Friday, August 31, 2007

Weekend Off

Prior to classes starting next week, I'm taking the weekend off!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Summer Play Day

My mom and I spent the day together and although it wasn't billed as a final summer fling, that's what it turned out to be. The temperature in the 70s, the day started out superbly. I had a free drink owed me at my local coffee shop. I picked up my mocha, turned up the music in my car and drove, orange barrel free all the way to Mom's house.

We went to the Flint Institute of Arts. Yes, there is an art museum in Flint. The museum is gorgeous and well-run; they even have a small theater and play art films.

Afterwards, we found a farmers' market and filled the trunk with bags of radishes, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes. We stopped at a colossal market in Mom's town and yes, filled up the car with more bags of food.

We went back to Mom's and ate dinner outside on her deck. By the time I drove home, the sun was setting.

So long, summer...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More Julia

I finished reading Julia Child's My Life in France which chronicles her years in Paris and Marseille. The arduous process of writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking started in France, but continued throughout Child's time in Europe, Washington, D.C., and finally Cambridge, MA.

Published in 1961, the impact of Mastering cannot be overstated. Child and her co-authors introduced classic French cuisine to casual American cooks. They researched recipes and tested them sometimes an inordinate number of times to ensure that the recipes were foolproof. Child was asked by her co-authors to help with their idea of French cookbook for an American audience. Shortly, Child was the leader of the project. She and her husband took photos from the chef's point of view for the book's sketches, something that had not been done before. She tracked down certain sauce recipes that no one had formally recorded. When her editor said that authentic French bread should be included in the cookbook, Child apprenticed with a bakery in France and made hundreds of loaves until she perfected the process and translated it for an American audience. So many different factors had to be addressed: the flour was different in the States, weather plays a part in the rising of the dough. Also, some ingredients in the original French recipes weren't readily available in the U.S. so Child had to find reasonable substitutions or change the recipe.

James Beard, considered the "dean of American cooking" told Julia how much he admired her efforts. "I only wish I'd thought of it first." The restaurant industry celebrates the James Beard Foundation Awards annually, sort of like the Oscars for food.

Child's passion for her topic comes through on every page, even as she complains about the mind numbing repetition of testing recipes or her impatience with her co-authors.

Next up on my reading list is Child's biography by Noel Riley Fitch, appropriately entitled Appetite for Life.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Orientation

My cooking classes are about to begin again. Today was our orientation at school and even though it was a bit sleep-inducing, I'm glad that I was there. All of the full-time chefs introduced themselves and had a few words of wisdom. Work hard, have fun, be true to yourself, take advantage of as many opportunities as possible.

The semesters are broken up into three five-week rotations. My first rotation is butchery. I can't wait to be able to break down a chicken in ten seconds flat.

On my way home from school, I stopped at a drive-thru for an Icee. As the drive-thru guy handed me my treat, he said, "Here you go, Beautiful." Whoa! I'll have to remind myself to stop there again for routine confidence building.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pizza


I bought some ready made pizza dough last week so tonight's dinner was homemade pizza and a side of salad. I need to practice my rolling skills; I can't seem to make a round. My homemade pizzas are either rectangular or oval. But as long as it tastes good, who cares what shape it is, right?

Spicy tomato sauce, pepperoni, shredded mozzarella cheese, baked on a pizza stone. Once out of the oven, I garnished the pizza with fresh basil. A delicious little dinner to start the week.

Have I expressed how much I love pizza? I'll need to write an ode to it in a future blog. G and I want to try an experiment this fall. We're going to try a pie from every pizza place in town. Although after tonight's success, maybe we just need to practice making our own pizzas. For my last birthday, my mom gave me a little box of pizza recipe cards. Sausage and pepper pizza. Roasted corn pizza wit sundried tomatoes. Butternut squash and sage pizza. Barbecue chicken pizza. Pizza Margherita.

Pizza makes me so happy.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Countdown to Football

Five years ago I was new to Michigan and had never watched a college football game in my life. Growing up, I watched NFL football with my dad every Sunday (you really have to be of strong character to be a Cleveland Browns fan). I had no clue about the world of collegiate sports.

My first fall in Ann Arbor was quite the eyeopener. I will never forget the spectacle of being downtown during a home game against Penn State. Streets filled with people. Ann Arborites standing in their driveways advertising parking for $5, $10, $15. Maize and blue everywhere. I'd never seen anything like it.

