Archive for comfort food

More Potato…Much More Potato

Posted in Food, Glorious Food with tags , , , , on July 27, 2010 by davegerry

Come hungry!

I sat down in front of a baked potato the size of a rugby ball yesterday. It was at a place called Mr. Kumpir down on Denman Street in Vancouver run by a very pleasant fellow named Efe. He told me that Mr. Kumpir, the logo for which looks like the unnatural child of Mr. Potato Head and Mr. Peanut, is a franchise operation out of Turkey where baked potatoes with all the fixin’s have been the rage for about 20 years. Franchise operations from Turkey? Who knew?

Anyway, they are using Idaho potatoes here that are just about the biggest things I’ve ever seen. I’d be tempted to look for a nuclear power plant somewhere upstream from the farm. Remember those baked potatoes you used to get at Morton’s? These seem to be about twice that size.

You can order any number of topping combinations at Mr. Kumpir. For example, there’s a North American traditional blend of sour cream, bacon bits, and green onions. You can have a seafood medley, if you like..and there are several exotic far eastern selections. They will basically pile it to the ceiling, if that’s your choice. All of this costs no more than about six dollars..and when it arrives..when it is rolled ominously toward your table.. it looks positively gut-busting. Efe has been doing a killer business during Vancouver’s current fireworks festival on English Bay, which is only about a Hail Mary potato toss from his front door. So, not only can people have a very filling meal that lasts all night but they can keep their hands warm at the same time.

If you like a good baked potato, I’d highly recommend it. Starve yourself for at least a day before you go.

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Break out the Stretch Pants

Posted in Food, Glorious Food with tags , , , , , on December 17, 2009 by davegerry

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The one week countdown to unbridled gluttony has begun.

It is the time of year when we find ourselves falling face first into a huge pile of mashed potatoes and gravy, which, when you really think about it, would be a helluva way to go.

Christmas in the Gerry residence, for at least as long as I have been married, has been a celebration in two cultures.

The Frau..born in Europe…was raised to have her big meal on Christmas Eve. When she married me she had to adjust to the whole holiday tradition of turkey with all the fixings a day later. This has provided her with the perfect excuse to have me cook the bird,  and I do. I do Christmas dinner from top to bottom and let Angie stay in her pj’s. After almost 30 years you’d think the statute of limitations would have run out on this I-can’t-cook-a-turkey defence.

The Christmas Eve feasts I have enjoyed by marrying a European-born woman have become the stuff of family legend. My mother-in-law did all the cooking and her skills in the kitchen are unparalleled. There was no turkey, of course. Never a turkey. But there were extraordinary platters brought to the holiday table laden with roast goose and duck and venison…even wild boar.

to-die-for

What my mother-in-law can do with braised chestnuts would make you weep.

There’s an oft told tale in our household about the time that my in-laws came to visit for Christmas from their home on British Columbia’s Gabriola Island. The holiday feast that year was to be pheasant which my mother-in-law brought frozen in a plastic bag. I opened the package to find that these were the Ben Johnson of  pheasants. They had the most muscular legs I’d ever witnessed on a winged creature. It turns out that Oma had grabbed a package of rabbit instead of pheasant from her freezer. Did it matter? Are you kidding? Roast rabbit, braised chestnuts, red cabbage….somewhere between Alt and Shift I just drooled into the computer keyboard!

Keep your Meatloaf Under Wraps

Posted in Food, Glorious Food with tags , , , , on December 2, 2009 by davegerry

More than just meatloaf

I’m making meatloaf tonight. There may be more meatloaf recipes on the internet than any other culinary concoction.

You can basically make meatloaf out of an egg, an old piece of toast and a teaspoon of ketchup.

Making meatloaf always reminds me of the time I reported on a national convention of home economics teachers (what’s it called, Lifestyle Studies..or something..now?). I thought it would be cute if I walked in there with a meatloaf and had the teachers give me a grade. Boy, was I wrong. Turns out it wasn’t cute, or novel or even workable in the end because the mere sight of meatloaf created a truly ugly scene.

What the hell did I mean by bringing such a tired gastronomic cliche into the midst of such modern day, progressive professionals?

They wanted to tear me limb from limb. Even the cameraman got into an argument. I had touched some kind of dangling ganglia within the group. Clearly, they were far more than the sum of their collective meatloaves. The only other time I had incited such vitriol was when I dared to criticize the creative vision at a hair styling competition.  That’s another touchy group.

Some people.

Cream of the Crop

Posted in Food, Glorious Food with tags , , on October 6, 2009 by davegerry

wheat 2

Cream of Wheat was started on this day in 1893 in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

I’m not sure if this was the first day it was sold or the anniversary of the invention but it has a long and proud history and if you’re hungry for further knowledge you can check it out at the following link:

http://www.creamofwheat.com/creamofwheat/cow_history.asp

Cream of  Wheat is one of those products that divide a population. It can actually split households. I have always loved the stuff. Angie simply turns up her nose. We’re getting into hot cereal weather now (at least in our corner of creation) and it’s funny how we all choose up sides. I prefer something like Cream of Wheat because it’s smooth and soothing. I have a friend who daily chows down on some of that seven (or eight or eleven) grain cereal, which to my palate is like masticating a plate of road gravel.

Hot cereal on a cold morning  just seems to make sense, though it’s a staple no matter the season. When I was a kid, and attended summer camp, a big steaming bowl of porridge was there to start every day. I could not put enough brown sugar in there to make it palatable. I’m sure they were using the same stuff to patch our canoes, but it was rib-sticking and at least kept you going till lunch.

A company called B&G Foods makes Cream of Wheat now and I had no idea it came in so many variations.

They seem to have developed a cooking time to suit every temperament. If you’re a slow simmerer there’s the 10 minute style. If you’re a little pressed for time you can buy the 2 1/2 minute stuff. The attention-deficit folks can grab a one-minute packet and, of course, everyone can save precious seconds on all of these in a microwave.

There are lots of flavours too.  Maple sugar, Apples and Cinnamon, Cinnamon Swirl, Strawberries and Cream.

I like the basics. Just give me a bowl (take the full 10 minutes if you like), with a small pat of butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a good glug of milk. After 116 years..how bad could it be?