Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Food Memories

My wordle from the end of May 2011, the month David died...

My little brother David died very suddenly this past May. He was 47.

David was a real intellectual. He had big ideas and frankly, I am sure I didn't always even understand what he was talking about, and we often butted heads over ideas and issues. But we did share one passion: cooking. Any heated debates were quickly forgotten at the dinner table when we--quite literally--broke bread. We would thoughtfully taste, chew and discuss the merits of the loaf at hand, no matter what we'd been arguing about during the day. 

David was a bread baker better than any of us, his recipes spreadsheets (formulas, really, weighing in humidity, type of wheat, etc.) that I didn't really understand. In fact, we found his spread sheets on bread and those are pages I will treasure always. Even if I can't bake from them.

Early in the year, in February, I got an email from David asking for savory chocolate recipes. He was on his way to a Slow Food dinner in Redlands, California, where he lived, and the theme was chocolate. He was determined to do something different. 

I had just written a short online piece about where to find great chocolate recipes and one website had stuck with me, a site with a lot of savory dishes. After we traded a few ideas talking about possibilities, he tweaked a recipe, making corn cakes topped with his own version of Mexican mole-style chicken and some cheese. 

His report back captures David's personality for those of us who knew him and still makes us chuckle, especially reading of his scorn for American cheese "food":
Topped a tablespoon of cornbread batter with a bigger spoon of the chicken mix.  Topped that with a modest amount of mozzarella cheese since I had some handy already shredded -- bad move; should have used the local Monterey jack I bought for the purpose, which is very tasty, or had I thought of it, better still would be supermarket-humble Havarti (which is a great American cheese, IMO, if inexpensive and widely available...at least it's cheese compared to prevalent and therefore so-called American "pasteurized-process cheese food").  15 minutes in the oven and they were done.

He signed off "mangia, mangia."

Three months after those emails, I found myself in his house, my first time in Redlands, but he wasn't there. His death was heartbreakingly sudden and being there was unspeakably sad and difficult.

We spent a week at his house, cleaning it out, preparing details of the memorial we would hold, sometimes finding laughter in our memories, admiring his garden full of wildflowers, touching pots and pans he touched, always aching for his presence.

One day I peered into the freezer and found a batch of little corn cakes, wrapped in foil and plastic, perhaps a little freezer burned. I knew exactly what they were. I pulled them out, heated them up and had a couple for lunch one day, remembering the process, remembering David, and happy to taste, one last time, one of his creations.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Spag Bol or Hello Cupcake

One of my NEW FRIENDS had this book and I fell in love with it. Couldn't wait to bake something to impress someone...so when the opportunity to send treats into school came along, I was all over the spaghetti and meatball cupcakes.

Awesome, right?
Wait til I do Van Gogh's Starry Night...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

URL Changes...

Well, a series of unfortunate events led to me not renewing BabetteFeasts.com. I will refrain from passing judgment on the new owner here in public, but suffice to say I have beaten myself up over the oversight that led to that. I've also tried to get the name back but my contact emails have gone unanswered.

For now, the title of my blog remains, as it has since 2007, Babette Feasts. the CURRENT URL is babfeasts.com. If I can figure out how to redirect, you will also be able to type in babettefeasts.net to get here.

I can't pretend I have this huge Dooce.com-like following, but it hurts anyway. It feels like I've lost something. But wallowing is done. Time to renew my outlook, think like BabetteFeasts.net and move forward.

If you are reading here, and you happen to have me bookmarked, please change the URL. I will try to reach commenters and followers one by one to let you all know of the change, too.


@ BabFeasts.com and