Green / by Anne


I'd like to keep green.  In this case I'm not referring to being environmentally responsible; that one is a given.   Nope, I'm saying that in my life and in my cooking, I'd like to always remember that I'm new.   Each time I learn a new technique, fact, or recipe, it just further humbles and excites me.  Some days I feel like I know quite a bit about cooking, and those are the days when I accidentally forgot about the other 99.98% of all the cooking knowledge out there that I don't know.   So I hope to always feel excited about what I'm learning and never be jaded (wrong shade of green) about the world of cooking, growing, and eating food.  Let me be the green person that I am.

So with that sentiment in mind: I learned about two new-ish nuggets today.  Before today, I had never seen an actual deep fried Monte Cristo sandwich up close and in person, so the first time was today at lunch, at a relatively nice restaurant downtown.  Ham, turkey, cheese.  White bread.  Dipped in batter.  Deep fried.  Sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Served with jam or syrup.  -- Did you know about this kooky concoction?  It's like the sandwich has a secret clubhouse called A Donut. It did not taste unpleasant, but I was a little confused.  It got me curious about the cultural context of such an efficient lunch/dessert vehicle.  Tonight I looked up info on the Monte Cristo, and apparently it was a variation of the Croque Monsieur in France.  However, the Monte Cristo gained its popularity in Disneyland.  Wow.  That's some cultural context.

Speaking of foods that sorta span continents: My entire life I had not heard of it, and now I see recipes that include it all over the dang place.   It's clotted cream.  I first learned of its existence a couple of weeks ago when my friend Mary showed me a recipe from a Persian cookbook that included it, and then my friend Heather, who is married to an English man, suggested that we have a proper tea sometime--and the scones would definitely be served with clotted cream.  Frankly, the name sounded clumpy to me.  It calls to mind some disturbing textures.  However, looking at pictures of the stuff and reading about it, it sounds like it's got the consistency of butter and a nutty, caramel flavor.  This I can get my spoon around.  And I want to!   I wish I had a hot scone right now with this mystery substance smeared all over it.  Now that I know what it is supposed to be, I think the name "clotted cream" sounds obscenely and wonderfully rich.   Sign me up. If you have eaten clotted cream before, did you like it? What did you eat it with?