WBEZ | Cooking http://www.wbez.org/tags/cooking Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Did Norman Rockwell ruin Thanksgiving turkey? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/did-norman-rockwell-ruin-thanksgiving-turkey-109193 <p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Norman-Rockwell_Freedom-from-Want%20%283%29.jpg" style="height: 386px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Norman Rockwell. Freedom from Want, 1942. Lent by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Norman Rockwell Art Collection Trust. All Rights Reserved. (SEPS by Curtis Licensing)" /><strong>&#39;Freedom from Want&#39;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Later this month, millions of Americans will sit down to Thanksgiving dinners of unevenly cooked turkey &mdash; dinners that look suspiciously like the one in Norman Rockwell&rsquo;s&nbsp;&quot;Freedom From Want&quot; painting now on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">The overcooked white meat will require pools of gravy to choke it down, and undercooked globs of dark meat will get quietly pushed into the garbage (or microwave).</p><p dir="ltr">Sure, some cooks have devised strategies around these pitfalls, but with 20 degrees between cooking temperatures for the leg and the breast, it&rsquo;s a rare bird that comes out perfectly done all the way around.</p><p dir="ltr">So who&rsquo;s to blame for this culinary crime? And why do we endure this ritual torture like another year of Uncle Charlie&rsquo;s corny jokes? &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Looking for answers</strong></p><p dir="ltr">John Caveny, who raises Bourbon Red Heritage turkeys on <a href="http://www.cavenyfarm.com/">his farm</a>&nbsp;in Monticello, Ill, echoed what many of America&#39;s top chefs have been saying for years: turkeys should not be cooked whole if you want the best tasting bird.</p><p dir="ltr">Caveny follows a &quot;Cook&rsquo;s Illustrated&quot; method of dry brining his turkey parts with three parts kosher salt and one part baking powder, then leaving them covered in plastic wrap for a couple of days in the fridge.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This allows the moisture, salt and baking powder to go back and forth through the muscle,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It imparts the flavor of the salt, and the baking powder raises the pH of the meat, tenderizing it a little. It works well, and even better well when you&rsquo;ve cut turkey into pieces first.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Similarly, Julia Child&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbur.org/npr/165471083/comfort-and-joy-making-the-morning-edition-julia-child-thanksgiving">famously recommended</a>&nbsp;disassembling the bird and then reconstructing it for the table and chef&nbsp;<a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/11/in-videos-cooking-thanksgiving-sous-vide-turkey-with-grant-achatz-alinea.html">Grant Achatz recommends</a>&nbsp;breaking it down, cooking the breast, thighs and legs sous vide&nbsp;(a high tech boil in a bag system) and saving the other bits for gravy.</p><p dir="ltr">So if top chefs and turkey farmers recommend breaking down the bird first, why do so many of us insist on keeping it whole? Caveny blames the Norman Rockwell painting.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Prior to that, meat was usually cut up in the kitchen and brought to the table sliced or at least into more manageable portions than a whole turkey,&quot; he said.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Roy-Lichtenstein_Turkey%20%281%29.jpg" style="float: right; height: 264px; width: 300px;" title="Roy Lichtenstein. Turkey, 1961 is also on display at the 'Art and Appetite' exhibit in the Thanksgiving gallery. Private collection. (Estate of Roy Lichtenstein.)" /><strong>Is it Rockwell&rsquo;s fault? </strong></p><p dir="ltr">I recently took in Rockwell&#39;s famous painting at the Art Institute of Chicago&rsquo;s new exhibit, &quot;Art and Appetite.&quot; Curator Judith&nbsp;Barter&nbsp;said the one hundred paintings and sculptures in the exhibition are about much more than just food.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Freedom From Want,&rdquo; for example, depicts a sense of abundance and security that so many Americans longed for in the post-Depression era. And what better than a whole honking turkey &mdash; not some measly platter of slices &mdash; to say abundance?</p><p dir="ltr">But&nbsp;Barter&nbsp;pushes back on the notion that there weren&rsquo;t a lot of whole turkey roasters in the years prior to Rockwell&rsquo;s painting.&nbsp;She said the recipes, texts and paintings she studied for the exhibit indicated that &quot;whole turkeys were common in the 19th century.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Food historian and Roosevelt University emeritus professor Bruce Kraig generally agreed.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;When turkeys first arrived in Europe in the 16th century, they were cooked whole in various ways,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Roasting was one of them and boiling was another very popular way. Roasting whole turkeys seems to run right through colonial cookery and the 19th century.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Kraig points to a page in the first American cookbook, &ldquo;American Cookery&rdquo; by Amelia Simmons, published in 1796.&nbsp;<a href="http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/coldfusion/display.cfm?ID=amer&amp;PageNum=18">The recipe</a>&nbsp;for roasted turkey calls for a stuffing of wheat bread, suet, eggs, sweet marjoram, sweet thyme, pepper, salt and &ldquo;a gill of wine.&rdquo; (It also recommends serving the bird with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, but also mangoes. Talk about early fusion recipes!)</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Breeding a bigger bird&nbsp;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">But Kraig points out that turkeys of Simmons&#39; era were relative waifs compared to their modern chesty cousins.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The modern broad breasted turkey was bred and crossbred throughout the 19th century with the intention of making them fatter and larger with very big breasts,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;This was in direct response the whole mythic story of turkey at the first Thanksgiving.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The turkeys got so busty, in fact, that by the time the Broad Breasted White (today&rsquo;s dominant breed) came along in the late 1940s, it could no longer have sex and could procreate only through artificial insemination.