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February 11, 2005



Don't you mean: "to raisin a glass to Misspent." ?

the Cardinal's wife

There she goes again. Bringing it all back to a recipe. Where's G. Pair when we need him.

G. Pair

Mr. P chooses his port very wisely. The '77 Taylor Fladgate is drinking very well right now but it's extremely expensive. The LBVs (not sure what's the current release at the moment--probably the '99) are a very safe and reasonably priced alternative.

I prefer to eat the Stilton with my fingers. It stays with you longer that way.


You are so mean to me. How will all your jeering look when I don't get into any programs and end up despairing.

For the record, my raisins were not Raisinets, but very fine dark chocolate covered raisins (while not from MF, Mother is a MF employee). The port was Taylor Fladgate 20 year tawny and was drunk from Reidel glasses, port glasses to be exact.

Unfortunately, my menu for my Saturday dinner has already been set:

Mixed green salad with beets, carrots, and a white truffle and balsamic dressing

Herb encrusted roasted chicken

Steamed asparagus

Asparagus and artichoke risotto

Chocolate and toffee banana bread with homemade vanilla bean ice cream and a warm brown sugar bourbon sauce

Mrs. Peperium

I never meant to be mean. I said you had excellent tastes. I'm very proud of your menu. You re the one who said you are a Werther, not me. Yale , Smale. I thought you really wanted to go to the University of Chicago anyway.

Mrs. Peperium

By the way, do you recall a little scandal involving Yale and their selection process a few years back? They lost their way like so many others. And I'm from Yale family. The only reason to attend Yale these days is for the excellent pizza at Pepe's.

G. Pair

Surely one could have good pizza for far less expense than tuition at Yale. They turned me down one and a half times (I told them to forget the waitlisting) and I am none the worse for it. My family is Yale too but only in the sense of having founded New Haven. Prior ownership of a quad is apparently not an admission preference. I suspect the family would take a dim view of recent developments.

On another note, Misspent's Saturday menu is certainly inspiring. I haven't decided what mine will be yet, but there's a passle of blood oranges on the kitchen table demanding to be worked into it somehow.


Actually, my excitement about Chicago has dimmed considerably and my application was rather bad. I'm keen on Georgetown and Boston College, mostly because I had good conversations with profs there. Had some encouraging e-mails from Georgetown fellow who focuses on the cross-section of political thought and theology (esp. Luther) he said that it would be good to have someone in the program studying what i want to study. Also Virginia sounds good and there is a cool prof at Michigan I talked to.

If I don't get in, I'm considering two options. One is a think tank like position and the other is to perhaps a DCE or something like that. THat last bit is something rather new and I will be considering going forward.

Mrs. Peperium

Pizza as good as Pepe's is hard to find. G. Pair, how did your family go from founding New Haven to cooking with coke? Like the Windsors, it was probably a woman...Misspent, are you coming to Michigan? What great fun we will all have. We can pick you up and take you to Walmart for all of your dorm needs. The Cardinal will want to take you golfing at OHCC. They haven't had a good head injury there since last summer.

G. Pair

Yes, women are always involved somehow. Often for the better, I might add. I am descended from the one member of the family in his generation who dared to leave New Haven. He went to Ohio (why, that's practically Michigan!). The rest stayed to inbreed and become I know not what. Probably Connecticut aristocracy. They had a fondness for rape and murder rather unbecoming a Puritan household. New Haven seems to have taken a lesson therefrom.

On the other hand, when one counts one's ancestors that far back, one gets a number so large as to assure that any one ancestor made a negligible contribution to the mix. My New England descent is good only for blog comments. As an explanation for cooking with Coke (which, by the way, I have never done) it is unfortunately lacking.

On yet another hand, I am close to deciding what to do with the blood oranges, and it is a SCOTS recipe courtesy of Clarissa. I am sure you will be proud.

Mrs. Peperium

You are making William May's Salmon I bet. Mr. P has been requesting that for years. By the by, if your family in New Haven were Congregationalists then more than likely they helped out ($$$) Timothy Dwight in his desire to start a school of higher education. If so, all your offspring get to go for free. The DAR and SAR have all the details.

