Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Today, on Father's Day, I'm thinking of my adorable Daddy, the best ever! But that's not unusual because I think of him so often every day!   I was a lucky girl,


Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Happy Bloomsday!

About a thousand years ago, my Aunt Dakki and I were attending the opera.  As we anxiously waited in our seats for the performance to begin, I said conversationally, "I have only ten pages of Ulysses left to read."  She replied, "Oh! How is it so far?" 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flag Day

Happy Flag Day. It's one of my favorite holidays, but I'm not quite sure why as it really isn't much of a holiday at all. One puts out one's flag, admires it, and takes it down later. So why is flag day so special? Well, it means that summer is really here. It's usually lovely day, and the herald of many more bright sunny days. It's fun put up your flag, admire it, and then take it down later. One feels a bit like a Boy Scout. So, Happy Flag Day.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Pot Luck Day

I was having breakfast with some friends, and the subject of potato salad came up. We all had our different opinions, but the theme “no goopy greasy mayonnaise” was consistent.  I talked about one of my favorite recipes, which is from my antique New York Times Cookbook. In my youth, I hated all potato salad except that made by my mother. Rebecca too reminisces about Grandma’s potato salad and we speculate as to what its secret might have been.  When I asked her for the recipe, she always hemmed and hawed, and managed to change the subject.  In later years her brother, my Uncle Robert, made exactly the same potato salad.  When I asked him for the recipe, he hemmed and hawed in exactly the same manner.  My supposition is that my Alsatian Grandmother must have made this salad via some stream of consciousness cooking, and her children must have absorbed it (the recipe stream, not the actual salad) by osmosis, also later channeling her and making the same via some inner stream .  Unfortunately I absorbed neither the recipe nor the inner stream, and now a great potato salad is lost in the eddies of the river of time.  Sigh. 

  My Mutti was an excellent cook, constantly producing wonderful concoctions, and as far as I know, she did not have a cookbook and never used a recipe.  She even made fudge from scratch with no recipe and no candy thermometer.  This is, to me, amazing.  When I make fudge, I am like a chemist, checking the weather report for humidity, measuring ingredients to the exact amounts called for, observing the thermometer and temperature of the brew obsessively.  Those drops of fudge goo into a cup of water are alien and meaningless to me.  One of Mutti's friends, seeing that there was not a single cookbook in the house, gave her a Betty Crocker cookbook, and this she promptly gave to me, as I was a new bride and could not even boil an egg.  My mother did not pass along a single drop of the inner stream, and kept me out of the kitchen pretty much altogether.  I could make cakes from a cake mix and was allowed to do this on special occasions, but that was about it for my early culinary skills.
  Happily, I saw an ad telling me that if I joined the Book of the Month Club, I could have these five fabulous cookbooks, so I promptly signed up.  The cookbooks actually were pretty fabulous too.  I still use them today, and as you can see, they have been good friends for quite some time.  The other two were Julia Child's original French Cooking, and Larousse-Gastronomique - both fabulous, although I use the latter mostly for information rather that recipes.  I now have a pretty bit cookbook collection, but I return to these in a pinch.  A clever detective would deduct this as the pages are covered with food splashes and stains.  

A terrible picture.  I had served most of it at a pot luck and then eaten almost all the rest, forgetting to take a photo till this was all there was.

French Potato Salad (New York Times Cookbook)

8 medium potatoes

1 tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

¼ wine vinegar
2 tbs. consommé
2 tbs. dry white wine (I usually use vermouth unless I happen to have something yummier in my refrigerator)
½ tbs. dried tarragon leaves 
1 tbs. chopped parsley
½ cup oil

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water till tender but still firm – about 30 minutes. (That’s the official instruction.  I usually chop them into the desired  final size and then steam them in a vegetable steamer until they can be pierced easily with a sharp knife. Much quicker.)

If you cooked the potatoes whole, peel them and slice them into either chunks or slices.  Me – I go for chunks.

In another bowl, mix the salt, pepper, consomm√©, vinegar, and wine, whisking until the salt dissolves.  Then add the oil and tarragon, again mixing well.  Pour over the potatoes, tossing gently until all the liquid is absorbed. 

Gaaaaaaaah!  I can't make the fonts be right!!!!! Sorry!!!