</p><p dir="ltr">Despite this lack of fun, the breed grows quickly and produces prodigious amounts of (easily dried out) white meat. Earlier breeds, and indeed heritage birds, grow slower, sport more fat and offer a more even ratio of dark to white meat, thus making them easier to cook evenly.</p><p dir="ltr"><b>Breaking from tradition&nbsp;</b></p><p dir="ltr">So it&rsquo;s not so much Rockwell&rsquo;s fault, per se. It&rsquo;s that Rockwell&rsquo;s painting coincided with a revolution in turkey breeding &mdash; one that produced giant breasts that are harder to cook evenly with legs and thighs attached. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Caveny says he can tell by the way the breastbone lies on the bird in Rockwell&rsquo;s painting that the artist was depicting a heritage bird &mdash; not an industrial Broad Breasted White &mdash; on his the table. So those who cling to Rockwell&rsquo;s whole-bird ideal are probably trying to pull it off with a different breed entirely.</p><p dir="ltr">Janet Fuller is the former food editor of the Chicago Sun-Times and a current writer for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/">DNAInfo Chicago</a>. A couple of years ago she wrote a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/food/8688787-423/bird-deconstructed-cooking-turkey-in-parts-ensures-tender-meat-richest-gravy.html">story in the Sun-Times</a>&nbsp;urging folks to give up the ghost of the whole turkey for a more edible bird.</p><p dir="ltr">She even served the cut-up version at her own Thanksgiving dinner. I asked her, did anybody squawk?</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;No,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It worked great. The leg meat, in particular, was amazing &mdash; falling off the bone in the braising liquid, which became my gravy. It is some extra work because you do it in stages, but it was fantastic.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a producer at WBEZ and co-host of the food podcast&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/chewing-fat-podcast-louisa-chu-and-monica-eng">Chewing the Fat</a>. Follow her on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 16:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/did-norman-rockwell-ruin-thanksgiving-turkey-109193 The Mo Rocca Interview http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/mo-rocca-interview-104589 <p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.28590838527447426"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Mo%20Rocca.jpg" style="height: 280px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Mo Rocca cooks, makes documentaries and writes books. What a mensch. (Thom Kaine)" />Today I chat with a man whose voice you&rsquo;re probably familiar with if you&rsquo;re a regular NPR listener, as he&rsquo;s a frequent panelist on </span><em>Wait, Wait...Don&rsquo;t Tell Me!</em></p><p>Also a former<em> Daily Show </em>correspondent, he&rsquo;s now contributing his corresponding talents to <em>CBS News Sunday Morning</em>. Recently, he starred in the documentary <em><a href="http://electoraldysfunction.org/">Electoral Dysfunction</a></em>, which looks at how much there is to know and not-know about the Electoral College. If that weren&rsquo;t enough, he&rsquo;s also got a Cooking Channel show called <em><a href="http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/my-grandmothers-ravioli/my-grandmothers-ravioli/index.html">My Grandmother&#39;s Ravioli</a></em>, as he learns to cook from this country&rsquo;s fine crop of grandparents.<br /><br /><strong>Who have been some of the guests to call in for &ldquo;Not My Job&rdquo; on WWDTM that you felt starstruck by?</strong><br />Well <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130739954">Dick Van Dyke was just the best</a>. &nbsp;When he sang the lyrics to The <em>Dick Van Dyke Show</em> theme (who knew there were <a href="http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/t/thedickvandykeshowthemesong.shtml">words</a>?!), we were all beyond thrilled. &nbsp;Those 45 seconds were maybe the most exciting 45 seconds of my career -- and I was just listening.<br /><br /><strong>If your grandchildren cooked with you one day, what recipe do you think would be most pleasant or meaningful to make with them?</strong><br />Probably my own grandmother&#39;s ravioli -- and that&#39;s not just a plug for my show (Cooking Channel, Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET). &nbsp;My grandmother was an amazing lady. &nbsp;She worked full-time at a downtown DC department store (in the china and crystal dept) until she was 87. &nbsp;She would often walk to and from work, about 3 miles. No kidding. &nbsp;And she insisted on making these gargantuan holiday meals for us. &nbsp;(My own mother worked hard and cooked for us all week so she needed a break.) &nbsp;Making the ravioli (big handmade pasta envelopes filled with ground beef, spinach and garlic -- really pretty simple), with a light tomato sauce, would be a great way to keep her memory alive. &nbsp;And they&#39;re delicious.<br /><br /><strong>What are some of the Rocca family holiday-time culinary traditions?</strong><br />Lots of pies. &nbsp;Lemon meringue, apple, cherry, pumpkin. &nbsp;<br /><br /><strong>What&rsquo;s the best thing you&rsquo;ve eaten recently?</strong><br />My romantic life has been scandalously quiet recently. &nbsp;The duck poutine I had at <a href="http://www.bistrosixone.com/">Bistro Six-One in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario</a> (I was there doing a story on the Canadian perspective on the War of 1812) made up for that. &nbsp;It was so good, it sent me to another place. &nbsp;Honestly I didn&#39;t know what was happening to me. &nbsp;Every one of my chakras was in overdrive. (Please note, I do not know what chakras are.) &nbsp;I only wish Rob Reiner&#39;s mother had been there to witness the scene. &nbsp;<br /><br /><strong>What are some of the most surprising things you learned during the making of <em>Electoral Dysfunction</em>?</strong><br />We don&#39;t have a constitutionally enshrined affirmative right to vote. &nbsp;And that&#39;s not just some quirky factoid. &nbsp;It&#39;s the root of the very confusing and costly and chaotic way that elections are run in this country. &nbsp;And it continues to corrode our confidence in democracy.<br /><br />Also, people who make documentaries are people of deep faith in the value of content over flash. &nbsp;They have to believe in what they&#39;re making to see their projects through years of struggle. &nbsp;I am lucky to have worked with <a href="http://www.turingfilm.com/about/production-team/bennett-singer">Bennett Singer</a> (from Chicago!), <a href="http://ny011.urj.net/DavidDeschamps.htm">David DesChamps</a> and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0268266/">Leslie Farrell</a>.