Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Goodnight Irene goodnight. I bet we’re all breathing a sigh of relief that Irene wasn’t as damaging as first feared. The North Carolina coast did take a beating. Folks on the coast will soon tire of the sound of chainsaws and the lack of power. Our lights flickered but never went out. Our house is surrounded by trees so my biggest fear was a tree coming down on the house or cars. I heard some crashes out in the woods, but the limbs that crashed to the ground near the house weren’t that big and landed in safe places.

We had a little bit of a hurricane party, just me and Jim. I made some Bloody Marys. My recipe includes low-sodium V8, clam juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, horseradish, Sriracha, celery salt, black pepper and lemon. Boy oh boy, they were tasty. Then for dinner I made a Rachael Ray recipe from the August issue of her magazine: pasta carbonara with corn and chiles. It was delicious so I’ll blog about that in the future.

Last week I wrote about another Rachael recipe, sea scallops with creamed corn and tarragon. I described it as “perfect for a birthday dinner.” A fitting description since Rachael Ray and I share a birthday. For my birthday dinner last Thursday, I had a special meal that made its way to me, thanks to my mum and dad, from 720 miles away. We got the idea from a story about a guy who ordered 150 pizzas to go from my favorite pizza place at home. He loaded up his car in Massachusetts and drove with them to Mississippi. I wonder what Rachael had for her birthday dinner?

raleigh freelance writer

Back to my special delivery, last Thursday afternoon my mail lady delivered a box to my front porch. Inside were two linguica pizzas from the Town Spa in Stoughton, Massachusetts, one with garlic and onion, and one with peppers and mushrooms. The Town Spa in Stoughton, the town next door, along with Buddy’s Union Villa in my hometown of North Easton are my favorite pizza places at home. Both make what’s called “bar pizza.” Pizza snobs might look down their nose at bar pizza; even bar pizza lovers argue about whose is best. You’ll find as many haters of Town Spa pizza as you will lovers, same with Buddy’s or Christo’s in Brockton. I love them all.

I especially love linguica pizza, that’s all I order when I go home because I can’t get it here. I lived for years in the Washington DC area and never saw linguica offered as a pizza topping. When I moved to Sacramento I squealed when I walked the first time into my neighborhood pizza place and there it was on the menu board, linguica. It turns out Sacramento has a decent-sized Portuguese community, not as big as the one in southeastern Massachusetts, but big enough.

Linguica is a mild smoky Portuguese pork sausage made with garlic, paprika and other secret spices. As you can guess, it makes a great pizza topping. You also find it in caldo verde, a Portuguese kale soup. I’ve had it with eggs, in sandwiches, in stuffed mushrooms and clams. I haven’t yet found a local source for linguica. I can get it by mail order but I’m sure I can find it somewhere around here.

raleigh freelance writer

mmmm, linguica garlic and onion pizza

I’m still catching up on all my food blogs so I don’t have a lot to share today. However, I can’t ignore the media fight between Anthony Bourdain and Paula Deen. It’s worth reading what The Atlantic and Frank Bruni (of the New York Times) have to say about it. The gist of the fight: Bourdain called out Deen for her fatty food and she shot back that he’s an elitist. Both are right. Some of Deen’s food is ridiculous with its glorification of butter and other fats. She should own up to that and not try to deflect the criticism by talking about her charitable work. Every TV cook does charitable work. Bourdain has always been a hyperbolic ass about some TV cooks, including Rachael Ray. Frankly, it’s tiresome, but it’s his shtick, and I still love him. He makes a good point about Deen’s influence on people’s eating habits. She’s right too; he and his pals are food elitists. Lucky them, it’s their job. But, yes, there is a double standard. Bologna is bad, but pork belly is okay? Like me, Bourdain is disgusted by those in the food industry bubble who expect everyone to eat organic. Affordable organic food is not available to most people, that’s the fact, Jack. I see it here in my local markets. Even if they can find organic, people on budgets are not going to pay more for it, they can’t. This has been a fun fight to watch because it raises a lot of interesting difficult issues.

That’s it for today. I’ve got a lot of reading to do. And more birthday cake to eat. Thanks for reading!

One thought on “The Sunday Table: August 28, 2011

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