Food

The Salt
9:36 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Sichuan Pepper's Buzz May Reveal Secrets Of The Nervous System

It's the Sichuan peppercorn in dishes like spicy ma po tofu that makes your mouth buzz. Researchers wanted to know if that buzz is connected to the tingling you feel when your foot falls asleep.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 5:19 am

The Sichuan peppercorn is known to give some Chinese dishes a pleasant tingling feeling.

What's not so pleasant is that pins-and-needles feeling we get when our foot falls asleep — or when people who suffer from paresthesia experience constant tingling in their limbs.

Diana Bautista, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, wondered: Could these sensations be connected?

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Nancy Eats Paris, Including The Best Falafel In The World

E. Dehillerin, a restaurant supply shop that's been in business in Les Halles since 1820. Yes, she bought stuff!
Nancy Leson

Of all the places I haven't been to, Paris is the place I haven't been to the most.  But my Food for Thought co-conspirator Nancy Leson is just back from the City of Light and boy, did she eat.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed April 9, 2014

How To Be An Annoying Restaurant Patron

From Caddyshack: The chef reacts badly to Rodney Dangerfield's critique.
Caddyshack

Back in February, Nancy and I devoted a Food for Thought to annoying things restaurants do. It seems only fair that we now open the forum to restaurant workers about the annoying things customers do. 

Nancy and I have both worked in restaurants, so we had a few little items with which to scratch the surface of Annoying Customer Behavior.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed April 2, 2014

How To Slice A Whole Bunch Of Olives All At The Same Time

What Nancy calls mise en place for her Chicken Adobo. I just call it getting organized.
Nancy leson

Hanging out at Capitol Hill's La Bete Bistro enabled Nancy Leson to learn the closely-guarded secret of slicing multiple olives in one fell swipe using just two yogurt lids and a sharp knife. Continue on, dear reader, if you would like to know...

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Asparagus, Garlic and Scapes — Oh, My! 'Tis The Season Of Fresh Produce

We just can't figure out how those tulips got into our garlic bed, but there they are, poking their broader leaves up through the straw amongst the thinner but tastier garlic shoots.

Seeing them reminds me of the story in Charles MacKay's 19th century masterpiece, "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" about Holland's Tulipmania. It concerns a sailor who returns from years overseas, unaware of the astronomical prices tulips had reached during that insane bubble.  Mistaking a bulb worth thousands for an onion, he eats it.

In this week's Food for Thought, Nancy Leson and I heave big sighs of anticipation over the fresh produce to come — for me, my 45 garlic plants and their scapes, and for her, local fresh asparagus. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Cast Iron Vs. Non-Stick — And The Winnah Is...

A nice selection from the International Dutch Oven Society exhibition in Salt Lake City
Nancy Leson

I admit it. For a while I was seduced by the slippery attraction of non-stick cookware. But what I noticed was that supermarket-cheap or fancy cookware-expensive, they all betrayed me in the end. I also noticed that while cast iron just keeps getting better and better, my non-stick just got worse. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Making Homemade Crackers The 'Easiest Thing In The World'

After: Pretty slick, huh? Hope that Brie is good n' gooey.
Nancy Leson

I love homemade food stuffs — things I might otherwise have to buy at a restaurant or a grocery store. But it’s never occurred to me to make my own crackers. Until now. 

The way my co-conspirator Nancy Leson tells it, "it's the easiest thing in the world.”

“For people like us who like to make homemade bread, pie crust, crackers are really, really easy,” she says.

Nancy asked Seattle chef Bruce Naftaly of the late Le Gourmand to share his recipe for his famous handmade crackers, which he makes with homegrown poppy seeds.  

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Food For Thought
5:01 am
Wed March 5, 2014

How To Make Your Own Crème Fraîche — And Why You Should

A jar of homemade créme fraîche.
Marisa McClellan Flickr

I freely admit that up to now, I hadn't really been sure what the stuff was or even how to say it. Let's get that out of the way right now: It's pronounced “kremm fresh.” So what is it? Think sour cream, only not so sour and, for my money, way better-tasting. 

“Crème fraîche is really a cultured cream, just like sour cream,” says Nancy Leson. “And you can put it on anything, from sweets to savories. You can put it on fruit, you can put it on dumplings.”

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed February 26, 2014

No Need To Presoak Beans For This Cheese Rind-Flavored Minestrone Recipe

Mmm...that blob at noon to 2 is a good n' chewy chunk of Parmesan rind.
Nancy Leson

My whole life I've been soaking dried beans overnight for use in the next day's soup or stew. At this late date, I've learned I've been wasting my time. 

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Youth Obesity
5:01 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Youth Obesity Drops in King County For The First Time In Years

FILE - Roxhill Elementary students dine on healthy entrees prepared by chef Tom Douglas' staff.
Charla Bear KPLU

After years of flat rates, obesity among adolescents significantly dropped in King County between 2010 and 2012. Public health authorities credit prevention efforts at school.

A handful of school districts in the county made a special effort to push fitness. Some had students track their own nutrition, others invested in top-notch physical education programs or healthier lunch options. Federal stimulus money paid for the Communities Putting Prevention to Work programs.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Nancy Leson Couldn't Stand Meatloaf Until She Tried This Unusual Recipe

Warning: This meatloaf contains raisins and apples.
Nancy Leson

I'm an open-minded, non-judgmental kind of guy (disregard that snickering from my wife), but I draw the line at fruit in meatloaf. Nancy Leson doesn't, as she made brazenly clear in her Seattle Times story last weekend.

Amazingly, Nancy sees nothing shameful about including raisins, apples and curry powder in meatloaf mix, and then topping the whole mess with chutney. 

“Don’t knock if you haven't tried it, buddy,” she said. “The raisins and the apple are what make this meatloaf so delicious to me.”

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed February 12, 2014

An Annoying Question From The Waiter

"Has monsieur dined with us before?"
uncleeddiestheorycorner.blogspot.com

I am made wary when servers ask, "Have you dined with us before?" Why do they want to know? 

My unindicted co-conspirator Nancy Leson says a lot of times, the question has to do with a cryptic menu the patron may not understand. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Bread of the Ana-Damned?

Anadama in the pan
Nancy Leson

Given the blustery weather we're enjoying this week, why not some molasses-laden Anadama bread to provide the interior insulation we need? What's more, it turns out that I've been wrong, wrong, wrong all these years about the stuff.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed January 29, 2014

The Tossed-Off Magic Of Chinese Hand-Pulled Noodles

Those noodles were putty in Nancy Leson's hands. Unfortunately, they stayed that way.

The first time I watched hand-pulled noodles being made, I could hardly believe what I was seeing.  

The chef took a lump of dough, stretched, twisted, tossed and swung and lo — there were noodles.

Here. See for yourself.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Where Nancy Went Wrong With Her Spanish Shrimp Recipe

Looks great. If only...
Seattle Times

My Food for Though pard Nancy Leson did a great little piece in last Sunday's Seattle Times about her take on Spanish shrimp with garlic. It was accompanied by a swell video of Nance cookin' it up in her own kitchen. I loved it. Of course, my way is better.

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