The following fall, G and I were a couple. Since he was an MBA student at the U of M, he had season tickets so I not only attended a few games (in a stadium that holds 115,000, the largest in the U.S.), but I also experienced tailgating for the first time. We had a blast. One game started at 11am on a Saturday, so we were up and tailgating at 7 o'clock in the morning. We grilled bacon and sausages, scrambled some eggs on the griddle, ate donuts, and poured Bloody Marys.

Each year, I've become a bigger fan. Last year, we watched each Michigan game, but we also followed our rivals--Notre Dame, Michigan State, and the villainous OSU. The 2007 season starts in less than a week and I can't wait to be glued to my TV set for the next twelve Saturdays. In Ann Arbor (and Columbus and State College...), Saturdays become the Sabbath. We pray, we worship, and we rejoice.

GO BLUE!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy Place

When my friends have to do something unpleasant or uninteresting or just plain un-fun, I always tell them to go to a happy place. "Close your eyes, plug your ears, and murmur, happy place, happy place!" This usually gets a snicker, but it does tend to work. In random order, here are my top ten "happy places". (Plus, I just love to make lists.)

Any memory that includes my grandpa.

Dining at Zingerman's Roadhouse

My wedding day (I know, super sappy)

Visiting the cider mill with my mom

Flipping channels and finding a Humphrey Bogart movie

Driving through wine country

Eating chocolate chip cookies that just came out of the oven

Stopping at a sidewalk cafe in Paris for a nightcap

Finding a new favorite book, one that just leaves me awestruck

Sunday mornings with G--homemade muffins and scrambles and cups of joe

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Julia

I'm almost done reading Julia Child's My Life in France. I had no idea she was such a hip lady. She was sort of a hippie before the word hippie was invented. She professed a love for "eggheads" (intellectual nerds). She didn't like traveling or living first class because it wasn't authentic. She didn't like the way that the culinary program was run at Le Cordon Bleu so she complained and then created her own curriculum. She had to take the final exam twice but she did graduate on her own terms.

Right now I'm learning how her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, came to be. Fascinating stuff.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hot Fuzz

So tonight, G & I were sitting in the purple room (my office), me at my desk, he in the plushy chair. We were watching Law & Order reruns and being lazy.

"What do you want to do tonight?" "I dunno. What do you want to do?"

Just then the phone rang and our friend Mark invited us over for pizza and a movie. The answer is always yes to that.

To my delight, tonight's choice was Hot Fuzz, a British comedy I missed in the theaters earlier this year. The setup is spot on--Nicholas Angel is the best cop in London. His bosses decide to transfer him to a small, sleepy country town because Angel makes them look bad. Of course, life in the small town is not as staid and quiet as expected.

The first twenty minutes or so made me yell out to everyone in the room, "I love this movie! I absolutely love it." The camera work was fun. The soundtrack added to the laughs. Simon Pegg, as Nicholas Angel, was perfectly overwrought. Add a small part for Bill Nighy (my ultra favorite go-to Brit) and my stomach was already beginning to ache from laughter.

Note to self: I need to learn more about the makers of this movie and their previous effort, Shaun of the Dead. They do like the dramatic yet joky death scenes, don't they? I wasn't expecting those in Hot Fuzz.

The last half of the movie is just chase scenes and shoot'em ups and yes, it's still supposed to be funny and alluding to American cop buddy pics, but I found myself thinking up ways to sneak one more slice of pizza from the box.

That said, I would watch it again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No Show

I've fully intended on writing about film in this blog. So far, I've been uninspired. First, it's been a lackluster summer. I saw Spiderman 3 in May and it was such a bitter disappointment that I wrote off the summer film season right there. Also, cooking school took my attention away from the big screen. Finally, I've been reading nonstop so that's been another distraction.

There is hope though. Fall is always the best season for film. I just glanced at my latest EW, a fall preview issue, and it brought a thrill to my heart.

New films from Ang Lee, the Coen Brothers. A real Jodie Foster film (not Flightplan or Anna and the King Jodie). A Daniel Day-Lewis film. An Elizabeth sequel. Tim Burton's version of Sweeney Todd. Sean Penn's adaptation of Into the Wild. A Ridley Scott film with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. An indie starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Yes, I think that will make up for a lame summer at the show.

Monday, August 20, 2007

shhh


I have a confession to make. I'm having a secret love affair.

With my local library.

