Sunday, July 21, 2013

"Eels Reversed," and Other Elaborate Medieval Fare [feedly]

Shared via feedly // published on Food52 // visit site
"Eels Reversed," and Other Elaborate Medieval Fare

In Strange Food History, we're hitting the books -- to find you the strangest, quirkiest slices of our food heritage.

Today: Medieval food is probably not what you think it is -- it's even stranger. 

Barbara Kafka's Simplest Roast Chicken, from Food52

What comes to mind when you think about "medieval food"? Chances are, your brain creates a menu that's a cross between what you ate at the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament and what you learned about ye olde "Dark Ages" in seventh grade history (and maybe you're also recalling something about the Bubonic Plague and the lack of plumbing). 

The idea that during the 1000 years that comprised the Middle Ages -- from the 5th to the 15th century -- Europeans subsisted on giant turkey legs, roast potatoes, and gruel alone is, however, one of the biggest misconceptions in all of food history. 

A Medley of Roasted Potatoes with Homemade Za'atar and Aleppo Pepper, from Food52

In reality (or what we know of it), medieval food was unbelievably elaborate, so much so that Paul Freedman, a professor of history at Yale and the editor of The History of Taste, claims that the only place it could possibly be recreated today is in the kitchens of modernist molecular gastronomy restaurants. 

Medieval food was in no ways simple or refined. The cuisine relied on intense combinations of sweet and sour, huge quantities of spice, heavy processing (so that no ingredient was identifiable or distinct), and trompe-l'oeil, a French term for optical illusion. Nothing was meant to taste as it looked. Meat was ground and shaped to look like apples, birds were disassembled, cooked, and put back together, and fish were prepared three ways and in three different colors. 

More: A menu for a medieval feast you'll actually want to eat.


Le Ménagier de Paris, known in English as The Good Wife's Guide, is a medieval household book written by an anonymous older man as instructions to his 15-year-old wife. The book contains over 400 recipes (some of which come from Taillevant, chef to the King of France) that showcase just how different medieval European food is from contemporary cuisine.

One of the most intriguing recipes in The Good Wife's Guide is for "eels reversed." Eels are sliced lengthwise and flattened into long rectangles. They are filled with a mixture of meat and spices and then sewn back together -- only this time their skin is on the inside and their innards are on the outside. The eel is then cooked and served.

So the next time you think the food at your neighbor's dinner party looks unappetizing, just be glad we aren't living in the 13th century. 

Photos by James Ransom, except eels by David Doubilet via National Geographic 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Is Urban Chicken Keeping On Its Way Out? — Apartment Therapy [feedly]

Shared via feedly // published on The Kitchn | Inspiring cooks, nourishing homes // visit site
Is Urban Chicken Keeping On Its Way Out? — Apartment Therapy

"Raising chickens just seems like too much work. Unfortunately, it looks like a lot of chicken owners have come to the same conclusion, and unwanted urban chickens are now flooding into animal shelters."

From Apartment Therapy → The End of the Urban Chicken Trend? More


Monday, June 17, 2013

It's Official: Caffeine Withdrawal Is a Mental Health Disorder | The Kitchn [feedly]


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pawalla: Monthly All-Natural and Organic Dog Product Subscription Box [feedly]

Shared via feedly // published on Dog Milk // visit site
Pawalla: Monthly All-Natural and Organic Dog Product Subscription Box

Pawalla: Monthly All Natural and Organic Dog Product Subscription Box in toys other dining

Pawalla is a dog-box subscription service that delivers a selection of treats, food, toys, and other goodies to your doorstep every month. Dog-box deliveries are certainly All the Rage™ these days, so what makes Pawalla unique? Each item selected for inclusion in a Pawalla box is organic and/or all-natural, and all consumable products are made in the USA.

[Disclosure: Pawalla sent us a sample box to try out. All views and opinions are our own.]

Pawalla boxes are curated based on your dog's size and age, and every item is handpicked by Pawalla's Ph.D. pet nutritionist. Only organic, all-natural products are included, so you can try out new foods, treats, and health and beauty items for your dog with an added assurance of safety. Typical products might come from companies like Stella and Chewy's, Sojos, Primal, Weruva, or Zuke's. Subscriptions are available for both Deluxe (pictured here) and Mini boxes.

Pawalla: Monthly All Natural and Organic Dog Product Subscription Box in toys other dining

Pawalla boxes contain a variety of items to appeal to both you and your pup. There's treats and toys (woo hoo!) but also care items like supplements, cleansing wipes, and shampoo. Items are chosen from premium and boutique manufacturers, so the surprise collection in each box is sure to contain old favorites as well as great new organic, all-natural products to try.

