Optimistically Cautious

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Random Food Notes

  • I've been using the Food Network (U.S.) recipe index quite a bit lately, and for those of you who haven't perused the website before, I would encourage you to do so. The recipes duplicated on the website are the same ones that are published in cookbooks (e.g. Ina Garten, Giada de Laurentiis), and being the selectively frugal gal that I am, I have amassed quite a collection of paper. Better yet, most of the recipes have accompanying comments written by the general public who have tried whipping up the dish themselves, and often provide insightful shortcuts or helpful modifications.

  • Speaking of the Food Network - I saw boxes of Ina Garten's dry dessert mixes on sale at Chapters the other day, for $15.99 a pop! Paying for convenience is one thing, but when some ingredients are still necessary to create the final product at that price? It's a little ridiculous. It seems a trend nowadays for television cooking personalities to brand anything and everything. From Jaime Oliver's Flavour Shaker to Christine Cushing's olive oils to Mario Batali's kitchen accessories and Rachel Ray's cookware, I'm half-expecting to see, at a store near me, Bobby Flay Throwdown! mats.

  • There was an interesting article in the Globe & Mail today about a Toronto city counsellor's motion to allow for a greater variety of food to be served by local street vendors. I had thought that hot dogs were a favorite, but had no idea the logic and allowance for them had to do with the decreased health risk that comes with precooked meat. From the article by Jeff Grey: "In New York, for example, the streets are teeming with culinary diversity: knishes, spicy chicken on a pita, Sri Lankan dosas and Columbian arepas, as well as enormous, warm salt-encrusted soft pretzels. Multicultural Toronto should have a similar buffet on its streets, said board of health chairman John Filion: 'We should be defined by that, not by the hot dog.'" I missed out on my opportunity to snack on an outdoor vendor-cooked hot dog during my last trip to TO, but perhaps the next time I'm in that neighbourhood, I'll have more selection. When will Edmonton start its own proliferation of roadside snacks?

  • My family and I went to the Plum Flower Cafe (10417-67 Avenue) a few weeks ago, a non-descript Chinese restaurant attached to a roadside hotel. There was nothing exceptional about this small, family-run establishment, so I didn't feel the visit warranted a full review. They did, however, have Singapore Noodles of reasonable quality:

The Cafe was notable for an eye catching sign up in one of their windows:

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