T.V. Food Personalities, Good Eatin’ & ” Make Sure You Don’t Get Hollered At!”

Jun 14


JACQUES PEPIN…I’ve never seen a show of his where I didn’t learn something valuable or new to me. I’ve never met him, but I know folks who have. They say he is just as genuine in person as he comes across on television.

NIGELLA LAWSON…Maybe it’s her British accent ? Maybe it’s because I like how her shows are produced-the camera shots and lighting are very clear and crisp. I try to tell myself it’s not because she is a woman who is easy on the eyes. I just always enjoy her matter of fact approach to cooking…not at all fussy or pretentious. Good recipe selections too.   nigella.com

CHUCK HUGHES… Here is a guy that has an easy going manner and you can tell he just loves to cook. I love his “Chuck’s Day Off’ and the recent shows from Mexico. Great subjects. This is the kind of guy I would want in my restaurant kitchen. chuckhughes.ca/

LAURA CALDER…Recent James Beard winner form Canada-Food Network. “French Food at Home”. I’ll just go ahead and say it; gotta a big crush on this gal! Not only that, her recipes and presentations are well thought out; along with really good themes on every show. Since I started my apprenticeship learning the French way to cook, I feel connected to what she does. Too bad , in Portland we don’t get her newer shows. lauracalder.ca/


Make some P B & J Candy? Jimmy and I did; when we were eight years old. We’d go to his house, just about a half mile from our “acre’. Grab a loaf of Wonder sandwich bread (my mom BAKED all of our bread) and take out 10 slices.  Next you slather peanut butter on all the slices you had laid out on the counter ; then you start putting jam or jelly (my favorite was red plum) on the slices and  make two sandwiches … five slices each. Then we would go into the garage; get two wide boards , put the sandwich in between . Put the whole deal in the vise on his dad’s workbench and I would tighten it up. Now it will be pretty sloppy, but you just catch the oozing peanut butter and jam goo on your fingers and lick it off; that was Jimmy’s favorite part. You can’t tighten it too much…do it right or it will squash out  the sides of the board. Repeat with the other sandwich.
Then you eat the “PB&J Candy”. It’s also a good idea to clean up the mess or you’ll get hollered at and stuff! Drink some milk too.

Makin’ Chili and Fritos Stew? At Longfellow Jr. High in San Antonio, Texas- in the cafeteria on Wednesdays- they served the best chili I have ever eaten (tried dozens of time to make it-CAN’T) . All the football players-at least the 8 TH and 9 TH grade guys- would all sit together…wearing our green and gold letterman jackets; making sure we got seen.
Since all the lunch ladies were Latinas, they served a selection of Mexican dishes on Wednesdays…and they probably used their own recipes. The guys would all buy 2 large bowls of chili each , 2 sides of Mexican rice & 2 small bags of Fritos. Back at your seat…. first thing to do is to make the ” stew”.  The chili had this wonderful red grease floating on top, lots of it; you added the rice-one per bowl and stirred. The Fritos got pounded on the table so you had nice salty Frito bits. We poured those on top-1 bag per bowl. Then shut your mouth and get out of the way! That my dear friends…. was our Chili Fritos Stew. Every Wednesday; every week. I think if they had made that chili every day-that’s all the football team would have eaten. (If you are interested-check out The Chili Queens of San Antonio” on Google.)

 Does Your Mom make “Pillsbury Doughnuts”? That’s what we called them. If it was chilly that day or she made hot chocolate in the evening, we would clamor for those doughnuts. My job was to peel the label off the can, press the side and the biscuit can would pop open. Mom made some cinnamon sugar . Put Crisco into the heavy, hammered aluminum pot she had ( the one with the broken handle on the side -she loved that beat up old pot); and heat it to the right temperature. We poked a hole into the middle of the biscuits,set them on a plate to rise a bit. After puffing up, she eased them into the hot oil to brown . After the first side, she flips them over so the second side was the same .  She lifted them onto paper towels to drain….but while they were still warm, I would put the cinnamon sugar in a small,  brown paper bag. It’s good to shake one or two at a time until well coated . There isn’t a kid on earth that wouldn’t  be happy, pleased and content with those doughnuts…. and some hot chocolate. Today you can buy wonderful doughnuts  in Portland, Oregon : Voodoo, Tonales on NE Alberta, the little chocolate doughnut rounds at Tasty n’ Sons  in NE Portland and others…but somehow those “Pillsbury Doughnuts” from my childhood hold the top spot on my nostalgia list.

