Sunday, June 30, 2019

In My Kitchen: June, 2019

In my kitchen in June I have several newly-acquired ceramic items, all really beautiful. Above is a pitcher that Evelyn made and gave me when we visited her in Fairfax. I also enjoyed shopping at the Ann Arbor Potters' Guild sale, where I always find irresistible items. This time I bought two items by a wonderful potter named Maki Lin. (Her website here.)

A plate made by Evelyn with a peanut butter sandwich.

A plate made by Maki Lin with chicken salad and cornbread.
A new food item in my kitchen: Hawaiian sandwich buns. We loved them with roast beef.
Local strawberries are very abundant this year, and we've had them a few times.
On my refrigerator: a magnet and post card from our
visit to Shenandoah N.P. this month.
We did a lot of cooking this month: example, this rib steak, which
weighed a bit over 2 pounds, and lasted 2 meals.
Finally: my new dishwasher arrived in the middle of the month. It's working beautifully.
I am pleased with a lot of the features, including the towel bar.
In my kitchen is the counter where we have breakfast each day. Figs are in season somewhere (not
in Michigan, I assure you) and so we had these beautiful figs and some of Len's rye bread.

Whee I'm sharing this!
Each month between 15 and 20 bloggers from around the world post an overview of what they've had in their kitchens recently. They write about new packaged foods, new fruits or vegetables, new gadgets, new cooking techniques, new recipes, and lots of other wonderful kitchen ideas. The list of these bloggers is at

All photos on this post are COPYRIGHT © 2019 by Mae E. Sander, writer of this blog. This post is written and published by maefood dot blogspot dot com, and if you see it elsewhere it's been stolen.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Ordinary

What could be more ordinary than a dandylion? Walking in the parks near Ann Arbor, I've been trying to
look again at ordinary things in nature, things that normally I don't bother to photograph.
It's a cliché to talk about finding beauty in Nature, but it's also one of the ways you can really enjoy your surroundings.
Poison Ivy? We wish it wasn't so ordinary.
Looking up at the trees: beautiful. And ordinary.
I never find 4-leaf clovers! But I have some eagle-eye relatives who
find them everywhere.

At its peak a couple of weeks ago, the Peony Garden in the Arboretum was pretty. It has one of the largest collections
of peony varieties in the world, we are told.

We see vultures almost every time we take a walk in a park.
Canada geese overpopulate every open space near water, so their goslings are cute but unwelcome.
Other ordinary birds that I don't bother to photograph include robins, English sparrows, and even the colorful cardinals.
All photos © Copyright 2019 by Mae & Len Sander for maefood dot blogspot dot com.
If you read this post elsewhere, it's been stolen.

Friday, June 28, 2019


Artichokes in the steamer, trimmed and washed.

Artichokes ready to eat.

All photos © Copyright 2019 by Mae Sander for maefood dot blogspot dot com.
If you read this post elsewhere, it's been stolen.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Tokyo Street Art

Evelyn, Tom, Alice, and Miriam are having a wonderful visit to Tokyo, and I requested some street art images to share with the weekly blog event Mural Monday organized by Sami in Australia ( ). I thank Evelyn very much for these wonderful photos!

All photos on this post are COPYRIGHT © 2019 by Evelyn Sander, and used with her permission. This post is written and published by maefood dot blogspot dot com, and if you see it elsewhere it's been stolen.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Wordless Wednesday: Birds Flying

-- Painted by Monet.


Photos by Len from Flickr.
All content from maefood dot blogspot dot com
If you see this blog post elsewhere it's been stolen.

Wordless Wednesday a day early!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

"Among Friends" by M.F.K.Fisher

Among Friends, published 1970
"Everything was roomy, and the attic seemed to stretch far under the eaves.... There was a smell that I can bring to my mind's eye in a flash, and it is that attic: dust, and the decay of paper and silk and wood; the perfume of exotic vanished bodies once rubbed with rare oils, doused with drops from French bottles, powdered and rouged for roistering." -- M.F.K. Fisher, Among Friends, p. 175. 
"Outside the low brown building, with its ample kitchen and its big waxed hall, was a row of the most beautiful geraniums I ever saw in my life. ... Anne and I stood close to them, and smelled the subtle sting of the bruised flesh, a perfume which comes out as it does from the same fleeting touch on a tomato plant or a chrysanthemum." -- p. 137-38. 
"Gracie was our maverick... She was strong and mean. She smelled bitter, a perfume which my mother identified for my infatuated nose as garlic, never used or mentioned in our own cuisine." -- p. 201 
"We had another secret friend in the early days with Aunt Gwen: her dog, a dignified but mischievous character always called Pat Nettleship and not just Pat, liked Anne and me very much. He had a fine peppery smell." -- p. 253
M.F.K. Fisher, born in 1908, is best known for her earlier food writing -- her very vivid food writing. As the above quotations illustrate, she also had an amazing talent for describing aromas! Among Friends, Fisher's memoir of her early life, was mainly published episodically in the New Yorker. In it she describes her childhood in Whittier, California, where her father was the publisher of the local newspaper. At first, the writing in this book seemed a little dated to me, but I quickly began to enjoy the rhythm of the text; the observations of people and their relationships; the distinct memories of her point of view as both a child and later an adult; and the amazing descriptions of food, experiences, people, California scenery and much more.

