Category Archives: Food

Skim vs. Powdered

Our discussion the other day about paper plates reminded me of stories that my folks used to tell about their early married life.  My dad was in basic training in North Carolina and my mom moved there to be close to him.  She taught gym part-time and they lived in a small trailer.  One of the stories they told me about how broke they were was that they couldn’t afford to buy a set of plates.  So not only did they eat on paper plates, they cut the paper plates in half!

By the time I came along, they were in better shape, although still not great; my dad was in law school with two part time jobs and my mom was forced to quit working the minute the school district found out she was pregnant!  As a kid, things were tight, not destitute, but definitely tight. One of the ways that my mom saved on groceries was by using powdered milk.  I still remember it after all these years, chalky and for some reason never seemed to get really cold.  I hated it.

At least once a month we had Saturday dinner at my grandparents’ house – hamburger and french fry night.  There were a lot of reasons that I liked to eat my Nana and Pappy’s; one of those reasons was that they had “real” milk.  It was always very cold because that’s the way Pappy liked it and there was always plenty.  They had a special half-gallon carton holder that looked like this:

When my younger sister started school and had “real” milk every day, she began refusing to drink the powdered milk at home.  While I hadn’t been brave enough to do this on my own, I quickly followed her lead and my mom gave up and began to buy “real” milk.  I started drinking skim about 30 years ago and I’m still a big milk drinker all these years later.  My mom doesn’t understand how I can drink skim and  has suggested more than once that I “might as well go back to powdered milk”.  Yes, after all these years, she still remembers how we “forced” her to buy milk.

My milkman told me yesterday when he was making our delivery that big local dairies are going to discontinue skim milk production for a bit.  Apparently skim milk requires more steps and production time; during our current crisis, trying to keep up with demand means cutting out skim so more easily produced milks can make it to market faster.  Who would have thought?  Guess I’ll be on a higher fat milk for a while.

Do you remember any meals you enjoyed at your grandparents’?

Frenzy of Pie

It’s a pie trifecta here (hope I’m using that correctly).  Stuck in the house, a little blue (working at home is not growing on me yet) and have lots of pie ingredients hanging around.

Last weekend I made a blueberry pie for YA and a pear croustade (fancy way to say pears in puff pastry).  Then a couple of days ago, a blender lemon pie (SO easy).  Yesterday I made a peanut butter cream cheese whipped cream Reese’s pie… not sure what the actual name is.  Over the weekend, there is apple crumble to be made and I might make another of the blender lemon (it went fast and I still have lemons).  My neighbors on either side are benefitting from this frenzy.

Of course, I’m also doing other dishes for comfort.  Made a pizza on Monday, roasted cauliflower on Wednesday, hash brown parmesan “cups” last night.  YA has requested tomato soup… I still have tomatoes in the freezer from last summer so that’s do-able.  Might have to make a quick run to the store for onions and garlic.  I think I might do ramen pad thai too.

I know we’ve talked about comfort food before, but anything you’re craving this week?

3.14159265…..

I know you’re expecting to see details about Pi Day next week, but this year I’m going to change it up and write about Pi Day organization.  Here’s what it takes:

Already Done

  • Send out Evites. If you’re local, you got an evite, although I can’t guarantee they didn’t go to Spam.
  • Decide on pies. Mark the recipes with post-it notes.  11 this year – I can’t help myself
  • Make list of ingredients and then shop for those ingredients
  • Make little pie placecards and nametags
  • Make sure you have enough plates, napkins, forks
  • Check on red/white wine supply

Up Next

  • Go through recipes and sort out which are baked and which are non-baked
  • Figure out how many pie shells need pre-baking
  • Do any of those pre-baked ones need any chocolate coating or other prep?
  • Figure out what oven temperature is needed for the baked pies
  • Figure out what can be chopped/ground before Saturday
  • Make an actual schedule of the order of baking, set up by oven temperature needed

Friday night

  • Make the oatmeal cookies that become the crust for the Crack Pie
  • Make Crack Pie crust
  • Boil the condensed milk to make dulce de leche
  • Do any pre-baking of crusts and coat the chocolate ones
  • Do any nut chopping/grinding that needs doing

Saturday

  • Get up early and get started!!