G. Pair

Yes, it's Robert May's salmon. You should accommodate Mr. P as it is extremely easy and very good. I have made it before but never with blood oranges. There is a note of pomegranate in the flavor that should go well with the salmon and a bottle of Pinot Noir (on the fish and on the table). Plus some roasted asparagus. Try it now, while you can get blood oranges. They aren't in season long.

As to Yale, the relative left too soon to have had a hand in its founding. It would have been his siblings and nephews who contributed. So no free ride for me or mine.

Mr. Peperium

I don't recall pomgranate in Robert May's Salmon, but then I can't truly recall Robert May's Salmon because I've never had it. The element that appeals to me in the recipe--alas, the closest I've ever come to the actual dish--is the mace. And that is precisely the ingredient that gives Mrs. P. pause. I remember the Fat Ladies mentioning that mace was the "sun-dried tomatoes" of Elizabethan England. Well, Elizabethan England produced, among other things, Shakespeare and Spenser, so they must have known something good when they saw it.

Have you ever made the Fat Ladies' Mitton of Pork? This is another dish that makes me go all light-headed when I think of it.

I hope your your RM Salmon was a success. At least one person on the North American land mass is able to enjoy it (he said wistfully, with just a trace of bitterness).

G. Pair

The great mace divide, eh? Well, I jumped right over that one because I used nutmeg (though not very much--it's right powerful stuff). There's very little difference between them. I suspect mace was favored in the old days because nutmeg is so much harder to render usable--but not in the era of the microplane grater.

I've never made the mitton of pork. I lean toward the lighter of their recipes--relatively speaking, of course. I do use lard when making bubble and squeak because Clarissa is absolutely right that if you won't use lard you should just make something else.

Mr. Peperium

Yes, the great thing about the Fat Ladies--the liberating thing--was their foursquare insistance on the enjoyment of food as food; their utter rejection of all the namby-pamby shilly-shallying about calories, fat, and putting off for perhaps two more days what Death will do anyway. Being a cook and coming from any other viewpoint is like being head of the Joint Chiefs but secretly thinking that we should all just Give Peace a Chance. That's why Chaucer's Cook is a thin man with a running sore--we're meant to infer that he is both unsanitary and a poor exponent of his profession. What Chaucer knew still goes 700 years later.

What is the combination of salmon and nutmeg like? The idea of bringing together my two favorite flavors has always intrigued me.

G. Pair

If you haven't read Patricia Llewellyn's preface to the Fat Ladies' last cookbook (Obsessions), you should. It describes at length Jennifer's attitude at the end, and it's exactly that.

Consider nutmeg in the context of 5 or 6 large oranges sliced, salt and pepper, and most of a bottle of red wine, and you'll agree, I think, that it's one voice in a chamber choir. The choice of wine is important because there's so much of it, so you should probably stay away from excess tannin--nothing with an ungainly pucker. I used a very berry-laden California Pinot Noir. In that context the nutmeg adds a warming depth of flavor if you don't go too far with it. Without it the taste would be somewhat flat.

Mrs. Peperium

G. Pair, that was Mr. P who commented last. My concern over Robert May's salmon has always been that the salmon would have a Christmas Glog flavor because of the sugar content of the oranges. It is hard to find flavorful salmon -only Norwegian or Copper River seem to be these days. Mr. P loves nutmeg. I tend more to the savoury. Have you got Joel Robuchon's 'Simply French'? That book is right up your alley. His salmon on a bed of creamy cabbage or whole grilled salmon fillet with red shallot sauce you might really enjoy. I love everything I've done from the book. Joel owns a 3 star restaurant, Jamin. Last I heard (a few years ago) had a 24 month waiting list. People arrange their holidays according to their reservations. The are 40 kichen workers and the reataurant seats 40. The recipes are very simple. They require good ingredients and a fastidiousness to detail that a ex-chemistry major would bring to it. The Fat Ladies will always be a favorite. If we were sheep herders in Bavaria, then I would be using their recipes every day because we would need the energy.

G. Pair

Grog. Well that does it. If I'd never made it before, I certainly wouldn't now.

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