I always have a stack of borrowed items, books, DVDs, CDs in my office. I visit the library website every morning to check on what's due. I can request anything I want online so I always click to see if anything is available and waiting for me. Usually I'm at the library at least three times a week. I drop off or pick up, I browse the bookshelves, I walk my fingers through the CD collection every once in a while to discover any must haves.

Whenever G and I are on vacation, we usually find some local bookstores and casually browse. I try to have a notepad with me so that I can write down interesting titles, then when I return home I request them all from my library. RIght now, I think I have fourteen items in my request queue. Plus, I have eight books and three DVDs sitting in my office wanting my attention. This, of course, is addition to the shelves and shelves of books that I actually own. I just can't get enough.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Summer Playlist

The days of summer are dwindling. School supplies are out, pre-season football games are on TV. Here's a look back at my most played songs of summer '07:

Sara Bareilles - Love Song
Catchy, bubbly, perfect for summer cruising with the windows rolled down.

Wilco - I Got You (At the End of the Century)
After playing Wilco's CD Yankee Hotel Foxtrot over and over again, I'm finally discovering their back catalog. This song is off of the CD Being There. Old school rock & roll.

Kim Richey - Something to Say
One of my all time favorites. Richey just released her first CD in five years. This is one of the tracks that really jumped out at me.

Lori McKenna - Unglamorous
McKenna wrote a couple of songs that Faith Hill covered on her last CD, Fireflies which then led to an appearance on Oprah. She's a mother of five from a small town in Massachusetts. A PR dream come true, but also a very talented songwriter.

Duncan Sheik - On a High
We saw him in concert earlier this year. This song is from Daylight, probably my favorite CD of his to date.

Mandy Moore - Ladies' Choice
Really good reviews and collaborations with McKenna and The Weepies persuaded me to buy this CD and guess what? I love it. I keep changing my favorite cut. Right now it's Ladies' Choice.

Keith Urban - I Told You So
Yes, it was his single on country radio this summer, but I can't help it. This song is a hit. I remember seeing Keith Urban in nightclubs in Nashville back in '97 when he was just cutting his first album. Now he's all rehabbed up and married to Nicole Kidman. Couldn't have predicted that one.

kd lang - The Valley
Again, another concert we attended earlier this year--kd lang and Lyle Lovett. The Valley is from a CD from 2004, a compilation of songs from Canadian songwriters. This song is just beautiful. Lush and sad and pure poetry.

Feist - 1234
Quirky and cool.

MIKA - Grace Kelly
Kooky and fun.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sports

I stepped foot on a golf course today for the very first time. I didn't quite know what to expect, but I knew one thing, I had to look the part. Khaki capris, white tee, navy sweater wrapped around my shoulders. My stepdad especially enjoyed my navy and white sneakers.

The weather was perfect. Partly sunny and seventy degrees. We couldn't have ordered a better day. We played nine holes and no, we did not keep score. That would have been humiliating. And only once did we have to let another group play through. Serious, no, but goofy fun. I would definitely play again.

(Bonus: Listening to the Browns/Lions game on the radio on the drive home. Former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn finally made his debut in the fourth quarter and gave the fans some hope.)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Playtime

I felt like playing today so I put on the apron and started to work in the kitchen, iPod blasting.

I borrowed a Ming Tsai cookbook from the library so I made two of his sauces today. I started watching his show on PBS and really like his techniques.

First up was an Asian pesto--jalapeno peppers, garlic, ginger, mint, basil, cilantro and olive oil. I used it for an Asian pesto chicken salad tonight for dinner. Big hit! Chicken, pesto, orzo, cherry tomatoes served over baby spinach dressed with lemon juice and more pesto.

I also made a sambal, the Asian version of ketchup, but super spicy. I went to an Asian market this morning to find the requisite red jalapeno peppers. The sambal consists of red jalapenos, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, rice wine vinegar, and canola oil. It can stay in the fridge for a month.

I've had my eye on a recipe in one of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks--a goat cheese tart. I had some garlic and herb goat cheese in the fridge so today was the day. Homemade crust, super buttery, layered with shallots sauteed in butter, and filled with a mixture of herbed goat cheese, eggs, cream, basil, and salt and pepper. I tried a small slice tonight at dinner and swooned.

Although that also could've been because G used his mixing magic and made me a Lemon Drop Martini.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Julia Gets Bumped

I've had every intention of writing at least one post about Julia Child this week. I have her My Life in France book and a biography sitting right here on my desk.

