We had lunch at a very pleasant soup & sandwich shop in downtown Pittsburgh the other day. Italian wedding soup was on the menu, and it was delicious. Filling. Just the right meld of late winter and hope for spring (it’s the spinach). So– with some substitutions b/c I did not have orzo (but I did have melon seed pasta), I did not know what cippolin onions were until I looked it up, and I could not find oil-packed dried tomatoes– I cooked up a batch in the slow cooker yesterday for Marica Cooks… Wednesday!
Very healthy, too. I suppose you could vegitarian/veganize it pretty easily.
The name comes from the “wedding” of meat and greens in this soup.
ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP
9 cipollini (boiling onions), peeled [substituted pearl onions]
1 large fennel bulb [labeled ‘anise’ at the store; looked it up and this is a thing apparently, labeling fennel as anise. I know what fennel is. I’ve grown it.]
4 cloves garlic, chopped
42 oz (5 ½ C) chicken stock (preferably homemade)
¼ tsp white pepper, ground coarse
5 C fresh spinach, washed and shredded
1 ½ C orzo pasta, cooked [substituted melon seed pasta b/c I had half a bag that needed to be used. Thought it was better than the orzo from the restaurant.]
Chop three of the cipollini fine, and combine with ground beef, minced dried tomatoes, and half the Italian seasoning in a mixing bowl. Divide mixture and roll into 12 meatballs about 1 inch in diameter, and brown meatballs in a lare3ge, non-stick skillet brushed lightly with cooking oil. Transfer browned meatballs to (at least a 4 quart) slow cooker. Trim fennel and cut into wedges, reserving some of the leafy fronds for garnish, Place remaining onions, fennel wedges, garlic, stock, remaining Italian seasoning, and pepper into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8-10 hours, or on high heat setting for 4-5 hours. Gently stir spinach and orzo into soup, cover, and cook 15 minutes longer. Serve in deep bowls and top with reserved fennel fronds for garnish.
Making the meatballs was sort of a pain b/c Mr. Big Food had used a larger disc to grind the beef and so the resulting ground beef was somewhat too coarse for a 1″ meatball. But it didn’t matter. Would have been easier and just as tasty to brown the ground beef except for the fact that in a bowl of Italian Wedding Soup you want to go looking for the little meatball.
Who doesn’t like using the slow cooker this time of year?
It comes down to whether your worldview is angry enough, because anger is the only possible response to the world; the anger is fueled by impotence, which is shunted off into blame, which mixed with impatience and a soupçon of despair, and before you know it you’re in the bar after work in Manhattan having a $14 beer and not looking forward to the commute to the borough, to an apartment where no one’s waiting.
Lileks.com Thursday 1/30/2020
We will return to this after I’ve had coffee and taken the dogs on a little stroll.
It is a debate that has torn the nation in two, ripped friends and family apart, and entrenched deep and uncrossable lines throughout the land. Should the Royal Mint have used an Oxford comma on its Brexit 50p piece?
Three million coins bearing the slogan “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” are due to enter circulation from 31 January, with Sajid Javid, chancellor of the exchequer, expressing his hope that the commemorative coin will mark “the beginning of this new chapter” as the UK leaves the European Union.
However, early responses include His Dark Materials novelist Philip Pullman’s criticism of its punctuation.
“The ‘Brexit’ 50p coin is missing an Oxford comma, and should be boycotted by all literate people,” wrote the novelist on Twitter, while Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell wrote that, while it was “not perhaps the only objection” to the Brexit-celebrating coin, “the lack of a comma after ‘prosperity’ is killing me”
This post is part of the Bookshelves series in which I pick a a few random crappy old books from one of the not as many as I need bookshelves here at the Farm and thumb through it.
The Art of Dining: A History of Cooking and Eating. Sara Paston-Williams. The National Trust. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, London. 1993.
The title is a bit misleading. It’s a history of cooking and eating in England from medieval and early Tudor times through the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The last chapter, titled “The Well-Ordered Table,” chapter has a lot of beautiful photographs of dining rooms and tables laid out as they would have been but taken contemporarily at various manors and grand houses. It’s aways fun to see a beautifully laid table. But there are also tidbits illustrations I found interesting.
The illustration above is “A State Party” by Richard Dolye from a crappy old book, Birds Eye View of Society (1864). Apparently at such a party there would be at least one servant per guest. Food is all on the table and guests helped themselves to what was nearby, “but had to rely on footmen to bring other dishes and wine.” Life is hard.
Each historical period treated in the book is separated into three sections. The first addresses food and food availability. The second on the kitchens of the times, and the third on the eating areas. A few recipes are included. I drew from only the Victorian/Edwardian period.
In the 19th century shops began to assume a form that the modern customer would recognise.
This I know something about. I proofread a portion of the crappy old book, Treatise on the Adulteration of Food and Culinary Poisons by Frederick Accum (1820). Seems there were a lot of (cough) additions to foods and drinks, including wine which for the poor and middle classes was seldom wine at all.
The book’s author asserts that the Victorian era was a time of unprecedented prosperity (for some). The rising middle class was anxious to emulate the landed aristocracy and increasing number of wealthy industrialists and so forth, particularly with regard to dining customs and accouterment. Thus, we have the introduction of crappy old books which instruct them how to eat and dine like their “social superiors.” (That right there is so freakin’ unAmerican. No wonder we revolted.)
Puddings from one such crappy old book, Mrs. Beeton’s The Book of Household Management (1861). Recipes included.
I have a question. Apparently this rising middle class had household servants. Says so right there in the book. What’s the likelihood these servants could read?
Mr. Big Food and I have a paper forthcoming in a book. Yadaya. Publishers want some AutoBio stuff.
Here you go.
