What’s New in February 2007?

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I love food, writing, exploring new places, and even sometimes
the culinary industry. I’ve written about food and cooked it
professionally. However, I do not claim to be an expert. So what makes
a culinary blogger an expert? Do any claim to be? Does it make one even
more of an expert if it’s a buyer or high-end exec. working for a huge
company selling food products or kitchenwares if they’ve never worked
with or around food in their life? What if, at the same time, they
don’t even really care for food? Believe me, there are PLENTY of those
out there.

What is a blog? Isn’t it just a well-kept journal on anything and
everything a person wants to write about? It’s the blogger who takes
the time to:

1. Research
2. Experience
3. Share

No matter where we are, we can accomplish this. Do many bloggers
dream of making it big? Many do, many succeed, and many are content
just following the blogger steps.

I’m not sure why I mentioned all of that. Maybe it’s because the
question arose “just because someone has a culinary blog, that makes
them an expert on how to cook?” No, of course not. But neither a
cooking degree nor a job in a kitchen does an expert make.

I’ve been in New York for a year and a half. It seems like I arrived
yesterday, and it feels like I’ve lived here for years. It’s in my
blood, and I know that it will always be there. However, I have decided
to try something new. Hence, why I’m leaving New York. I will be
spending five days in Indiana, one month in Seattle, one month in
Louisiana, and three months in Barcelona. I do intend on bringing you
the latest from my culinary finds around the globe, so please stay
tuned. We’ll see what kind of interesting adventures arise.

For today, I have a few of the latest to share:

Last Wednesday I went to Barnes & Noble with a friend to the signing of Alex Kapranos‘ new book, "Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with ‘Franz Ferdinand. Actually, I hadn’t really heard of it before, nor had I really listened to too much Franz Ferdinand,
but I think I might be hooked (to Alex, his book, and F.F.).
Apparently, he’s been writing this weekly food/travel column, ‘Sound
Bites’ for the Guardian
since 2005 while on tour. Pretty funny stuff. Real, descriptive, and
keeps you coming back for more. He speaks of his discovery of allergies
as a child, the fartiness of his band mates, and of his interesting
culinary discoveries, among other things. Check it out.

Yesterday, while working near Grand Central station,
I decided to spend my lunchtime in the food court. Don’t ask me why,
but since I’ve lived in this city, I’ve always wanted to eat there.
Maybe to be a part of the hustle and bustle. Maybe to fit in with the
craziness of Midtown. Since I happened to be in the area, I figured I’d
give it a go before I left the NYC. I knew I wanted Indian, so I
strutted right on over to Café Spice.
Let’s just say you better know what you want before you get there
(pretty much just like everything else in the City). People are in a
hurry, and there’s no time to lose. Even if the stall peeps have 3
types of chicken, they’ll end up slapping their own choice in the tin
if you just say ‘chicken’. Specify. Luckily I got what I wanted. I
carried my chicken tikka masala, samosa, and coke around and around as
I hunted for a table to escape the rat race. Finally, I spied a woman
zipping up her coat, and so zipped my own coat right on over there
patiently waiting next to her as she finished gathering her thoughts.
She obviously wasn’t one of the rushed ones. I sat down to her former
table printed with Metro art, gathered my breath, and began eating
quickly seeing as the process so far had eaten away 35 minutes of my
allotted hour. The meal was decent, the experience was sublime as can
be, and I’m glad I don’t have to do it everyday.

This morning, I met my friend Amy at The James Beard House
for the cookbook tag sale. Yikes! I swore I wouldn’t buy anything since
I’m leaving in less than a month, and already having to ship boxes.
However, with prices of great cookbooks at $5 and $10, how can you just
say no? Just had to knock a few old ladies outta the way is all. Only
in defense, of course. I’ve added a few new ones to my book list.
Books, that is, not ladies.
Afterwards, we went a couple of blocks away to Tea & Sympathy where
we greatly enjoyed a ‘Full Monty’ of eggs, bangers, rashers of bacon
(thanks Mom), toast, baked tomatoes, and lovely pots of tea. Simply
delightful!

