Wendy’s Word

Not your mama’s blog….

Hamentaschen 2011 March 26, 2011

Filed under: Food — wendy @ 4:59 pm

The LA Times has redeemed itself.  Over the holidays, I baked (and blogged about) a cookie recipe I got from the Times that was not worth the effort.  But the hamentaschen recipe that was recently published was a different story.  Two years ago, I blogged about my family’s standard hamentaschen recipe that we bake every year, but which is imprecise and difficult to work with.  A friend turned me on to a different recipe, and lo and behold, it was published in the Times this year.  I had to try it.  The results were great.  The dough was easy to make, easy to work with, and was delicious.  Best of all, the hamentaschen didn’t turn soft the next day — they retained their texture better than others I’ve made.

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Wendy’s Word Meets Jonathan Gold March 13, 2011

Filed under: Food — wendy @ 6:44 pm
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I can’t believe I’m saying this and I’ll never say it again, but I hope Jonathan Gold is not reading this blog entry.  Because I’m going to fawn embarrassingly like a pre-teenager fawning over Justin Bieber.  Brace yourselves readers – I met Jonathan Gold today!  It’s as exciting as the day I shook Bill Clinton’s hand!

It all started with cupcakes.  I went to a potluck party today at Santa Anita racetrack and a woman brought cupcakes that looked like Hostess cupcakes except these were homemade, with rich, bittersweet chocolate icing and light, not-too-sweet whipped cream inside.  I happen to know that there’s a recipe for these cupcakes in the City cookbook, because I have made them before and they are labor-intensive enough that I never made them again.  I spoke to the woman who brought them, and sure enough, the recipe did come from City and they were indeed labor intensive.  This started a long conversation about food in which it was revealed that she works with Jonathan Gold and that he was supposed to be coming to this very party.

For you non-LA or non-foodie readers, Jonathan Gold is food critic for the LA Weekly, and was previously the restaurant critic for Gourmet magazine.  He has written a book, Counter Intelligence, on where to eat in LA, compiled from his columns, and has won a Pulitzer prize for his food writing.  My excitement about meeting him was only surpassed by the nervousness of my 12-year-old aspiring food critic daughter.

I spied Gold from across the party.  He is easy to spot – he is a large man and was wearing a t-shirt with an octopus on it under his jacket and has wild reddish-grayish hair.  My husband got to him before me and was chatting him up – hubby is quite social.  Jonathan Gold spoke to us for a long time and was very modest – just like you’d chat with anyone at a party.  We talked about restaurants we liked, City restaurant and other Milliken/Feniger (aka Border Girls) restaurants, writing, music, and our kids’ school.  If Jesus Christ himself was at a party and had school-aged kids, we’d end up talking about our kids’ schools.  Parents just can’t help it.  I tried not to fawn too overtly, and not to reveal how much I knew about him, since I had read a profile of him in the New Yorker magazine a year or so ago.

Gold brought tacos to the party – soft tacos with different fillings – potato, beans, and meat with two salsas, which he got from someplace in Highland Park.  I, to my great chagrin, brought Trader Joe’s bagged Caesar salads.  Which would have been mortifying except that Jonathan Gold came to the party late and the salad was gone by that point.  I actually didn’t see him eat a thing.  It would have been more embarrassing if I had made something good because then I would have been tempted to get Jonathan Gold to try it.  That could have been extremely awkward!

There was one point when we were talking about how one becomes a food critic, this for the benefit of my aspiring 12-year-old food critic, and he talked about food blogs.  I revealed that I have a food (among other topics) blog and he asked what it was called.  I froze for an instant.  Jonathan Gold is asking what my blog is called!  I was tempted to email him the link at once and beg him to read it.  At the same time, I was tempted to give him the name of a well-known food blog, so as to not seem lame.  I realized that he was asking not because he wants to check it out but because he wants to see whether it’s one he knows.  I sheepishly gave him my blog name and we immediately moved on to other topics.  In my fantasy, Jonathan Gold has filed this information in his memory bank and will check out the blog as soon as he gets home.  But hopefully, he’ll miss this particular entry!

 

More Playing for Change March 4, 2011

Filed under: Music — wendy @ 6:10 pm
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My first posting for this blog was about Playing for Change, the wonderful documentary that filmed musicians around the world recording a song together.  The song from the documentary that I first heard was Stand By Me, and I have since seen the entire documentary and watched all the video clips on the Playing for Change website.  Playing for Change has become a much larger effort, with a foundation that operates music schools in poor towns and villages throughout the world with the goal of promoting positive social change through music education.  The foundation walks the talk by employing local musicians and buying instruments from local artisans.

The music is fantastic, and I didn’t realize that they periodically add new videos to the website.  I recently discovered videos for two songs that I love, Bob Marley’s Redemption Song, and John Lennon’s Imagine.  Enjoy.  And go back and watch the earlier videos if you haven’t seen them.  You’re in for a treat.