<br /><br /><strong>You have a background in musical theater; what&rsquo;s a favorite old show of yours you think is underrated that you&rsquo;d love to see revived on a major stage?</strong><br />Gee whiz, everything has been revived at least a couple times by now. &nbsp;I don&#39;t know the book of <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anyone_Can_Whistle">Anyone Can Whistle</a></em> (and maybe that&#39;s the problem) but the score is so great. &nbsp;I&#39;d like to see that. &nbsp;I&#39;m also curious to see if they can ever get<em> Funny Girl</em> back to Broadway. &nbsp;Streisand was so outsized by the time she did it at the ripe old age of 21. &nbsp;I think it would be great to see it with revived with someone who&#39;s equally larger than life (if that&#39;s possible). &nbsp;Maybe Lady Gaga as Fanny Brice? &nbsp;(She could also play lead in <em>Bells Are Ringing</em> - what a score! - in the Judy Holliday role. &nbsp;I&#39;m stealing that idea from my good friend Gerard Alessandrini, creator of <a href="http://www.forbiddenbroadway.com/">Forbidden Broadway</a>.)<br /><br /><strong>Typically, what&rsquo;s the first step you take when researching your interview subjects?</strong><br />Read anything I can about them. &nbsp;If I&#39;m doing a profile, I don&#39;t shy away from watching interviews of them on YouTube. &nbsp;I hate to resort to this, but if they&#39;re giving me nothing I&#39;ll go to stories I know they&#39;ve told before, if only to loosen them up.<br /><br /><strong>Do you have any tricks on how to improve the situation when a subject is being unfriendly, taciturn or just plain boring?</strong><br />Change the subject abruptly. &nbsp;Philip Seymour Hoffman is a difficult interview. &nbsp;(If I ever meet him again, I&#39;ll tell him -- and I mean this in a totally non-snarky way -- that he <em>should not be giving interviews</em>. &nbsp;He&#39;s one of the few actors who doesn&#39;t need to. &nbsp;He&#39;s that good at acting. &nbsp;The work speaks for itself. &nbsp;Giving an interview is apparently painful for him ... and it&#39;s ain&#39;t a picnic for the interviewer.) &nbsp;Anyway, out of the blue, I said &quot;You know who&#39;s terrific? Laura Linney!&quot; &nbsp;Of course she is terrific. &nbsp;And Hoffman smiled and really loosened up for a bit. &nbsp;I think he was happy to talk about someone else and he appreciated the spontaneity. &nbsp;Or maybe it just surprised him.<br /><br /><strong>Who are some dream interview subjects of yours?</strong><br />Oh heck, why deny it, Streisand. &nbsp;But I wouldn&#39;t let her know it&#39;s a dream. &nbsp;That would irritate her. &nbsp;Of course I wouldn&#39;t act like it&#39;s a chore. &nbsp;I&#39;d find a balance. &nbsp;(Yes, I&#39;ve rehearsed the interview 50 times. &nbsp;Just me and a chair a la Clint at the RNC.)<br /><br /><strong>What&rsquo;s the most difficult part about writing for children&rsquo;s television?</strong><br />Keeping everything moving. &nbsp;You can&#39;t mark time or tread water, like you can in grown-up entertainment. Kids are too smart. &nbsp;They&#39;ll get instantly distracted if the story isn&#39;t moving forward. &nbsp;Writing for them is the best exercise in learning how to write dynamically.<br /><br /><strong>If you wrote <a href="http://www.amazon.com/All-Presidents-Pets-Reporter-Refused/dp/1400052262/ref=la_B001K8W3AQ_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1356643826&amp;sr=1-1">a new book</a>, what do you think it would be about? Would you return to humor/satire or do something a little more straightforward?</strong><br />I want to do more history. &nbsp;I want it to be funny. &nbsp;Maybe more naturally funny. &nbsp;Less high-concept. &nbsp;(Helen Thomas as a turkey buzzard who had an affair with Millard Fillmore qualifies as high-concept, yes?)<br /><br /><strong>How does it feel to be the 336th person interviewed for<a href="http://zulkey.com/WBEZ?"> Zulkey.com/WBEZ?</a></strong><br />That&#39;s the area code for Winston-Salem, NC where I spent two of the best summers of my life, studying acting at the North Carolina School of the Arts. &nbsp;I&#39;ll always be grateful to my parents for sending me there and the teachers who taught me (sorry I never lost my lisp!) and the friends I made, including Lisa Anderson (who lives in Greensboro, also 336!) and Parker Posey, who has gone on to have a spectacular career!</p></p> Fri, 28 Dec 2012 08:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/mo-rocca-interview-104589 Thanksgiving war stories from a Butterball ‘call girl’ http://www.wbez.org/content/thanksgiving-war-stories-butterball-%E2%80%98call-girl%E2%80%99 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-23/AP070427036341.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" calendar.="" class="caption" foto="" ladies="" news="" of="" pr="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-23/AP070427036341.jpg" style="width: 428px; height: 400px;" talk-line="" the="" title="Take a page from one of the experts featured in Butterball’s 2002 &quot;Ladies of the Talk-Line&quot; Calendar. (PR News Foto/Butterball)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F68040657&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Dynamic Range is taking a break for Thanksgiving and will be back the first week of December. In the meantime, check out this updated episode that originally ran in November 2011:</em></p><p>Butterball produces 20 percent of the turkeys Americans eat every year. And since 1981 their <a href="http://www.butterball.com/tips-how-tos/turkey-experts/overview">Turkey Talk-Line</a> experts have handled some 100,000 calls each holiday season from frantic home cooks trying to impress their in-laws or salvage a dinner gone horribly wrong.</p><p>Butterball&rsquo;s corporate headquarters are in Garner, North Carolina, but their call-in line is located in Naperville, Ill. And, as the company struggles with its public image and <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/butterball-probes-turkey-abuse-accusations-1C7103234">new allegations of animal abuse</a> at its North Carolina plants, the ladies of the Talk-Line may be the company&#39;s best public face: Some of the experts who work there from November to December every year seem to comfortably conform to a kind of 1950s Suzy Homemaker ethos, pleasingly plump Betty Crockerites who majored in home ec. Others are bilingual registered dieticians with master&rsquo;s degrees.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-23/AP061115045108.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="Before: nineteen-week-old turkeys at the Clayton Straughn farm near Turkey, N.C. (AP/Gerry Broome)" />Sixty call specialists will be on hand this year to answer questions ranging from the mundane &ndash; <em>How long will it take my 18 lb. beast to thaw?