A Well Stocked Kitchen: Frying

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Beignets

To someone who is unfamiliar with cookery, the sheer amount of information can make ones head swim!  There’s always room for tweaking to personal preference, but when I started expanding my knowledge I was utterly befuddled by all the tools and gadgets and the myriad of spices the world has to offer.

There’s a lot of stuff out there; a lot of really cool things and a lot of things you really don’t need.  So, for basic cookery I’ve put together lists, divided by sections, on the handy items to have around.  If you decide to delve further into specific foods obviously you can expand your kitchen, but for now this’ll do ya just fine.

Frying is its own realm of cookery, though can extend slightly into baking, as with beignets which are a type of doughnut.  People all over the world fry foods in oil and have done so for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  Perhaps you simply do not wish to implement frying into your life, but if you do, this is a good place to start.

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A Well Stocked Kitchen: Baking

 

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Strawberry cupcakes with piped strawberry & vanilla frosting – “Sweet” in German and Norwegian.

To someone who is unfamiliar with cookery, the sheer amount of information can make ones head swim!  There’s always room for tweaking to personal preference, but when I started expanding my knowledge I was utterly befuddled by all the tools and gadgets and the myriad of spices the world has to offer.

There’s a lot of stuff out there; a lot of really cool things and a lot of things you really don’t need.  So, for basic cookery I’ve put together lists, divided by sections, on the handy items to have around.  If you decide to delve further into specific foods obviously you can expand your kitchen, but for now this’ll do ya just fine.

Since baking’s my big thing, as in, it’s what makes me happy and baked goods are what I make most often, we’ll start here with this post.

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100 Years of Family Dinners

I always love to view Mode.com’s 100 Years of Beauty videos, but I had no idea that they made a food one; back in 2015 with 100 Years of Family Dinners!

 

While it is highly fascinating, it is pretty gross, to me… partly… mainly for the dishes I didn’t like.  At the end they ask which dinner was your favourite, and I’ve got answers!

Though I agree with my sister, who initially sent the video my way, that their version of fondue doesn’t look all that appetizing, we both really do love fondue, so 1975 would definitely go onto my list.  I also adore tacos, so 1995 would make my list as well.  My final contender would be 1965, and while I’d heard the term Chicken Kiev before, I didn’t really know that it was just basically fried chicken from the nations of Russia, Ukraine, and Poland.  Yes, I will need to make a note of this so that I can make it at some point!

The picks for my sister were 1975’s fondue, along with 2005’s sushi, and 2015’s kale salad with quinoa, and salmon because she really likes those sorts of things.  However, she chose 1935; chipped beef on toast because she’s crazy about it.  While neither of us like peas, the 1935 food colours together did make a pretty dinner.

1915 – 1945 all looked very unappetizing to me.  Especially 1915 with what I imagine as very bland, non seasoned (and obviously non gravied) roast and potatoes.  It was just so sad looking.  Never been a fan of Chicken à la King (besides the fact that it was the only “hot” dish that looked cold, which made it seem worse), nor peas, nor chipped beef, nor spam.

While I didn’t like the look of that particular TV dinner (though I liked the packaging, my grandmother would serve us TV dinners on our first night over with her because while being an easy meal, she found it to be quaint, so I have a good memory with TV dinners though I don’t eat them now.

Having been born in 1980, I start having real knowledge of the dishes starting with 1985.  Not a fan of sloppy joes or box mac & cheese, but they certainly were spot on about what mid-80s families were eating.  And then there were the taco and sushi crazes and now healthier dishes.

I know that I’ve stated that this blog is all about a girl who LOVES food, and this post is reading like a girl who is “not a fan”.  Both are true.  I don’t always see food and want to immediately put it in my mouth (try it), but I appreciate it all, especially in a historical context such as this.  I am fascinated with food and what people have decided to find delicious in different regions and time periods.

