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Annals Of Entrances
The revolving door was patented today by one Theophilus Van Kannel in 1888. Relatively few restaurants in New Orleans have revolving doors. There's Mr. B's, Copeland's, all three of Dickie Brennan's restaurants, and that's about it. Revolving doors keep cold blasts from blowing into a warmed space. Many restaurants here--especially those with only one set of doors--would do well to install them. But winter is so short that, by the time the proprietors have decided to go ahead and address the problem, it's warm again--and then the project goes on hold for another year.
Annals Of Fast Food
I would not have guessed that the world's largest Burger King restaurant is in Budapest, Hungary. But there it was, opened on this date in 1991.
It is National Garlic Bread Day. Garlic bread is a cheap thrill, and I almost feel ashamed of myself for liking as much as I do. There's nothing to it: you chop or puree garlic, mix it with butter, add some kind of herbs (maybe), spread it on French bread, and pop it into the oven until it browns. Not much to that, no. But try to stop eating it after it emerges, hot and fragrant, from the oven.
Garlic bread is traditionally associated with Italian restaurants. It's an Americanized version of bruschetta, made by topping rounds of bread with olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and tomatoes. A well-made bruschetta is as much better than standard garlic bread than pizza is better than cheese toast. Lately, quite a few restaurants have begun offering a bruschetta of this or that, often because it's easier to charge for bruschetta than for garlic bread.
But back to the latter. The best versions in town become so by adding other ingredients to the garlic and butter. My favorite version is the one at Brennan's, whose topping is essentially the same bourguignonne butter they serve with snails, plus a good bit of Parmesan cheese and Creole seasoning. The famous garlic bread at Commander's Palace gets its distinction from the addition of dill to the mix. They also really load on the butter--a bit too much of it, I'd say. All sorts of other herbs can be used to make garlic bread different, perhaps even better. Oddly enough, almost anything seems to work, except very dry, bitter herbs like rosemary.
People We'd Like To Dine With
Two funny radio greats have birthdays today. The first is Stan Freberg, born today in 1926. His innovative commercials compete with his comedy records and his legendary radio show as his signal achievement in the medium. The second is Garrison Keillor, who created and still hosts A Prairie Home Companion. That brilliant show is a revival of variety programs that were common in the 1940s (he owes a special debt to Arthur Godfrey), but with an entirely contemporary sound. He also voices a daily mini-show called the Writer's Almanac.
Garlic Meadow Creek rises in the High Sierra mountains in east central California, fed by springs and snowmelt from the 8000-foot level. It cascades nearly 6000 feet in six miles, with a final dramatic pouroff at Garlic Falls into the Kings River. The falls are about sixty-five miles east of Fresno. All this is dramatic outdoor scenery indeed, in the Sequoia National Forest. Better pack food in, because the nearest place where they chop garlic for your dinner is Pinehurst Lodge, a rough twelve-mile hike to Miramonte.
bruschetta, [broos-KETTA], (Italian), n.--The original garlic bread, bruschetta is made by spreading crusty slices of bread with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper--and probably, a lot of other things, although it's already bruschetta. The current vogue in bruschetta is to add garlic, chopped fresh tomatoes, and fresh basil, grilling the bread and adding the cool topping afterwards. Bruschetta is moving even beyond that to begin to resemble pizza, as fresh-milk mozzarella or Fontina cheese are added and warmed enough to make it melt. Bruschetta is served as a pre-dinner appetizer. It has a way of filling you up, so take it easy. And, to sound as if you know what you're about, pronounce it correctly, with a hard K sound. "Broo-shetta" is a widespread but incorrect pronunciation. Click here to ask about a food word you've wondered about.
Deft Dining Rule #771
If you eat more than four slices of garlic bread, you won't have room for your entree. If you can eat more than eight, you will.
The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
When spreading the garlic butter on a loaf of bread, use what seems like the right amount of the mixture. Then add the same amount on top of it, and it will come out perfect.
Australian Olympic (1996) soccer star Kevin Muscat was born today in 1973. (Muscat is a grape variety that makes many great sweet wines, notably Muscat Beaumes de Venice from the Rhone Valley.). .Legal scholar and author Charles E. Rice was born today in 1931. Cricket pro Dominic Cork was born today in 1971.
Words To Eat By
"Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn."--Garrison Keillor, born today in 1942.
"Age is something that doesn't matter, unless you are a cheese."--Billie Burke, American actress, the Good Witch of the North in The Wizard Of Oz, born today in 1884.
