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Sunday, 10 February 2013

COOKING in FOREIGN TERRITORY


Off to Laredo


I thought I was supposed to help Nicole out.  Instead she’s spoiling me.  


First dinner: Curried Chickpea Calzone with Collard Greens 

Taho for breakfast (consists of Boba, which is Vietnamese tapioca, and tofu)

Back home, Bryan is making dinner for our other daughter.  She says he kicked things off nicely.

Bryan wrote:  I survived my first dinner.  

We had a lovely evening. I served pork chops (cooked in red wine) and 
mashed potatoes with garlic and green onions. The endive with sundried 
tomatoes turned out surprisingly well. Every plate was cleaned. I served 
a sidecar as a cocktails and, damn, it was good!

I’ll be in Laredo for a while so I'll get be taking a few turns at cooking, too, but Elif Batuman has equipped me with the perfect excuse for any cooking disasters.


In her book, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People who Read Them, there’s a story about a baker who was imported by the emir of Bukhara to bake the famous bread of Samarkand which is called lepyoshka in Russian or Obi non in Uzbek.

Unfortunately, the bread did not come up to expectations and the baker was about to executed.  “But there isn’t any Samarkand air here,” he pleaded, in his own defense, “to leaven the bread.”  And his life was spared.

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And no, I will not be trying to make lepyoshka.  It’s a circular flat-bread, thicker than naan, which is baked in a tandyr oven.  Another blogger attempted it and commented that her bread got too hard by the time it was browned.  My first thought was “Try a hotter oven.”   But my next was “Better still – visit Samarkand.”

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     Marilyn has just come back from the States and she says: 

"I had read blogs on flour and how Canadians who live in the States stock up on Canadian flour and I thought, "Nonsense!  Flour is flour!”  Until I was using what they said was the closest to our flour, Kings.  I did do pizza crust and cinnamon buns; they were okay but the texture was not as nice!"