Tag Archives: food

The Ending of the Week

This has felt like a week where there has not been a chance to catch your breath. The news is inundated with sadness, from all over the world. I’m very much looking forward to this weekend, as chance to catch our breaths and to hide away in the cottage; baking, cooking, listening to music with candles lit and restoring our beings from the week that has been and the week that is to come.

Inspired by a recent blog post from the lovely Alexandra Stafford, I made her pickled vegetable recipe yesterday morning, to sprinkle over homemade pizza tonight. I don’t know why I haven’t thought about this combination before, as one of our favourite pizza joints in Copenhagen, Neighbourhood, has a pizza that is topped with pickled veggies and we simply adore it. I normally try and recreate things at home, but this one has slipped my mind to attempt. So, I am very excited about dinner tonight, followed by our movie date to see Blade Runner 2049.

On a side note, I have long been a reader and fan of Alex’s and have been making her mother’s peasant bread ever since she originally posted the recipe. It is a staple around these parts. It is super easy to make and incredibly delectable to eat. I make it not only for us, but also for my family when we visit them and quite often to give away to friends. I would highly recommend making a loaf for yourself or someone you love. It is great toasted, slathered with salted butter. It makes a divine grilled cheese, a perfect pair of book ends for a roast beef sandwich and we normally save the ends to make croutons with as toppings for soups or salads.

I hope that wherever you are, you find peace in this weekend and are able to find the beauty in the everyday, because it’s still there, even in this messy, messy world.

The Written Word Endures #7

Then one Sunday evening, Jurgis sat puffing his pipe by the kitchen stove, and talking with an old fellow whom Jonas had introduced, and who worked in the canning rooms at Durham’s; and so Jurgis learned a few things about the great and only Durham canned goods, which had become a national institution. They were regular alchemists at Durham’s; they advertised a mushroom-catsup, and the men who made it did not know what a mushroom looked like. They advertised “potted chicken,”–and it was like the boardinghouse soup of the comic papers, through which a chicken had walked with rubbers on. Perhaps they had a secret process for making chickens chemically–who knows? said Jurgis’ friend; the things that went into the mixture were tripe, and the fat of pork, and beef suet, and hearts of beef, and finally the waste ends of veal, when they had any. They put these up in several grades, and sold them at several prices; but the contents of the cans all came out of the same hopper. And then there was “potted game” and “potted grouse,” “potted ham,” and “deviled ham”–de-vyled, as the men called it. “De-vyled” ham was made out of the waste ends of smoked beef that were too small to be sliced by the machines; and also tripe, dyed with chemicals so that it would not show white; and trimmings of hams and corned beef; and potatoes, skins and all; and finally the hard cartilaginous gullets of beef, after the tongues had been cut out. All this ingenious mixture was ground up and flavored with spices to make it taste like something. Anybody who could invent a new imitation had been sure of a fortune from old Durham, said Jurgis’ informant; but it was hard to think of anything new in a place where so many sharp wits had been at work for so long; where men welcomed tuberculosis in the cattle they were feeding, because it made them fatten more quickly; and where they bought up all the old rancid butter left over in the grocery stores of a continent, and “oxidized” it by a forced-air process, to take away the odor, rechurned it with skim milk, and sold it in bricks in the cities! Up to a year or two ago it had been the custom to kill horses in the yards–ostensibly for fertilizer; but after long agitation the newspapers had been able to make the public realize that the horses were being canned. Now it was against the law to kill horses in Packingtown, and the law was really complied with–for the present, at any rate. Any day, however, one might see sharp-horned and shaggy-haired creatures running with the sheep and yet what a job you would have to get the public to believe that a good part of what it buys for lamb and mutton is really goat’s flesh!

There was another interesting set of statistics that a person might have gathered in Packingtown–those of the various afflictions of the workers. When Jurgis had first inspected the packing plants with Szedvilas, he had marveled while he listened to the tale of all the things that were made out of the carcasses of animals, and of all the lesser industries that were maintained there; now he found that each one of these lesser industries was a separate little inferno, in its way as horrible as the killing beds, the source and fountain of them all. The workers in each of them had their own peculiar diseases. And the wandering visitor might be skeptical about all the swindles, but he could not be skeptical about these, for the worker bore the evidence of them about on his own person–generally he had only to hold out his hand.

