Friday, November 14, 2014

Rally For Thanksgiving: November Is An Ungrateful SOB And Someone At Needs A Tutor

Today, Dearest Readers, I am not Feeling It. November is really Letting Me Down, and this after I have championed it to the hilt. I am sitting pitifully defeated in my bigass chair, encased in fleece and self-pity because

1. It is 29 degrees with a windchill of 18 "real feel" degrees.
2. We are expecting 2 MORE inches of snow beyond what is already ON THE GROUND.
3. I am sick.

This is what happens when you help look after two wee relatives who are flinging germy slobber and snot around. Eff.

But thanks to my PBS Insider Email delivery, I can bravely, albeit weakly (sniff), soldier on and today discuss Foods For Which We Are Thankful.

I know. If this isn't the most ridiculous, nonspecific, goofiest topic ever conceived, the opening sentence will firmly cement for you the idea that some poor intern was simply trying to meet his or her deadline and find a way to present/link to previous recipes. Get ready; here is the first sentence:

Many people have favorite ingredients when they are cooking that you don’t know how you could do without them.

Wow, If that is the standard of your writing, you must have some first semester tenth-graders working part-time after school over there. The article then goes on to exclaim that "In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, [they] have compiled a list of ten foods that [they] are thankful for this year", and that they have "included a few suggestions for recipes that you can make with each item on the list." I know you can't wait--neither could I--so let's take a look at those favourite ingredients that we simply cannot do without, according to

1. Eggs
2. Carrots
3. Mini Chocolate Cakes
4. Peppers
5. Sushi
6. Cheesecake
7. Sandwiches
8. Pesto
9. Beef Bourguignon
10. Refreshing Cocktails

I am struggling mightily to come up with a recipe in which Beef Bourguignon is an ingredient. Ditto Sushi, Sandwiches, and Refreshing Cocktails. I suppose you could toss Mini Chocolate Cakes and Cheesecake into ice cream for something, or you could use them in a trifle or parfaits. Let's look at what the accompanying recipes are for Beef Bourguignon right at the source: Coq au Vin and Cream of Asparagus Soup! Why, of course! Duh.

Please don't tell the Fine People at that I have done without all of those "ingredients" for weeks at a time. A dozen eggs even now languish in their carton here in the Dept. fridge. Two dozen, actually. Luckily, they are free-range, Amish farm eggs, and will last until Thanksgiving pie and dressing preparation. And pesto season has been over for aeons now. (Okay, months.) And I refuse to buy someone else's.

So, what are some of My Favourite Ingredients That I Simply Cannot Do Without?

1. Onions
2. Potatoes
3. Real Butter
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5. Balsamic Vinegar
6. Pasta
7. Extra Sharp Cheddar
8. Dried Thyme
9. Wine
10. Chicken on the Bone

Keep me company by hauling out your snark.  You and I both know that PBS can--and should--do better.  And what are your Must-Have Ingredients?



  1. Oh I WISH that mini chocolate cakes were on my list of ingredients without which I could not live :) I think I'll add them to that list right now!

    And yes, I can't believe that first sentence. So very very sad & I think it's just going to get worse. Sigh.

    Now, as to the ingredients I really can't live without, let's look to my grocery list which contains the same items week after week:

    1. Eggs
    2. Sandwich Slims
    3. Thinly sliced Sharp cheddar
    4. Canadian bacon

    I use those things in my daily Breakfast Sandwich, the portability of which is its main asset. I will NOT get up at 5:30 just so I can eat breakfast at home, and if I wait until I get to work, instead of eating oatmeal like a good girl, I'll stop at the dreaded Burger King by the office & get a sausage, egg, & cheese croissant.

    Other things on my must have list:

    5. Grits
    6. Milk (usually vanilla soy milk)
    7. Cereal
    8. Apples
    9. Peppers (bell)

    That's pretty much it. We mostly wing it for meals & who knows what ingredients we might use. (We do keep chicken breasts, rice, my dad's green beans, & other assorted foods around.) As you can see, breakfast is very important to me.

    Oh, and so sorry about the wintry weather. If Mother Nature can't be bothered to observe Autumn, I don't know how we can expect to cling to it ourselves...

  2. My IPad is not cooperating with me. Let's try again.

    PBS, what's wrong with you? That's not a list of ingredients. Look, when I try to list the basic essentials for a simple baking project, I can get to fifteen without even thinking hard!
    Nope, I can't make a list, only snark at the brilliant minds at PBS. Look, beef bourginon is one of my best dishes, and it takes a lot of effort. I don't care for sushi, but it isn't an ingredient either.

    I can commiserate about the weather, although we didn't get the snow, we did get the wind chill. Try it at five AM while coaxing the elderdog to do what must be done before I freeze to death.

  3. My list of ingredients, ala PBS:

    French fries
    Tuna tartare
    Good rustic bread
    Pasta with veggies
    Lamb curry
    Apple crisp with ice cream

    That's not even a real list. I'm just hungry.

  4. Your list of must haves is pretty close to mine, though I do need eggs. We eat a lot of eggs. I'm glad you specified chicken on the bone, becuase boneless chicken is often dry and disgusting. I like to buy a bone in, skin on chicken breast, and roast it in my toaster oven (esp during warmer months, so it doesn't heat up the house). Then I throw away the skin, shred the chicken, and use for whatever. Sandwiches, salads, pasta.