</em> &ndash; to the shocking &ndash; <em>My turkey is on fire. What should I do?</em></p><p>The answer to that last question, incidentally, is to hang up and call 9-1-1.</p><p>Butterball&rsquo;s experts recommend taking as long as four full days to thaw your turkey. They&rsquo;ll also be happy to walk you through the steps of microwaving the bird, if that&rsquo;s what you want to do. It&rsquo;s apparently their &ldquo;least popular method,&rdquo; despite being all the rage in the &lsquo;80s, but is still not as horrifying or as gross as <a href="http://www.ask.com/food/Lobster/Microwave-Lobster-Recipes.html">cooking a live lobster in the microwave</a>.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-23/butterball turkeys_flickr_anthony easton.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; margin: 5px; float: right;" title="After: Butterball turkeys. (Flickr/Anthony Easton)" />Renee Ferguson is a former Butterball expert and self-described Butterball &ldquo;call girl&rdquo; who parleyed her experience on the hotline into a cookbook &ndash; <em>Talk Turkey to Me</em> (Wishbone Press 2006) &ndash; and an appearance on the Food Network&rsquo;s <em>Throwdown</em> with Bobby Flay.</p><p>Ferguson appeared on the show&#39;s &ldquo;Turkey and Dressing&rdquo; episode, for which she made <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/throwdown-with-bobby-flay/turkey-recipe-recipe/index.html">roasted turkey with an apple sausage dressing</a> and an <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/throwdown-with-bobby-flay/apricot-amaretto-sauce-recipe/index.html">apricot amaretto sauce</a>. Flay won the round with his combination of a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/black-pepper-pomegranate-molasses-glazed-turkey-with-wild-rice-goat-cheese-dressing-recipe/index.html">black pepper-pomegranate molasses glazed turkey</a> with a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/wild-rice-and-goat-cheese-dressing-recipe/index.html">wild rice, goat cheese and chorizo dressing</a>.</p><p>If you have any last minute cooking disasters before the big meal on Thursday you can call Ferguson&rsquo;s former colleagues in Naperville between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at 1-800-288-8372. (And now, you can also tweet them <a href="https://twitter.com/butterball">@butterball</a> with the hashtag #TurkeyChat.) In the meantime, listen to Ferguson&rsquo;s account of her all-time favorite calls &ndash; and some of her cooking war stories &ndash; in the audio above.</p><p><a href="../../series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range </a><em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from </em>Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s<em> vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Renee Ferguson spoke at an event presented by <a href="http://www.culinaryhistorians.org/">Culinary Historians of Chicago </a>in November of 2010. Click <a href="../../story/culture/books/talk-turkey-me-good-time-kitchen-talking-turkey-all-trimmings">here </a>to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Wed, 21 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/thanksgiving-war-stories-butterball-%E2%80%98call-girl%E2%80%99 The Tess Rafferty Interview http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/tess-rafferty-interview-103938 <p><p>Thanksgiving is just hours away, so I thought today would be an excellent day for a cooking-related interview. Fans of <em>The Soup </em>may recognize Tess Rafferty from her occasional appearances on the show, most famously as the <a href="http://www.thesouptv.com/latest/diddy-dirty-money-meets-dirty-dancing-maxi-pad/216911">dancing maxi pad</a>. But recently the comedian and writer published her first book, <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Recipes-Disaster-Memoir-Tess-Rafferty/dp/1250011434/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1347999216&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=tess+rafferty">Recipes for Disaster</a></em>, a memoir described as &quot;what&rsquo;d you&rsquo;d read if Bridget Jones wrote a culinary memoir.&quot; You can learn much more about her <a href="http://tessrafferty.com/">here</a>. &nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TR%20-%20Cover%20-%2010.12.12.jpg" style="float: right; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="Tess Rafferty. (Photo by Justine Ungaro)" /><strong>Working at <em>The Soup</em> seems like the ultimate dream job to some. But what were some of the less-fun aspects of watching lots of TV and writing jokes about it for a living?</strong><br />Have you ever heard the parenting tip that if you catch your kid smoking a cigarette you make them smoke a whole pack so they never want to smoke again? That&rsquo;s what watching reality TV for a living is like. When I started on the show I offered to cover a lot of shows because I was already watching them anyway. By the end of it, I was yelling at my husband to turn off the TV if I caught him watching <em>The Real World</em> on one of my weeks off.</p><p>Also, reality TV has changed a lot in the time I was on the show. It started out as something that resembled reality and then became, &ldquo;Oh no. Kim Kardashian wants help picking out the color of her Bentley and her sisters don&rsquo;t care. What&rsquo;s going to happen?&rdquo; Also, too much of it became <em>The Real Bad Girl Wives Club of the Who Cares?</em> &mdash; just a bunch of women yelling at each other with a bad soundtrack and constant bleeps. It&rsquo;s seizure inducing. I had to put a wallet in my mouth just to watch it.</p><p><strong>Who were some of your favorite guest stars to appear on <em>The Soup</em>?</strong><br />Wendi McLendon-Covey and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erwdAmIlfjU">Rob Corddry</a> blew me away. They both so talented, and they hung out with the writers afterwards and told us how great the show was, which was such a huge compliment. <a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/165286">Seth Green</a>&nbsp;was a frequent guest and always up for anything. And <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnejQuR9Qok">Yvette Nicole Brown</a> always knocked whatever we gave her out of the park, always asked who wrote it and sent us Lollicakes afterwards. So basically anyone talented who kissed our asses and fed us. Writers are insecure people and we like sweets.</p><p><strong>What kinds of memorable responses did the show receive from the people it made fun of?</strong><br />We featured a clip of someone who had that adult baby fetish and they later wrote someone on the show and told them to check out their blog, which detailed their experiences trying to potty train themselves.