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Archive for the ‘food as absurd’ Category

December is

exotic fruit month.

Center for Disease Control

Think Kumquats, Sapote, Ugli fruits, Pepino melon, Cherimoya.


Written by Susan Gillie

December 2, 2008 at 4:46 am

Posted in food as absurd

Time for the State Fair


After a two-year visit to Indiana, Michaelangelo’s David (accompanied by the Slow Food Indy contingent) will return to Italy.

My advice, Dave? Lay off the burgers, fries and KFC. Skip the colas and watch those Krispy Kremes.

Thanks, Tilden and Cathy, we needed a good laugh.

Written by Susan Gillie

June 26, 2008 at 1:13 am

Move Over Hardees

Indy’s a beef-centric town. I think this hamburger would sell here, don’t you?


Can we trust Burger King with Wagyu and truffles?

Sure, it’s ridiculous, but is it any more elitist and out-of-touch than highly-priced Slow-Foods fundraisers?

Written by Susan Gillie

June 19, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Posted in food as absurd

Use It or Lose It



It’s old, old, old. It’s so old it’s not even old-school. Aspic, (AS-pihk) “a savory jelly, usually clear, made of clarified meat, fish or vegetable stock and gelatin,” is a whale-bone corset to our Spanxx food culture.

Aspic isn’t out just because it’s old. It lost favor with a feminist-oriented labor force who turned their noises up at genteel feminity. Aspic is white-glove and garden parties. It’s Junion League. It’s southern belle. Bygone food for bygone womanhood.

In our rush to judgment, and in our haste for new and better, we misjudged aspic. Though it’s reputation is fussy and snooty, it’s practical. It’s cool and crisp, perfect for hot, summer weather. It’s an easy way to prolong the life of delicate, delectable vegetables such as cucumbers and radishes.

Victoria Wexler has a post on her blog, Going Local, about the loss of diversity in our food. We’re losing on two fronts–types of produce and traditional preservation methods. 

Although old, aspic needs to make a comeback. It’s perfect for busy lives. This morning, I used local radishes purchased Wednesday at the farmer’s market to make aspic. It took all of twelve minutes to make a week’s worth of fresh salads.

Aspic lends itself to improvisation. Jalapeno, habanero or bird’s eye chili’s give this recipe more fire, a Matcha tea or vegetable broth gives it a new twist.

City Market Radish and Green Onion Aspic 

  • 1-2 bunches of radishes coarsely shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 3-4 green onions, finely chopped (green parts only)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 packet of unflavored gelatin, mixed with 1/2 cup of cold water
  • juice of one lemon

Shred radishes, chop green onions and garlic and mix together. In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin into the cold water and let sit for five minutes.

Heat chicken broth until it simmers and remove from heat. Stir in the gelatin and completely dissolve. Stir in lemon juice and vegetable mixture.

Pour into a greased 9″ x 9″ Pyrex dish and chill for at least four hours.  Cut into squares and serve. (Or, you can pour mixture into greased custard dishes or gelatin molds if you want a more dramatic presentation. )

Written by Susan Gillie

June 16, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Obama–Food Fraud?

The drama is over and we have a Democratic nominee for President. Unfortunately, racism is still around and for some peopele, the thought of a black person in the position makes their heads spin.

Indianapolis is home to one of the oldest, largest and most vibrant Afro-American communities in our country. Indy is also located in a swath of KKK territory and small-minds gravitate to the big city. Slime, sleaze and ridiculous rumors about Obame and his wife are rife.

We prevail against puppy killers with humor. For a chuckle, check out:

But wait! This just in from the Washington Post. Barack supports the Farm Bureau (remember no rBGH labeling?) and the new farm bill.

He ate at Applebees! Surely that’s the Mark of the Beast?

What’s next, P.F. Chang’s?

Written by Susan Gillie

June 15, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Happy Mom’s Day

This primary election? Whew, heady week in Indiana. For a good read on Hoosier culture, click on Nancy Nall Derringer’s Op-Ed in the Washington Post. Sure beats Matt Tully’s “I’m In Love With Myself” column in Saturday’s Star.

If your’e a political junkie, and who isn’t in this election, check out Robert Kennedy’s campaign manager’s description of the 1968 Indiana presidential primary.

My time this week wasn’t consumed by politics. No, the culprit was a cake. Not just any cake, but the Ultimate Lemon Layer Cake, cover photo for The Best of America’s Test Kitchen Best Recips and Reviews 2008.

I try to stay away from the best, perfect, ultimate. For left-brain, analytical types it’s the equivalent of crack cocaine. This cakes takes us far, far beyond food porn to cake nirvana.

It started out as a pitch-in for Cinco de Mayo, morphed into a Mother’s Day’s treat for co-workers and now sits in the frig, wrapped in Saran Wrap. It’ll have to wait another day because I ran out of eggs to make the icing.

Which brings me to Mother’s Day. Professional cooks work on weekends and holidays and today, even though I’d rather spend it with my family, I’ll be cooking for sick children and their moms. We’ll have a special dinner and give mothers bouquets of tulips.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms, grand-moms and great-grand-moms. Thanks for your dedication, preservenance and patience.

Written by Susan Gillie

May 11, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Slimfast Cake


It’s February in Indiana. Chilly, icy weather, cloudy skies, dead, leafless trees. Time to head south to remember what warm weather is like.

I went to Charlotte, North Carolina this weekend. Overflowing with transplants from the Northeast, West and MidWest, Charlotte is still southern, low-country. Home of Cheerwine, sweet potatoes and pulled pork.

Johnson and Wales culinary school in downtown Charlotte is thriving. With liquor laws loosening, and the banking industry manufacturing an abundance of discretionary income, chef-owned restaurants and microbrewery/bistros are popping up all over.

This weekend was stay-at-home food. Grilled beer-butt chicken, sweet potatoes with pineapple, mashed potatoes and gravy, collard greens. And Slimfast Cake.

What’s a southern belle to do, all those bright, perky clothes and pointy high heels? You have to look good, but you need desert.

Pick up Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devils Food cake mix at Food Lion, pop open a can of chocolate SlimFast, spray a cake pan with Baker’s Joy and put in the oven. If you want portion control, make cupcakes. If you’re serious about weight, buy Pillsbury Moisture Supreme Sugarless mix with Splenda.

This cake isn’t bad, if you top it with cream cheese or buttercream chocolate icing. Only a discerning cook knows it’s a box cake. It could pass.

A woman who makes Slimfast Cake prefers to spend her time at Birkdale Village shopping for shoes and jewelry than slaving away in the kitchen.

She tops the cake with canned icing.

Never one to give in to others’ opinions, she ignores the comments about Rachel Ray. She’s on to her next creation, Pillsbury Carrot Cake mix with vanilla Slimfast.

I hope someone talks her into making cream-cheese icing.

Slimfast Cake

  • 1 box of Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devils Food cake mix
  • 1 can of chocolate SlimFast
  • 1/2 cup of water

Prepare a 9 x 13″ cake pan by spraying it with Baker’s Joy. Put cake mix into a large mixing bowl and pour in Slimfast. Mix by hand. Add 1/2 cup of water to the Slimfast can, swirl and pour into cake mixture. Use a hand mixer to mix cake batter.

Pour into cake pan and bake according to box directions.

After cake is baked, remove from oven and let cool. Top with your favorite icing or whatever you bought at the store.

Written by Susan Gillie

February 18, 2008 at 2:30 pm