There were the men in the pickle rooms, for instance, where old Antanas had gotten his death; scarce a one of these that had not some spot of horror on his person. Let a man so much as scrape his finger pushing a truck in the pickle rooms, and he might have a sore that would put him out of the world; all the joints in his fingers might be eaten by the acid, one by one. Of the butchers and floorsmen, the beef-boners and trimmers, and all those who used knives, you could scarcely find a person who had the use of his thumb; time and time again the base of it had been slashed, till it was a mere lump of flesh against which the man pressed the knife to hold it. The hands of these men would be criss-crossed with cuts, until you could no longer pretend to count them or to trace them. They would have no nails,–they had worn them off pulling hides; their knuckles were swollen so that their fingers spread out like a fan. There were men who worked in the cooking rooms, in the midst of steam and sickening odors, by artificial light; in these rooms the germs of tuberculosis might live for two years, but the supply was renewed every hour. There were the beef-luggers, who carried two-hundred-pound quarters into the refrigerator-cars; a fearful kind of work, that began at four o’clock in the morning, and that wore out the most powerful men in a few years. There were those who worked in the chilling rooms, and whose special disease was rheumatism; the time limit that a man could work in the chilling rooms was said to be five years. There were the wool-pluckers, whose hands went to pieces even sooner than the hands of the pickle men; for the pelts of the sheep had to be painted with acid to loosen the wool, and then the pluckers had to pull out this wool with their bare hands, till the acid had eaten their fingers off. There were those who made the tins for the canned meat; and their hands, too, were a maze of cuts, and each cut represented a chance for blood poisoning. Some worked at the stamping machines, and it was very seldom that one could work long there at the pace that was set, and not give out and forget himself and have a part of his hand chopped off. There were the “hoisters,” as they were called, whose task it was to press the lever which lifted the dead cattle off the floor. They ran along upon a rafter, peering down through the damp and the steam; and as old Durham’s architects had not built the killing room for the convenience of the hoisters, at every few feet they would have to stoop under a beam, say four feet above the one they ran on; which got them into the habit of stooping, so that in a few years they would be walking like chimpanzees. Worst of any, however, were the fertilizer men, and those who served in the cooking rooms. These people could not be shown to the visitor,–for the odor of a fertilizer man would scare any ordinary visitor at a hundred yards, and as for the other men, who worked in tank rooms full of steam, and in some of which there were open vats near the level of the floor, their peculiar trouble was that they fell into the vats; and when they were fished out, there was never enough of them left to be worth exhibiting,–sometimes they would be overlooked for days, till all but the bones of them had gone out to the world as Durham’s Pure Leaf Lard!

-Upton Sinclair, The Jungle

*My Mom and I often trade books and give each other recommendations. This was a book she read in high school and I added it to my reading pile. I pulled it out this summer and have been slowly devouring it. I’m not normally a slow reader, but summer kept me busy and I’m only half way through the book. It’s a frightening account of the way in which food is treated and the horrendous working conditions that the people within the processing factories endured. I say “is” and not “was”, as unfortunately food safety standards are still in this day and age not being met. In the past month I have read two shocking articles about the food industry, one published this morning (see below). It’s quite grim really and is most surely food for thought!

UK’s top supplier of supermarket chicken fiddles food safety dates

The chicken run: blood, sweat and deceit at a UK poultry plant

Food brands ‘cheat’ eastern European shoppers with inferior products

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Sally Bell’s

There is something very unique about the South. There’s an essence to the people, to the way of life, to the general mannerisms. The South is a place that my heart yearns for when I’m not there. As there is everywhere, the South has a lot of off the beaten path joints and those special places that relate just to your town. Everyone has their favourite diner, their favourite hang out. You know who has the best sweet tea, where to the find the fluffiest melt in your mouth biscuits and who has the best pecan pie as close as you can get to tasting like your Mama’s!

A few months ago while reading an article, I discovered a Virginia treasure. Sally Bell’s, in Richmond, has been in business for over 92 years! Even more incredible then their longevity is the fact that Sally Bell’s was started after the meeting of two ladies at the Richmond Exchange for Women’s Work. An organisation that allowed women to earn money for selling their wares and work toward becoming self-sufficient. Just as important in 1883 as it is today. They’ve been at their present location since the 1920’s and not too long ago, after VCU purchased their property they moved to a new spot. In that move they discovered numerous pieces of their history stored away in the nooks and crannies of cabinets, drawers and hutches, they hope to put these on display in their new home.

Sally Bell’s is a place near and dear to many people’s hearts. That is clearly evident by not only the patrons that have been coming for generations, but also the people who work there. They are a family and they put heart and soul into their food. Their box lunches would be a treat for sure! I couldn’t imagine anything better. It’s nice to know that as the world continues to march forward, places like this still exist. The nostalgia they carry forward is so very important to who we were, where we are going, what we want to become and what we don’t want to lose value in.

