Plain and simple, Americans love competetion and Americans love food. Competetive cooking is a natural.
I'm actually not a Food Network watcher, but I...morePlain and simple, Americans love competetion and Americans love food. Competetive cooking is a natural.
I'm actually not a Food Network watcher, but I may start. This book was fascinating. If you thought that cook-offs are for homemakers at the state fair, you are wrong. There are cooking competitions for the every-day home cook that have prizes worth thousand of dollars. Women who have high-profile, stressful jobs and Type A pesonalities turn to "contesting" as a semi-professional hobby and have kitchens filled with millions of dollars worth of prizes to show for their efforts.
The book is also a discussion of America's love of convenience foods. The author points out that we will spend hours upon hours commuting or watching television without batting an eye, but when Americans cook the food has to be ready in 30 minutes or less. These competitions, particularly the Pilsbury Bake Off, also rely on processed foods, and even the "light" entries are often not that healthy for you.
The contesters who enter dozens of competitions every year are constantly thinking of the mass appeal of a dish, assuming that's what the judges look for in a winning dish. Many believe spinach doesn't have family appeal, for instance. One entrant had to change the name of her dish from Morroccan Chicken to Couscous and Chicken because the judges didn't want a winning dish to sound so "ethnic." In a way, rather than broadening the minds of Americans, foodwise, these competitions dumb down food to the lowest common denominator.
But there's no coverup involved here. Everyone knows the point of these competitions is to sell more product. These competions are a cheap way for Pilsbury or the National Beef Council, or whichever corporation is sponsoring the event, to create recipe libraries without the upkeep of test kitchens. The kitchens of America are the test kitchens. And thousands of recipes are tested and mailed in every year.
I'm now considering Googling "cooking contests" and submitting a recipe or two. I can't eat any of the winning recipes that are published in the book. It would be nice to have a little gluten-free representation out there.
"The overt messsage in the bridal industry is that your wedding is the most important day of your life."
Altared, edited by Colleen Curran, is a collec...more"The overt messsage in the bridal industry is that your wedding is the most important day of your life."
Altared, edited by Colleen Curran, is a collection of essays by strong female writers about their weddings. They are the type of women who for the most part didn't have the princess dream wedding as little girls and either found themselves surprisingly swept up in the fantasy or rebelling against it furiously.
I loved it. Of course, it validated my belief that the wedding is just one day and the marriage is supposed to last forever, so the marriage is what you should put more effort into. It's nice to know women have been thinking like this for a few years now.
I started wondering though... what if the antibride movement is perpetuating the myth of the bridezilla industry? The antibride industry wants to make money, too, obviously, or it wouldn't be hyped up in the way nothing has been since Generation X. But then I remember creepy Precious Moments cake toppers and think that the antibrides have it right. As long as those things are still being bought by someone, there's still a bridal industry to rail against.
That tangent aside, this really was an entertaining read, and all true tales from real women. One woman called off her wedding. A widow remarried. One woman writes of her arranged marriage that fell apart when her husband finally revealed he was gay (and in the community's eyes the bad marriage was all her fault). A woman writes about her and her partner's anguish over whether they should have a wedding or not, since as lesbians they feel they can probably never be legally married. There's a wedding for everyone in this book.
I know summer reading is over, but these are brief essays that you can read during commuting train rides or quiet moments at home. Check it out.
This is a great cookbook. All the recipes are meat-free, but the book's not just for vegetarians. There are foods in here for everyone and most of the...moreThis is a great cookbook. All the recipes are meat-free, but the book's not just for vegetarians. There are foods in here for everyone and most of the recipes can be adapted easily for whatever your tastes are, whether you want to add meat or make gluten-free dish. There are also suggestions for making things low-fat or dairy-free. I use this cookbook all the time.
The hand-written font and illustrations give this book a homey feeling. I love flipping through it for ideas.(less)
We actually only used one small section of this book, the part on Zakopane and a little bit on Krakow. When it says to use the bus between Krakow and...moreWe actually only used one small section of this book, the part on Zakopane and a little bit on Krakow. When it says to use the bus between Krakow and Zakopane instead of the train, heed that advice! We did not at first and had a long, hot afternoon on a train system that hasn't been updated since before the Cold War. In that part of Poland, the roads are newer and more direct and by bus the trip is 2 hours; by train it's 4 hours.(less)