I was thrilled to join Mike and Kim in the morning for “Foodie Friday” on Connecticut’s 102.9 DRC-FM.
Have a listen and enjoy the fun!

2012DRCFMTransparentNoMergeNew Copycopy 300x133 Foodie Fatale with Mike & Kim in the morning on 102.9 DRCFM

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Egg-in-a-Hole

by Foodie Fatale on April 10, 2014

in Connecticut,My Family,Recipes,The Hamptons,Women In Food

EggInAHole 300x300 Egg in a Hole

“Egg-in-a-Hole”
“Spit in the Eye”
“Hole in the Middle”
“Surprise Egg” (“Surprised Egg”)
“One-eyed Egyptians”.
“Toad in the Hole!” (“Toad-n-holes”)
“Floating Island”
“Guy Kibbee Eggs”

My great Aunt Phil cooked the food that was the heart of my family and my childhood. When my young mother married my father and became part of the family, Aunt Phil taught her to make “Egg-in-a-Hole.”  On very special days when I was little, my mother  would make this for me. I loved watching her use a small juice glass to cut a round hole in the bread.  Then into the frying pan the bread and circle cut-out would go, where they would brown in melting butter. Finally, she’d crack the egg-shell, dropping the yolk into the bread hole- an act infused with a certain amount of drama. It wasn’t until I saw Olympia Dukakis make this same dish in Moonstruck, that it occurred to me that anyone else in the world made this besides my mother.

When I recently posted an “Egg-in-a-Hole” photo  on my Foodie Fatale Facebook page, I learned just how many people grew up with the same dish. I was delighted by the flurry of comments it provoked  and learned just how many different appellations it has.

One common refrain:  we all thought our families invented it. Emily Schrader shared: “My dad made it and he called it “Eggs Schra-der-o” (which led me to believe he invented it!)”

Aimee Fitzpatrick Martin‘s Polish grandmother Estelle “A great cook and a great lady”) started making the dish after she saw the actor Guy Kibbee make them for Shirley Temple in the 1935 film Mary Jane’s Pa. Aimee remembers “She called it “Guy Kibbee Eggs ever after. Her Polish mother had never made it, so she gave it her own name!!” New York writer Peter Cherches also affectionately describes the “Guy Kibbee Eggs” his mother made, inspired by the same film.

Los Angeles-based trainer Cathy Nadell remembers well the breakfasts her grandmother made for her when she was growing up in New York:

My grandmother used to make her “Hole-in-the-Middles” for us when we were kids! We definitely thought she invented this and we were the only kids who ate these… She was the best, and those breakfasts were very special for all of us.. ( I always thought it was a Jewish thing).It’s now become a family tradition and my mom makes them for all the grandchildren. I have to say grandma Shirley’s were the best, and I don’t think anyone will ever make the Hole-in-the-Middle as good or as memorable as she did… She poured her love for us into that recipe..

Connie Tomeo Porto learned to make “Surprise Eggs” from her mother-in-law Gloria in Ozone Park, New York: “I used to make this for my two children when they were young. . . .The kids loved it because of the name and would get all excited when I made them.” 

“Hole in the Middles” were a “huge part” of Lauren Dembo Menis’ childhood in Johannesburg, South Africa. And she makes them for her own children Atlanta, Georgia.  “It reminds me of my mom and my house in Glenhazel and being a little girl in a big, exciting world, taking hole in the middle for granted. I mean, who didn’t eat “Hole-in-the-Middle” for breakfast?”

Sag Harbor resident Dawn Watson writes the popular blog Hamptons Party Girl, where I often enjoy reading about her  sophisticated food tastings. But it wasn’t always so:

Growing up in the farmlands of Indiana, there wasn’t much in the realm of the exotic. “Floating Islands” certainly weren’t made from gastronomically adventurous ingredients but they were definitely more fun than my usual fare. And then there was the name, which brought to mind grass skirts and hula dancing. This simple egg and bread dish transported the imaginative child that I was to faraway places, where Don Ho sang of ‘Tiny Bubbles’ and everyone drank fruity concoctions with umbrellas in them.

