Finding My Chowder — Part 2

Corn Chowder

Corn season on the East Coast is ending, sweetness flying off cobs to hole up for the winter and be retrieved -- if we are lucky -- for our next warm time. Still, there's an autumn corn-ucopia to be had. The few farm stands that remain open are stocking swollen cauliflowers and glossy leeks, hard parsnips, more and still more carrots. But the late corn in their coolers, tassels limp, allow us a final chowder. Brooklyn kids from the '50s rarely saw corn on a cob. Canned corn, even dairy-free "creamed style," was considered lazy roughage, so … [Read more...]

Potato Bravo

YukonGold

Potatoes soak up words exactly as they soak up butter. Mash them in, stir them in, whip them in, makes no difference, they disappear. Descended into a silken maelström, language dissolves, and no amount or quality of writing can resist the potato's absorptive, neutralizing nature. Thoughtful or ardent spud poems are doomed in advance. Moby Dick was really the Great White Potato. My strategy here is to keep everything away from the brink because a single, recent kitchen victory -- stirring potatoes -- needn't go far. The only better ones I … [Read more...]

Vazool

Brooklyn '50s street scene

A Note to My Readers — Part 2 His name was Harry. Don't think English king; instead, it's from the Yiddish "Herschel," although his three brothers, three sisters and many friends called him "Hashel." When I stared at my freckled, rusty-skinned dad as he watched Gunsmoke or smoked Chesterfields while having his cup of Chock full o'Nuts, I often thought of the Irish name Dinty Moore, the hash that came in a can. I'm watching him now as he drives the Buick Special -- bottom of the line, only three portholes -- on his weekend rounds through … [Read more...]

Learning To Cook: Meatloaf

meatloaf jewel

Neither my brother nor I can recall sitting down to eat meatloaf when we were Brooklyn kids.  But we must have, because we share a childhood "meatloaf ghost." "It had something red and burnt on top," he told me on the phone. "But I can't remember anything else about it." That must have been tomato sauce or, more likely, ketchup -- probably Heinz in our conventional household. We have no idea how the ghost's corpse tasted. I wouldn't blame Mom's particular meatloaf for that. No matter how good the food she gave us every single night … [Read more...]

My First ‘Out There’ Recipe, or Why I Am Not Elizabeth David

Lettuce Soup. For vegephiles. To my friends Meredith, Sasha, and Daphne.If you can score a real head with dirt still on it, or harvest your own -- I know, lets out most of my faithful correspondents -- or just pretend with what's left in the fridge, this recipe will make your lettuce almost sumptuous. And, unless you're an Asian cook, chances are this will the first time you've put heat to this particular leaf.Ingredients: that lettuce, and it can be a few days gone, because it will still throw its faded lettuceness into the broth; garlic … [Read more...]