She includes lots of very pointed remarks about the social stratification of Whittier, where the majority of inhabitants were Quakers who never really accepted her non-Quaker family. One critical remark that I quite liked was about a community cookbook from the Whittier Women's Club, and printed at her father's newspaper shop:
"I have a copy of its cookbook, compiled by the ladies in 1928-29, but almost identical with the one Father's back room turned out in Michigan in 1905. The recipes are just as ineptly phrased, and one senses that many of the most prized ones have deliberately cheated on the Secret Ingredient that had made them locally famous." -- p. 145.
A long and very beautiful memory of Aunt Gwen, a woman that she and her sister Anne were very fond of, was one of my favorite chapters. Aunt Gwen was definitely an influence in developing Fisher's taste in food. For example, "I can't remember any other vegetables than tomatoes and cucumbers at Aunt Gwen's ..., except onions and beets," Fisher writes. "At home we occasionally ate sliced beets in the little vegetable dishes, but they tasted like nothing, not even red, which of course has several definite flavors." This passage goes on to describe Aunt Gwen's way of preparing beets, of making breaded and fried onions, and of creating a wonderful picnic treat of fried egg sandwiches. But I'm most intrigued by the idea of something tasting red! You can tell what she means, but who would ever think of it? -- p. 84.

Fisher's parents, her rapidly increasing family of sisters and a brother, her grandmother, and many other close friends, distant neighbors, and school mates are really the center of the book, but it's also full of very enjoyable descriptions of the meals they ate, the homes they lived in, and the way that people lived in California 100 years ago. It's definitely worth reading!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Bread Baking News


One more bread-baking book: Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes. Len continues to try many new techniques and recipes from this and his previously purchased bread books. Earlier this week, he made a deli rye that I liked, but that did not satisfy his increasingly high standards!

And another bread book, this one an old classic that was on the shelves of my favorite used bookstore, Motte and Bailey:

All photos copyright © 2019 by Mae & Len Sander, for use by maefood dot blogspot dot com.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Salade Lyonnaise

Salade Lyonnaise, also called Salad Frisée aux Lardons. For complete instructions, see this recipe from
Bon Appetit magazine:
The recipe explains in detail how to poach the egg to top the lettuce and cooked bacon.
Frisée lettuce: locally grown from Argus farm market.
Bacon sautéed with onions. Wine vinegar is added to the pan and reduced
to make a vinaigrette dressing for the salad. I used locally produced bacon.

Just before serving, you pour the warm vinaigrette mixture over the lettuce to wilt it slightly.

A poached egg garnishes each bowl of salad. This dish is often served in Lyonnaise restaurants
called Bouchons, as well as in Parisian bistros.
All photos copyright © 2019 by Mae & Len Sander, for use by maefood dot blogspot dot com.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Salmon in Yogurt Sauce

The other day I bought some wild-caught Copper River salmon at Costco -- that means I bought a lot of it! I wanted to make it in advance so that it would be completely ready for dinner during my sister and brother-in-law's visit. I hadn't made my old favorite recipe for cold fish (or chicken) in yogurt sauce in a while, so I looked it up, and I'm including it below. As always, photos and text are created and copyright © by this blog: maefood dot blogspot dot com, and if you see my posts and photos at another blog, they've been stolen.

Fish or Chicken in Yogurt Sauce

This recipe can be made with salmon filets, chicken breasts, or whole trout. For 4 servings, you need about 1.5 to 2 lbs. of salmon filets, OR around 2 whole skinless boneless chicken breasts (breast meat from 2 chickens) sliced into 4 or more filets each, OR 2 or 3 whole trout (depending on size). Plus 1 recipe of sauce.

Broil the fish or meat. For trout, skin, bone, and filet each trout after broiling, making two filets for each fish. For salmon, cut the fish into serving-size portions after broiling.