Every night I grab Scott Smith's The Ruins though. It's only his second book (he wrote A Simple Plan years ago, also a great film with Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton) and I've heard nothing but raves. Two young couples travel to Mexico for vacation and Something Awful happens when they venture into the jungle to visit some ruins. I haven't gotten to the Something Awful yet, but I can't wait to find out what it is.

I guess Julia will have to wait.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer Bounty


The farmers' market is just overflowing right now. Sweet peppers, hot peppers, herbs, corn, and tomatoes. I returned home with bags of vegetables for the rest of this week's meals.

Tonight I made G's favorite summer salad, Caprese. Tomato slices, sprinkled with salt, topped with soft planks of fresh mozzarella and bright green basil confetti. G adds some freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. I took this photo, turned to put the camera down on the counter, and when I got back to the dinner table, half of the tomatoes were gone already.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Summer

This is the first time all summer that I haven't had classes and I'm enjoying the randomness of it.

I started with breakfast out on the deck. The temperatures have eased up so the mornings and evenings are cool. I made myself a mug of white mocha and toast spread with Nutella.

G and I are heading to my mom's this weekend where I will be stepping foot onto a golf course for the very first time. Today we went to the local driving range to loosen up a bit. I even bought my very first golf accessory--a glove. I'm sure that we'll visit the range at least once more before we hit the links. (That's the proper lingo, right?)

After dinner, we decided to catch Ocean's Thirteen at our bargain movie theater. Tuesday night happened to be 50 cent night. I'm not kidding. 50 cents.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Favorite Tunes

When someone asks me what my favorite music is, I have to say that the American standards are IT. Yes, I love finding new artists on iTunes. And there is a select group of artists whose CDs I buy the moment they're released. But when pressed to choose a favorite type of music, it's always going to be the standards.

Fly Me to the Moon
Just the Way You Look Tonight
I've Got You Under My Skin
Our Love Is Here to Stay

I was lucky enough to be introduced to songs like these at an early age. Watching classic movies exposed me to the standards and I haven't stopped swooning since. I'm a loyal fan of Sinatra, Ella, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin.

Because of these songs, I'm a sucker for a new voice that arrives on the scene and records the old catalog. When Harry Connick Jr. released the When Harry Met Sally soundtrack I had a front row seat at his concert in Cleveland. I wore out that cassette my freshman year of college. (Yes, I said cassette.)

I just picked up the new Michael Buble CD, Call Me Irresponsible, and though it may not be a home run, it does contain a few gems. Buble covers The Best Is Yet to Come, I've Got the World on a String, and the title cut. The biggest surprise for me is the song, Everything, that Buble co-wrote. It's simple, but sweet. It's unabashedly romantic and I love it. Like I said, I'm a sucker.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Home Sweet Home


Our travels are over. We had a great time sightseeing, visiting friends and family, finding great food and wine. But we are so happy to be back home. There's nothing like it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to relax and curl up in my favorite chair with the remote control in my hand.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Dinosaur Bar-b-que




The Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syracuse, NY was started by three bikers in 1983. Now the place is nationally acclaimed. G has taken me back to Syracuse, his ancestral homeland, several times, but only this weekend was he able to introduce me to the wonders of the Dinosaur.

First of all, the place draws a crowd. Bikers, yes, but also yuppies, singles, babies in highchairs, you name it.

On the way to our table, I saw someone with a burger on his plate. A burger? What was he thinking? The waitress greeted us and told us that everything on the menu is made there at the restaurant. The potatoes are peeled for the French fries, the desserts are all made from scratch. When the food arrived, there was a lot of it and it did not disappoint. I ordered the Big Ass Pork Plate--pulled pork, with cornbread, mashed potatoes and gravy, and collard greens. G had a full rack of ribs with bbq beans and cole slaw. The food lived up to the hype. The pork was tender, the sauce was spicy, a tiny bit sweet, and, to borrow an old phrase, finger-lickin' good. I bought two bottles of it to take back home with us.

I think I might have to request that dinner each time we're back in Syracuse.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Who Needs the Comics?


I hardly ever read the newspaper but one was at my doorstep this morning so I took a look. Two items made me laugh out loud.

The Pittsburgh Steelers officially named their new steel beam-toting mascot, Steely McBeam.