</p><p><strong>How did writing for TV and standup help you write the book?</strong><br /><em>The Soup</em> was like boot camp: One of the best joke writers I know described it as throwing a hundred pitches in a row. Writing jokes every day, 49 weeks a year, then thinking of jokes on the fly, really helps you be quick about what you&rsquo;re writing and not overthink things or second guess yourself. I don&rsquo;t get scared about sitting down and starting something anymore. And when I wrote&nbsp;<em>Recipes</em> <em>for Disaster</em>, I couldn&rsquo;t afford to. I was still at <em>The Soup</em> full time and had to write the book at night and on the weekend. Also, being stand up gave me what I think is a very conversational tone when I write.</p><p><strong><em>Recipes for Disaster&nbsp;</em>is a culinary memoir.</strong><em>&nbsp;</em><strong>What&rsquo;s the biggest dinner party challenge you&#39;ve ever set up for yourself?</strong><br />I served a three-course dinner, of which two courses were fresh, homemade pasta. I wanted to make ravioli and serve it in <a href="http://lacucinaitalianamagazine.com/ingredients/recipes-for-basic-brodo">a <em>brodo </em></a>but decided we needed a protein course, too. So I made <em>boeuf bourguignon </em>and&nbsp;thought, &ldquo;Wouldn&rsquo;t it be fun to serve it over homemade fettuccine?&rdquo; I have different definitions of fun from everyone else, I guess. I spent much of the day before covered in flour, rolling out pasta and making frantic calls to a chef friend, trying to figure out the best way to store the pasta without having it dry out or get too gooey.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s your go-to dish when you want to impress your guests without trying very hard?</strong><br />Lately I&rsquo;ve been making a <em>Coq au Vin</em>, which always tastes great, but is also easy enough that I make it on week nights for just me and my husband. But when guests come over I cook it with pancetta.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s the key to a good roast joke?&nbsp;</strong><br />Writing about the same targets day after day, I always looked for a detail about someone&rsquo;s life that hadn&rsquo;t been talked about yet and tried to find the funny or unexpected in that. Roasts are fun&nbsp;because you can be inappropriate and hard hitting, but you have to back that up with something just as funny and shocking &mdash;&nbsp;otherwise you&rsquo;re just writing mean, stupid things about people.&nbsp;</p><p>Here are three of my faves that aren&rsquo;t also too filthy to print, from my first&nbsp;<a href="http://www.comedycentral.com/episodes/1l6bj2/roast-of-roseanne-roast-of-roseanne-season-1-ep-101">roast of Roseanne</a>.&nbsp;I was really honored to be part of it, having been such a fan of roasts for years:</p><p>&ldquo;Roseanne, of course you were attracted to Tom Arnold. You thought with all of that powder on his upper lip, there must be a donut somewhere.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Roseanne you&rsquo;ve butted heads with writers, producers and executives. You&rsquo;ve given more Jews upset stomachs than lactose.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Roseanne, you old hippie broad, I can&rsquo;t believe you&rsquo;re still on Twitter now that you know hashtags don&rsquo;t tell you how much the hash costs.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>How does it feel to be the 331st person interviewed for </strong><a href="http://Zulkey.com/WBEZ?"><strong>Zulkey.com/WBEZ?</strong></a><br />I feel like that&rsquo;s a very lucky number because it&rsquo;s one less than the amount of electoral college votes Obama got in the election. So it&rsquo;s like an Obama landslide minus Delaware or Rhode Island.<em> [Editor&#39;s Note: Due to the timing of publication, Rafferty was actually Interview no. 332&nbsp;</em><em>&mdash;</em><em>&nbsp;or, the Obama landslide </em>with<em> Delaware or Rhode Island.]</em></p><p><em>Read an extended version of my interview with Rafferty <a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2012/11/the_tess_rafferty_interview.php">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 21 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/tess-rafferty-interview-103938 List: My mom's Thanksgiving dinner menu http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/list-my-moms-thanksgiving-dinner-menu-103802 <p><div><div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4510045540_007af3ff65.jpg" title="Thanksgiving at the Zulkeys', circa many years ago. (Claire Zulkey)" /></div></div><div style="text-align: center;">Pomegranate, Beet &amp; Mandarin Orange Salad</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br />Mini Sparkling Cranberry Muffins</div><div style="text-align: center;">Pumpkin Bread</div><div style="text-align: center;">Apple Bread</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br />Roast Turkey</div><div style="text-align: center;">Mashed Potato Casserole with Chives</div><div style="text-align: center;">Our Favorite Cornbread Stuffing</div><div style="text-align: center;">Praline Sweet Potato Casserole</div><div style="text-align: center;">Brussels Sprouts Lardon</div><div style="text-align: center;">Apricot Bourbon Roasted Carrots</div><div style="text-align: center;">Maple Cranberry Sauce</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-11-18/ultimate-pumpkin-pie-94185">The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie</a></div><div style="text-align: center;">Chocolate Truffle Tart</div><div style="text-align: center;">Cranberry Shortbread Squares</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 13 Nov 2012 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-11/list-my-moms-thanksgiving-dinner-menu-103802 Program gets kids in the kitchen for some healthy eating http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable/program-gets-kids-kitchen-some-healthy-eating <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Cooking.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]-->The last bell signals the end of the school day, but for some Chicago elementary students, the day starts again&hellip;but this time in the kitchen.<span style=""> </span>A non-profit has been teaching low-income kids how to cook healthy, affordable meals.<span style=""> </span>The aim is to prevent childhood obesity and develop life long eating habits.<span style=""> WBEZ Pritzker Journalism Fellow</span> Icoi Johnson reports that the program is shifting gears.