Jorrun’s rhubarb torte

June 1, 2012 § 17 Comments

If you page through my spiral bound notebook stuffed with recipes, you will almost certainly notice that it is spattered and worn and nearly fallen apart.  If your eye is particularly of the sort that seeks out patterns, however, you may also notice that somewhere in the realm of 75 percent of the recipes in it are attached to someone’s name.

Beth’s chicken, Peter’s pancakes, Daim cake from Caroline, Liz’s shirley bars, Judy’s scones, Peach’s cardamom bread.  And I’m fairly positive that, all around the world, many cooks have similarly labeled recipes, this one from grandma, that one from an old friend, and this one from that lady who used to live down the street.  Remember her?  She always made the best…

Even some of my cookbooks by acclaimed chefs contain recipes attributed by name to someone else –  Lindsay’s sugar cookies or Rob’s famous coleslaw in Sunday Suppers at Lucques, Sally Schmitt’s cranberry and apple kuchen or Eric’s staff lasagne in the French Laundry.

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A simple Scandinavian strawberry tart

July 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

I wish I did a better job with the 4th of July.  I don’t get nearly so excited for it as I do for Syttende Mai.  And I have yet to coerce my friends into parading around the neighborhood with me to celebrate America’s independence.  I think maybe it’s because I don’t get excited about fireworks or watermelon.  When I say this people look at me like I’ve told them I don’t like puppies or those huge-eyed insanely adorable little bushbabies.  It’s not that big of a deal people.  And, I maintain fireworks aren’t that exciting.  Well, except for this one summer in Norway when I was around 10…My uncle decided we should celebrate the 4th of July American-style with a bunch of fireworks that he had purchased (I think illegally).  Most of them were your standard sort of small fireworks that spray small cascades of sparkling red, green, and yellow and then fizzle.  But somehow he had found one that stood out with its intimidating heft.  It was called “the bomb.”  It had four large components, connected to one another, each containing explosives that the description claimed would shoot hundreds of feet up in the air and burst into fiery blossoms.

We propped it up, precariously, in front of our cabin using some small rocks.  My uncle lit the fuse and we all stood back.  The first pod shot up and burst with all the splendor of a professional firework (at least to a ten year old’s eyes).  However, its force knocked the rest of the packaging free of the supportive rocks.  It toppled and, bang, bang, bang!  The next three explosives rocketed into bushes in our yard and the neighbors.  It had been a dry summer, and WOOSH, the bushes instantly went up in flames.  We started yelling and scrambling to find buckets.  We hollered to our neighbors who came running out and threw their hands up in the air, seeing their bushes ablaze.  We half expected the voice of God to start ordering us around through the dancing flames in the bushes.  But, finding this didn’t happen, we began a bucket brigade from the shower to douse our bushes while the neighbors cranked up their hose and snuffed theirs.  All in all we made quick work of the fires, but the level of excitement and clamor far exceeded that of a standard holiday – even Christmas!  To children who had never been to a theme park besides Legoland it was like a thrill ride, or a scene from a movie come to life!

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