Also, this headline:

The Lions, coming off a 3-13 season, have a playoff spot in mind.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

White Wine

To me, summertime means white wine. Light, cool, and refreshing, whites are my go to adult beverage right now. Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio are the whites that get all the press, but they've never been my favorites. Sure, I'll choose a Chardonnay if I must, but my heart belongs to Riesling.

Great definition from Epicurious:
Riesling is considered to be one of the world's great white-wine grapes. It's a native of Germany, where it's believed to have been cultivated for at least 500-and possibly as long as 2,000-years. The Riesling grape's ability to retain its acidity while achieving high sugar levels is what creates wines with considerable aging potential. Riesling wines are DELICATE but COMPLEX and are characterized by a SPICY, FRUITY flavor (that's sometimes reminiscent of peaches and apricots), a flower-scented BOUQUET, and a long FINISH. Riesling is vinified in a variety of styles ranging from DRY to very sweet.


The Finger Lakes is a particularly good region for Rieslings. We visited Hermann J. Wiemer Winery today and tasted a variety of blissful Rieslings, dry, semi-dry, late harvest. That tasting alone was worth the trip.

Here's a little more info about Hermann.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Finger Lakes











Whenever we visit the Finger Lakes we always stop at the Simply Red Bistro. We found it on our first trip here together in 2004. The bistro was in Trumansburg, a small town northeast of Ithaca, NY. It was a small, funky space with a hip southern menu. G always loved the huge slab of homemade cornbread that came with every entree. A local band was always on hand to play during dinner.

Now the bistro is located inside Sheldrake Winery on the west side of Cayuga Lake. The space is airy and more upscale but the spirit is intact. The bistro now has a lunch menu so G & I tasted some wine and then found a table with a view of the lake. G chose the tuna salad special (sundried tomatoes and curry). I chose the steak sandwich with caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. My oh my. My sandwich was accompanied by a horseradish aioli which was superb. We couldn't resist sharing the apple ginger cake for dessert--a super dark ginger cake with chunks of apple and raisins somewhat swimming in a caramel sauce and topped with whipped cream. I started to get a little jealous at the way G looked at that dessert.

And with my Magic Hat No. 9 (beer for lunch!), I am officially on vacation.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

On the Road


Eight hours in the car and the rain didn't let up once. The bright spot of the day? Getting to our destination and finding a big Cosmopolitan with my name on it.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Books Into Films


My summer reading has been extremely varied this year. I always have a list of books I want to read at my fingertips. I have stacks of books on my desk and my nightstand. They wait patiently as I figure out what mood I'm in this week or next.

This summer I'm trying to read some classics (Northanger Abbey by Austen, Galapagos by Vonnegut), some contemporary fiction (Man and Boy by Tony Parsons, The World to Come by Dara Horn), some fizzy summer books (The Nanny Diaries, The Jane Austen Book Club). My latest reading trend is to check out books that have been or will be made into films. I always like to see how the novel is adapted for the big screen. Yes, most of the time the screen adaptations do not live up to the author's words. When a film truly captures the spirit of the book, the author's tone...well, it's magic.

A few of my favorites have been:

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
About a Boy by Nick Hornby
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Chicago



I didn't post anything on Saturday because we were out 'til the wee hours of the morning. I'd like to say that we were partying like rock stars. But no. We went to the theater to see the musical Wicked and then to a wine bar. But we were out on a Saturday night past midnight. That's pretty crazy for ol' married people.

Sunday we returned to Wishbone for another delicious breakfast. G wanted to try the crunchy French toast. (Superb.) I had the Red Eggs--two eggs any style on corn tortillas covered with black beans, cheese, chili ancho sauce, scallions, sour cream and salsa. Omigosh. Pure heaven. Halfway through my meal I realized that I hadn't taken the photo I wanted, I was so enthralled with my dish. I'm going to try and recreate it at home.

We stopped for our morning cup of joe at Intelligentsia. G opted for a regular coffee, I had to try a cafe mocha. Dee-lish. We bought a bag of beans as a souvenir.

The temperatures were in the 90s again so we opted for a matinee. We saw The Bourne Ultimatum at a very comfortable, very air conditioned multiplex downtown. We're fans of the Bourne trilogy so we'd looked forward to the third and probably final installment. We were not disappointed. This has been a summer full of cinematic disappointments. Bourne actually delivered. An early action sequence was particularly masterful, without a car chase in sight. The film is well directed and boasts a stellar supporting cast, including Joan Allen and David Strathairn.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I Brake for (Fancy) Chocolate




















Usually when G and I head to Chicago, we find some deep dish pizza to reward us after an arduous day of traveling. We purposely were pizza-free for the month of July so that this pizza would be especially delicious. How could so much cheesiness disappoint?