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">MATTHEW/CHILD:<span style="">&nbsp; </span>You guys an easy way to get the skin off, it take it underneath your palm and just push down on the garlic, kind of smash it. <br /><br />The official school day is over at John W. Cook School on Chicago&rsquo;s Southside. But a group of students are staying behind to learn how to cook.<br /><br />Jazee Burton explains what&rsquo;s on the menu.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">BURTON:<span style=""> </span>We&rsquo;re making mango crisp crumble and then we&rsquo;re making chicken tenders.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The students learn everything, from measuring ingredients, to using a knife&hellip;safely.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Jontae Townsend demonstrates a technique called a Bear Claw.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">TOWNSEND:<span style=""> </span>We put our fingers and our thumbs tucked in so the knife can just hit our knuckles.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Burton and Townsend are involved in a program put on by Common Threads, a Chicago non-profit group.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Common Threads uses professional chefs to teach students how to cook.<span style=""> </span>One of those is former sous-chef Matthew Peterson. Peterson says the Common Threads programs gets kids excited about cooking.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">That&rsquo;s important, since a lot of the kids in these schools are familiar with fast food or stuff that can be microwaved.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">PETERSON:<span style=""> </span>I want to give other kids a passion for cooking and bring back those skills that a lot of people in my generation and generations younger than me have lost.<span style=""> </span>I don&rsquo;t know, I just really want to show them that there is a better way to eat that they can take pride in something like cooking.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The Common Threads teaching program has been around for a while. It was founded in 2003 by Art Smith.<span style=""> </span>You might remember him as a former chef to talk show host Oprah Winfrey.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The program&rsquo;s gotten a lot of attention over the years for doing good.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>There are now hundreds of kids who can use a knife properly and know the ins and outs of baking, frying, and broiling.<br /><br />But there are tough questions about whether teaching kids to cook well is enough.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Mary Russell Directs Nutrition Services at the University of Chicago Medical Center.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">RUSSELL:<span style=""> </span>To help reduce obesity I think we need to hit it from a lot of different prongs.<span style=""> </span>This is a good one, but it&rsquo;s not going to solve the problem, because it&rsquo;s only when they&rsquo;re in school.<span style=""> </span>If they don&rsquo;t get it reinforced, it would be unlikely to have a lasting impact unless there was the availability of parental support and encouragement.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">It turns out Common Threads has been thinking about the same problem, so it is now getting parents more involved.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Jillayne Samatas is the Education and Outreach Manager at Common Threads.<span style=""> </span>She says they&rsquo;ve had parents observe their children cooking, but now they&rsquo;re thinking about getting parents in the kitchen, too.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">SAMATAS:<span style=""> </span>It will be a five week series, where we&rsquo;ll have a parent and child that has been in our cooking class before, come to a class for 2 hours for five weeks following a curriculum that will get to cook together but then also learn some basic nutrition information as well.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Samatas says Common Threads has learned a lot about teaching low-income children about cooking and food. But there&rsquo;s one lesson that&rsquo;s a bit depressing. Samatas says a lot of the parents in their program can&rsquo;t access the kinds of food their children learn to cook.<br /><br />Sometimes they have to travel miles outside their own neighborhood just to get to full-service grocery stores.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">SAMATAS:<span style=""> </span>As much as we realize there is an access problem, our organization isn&rsquo;t at a capacity right now to address that issue.<span style=""> </span>Our primary role is to teach and educate.<span style=""> </span>But it&rsquo;s something that we are definitely involved in and trying to understand ourselves how can we help with that issue and it&rsquo;s really difficult to figure out.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">But Samatas says this access issue won&rsquo;t stop Common Threads from its teaching.<span style=""> </span>She figures the group can&rsquo;t solve ever food-related problem low-income kids will have&hellip;but someone needs to give them the confidence and know-how to run their own kitchens some day.</p></p> Tue, 04 Jan 2011 15:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable/program-gets-kids-kitchen-some-healthy-eating Need A New Kitchen? Casting call wants you! http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/need-new-kitchen-casting-call-wants-you <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="468" width="350" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//corner-of-the-kitchen-fooferkitten-flickr.jpg" class="size-full wp-image-19099" /> <br /><em>Photo by Fooferkitten via Flickr</em></p><p>A colleague of mine is working on a new series for A &amp; E, part cooking and part design-related. Here's the show in a nutshell: they're going&sbquo;&nbsp;to surprise a frustrated gourmet - someone who has a&sbquo;&nbsp;real&sbquo;&nbsp;passion for cooking but is trapped in an&sbquo;&nbsp;awful&sbquo;&nbsp;kitchen - with a brand new one. There are a couple of other surprises along the way - which&sbquo;&nbsp;they can't divulge - that will make it a real treat for a true foodie/amateur gourmet. They are currently booking 6 episodes, one of which will be shot in Chicago.</p><p>Here's the official casting call: </p><p><strong>CASTING NEW KITCHEN MAKEOVER SHOW - FREE KITCHEN!