As is often the case, these stories are all  inextricably tied to memories and feelings. And this is what I love about food- about eating, writing and talking about it. In doing so, we commune with our own histories.  The great and inspiring writer Betty Fussell put it best when she said:

“We eat the world to know it, and ourselves.”

 

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Gazpacho Passion

by Foodie Fatale on April 6, 2014

in Connecticut,Restaurants

All photos  by Fran McMullen Photography- at Chef Prasad Chirnomula’s Oaxaca Kitchen in New Haven, Connecticut.

OaxacaGazpachoIngredients 300x199 Gazpacho Passion

Perhaps all romance is like that; not a contract between equal parties but an explosion of dreams and desires that can find no outlet in everyday life. Only a drama will do and while the fireworks last the sky is a different colour.

 Jeanette Winterston, The Passion

I can only describe it as a romance.

Red Pepper Sorbet, Toasted Pepitas, Tomato Avocado Tartar, Jalapeno Oil: The ingredient list on the menu belies the explosion that awaits you. An explosion that will make you fall wildly and passionately in love. I can barely bring myself to call it “gazpacho.”

OaxacaGazpachoSorbet 300x199 Gazpacho PassionI was struck first by its beauty: a small scoop of deep red pepper sorbet sits in a curved bowl of fine white china, encircled by a lazy stream of pale green jalapeño oil infused with bright green cilantro. Milky green avocado and transparent onions cascade down its sides. Warm toasted pepitas are casually strewn across the plate.

The server’s hand gently pours the liquid.  Like a reverse strip tease, the dish reveals itself by additions.OaxacaGazpacho Pouring 300x199 Gazpacho Passion

The soup is a deep red orange- velvety and textured. Tiny pools of jalapeño oil glisten in the bowl, while the pepitas float to the top.

I smell the cucumber and the sugar of the sorbet- sweet pepper and tomato, hints of the jalapeño.

I dip my spoon and gently graze the sorbet center, then slowly let the soup fill in my spoon.

And then come the fireworks.

The taste is sublime – a perfect balance of sweet and salty, with a slight persistent heat. I savor the acidity of the lime juice and the faintest hint of crushed garlic.

Each bite reveals a multitude of textures and temperatures: the icy cold sorbet, the supple crunch of the onion, the smooth rich avocado and the occasional nutty crispness of a pepita.

It is a crescendo of the senses.

OaxacaGazpacho 300x199 Gazpacho Passion

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fatso 300x300 Why Anne Bancrofts FATSO starring Dom DeLuise is My Favorite Food Movie

Big Night, Babette’s Feast, RatatouilleLike Water for ChocolateChocolatEat Drink Man WomanSideways, Julie and Julia.

 Any list of great food movies inevitably includes the same familiar titles. Beautiful, artistic, inspiring. But none moves me the way Fatso does.

Written & directed by Anne Bancroft in 1980, FATSO stars Dom DeLuise as Dominic DiNapoli and Ms. Bancroft  as his sister Antoinette. Fatso may not be a “Great” movie. But there is something really wonderful and unforgettable about it. Something that stays with you.  In it, all  emotions- love, anger, sadness and grief are expressed fully and operatically — and always in tandem with eating.

The opening montage features a series of shots of young Dominic’s childhood as his mother gives him foods as comfort for his tears- her breast, a cannoli, and bread with butter.  The first scene intersperses shots of mourners at Dom’s 39-year-old  cousin Sal’s wake with shots of the sauce simmering on a stove in the adjacent kitchen. Sal has died from his obesity, but still- the mourners will eat. Like most Italian American families (mine included) life’s important rituals are inextricably tied to food. And Dom has grown into an overweight man.

While there is genuine pathos as Sal’s relatives mourn at his oversized coffin, it is interwoven with comedy. Dom cries “He’s in Heaven now!” then “He’s playin’ his tuba for the angels!” When the priest sends him to get his bereft aunt a glass of water, he passes, weeping, through a swinging door into the kitchen, where the pot of sauce simmers. Crying, he stirs it with a wooden spoon. Tastes, adds salt, mixes, taps  the spoon on edge of pan. Slices a piece of Italian bread that he then dunks in the sauce and sprinkles with cheese. Finally, with a sigh of relief, comfort, pleasure Dom eats.

