Thank Goodness for the Earl of Sandwich

I want to thank John Montagu the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Yes he had a gambling issue.  But it is because of this issue that the sandwich was born.  He hated getting up from his gaming table so he asked to have something he could eat with his hands while he played and the sandwich was born. The great thing about sandwiches is there are no rules for making them.  You are the master of your creation.

I recently spent a weekend with my wonderful Wine Women of West Virginia and one of the women prepared a brie and pear sandwich. It is an adult grilled cheese and it is simply divine. The secret is the bread.  You need to use a good quality whole grain bread.  Wegman’s and Safeway bake their whole grain breads right in the store so try one of theirs if you live close by.  The only thing I added to this wonderful sandwich is craisins.  I think it adds a nice touch.  Maybe next time I will put craisins and walnuts.  Again no rules.

I have loved sandwiches my entire life. Growing up it was what was in your lunch box or brown bag. The microwave was not available in the cafeteria and it was too much work for me to make a salad.  My Mom made sure that both my brother and I learned to make our own lunches. Sandwiches were a quick and easy thing to make.  After all anything tastes great between two pieces of bread.

I remember one of my favorite sandwiches was a grilled cheese sandwich that could be purchased in the cafeteria in my elementary school.  They didn’t actually grill the sandwich it was baked but it was so good.  In High School I was always watching my weight and my go to sandwich was iceberg lettuce on wonder bread.  It doesn’t sound all that great now but it worked in High School. The best part was that it was about 160 calories.

When I found this book I was intrigued.  I mean three hundred sandwiches is a lot of sandwiches. There are some good options in the book.  Some are your standards but others make you think hmm that’s an interesting combination. If you need ideas you may want to take a look at this book.

 

French Women Don’t Get Fat

french women

I can’t believe I have just become aware of this book now.  I mean it has been out since 2007! I actually listened to the audio version which I thoroughly enjoyed since the author herself narrated.  She has a lovely French accent.  More importantly, I really enjoyed the content.  It made so much sense. I used the strategy yesterday which was Thanksgiving.  I tasted everything but made sure my portions were small, no seconds and when it came to dessert, I ate a few bites of my pie than decided to save the rest for the next day.

Ketchup, It’s a Food Group Right?

Image result for ketchup

 

I kind of know Ketchup is not the best condiment  in the world for you but I love it.  I can’t help it. For awhile it was practically its own food group in my book. I put it on just about everything.  In fact as far as I was concerned food did not really taste good without it.   I even put it on Prime Rib.  All you foodies out there stop gagging.

In High School I was always trying to lose or maintain my weight so when I wasn’t eating dill pickles and diet coke for lunch (no I WAS NOT PREGNANT) I ate a lettuce sandwich with ketchup.  I realize know that I could have saved myself even more calories had I not used the ketchup but I needed a little incentive to eat the sandwich.  I never could actually bring myself to skip a meal.

Check out this person’s Seven reasons You should not Eat ketchup.  Let me say I only agree with one reason from this article and that is the sugar content. In one tablespoon their is 3.7 grams of sugar.  On the bright side it has 54 mg of potassium and no fat. But unlike the what is stated in the article the smell of ketchup is like perfume and I love it on hot dogs. I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

 

Thomas Jefferson’s Creme Brulee

Thomas Jefferson has to be one of my most favorite people from colonial times. He was a multi-faceted individual. He entered the College of William and Mary at just sixteen and graduated two years later. He was an inventor, architect, horticulturist,and a musician (he played the violin) just to name a few of his many accomplishments. That is why when I was on the hunt for a non-fiction book this one popped out.

Jefferson as you may all well know was the was the second Vice President under John Adams and then went on to become the third President of the United States. He was one of the Founding Fathers and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.  He held many positions in the United States government including the first Secretary of state and the “ambassador to Europe” which lead him to take up residency in France. OK we all learned this in history class.

The timing for his journey to France was a good one, since he had recently lost his wife.  His love for cooking with fresh ingredients and fine cuisine probably made the position in France a godsend to him. He took his slave James Heming with him and paid for James to be an  apprentice in a French kitchen.  His hope was to bring it back to the colonies and incorporate it into everyday dishes.

James Heming was an interesting character.  He technically was the half brother of Jefferson’s wife.  When Jefferson’s father-in-law died all his slaves passed to Thomas.

The cuisine of Virginia during Jefferson’s lifetime was more comfort food with very little done to develop the flavors of the food. My foodie friends probably would reject the food served as being to boring.

The gentry and some of the middle class had plenty to eat and it was not uncommon to be served a Huge breakfast and dinner.  A common breakfast according to this book was freshly baked bread, corn pone, pancakes, cold ham, chicken and several types of hash. Coffee and tea were both served. My breakfast of toast and coffee pales against the early colony breakfast. Dinner was lots of meats, veggies from the garden, salad etc.

Jefferson enjoyed experimenting with different varieties of plants.  He imported many of them from Europe. Monticello was a “laboratory” for his many species of fruits and vegetables.  He also grew grapes for wine making.

When the French added their might and army to assist during the Revolution they brought with them their cuisine which Jefferson immediately enjoyed.  Sadly the colonist did not share his love.  It wouldn’t be until years later that Americans would accept French cooking.  In fact, Americans can credit Julia Childs for making it popular in the 1960’s and to this day it is incorporated into many of the dishes eaten here in the US.

I have gone on and on but really if you are looking to read a little history of Jefferson and his time  that is not bogged down in a lot of talk about politics this might be your book. It focuses of course on cuisine and the relationships between the people of his times. It also gives an account of life in Paris before the French Revolution.

I don’t read non-fiction as much as I should. Probably because non-fiction can be tedious but not this book. I really enjoyed it and I hope you do as well. And if you are interested in the first American Cookbook click on the book below.

Have a Foodie on your Holiday List?

1000 foods

I found this book awhile back and blogged about it.  Everyone of course has their own list of foods they want to try before they die.  For some it might be very simple for those who are more adventurous it my be more exotic.  The author of 1000 Foods to Eat Before You die has some very interesting choices and I thought you may be interested to know that amazon currently has this kindle edition for a really great deal(1.99).

If you have a foodie with a tablet or a kindle on your holiday list you may want to order it for them.  The price is right and there is no shipping cost.  Oh and it is delivered in 30 seconds to a minute.  Don’t know how long Amazon will have it at this price so if you are interested click on my link or the book below.

In the Kitchen with Bob Christmas Collection

I am a QVC fan.  During the holiday I would say I buy most of my holiday gifts from QVC and Amazon.  Ok I am a QVC Junkie.  I got hooked on QVC when I was pregnant with my daughter and I couldn’t sleep at night.   Now with netflix, cable and satellite TV there is tons of things to keep you amused but back twenty years ago there was crap on at midnight.

Then I discovered QVC. Kathy Levine became my best friend figuratively speaking of course.  My second favorite host was Bob Bowersox.  He had a show on Sunday called In the Kitchen with Bob where he demonstrated how to cook while selling great kitchen gadgets. The good thing about Bob was he was trained as a chef so he brought some credibility to the show.  Bob has since left but he did write a Christmas Cookbook.

What I like about this cookbook is it is divided up into different types of holiday meal.
The recipes are also designed to feed 15 to 20 people.  This is great because ordinarily I cook for only 3 to 4 people and cooking for a large group can be intimidating for me.  It just seems that the recipe never tastes as good if you double, triple or quadruple the ingredients.

So if you are cooking for a crowd check out Bob’s Book.