Fish Fry Tradition Alive, Well in Mon-Yough Area
Deep fryers pop and hiss, phones ring, volunteers shout out orders and collect totals. The air smells of fresh seafood and butter, cabbage and onions. Lines of people form, all waiting to place or pick up their order on the first evening of the Lenten season.
It&rsquos just another Friday for church members and firemen alike at local area fish fries in the Mon Valley.
For the West Wilmerding Volunteer Fire Dept. in North Versailles Twp. and Mary Mother of God Parish in McKeesport, frying fish and serving the community go hand in hand with Lent. Both institutions cite religion and tradition as the reason for the fish fries each year.
&ldquoGod and Money,&rdquo said Bud Pusey, West Wilmerding assistant fire chief. &ldquoThat&rsquos how we live here in the Steel Valley. That&rsquos all we know. We get up and go to work each day to make a living and try to do the right thing. We work and we eat, and that&rsquos how it&rsquos always been.&rdquo
During Lent, Catholic and some other Christian denominations abstain from consuming meat on Fridays.
This practice has been documented as far back as the Middle Ages, and in some texts, even further back in history, said the Rev. Terry O&rsquoConnor of Mary Mother of God Parish, which includes Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church and St. Patrick&rsquos Church in McKeesport, St. Angela Merici in White Oak and St. Robert Bellarmine in East McKeesport.
The practice &ldquobrings the wealthy and the poor together&rdquo in their somber appreciation of Jesus Christ&rsquos sacrifice, O&rsquoConnor said. &ldquoIt&rsquos us trying to get closer and closer to the Lord.&rdquo
Lent is not only about sacrifice, he said. &ldquoWe are called to do good works as well,&rdquo said O&rsquoConnor.
Mary Mother of God Parish donates 10 percent of all the proceeds from its fish fry directly to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The parish will hold its fish fry every Friday except Good Friday at the social hall of Corpus Christi Church, located on Market Street in Downtown McKeesport.
In West Wilmerding, the fish fry was created eight years ago as a way for the fire department to raise money for its operations while also providing a service back to the community, said Pusey, who also serves as the fire department&rsquos treasurer.
They serve fresh fried fish sandwiches, crab cakes and fried shrimp alongside traditional sides such as haluski, macaroni and cheese and french fries.
The department allows people to call-ahead and make advance orders, but also serves walk-ins and delivers to the surrounding communities.
Picking up the bread used for their fish sandwiches each and every Friday &mdash as well as Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent &mdash allows customers to have the freshest experience possible, says Pusey. All the food is prepared the day of the fish fry.
No food is precooked. &ldquoEverything is homemade,&rdquo Pusey said. &ldquoCertain people make certain things. It&rsquos all homemade by our firemen, firemen&rsquos families and volunteers that just want to help.&rdquo
Pusey said they receive good feedback on their portion sizing: &ldquoMany seniors in the area enjoy our food because we serve larger portions to assist the community in making the food last. They can get two meals out of one serving.&rdquo
Calling ahead to pre-order is key for the fire department. Once they are sold out, that&rsquos it. &ldquoA 135 pounds (of fish) goes fast!&rdquo Pusey said.
All call-ahead orders are held to ensure they are fulfilled should the department run out. The department serves an average of 225 meals on any particular Friday and serves as long as it can until supplies run out.
The Halaszynski family takes a break while assisting in the assembly of pierogi and haluski for the Corpus Christi fish fry. From left to right, Vanessa, Jennifer, Eric, Cassandra and Kathy Halaszynski. (Emily Pidgeon photos for Tube City Almanac)
In McKeesport, Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church also uses the &ldquocall-ahead&rdquo or pre-order method during their busiest times.
The social hall, where all the food is prepped, cooked and served, has a separate &ldquocall center&rdquo where customers can call in their order for carryout or delayed pick-up, or to request an order be delivered.
Walk-in orders are also welcome, but wait times could be long and availability may be limited depending on the time of day.
&ldquoFolks really enjoy the delivery feature,&rdquo said Joann Dorazio, who is running the fish fry for the parish this year. &ldquoSome people just can&rsquot get out or get down to us, so they appreciate that we deliver.&rdquo
Dorazio and many other church members dedicate hours of their time to prepare over 12,000 pierogis for the fish fry season, just as they have for the past 15 years.
The dough and fillings are prepared each Tuesday for six weeks leading up to Lent. The goal is to make 2,000 pierogi each week to meet their quota. Church members make the dough and pre-measure fillings to allow other volunteers quick access and a fast turnaround.
