Why we go to fast food for our crinkle cut fries

I don’t know about you, but I kind of stumbled into Food History.  While visiting yard sales or out antiquing I started to notice that the cooking utensils of my youth were now showing up as – dare I say the word “antiques.”   This was hard to accept that some of these items that I still had in my kitchen were now relics of a by-gone age.

As this fascination with aging has morphed into a hobby – learning about food from times past—I don’t despair as much about my age.  Now even though I have the wisdom of maturity I must confess certain items still stump me.  Take this for instance.

Potato crinkle cutter

I should know what it is but I don’t have a clue, neither does my husband or the lady who sold it to me.

After a spirited discussion, in which alcoholic beverages played a part, hubby voted for something to create a wavy pattern in cake frosting.  I don’t know.  Personally I’m partial to some kind of cutting thingamabob…for creating fancy fruit slices perhaps.  Why is it slanted?  There was some reason but here in Georgia we’re clueless.  Is it old?  There’s no manufacturer on the handle or blade but the blade has that older feel to it.

As I’m typing my brain is working – potato slicer?  I like that idea.  When I get back from the store with a bag of potatoes I’ll try it out…with some cheese too.

crinkle cut potato

I don’t know why I found Science experiments so hard when doing experiments like this is so much fun.  Probably because I’m not likely to blow anything up or do bodily damage to a favorite pet with these tests.

Crinkle cut potato slices

Crinkle cut carrots

 Are you convinced?  I am – potato and miscellaneous crinkle cutter thingamabob it is!  It’s too hard to use and I don’t know how you would ever sharpen the blades so we won’t be having crinkle cut food around here on a regular basis – if ever again.

 The crinkle cheese might look better on a tray than cheese cut with a knife but the cheese stuck in the ridges was a bit hard to clean out.  I can see why newer, especially larger, versions of this type cutter are on the market.  The family would have left for a nearby fast food restaurant before I could ever get enough crinkle cut potatoes cut for a meal.  The carrots were easy to cut but the neighbor’s horses like big carrots so there’s no need to spend time making small fancy ones for them.

Crinkle cut cheddar cheese

Do you have some odd kitchen utensil lying about; before you put it out at the next yard sale send a photo perhaps together we can figure out what it is.

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Blueberry Cobbler – so easy a child can make it.

What’s so great about this blueberry cobbler is that it’s so easy even I can remember the recipe.  This recipe is oh so definitely a food hit this summer.  The family lines up at the door and begs to have another one.  That’s why I’m teaching the granddaughter how to make it – so they’ll leave me alone for a while.

Notes: Butter is your friend in this recipe.  I’m sure the cobbler would taste better if I used whole milk but 2 percent is what hangs around in our refrigerator.  We’re loving the blueberries but almost any fruit will do.  Peaches are coming in now so next week on our table will be a true Southern dessert found on every buffet table in the state: peach cobbler.

Not only is the recipe so easy a child can do it –it’s so easy I don’t need words.

Let me say the small child was doing fine until this point.  What you don’t see because I couldn’t scrape sugar and take photos at the same time is that she dumped 1/2 of the sugar into one spot on the cobbler.   Even though our 4 hands were flying we couldn’t get it all moved about.  There was one very surprised person that got a super sweet piece of cobbler–he didn’t complain.

Finally after about 45 minutes!  Success.


A Food Epiphany or Two

Today I’m using the word epiphany in its secular meaning – the sudden realization of the essence or meaning of something.  By it’s very definition an epiphany should only happen to an individual once a lifetime so I’m really stretching the point to say I have had several of them. Perhaps a more accurate statement is to say I’m writing about a sudden appreciation of something but I really like the sound of “epiphany” so that’s the word I’m going to use.

The Bing cherry owes its development to the Ch...

 Cherries Jubilee

Cherries Jubilee were a true food epiphany. I can tell you the first time I tasted those gifts from above.  I was a young teenager and went with my mother to a cooking demonstration at the Mayo Auditorium in Winter Haven, Florida.  The cook gave samples of all the food to everyone in the audience but the only thing I can remember was Cherries Jubilee.  OMG!  The desserts my mother prepared never tasted like this.  You can tell it was an important moment in my life by the fact I know the name of the building I was in: if I thought long and hard I could probably tell you exactly where I was sitting.

Butter and a butter knife

 Butter

Once our oldest daughter tasted lobster she craved it.  Lobster is an expensive dish for a child to love, but then I discovered she actually craved the melted butter.  Another epiphany – melting butter and pouring over toast was cheaper than lobster.

Polski: Obieranie ziemniaka

 Potatoes – a non-epiphany

Although I love potatoes and have enjoyed them every way, except raw,  I can’t think of any life changing potato dishes I have made or been served.

Moo Shu Pork Burritos

 Moo Shu

Then there’s Moo Shu.  It was love at first bite, the room was spinning sort of love. At one point in my life I would have crawled across the burning sands of a desert for Moo Shu.  It annoyed my husband that I didn’t order it every time we went to a Chinese restaurant but I didn’t want to eat it so often that it dimmed the sheer pleasure and became common everyday food.

Back to the Beginning

Circling back to my first food epiphany.  Years ago I actually served Cherries Jubilee at a dinner party.  The recipe below is not the one I used but I agree with the footnote in this recipe I found at AllRecipes.com.  From personal experience I can tell you that tipping the pan and spreading blue flames across your entire kitchen counter can put a damper to the end of an otherwise great evening.

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 pound Bing or other dark, sweet cherries, rinsed and pitted (or use frozen pitted cherries)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon cherry extract
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream

Directions

  1. Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a wide saucepan. Stir in the water and orange juice; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking until thickened. Stir in the cherries and orange zest, return to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. While the cherries are cooking, spoon the ice cream into serving bowls.
  2. Remove the cherries from the heat, and stir in the cherry extract. Pour in the brandy, and ignite with a long lighter. Gently shake the pan until the blue flame has extinguished itself. Spoon the cherries over the bowls of ice cream.

FOOTNOTE

  • The flames may get quite high when flambéing, so pay attention to anything flammable above and around where you ignite the cherries. When the initial large flame has died down, a small blue flame will continue to burn for several seconds. Shake or stir the cherries gently to expose more alcohol to the flame, being careful that they do not burn. The goal is to have the small, blue flame burn for as long as possible, thereby reducing the raw alcohol flavor, caramelizing the sugars, and entertaining your guests.

Have you had a food epiphany?  Let me know in the comments section – recipes are welcome.  If you’re a visitor to FoodThoughts and would like to receive an email notice when a new blog is posted click on the Follow button to the right.