Archive for the 'snapshot' Category

Snapshot: Boston Cooler

I just back from a road trip to Dearborn, MI; I have friends that live there, and they introduced me to a local “historic foodway” (their words) called the Boston Cooler.  The Cooler is an ice cream float made specifically with vanilla ice cream and Vernors ginger ale.

“The now-familiar “Boston Cooler” of ginger ale and ice cream was cited in the 1920 Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, described as ‘well known’ and a ‘favorite of the golf links.’ Vernors ginger ale was first made in Detroit in the mid-1800s and is one of America’s oldest soft drinks. Detroit’s Boston Boulevard is near Vernors, and it is claimed that this is the origin of the ‘Boston’ in ‘Boston Cooler.'(The Big Apple)”

Despite the Cleveland connection, I had never heard of a Boston Cooler until my recent venture into Michigan, where it is still popular.  And still damn tasty.

Snapshot: 1964 Belgium Waffles

A Brussels waffle with spekuloos spread from Waffles & Dinges.

New York has a proliferation of tasty and affordable food trucks that go above and beyond your average street meat.  I stumbled upon the Waffles & Dinges truck the other night, which features (among other) the Brussels Waffle:  “Light and Crispy, this is the ‘Mother of all Waffles’ and first came to New York for the 1964 World’s Fair.  Now it’s back, better than ever.”

I have a soft spot for food introduced at the 1964 World’s Fair, so I ordered a waffle, topped with  spekuloos spread.  Although the spread was recommended to me (and beat Bobby Flay), it was a little too sweet for my liking.  But the waffle was perfect: crisp on the outside, moist and almost creamy in the middle.  Next time, I’m just going to get a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, or a few sliced strawberries, so I can really enjoy the taste and texture of the waffle.

Snapshot: A Few 18th c. Treats

Right: Cooking ingredients from Deborah’s Pantry; I love the packaging.

I’ve recently become interested in the chemistry of cooking and how it has changed over time.  How did we gel things before gelatin?  How did cakes rise before baking powder?

With this idea in mind, I ordered a bundle of 18th century ingredients from Deborah’s Pantry: Pearlash, the first form of chemical leavening for baked goods; gum arabic, a hardening agent used in confectionery; and isinglass, a jellying agent extracted from the swim bladders of sturgeon.  Stay tuned as I attempt to turn these items into food…

Gum Arabic.

Snaphot: Pinons

Pine nuts.

My friend Cecile is visiting from Belgium, and she brought me a little gift: pine nuts, collected during a hike in the south of France.  I’ve never even seen a pine nut in it’s shell before!  I’m going to make something really special with these; perhaps some Pignoli Cookies.