Hopefully there will be time in here for a shower before everybody arrives!  Oh and here’s what’s on the menu:  Crack, Banoffee, Blueberry,  Dutch Apple, Red Velvet Whoopie, Reese’s, Pecan Dream, Shaker Lemon, Vanilla Crumb, Skillet Berry Cobbler and Pear Croustade.

Have I made you hungry or just tired?

Easter Candy Impulse

Oh no! I stopped by the grocery store last night to pick up something quick and was confronted by a HUGE display of Cadbury chocolate eggs.  Not just any run-of-the-mill Easter candy, but my nemesis, the Cadbury egg.  I don’t know why I like these, but I really do.

How do I keep myself from temptation for the next six weeks?

Cheap Like Borscht

I thought when I left Winnipeg for the last time in 1988 that I would  never live in another place so full of Ukrainians. There  are hordes of people of Ukrainian ancestry  in Manitoba, and they weave a fascinating influence into the tapestry of region. There are elementary schools in Winnipeg that have Ukrainian language  immersion classes. You can get Ukrainian food in lots of places.

Imagine my surprise when we moved to western  ND and found ourselves fifteen miles from Belfield,  a vibrant  Ukrainian enclave of immigrants and their descendants with a strong cultural identity and customs, including  a Cultural Institute,  Ukrainian churches, and a summer dance festival.  There are locally made perogies in all the grocery  stores here.

I was talking with a Belfield native last week, a foster mom and Licensed Addiction Counselor, who is married to a Ukrainian national who immigrated about ten years ago. She noticed my diploma  from the University of Manitoba,  and asked how expensive tuition must have been for me, since I was a foreign student.  I told her that tuition was “Cheap like Borscht”,  as there was no differential cost to out of Province students.  She was amazed about my description of tuition costs, since the only person she ever heard use  that phrase was her immigrant husband.

The foster mom found her husband in  Winnipeg at a Ukrainian dance  competition.  “Cheap like Borscht ” is a common phrase  in Winnipeg.   I assumed it was something everyone said, but apparently not.  I think it is a lovely phrase.

What are your favorite turns of phrase?  Got any good Borscht recipes?

Foodie?

With all the channels that I have access to, I usually just scroll through the tv guide; I only have a few channels actually memorized. I don’t suppose it will surprise you that Food Network and The Cooking Channel are two of those channels?

There are quite a few shows on those two channels that I don’t watch. Any kind of competition in which one of the contestants gets thrown off at the end – I won’t watch that.  It’s just mean.  I don’t have too much trouble with contests where at the end they just announce one winner, as long as there isn’t too much trash talk, but no throwing people out!.  (And please.. nobody needs to tell me how different “The Great British Bake Off” show is and how I’ll like it – I’ve heard it all before.)

My favorite kinds of shows feature different dishes from places around the world, shows like “Bizarre Foods”, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, “Unique Sweets”, etc. I’ll even watch Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives” in a pinch, although he’s not my favorite chef.

Last Sunday, while enjoying Leap Day, I was switching back and forth between two cooking shows that were on at the same time. One of those shows was “Unique Sweets”, a program that showcases desserts from different bakeries around the country.  By luck of the draw, at one point there was a dish on each channel that were both interesting to me, so while “Unique Sweets” was showing ingredients being stirred together, I flipped to the other channel.  They were also showing some ingredients being stirred together, but it seemed like they were stirring really quickly.  I switched back and forth several more times before I figured out that Unique Sweets appears to be slowing down some of their food prep shots a bit compared to “live action”.  This caught my attention so I watched a whole bunch of “US” episodes very closely and what I discovered is that slowing down the action makes the food seem a lot more appealing; more sumptuous, more mouth-watering.  That would explain why I like this show so much.  Does this mean I’m into “food porn”?  Or am I just imagining it?

What makes your mouth water?

Best Laid Plans

Over the weekend I made thank you cards for the good Samaritans that pulled me out of the snow last week, baked two loaves of zucchini bread, wrapped them and tied them with ribbon. When it was time to go to dog class Monday night, I put everything in a tote bag and took it along.  Neither of my Samaritans was there.  One is on vacation in Mexico, the other under the weather and skipping class.  I left one loaf for the other staff to enjoy and YA has already polished off quite a bit of the second loaf!

When have you had best laid plans go awry?