Month: January 2012

molasses in january

Looking at my children now, it is hard to believe I was ever able to carry them around in my belly. This was sort of hard to believe the moment I laid eyes on them, now that I think about it. But dim memory and ample wide-screen photographic evidence suggests that I once did keep them in my midsection. They were good-size babies, and maybe as a result I tended to be slightly anemic while they were under construction. This led to talk of iron supplements. Supplementing with iron is a tricky business; it messes with your digestion something awful, and many believe this is due in part to the fact that non-dietary sources of iron are basically indigestible and consequently unavailable to your body–so you mess things up for no good reason, in the end. My midwife tried me out on a liquid herbal iron supplement that was food-based, but to my pregnant sensibilities it tasted like a juicy blend of marmalade and loose change and I could not choke it down. So to …


the loving spoonful

If you are lucky enough to be loved by Millie Chan, you may have received a container of this when your spirit or body was overwhelmed. Millie is a Chinese chef who grew up in Texas, and she is as likely to blow your socks off with spring rolls as pecan pie. It’s a powerful combination of skill-sets, let me tell you. I am lucky enough to have known Millie almost my whole life. Millie and her husband introduced me to mine. I have seen a lot of pots of congee pass from her kitchen into my family’s kitchens, and when I was asked to make a meal of exceptional gentleness and appeal for a friend in need I went straight to Millie’s book. There are not many ingredients involved here, and the process could hardly be simpler. If it is Monday, chilly, gloomy or taxing in your world–or the world of a loved one–actually or metaphorically, this may be just the ticket. Enormous reward-to-effort ratio makes it even more satisfying. rice congee Adapted from …


hot-bed of activity

My niece, who visited over the weekend, noted that it was Super Vegetable Week and asked me how this distinguished the present week from the other 51 in my year. “Are you going to post something about dessert today, to reward everyone for all the vegetable stuff?” she asked me. She likes dessert, possibly slightly more than she likes vegetables, a viewpoint which may be reflected in the little snippet of dialogue I have just quoted for you. I have a strong feeling that what I am about to offer you is not the kind of dessert she means, but it is the right dessert for Vegetable Week, in my opinion. I have been reading Elizabeth David lately, specifically her book about Christmas food, for no particular reason other than it was the one they had at the library and I thought it might have something in it about vegetables in winter. It did. If you already know all about Elizabeth David, skip this next part and go straight to the excerpt I have excerpted …