  5. love to roast a bone-in chicken breast, skin on, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence, then chunk it up in a bigass salad. Or, when there is leftover roast chicken, it appears in a pie, a braid, a wrap, or fajitas.

    I realize that some people hate the fat and calories in the skin, and they love the ease of having the chicken already boneless. But there is so much more flavour and so much more moistness in the meat if you cook it skin on and bone in. And taking it off the bone is a matter of a minute, less so the skin. There is a store near me that doesn't even sell breasts on the bone anymore. Ridiculous.

    Your list of PBS-inspired Ingredients is terrific. I would not, on my own list, include Tuna Tartare, Omelettes, Apple Crisp, or Pancakes. I dislike the first item, and the rest are very pedestrian for me. I can make them and have them any old time, can and have done without them, and while I have made them for dinner several times (yes, even apple crisp--the joy of being a Grownup), they're not my first, second, or even third choices. Now, Lamb? Oh, my heavens. YUM!!!

    fauxprof--Hey, I was speechless too, the first time I read this article, and for SO many reasons. is forgetting that its recipients are also the enjoyers of such fare as Downton Abbey and various Ken Burns documentaries. We are not Sesame Street viewers.

    RE: Dog ownership during harsh weather. Look, I know my lane, and I stay in it. Do I like having boxes of shit in my house? Not in particular, but they are in the basement, and cat litter engineering has come such a long way that odor is no longer a problem. I don't have to stand outside, walk them, or wipe down their wet, muddy, or snowy paws/bodies. And for that, I am always grateful. You and all Dog Owners have some hard road ahead and my sympathy.

    Bug--That is a very sensible list. Are those sandwich thingies the round ones? I got those once for BLTs here at the Dept. and they met with great approval. I could not justify their cost, however, and abandoned them after one try.

    Your plan about breakfast sounds sensible; you know yourself well. I wonder if you've ever seen the much-acclaimed recipes for oatmeal in a mason jar that you can prepare ahead and take with you? I realize that you cannot, perhaps, eat it in the car, but maybe having it ready so that you can eat it as soon as you get to work would be just as good? Here is the link, just in case you are interested. The flavors all look incredible, but since I am not a breakfast person....

  6. I am so depressed about this. Perhaps this was one of those 'Mrs. Jones' 3rd-grade class writes for PBS' assignments and you missed the description to that effect? I will say, though, that I typically read things written by NPR and am usually quite satisfied with the quality, so maybe you should consider ditching PBS and switch to NPR. My ingredient list is almost the same as yours, except I'd probably throw in chickpeas or black beans since I love to put them in salads and soups and also like hummus and black bean dip. Oooh, and Greek yogurt, too. And garlic. Or did you not count that, sort of like salt and pepper, since it's so ubiquitous? Re: dog ownership in weather: it's been really cold here in Seoul, and since we live on the 4th floor of our apartment building, I spend a lot of time trotting up and down stairs with the dog, waiting for her to find the EXACT.PERFECT.SPOT.THAT.SMELLS.JUST.RIGHT. before she can do her business. Cats seem pretty easy by comparison.

  7. Anonymous3:51 PM

    If it's that cold in NEO, you could always come back to San Francisco for another visit ;-)

    I don't do that much cooking, but I usually like to throw some garlic into anything savory that I'm making. And when I'm making something sweet, cinnamon is usually at the top of my list (I love snickerdoodles and usually double the amount of cinnamon in the recipe).

    - Mikey G.

  8. Mikey--A visit to CA does sound nice. We'll see how things look after Christmas.

    Cinnamon is one of Rick's favourite flavours, but I find it quite specific and overpowering, like bacon. It always carries the dish, so I use it sparingly. It's odd, but I've never made snickerdoodles. Maybe because of the name. LOL.

    MsC.--I would use garlic a ton more, but Rick is not a fan, a fact which causes me untold heartbreak on an almost daily basis. Salt and pepper, yes, I thought including them would be like including water.

    My sons have a large dog in an upper floor apartment (they have half a house), and that was one of the things I told them to carefully consider before they even got Zydrunas. It's a very, very narrow, enclosed staircase, too, and to see him navigate it is ridiculous.

  9. Some of the kids they hire now are illiterates, or close to it. CBC is much the same.
    My list begins and ends with:
    In between is all of the pedestrian stuff, comprising a lot more than ten items, since I only shop once a week.
    As well, I must have coffee.

    Is that punctuation correct? It looks faintly weird but follows the rules as I know them.

  10. Mary G--I don't bother looking at Comments with an eye toward punctuation and grammar unless the person is harping on mine or being nasty to others.

    Your punctuation is generally fine, but since you asked, here is what your comment would be, corrected:

    My list begins and ends with
    In between is all of the pedestrian stuff, comprising a lot more than ten items since I only shop once a week.
    As well, I must have coffee.

    The colon you used for stylistic purposes and to denote your list is optional. I removed it because I thought your spacing achieved the same result. The comma before the adverbial clause "since I only shop once a week" is not needed (at least in American English grammar).

    Again, I really don't bother noticing such things when I read and respond to my Dear Reader comments. I'm reading those like I do notes from friends--with joy in my heart because someone has taken time from his/her busy day to chat with me.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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