UnFoodie’s Secret Crush on Jacques Pepin

August 25, 2016

By Karen

Before Anthony Bourdain’s new cookbook, Appetites, comes out on October 25, I must confess une affaire du tube with Jacques Pépin. Ironically, Bourdain introduced us with a No Reservations segment where Jacques demonstrated proper egg-cracking technique. At the time, I thought he was cracked.

Then everything changed.

PBS has been rerunning three Pépin series: Essential Pepin, More Fast Food My Way, and Heart & Soul. After just a few episodes, I became obsessed and bought the DVDs and companion cookbooks for the latter two series, and all summer I’ve been studying Jacques like a culinary school groupie.

(Essential Pépin is good, but uses more mis en place and time-skipping, which minimize all that’s really involved. In the other two series, Jacques’ cooking is more down-to-earth. Heart & Soul is my favorite. Alas, it’s said to be his last for PBS.)

On weekends, my mother becomes my sous chef. I send her the recipe so she can shop, then I go over and we watch Jacques make it on DVD before we try it.

So far, every dish has turned out well and my parents enjoyed them.

Every time I see Jacques chop an onion, “poetry in motion” pops into my head. I even bought a good chef’s knife and keep it sharp, but I’ll never come close to his dexterity.

Also thanks to Jacques, I now use herbs de Provence.

Unfortunately, no photos, but here are a few dishes I’ve done. Many recipes are available online.

Poulet à la Crème (chicken thighs elevated)

Gloria’s Linguine with Clam Sauce (loved it!)

Corn Soufflé (practicing for a Thanksgiving side)

Asparagus Fans with Mustard Sauce (finally, green sticks get some personality)

Soda Bread (so quick and easy, I’ve made it perfectly twice)

Not only does Jacques explain what he’s doing, but tells how he economizes, appreciates ordinary ingredients (white button mushrooms, for example), and even uses canned goods without getting snarky about it.

Years ago I learned Chinese cooking from Wok with Yan with Stephen Yan (no, not Martin). I also liked Emeril, but can’t say I soaked up any technique or made his dishes.

And then there’s Bourdain. He was never a celebrity chef, though they keep calling him one. He wasn’t famous at Les Halles, and he quit that job when Kitchen Confidential took off. I’ve seen him cook only a handful of times.

That said, he remains my biggest culinary influence. Just watching what he eats and says about food has opened new worlds. I know what mis en place means. I cook more creatively. I ate squid with ink in Lisbon. And now I appreciate top-tier chefs like Eric Ripert and Jacques Pépin and learn technique from them.

I’ve pre-ordered Bourdain’s book Appetites with expectations it’s more user-friendly than his Les Halles Cookbook and will join my two Pépin cookbooks as favorites.

So, thank you, Tony, for putting Jacques Pépin on my radar. And thank you, Jacques, for enriching home cooks by sharing your amazing knowledge with such charm and generosity.

Pepin


Trump’s Faux Remorse Fools No One

August 19, 2016

By Karen

So his campaign managers du jour stuff the word “regret” into Donald Trump’s mouth via teleprompter and he dutifully repeats it — punctuated with a smirk and no mention of which of his myriad insults he regrets…

“Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it — and I do regret it — particularly where it may have caused personal pain.”

Then he tops himself by saying the biggest whopper of all: “And I will always tell you the truth.”

And thinks this is going to make a majority of the voting public go, “Aw, gee, he’s sorry. Now I can vote for him!”

Dream on, demented prince of darkness.

Meanwhile, in cities across the country, a brilliant activist group called INDECLINE erected statues of Trump in the tradition of Michelangelo’s David, titled, The Emperor Has No Balls. They give us a glimpse of what Melania Trump must face every night behind her closed bedroom door. I’m only surprised the figures aren’t a bit more orange.

INDECLINE added, “It is through these sculptures that we leave behind the physical and metaphorical embodiment of the ghastly soul of one of America’s most infamous and reviled politicians.”

And after taking down the statue in New York City, a spokesperson for the Parks & Recreation Department piled on with, “NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.”

Watch this video on the statue’s construction…

For over a year, we’ve suffered through Trump gleefully dishing out mockery and contempt all around. Now it’s payback time. Trump’s going down in a deluge of universal scorn he inspired, while he watches his impending political doom unfold in sinking poll numbers.

Will he find it humbling and try to mend his ways with any sincerity, or will he take the coward’s way out and implode?


Today is Black Cat Appreciation Day

August 17, 2016

By Max and Roc

No, we are not making this up.

Even though we’ve had a two-legged black cat in the White House for almost eight years, the four-legged type continue to live under the shadow of human brainwashing about how evil we are.

