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The Food Almanac: Thursday, January 3, 2014

The Food Almanac: Thursday, January 3, 2014

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Happy New Year!
This is the last time I’ll wish you a Happy New Year in this space. But you and I will keep on saying that to people we meet for at least a couple of weeks. When do you stop saying “Happy New Year!”? I asked that question on the radio about fifteen years ago. It became a contest, to guess the last consecutive day on which someone would say “Happy New Year!” on the air. The date was May 17. “Happy New Year!” became a catchphrase on the show, reaching its ultimate expression in 2010, during which someone said the phrase every day of the year. That has persisted every year since. New listeners must be puzzled to hear not one but numerous people say “Happy New Year!” in August on the program.

The Eighth Day of Christmas
Eight maids may show up a-milking. In other versions of the same song, we’re alerted to the fact dat you ate by your mama’s, have gold and silver tinsel for your tree, received an indoor plastic birdbath, and ate (our own lyrics) eight links of sausage.

Food Calendar
Back to those eight maids a-milking: The first of them brings skim milk, which tastes terrible but keeps your bones strong. The second has one per cent milk–too weak for coffee, but you can make good Creole cream cheese from it. The maid sells two-percent milk, which is tolerable for cereal, but not for mashed potatoes or bread pudding. Maid Number Four has whole, three-and-a-half-percent milkfat milk. Good old regular homogenized, which these days sells less well than two-percent. Behind her is a maid with four-plus-percent milk, made by smaller dairies like Smith’s Creamery. You have to shake it, because the cream still rises to the top of the bottle, like in the old days. This stuff is fantastic for making cafe au lait. Milkmaid Five has light cream–also known as coffee cream. That’s is hard to find around New Orleans, although it’s common in the Northeast. For most purposes, instead of that we’ll have to use what the next maid has: half-and-half. Half cream and half milk, with about the milkfat content of light cream but not quite as good. (It’s about fifteen percent.) Now here’s the milkmaid with whipping cream at around thirty percent, good enough for making whipped cream. But for sauces, what we want is the offering of Milkmaid Eight, who has heavy whipping cream–forty percent butterfat. Put it in a jar and shake it, and you can make your own butter.

Gourmet Gazetteer
Almond, Alabama is almost in the center in the triangle formed by Montgomery, Atlanta, and Birmingham–108 miles east of the latter. It’s in thoroughly rural countryside, with woods covering rolling former farmland. It’s in a valley formed by Wolfpen Creek. Houses line the old highway through the area, all of which have expanses of land around them. You must drive four miles south on AL 77 to Wadley, where you can grab a bite at the well-named Country Kitchen, or at the Bull Dog Grill.

Edible Dictionary
radiatore, [rah-di-ah-TOR-eh], Italian, n., adj.–The newest non-novelty pasta shape, this is an extruded strip of pasta about half and inch wide and an in long, curled onto itself, with short, wavy fins on the outward side. The name notes its resemblance to the fins in an automobile radiator. It came onto the scene about fifteen years ago, to great excitement. It’s a great shape for picking up lots of sauce.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
Here’s how to open a coconut. Buy a quarter-inch drill bit and wash it. Use it only for this purpose, and store it in a kitchen drawer. With a cordless drill, drill into one of the eyes, and drain out the coconut water. Drink it! It will be sweet and it’s very healthful. Then take the coconut outside and put it on concrete. Hit it hard with a hammer until it cracks open. A good fresh coconut’s meat will fall from the shell. If it doesn’t, use an oyster knife to separate it. Be careful! It’s easy for your hand to slip while doing this.

Eating Around The World
Today in 1492–which would prove a big year for the country–the last stronghold of the Moors in Grenada fell to the forces of Ferdinand and Isabella, and modern Spain was born. The long Islamic domination of the Iberian peninsula blended with the previous Roman influence to create a rich and unique Spanish culture. Its food, architecture, and music are among the world’s most influential, from Latin America to the Phillippines. In this country, we’re just beginning to learn about the goodness of Spanish cooking, which has become very hip.

Eating Across America
Georgia, the Peach State, became the fourth of the United States on this date in 1788. It was the first Southern state to ratify the Constitution.

Clear-Air Dining
Today in 2007, smoking was banned in Louisiana restaurants, a move that a majority of people have wanted for years. Among them: most restaurateurs, who found the enforcement of smoking and non-smoking sections made both sides angry. Any fears about lost business don’t seem to have come to pass. Coincidentally, today in 1966 was the first day on which cigarette packages were required to carry health warnings, the first step along the way to destroying the addictive popularity of what even smokers call “coffin nails.”

