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On knives and bad luck

14 Feb

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My mom says all you really need when you’re buying kitchen gear is One Good Sharp Knife. The rest is just bells and whistles. I’ve never actually bought one for myself, though I now own two.

Giving and/or receiving a knife is bad luck, or so the story goes. If a love gives you one, your relationship is about to end. If a friend does, it severs the ties.

I am totally superstitious. I can’t help myself, I think it’s my Catholic upbringing and the Italians in my family. I don’t walk under ladders, I don’t break mirrors (fingers crossed).

So when IĀ got the newest one for Christmas from Andrew’s mother, I mailed her a penny in a thank-you note. The knife is beautiful: An 8-inch Wusthof Classic Icon knife, with a heavy handle and a beveled edge. It’s so sharp it slices through tomatoes and doesn’t mush them, and could easily cut off my fingertip if I lost concentration julienneing vegetables. Anyhoo, if you give a penny, then technically you bought it, and it’s not a gift and no bad luck.

It may sound nuts but I wasn’t taking any chances. The last time I got a knife as a gift it was about a decade a go, a generous surprise from a guy. That knife is 10-inches, also a Wusthof, also fantastic. I was thrilled, I was amazed, I was totally enamored of both guy and kitchen tool. But good grief the entire demise of our relationship can be traced back that damn gift.

So beware of kitchen curses. Just sayin’.

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Thanksgiving sideshow: Cranberry deliciousness

24 Nov

Here’s a recipe for super easy, super fast, super delicious cranberries. Eat them for Thanksgiving or for a snack.

What you will need:

1 package of fresh cranberries
2 seedless juicing oranges
2 granny smith apples
1 cup of suger
Put the raw cranberries in the food processor,
Cut the apples from the core and slice up the oranges, including the rinds.
Toss everything into the food processor
Add cup of sugar (more to taste if need be)
And blend blend blend until it’s a relish.
It’s so good, you won’t believe. And really easy.
Toss in the fridge and you’re ready to go!

Hello world!

4 Nov

I call my mom almost every week to ask her how to cook something, and whether it’s hot chocolate or stew or scallops she always knows. Maureen, that’s my mom, owns a food store on the south side of Chicago. But more, we come from a family who knows how to eat. We talk about it all all the time, we cherish it,we relish it. We have recipes handed down generation to generation, from her great grandmother and down on to me.

The other day as I was dialing the phone to ask mom whether I could use white wine instead of red to braise beef, (the answer is yes, but also throw in a little balsamic vinegar) I started to wonder whether other daughters and moms did this too, in this time where it a lot of women my age don’t knowhow to cook. Or they consider it a hassle and not a thrill.

At any rate, the blog was born. I’ll be listing the things I call mom for and then adding the recipes as I go, and I’d love to hear from anyone who does this as well. What do you make? What do you love that your mom makes?