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Sunday, May 09, 2004

In the Kitchen with Grandma

The local fishwrap, which I like to make fun of for its fluffiness, does actually have pretty good food reporting. (As is fitting and proper in one of America's Culinary Capitals.)

The latest project is what they call "Rent a Grandma", where a young person of the Fast Food/Take-Out generation who did NOT grow up in their own grandmother's kitchen is paired with an Ethnically Suitable grandmother-type (bubby, yaya, abuelita ...) for a day of lessons in how to shop for and prepare the Food of Their People.

I think this is a great idea, because cooking, especially scratch cooking, seems increasingly to be thought of as a specialist skill in the age of take-out and frozen. I learned some of the basics (how brown is "browned", how to pick good produce) from my mother but I see that sort of knowledge passing away.

I'm fortunate in that the food my grandmothers served me is readily available and I can buy what I don't feel like making (or, in the case of paternal grandmother's pie crust, am not skilled enough yet to reproduce). But I still jones for those Parker House Rolls sometimes, especially at Thanksgiving. (Didn't get that recipe, but will try the Fannie Farmer one when I attempt them. I did note that they had a lot of butter in them. Knowing my grandmother and her prediliction for butterfat, I am not surprised.

It's a nice thing too - my mother was quite pleased when I expressed an interest in learning to make gravy, something she does very well that has fallen out of fashion in all but fancy French restaurants.

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