Category Archives: the cooking agents

Food Porn

Being a food blogger has catapulted me into the world of pornography.  Confused?  Don’t be.  We’re not talking about the kitchen scene from 9 1/2 weeks.  We’re talking about food porn, and there are a lot of perverts out there that will salivate all over their keyboards staring at macro images of just about anything edible.  As weird as it sounds, you’d be surprised to find how easy it is to get sucked into this practice.  Places like Tastespotting, Foodgawker, Food Porn Daily, and even This Is Why You’re Fat (when you’re feeling especially gritty) are some feel good websites that get your salivary juices flowing.

For us, it started with a cupcake.  This cupcake to be exact.

Triple Citrus Cupcake

This cupcake brought us triple digits!  We went from like 20 views a day to 393!  I remember freaking out around noon when we broke a hundo.  Ray and I were pretty psyched.  Titillated even.  And since, I have been a maniacal food “photographer”.  I wake up early on the weekends to cook things so that my lighting can be perfect.  I force feed my boyfriend things like prune stuffed gnocchi in the middle of a Saturday because I was the crazy person who set her alarm early to get things moving and shaking in the kitchen.  I guess you could say it paid off?

With stats like these, we could be your #1 fantasy player

What followed were equally labor intensive recipes that had small windows of opportunity to be shot under proper lighting.  I tell you, food does not like that ugly warm yellow light in apartments.  It also doesn’t like harsh sunlight since some pretty gnarly shadows join the party.  Post processing in Adobe can be your saving grace, but truly food loves natural light like I love anything dipped in cheese. 

Two days ago was a revelation for me.  I had always been under the impression that cupcakes were the bells and whistles.  All those dancing peasants out there jump and scream for cupcakes.  Forget about it when you have frosting piped on with a 1M tip.  Evidenced by the number of cupcake dedicated food blogs, Cupcake Wars on Food Network, and cupcake bakeries popping up from coast to coast, it’s a trend that is truly sweeping the nation.  Revelation time — As it turns out, clams and linguine is the librarian fantasy.  Seemingly unassuming, and then kapow!  It takes you by surprise.  490 views!  Wowee!  Let’s just hope we haven’t climaxed just yet.  Cheap and ridiculous pun intended.  Scene.

trifecta of snow supplies

Weather wise, things are looking pretty grim for Boston.  I can’t remember the last time I saw so much snow.  Bleh.  At this point, I’m growing an immunity and am unfazed by 6-10 inches.  It’s more like a light dusting.  This concerns me.

Snow goes hand in hand with something I like to call the pre-apocalyptic bread and milk run.  This phenomenon is when Americans run (literally) to supermarkets to hoard all of the bread and milk they can.  If you’re a member of my household, you can also tack on 30 rolls of toilet paper to the list of snow day necessities.  In my family, getting all three of these items in one trip is attaining the house arrest trifecta.

I’m an artist, I know.

In my opinion, this is one of those inherited traditions passed down from generation to generation to generation.  Now, at almost 25 years old, I stand before you to ask the question, WHY?!  What is it about snow that makes people run to the store for these particular items? Honestly, what are you making with this stuff?!  French toast and bread pudding to last us a whole week?  I don’t get it.

Because it is well past midnight and I’m not about to call my mom or grandma, I will go to my back up — GOOGLE!  I did a search on ‘milk bread snow’.  What I found was shocking.  First of all, I am not alone in this mystery.  There is a whole puzzled population out there questioning the people around us and sometimes even ourselves.  Why are we brainwashed drones all buying the same emergency kit?

Some very wise person from the UK responded, “These are the things that are not stored in wharehouses and are delivered daily, the weather prevented deliverys as the major roads were closed, and many delivery trucks were snowed in. Also the people working in the factories that produced these items could not get in to work(slowing production). So because there were no deliveries, the stck quickly ran out.”  Ok, I rescind my “wise” comment. I judge people based on grammar and spelling.  He makes a valid point, but I cannot take him seriously.  Sadly, this was one of the more well rounded answers out there.  Many people ask the question, few people dare to answer.

This will forever be an unsolved mystery to me and I’m sure the bread and milk run will perpetuate itself until the end of time. My response?  Screw the makings of French toast.  I’ll buy everything I need to make a mean guacamole. If I’m going to be under house arrest, I’m eating what I like.

P.S. I am my father’s daughter — the extra rolls of toilet paper still stand.

Groupon, Livingsocial Addictions & a DC Restaurant List!

Well, my time is really winding down quickly in Washington DC. In addition to finding housing in Boston, finding a replacement in DC for my apartment, and getting rid of furniture, I am trying to use my remaining Groupons, LivingSocial Deals, etc. Today I’ve managed to use 2 and sell 2. Let’s take a look at the damage.