So, I’m just as curious for your answers as I was for my sisters:  Which dish (or dishes) were your favourite?

Big Mama’s Fried Chicken

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This is a recipe that I found via Pinterest.  It initially comes from Grandbaby Cakes’ founder Jocelyn Delk Adams, and this is her grandmothers recipe, but I found it through Food52’s article featuring Adams, her family, and this recipe for fried chicken.  I’m linking to the article because it’s nice to read a bit about the recipes’ beginnings, plus the recipe can be found in the article.

I wanted to try this recipe for several reasons.  It’s a heritage recipe, going back a few generations and I love those.  It’s fried chicken and I’m always looking for ways to do up fried chicken.  Her grandmother was from Mississippi (awww!  <3).  And lastly, this is a recipe from a black family.  I’ll agree that normally colour shouldn’t matter when discussing things, but certain foods are just better from different people because of their own spins on how they prepare it.  I’ve had white people fried chicken and black people fried chicken (and Choctaw fried chicken) – all southern fried – and I’ll pick the recipes from black people every time, if I can.

Now, I’m new (relatively speaking) to the ways of frying.  I’m still trying to master it (Knowing the techniques versus actually implementing them are two different things).  My dad’s fried chicken recipe is really, really good (and the chicken fried up by our Choctaw friends is pretty similar), however it’s a completely different type of fried chicken to what is prepared by black people, so to me that is highly important and these are the types of recipes that I am seeking out in regards to frying chicken.

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How America Lost ‘The Key to Chinese Cooking’

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>>food52.com

A friend of mine, today, shared this wonderfully bitter-sweet article by Mayuhk Sen via Food52.com; How America Lost ‘The Key to Chinese Cooking’.

It’s a beautifully written article, both poignant and somewhat magical; about the life and times of Irene Kuo; her wealthy childhood in 1920s Shanghai to the bustling world of mid-century New York.  I can almost taste the food as Sen describes it and envision myself at one of Kuo’s opulent Tree restaurants in Manhattan in the early 1960s.

Though I had never heard of her, she was a big deal in her time (mid 50s – late 70s) only for both her, and her book, to fall into obscurity.  Of course, now, I wish to seek out her book, but an article being written about her only made everyone else want to rush out and find a used copy of her out-of-print tome.  Perhaps someday I will stumble upon this Chinese cookery book, I dreamily imagine at a quaint used bookstore in an adorable village or downtown area somewhere.

But, in the meantime I’m glad to have read this article, to know something about this woman and her strides in the field of cooking; bringing her homeland closer to her.  Go give it a read, it’s well worth it.

Maple Cornbread Muffins

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This is a recipe that I found via Pinterest from Yesterfood, which I’d pinned awhile back.  When I was looking through my recipes a few days ago and found the one for Banana Nut Bread, I also found this one again, along with another recipe for fried chicken.  I thought I’d make these muffins with the friend chicken and make a whole dinner out of it, which I did yesterday.

Being a southerner, I’m no stranger to cornbread, and while I’ve eaten cornbread muffins, I had never made them before.  We just always make our typical cornbread here at the house.  Maple though is not a southern staple, since it comes from the far and cold north, but this is not a strange thing to me because my maternal aunt spent the better part of her life living in Montreal, Quebec and would always bring large cans of Canadian maple syrup on her jaunts down to see us.

So, of course I would want to make this, since it’s a marriage between different aspects of my own personal life.

 

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Humdingers

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I should probably write about the recipe for which this blog is named, yeah?  This was my paternal grandmothers recipe that she found so long ago she forgot where it came from.  She would make this confection for the end of year holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is now when I make them as well.

So, humdingers.  Is that not just the most adorable name?  Mainly people simply call these date balls, but my paternal grandmother’s recipe came with a really swell name.  Why call them anything but Humdingers?  It’s fitting too as they are extremely sweet and they make me want to exclaim, “HUMdinger!” after I’ve eaten one.

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