</strong> </p><p>Do you have a friend or loved one who has a real passion for all things food -eating, restaurants, chefs, and especially cooking - but is trapped in an outdated, nonfunctional and really ugly kitchen? Now's your chance to nominate him/her to receive a kitchen worthy of a gourmet chef for free! We are currently casting dynamic homeowners who <em>love </em>to cook but are in <em>desperate </em>need of a completely new kitchen. We're also looking for you...our accomplice in this mission. If selected, you would help our team install a state-of-the-art kitchen for the frustrated foodie in your life. If you're interested in nominating a cook and being a part of our exciting new show, please email us the following information:</p><ol> <li>Your name, address, phone number, occupation, age and relationship to nominee</li> <li>Your nominee's name, address, occupation and age</li> <li>Photo of you (2 pictures max)</li> <li>Photo of nominee (2 pictures max)</li> <li>Photos of the nominee's kitchen (3 pictures max)</li> <li>Tell us why you are nominating this person.&sbquo;&nbsp; We want to hear about his/her love of cooking - favorite type of food to cook, favorite restaurants, favorite chefs - and what she/he doesn't like about their current kitchen.&sbquo;&nbsp; The more personality/detail the better!</li> </ol><p>Only submissions including all of the above will be considered. Our email address is kitchenmakeovershow@gmail.com. We will be shooting in NYC, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Haven, Washington D.C. and Chicago. Be sure to put the name of your CITY in the subject line. </p><p>ACT NOW. We're casting the series IMMEDIATELY! </p><p>So good luck, and hey, if you or your friend get the new kitchen, you have to invite me over for the premiere dinner!</p></p> Fri, 26 Mar 2010 10:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/need-new-kitchen-casting-call-wants-you Downturn Dish: Fake it &#039;til you bake it: Ditch expensive meat, keep taste http://www.wbez.org/ssargent/2009/03/downturn-dish-fake-it-til-you-bake-it-ditch-expensive-meat-keep-taste/7282 <p><p class="MsoNormal">"When on a budget, you need to remember that the fastest way to reduce cost is to eliminate meat," writes chef Joe A. Lieberman. "If you are anything like me, it will pain you to read that." But Lieberman believes you can still have a flavorful and filling meal without angering your inner carnivore. This week, he shares two veg-friendly recipes with Hard Working, both of which serve two people for under $10. <span dir="ltr">Joe--not to be confused with the senator or celebrity chef--graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Minneapolis/St. Paul in 2004. He cooks at <a href="http://www.cueatguthrie.com/" target="_blank">Cue at the Guthrie Theater</a>, a new favorite in the Twin Cities. His new <a href="http://theotherjoelieberman.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">blog</a>, debuting this week,‚  will offer recipes and stories, like how he almost named his cat Bacon.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Vegetarian Risotto (about $9)</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Risotto is a wonderful dish made from Arborio rice, a short-grain rice used mostly in Italian cooking. This dish takes patience and vigilance but is worth the time spent in front of the stove.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Prep time: 30 min</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Cook time: 30-40 min</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Serves: 2</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>Ingredients:</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>1 tbsp vegetable oil</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>1 tbsp butter</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>1 small onion, chopped fine</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>2 cloves minced garlic</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>8 oz. Arborio rice</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>3 cups water</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>1 bullion cube </em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>1 small zucchini chopped in 1/2-inch cubes</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>1 red bell pepper chopped in 1/20-pieces </em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>Salt and pepper to taste</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>2 tbsp Parmesan cheese</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>Balsamic vinegar for drizzling (optional)</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em></em>Bring water to boil and add bullion cube. Stir until cube is dissolved. Set aside but keep warm.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Add oil to a sauce pot on high heat.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">When hot, add the onions and garlic and sweat onions (onions will be translucent in about 3 min).</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Add zucchini, bell pepper and rice. Stir in ingredients and cook until the rice is coated with the oil from the pan.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Take the water/bullion mixture and add 1/2 cup of liquid to your rice. Lower heat to medium-high and stir your rice. You need to let the liquid boil with rice and reduce until there is almost no liquid left. Make sure that you are constantly stirring rice to prevent forming a crust on the bottom of your pan.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Repeat previous step until you have 1/2 cup of liquid left. This is when you want to taste your rice. If the kernels of rice are to hard or gritty add more liquid until you've reached your desired consistency.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">When the risotto is at desired texture add the butter, Parmesan, salt and pepper to the risotto. Mix and remove from heat.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Plate the fruits of your labor, drizzle with balsamic and enjoy!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">*The veggies can be substituted for whatever you like. Just remember that you will be cooking for a while, so choose veggies that will hold up</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Cold Asian Noodles with Tofu ($7)</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:12pt;">Can't afford meat? Then fake it!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Tofu is the blank canvas of a vegetarian's world and it costs about one-third the price of meat, chicken or fish. Just marinate overnight with your favorite vinaigrette, crushed red pepper and soy, or chili powder and oregano and you have the base to almost any dish. Great for lunches or a satisfying late-night snack!