I'm Just Mad About Saffron

Labor Day weekend ends today with a delicious meal at Bombay (where one should avoid the buffet - see, it even rhymes - but not miss the tikka masala) and a melted Babycakes cupcake (I was so amazed by the double-digit temperature that I forgot it was still hot) and me actually moisturizing... actually, poor Mike performed the moisturizing since my solo attempts are mediocre, and Mike hates the feel of lotion on his hands. He hates liquid soap, too - can't feel clean with it, at least not beyond the wrist. What else does Mike hate? Fish, mushrooms, shower gel, and lotion-hands - I think that's it.

He loves napping, which is what he's doing now. Later when he wants to stay up late to watch/annotate Branagh's Henry V together for his Shakespeare class, and I need to get to sleep, you are my alibi that I was right here on the sofa, waiting, and we are now even for the dermal hydration episode.

(What kind of moisturizer, fictional readers want to know? This was a cream from Bath & Body Works' former Pure Simplicity line. It is, just like their droolicious Les Couvent des Minimes stuff, long discontinued. Pure Simplicity had a great "milk thistle" cleanser for dry skin, and my fave lotions and creams and body washes were the ginger and the salt. Fig was okay, too. I can't be alone in being a fan because all of this stuff now sells on eBay for 2x-5x the original price. It was all very light in feel and scent, never perfumey or greasy, despite Mike's complaints. Damnit, B&BW. Maybe it's really your fault that I only moisturize twice a year!)

Speaking of things that sound like food but are not food at all, here's a photo of Saffron:

Saffron, Stately

A few days ago we moved Neil(-the-hamster) out from the hamitat with his brothers. Too much fussing. Neil will need some solo pics soon. A few of the others are up on Flickr (click the box in the upper right).

This weekend we also finally finished watching all 80+ episodes of MasterChef Australia. This is nothing like MasterChef in the United States. The fact that there are 80+ episodes should assure you that we're not talking about a hyped-up rah-rah cutthroat competition, and I like food-based reality shows like The Next Food Network Star and The Next Iron Chef, but MasterChef Aus is really something different.

I guess it's on every night, for one thing? And everyone is an amateur chef, unlike Chopped and the others mentioned above that I usually like. Some nights are challenges that will end with a few contestants (or a whole team) having to face an elimination round in the next episode, some nights are said eliminations, some nights are competitions against professional chefs for an "immunity pin" (like a Get Out of Jail Free card), and some nights the pros step in and give the contestants (and us) a master class in several dishes and techniques. It's actually civilized, with none of the alliances and scheming from the contestants like in other shows, or at least none shown on camera.

Production values are very high - a big trip to New York, some barely documented trips for winners to Asia and New Zealand. And the visiting chefs! Thomas Keller, Nigella Lawson, that guy from that #1 restaurant in Denmark (okay, I am not a chef groupie), that Blumenthal "everything is full of liquid nitrogen" guy from England, and others that I'm sure I should be in awe of... oh, and at one point? THE CONTESTANTS COOKED FOR THE DALAI LAMA.

And one of the contestants (go Ellie!) freaked out, and the Dalai Lama held her hand to comfort her.

That never happens on shows with Bobby Flay or Giada de Laurentiis.

Mike has now twice made a leek-and-goat-cheese tart we saw on the show. Yum-yum. (Oh, but add "goat cheese" to the list of things Mike doesn't like, so he substituted mascarpone. Tasted great.)

Sometimes I get nervous about all the fetishizing of food in our society (as wonderfully lampooned in that one South Park episode that also takes on the Shake Weight), like we're just asking for Biblical plagues to kill all the crops and stop the silliness - check out the frayed vestiges of my Protestant upbringing, y'all - but then I look at old cookbooks or old restaurant reviews and think, no, specific people may be silly, but I think there's a respect toward food emerging in this culture, especially giving thought to where it comes from, that's a step in the right direction.

And now Mike is up, and there's a piece of chocolate hazelnut panettone (also from Babycakes) clamoring for my respect.

06 September 2011 |

Previously: Gratitude
Next: Dribble-a-Day






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