I loved watching these ladies put the lunches together. What is it about something wrapped in wax paper? Maybe it just conjures up a certain time in my childhood for me, watching my mother and grandmothers wrap cakes or sandwiches in a layer of wax paper. The crinkly sound it creates always makes me think of a scene in Driving Miss Daisy, where Jessica Tandy prepares a lunch for her and Hoke. She wraps their lunch in wax paper and tucks it into a shoebox so nothing gets crushed. That sound the paper makes as she folds the corners in and later as they eat by the roadside, drinking Coca-Colas from a glass bottle, Hoke crushes up the wax paper that housed his deviled egg. The crinkly, crunchy, soft sound that it makes, I love that noise.

One day, I’m making a road trip to Sally Bell’s. Besides my boxed lunch, I think I will also be walking out with a box of cupcakes, because it just wouldn’t seem fitting to not do that!

Below are three brief, yet interesting articles on Sally Bell’s, worth a read:

Martha Crowe Jones & Marcyne Jones

Richmond Magazine: First Look: The New Sally Bell’s

Eater: A Boxed Lunch That Has People Lining Up at 6 a.m.

Pumpkin Pecan Spice Cake

Yesterday was a very long day and the only answer to it was: CAKE! I made this pumpkin pecan spice cake for dessert from a Williams-Sonoma mix. I frosted the top with tangerine infused cream cheese and a sprinkle of tangerine zest and chopped pecans for decoration. A slice of that and a cup of tea and all was right with the world again!

Peppermint Pie

We were lucky enough on a cold afternoon to find a cozy spot by the window at The American Pie Co. In a warmly lit space, by the glow of candlelight, we feasted in delight. We were slowly defrosted by mugs of hot chocolate and coffee. Mr. Michie got a slice of the deep dish cinnamon bread pie, glazed in a shimmering sweet drizzle and I got the pink peppermint pie. It was decadent and chocolatey and refreshing all in one bite.

Happiness is…

Going…

Going…

Gone!

Copenhagen Hot Chocolate

Sort Kaffe & Vinyl

Sort Kaffe & Vinyl

The American Pie Co.

Sort Kaffe & Vinyl

Sort Kaffe & Vinyl

Baresso

I adore hot chocolate and it tends to be my breakfast drink of choice while in Copenhagen. These were just a few snaps I took at some of my favourite places to have this comforting concoction of velvety chocolatey happiness. Very hygge!

A Birthday Dinner at Dishoom

Well, we had a birthday in the Michie household yesterday. And, the Birthday Boy requested a new pair of sneakers, as he has literally run through his other pair and his birthday dinner request was to eat at Dishoom. Well, we made that happen.

We had to wait to be seated, but that is never a problem. We were lucky and got a seat at the bar. Watching their bartenders work, is like watching a magic show. I ordered my favourite, an East India Gimlet. Delicious!

We truly feasted! We started with lamb samosas and for dinner we ate mattar paneer, naan bread, Awadhi lamb biryani and raita to cool everything down.

For dessert the Birthday Boy had cinnamon ice cream and coffee. While, I kept to my usual choice, the Gadbad Mitha and a chocolate chai. Happiness is…

The birthday day out was a great success!

{P.S. I do have more to share with you from our time in Denmark, so stay tuned!}

Dishoom

jennifer-michie-dishoom-1

This weekend we tried a restaurant that has been on our list for a long time, Dishoom. All I can say is WOW! We got in just in time, when we left, the line was at least 60 deep heading down Kingly Street.

We sat in the bar while we were waiting for our table. I had an East India Gimlet and it was heavenly. The restaurant itself is old world charm meets 60s kitsch. The music was making me very happy! They even played one of my favourite songs, “Jaan Pehchan Ho”. (I don’t truly know if I love the song or the dancing scene in the film better. It’s just too good! Even my niece loves it. We’ve had a few dance parties on the rug together to this tune.)

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We feasted on lamb samosas and far far, while we perused the menu. We decided we would mix and match dinner and share, so we had the best of both worlds. I ate the “Chicken Berry Britannia”. YUM, doesn’t even begin to describe it! Mr. Michie had the “Chicken Ruby”

jennifer-michie-dishoom-4

I made sure I saved room for dessert and tried the pineapple crumble. Everything was just wonderful. We can’t wait to go back! I think I just might have our date night for this week already planned! 😉