Posts Tagged ‘food’

Dining with Kermit, Gilligan, Darth Vader and a cast of many

September 15, 2011

I, like many other sandwich eating folk around the world, consider cooking to be a chore. And though I do it daily, I like to use my television as my inspiration for the food that I prepare. I am not talking about celebrity chefs here. Pffft! I can enter their restaurant and pay them to cook for me. I choose to cook the fictional character’s meal.

Eat like your favourite television character

If Mary Ann’s coconut pie from her Gilligan’s Island Cookbook is good enough for the other 6 castaways, it’s good enough for my family of four. My children have enjoyed Obi Wan Kebabs and Wookie Cookies from the Star Wars Cookbook. “Use the fork, Luke” is a commonly heard statement at our table. And how can I go past Gus, my butcher standing in for Sam the Butcher supplying the red meat for the House of Cards Hamburger in Alice’s Brady Bunch Cookbook.  We’ve had the Mini Eyeball Pizza from the Shrek Cookbook, I’ve saved the day with Bewitched‘s Cousin Serena’s I-don’t-cook quick-fixes, Phoebe’s Fabulous Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies from the Cooking with Friend’s Cookbook, and little do my children know that at Christmas time they are partaking in a little bit of DOOL Holiday Hot Chocolate (with an “optional” cup of brandy or bourbon which was needed by Roman Brady when he found out his wife Marlene was possessed by Satan) because I found the recipe in Cooking with Days of our Lives.

My children have enjoyed She Wore a Jello Ribbon from True Grits: Recipes inspired by the movies of John Wayne and they have eaten Liz Taylor’s Spicy Chicken from In the kitchen with Miss Piggy by Moi: Fabulous Recipes from my famous celebrity friends. Miss Piggy is a delight in this humour filled book, an adjective rarely used when describing cookbooks. In solidarity with her, I too won’t cook the pork and frog recipes that were contributed – for shame!

Sometimes my need to channel Hollywood on the dining table moves from the fictional movie or TV series and into larger than life stars. For I have cooked from the The Life and Cuisine of Elvis Presley (though I draw the line at barbequed pizza) and our Christmas Turkey is prepared with the recipe from the Last Dinner on the Titanic cookbook (Ok – not a hollywood star but certainly, it has inspired many movies).

I have yet to cook from The Soprano’s Family Cookbook, the Number 96 Cookbook or The Winnie the Pooh Teatime Cookbook but their time will come, I am sure. For my dining table will always pay homage to Hollywood.



#bookbites for September

September 2, 2011

Reading and food… is there a more delicious combination?

Even before Little Red Riding Hood (and her picnic basket) was sent into the woods, it seems we have been tempted by food. The old adage “eat to live, not live to eat” is difficult to achieve when faced with recipes from every country. “What’s for dinner?” was enough to make my mum wilt like the proverbial salad , but my home is overflowing with recipe books, travel and recipe books, stories with recipes included, children’s books. One of the first pictures my grand daughter recognised was “apple”… now she’s moved on to “cake”.

Are you a food history buff? Do you enjoy a mystery and murder with a good dessert on the side? Is food to keep you healthy a priority? Want to cook treats for your animals? Or do you just love to read and drop off in a soporific stupor dreaming of delicious delights? While Adam and Eve may have eaten the apple, we have many more choices… here is a tiny selection:

Green eggs and ham, Charlie and the chocolate factory, If you give a mouse a cookie, Stone soup, Cloudy with a chance of meatballs, Bread and Jam for Frances, Jasper McFlea will not eat his tea, The very hungry caterpillar and our old favourite, Pooh Bear and his hunny pot.

Jamie’s 30 minute cookbook, Blood sugar, Two greedy Italians, any of the Australian Women’s weekly series, the CWA cookbooks, Food for thought: essays on eating and culture, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Vogue Entertaining, ABC delicious, Feast.

Food features heavily in fiction writing too. Kerry Greenwood’s baker Corinna Chapman is always baking something delicious while solving her mysteries. Who can resist Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and Lula as they eat their way through disaster. Then there’s The Cupcake Bakery mystery series, The Coffee House mystery, Bruno Chief of Police and his truffle delicacies and, of course, Chocolat. We also love Friendship bread, Agnes and the hitman, Pomegranate soup and Comfort food.

Delicious! Delicious! Delicious!

There’s a lot to savour this month, so start reading early! Please tweet about your food related reading using #bookbites.

We’d love you to join in the Readit2011 Twitter discussion on 27th September 2011, at 8pm AEST. It’s going to be full of tasty treats.


Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto

June 3, 2011
Springtime Kaiseki: Sashimi - Flounder Sashimi, Oil-blanched Prawns

Cooking Lecture - Springtime Kaiseki: Sashimi - Flounder Sashimi, Oil-blanched Prawns by flickr user panduh

I always knew there was a tea culture in Japan, but until I read Untangling My Chopsticks by Victoria Abbott Riccardi I had no idea that there is also a complex, elegant culinary tradition that is part of the Japanese tea ceremony.

Riccardi’s memoir recollects the two years she spent in Japan learning about Kaiseki – the highly ritualized form of cooking that accompanies the formal tea ceremony. It is a fascinating read that gives insight not only into Japanese food culture: from the myriad number of ways that it is acceptable to eat sushi, to unusual Japanese cooking ingredients like Kudzu, but also insight into Japanese culture and history.

And even better… the memoir contains 27 recipes!

I still think of this book every time I eat sushi, and if I ever travel to Japan I will definitely try and take a culinary tour of Kyoto, or stay in a homestay so that I can experience a traditional Japanese home meal.