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Sunday, February 26, 2006

bits and pieces

A little round up of what's been grabbing my attention around the internets lately, amongst the blogs and the non-blogs alike.

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First stop at a new food blog, Tea and Cookies, where a certain Ms.Tea meticulously documented her farcical –if also a little alarming- descent into food blog madness. Make sure you swallow whatever you've got chewing before you read it. I don't want to be responsible for anyone choking or anything!

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The next stop shows us a very pretty new(ish) blog, Harriet's Tomato, whose recent post touched on two of my favorite things: British farmhouse cheese and who else but the lovable Wallace himself. Come to think of it, if my TV wasn't buried somewhere in the mountain of boxes, and Neals Yard wasn't so far away, I wouldn't be typing up this post now. Instead you would find me parked in front of the tube watching the latest Wallace and Grommit adventure while munching on a good wedge of Lancashire Poacher or Stinking Bishop.

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How did I find out about these new blogs, you asked? Why, I am not such an egoïste that I technorati myself on a regular basis! What a preposterous idea!

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Not on the blog circuit, there's the piece by Rachel Cooke in the latest Observer Food Monthly that got my eyes tearing up on this drizzly morning. She reported on the miraculous recovery of Fergus Henderson, arguably the most beloved cook in Britain. Fergus was diagnosed with the debilitating Parkinson disease in 1998, and every St.John regular has been a witness to his deterioration, which had all but taken him over by the time I last saw him in London.

Watching that frail figure sitting by the bar, bits of his body frequently performing an act of revolt on him, amidst the crowd of patrons doing their best to ignore what was hardly ignorable. I know pity is not what anyone with any kind of disability needs, but what else can you feel, especially after you've finished admiring what this man has done –which despite popular belief, is not making people eat blood and gore. Instead, what he actually did was bringing back the proper respect for the truly exceptional quality of the British artisanal produce and meats, and in so doing he showed all of us the once and future of British cuisine.

Now that they've drilled a hole into his skull and fitted him with an electrode, Rachel Cooked reported him delightfully tearing into and devouring tiny langoustines, a feat that required the kind of dexterity that he'd lost long ago, and has only regained after the operation. Bravo to science and best of luck to Furgus. Tonight, we should all grab a big glass of wine and send a big round of cheers toward the general direction of London. To your continuing recovery. Cheers.

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When the first delivery of the Sunday Times arrived at our new house, I was delighted to see that the magazine's food section featured Amanda Hesser's ode to the pretty little citrus, Kumquats. I must say I am not surprised to learn that they are not all that well-known here in the US. Kamquats –and their cousins mandarinquats- are becoming less used in Thai cooking too. Traditionally we used the kumquats and mandarinquats in many types of relish and curries, cut into halves and squashed flat to add not only the deliciously sweet and sour notes to the dish, but a pleasant bitterness as well. Another reason I love the kumquats is because of the adorable name in Thai, Som Jeed, which -when pronounced with the proper rising tone- means not simply tiny citrus but, particularly, teeee-nie citrus. How cute is that?

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And on to a slightly self-serving bit, there's this, this, and this. I'm a lucky girl.

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