We’re harmless. Just ask Karen. If living with black cats were dangerous, she’d have been dead years ago. Eight of the ten cats she’s adopted in her adult life have been black or black tuxedo. The only two exceptions were Adele and the late, great Fred, both pure white.

If you have a black cat, give him or her extra hugs and treats today. If you’re thinking maybe you’d like to get a cat, go straight to your nearest shelter and take home the blackest cat they have.

It’s a fact that black cats and dogs are the last to be adopted, even though we’re just as loving and we need good homes as much as tabbies and calicos. We may even be smarter because we’ve managed to survive over the centuries in spite of so many people being out to kill us.

For example, Roc will troubleshoot problems with your TV for a reasonable fee.

160410-Roc-FixingTV

And a tuxedo cat like Max makes a perfect plus-one at any elegant soirée.

120407-Max-onbeam

We’ve got brains and good looks. Who could ask for anything more?


GOP Gives Trump No Reason to Change

August 15, 2016

By Karen

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine last week withdrew her support of Donald Trump, based mainly on three incidents: 1) Trump belittled and mocked a disabled reporter, 2) Trump declared American-born federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel unfit to preside over the Trump University trial because he’s of Mexican descent, and 3) Trump verbally pissed all over the Khans, who sacrificed their son in Iraq.

The list of Trump’s attacks and atrocities is growing so long, so fast, nobody can keep up with it. In a series of recent tweets, he called the same media that has given him billions of dollars’ worth of free exposure “disgusting and corrupt.”

I have to agree. I’m disgusted that every news outlet has thoroughly corrupted itself with 24/7 Trump coverage. There’s no escaping him in print, on TV, or online.

Collins wrote…

“I had hoped that we would see a ‘new’ Donald Trump as a general-election candidate — one who would focus on jobs and the economy, tone down his rhetoric, develop more thoughtful policies and, yes, apologize for ill-tempered rants.”

Many other Republicans rue having no sightings of “new” Trump, even though Trump told CNN back in July, “I am what I am.”

What I don’t understand is why anybody ever thought a smart, decent Trump lurked under his offensive bluster. Throughout his public life, Trump has worn his thin-skinned, arrogant narcissism like a Purple Heart.

For him to feign “newness” in any way is to smear lip gloss on his orange head ferret.

Trump’s had 70 years to perfect the waste of human flesh he is. No number of votes will change him. Even if he tried, he’d drop the act under pressure and revert to type, giving us a deluded, paranoid maniac who can’t handle facts, making decisions that affect this country and the world.

Republicans can’t blame Trump for not re-inventing himself. If they had a shred of decency, they’d blame themselves for enabling him to this point. If they ever hope for redemption, they’d kick Trump to the curb today and let Mike Pence take over (not that he’d win, but… any port in a storm).

BONUS: Kathleen Parker is the first columnist I’ve seen to use the “D” word to explain Trump — dementia — which I said back in June. And she does it using some grounded first-hand experience with the effects of brain damage.


Trump’s Dog-Whistle Call to His Crazies

August 10, 2016

By Karen

It’s becoming an almost-daily ritual: Donald Trump says something utterly indefensible, then blames “dishonest media” for mis-hearing him.

Vladmir Putin must be so proud of his protégé. Trump’s not even elected yet and he’s already plotting how to assassinate political rivals by tapping into this country’s endless supply of guns and the nuts who love shooting them.

It’s hilarious that Trump and his peeps are now trying to spin it that Trump was talking about the “voting clout” of Second Amendment advocates. That makes zero sense.

Hillary Clinton would pick Supreme Court justices AFTER she’s elected. The only recourse gun-owners would then have against her and her judges would be to use their guns.

And if Trump wasn’t referring to someone getting shot, why would he add that it would be a “horrible day”?

Watch this video replay, which focuses on the reaction of the man in red sitting behind Trump. Does he think Trump was talking about voting, or did he hear what the rest of us heard?

Trump claims he’s a member of the NRA, but we only have his word that he actually owns a gun. He told the reporter who asked if he ever uses it that it’s “none of your business.” Why? He brags about everything else, so why wouldn’t he seize the opportunity to boast about the size of his gun and how great he shoots it?

Instead, he keeps repeating that he has a license to carry.

Bottom line: Trump got a license so he could join the NRA and claim a kinship with gun rights extremists, the people most likely to respond to his implied appeals for violence and do his bidding. And then Trump can pretend to be shocked.

The Secret Service tweeted that it’s “aware” of the situation, but they should haul Trump in for questioning with a rubber hose under a hot lamp, like any other lunatic stupid enough to call for a presidential assassination in public.

When we stand by and do nothing to muzzle this maniac, we feed the beast. God only knows to what vile, unthinkable place he’ll lead this country next.

BONUS: This article in Rolling Stone clearly explains Trump’s “dog whistle” strategy.


