February 22, 2005

Friday Fry #20 In 1968 the Department of Agriculture put into place a ban on the importing of Sichuan peppercorns. The law was not actively enforced until three years ago when canker, possibly carried by the spice, began to devastate citrus crops in Florida. Due to a new heat-treatment process the ban may be lifted. The peppercorn is not a true peppercorn but rather a member of the citrus family and carries a "lovely woody-citrus-peel flavor." According to a recent news report, "The deep, dark reddish-black dried pepper berries come from a woody ash shrub that grows in the mountainous regions of northwestern Sichuan. The peppercorns are one of the components of the classic Chinese five-spice blend, the peppercorns are so revered that they were once offered in tribute to the emperors of China, according to Sichuan cuisine authority Fuchsia Dunlop." What happens when you mix the 1970s energy crisis with the women's movement? According to Slate, the Crock-Pot whose motto"cooks all day while the cook's away " created a small cooking revolution which quickly waned. Today, Rival, who owns 85% of the market, has experienced a 20 per cent increase in sales. Could be because of economic times, a desire to eat healthier meals and the simplicity of preparation. The article reviews and rates eight slow cookers. In a urgent effort to control avian flu Vietnam has banned duck and goose farming. The disease has killed 45 people this winter. Many in Southeast Asia passed over making traditional New Year's fowl-featuring dishes...
Food Fit for a Queen Over the weekend I went to the annual Fancy Food Gourmet Sale, sassily called 'Food Fit for a Queen' sponsored by Under One Roof. The non-profit organization, based in San Francisco is focused on raising money for over 37 AIDS service organizations such as PAWS, Visual Aid and Project Inform. Every year donated gourmet food products are donated to the organization by participants of the Fancy Food Show--over 30 pallets of food. The event was held in an empty and small storefront in the Castro. The volunteers keep on stocking everyday. There is excitement in the air. One man was shopping for his wife via his cell phone--"do you need 2 liters of raspberry syrup?" Another woman was back for day two/round two. "Did you get to the jams yet? No? Could I help out by stocking them?" There's cookies, oils, spices, chocolate, syrups, jams, sauces, crackers, soups and beverages. I definitely got carried away by the selection and made the mistake of not enforcing a budget on myself. Of course knowing that all proceeds went back to the service organizations lessened the anxiety. I've had a chance to taste test a few of the products. I picked up two new dessert sauces from Charlie Trotter's line, Bartlett pear and caramel, the other a bittersweet chocolate-Kona coffee ($2.50 each). I served the pear sauce over a Cuban coconut almond pound cake for Sunday dinner's dessert. Dee-lightful. However the best food treasure that I found was a hand-made yellow porcelain bottle...


what happens to the hole when the donut is gone?

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