Pawalla: Monthly All Natural and Organic Dog Product Subscription Box in toys other dining

Each Pawalla box also contains a card detailing each product included as well as a product review from Pawalla's pet nutritionist, Dr. Susan Lauten. And, if you really like an item that you discover through a Pawalla box? You can order more of it right on Pawalla's web site rather than spending time trying to hunt it down on your own.

Check out Pawalla to sign up for one-month or six-month delivery service. (Oh, and if you're into that kind of thing, Pawalla has boxes for cats, too!) As an added bonus, Pawalla is offering Dog Milk readers two exclusive discount codes:

Enter code DogMilk20M for $3.50 off a Pawalla Mini Box or DogMilk20S for $6 off a Pawalla Standard Box!

Share This: Twitter | Facebook | Don't forget that you can follow Dog Milk on Twitter and Facebook.
© 2013 Dog Milk | Posted by Katherine in Dining, Other, Toys | Permalink | 2 comments

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Design Sleuth: Clever Kitchen Lighting from Norm Architects

Design Sleuth: Clever Kitchen Lighting from Norm Architects

Here's a clever solution for under-cabinet lighting from Norm Architects in Copenhagen that doesn't involve difficult-to-install puck lights. 

In this 1860s fisherman's cottage, the family wanted to achieve the Danish concept of hygge—which loosely translates to "coziness" and requires a warm glow. To achieve this goal in the kitchen, Norm Architects' Niels Bjerre-Poulsen attached a halogen lighting strip at the front edge of the open shelving.

Bjerre-Poulsen chose halogen lights to achieve a warmly colored glow like that of incandescents (which are banned in Europe). But we would recommend an LED strip; LEDs have a long lifespan and don't convert energy into wasted heat, which makes them the eco-friendly lighting choice. Here are some sourcing ideas:

Minimalist Kitchen with Wall-Mount Faucet by Norm Architects, Remodelista

Above: The lighting strip adds a warm glow to the kitchen. 

Minimalist White Kitchen by Norm Architects, Remodelista

Above: Most of the home's furnishings were custom-designed to fit the small space, lighting included. 

Kitchen with LED Lighting Strip by Norm Architects, Remodelista

Above: The lighting strip is reflected on the surface of the electric range. 

Minimalist Scandinavian Home by Norm Architects, Remodelista

Above: By day, the all-white home is cool in the gray Scandinavian light. By night, fixtures like the halogen strip add warmth. 

LED Strip Light Kit from Elemental LED, Remodelista

Above: The Flexible LED Strip Light Sample Kit from Emeryville, CA-based Elemental LED has everything you need to compare several types of LED strips, such as varying density and levels of brightness and warmth; $29.99. 

Elemental LED Brighter Strip Light, Remodelista

Above: Elemental's Brighter Flexible LED Strip Light is sold by the foot and can be cut to any length; $12.99 per foot. 

Ikea Dioder LED White Strip Light, Remodelista

Above: The Dioder LED set from Ikea is an affordable option at $29.99 for four strips that can be connected together. 

For another clever use of strip lighting—this time in amber—visit A Oaxacan Oasis in Berkeley.  

11 Ways to Make Your Garden Dog Friendly

11 Ways to Make Your Garden Dog Friendly

You can tell a lot about a dog's personality by the way he digs in your garden.

Take my dogs, for instance. Larry is like Peter Rabbit, with little white paws uprooting a clump of pansies as he shoots mischievous glances over his shoulder to make sure you're watching. Sticky, on the hand, can't stop herself; she digs in a guilty and very neurotic way, as full of self awareness—and self loathing—as a character on Girls.

Normally I like help in the garden—but not from these people. I mean, dogs. Lately I was noticing that whenever I was outdoors digging, so were they. It was driving me crazy. There were mole holes piled up all over the place even though we don't have moles. The digging had to stop. 

Now, I don't know about your dogs. But if you tell Larry and Sticky to do something—or to stop doing something—they will pause momentarily, look up quizzically as if they don't speak English (although we know they do, based on the fact that we have to spell out such phrases as "go for a walk," "get your leash," and "do you want some cheese?" to prevent them from going into a frenzy), and then return to whatever they were doing. I think the word for this is "bratty."

They say, however, that little big-eared papillons like Larry and Sticky are highly trainable—papillons have been dubbed "most intelligent of the toy breeds," whatever that means—so I went looking for someone who knows how to persuade them to stop digging. I did some goggling (as my father would say), and learned to my surprise that their bad behavior was my fault:

 Photographs by Michelle Slatalla.