Yama’s Mediterranean Grill Used- Lunch with Co-workers
Wing Hub Used- Beer, wings, chicken tenders, and fries
Kushi Sold to Co-worker
Kushi Sold to Co-worker
Kinkead’s– Well known DC establishment by brothers who also have a restaurant in Boston called Sibling Rivalry that I look forward to trying
The General Store– Odd hole in the wall restaurant by well known local chef that was featured on Diners, Dive Ins, and Dives. Southern food with a twist.
Morrison Clarke– Hotel restaurant, which I wouldn’t have bought except it was on sale during the height of my addiction
Comet Ping Pong– Pizza joint featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. Restaurant is also decked out in ping pong tables due to the owners love of the game.
Sticky Rice– Funky sushi and Japanese influenced dishes. Would make a purist cry. better known for atmosphere than food. I liked it enough the first time.
Meskerem– Ethiopian cuisine. I just promised myself I would try Ethiopian cuisine before I left DC. I hope they represent.
Zentan– Susar Lee’s restaurant at the Donovan Hotel.
Charlie Palmer Steak– Capital Hill staple filled with lobbyists and government officials.

A lot of eating in just a little over a week left. I’m sad I didn’t get to return to Kushi, which made a real splash when it showed up on the dining scene. It made the new 2011 list of top 100 restaurants in Washington DC. These dining deal sites have really burned a hole in my wallet the last year, but I’ve deeply enjoyed being encouraged to try new restaurants and also getting a larger sampling of the menu. I will look forward to some of the new places I can try in Boston now that I’m not a broke college student.

As for the list of restaurants I regret not being able to try in the DC area:
Bourbon Steak
Blue Duck Tavern
The Source
Cafe Atlantico/Oyamel/Zaytinya
Tabard Inn
Ray’s the Steak/Ray’s the Classics
Thai X-ing
Granville Moore’s
Tune Inn Restaurant & Bar
Taqueria Distrito Federal
Pasta Mia
Florida Ave Grill
El Pollo Rico

News Flash: Cooking Agent Relocating!

As of February 7th, I will be starting at a new job in Boston! So cooking from Cafe Boulud Cookbook will be on hold as I will be working to empty the pantry/fridge, making stops to DC area favorites, and working to cross off additional places on my to eat list. Mixed in with DC restaurant week, Bethesda Chevy Chase restaurant week, and using my Groupons, it will be a busy 3 weeks.

I’m really excited and nervous to move to Boston, happy that I will be familiar faces a lot more frequently and nervous about starting at a new job at a new company. Living in Boston as a professional should also give me a different perspective on the city. Having more disposable income should also help in the trying new places department. No. 9 Park! In addition, a friend of mine looks to be opening a French Fry and Waffle shop.

In leaving DC, I’ll be sad to leave an up and coming food town that I am proud to say changed for the better after my 2+ years. I’ll be disappointed to leave all the new friends I’ve made and the establishments that provided great meals. I’ll be leaving a town that is currently having a food truck renaissance and seeing big name chefs like Eric Ripert and Wolfgang Puck sprout their new restaurants around town. In addition, I’ve learned about the local icons like Ben’s Half Smoke, Central’s Lobster Burger, and Ray’s Hell Burger. God help my health.

Obama and Biden stopping in at Ray’s Hell Burger.

Food Resolutions Down in Flames

We’re 5 days into 2011 and most people are still going strong with new year resolutions and goals. Food resolutions are an important aspect of the typically unrealistic expectations people set for themselves with weight loss as the end goal. I’d estimate that by February most people have strayed, but if you want to bow out in style, here’s a list of ways to make your slip up worthwhile.

5 Ways to Break Your Food Resolutions in Style

  1. Office Craving: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – Conveniently located at your vending machine or convenience store, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups offer more interactive eating than a typical candy bar along with the perfect creamy peanut butter to milk chocolate ratio. An all American favorite for children and adults.
  2. Late Night Getting Home With No Food in the Fridge or Pantry: Chinese Take Out – Readily available in most areas, Chinese take out offers cheap and fast instant gratification. Gravitate towards carb centric dishes like lo mein, fried rice and chow foon as they travel especially well for lunch the next day so you can carry your failure flag with pride.
  3. Inability to Resist Happy Hour: Beer and Wings – Cold beverage, hot finger food and reduced prices help put TPS reports on the back burner.
  4. Feeling Depressed: Ben & Jerry’s AmeriCone Dream – Relationship troubles or conflicts at work can all be solved with reassuring image of Stephen Colbert accepting you for who you are. Cry yourself to sleep with a sugar induced coma.
  5. Seasonal Affective Disorder: Ramen – Quick and easy to make, warm and comforting, salty and versatile. Jazz your ramen up with protein like eggs, beef or chicken to help get over long, dark nights.

If you’re still going strong with your resolutions. Please ignore my list and just imagine this weirdo standing between you and your guilty pleasure.

I’ve got my eyes on you.

Here are my food related goals for 2011

  1. Stay active on food blogging and to keep cooking through the Cafe Boulud Cookbook.
  2. New ethnic food to try: Ethiopian
  3. Food to make from scratch: Pasta and Noodles
  4. New recipe to try: Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
  5. Learn to cook better tasting stand alone vegetable side dishes

What are your food resolutions for 2011?