Around the web

When I was a kid growing up, “vegetarian” meant one of two things: (bad) ratatouille or really bad vegy burgers.  Neither of these appealed to me, and my vegetarian phase lasted for all of a week when I was eight years old.  These days, however, we are seeing some truly amazing recipes showing up that are vegan and actually taste great.  I wanted to highlight a few of them.

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Could you be allergic to MSG?

I have an allergy to monosodium glutamate or MSG, a commonly used flavour enhancer that is sold in grocery stores as Accent. Unfortunately, it is very frequently used in fast foods, packaged sauces and canned soups. Many people refer to this allergy as Chinese Food Syndrome since it is used widely in Chinese cooking in North America. If you eat Chinese food and commonly get a headache afterwards or feel you face feeling slightly numb, that is a mild reaction to MSG. Despite what some parties will tell you, this is a recognized reaction and has been studied by Universities and medical groups (see here for a great history). Continue reading Could you be allergic to MSG?

Kitchen Essentials

Many of us have been given a set of pots and pans when we first moved away from home or as a wedding gift. As wonderful as this gift is, there are some kitchen tools well worth acquiring. I am not suggesting that everyone rush out and buy all of these. Far from it. These are things that are worth looking for at garage sales, overstock sales and factory outlets. Just as having a well-stocked tool chest makes repairs easier, these items make cooking a pleasanter occupation. Continue reading Kitchen Essentials

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The first inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the 32nd President of the United States, was held on Saturday, March 4, 1933. It was the Great Depression. Money was tight or even non-existent in some households. Everything had to do double-duty and stretch as far as it could. Gardens were planted and vegetables canned where possible. Even inner city fire escapes had pots of plants. Continue reading “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Basic Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup is a classic, Italian vegetable soup.

While there are a LOT of recipes available, let’s just talk about the absolute basics.  Minestrone soup is part of a class of soups that an old friend of mine refers to as “garbage soups”.  What that means is that there are a few basic components, and all the rest are left-overs that are sitting around and need to be used.

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Basic Potato – Leek Soup

Potato – Leek soup is a “classic”, and one of the simplest soups around.  It can be clear, think or creamy, depending on how you like your soup.  Jamie Oliver has a great clear recipe here,  while Nicole Perry has an extremely nice, creamy version inspired by Julia Child here.  Personally, I prefer the “thick” version of the soup, since that’s what I use as the basis for Leipzig Potato Soup.

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