Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Happy Mother’s Day!

Here’s some motherly advice about taking care of your teeth. Did you know that you can use strawberries to whiten your teeth?

There’s more tilapia than ever on the market, at lower prices than ever. A good thing, right? No, not necessarily, unless you’re buying U.S. farmed tilapia. Most of the cheap tilapia in our markets comes from factory farms in China and Latin America. The New York Times reports why imported tilapia isn’t healthy for us or the environment. Buy American!

Good ol’ Consumer Reports explains what the “corn sugar” fuss is all about. They also remind us that “all sugars provide empty calories. Most Americans would do well to cut back on all added sugar, regardless of name. So scan ingredient labels for its various aliases, including corn sweetener, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and syrup.”

I spent a month in Portugal in the 80s with my long-ago boyfriend and his mother. I often accompanied Rosa on her shopping trips in town. We made many stops – the fish market, meat market, bakery and other specialty shops. We usually ended the trip in a restaurant where lunch always included a bottle of vinho verde, a low-alcohol light white wine. I’ve been seeing more and more mentions of vinho verde in the food and wine press. Seek it out; it’s a refreshing summer wine.

Long ago my friend Barry turned me on to the negroni. It’s a perfect cocktail before dinner. The New York Times shared an intriguing looking variation of the standard recipe — Negroni Sbagliato. I took the NYT cookie hit so you don’t have to — here’s the recipe. You’ll need orange wedges and peels, sweet red vermouth, Campari and sparkling white wine.

“The night before, put orange wedges in a resealable container, top with sweet red vermouth and refrigerate overnight. In the morning remove the wedges from the vermouth and char them on a grill until the sugars caramelize and black specks form on the oranges.”

“To make the cocktail: “Put a roasted orange wedge in a glass and add one and a half ounces of sweet red vermouth. Muddle the two so that the charred bits are released into the vermouth. Add ice and one and a half ounces of Campari, and shake. Strain into a chilled glass that is filled with ice and top with one and a half ounces of a sparkling white wine like Lini Lambrusco Bianco. Garnish with orange peel.”

A commenter suggested red Lillet instead of sweet vermouth. I used to always keep white Lillet on hand for an occasional aperitif. It’s time to pick up that habit again.

I’ll leave you as usual with a poem. This one is by one of my longtime favorite poets, William Butler Yeats. I went on quite a Yeats kick years ago before and after a trip to western Ireland. It’s not a celebratory poem. It’s a bit heavy but reminds us of the sacrifices our mothers made.

The Song Of The Old Mother

I rise in the dawn, and I kneel and blow
Till the seed of the fire flicker and glow;
And then I must scrub and bake and sweep
Till stars are beginning to blink and peep;
And the young lie long and dream in their bed
Of the matching of ribbons for bosom and head,
And their day goes over in idleness,
And they sigh if the wind but lift a tress:
While I must work because I am old,
And the seed of the fire gets feeble and cold.

food cooking writer blogger raleigh

Woman baking bread by Jean Francois Millet


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One thought on “The Sunday Table: May 8, 2011

  1. mary tate says:

    Poetry must be in the air on Mother’s day as I received a poem from my sixteen year old son “For Mom”. Maybe not Yeats, but it sure tugged this mother’s heartstrings. But how do the strawberries whiten teeth??

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