First stop the next morning was WIshbone, just a few blocks west of our hotel. We met up with some Rochester, NY friends who were also visiting Chicago. On our table were plates of French toast, omelets, shrimp and grits, a breakfast burrito, and biscuits and gravy. Every last one of us cleaned our plates and walked away satisfied.

We needed to walk off our breakfast so we headed downtown. We found Millennium Park at the lakeshore and admired the sculptures. Our friends headed to the Art Institute for the afternoon. We walked back to the hotel so that G could have some privacy for a phone interview. I kicked back and read a book. After the short respite, we made our way toward Michigan Ave.

I'd always heard tons of praise for Vosges chocolate. The company is known for mixing unusual flavors with its chocolate. G and I made a special trip to find the Chicago store. The shopkeeper was very helpful (in other words, she gave us lots of samples to try.) We chose some truffles--dark chocolate, kirsch, and dried Michigan cherry and dark chocolate and Mexican vanilla bean. G also picked up a Red Fire chocolate bar--dark chocolate, Ancho chile powder, and cinnamon. Crazygood.

For supper, we went to the Fox & Obel gourmet market. After some browsing and some wine tasting, we found the cafe and had a leisurely meal. G ordered the chicken salad sandwich on a potato roll. I had turkey, cranberry sauce, and brie on multi-grain. The best part was dessert, of course. We shared a cup of coffee and a decadent brownie.

On the walk back to the hotel, we stumbled onto a police barricade and several civilians with 2-way radios, herding people away from certain city blocks. We found the crew filming The Dark Knight, the Batman sequel. Of course, the burly guys guarding the set told onlookers, "Oh, it's really boring. They're filming some mockumentary about Bobby Kennedy." A block away and another burly guy, "It's a little movie called Rory's First Kiss." Um, maybe you should meet and get your stories straight. Also, you probably shouldn't be wearing a jersey with the name Wayne on the back.

I saw a small alley between office buildings so G & I ducked down there and sure enough, we made our way to part of the set. Before we could get closer though, another set protector guy (not so burly this time) found us and told us to be on our way. I thought I'd have some fun and try to confirm that this was the Batman set. "So is Bale here tonight?" I asked. "No, he's not on the schedule tonight." Ha! We were right.

In the end, all we saw was a Lamborghini ready for its closeup. A kid with a comic book t-shirt and binoculars told us that he glimpsed Heath Ledger being made up as the Joker. So how can we resist stalking the set again tomorrow night?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Farewell Film Greats



European masters of modern cinema Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni died earlier this week, Bergman at 89 and Antonioni at 94.

Antonioni's work influenced subsequent art films as he used open-ended narratives and skewed timelines.

Bergman was often considered the greatest filmmaker of all time, influencing directors such as Woody Allen, David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman, Lars Von Trier, and Krzystof Kieslowski.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Julia Child

August is the month of Julia Child's birth and death (1912-2004). As a foodie and new culinary student, I'm going to learn a bit more about Julia and share it with you this month.

Born Julia McWilliams, she was raised in Pasadena, California, schooled at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She spent some time in New York City working in advertising and then moved to Washington, D.C. where she volunteered as a research assistant for a newly formed government intelligence agency, the OSS, the precursor to the CIA.

While on assignment, she met Paul Child, a fellow OSS employee. Following the end of WWII, the couple returned to America and married. In 1948, Paul Child was reassigned to Paris. This was when Julia Child fell in love with food and trained at the Cordon Bleu.

Julia Child did not start her culinary career until she was thirty-six years old!

She and two other Cordon Bleu students, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, adapted sophisticated French cuisine for mainstream Americans and created a two-volume cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In 1962, Julia became one of the first TV chefs with her program, The French Chef, syndicated on 96 PBS stations across the U.S.

In 2002, the Smithsonian unveiled an exhibit showcasing the kitchen that Julia used in her television shows.

"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove. I've always had a healthy appetite, especially for the wonderful meat and the fresh produce of California, but I was never encouraged to cook and just didn't see the point in it."
-From My Life in France, by Julia Child with Paul Prud'homme

Who knew that Julia Child & I had so much in common?