Soup of the Day: Faux Gumbo

Cooking gumbo can be a long and tedious process but it’s well worth it if you have the time and energy. I have had the real deal, deep in the heart of Louisiana, cooked by a grandmother who spent the morning in markets and with road side vendors gathering ingredients and then the rest of the day cooking. I have made it myself using the ingredients I could find and Alton Brown’s technique for a painless roux. But it does take all a good chunk of a day to do it right. I have to ask, though, is it a

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Brewing Mead

I’m working on my first batch of mead. I’ve researched the process for some months, angsting over details and gathering components and worrying over honey but like many things, it turns out to be way easier that many would claim. I say the same thing about pottery. It can be rocket science with clay bodies, cones, temperatures and quartz inversion and a thousand variables that can be altered to produce a million effects. Or it can can just be clay, fire and water. Humans have been doing it for thousands of years and only recently has it obtained the capacity

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A New Way to Pull the Pork

That title doesn’t sound quite right but I think we’ll go with it. Pulled pork is pretty much the only crock pot recipe I know. You season up a picnic roast or butt, throw it in a crock pot with about fourteen ounces of root beer and cook it on high until the roast literally falls apart with only the slightest pull of a fork. Add sauce and you have the simplest barbecue recipe there is. Put it on a bun if you don’t care about the wheat or slap it in a corn tortilla for a wonderful approximation of

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The Unexpected Journey back to the Lord of the Rings

I finished Lord of the Rings recently and the Hobbit soon after and I have to admit that I have reassessed my opinion of Tolkien and his universe. I read the books when I was a teenager and was unimpressed by the extraordinary length of the paragraphs. Tolkien loved words and language and he used them a lot.  And for a teenager who cut his fantasy teeth on Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber, it was a bit much.  I pretty much skipped to the action sequences like a soccer mom sitting on the couch with a copy of Fifty

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Soup and Simplicity

You really can’t get more basic than soup and, through a unique set of circumstances, I’ve found myself exploring the creative possibilities of a stock pot and a variety of ingredients almost on a daily basis. I’ve also come to realize the true value of even a rudimentary knowledge of cooking. Being able to look at a pantry of ingredients and making the most of what you have is a skill that will become very important in the coming years. And making the most of what you have is what soup is all about.  I start all soups pretty much

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