How I Taught My Brother To Cook

Improvisational Tuscan-Provençal-Catalan Cookery (and other good stuff to eat)

All Blog Posts (236)

New Yorker

Added by John Barrows on November 15, 2011 at 12:19pm — 1 Comment

Make Food Choices Simple: Cook!

In The New York Times July 2, 2011 Op-Ed page, Mark Bittman makes his case for homecooking vis-a-vis going out to a restaurant.


 Read the article here.


Some quotes extracted here if you don't have time for the whole article. It's…


Added by John Barrows on July 3, 2011 at 8:00am — 1 Comment

Is Sugar Toxic?

I once heard an interview with Jack LaLanne, just a couple of years ago. He died recently in his 90's. Until his death pictures of him still showed a robust man, fit as a fiddle, and the epitome of health. Sure his addiction to exercise was legendary. But what most people don't know was what he wasn't addicted to. Sugar!


He told the interviewer, that as a young man (in his teens) he was unhealthy, hyper-active and a trouble-maker. Then he quit eating anything that…


Added by John Barrows on June 2, 2011 at 3:30pm — 13 Comments

salt ... or not

I am a fan of salt - not "saltiness". I tell my grandchildren that salt is necessary and good for you. We are composed mainly of salt water.

In a new study, lower intake of sodium can lead to increased risk of death, stroke, and heart disease - maybe even diabetes.

“If the goal is to prevent hypertension” with lower sodium consumption, said the lead author, Dr. Jan A. Staessen, a professor of medicine at the University of Leuven, in Belgium, “this study shows it does not… Continue

Added by John Barrows on May 4, 2011 at 12:10pm — 1 Comment

Trader Joe's Blows and North American Extra Sharp Cheddar is The Way To Go

I don't like Trader Joe's. (at least in my neck of the woods). The only thing I ever buy there is cheese. First of all, to me, everything else is just goofy crap geared for death warmed over quasi-health freaks and morons who think it is a trendy place to be seen. Secondly, they are just to damn happy, especially at check out and with those freakin' Hawaiian style shirts. "Hi, how are you today. Did you find everything you were looking for? Did you see our carob coated dehydrated carrot…


Added by Patrick on February 26, 2011 at 1:08pm — 4 Comments

.... the goose is getting fat

Still a couple of weeks 'til Christmas, so there's just enough time to order that goose. For all of you folks out there who subconsciously stroll into the supermarket a couple of days before the big meal and drag another butterball turkey out of the frozen food case .... STOP!

What I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving is that it only comes once a year - and that's the only day I have to cram a mouthful of turkey down my gullet. Sure, if you buy a fresh, free-range, antibiotic and…


Added by John Barrows on December 13, 2010 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Sabrett Frankfurters.....Let's Talk Hot Dogs

What you see here is a NYC street tradition. It is a jar of Sabrett's hot dog onions. It looks like a jar of sauce in the picture but it is filled with cooked sliced onions IN a spiced sauce. The Sabrett frank is the premier choice on the streets of NY. Any vendor worth his weight sells Sabrett's. Their… Continue

Added by Patrick on May 8, 2010 at 12:00pm — 5 Comments


I hate the term. I don't know how long it's been around but it is overused as far as I'm concerned. I consider it a "Foo-Foo" term. (Meaning to be pretentious, fashionable, trendy or chic.)

Come on, what ever happened to, "you know Coke goes well with a turkey sandwich"? No, it has to be, "we suggest a turkey sandwich paired with a Coke on ice". Crap! It bugs me, man!

Is the world trying to force me to use the term? Fine. How about, "PAIR THIS!"

I feel better now.… Continue

Added by Patrick on March 19, 2010 at 4:16am — 3 Comments

Cooking With Dexter

This is a little story about one man's learning experience ... cooking with his 5 year old son

Cooking With Dexter
in the New York Times Sunday magazine March 7, 2010.

Teaching kids to eat well and how to cook can work both ways:

Writes Pete Wells (BTW Dexter is 5):

"If I am cooking and Dexter is awake, then we’re together. I try not… Continue

Added by John Barrows on March 10, 2010 at 7:32pm — 1 Comment

Nood Food

Sure, we all like dishes that have great sauces or a plethora of tasty flavorings adorning or mixed into them. Certainly that's what keeps restaurants open and chefs employed. And that's what fill most cookbooks and food sections of magazines and newspapers. Nothing wrong with that. But what you don't often see in any of these venues is the simple presentation of a good ingredient - "Nood Food"!

I mean things like a grilled steak with salt (no steak sauce), a chicken simply roasted in… Continue

Added by John Barrows on March 1, 2010 at 11:37am — 1 Comment

Duck Confit - one of the many things that the French do right.

