Friday, December 21, 2012

Fee, Fie, Foe, Friday: The Philistines of Food

I read a French cooking magazine website, called Marmiton, geared towards women. They are featuring ways to cook foie gras for Christmas. Here, a food website geared towards women, by a famous TV cook is  featuring popcorn with broken-up Oreos in it. That's something special for Christmas? What's wrong with us? Why do our marketing plans aim at the lowest common denominator?

Now, admittedly, I have just made two batches of Saltine Toffee, I won't lie. I make it nearly every Christmas.  Started when I was a kid, and I won't let go. But why, oh, why do we depend on rolls of factory cookie dough, hams and turkeys shot up with god-knows-what, and frozen creamed peas and onions as the mainstays of our Christmas dinner tables? I'd like to think that most of us don't, but a recent trip to the grocery store tells me that scratch cooking using real ingredients is greatly ballyhooed from  food magazines and television, but very little of it actually occurs. Just look in the shopping carts around you.  My favorite cashier always sighs when he runs my loyalty card and says, no discounts, you don't buy any processed foods.  No money back when you buy baby arugula. Try foie gras? Hah.  So many people won't even try a chicken liver pate. I find it depressing.

My family is an anomaly, I think. We actually cook largely from scratch. Our holidays hinge heavily on baked goods; Susan makes the best ginger cookies in the world, and Chuck already is grating carrots for a carrot cake. I spent the afternoon dipping homemade mocha cookies in dark chocolate and will finish them with some good white chocolate, too. There are homemade crab cakes waiting in the freezer for Christmas dinner. We won't be having foie gras, true, but there will be escargots. And asparagus with Sottocenere (go look it up). This meal, I hope will be another small blow against the Philistines of Food. Merry Christmas, from my table, to yours.

Hand dipping the first layer of chocolate for
my Mocha Two-Tone cookies.

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