“One of us asked the other if she remembered when she first realized she was a libertarian. She did not. After some reflection, though, she did recall when she began to understand what it meant to be free. It was early July 1976.
“Bernstein had the good fortune to have been raised in a community whose school system was classically liberal. For example, at the end of 7th grade, a student could choose to test into Algebra I and Latin I class(es) for 8th grade. If she did, and followed course, this meant Calculus II in her senior year. Students who fulfilled credit requirements could graduate in January of their senior year. Standard required courses were offered at four levels of difficulty, and only parents’ permissions were needed to opt for any given level, though once classes began there was a grace period to change. Elective courses were many and interesting (Mythology, Sociobiology), as were clubs (Latin, chess), and offerings in art, music (cello/orchestra), and sport. Early in Bernstein’s junior year her father was transferred to another state, and she and her family relocated to a community whose school system was—to put it charitably—not of the same caliber. She graduated from high school five months later.
“As a graduation gift her parents treated her to a trip to Germany, accompanied by her mom. Much of her mother’s family lived in Germany, so the itinerary included many pleasant stays with relatives, including a cousin who had a daughter of middle school age. One evening the daughter and her mother were visibly upset. Bernstein’s mother translated that the little girl’s test results had been received and that the little girl did not qualify to attend Gymnasium but would instead be placed in a vocational school. What the little girl wanted to be when she grew up required she attend Gymnasium. But she had no choice. The state had spoken. This offended Bernstein’s sensibilities. So while her own country was celebrating the bicentennial of its independence, in July 1976 Bernstein was abroad and beginning to understand what it meant to be free. “
As I mentioned elsewhere, there’s a county lake near here. We’ve had a lot of rain. The the levee has structural problems. The levee runs N-S and has a two lane road on it. (By my measurement on google earth, the levee is about 1/10th of a mile wide.) On the advise of the county engineer et al., the NWS declared a flash flood warning for areas to the east (broadly construed) of the levee.
They are working to pump water out of the lake, and there was no rain to speak of yesterday. So they’ve lifted the warning.
The quote is from a newspaper interview with an old guy and his adult son who’ve lived right there their entire lives. He says he doesn’t know what all of the fuss is about. Floods there all the time, no big deal. Shoulda been worried last weekend when it flooded.
JFC. Do you not look at the paper? Watch TV? The problem is not that it’s going to flood. Not that the lake is going to rise and top over the levee. The problem is that the bottom of the f-ing levee is being pushed/washed out. They are on the look out for “dirty water” at the bottom on the side opposite the lake. You can see the mud slides.
I swear. Who remembers the old Foxworthy joke about why do they always interview the lady in rollers and a mumu?
Old dude just turned 70– had to relocate his birthday party on account of the flooding last weekend. In 70 years in Mississippi have you not seen anything wash out? Not worried one bit.
I am not an engineer but I have a common sense appreciation for the force of 500+ acres of water. Scratch that. With the rain it’s now 900 acres. So you’re going to get on your roof, huh? Now just how are you going to accomplish this feat? Have you thought this through? And once on your roof, is your house going to withstand the force of that flooding water? Really? And you’re going to “get” someone to save you? How are you going to do that? Oh. Shit. your phone fell out of your pocket while you were climbing on your roof.
FYI. 1 ft3 (one cubic foot) of water weighs 62.4 lbs. 1 acre is 43,560 ft2. Assuming a depth of only 1 foot (and I’d bet the lake is at least 20′ in some places), that would be ~2,718,000 pounds. Sure, the water can back up to the west (that’s why the size of the lake is greater than it was) but that’s what a 0.1 mile wide and not even a mile long stretch of dirt is holding back.
But the worst is by far is “someone to save me.” Dude. As far as I know there is no Oktibbeha County Navy. FFS dude. Take some responsibility for yourself! You’re assuming that other people will put their own lives at risk to save your sorry ass b/c it ain’t never happened yet? But you got your picture in the paper!! They’ve been talking about the problems for five freaking years. And it ain’t getting any better. I get that you may not want or be able to live anywhere else. Fine. I get that “they’ve” been wrong before. But for crying out loud.
/rant and thank you for your patience if you’ve gotten this far.
The warning box encompasses areas to the east of Oktibbeha County Lake Dam. The dam is in imminent risk of failure. County officials are working to relieve pressure on the dam. Forecast to rain again this afternoon.
The Complete Book of Ballroom Dancing. Richard M. Stephenson & Joseph Iaccarino. Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York. 1980. Discarded from the Oktibbeha County Library System.
In 1980, “one of the most interesting social changes in recent years [had] been the ‘return to the ballroom’ by students at colleges and universities throughout the United States” (Preface).
This interesting social change did not capture my attention. You?
This is one of those books which reminds me there are whole universes out there about which I know nothing, but many know a lot. The history of dance? A distinction between social and other forms? Round dancing was a sin?!? Do tell.
Through a lot of the history discussion– lots of dances come from peasant folk– I had in mind the scene from the wedding reception in Fiddler on the Roof.
All quite interesting. And then we get to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers whose musical comedies really promoted dancing among the riffraff in the days before WWII.
If it’s been a while since you’ve watched one of their movies, do not delay. Watch one. They are beyond wonderful. Truly. I’m fond of Top Hat, but any will do.
And if watching Fred and Ginger puts you in the mood to learn The American Waltz, The Cha-Cha, or The Ballroom Polka, you can order The Complete Book of Ballroom Dancing from Amazon.
Preheat oven to 350o. Combine flour and taco seasoning mix in plastic bag, add 2 to 3 chicken pieces at a time, and shake to coat well with mixture. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Melt butter in a 15x10x1 inch baking pan, place chicken pieces in pan, turn each piece once to coat all surfaces, then roll pieces in crushed tortilla chips and return to baking pan. Bake about 45 minutes.