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Prep time: 40 min</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Cook time: 20 min</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Serves: 2-3</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>Ingredients: </em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>1/2 lb. tofu cut into 1-inch cubes</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>2 tbsp soy sauce </em> <p class="MsoNormal"><em> 3 tbsp sesame oil </em> <p class="MsoNormal"><em> 1 tsp crushed red pepper </em> <p class="MsoNormal"><em> Salt and pepper to taste </em> <p class="MsoNormal"><em> 8 oz. cooked vermicelli noodles chilled </em> <p class="MsoNormal"><em> 1/2 cup chopped green onion </em> <p class="MsoNormal"><em> 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Place tofu in a food safe container. Cover with water. Add soy sauce and crushed red pepper. Let sit overnight in fridge. <p class="MsoNormal">The next day, cook noodles according to directions, coat with the 2 tbsp. sesame oil and set aside to chill.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Add remaining sesame oil to hot skillet. Cook until light brown on all sides (approximately 10 min).</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Add green onion and cabbage to skillet with tofu. Toss and remove from heat.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Add tofu and veggies to chilled pasta and toss.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Add salt and pepper to taste. For an extra kick add more crushed red pepper.</p></p> Mon, 16 Mar 2009 09:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/ssargent/2009/03/downturn-dish-fake-it-til-you-bake-it-ditch-expensive-meat-keep-taste/7282 Q&amp;A: Freeze, fry, repeat: How to cook through the recession http://www.wbez.org/ssargent/2009/03/freeze-fry-repeat-how-to-cook-through-the-recession/7274 <p><p class="MsoNormal">Cheap recipes are one good way to save money, but how should you approach recession cooking in general? Shelley Young, owner of <a href="http://www.thechoppingblock.net/" target="_blank">The Chopping Block</a> and a <a href="../2009/03/09/the-downturn-dish-our-blog-launches-a-new-weekly-recipe-feature/" target="_blank">Monday conbtributor</a> to our blog, answers some questions about money- and time-saving strategies to help you through.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>1. In tight-budget times, what foods are best to stock the kitchen with?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Counter to what most people might think, fresh and frozen products can be more economical. Prepared, canned and processed foods can be less nutritionally dense and more expensive due to the packaging and processing costs.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">There are many selections to be made in the produce aisle that are reasonably priced and keep for weeks or even months: potatoes of all kinds, butternut squash or any hard skinned squash, parsnips, turnips, beets, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions, celery root, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes. Certain herbs such as rosemary and thyme last longer; try working with those more than, say, basil.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Buying fresh meats, poultry and seafood when they are on sale and freezing them is a great way to save money and enjoy high-quality meats. Meat freezes beautifully for months. If properly thawed in the refrigerator and cooked well, most people would notice very little difference.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">If you have some meat in the freezer you can pull it out when needed throughout the week. If you purchase produce that lasts for weeks it will still be there and fresh when you need it. Supplement your shopping lists with a smaller amount of produce that expires quickly such as lettuce or fruit. Lastly, stick to the outer aisles of the grocery store where you will find the deals and nutrient dense foods!</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>2. I don't want to break the bank over fresh produce, but I'd also hate to eat canned beans the rest of my life</strong> -- <strong>what are some approaches?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Here is produce that doesn't break the bank: squash, parsnips, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, turnips, carrots, and beets (really most everything except exotic peppers, tomatoes, lettuce). Frozen peas, spinach, corn, and artichokes can also be great.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>3. Meat can tend toward expensive</strong> -- <strong>what are the best good and tasty substitutes?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Short ribs, chicken thighs, chuck roast, whole turkey, ground meats and sausages work well. A whole chicken will also be very economical.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I also suggest that you try quinoa as a protein choice. It is the perfect grain as it is a complete protein and inexpensive and quick to cook.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>4. If I have some vegetables that are still edible but on the edge of going bad, and hate to waste money throwing them away, what catch-all dish is a safe bet?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Any one pot dishes such as soups, sauces, stews, pasta dishes and casseroles are a great way to utilize aging produce. Also, don't forget about egg dishes! You can add all those veggies in an omelet.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>5. What are your top recommendations for how people can save money?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">"¢Cook! Cooking at home is less expensive, healthier and better on the calories than eating out. Learn how to braise, for example. Less expensive cuts of meat lend themselves to braising and are delicious, so learn how to do it. They also tend to be great leftovers.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">"¢Buy things that have a long shelf life, see produce above.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">"¢Plan ahead, cook for the week on the weekends and take your lunch to work. This takes planning, but will make a world of difference.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">"¢Spend any extra cash you have on a good quality olive oils and vinegars, fresh cracked black pepper and good quality stock instead of bouillon cubes. Use your whole chicken or turkey to make stock and keep it in your freezer. It is worth every penny and elevates your cooking to the next level with no effort.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">"¢Grate your own cheese, it tastes way better and you will need less and ultimately save cash and lose pounds!</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>What are some of your strategies? Leave a comment and help out other readers!</em></p></p> Wed, 11 Mar 2009 08:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/ssargent/2009/03/freeze-fry-repeat-how-to-cook-through-the-recession/7274