Every Tuesday, about 50 volunteers fill and pinch each pierogi by hand, and once they are turned over to the kitchen staff, other volunteers check the pierogi to ensure they are closed properly and meet the church&rsquos standards.
After combining several family recipes and trial and error, volunteers found the recipe they believed to be the best one that could be made in large batches.
Joann Dorazio, head of Corpus Christi's annual fish fry, helping Noah Pidgeon pinch pierogi. (Emily Pidgeon photos for Tube City Almanac)
Once all the pierogi have been made, the leftover dough is utilized to make noodles for one of the parish&rsquos side dishes, haluski. Each noodle looks different. No volunteer is turned away, and grandmothers can be found assisting their grandchildren in rolling the noodles and sprinkling flour to keep the noodles from sticking.
Mary Mother of God Parish, Corpus Christi Fish Fry is open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. every Friday during lent, except Good Friday. The social hall is located at 803 Market St., McKeesport.*
West Wilmerding Volunteer Fire Dept.&rsquos Fish Fry is open Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent (including Good Friday) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., or until they are sold out. The department is located at 330 Kline Ave., North Versailles Twp.
Emily Pidgeon is a freelance writer from McKeesport. She may be reached at [email protected]
* &mdash Editor's Note: Corpus Christi did not have a fish fry on Ash Wednesday. This story was corrected after publication.
The Common Onion: Some Elegant Recipes.
Hi, Janet -- Side question for you. We in the U.S. don't have a comparison for the various spoons used as measuring sizes in UK recipes. Could you give us a brief rundown on things like dessertspoons in ounces so we know what to use as an equivalent? That would be a great help to me, and perhaps to other cooks as well. Thanks!
Hi Pieter: I will put something together for you - very soon!
Onions and treacle (shudder)! Georgette Heyer often has characters in her novels sticking roasted onions in their ears for earache -- I've never been able to figure out how they kept them there, but maybe onions were more the size of the modern-day shallot in the Regency period?
Hi korenni - I quite like the idea of onions with a little treacle - not a lot, just enough to emphasise their sweetness. Somewhere in my recipe notebooks I have a recipe for sweet and sour onions: I use the small pickling onions, and brown sugar as the sweetener, with good vinegar s the opposite, and I forget what other seasonings, but it is good.
A Family Consents to a Medical Gift, 62 Years Later
Henrietta Lacks was only 31 when she died of cervical cancer in 1951 in a Baltimore hospital. Not long before her death, doctors removed some of her tumor cells. They later discovered that the cells could thrive in a lab, a feat no human cells had achieved before.
Soon the cells, called HeLa cells, were being shipped from Baltimore around the world. In the 62 years since — twice as long as Ms. Lacks’s own life — her cells have been the subject of more than 74,000 studies, many of which have yielded profound insights into cell biology, vaccines, in vitro fertilization and cancer.
But Henrietta Lacks, who was poor, black and uneducated, never consented to her cells’ being studied. For 62 years, her family has been left out of the decision-making about that research. Now, over the past four months, the National Institutes of Health has come to an agreement with the Lacks family to grant them some control over how Henrietta Lacks’s genome is used.
“In 20 years at N.I.H., I can’t remember something like this,” Dr. Francis S. Collins, the institute’s director, said in an interview.
The agreement, which does not provide the family with the right to potential earnings from future research on Ms. Lacks’s genome, was prompted by two projects to sequence the genome of HeLa cells, the second of which was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Though the agreement, which was announced Wednesday, is a milestone in the saga of Ms. Lacks, it also draws attention to a lack of policies to balance the benefits of studying genomes with the risks to the privacy of people whose genomes are studied — as well as their relatives.
As the journalist Rebecca Skloot recounted in her 2010 best-seller, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” it was not until 1973, when a scientist called to ask for blood samples to study the genes her children had inherited from her, that Ms. Lacks’s family learned that their mother’s cells were, in effect, scattered across the planet.
Some members of the family tried to find more information. Some wanted a portion of the profits that companies were earning from research on HeLa cells. They were largely ignored for years.
Ms. Lacks is survived by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, many still living in or around Baltimore.
And this March they experienced an intense feeling of déjà vu.
Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory published the genome of a line of HeLa cells, making it publicly available for downloading. Another study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health at the University of Washington, was about to be published in Nature. The Lacks family was made aware of neither project.
“I said, ‘No, this is not right,’ ” Jeri Lacks Whye, one of Henrietta Lacks’s grandchildren, said in an interview. “They should not have this up unless they have consent from the family.”
