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clb

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  1. clb

    Janet Levine

    I'm very sorry, Lippy, and am thinking of you both. clb
  2. Don't you just put some sturdy hardboard down first, Aki? We've got tiles in the first (=US second) floor bathroom of our Victorian house. They've been happily there for about 10 years now, with no sign of cracking. Same goes for most of our neighbours.
  3. clb

    Bread

    A full summary I think is beyond me: the article's 5 1/2 pages long and densely written. But I can relay a few points. The books reviewed are Beranbaum's Bread Bible, Hamelman's Bread, Daniel Leader's Bread Alone, Mayle and Auzet's Confessions of a French Baker, Ortiz's The Village Baker, Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice and Silverton's Breads from La Brea. He talks about the difficulties the authors have with balancing the easy-as-pie recipe approach with the reality that making great hearth bread is a very complicated affair. His central point is that much of the information relayed in the books is simply wrong: Ortiz believes fava-bean flour to be a good thing rather than a flour improver "dreaded by every consicientious French baker for its deleterious effects upon taste and texture"; Leader advises adding commercial yeast to a sourdough "in the entirely false belief that it will help to "collect wild yeasts from the air.""; none of the authors understand that using higher protein "bread" flours makes breads difficult to knead by hand and produce "an unpleasantly chewy crumb and a crust that tends to soften and become rubbery" (he advises using King Arthur AP instead). MacGuire distinguishes between the effects of wild yeasts and lactic bacteria, which I found quite illuminating. He says the "wild yeasts produce milder flavors and a lighter, more delicate loaf, while lactic bacteria produce tanginess and a denser, chewier texture" and talks about how to encourage each. There's stuff on using rye too. He finds Beranbaum's "dizzying mental calisthenics" ludicrous and worries about the competence of Reinhart, given the evidence of the photographs in his book. He says that only Leader properly explains the basic temperature formula used by almost every artisan baker but really only recommends Hamelman's book, which he admits is written by a good friend: "The facts and figures are all there, with nothing glossed over, and all is delivered with the voice and personality of a great baker and teacher. His enthusiasm is such that other readers may feel convinced, as I do, that few pursuits are more delightful than an afternoon of baking." clb
  4. clb

    Bread

    Robert, did you see James MacGuire's review of bread baking books for the amateur in the new Art of Eating? It's a very interesting piece and I found, as I read it, that I was thinking of you and wondering what you would make of it. And thank you for that analysis of slashing the loaf above. Very useful. clb
  5. clb

    Supper

    How? I must admit that it had never occurred to me that a clay pot might need seasoning. clb
  6. clb

    El Bulli

    Ouch. Great report. Very curious about those margarita flowers. Marguerites, I suppose. More on the other Barca restaurants, please? clb
  7. Marching band playing 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' open Marc Jacobs runway show.
  8. clb

    Supper

    That sounds so good, akiko. Yer standard Zuni chicken and bread salad here, with a good Solstice French chicken, presalted and tarragoned. Very brown, very delicious skin. An assortment of disappointing peaches and nectarines (also S) afterwards. clb
  9. Hey Lippy, I need you and your vacuum here now, please. Food issue of the New Yorker still obstinately missing. clb you don't live below lippy, do you? I wish.
  10. clb

    Supper

    The latest instalment of a return to Madhur Jaffrey, mostly from Invitation to Indian Cooking: - cabbage with onions - delicious gunge - khatte baigan, sour aubergines from Kashmir from EVC - worried this would be too oily; turned out fine; fennel/asafetida/ground ginger etc - leftover cauliflower with onion and tomato; and - parathas. The first time I've made them. Great fun, very easy and pretty good. Whole meal took me just under two hours, though, which seemed excessive Then half a cantaloupe. clb
  11. Hey Lippy, I need you and your vacuum here now, please. Food issue of the New Yorker still obstinately missing. clb
  12. They haven't invaded again, have they? That's what it said on the menu. The restoration of the Mount is moving along slowly. The rooms on the piano nobile have been more or less restored, but most are filled with furniture from a decorators' showcase held last year. They will probably remain that way until more appropriate furniture can be found. Edith Wharton took her furniture with her when she moved to France and it was dispersed after her death. This year's project was the re-planting of the gardens. Next will be the restoration of Wharton's bedroom suite. Oh, I'm pleased to hear about the gardens. They were very sad when we were there, fifteen years ago? But I'm a bit surprised it's taking so long to get the place into order, given the vast amount of money generated by the interior decorating industry. clb
  13. What a well-planned break that sounds. And how is the restoration of the Mount going? clb
  14. clb

    Supper

    Runner bean, tomato and garlic sauce from Marcella with spaghetti. Half an excellent Cantaloupe melon from Solstice. A couple of squares of Valrhona Caraibe chocolate. clb
  15. Mmm. Taken into work? How did you deal with the artichokes? clb
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