FINALLY, Trump’s Sanity in Question

August 8, 2016

By Karen

“I am rubber you are glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.”

That’s about the only childish line Donald Trump hasn’t used in his insult-filled standup routine on Hillary Clinton.

Since delivering the most egomaniacal acceptance speech ever at the Republican National Convention, Trump’s been viciously lashing out in so many directions, the GOP has had no choice but to admit their emperor has no clothes.

But they still support this ranting lunatic who thinks he’s going to rule the world if he can convince us that his own demons are really Hillary’s. His delusions have officially reached Godzilla-like proportions.

CNN quoted some of Trump’s assertions about Hillary at his weekend appearance in New Hampshire…

“She took a short-circuit in the brain. She’s got problems.” “Honestly, I don’t think she’s all there.” “Unstable,” “unbalanced,” and “totally unhinged.” “She’s a liar. She is a horrible, horrible human being.” “She’s incompetent and I don’t think that you can even think of allowing this woman to become president of the United States.”

But days before that, Robert Kagan pointed out “There is something very wrong with Donald Trump” in the Washington Post, including…

“His personality defect would be the dominating factor in his presidency, just as it has been the dominating factor in his campaign. His ultimately self-destructive tendencies would play out on the biggest stage in the world, with consequences at home and abroad that one can barely begin to imagine. It would make him the closest thing the United States has ever had to a dictator, but a dictator with a dangerously unstable temperament that neither he nor anyone else can control.”

Bob Cesca at The Daily Banter compiled 30 excellent examples of Trump’s mean-spirited blather. You can’t read them and still think Trump should be allowed anywhere near Washington.

Trump undoubtedly believes his Hillary attacks are pure genius, as if nobody notices he’s regurgitating his own critics. Yeah, his wife Melania thought nobody would notice her parroting Michelle Obama, either.

Even old pickle-puss Charles Krauthammer thinks there’s a problem, saying Trump…

lives for the adoration. He doesn’t even try to hide it, boasting incessantly about his crowds, his standing ovations, his TV ratings, his poll numbers, his primary victories. The latter are most prized because they offer empirical evidence of how loved and admired he is.”

NBC reports that Trump’s mental state has become a campaign talking point.

But none of this should be new. Doonesbury cartoonist Gary Trudeau has lampooned Trump and his political ambitions for 30 years, publishing them in July as the book, Yuge! 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump. The Washington Post ran a sizable sampling.

I’m relieved that election-watchers are finally acknowledging the elephant in the room. It’s a shame they didn’t during the primaries, before it was too late.


Cats for Hillary

August 3, 2016

By Adele

Yes, it’s a real movement. Just go to www.Twitter.com and search on #catsforhillary. Trump’s not the only one tweeting. In fact, cats are infamous tweeter-eaters, so let Donald consider himself warned. Just sayin’.

One detail I haven’t seen about Trump is if he has any pets. I’d bet a year of my treats he’s a dog person. Since he requires blind obedience, a cat couldn’t fail to in-fur-iate him.

Hold the presses! I just found something. Can’t confirm it anywhere reputable, but to put it as Trump himself would, “I’m reading that many people think” Trump has a Lab named Spinee (a retriever, the breed preferred by slave-drivers) and this pic of him is all over the ‘net…

SpineeTrump

On the other hand, Hillary’s not a pet person, although the Bill Clinton White House had a cat named Socks, and then Bill got a dog named Buddy. I was the CW reporter on the political cat beat back in the day.

I was also once an ardent Hillary nonsupporter, but started coming around during her run against Obama. Today, since Trump is the alternative, I’ve done a complete 180 on Hillary.

She’s ruthless, conniving, smart, organized. She can lie with a straight face. And she has claws — like needles — although she usually keeps them well-hidden. She’ll take what she learned from every misstep as secretary of state and see that nobody ever gets the best of her again. Putin, you hacking sack of Trump-loving poo. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Trump, on the other hand, thinks he’ll single-handedly make the world a better place by building walls, torturing families, persecuting Muslims, deporting 11 million people, bombing the Middle East, letting nukes multiply willy-nilly in bad places, screwing our allies, cozying up to despots, all while insulting, berating, and mocking everyone involved.

Let’s hope the latest outrage: Trump’s cluelessness on workplace harassment, reinforced by son Eric on CBS This Morning, drives another nail into Trump’s coffin with women…

As a fe/male/line who’s harassed by Max and Roc every day of my life just because… I can attest that being a strong female has nothing to do with it. And sometimes you can’t just “change careers” to escape it.

So, harassed women get tossed on Trump’s ever-growing pile of losers. Let’s hope they help to hand Trump the biggest loss of his life in November.

BONUS: While you’re on Twitter, if you want to ROTFLYAO, check out #TrumpYourCat.


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