppa as cup is a secondary translation. Then he said some stuff that is way beyond my knowledge of ham and other delicious cured porkmeats: "Re: Coppa, you'll note that the "cup" translation is a second definition; the salume is named for the Italian term for 'nape.' "Capocollo" (Italian for "head" and "neck") is another term for the salume." Capocollo kind of sounds like capicola . . . which is super tasty . . . and that's about all I can contribute to that after having been up all night!
My pun still stands, though. I like that pun.]
A cowberry is a relative of the cranberry, and it grows in northern Europe, Canada, and Maine. I mention this only because we live near a street called Mooberry, which I think is a badass street name, and I want to live on Mooberry Street so I can tell people I live there.
The definition of cup, in The Book, The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion: “A punch made as an individual drink, or for several servings, poured from a pitcher into wineglasses or punch cups.” I don’t even know what to say to that. No mention of it being eight fluid ounces at all, not even a note to see the appendix of weights and measures–just punch. (And, I’m confused–isn’t all punch made to be consumed individually, in cups? I’ve never been to a party where it was A-OK to drink straight from the punchbowl. Not that I’ve tried that, or anything. Ahem.)
On the heels of cup, I have an issue with the entry for curry. From the word “kari,” which means sauce in southern India–okay, we all know about curries. I love curry. But The Book says that “curry powder is an integral ingredient in all curries.” Shame on you, book–”curry powder” is rarely used in any curry. Every cook has his or her own spice blends that they frequently use. Only American chumps use curry powder. (Okay, I have curry powder in my spice rack–but I never use it! I swear!)
I’m not going to follow up on this–especially since chapter D is coming up next–but this is a short and curious entry: croaker, see “drum”. Your guess is as good as mine–in fact, why don’t you put your guesses below as to what it means?
Holy crap, I’m done! (Well, I still have to do cheese. And cocktails. And chocolate. But I’m through the chapter in general! And it only took me a total of like five hours to blog my way through the chapter!) [Aside: I was so jubilant about being through the chapter that I almost forgot to look for pictures!]
I have picked up the ingredients for croquembouche; it’s only vaguely on hold because I am trying to enlist my dear friend to come help with both the preparing and the eating of this thing. (I’m making two different flavors of cream puffs . . . . that’s right, I’m going all fancy and shizz.) Am I freaked out about the prospect of making spun sugar, and potentially getting second-degree burns on my fingers if I miss-dip and get molten hot caramel on them? You betcha–I do this for you, dear readers, for you.
Don’t forget to put in your guess as to what “croaker” means–or, in a culinary context, “drum” for that matter. If you already know, don’t go spoiling it with your knowing things and smartness. Until we meet again!