Fatso Anne 300x207 Why Anne Bancrofts FATSO starring Dom DeLuise is My Favorite Food Movie

From the kitchen, we hear the arrival of Dom’s sister Antoinette. Bancroft is DIVINE in this role. Funny, exuberant, passionate. And so Italian (Bancroft was born “Anna Maria Louisa Italiano“)

“You sonofabitch!” Antoinette screams at Sal’s coffin. “How many times did they tell you to lose weight!!!??” She shouts, she cries. And then the obligatory- “He looks good.” and “I’m gonna miss you- You sonofabitch!”

She reminds her brother Dom that Sal had skipped his appointment with a “diet doctor” days before his death in favor of a visit to a pizza parlor (Dom:”“Poor Sal. He’ll never eat Apizza again.”). Antoinette tells Dom she doesn’t want to lose him because he’s overweight and tells him she has made an appointment for him with the diet doctor for him.

The scene ends with Dom once again escaping to the kitchen to cry and to eat.

I won’t spoil the rest of the movie by recounting it. But I will tell you it is filled with many scenes that made me laugh till my belly hurt. And moments of incredible tenderness. Bancroft captures  so well the rituals food lovers create around what we eat. And DeLuise cooks and eats his food with the focused reverence of a worshipper. 

Throughout the film, Dom struggles to lose weight and find love in a culture that bombards him with images of food at every turn. And in a lovely, poignant moment explains “I have to eat- when I eat, I’m me!”

This film is not  available on DVD but- for the time being- is viewable in its entirety on YouTube.

Please watch and enjoy. And come back here to let me know what you think.

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Goat’s Milk Confections for Health, for Taste

February 16, 2014

A week rarely passes when I don’t  eat chèvre. Creamy or hard, cheese made with goat’s milk has an unmistakable “tanginess” that I just love.   But a sweet goat’s milk confection? I never considered this. Then, on a sunny morning last summer at  the Montauk Farmer’s Market on the East End of Long Island, I had the […]

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Rendezvous: Knave at Le Parker Meridien

February 3, 2014

Do you need a midtown rendezvous locale- for a business meeting, first date, reunion, pre- or post-theatre drinks? I have the perfect place for you. Knave is a hidden treasure nestled in a narrow but magnificent corridor of  Le Parker Meridien between 6th and 7th avenues (with entrances on both 56th and 57th streets). It’s practically a […]

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Yankee Magazine & Mexican Flan on Better Connecticut

January 6, 2014

Thank you to Scot Haney, Kara Sundlun and the  Better Connecticut crew at WFSB Channel 3 for  letting me share Chef Prasad Chirnomula’s recipe for Mexican Flan as featured in my article “Southern Comfort” in  Yankee Magazine (January/February 2014 issue). WFSB 3 Connecticut Mexican Flan Recipe courtesy of Jocelyn Ruggiero and Yankee Magazine total time: 1 hour 20 minutes; hands-on time: 30 minutes […]

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Better Connecticut: Baked Gruyère Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions & Fig Preserves

December 16, 2013

Thank you to Scot Haney, Kara Sundlun and the STELLAR Better Connecticut crew at WFSB Channel 3 for yet another fabulous  taping, making this perfect snowy day sandwich… WFSB 3 Connecticut Baked Gruyère Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Fig Preserves* Ingredients Olive oil (1 tbs per onion) Red onions, peeled and sliced thinly into rings 8-inch baguettes, sliced lengthwise Gruyère cheese, shredded Unsalted […]

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Book Talk/Food Talk

October 28, 2013

I belong to a pretty fabulous book club, filled with smart and interesting women. All of us have busy lives- many of which require considerable reading for our work- reading that as a rule is solitary, and doesn’t stretch us outside of a “brain comfort zone.” And so every other month, we meet to discuss […]

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Fall Fruit in Connecticut: Jocelyn Ruggiero on Talk of Connecticut with Shelley Sindland

October 5, 2013

Podcast: Play in new window | Download I had a great food talk this morning with Shelley Sindland, who guest hosted The Talk of Connecticut  on WDRC-AM. Here is information about the topics we discussed- enjoy! This is one of the last weekends to pick your own Native Strawberries, pumpkins and gourds at Deeply Rooted Farms […]

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