Ratatouille: Everybody can cook

Jan 11, 2010 by

Anybody can cook, right? That’s the main message of the animated kids’ movie Ratatouille, out last year, and which I finally watched. That message seemed pretty sound to me at first glance.

But what the film actually means by “anybody can cook” gave me plenty of food for thought. I wish I could rewrite the film to convey instead, “everybody can cook.”

The story tells of Remy, a rat of humble origins, who becomes more than human through a superhuman genius for cooking.

Remy gets his inspiration to rise above the garbage-eating gluttony of his rat culture through exposure to humans, in particular their cookbooks, TV cooking shows, higher quality foodstuffs and discriminating tastes.

Without condemning or rejecting his rat family and friends, Remy the rat…

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To Melissa G., the Recessionary Grocery Shopper / Part II: Two Choices of the American Every Mom

Oct 5, 2009 by

Melissa G. represents the average American grocery shopper (as targeted by Campbell Foods) during the current recession, according to a Sept. 7 article in Advertising Age.

Dear Melissa, Cambellsvisitsscan

You have no reason to listen to me. I’d be pretty surprised if you took to heart anything I have to say. Actually, I don’t see that you even have much choice about it.

Since those nice folks at Campbell Soup came out, and acted like you were doing a great job as a mom, and declared you the representative of their target market, it’s a little like being crowned queen.

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Do- It-Yourself Sublime Crème Fraîche

Apr 2, 2009 by

Creme fraiche Crème fraîche is a perfect example of French ingenuity with dairy products.  A cultured cream, it’s thicker, heavier, smoother and sweeter than sour cream, with a lovely, velvety texture. It’s delicious on plain fruit, especially bananas, mangoes or berries, or other desserts (I think of crêpes or pie), as well as in soups, stews or sauces, which it thickens without curdling as sour cream tends to do.  

We have no parallel product here in the U.S., though you can find crème fraîche in some grocery stores. It’s quite expensive. I make my own for much less. It’s something so simple, yet extremely satisfying to make yourself.  Very young children could make it, except it requires a lot of patience. My son used to make it to…

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Cooking as its Own Reward: How to Keep Lesser Motives From Spoiling the Broth

Mar 23, 2009 by

Girls cooking At my house, my kids help cook and do some cooking of their own. They also take their turns at doing the dishes after dinner.  My approach to getting them to cook varies greatly from how I get them to do the cleaning up, though. Why? Because while true passion about cooking is possible, probably no one alive has more than a fairly limited enthusiasm for washing dishes.

Every child is born naturally interested in cooking. When they see an adult breaking eggs, stirring, mixing, measuring, using equipment like spring-form pans and muffin tins, and tools like knives, whisks , blenders and mixers, and witness miraculous, appetizing transformations emerging from the oven, they want to get involved. And rightly so.

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Why A Child’s Place is In the Kitchen: Relating To and Through Food

Mar 23, 2009 by

This post was featured in the Charlotte Mason blog carnival on June 9, 2009

Mom and kids cooking

The question is not,—how much does the youth know? When he has finished his education—but how much does he care? And about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? And therefore, how full is the life he has before him?  — Charlotte Mason

Psalm 31:8 Thou hast set my feet in a large room.

My French mother-in-law, Lucienne, once told me early in my marriage that she thought that cooking well helped one keep one’s husband. …

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