Action Against Hunger will be holding its Restaurants Against Hunger Campaign
from April 10 to May 9, 2007 with the New York City Celebrity Kick-Off
Party on April 12. Please help support their cause in the fight against
hunger and malnutrition.

DiningOut magazine has
just released their latest edition: New York City. Though it isn’t
listed on their site, it follows the same theme as their other city
faves.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a gumbo/Louisiana-themed party.
Although I was a bit peeved at some folks for not braving the cold
Brooklyn air, we did have a nice turnout, and my dishes came out
de-lish, if I do say so myself. During the holidays, my cousin so
generously offered me a few glorious meats from his store (Campbell’s) in Pine Prairie, Louisiana: deer/pork sausage, smoked rabbit, tasso, and boudin.
The first three I added to chicken (with the bones), the Trinity
(chopped celery, bell pepper and onions), chopped garlic, stock, and a
very dark roux to my enormous gumbo pot (thanks, George, for the pot),
and served it with rice and potato salad.  The boudin I steamed,
removed from the casing and formed into small balls, and dipped in egg
& milk, and then rolled in bread crumbs with Tony Chachere’s
to make Boudin Balls. I also took some of Nana’s homemade fig jam,
sautéed it in red wine, and added chopped walnuts and goat cheese to
dollop in wonton wrappers and deep fry. And I couldn’t forget the mini
crawfish pies. Add a pound of crawfish tails with their juice to the
Trinity, garlic, Tony Chachere’s and cream of celery and mushrooms
soups. Place in mini pie crusts and cook until the shells are done and
crawfish mixture is bubbly. I suggest baking the mini pie shells (if
using pie crust) a bit before adding the crawfish mixture.
Louisiana
music (Cajun, Zydeco & Jazz) played softly in the background;
books, magazines & pamphlets donned the counter; and cup cakes,
pecan pie, King Cake, and Moon Pies completed the meal. Thanks to everyone for coming out. I know it was wretched cold.

I was born and raised in Louisiana, and travel back to see family
and friends from time to time. So I can honestly say that as long as
the Louisiana bureaucrats can get their act together, Louisiana’s
future will be outstanding. The huge amount of products and the state’s
deep culture are truly the richest I’ve seen in the United States. The
term ‘Cajun’ has been deplorably misused throughout the world, and I,
for one, am sick and tired of trying so-called ‘Cajun’ or Louisiana
dishes outside of the state, and wondering where in the hell they came
up with that one. So I try to join friends together no matter where I
travel, to show them what I feel Louisiana is all about. Good food,
good friends, good music, and a touch of Louisiana spice (I didn’t say
spicy… but spice.). Don’t lose the faith.

Write to Louisiana Representative Sydnie Mae Durand
to offer your support of her efforts to create a ‘Cajun’ Seal of
Approval in order to certify credentials to any restaurant aiming to
promote its cuisine as ‘Cajun’.

Travel to Louisiana. Write Louisiana delegates and the tourism
bureau to voice your thoughts on educational culinary tours and
promotion of Louisiana products.

Louisiana Office of Tourism
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Mary L. Landrieu

Enjoy good food, take time to breathe and have a delicious day!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Brendy says:

    Really interesting!! Warm, cozy and inviting writing. Keep up the good work, I’ll be checking back for new entries.
    BJ

  2. Ulla Kjarval says:

    I love your writting. Just lovely:)

  3. Ulla Kjarval says:

    I have a lot of family in Denmark and Iceland and they all have wanted to visit New Orleans. It is in many ways the most culturely unique place in America—where art and food and music and life are celebrated. I hope that it will not be lost…..

  4. Ulla Kjarval says:

    I have a lot of family in Denmark and Iceland and they all have wanted to visit New Orleans. It is in many ways the most culturely unique place in America—where art and food and music and life are celebrated. I hope that it will not be lost…..

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