I'm writing this mainly as a response to several of my friends who have asked me to show them how to make duck confit. Since most people rarely have a a couple of quarts of rendered duck fat lying around, it's often difficult to demonstrate in person, unless they happen to be visiting me - because I typically do have the stuff on hand. One of my friends also happens to be in the habit of using the fat for making French fries when he's visiting - which I… Continue

Added by John Barrows on February 16, 2010 at 1:32pm — 4 Comments

Good Food in Honolulu (?)

My friend, Andy, who was good enough to take me to Honolulu on a little junket declared that "there was no good food" there. I was determined to find some. Searching my iPhone for little places with good reviews, I discovered many that were well off the beaten path - and therefore not easily accessible from our hotel in Waikiki. Lo, on a bus ride back from the base of Diamond head after a hike, we passed a little place that had the look from the outside of a little run down trattoria one might… Continue

Added by John Barrows on February 6, 2010 at 11:19am — 1 Comment

fresh fish

Some fish is stuffed with Probiotic Supplement when can increase risk of Heart Surgery. Brochures about risks can often be obtained from Overseas Insurance companies. Many American companies don't… Continue

Added by Cindy Fallsen on February 3, 2010 at 6:17pm — 2 Comments

Nothing Fishy About Fish

Fresh Sardines Grilled Over Charcoal Flavored With Scallion and Rosemary Leaves

What's the difference between this dish and almost all fish recipes you'll see in modern cookbooks, magazines, and newspapers? I'll help you out .... it's simply fish with an infused flavoring that heightens and complements the basic flavor of the fish. Today I was reading the local newspaper's food section which comes out on Tuesdays.… Continue

Added by John Barrows on January 12, 2010 at 9:00am — 4 Comments

The Julie/Julia Project

Well, it's been some time since the movie came out and an even longer time since the "project" began, but none the less it is now time to comment on it/them.

The movie itself was ok. Nothing I would watch again, but then again, rarely do I ever watch any movie more than once. The acting was good although the production itself was a bit lacking. I would have rather seen a movie about Julia Child's life.

The "project" was a very interesting concept. Developed primarily out… Continue

Added by Patrick on January 4, 2010 at 10:31am — 1 Comment

The First International Holiday Breakfast-Dinner Fest

Yesterday, to celebrate the Holidays (and the impending end of 2009 - hurray!) we held the First Annual International Holiday Breakfast-Dinner Fest ... a feat never before executed in the history of the world. Our neighbors, Brian and Kyra, and our mutual friends, Laura, Laurent, Romain, and Florian (our "neighbors" in the outskirts of Paris) Skyped over a breakfast here of French toast (as envisioned by Melissa Clark, food writer for the NYTimes) and pictured below, and in France over a dinner… Continue

Added by John Barrows on December 14, 2009 at 8:54am — 2 Comments

The Third Annual G. Napoleone Memorial Meatball Cook-off (2009)

Another successful rendition of the now famous Portland G.Napoleone Meatball Contest.

The History:

Founder - John Barrows: "The third annual G. Napoleone meatball

cook-off commemorates the inaugural event three years ago when Jumbo

Conway's parents were in town for Thanksgiving. Jumbo was bragging on his

mamma's meataballs - and I started bragging on my grandfather Napoleone's

meataballs.… Continue

Added by John Barrows on December 1, 2009 at 5:19pm — 5 Comments

"Injun" food

No, the term "Injun" is not a racial slur. The English wired-jaw rulers of India pronounced the word "Indian" as "Injun".

Indian cooking (in this case vegetarian cuisine of the south) is a great example of a regional cuisine, and the simplicity and purity that define it. No, I'm not an expert on Indian cooking, but I have taught myself enough to discover the simple beauty of it's basic premise. That is, using the methods and spices proven over the millennia, and ingredients that grow… Continue

Added by John Barrows on November 22, 2009 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

Food, Inc.

Rent and watch the documentary "Food, Inc." (inspired by Michael Pollan's books)

Total corporate control of our nation's food supply from seed to market to table is literally poisoning us - worse than even the tobacco industry. It is even infiltrating and contaminating the world's food supply.

At the very least boycott anything made by Monsanto, Dyson, Smithfield. Anything containing high-fructose corn syrup or made with any kind of soybean product - and any man-made,… Continue

Added by John Barrows on November 18, 2009 at 7:28am — 1 Comment

How To Watch A TV Cooking Show

There are a multitude of cooking shows out there and they are, in general, all alike. Sure, some are better than others in certain respects but they all follow the same format and that is, "here is what I am going to make and here is how you do it".

My advise, is forget about really what the dish is they're making and watch for tips, shortcuts, techniques and general advice. I am not saying that what they happen to be making that day is not important, but essentially all they are… Continue

Added by Patrick on November 8, 2009 at 12:07pm — 7 Comments

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