Officials at the National Institutes of Health now acknowledge that they should have contacted the Lacks family when researchers first applied for a grant to sequence the HeLa genome. They belatedly addressed the problem after the family raised its objections.
The European researchers took down their public data, and the publication of the University of Washington paper was stopped. Dr. Collins and Kathy L. Hudson, the National Institutes of Health deputy director for science, outreach and policy, made three trips to Baltimore to meet with the Lacks family to discuss the research and what to do about it.
“The biggest concern was privacy — what information was actually going to be out there about our grandmother, and what information they can obtain from her sequencing that will tell them about her children and grandchildren and going down the line,” Ms. Lacks Whye said.
The Lacks family and the N.I.H. settled on an agreement: the data from both studies should be stored in the institutes’ database of genotypes and phenotypes. Researchers who want to use the data can apply for access and will have to submit annual reports about their research. A so-called HeLa Genome Data Access working group at the N.I.H. will review the applications. Two members of the Lacks family will be members. The agreement does not provide the Lacks family with proceeds from any commercial products that may be developed from research on the HeLa genome.
With this agreement in place, the University of Washington researchers were then able to publish their results. Their analysis goes beyond the European study in several ways. Most important, they show precisely where each gene is situated in HeLa DNA.
A human genome is actually two genomes, each passed down from a parent. The two versions of a gene may be identical, or they may carry genetic variations setting them apart.
“If you think of the variations as beads on a string, you really have two strings,” said Dr. Jay Shendure, who led the Washington genome study. “The way we sequence genomes today, for the most part we just get a list of where the genes are located, but no information about which ones are on which string.”
Dr. Shendure and his colleagues have developed new methods that allow them to gather that information. By reconstructing both strings of the HeLa genome, they could better understand how Ms. Lacks’s healthy cells had been transformed over the past 60 years.
For example, they could see how Ms. Lacks got cancer. Cervical cancer is caused by human papillomavirus infections. The virus accelerates the growth of infected cells, which may go on to become tumors.
Dr. Shendure and his colleagues discovered the DNA of a human papillomavirus embedded in Ms. Lacks’s genome. By landing at a particular spot, Ms. Lacks’s virus may have given her cancer cells their remarkable endurance.
“That’s one of the frequent questions that I and the Lacks family get whenever we talk about this stuff,” Ms. Skloot said. “The answer was always, ‘We don’t know.’ Now, there’s at least somewhat of an answer: because it happened to land right there.”
Richard Sharp, the director of biomedical ethics at the Mayo Clinic, said he thought the agreement “was pretty well handled.” But he warned that it was only a “one-off solution,” rather than a broad policy to address the tension between genome research and the privacy of relatives, now that recent research has demonstrated that it is possible to reveal a person’s identity through sequencing.
Dr. Sharp considered it impractical to set up a working group of scientists and relatives for every genome with these issues. “There’s absolutely a need for a new policy,” he said.
Eric S. Lander, the founding director of the Broad Institute, a science research center at Harvard and M.I.T., said resolving these issues was crucial to taking advantage of the knowledge hidden in our genomes.
“If we are going to solve cancer, it’s going to take a movement of tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of patients willing to contribute information from their cancer genomes towards a common good,” Dr. Lander said. “We are going to need to have ways to have patients feel comfortable doing that. We can’t do it without a foundation of respect and trust.”
Chipotle Lime Grilled Chicken Skewers with Avocado Ranch.
I’ve eaten a lot of sketchy chicken in the last few years. Half-assed chicken. Low-rent chicken, if you will. Plain, boring, dry chicken. The kind of chicken that makes you hate chicken.
So you know… because of that, it’s like my life goal to constantly made delicious, tender, flavor packed chicken. Oh. Also, I live with this boy that eats more chicken than anyone or anything in the world. Chicken for days.
We all know that fried chicken or even faux fried chicken is the way to go. Even pan-sauteed with butter and garlic and wine and… um. I want that right now. You know what I’m getting at though. It can be challenging to come up with healthy chicken recipes that taste as fantastic as the chicken you love that is meant for splurges and, well… frankly: the weekends. Because on the weekends, calories don’t count.
Welp. This is it. This is my new favorite chicken recipe and will remain my new favorite chicken recipe until I make my next new favorite chicken recipe. I give it three weeks.
This is super easy too. I live on this avocado ranch. I first made it with my double bean quesadillas but now, I’ll randomly make a batch on Sunday and eat it on EVERYTHING. I seriously mean everything. Scrambled eggs, toast, salads, flank steak, potatoes, pizza… the list is endless. It’s more frightening than my spouse’s chicken issues.