How I Taught My Brother To Cook

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

Patrick's Blog (80)

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

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

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

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

Bake Sale Ban

Take a gander at this New York Times article regarding the ban of bake sales in the NYC school system. In a "nutshell", NYC school kids are too fat and the bake sales used to raise money for whatever cause exacerbates (it appears) the problem.

The number one cause for obesity is corporate America. They are forever finding new ways (and reinventing the old) to take money out of… Continue

Added by Patrick on October 14, 2009 at 8:29am — 6 Comments

Where is most home cooking done in America these days (or at least back when)?

I was listening to my local radio station the other morning and they were doing their daily "question of the day". This meant that they would give a topic and people would call in naming songs that had to do with that topic. For example if the question of the day was " What songs had the state of California in them?" people would call in and name a song that had California in it and so on.. Now this station is able (thru web streaming, etc) to broadcast by radio or the computer all over the… Continue

Added by Patrick on August 6, 2009 at 11:30am — 1 Comment

Queer Food

I just finished lunch which was comprised of a baloney sandwich, a glass of homemade iced tea and a chunk of Hershey's chocolate to finish it off. Now I am ready to rant.

Chances are very good that if you were to go into one of these fancy 5 star restaurants you will not find pot roast on the menu. The reason? It is not queer. These restaurants have chefs who spend their time inventing the most intriguing and bizarre dishes that people can go back home and brag to their friends about… Continue

Added by Patrick on June 28, 2009 at 10:01am — No Comments

The Pane di Napoleone Bread Collection

With our refinement of the original no-knead bread we (along with members) have made an assortment of creations using OUR version of the now famous basic bread technique. Below are photos from Johnny, patrick and members of this site. While everyone else is making bread the original (unimproved) way our group has taken it to new levels with much better results following the basics of our Pane di Napoleone.…


Added by Patrick on May 5, 2009 at 7:49am — No Comments

The Sandwich

The sandwich is an all around favorite. Typically eaten at lunch, they are also a crowd pleaser at dinner as well, not to mention parties. There are places that can make an excellent sandwich and there are places that can absolutely destroy it. Of course, what you choose to put in your sandwich and what style bread to use is by your preference. However, having this done to your satisfaction may be a chore if you're ordering one at a deli, for example, because it may just miss the mark on your… Continue

Added by Patrick on April 28, 2009 at 3:11pm — 4 Comments

It's All In One's Head

This little foray I am about to embark on only has meaning for those that, as children, had a good childhood and good food. If this is not the case for you then maybe this is not a blog for your senses.

If you have spent some time on our site you might have gotten the sense of where mine and Johnny's mind sets tend to harbor. Speaking for myself, I spend a good amount of time reaching back into my past and the stuff I ate growing up. We have all heard that smell is a powerful sense… Continue

Added by Patrick on April 21, 2009 at 7:27am — 3 Comments

Obama Fried Chicken vs Soul Food

Of course, unless you live under a rock (and that might not be a bad place to reside at times in this world) you may have heard about the NYC broo-ha-ha regarding 2 restaurants named "Obamas Fried Chicken". Naturally, the activists are jumping all over this and staging for boycotts and rallies. Does it ever end?

If anybody did a little search on history we would learn about soul food, its origins and what it consists of. There is nothing derogatory about soul food. It has a place in… Continue

Added by Patrick on April 9, 2009 at 1:35pm — 2 Comments

Listen to Italy's wakeup call.

The recent earthquake in Italy has more to it than the normal devastation usually associated with such a catastrophic event. Now, we have been preaching about the old ways of our ancestors including their food and eating habits for quite a while now. We have been trying to impress upon you to avoid the modern "conveniences" and fast foods. Not to mention our angst over modern practices over consumers for the so called betterment of mankind. Now comes this earthquake. Announced on NPR radio this… Continue

Added by Patrick on April 7, 2009 at 6:12am — 5 Comments

Nude Food OH MY!!

Johnny and I were talking about vegetables yesterday and I thought about it for awhile afterward, we just can't leave food at its purest state in order to consume it. Now we have the purists out there who love raw, steamed or however plainly cooked vegetables and whatever else without ANY additions. No spices, no herbs, no sauces, no nothing. The food is just sitting there completely nude, unclothed like an uninhibited exhibitionist. The most "adorned" food in my non-research are vegetables… Continue

Added by Patrick on March 23, 2009 at 5:40am — 3 Comments

I Like Sweet Potato Pie But.......(An Improv Lesson)

This is what I will call a sweet potato & squash torte.

Doesn't look bad, right?

Well, first I will say that I am not a big fan of sweet potatoes, at least heated anyway. I do enjoy sweet potato pie (cold) like I enjoy pumpkin pie (cold), but I don't like warm pumpkin, even as a soup. I am also not a huge vegetable eater. A bit screwed up, eh?

Anyway, we had some leftover mashed sweet potatoes that Debbie made. I had a couple… Continue

Added by Patrick on March 16, 2009 at 3:35pm — 2 Comments

A Brief Look Into The Window of the World

We don't watch TV around here anymore. Haven't for years. Not only has the quality tanked like the economy but it robs you of valuable time to be productive with ones OWN life instead of watching other people. We have cable coming into the house and the "kid" watches TV so we decided to find some old time shows we used to enjoy. We found old black & white Andy Griffith shows. It was indeed enjoyable to watch these old shows as simple as they were that carried so much humor and meaning (at… Continue

Added by Patrick on March 10, 2009 at 12:05pm — 2 Comments

It Ain't A Real Kitchen If Its Pretty

As far as I'm concerned there is only one kind of kitchen, the one meant for business. It isn't designed by an interior decorator, but by necessity over time. They don't have color schemes and they aren't candidates for "kitchen Beautiful" magazine. There is probably grease build up in areas of the walls and ceiling that you just can't reach to clean and maybe can't be bothered to. The counter probably has cuts in it and well as dings and the floor may have cracked tile or worn linoleum.… Continue

Added by Patrick on March 2, 2009 at 1:53pm — 3 Comments

The Lowly But Valuble Drawer

For some reason, pots and knives get preferential treatment when it comes to storage. They usually get their own unique storage location like the racks and blocks. Sometimes, ladles, large spoons and whisks get to share the pot rack. However, there is always at least one drawer in the kitchen which is a menagerie of tools and implements without rhyme or reason to their organization. This does not mean these tools are second class citizens. They are indeed crucial to the kitchen. We're talking… Continue

Added by Patrick on February 24, 2009 at 7:47am — 3 Comments

The Peanut Butter Bastard

Ok, we've now heard that the big shot at the peanut butter company knew and authorized shipment of tainted goods and thereby causing illness and death because of the thought of losing money. It is a "never heard of before" case where the powers that be (in this case, the "peanut butter bastard"), proceeded to ship out bad product knowing of its potential consequences on users.

In this pretty fair-thee-well f--ked up world, I did not flinch at this news. This is just another episode… Continue

Added by Patrick on February 11, 2009 at 11:30am — 8 Comments

Food Adjectives

Although I enjoy cooking and eating I maintain a very simple rating system: very good, good, ok and bad. These words is how I describe what I have made or have eaten. I know Johnny uses adjectives like, great, fabulous, unbelievable and the like but to me in order to achieve that state of "nirvana" would mean that after the meal you reside in a state of semi-unconscious bliss, sorta like morphine. I have never attained that level by eating food. My very good may be someone elses, unbelievable… Continue

Added by Patrick on January 29, 2009 at 1:31pm — 5 Comments

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