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« September 16, 2007 - September 22, 2007 | Main | September 30, 2007 - October 6, 2007 »

September 28, 2007

What the Fluff?


Marshmallow Fluff is celebrating its 90th anniversary. (Does the stuff ever go bad?) In 1917, according to the Fluff website, Somerville resident Archibald Query starting making the sweet goo in his kitchen and selling it door to door. (He later sold the formula to a couple of business partners who opened a factory in Lynn. Click here for more history.)

Apparently Query concocted his recipe in Union Square, and so tomorrow from 4-7 p.m. the organization Union Square Main Streets is throwing a giant Fluff fete. (Sunday's the rain date.)

Festivities take place in Union Square Plaza. They include:

- A cooking contest (recipes must incorporate Fluff, of course) judged by Renee McLeod of Petsi Pies, Alex Whitmore of Taza Chocolate, Suzanne Lombardi of Tiny Trapeze Confections, and Margaret Gray, grand-niece of Query himself.

- Games, performances, storytelling, and food.

- The re-creation of the Prospect Hill tower in Fluff and cereal.

You'd have to be a Fluffer nutter to miss it.

September 27, 2007

People: less complex than grapes

In another blow for humankind, a team of scientists has mapped the genome of the pinot noir grape, and it has about 30,000 genes in its DNA. The human genome contains 20,000-25,000.

Does this mean drinking a bottle of pinot noir before making major life decisions is a good idea? Yay! I've done this many times. And though beer goggles are clearly a bad thing to look through, perhaps wine goggles would enhance one's vision -- and they might even be rose-colored.

The information has implications beyond pointing out that people are simple creatures. According to the study, published in today's issue of Nature, it could eventually lead to the development of grapes with greater pest resistance.

The scientists also found that the grape has a high number of genes that create flavor, not a shock to this guy: View image. Playing with those could lead to the creation of new flavors in wine.

Next up: mapping the stinky cheese genome.

September 27, 2007

Well, if we're talking cupcakes...

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It's only fair to include a link to this, mentioned by Jonathan Levitt in another Food section story this week. Warning: Those offended by wardrobe malfunctions should not click the link.

September 27, 2007

Cupcakes, part three

Another blog devoted to cupcakes. Another photo.

cupcakeblog.jpg

Posted by Sheryl Julian at 01:33 PM
September 27, 2007

More on cupcakes

Food section contributor Debra Samuels built a cupcake tower this summer at her brother's house in California (hence sunny poolside background). It was to celebrate his wedding anniversary. Deb and her mother began with Styrofoam rounds:

debcupcake1.JPG

Then they made all the cupcakes and frosting from scratch and set them on the "shelves."

debcupcake2.JPG

Apparently it was an enormous amount of work, but she said it was a big hit.

Posted by Sheryl Julian at 11:48 AM
September 26, 2007

Who doesn't love cupcakes?

cupcake2.jpg

Today's section had a story on Kickass Cupcakes and someone sent me this blog by another cupcake lover.

Posted by Sheryl Julian at 08:45 PM
September 26, 2007

Menu English

Why are words so often misspelled on menus? From your chipolte to your proscuitto, there are numerous offenders.

In the last few weeks I've noticed artesian goat cheese, edamamae, and frisse at Boston Public, Schezwan shrimp at Myers+Chang, arugola at Sagra, and yellowfin tartar at Top of the Hub.

OK, chefs are supposed to be able to cook, not spell, and if my food tastes good, I'm happy. But when someone takes such care in creating a menu, why not go the extra mile and check the spelling? A menu's like a restaurant's cover letter, and you wouldn't hire someone to do a job they couldn't spell, right?

OK, I'm done now.

September 25, 2007

6 p.m.: What's for dinner?

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It's 6, and if you're sitting at your computer reading this blog, chances are you haven't made dinner yet, you'll surf for a while, and before you know it, it will be 7 and you'll be starving.

Peanut butter on a spoon is not dinner, so don't even think about it. The fourth annual Chefs Harvest Dinner starts at 6:30. It's sponsored by Boston Public Market, and it's a fund-raiser to help them realize their goal of a permanent, indoor, year-round public market. (Hey, if subzero Montreal can have these, so can we.) The contribution is $200 per person. For a list of participating restaurants, click here. Call 617-265-6700 to see if you can get a last-minute reservation. Then hit the road!

September 25, 2007

A little cake

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This is a simple cake in an old pie dish I found in a tag sale. The cake is made with both butter and oil, with slices of apple nestled into the batter, then topped with cinnamon and brown sugar. It's the kind of sweet I make if I have a few Cortlands on hand and very little time. The recipe is running in tomorrow's Food section.

Posted by Sheryl Julian at 01:19 PM
September 24, 2007

Overheard in my "pod"

lunchbox.jpg

Around noon today, the gentleman who sits behind me (no, it's not Harry Truman) started grumbling about something. Now we sit very close, but I couldn't quite hear him. It had something to do with his lunch. It turned out that he put his briefcase beside the refrigerator at home so he would remember to take his lunch. Then he grabbed the briefcase and drove to work without lunch.

My other officemate popped out of his chair and said, "Let me offer you this."

The lunchless colleague: "I couldn't possibly take that."

"Please. It's yours."

"Thank you, but I couldn't."

Finally, I piped up. "What are you offering?" I asked. These guys are not truffle types.

It turned out to be a $2 coupon for lunch in the Boston Globe cafeteria, a gift for giving blood last spring.

The irony came later when Lunchless went to his car and found his lunch. In fact, he had taken it out of the fridge at home, but forgot to take it to his desk. "It looked like a ham sandwich that was left in a hot car all day," he announced.

Said Coupon Giver: "Sounds like a line from Raymond Chandler."

Posted by Sheryl Julian at 08:19 PM
September 24, 2007

A restaurant that does plenty of covers

sinatra.jpg

On Sunday nights, at least. A few weeks ago I reviewed Sagra, an Italian restaurant in Davis Square. Though I've eaten there several times, I've never been on a Sunday.

Today I got a message from a friend who went last night. The food was good, she said, but there was a Frank Sinatra-style lounge singer doing every swinging song in the book, from "The Lady Is a Tramp" on down.

In my review, I talked about the tasty food, the reasonable price point, and the atmosphere, comfortably nice without trying to be trendy. But I neglected to mention that on Sunday nights, there's also live entertainment. So: addendum. If you don't get a kick out of hearing "My Way" while you eat maccheroni, you might want to schedule your visits to Sagra on another night of the week.

September 24, 2007

The ikea kitchen

This was sent in by the reader who told me about her kitchen woes in an earlier blog.

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She wrote: "Spent the weekend gazing longingly at the sink in its box. LOL. Have renewed
respect for pioneer women."

Posted by Sheryl Julian at 11:01 AM
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