Saturday, May 10, 2008

Comments of the Week

This week it’s all about Food Network stand-ins, classy party strategies, vegetarian solidarity, and a little bit o’ sweet, sweet Motown. As always, some comments have been edited for length.

Mm-mm Good: Cooking Light's Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

nyjlm: My parents say that one of my very early spoken phrases was "Sheaaaa stadium," so it was no surprise that I became a Met fan.

Daniel Koontz: I have to tell you, I fear fake maple syrup. Too much sodium hexametaphosphate. Nothing beats the real thing.

On Veggie Might: That Food Crisis Everyone’s Just Raving About

Mrs. H: My husband hunts, and so fills our freezer every year with deer, duck, fish, and hopefully this year, turkey. We figure out how many we need for the coming year, and off to the woods he goes. All that being said, we have cut our meat portions a little smaller lately, mainly for health reasons. ... As good quality produce gets harder to find, more expensive, and leaves a larger carbon footprint, we are choosing to go in, our own backyard.

Phrakture: I actually just went through a "month of vegetarianism" (cut out dairy and eggs too). I was amazed at how cheap it was. My lunch was costing me about $3 from the produce section of the grocery store, as opposed to getting a $10 sandwich down the street.

Nicole: My boyfriend wants meat all the time and I could live without it. Our compromise is we eat it twice a week. … He's starting to understand that meat is expensive and not the best for him or the planet. A slow conversion in the process...

Bigbinder: We decided to eat less meat, but not go totally meatless. … I dragged my ratty old Moosewood cookbook out and started making some meals from that again; dinner takes longer to make but we feel better about it. Almost smug, but not quite.

Jaime: I've been a vegetarian for ten years, but only in the last couple have I really started eating vegetables and whole foods. … Processed foods can be almost as expensive as meat, and are not quite healthy. (I loved them, but after so much time away, I wonder how a Chik Patty would taste now...)

On CHG Favorites of the Week

Chocoholic: Maybe [the recipe of the week is] this recipe.

Gretchen: For cover versions of songs: how 'bout Gladys Night and the Pips' "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" or Stevie Wonder's "We Can Work It Out" (Cover of the Beatles' hit)?

On Classy Parties on the Cheap: Baby Showers, Barbecues, and Beyond

What I've learned from 21 years of marriage and 21 years of hosting every major holiday dinner: ... people are happy to eat the same menu for all occasions, with just the main course changing with the seasons (turkey for Thanksgiving, lamb for Easter). ... to play to my audience. When my mother became legally blind, I cut corners on the dusting and spent more time moving furniture so that it would not be in her way.

Nicole: There are plenty of free/cheap things to set ambiance: music, candles, a bouquet of flowers. The moms will notice and appreciate the extra touches so it's good to whip it out for them. (Boyfriends aren't quite as observant, at least in my experience...)

Caro: For our wedding (which we hosted and catered ourselves) we found that Trader Joes has a great set of $3 wine … They were returnable. So we bought more than we could use and then at the end we returned the un-opened bottles. A very nice perk for us.

Mel: Accept help, people want to see the hosts, not see them scurrying around. … And relax. The whole point of having a party is to have fun!

Kyle: My strategy is to make sure I have enough beer and wine even if no one brings anything, and save the leftovers for the next time I have a party (assuming my roommate and I don't drink it all in the meantime!).

On Grilled Sweet Potato Salad, Food Network, and the Ultimate Test of Frugality

Trinity: If it's any consolation, FN has an awesome website with videos and recipes and such...

JAB: You could hang out in empty hospital rooms and watch their FN. Just kidding.

Sarah: I have been cable-less for almost 3 years. I get by on PBS cooking shows (America's Test Kitchen, Rick Bayless, Everyday Food), food blogs, magazines, Food TV shows on DVD from the library, and video podcasts.

Cinzea: We're forgetting one very important thing: PBS, FREE public broadcasting! They have some of the finest cooking shows, i.e: Lidia's, Jacques Pepin, Everyday Food, Everyday Baking (both by Martha Stewart), Daisey Cooks! as well as other ethnic foods such as mexican, asian in addition to America's Test Kitchen, Ciao Italia, Mark Bayless. ... Try it. It's free!

Mamacita: I get TONS of great recipes and food ideas from the internet. Here's a new site I heard of last night, in fact: Open Source Food.

Autumn: Gasp! No more FN? No more Alton late at night when you can't sleep? No more Chairman's ridiculously dramatic eyebrows? No more laughing at the way Duff laughs? (Kind of like a cross between an old man coughing and a duck quacking.) .... I suppose there are plenty of people who live without FN, and from what I can tell, they still manage to be happy with their empty, flavorless lives. If you decide to try it, well...Godspeed.

Kelly: [FN is] not about food; it's about the personalities, and I won't put up with that nonsense from anyone except Alton Brown, who is my Food Network boyfriend and can therefore feast on asphalt any time he likes. … Remember - if you give up Food Network, you never have to wake up in a cold sweat knowing that in some small way, you're contributing to the income of Sandra Lee.

Sara l: I agree with most of the other commenter's, if you're doing fine without cable you can find way to live without food network. Now that I've given the 'good' answer I'll confess that I don't want to cancel my package and loose all of the great things I have on my DVR.

(Photos courtesy of Flickr members wallyg, gwarcita, and Dshalock the Libertarian Emperor as well as

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