Category Archives: food history

Hashing Over St. Patrick’s Day

English: A corned beef sandwich from the Carne...

English: A corned beef sandwich from the Carnegie Deli. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We had corned beef hash for breakfast this morning. And it wasn’t the result of leftovers from last night’s dinner.

The Husband won’t eat corned beef and cabbage as a regular, civilized dinner meal. But as hash with onions and potatoes, cooked into a crispy pancake with a fried egg on top, he’s all over it.

To make him happy, I actually cooked a fresh corned beef in the crockpot last night, low and slow, cooled it, shredded it and stored it in the fridge overnight. Added chopped onions, sliced red potatoes and a bit of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Hauled out the big fry pan, dumped it all in after melting a mix of butter and shortening and let it just sit and sizzle.

The is the same man who likes peas, but won’t touch edamame or pea pods. Corn is good, but not on the cob. Cold beets in a salad are OK, but fresh hot beets are poison on a plate.

I don’t get it, but then again, I’m a fan of all kinds of food, prepared all kinds of ways. Just today, I found two local guys making their own kimchi, a fermented vegetable-based Korean condiment. It’s hot, sour, sweet, spicy and it definitely stays with you. I’ve been unable to find good homemade kimchi for ages, and today, I find two local sources. I’m as thrilled by that as I would be finding the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The Husband was a shade less than impressed, and thinks the traditional way of making kimchi (by storing it in large pots underground) errs only in that the pots are unearthed and actually opened up. Mind you, many of the vegetables that can be used in kimchi (Napa cabbage, carrots, radish, cucumber) he would eat in other preparations.

Why are some foods good in one guise and totally unacceptable in another? Why do we love fish in fillet form, but get freaky about it when the tail and head are still attached and they eyes are staring at us? Why are pork spareribs divine, yet we are driven to distraction when we see a food show host eat an eyeball or a healthy scoop of brains from the same animal? I’m not sure where the line is between normal and no-way-in-heck. I’ll keep eating and testing the limits, though. Mostly because it expands my world as much as it shocks others.

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Praise the Past and Pass Me the Deviled Eggs

It’s been a rough few weeks, as I have previously mentioned. But I get a break tomorrow.

I’m getting together with friends and heading to a local amphitheater for some Shakespeare and supper on the lawn. Yes, it’s summer in South Florida. I know it’s hot outside, and even after 6 p.m. things don’t cool down a whole lot, even near the beach. But with good food, good friends and enough bug spray and adult beverages, all will be more than well. It will be excellent.

Everyone is contributing different foods: tiny sandwiches, fruit, crudites and dip, exotic chips. But my personal plan is to eat myself into a deviled egg coma. Margaret makes the deviled eggs for all occasions, and they are rich, and  stupidly addictive. She makes different-flavored varieties, and no matter how many of her artery-clogging creations she brings, none go home with her. 

Where did this most favored morsel get its start, anyway?  And why do we like them?

According to The Deviled Egg Gourmet, no one person gets credit for their invention. The idea for stuffed eggs has been around since ancient Rome, and the term “deviled egg” has been in use since the 17th century. They are classic party food and perfect finger food. They can be expensive calorie and fat-wise, yet they don’t feel like it because they seem so small;  just a mouthful. You can keep them simple, with mayonnaise, mustard and seasonings. You can dress them up with curry, capers, pickles, bacon, paprika or just about anything else you have in the fridge or pantry. I am happy to forgo most food for a day, and put in hours of exercise, for the privilege of partaking in bite after bite of firm white outside and creamy yellow filling, enhanced with just about any seasoning or additive. I don’t know why I like them, or why I am not picky about flavorings. There is something both childish and childlike about deviled eggs. Eating them is like going back to your grade-school lunchroom, brown bag and all, when choices in food, friends and fun were simple and obvious, unclouded by technology and adult concerns.

This time tomorrow, the play will no longer be the thing. The coolers will be packed, chairs folded, trashed gathered. And I’ll be feeling a little bit of cholesterol-induced guilt and shame, but a whole lot more  of “devilishly good eggs, weren’t they?”

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