 Above: Larry aka Peter Rabbit in the garden.

 "Your dog needs attention," warned the Humane Society's "Dig This" webpage. "Make sure your dog has sufficient time with you on a daily basis."

At first this seemed sort of ridiculous, given that my dogs get more attention than any other member of the family. They spend about 22 hours a day sitting on someone's lap or sleeping against someone's feet, and the other two hours begging for c-h-e-e-s-e. Dogs are pack animals, and Sticky and Larry are vigilant about keeping a distance of less than two feet between themselves and the nearest human member of their pack. 

But then it dawned on me: every time I am in the garden, Larry and Sticky are going to be there too. It's like when you have a baby and for the next five years, that baby is pretty much attached to you. You have to retrofit the house so the baby won't stick a finger in a light socket or fall down a flight of stairs or drink nail polish remover. If you can baby-proof a house, why can't you dog-proof a garden? Make it safer for them, and also more welcoming; turn the place into a veritable Disneyland For Dogs where they will be so amused that they forget to dig. Here are the dog-friendly attractions I added to the garden:

Above: Sticky in the garden. (What's with the tongue?)

No. 1: Give dogs a job. We all like to feel like we have a purpose, and Larry and Sticky keep busy by patrolling the yard. Their job, they believe, is to keep the property safe from squirrels, bumblebees, and the occasional stray leaf that wafts to the ground without permission. To encourage Larry and Sticky to run around the perimeter of the garden where they can't trample plants, we laid paths. 

No. 2: Have paw-friendly hardscape in your garden. Our paths are laid with pea gravel, which is comfortable underfoot for Larry and Sticky; no sharp edges and the surface never gets too hot even on sunny days.


No. 3: Make sure you have plenty of "varmints" for them to apprehend. As if. My dogs can barely catch a fly, but they believe they are fearsome squirrel-ers. This myth dates to the time they almost caught a sick, mangy squirrel that they treed  in Central Park. This was about two years ago, but Larry and Sticky still talk about it as if it were yesterday. My garden has a lot of plants that attract birds and pollinators. Sticky and Larry spend a ridiculous amount of time bossily trying to run off bees and hummingbirds from the salvia and the roses.

No. 4: Create shady spots. Dogs get hot fast when they run around; you should have a cool shady spot under a tree or an awning where they can lie down and recover from all that hard work.

For Seven More Tips for a Dog-Friendly Garden, see the rest of the story at Gardenista.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Ask A Sommelier: Which Wines Go Best With Sushi?

Ask A Sommelier: Which Wines Go Best With Sushi?

From Drinks


VIEW SLIDESHOW: Ask A Sommelier: Which Wines Go Best With Sushi?

Sushi and beer are an awesome combination, and many folks like to order sake with sushi (even if it might not be strictly traditional), but you might be surprised how delicious wine and sushi can be together. Whether it's a salty-seeming coastal white wine from Italy, or a palate-cleansing sparkler from France or Spain, wine can make for a truly special sushi meal.

But which bottles should you pop, and why? We asked 11 sommeliers for their sushi-and-wine pairing tips. Here's what they had to say.

Let's be friends! Gab with SE: Drinks on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. Keep in the loop with our weekly newsletter.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Belkin Tablet Cabinet Mount, reviewed

Belkin Tablet Cabinet Mount, reviewed

Belkin Tablet Cabinet Mount

It is handy to have your tablet – whether it is an iPad, a Kindle Fire or something else – readily available in the kitchen. You can easily search through your favorite food blogs and browse recipes while you're cooking. It can be difficult to find a good place to put it, however. You could prop it up against a wall or some cookbooks, or buy a stand that allows you to stand it up at an angle. But with each of these options, it can be difficult to see the screen because it isn't at eye-level and difficult to use the touch screen the tablet, since these options aren't exactly secure and the tablet can be easily knocked over. A better option is an under cabinet mount, which will hold your tablet securely at about eye level, making it easy to use and read.

I never gave to much thought to getting and under-cabinet mount, because I didn't want something hanging down over my counter all the time, but when I saw the Belkin Tablet Cabinet Mount, I jumped at the chance to pick one up. This tool is a removable cabinet mount that will allow you to secure your tablet to just about any kitchen cabinet.