While the fish or chicken is broiling, mix the following sauce:
    1 cup plain yogurt
    2 tablespoons Hellman's regular or light mayonnaise
    1 clove garlic, crushed so there are no big chunks
    Mixture of herbs -- chives, basil, dill, parsley, oregano, cilantro as you like
    OR mixture of turmeric and curry powder 
    1 Tbs. crushed green peppercorns (optional)
    Few drops Tabasco sauce or juice of up to 1 lemon to taste
    Salt to taste

Arrange the warm chicken or fish portions neatly on a platter, and spoon the yogurt sauce over each one. Chill in refrigerator. Sauce will firm up. Garnish with fresh parsley, chopped green onion, or red pepper slices and (for fish, especially) lemon slices. Serve cold with salad (I served it with French potato salad and lettuce leaves).

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Falafel Google Doodle!

Yes, Yes, Yes. Falafel is definitely something to celebrate. Today's Google Doodle links to many recipes for falafel -- it doesn't even say that today is national Falafel day or anything like that.

"Faithful Place" by Tana French

"Breakfast was the full whammy: eggs, rashers, sausages, black pudding, fried bread, fried tomatoes. This was clearly some kind of statement, but I couldn’t work out whether it was See, we’re doing just grand without you, or I’m still slaving my fingers to the bone for you even though you don’t deserve it, or possibly We’ll be even when this lot gives you a heart attack. " -- Faithful Place, (p. 45). 
Undercover agent Francis Makey,  narrator of Faithful Place, is served this typical Irish breakfast on his first visit in 22 years to the extremely dysfunctional home of his parents and siblings. Obviously, he feels enormous pressure from them, and struggles not to be overwhelmed by the guilt they would like him to feel. His adult life includes a divorce, a fraught custody arrangement, and his success as a member of the police force ... but he can't completely turn his back on his origins.

Faithful Place, Tana French's 2010 detective novel, clearly offers much more than the obsessed search for a murderer.  It's the story of Makey's early life in the impoverished neighborhood in Dublin (a neighborhood called Faithful Place), of his hatred of his father, and of his efforts to get more and more information about who he is. Because the murder victims are both very close to Mackey, he's not officially involved in the police work, and in fact is constantly told to back off and let his colleagues do their job. He can't let it go: understanding what happened consume him until the quite dramatic ending where all is revealed.

Like many writers of fast-paced and suspenseful detective stories, Tana French often punctuates the flow of time with meals: especially breakfast. Indicating a new morning is always a way to make the reader feel the daily rhythm of the unfolding mystery -- as well as a way to create local atmosphere. Here's the narrator's version of breakfast the next morning:
"The streets were shining wet and empty, bells ringing for early Mass and nobody much paying attention. I found a depressing café full of depressed Eastern Europeans and got myself a nutritious breakfast: soggy muffins, a handful of aspirin and a bucket of coffee." (p. 147).
I enjoyed Faithful Place enormously, and admired the way it combined a self-portrait of the narrator with a well-crafted murder mystery. It's full of humor and word play, as well as zingers about the social condition of the narrator and the people around him. I enjoyed it especially because it reminded me of a couple of visits I've paid to Ireland; I really appreciated the list from the family's guilt-inducing breakfast: "eggs, rashers, sausages, black pudding, fried bread, fried tomatoes." This was the exact menu in a Dublin bed & breakfast where I once stayed! And just as I was writing the review, my friend Sheila in England sent me the following parody of the classic breakfast:

Coincidently, here is Sheila's photo of "A Fool English Breakfast" which was in fact a dessert in a restaurant.
She explained: "The mushrooms were meringue, the bacon dried watermelon with a fat rim of some sort of jelly,
the black pudding was blueberry rice pudding and the egg made up of mango sorbet and panna cotta."

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Mystery Mural: Mona Lisa

The photo above, dated September, 2015, is a mystery to me. I noticed it by chance in one of my files of iPhone photos. I think one of my considerate friends or relatives, who help me with my collection of Mona Lisa parodies, must have sent it to me. Whoever you are -- if you let me know, I'll add a thank you here!

Diligent google searching yielded this: the scene is from Umberto's Clam House in Manhattan's Little Italy. It's a famous tourist spot for seafood now, but also notorious because in 1972, it was the scene of a high-profile mob killing. Umberto's website includes another view of the Mona Lisa mural.

I decided to share this amusing photo with Sami's Colorful World, where many bloggers share images of murals from around the world each Sunday. To see the collected murals check this website:

Like every post at my blog, maefood dot blogspot dot com, I wrote this post, and if you see it at some other blog, you are seeing a pirate version that's stolen from me!