Deft Dining Rule #222
The era of the two-course dinner in gourmet restaurants is now officially underway. Any more than that is now considered a major feast. This rule is in conflict with another one that says that the era of small plates is in force.

The Saints
Today is the feast day of St. Basil the Great, a Greek church leader in the Fourth Century, one of the few saints with a food name. We also celebrate St. Macarius of Alexandria. Before he became a monk in 335, he made and sold pastries, candies, and fruit confections. For that reason he is the patron saint of bakers of fancy pastries.

Annals Of Overindulgence Remedies
Aspirin was first sold in tablet form on this date in 1915 by the drug’s inventor, the German pharmaceutical company Bayer. Too bad. They really needed it the day before, the morning after a wild New Year’s Eve party. (Or maybe not. This was right in the middle of World War I.)

Food Namesakes
Defrocked TV minister Jim Bakker was born today in 1939. Perfect-game pitcher, Cy Young Award winner David Cone stepped onto the big mound on this date in 1963. .Nathaniel Bacon was born today in 1647. He led a power struggle that became known as Bacon’s Rebellion in the early Virginia colony. On this day in 1929, Evelyn “Bobbi” Trout set a new women’s world record for flying endurance by being airborne for over twelve hours. . Apsley Cherry-Garrard, a British explorer of the Antarctic and the author of the well-named Worst Journey In The World, left on his life’s journey today in 1886.

Words To Eat By
“My illness is due to my doctor’s insistence that I drink milk, a whitish fluid they force down helpless babies.”–W.C. Fields.

“The human body has no more need for cows’ milk than it does for dogs’ milk, horses’ milk, or giraffes’ milk.”–Michael Klaper, M.D.

Yeah, but I wouldn’t mind trying all of those!

Insanely Easy Weeknight Dinners For January

Every week, we're delivering five easy-to-make, insanely delicious dinners, so you can put that takeout habit on hold.

The most decadent low-carb meal.

This tender braised steak is one for the books.

You'll wish every day was Taco Tuesday.

Swap carb-heavy noodles for hearty cauliflower rice.

The perfect low-carb dinner for chilly nights.

All your favorite flavors in one.

When it comes to warm and comforting soups, this chowder takes the lead.

This super crispy chicken fried steak is extremely hard to resist.

First it's sweet, then it's spicy. 😉

No need for delivery when the butter chicken is THIS good.

The sauce? Total perfection.

All the flavor, WAY less carbs.

SO much better than takeout.

Not only is fast, it's crazy addictive.

An addictive mushroom cream sauce with some Marsala wine for a bit of sweetness. It's just the dish we crave.

Certainly not your average weeknight dinner but that's what makes it all the better.

Creamy and decadent without all the extra carbs.

Saucy and soul-warming and still every bit just like your favorite Indian dish.

Who said zoodles can't be delicious?!

These hearty meatballs are the perfect comfort food for a cold winter night.

Need dinner in under an hour? These chicken breasts are just the thing.

The most GENIUS use for leftover turkey.

A vegetarian main that's actually satisfying.

You don't have to be keto to love these saucy pork chops!

When two iconic dishes become one magical pie.

As insane as it looks, it only take 30 minutes to make. Sometimes, you just gotta treat yourself.

We&rsquod eat them everyday if we could. Buffalo purists, please don't be mad that we add honey to the sauce. We promise it makes them even more amazing.

The lemony herb olive oil that gets drizzled on top makes all the difference.

Panda Express fanatics, this recipe's for you. There's just the right amount of sweetness.

To make this more of a main, add some baby spinach (or kale) and top it with a fried egg.

Creamy, hearty, and most importantly&mdashit comes together in under an hour.

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I took my easy, go-to turkey taco recipe and turned it into this easy meal prep lunch. The whole thing comes together in under 30 minutes, start to finish. If you’ve been following my free meal plans, you probably know I’ve been incorporating more meal prep recipes in them, recipes you can make once that can be served for the week.

Last week I took a poll on my Instagram stories to see what type of healthy meal prep lunches you would like to see for 2019, and it varied greatly from cold and hot lunches, and everything from balanced meals that include grains to keto, low-carb, whole30 and more. So, I will incorporate all of the above in the coming month. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments!

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  1. Octave

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  2. Cohen

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