It has a hook that slides onto the shelf of the cabinet and an adjustable brace that comes up underneath the cabinet and secures the tablet in place. The brace has a soft, rubber coating on it so that it won't damage the cabinetry. The piece that hangs down from the hook to the table is very thin, so your cabinet doors should be able to close fully even with the mount in place. It also adjusts to fit tablets of difference sizes and is wide enough to accommodate some cases, so you don't need to remove your tablet from its case unless you have something pretty bulky on it.

Belkin Tablet Cabinet Mount

I got mine adjusted out of the packaging and adjusted in less than two minutes – and it worked even better than I thought it would. It made a huge difference to be able to see my iPad at eye level and freed up a lot of counter space. It fit on every cabinet I tried it on – including a few non-standard cabinets and found that it was still very secure and functional, though the doors didn't quite close all the way. The mount comes in two pieces that slide together, so it can be taken down and stored flat in a drawer when it isn't in use, which is a great feature, too. My kitchen feels more streamlined already.

Belkin Tablet Cabinet Mount


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Coffee: Some Like it (Too) Hot

Coffee: Some Like it (Too) Hot

From Drinks


[Photo: Matushka Anna]

The words "hot" and "coffee" are as closely linked in our animal brains as two words can be. Closer, perhaps, than "pepperoni" and "pizza", closer even than "rooty" and "tooty". That said, are we making a terrible daily mistake when we serve our coffee steaming hot? We like our coffee hot, but how hot? And as coffee enthusiasts ask themselves with each and every cup: are we doing it wrong?

Though coffee's best brewed at just under boiling temperatures, in about a temperature range from 195 to 205°F, drinking that hot it is another story completely. Beyond the obvious risk factors of burning your tongue or the inside of your mouth, you're simply not getting as much flavor out of your coffee if you reach for the cup too quickly.

That said, you may have your reasons for drinking it hotter. And that is the quality of the coffee you've started off with in the first place.

"Worse coffee is better hot," says Charles Babinski of Los Angeles-based cafe Glanville & Babinski. (Though Babinski acknowledges the tactile enjoyment of hot coffee in a cold place, his temperate California environs allow him to let the coffee chill, man.) Babinski recommends letting coffee cool to a temperature of around 120°F, or even lower. His cafe serves coffee on the cooler side, along with carafes to allow customers to pour drinks out themselves and more easily attenuate their own coffee temperature preference via cooling-as-it-pours.

Coffee pros have long since argued in favor of allowing coffee to cool off to allow a great many more flavors to open up—and on professional cupping tables, coffee is indeed allowed to cool for a very long time, with flavors being compared and contrasted at increasingly cooler temperatures. In some cases, expanding to a much broader range of tastes. Babinski makes an even firmer argument against heat. "There is no need for heat except to mask flavors," he says.

James Hoffmann, a World Barista Champion and co-director of London, England's Square Mile Coffee Roasters, agrees that the better the coffee, the cooler it should be consumed.

"While body temperature may be the ideal, I really like things just a little hotter," says Hoffmann, who also prefers a temperature somewhere between 110 to 120°F. "It's a temperature I'd describe as pleasingly warm," says Hoffmann, adding one caveat. "There is an exception to this: If the coffee isn't going to be any good. I'll drink this as hot as I can bear, so I can gain the enlivening benefits of coffee with as little of the pain of poorly brewed, poorly roasted or poor quality coffee."

Does the same hold true for espresso beverages as for filter, or drip, coffees, though?

"I think the only downside of letting milk drinks cool is that they can turn a little ugly and bubbly," says Hoffmann, who it's safe to assume is only served the absolutely most beautiful latte art at all times. "I would say it is worth the aesthetic sacrifice in terms of return in enjoyment of its flavor," he says, adding that "the story of espresso's rapid demise is also overblown."

A well-made espresso can remain tasty as it cools, assures the former world champion. Though this may not extend to carrying it all the way back to your office in a miniature paper cup.

So, an experiment for you: brew your regular morning coffee and drink it just as you normally do, first taking note of the temperature, and think about what it tastes like to you. The next cup you make, allow it to cool to a temperature of around 115°F—and again consider the flavors. Are you getting all of the messages your coffee has been trying to send you? And if your coffee was really that bad, or worse, to begin with—well, hell. Throw it back in the microwave.

About the author: Liz Clayton drinks, photographs and writes about coffee and tea all over the world, though she pretends to live in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently compiling photographs of the best coffee in the world to be published by Presspop in 2013.

Camels Must Have Weak Backs

Camels Must Have Weak Backs

'Cuz I've got lots of straws on me and I'm just fine.

My mom says I'm real strong.

Photo by Adam Berry of Getty Images

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Elephants, Unusual animals