Please do not take this post—published mere hours before gladiators attempt to sate our bloodlust by pummeling each other into early-onset dementia—as an endorsement of New England over Philadelphia. Though I’d happily live on nothing but Cape Code chips, I have no loyalty to the land of snow and chowdah—which isn’t to say that I care much about Philadelphia, either.
What I really mean is that I can barely be bothered to give a shit about football under the best of circumstances. If the Steelers were in the Super Bowl, and I was at the game, and a wealthy benefactor had ensured that I wouldn’t have to sit outside in the cold, and I had an entire Mineo’s pizza in one hand and an endless supply of Dippin Dots in the other, and, like, Bernadette Peters were performing a one-woman “strictly Sondheim” medley at halftime… maybe then I’d be able to muster up some enthusiasm. Continue reading
Here are a few reasons fish (and carrots!) en papillote (or en aluminum foil, a la Nonnie) should be in your regular meal rotation, particularly this time of year:
- Preparing food en papillote, or inside a little sealed package, is an exceedingly easy, quick, and largely mess-free way to cook protein (and vegetables), making it ideal when you want to make dinner on the only weeknight you have free in between awards season screenings and holiday parties. (I know, I’m playing the world’s tiniest violin for myself.)
- But it also feels very fancy, mostly because it’s got a tres sophisticated French name, hohn hohn hohn.
- Plus, every time you slice into a little foil package with delicious things inside, you’ll feel like you’re opening a present you gave yourself—and after all, ’tis the season.
The canon of weirdo Gentile party foods I grew up blissfully unaware of—ambrosia; grape jelly meatballs; anything involving, dear God, gelatin—would not be complete without shrimp puffs, a delightfully ’50s canapé comprised of crappy supermarket sandwich bread that’s toasted, then topped with a mixture of shrimp, mayo, and cheese, then broiled to an appealing golden brown.
Despite its final coloring—especially when the toasts are, say, left to sit in a hot oven a bit longer than they should, thanks to a negligent and slightly tipsy hostess juggling too many things at her own housewarming party—this may in fact be the whitest food in history, culturally speaking. Though I guess hotdish, a Midwestern casserole that combines canned cream of mushroom soup with canned vegetables and hamburger meat and tops the whole thing off with frozen tater tots, might have a bone to pick with that appellation.
Oo la la!
What, exactly, is “shrimp sauté au citron”? Is it a rustic French classic, a recipe passed from peasant housewife to peasant housewife to cartoon food critic to, improbably, my Jewish, Pittsburgh-born grandmother? Is it a home cook’s approximation of a fancy restaurant entree, something you might find in Chapter V of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1? Or is it, perhaps, a made-up name meant to gussy up a dish that might better be described as “shrimp in a frying pan”?
You’re telling me I’ve had this blog for nearly two years now, and I still haven’t told you the story of Nonnie and the swordfish? Continue reading
Want to perk up your next soirée with a fancy-seeming, charmingly retro amuse-bouche that’s also kind of viscerally disgusting? Have I got the fish mush for you!
If you’re like me, then These Troubled Times have you craving two things: companionship (because misery loves company, especially when we’re all bitching about the same things), and creamy, bubbling, comforting food made to be scooped up by crisp simple carbohydrates. Continue reading