Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Shout-Out To Edible Los Angeles

I'm so very proud of everyone involved in putting together the winter issue of Edible Los Angeles. I edited this issue, and I must say having good writers and good photographers really made the work smooth sailing.

If you haven't seen Edible Los Angeles, do check it out. You can find it all over town (town being the Los Angeles area, of course!).

I'm excited to also be editing the spring issue. With its seasonal focus, this magazine keeps me attuned to the seasons as nothing else has since I was a kid growing up on the farm.

I just love it when work is fun!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bacon in the Fudge & Other Kitchen Adventures

My favorite words when others are eating something I've made and given them: "I don't usually like xxx, but I LOVE yours!"

xxx may = peanut brittle or fudge or whatever. In fact, I've heard xxx equal both peanut brittle AND fudge in just the past few days, as I've been making and stockpiling sweets for the holidays. One friend who claimed not to like peanut brittle--and who watches her weight and exercises assiduously--confessed she'd wolfed down TWO bags of the peanut brittle I'd made. She was shocked by her eagerness to keep right on eating it, especially since she thought she didn't even LIKE peanut brittle.

My peanut brittle includes a bit of cinnamon and cayenne, which I think helps tame the cloying sweetness of too much sugar. Depending on the intended snacking audience it will contain just a dusting of cayenne or perhaps a healthy spoonful. I believe it was the addition of spices that put her over into the "love it!" column and seduced her into eating beyond the one small, politely sized bite she'd intended to take just to be nice.

mmm, bacon fudge . . .

As for the fudge, it has bacon in it. Bacon in the fudge?! When people hear this, most turn up their noses and do the "ewwww" thing. The more adventurous ones--and the ones who love me--will give it a try. And then they'll keep eating it, long after manners or weight considerations tell them they should stop. With that light sprinkling of sea salt on top and the toasted walnuts nestled in with those crispy, smoky bacon lardons, they find themselves powerless to exercise good judgment.

No, I don't want others to overindulge to the point of hurting themselves. But I love it when people find such delight in something I've made that they're compelled to step beyond their usual response and truly enjoy what I'm feeding them. This isn't just about candy--it can be brussels sprouts or meatloaf or any food.

And there IS delight in this, at least for me, because others have surprised me by serving me something I thought I didn't like, only to find I really did. Or at least I liked it as presented to me by someone whose rendition of that dish I was just discovering. I love it when this happens. Some people seem to have an affinity for preparing particular foods, and I try to keep this in mind. "So-and-so does wonders with favas . . . Wonder how he'll treat lima beans?"

Of course, it's easy to forget this sometimes, especially when I'm faced with something I'm sure I don't/won't like (I still have an "ick!" reaction just thinking about all those squidgy, overcooked lima beans from my childhood). But, who knows? Maybe the person who prepared it knows just how to make it a food I WILL like.

And an ever expanding list of foods on the "okay" list is fine by me.