AND IN CLOSING….. The subject is KITCHEN KNIVES? I would like to hear about your favorite knife stories; preferences , what features you like about your favorite knives…any information you would like to share! It will be fun!

COMING SOON– I will introduce you to my ” Advisory Committee of SIX LADIES” . We’ll learn why they have so much to share.







  1. I have some ‘Kitchen Aid’ knives that are decent, but what I love about them is they are made out of a single piece of metal. No seams, no bolts or screws, nothing to ‘wear away’, and very easy to clean.

    • Kitchen Aid puts their name on products of quality…using many different manufacturers. I also like the ‘seamless design’. If I’m not wrong, I think this design came from the Japanese. There are so many choices out there nowadays. The hype seems to be mostly the German ones on the market. The Japanese have a big following with die hard cooks and chefs…with lots of attention to the use of ceramic super sharp blades. Myself? I bought a set of Forschner knives in 1982, have used them daily since ; love them. Lightweight and handy. The are really affordable; probably 25-60% cheaper than the “hot ” brands. Plus they have been the #1 winner of “COOKS ILLUSTRATED/AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN ‘ annual knife tests for several years running. Good pedigree too. Made by the company that makes Swiss Army Knives ! I say get a knife you like, holds an edge, buy a good “diamond steel” and use it often to hone the edge;then slice , chop and carve away!

  2. Nancy Wellman /

    One of my favorite school lunch offerings was dressing with gravy. I don’t know how they made that dressing, or if the gravy came from a can, but it was damn good. I haven’t had any dressing and gravy that comes close. Tried to make it, CAN’T. Considering all the calories, fat and sodium, I guess it’s probably a good thing. As for the knives, one thing I have been told is that you never, never, never put them in the dishwasher. It dulls the blade. If that’s not true, I’d sure like to be able to put them in the dishwasher.

    • Dressing and gravy…what’s not to like! In my elementary school they didn’t have a lunch program. There was an old dusty kitchen, no cafeteria food though. I would have loved to have some good dressing and gravy. Well, Nancy…I’m just going to have to make some for you sometime; on a day when you say : “Hell with diet, today”. Let’s see if I can measure up.
      Knives in the dishwasher? Not a good Idea. Affects blades and the handles too. I had a friend (now deceased) who was a FOODIE years before it was cool….purchased high end knives with rosewood handles and insisted his wife run them through the dishwasher. They split, finish came off, it was rough on one’s hands to use. Too bad. He bought alot of knives. I haven’t purchased knives (except for replacing lost paring ) sine 1982!

  3. Dave Cota /

    Have a set of Henkels, stainless from target, not the carbon ones. missing one steak and one paring. Probably will wait to invest in some carbon. Will look at Forschner. Right after I get a completely impractical Laguiole pocketknife. Carry knives have gotten way too tactical.

    • Dave…those Henkels are good knives or they wouldn’t have lasted so long in the trade. As far as carbon steel- no question they are the best at holding an edge. I still have my set of Sabatier from France. A real old line company…absolutely first rate. However, if a guy is going to use carbon steel knives you have to put them in a locking drawer or an old red PROTO tool box ( like where mine have been residing for 40 years); otherwise, some person will use it, put in the sink dirty or worse yet….sitting in water! YIKES! The beauty of Forschner-durable, low cost, great quality and the lighter weight feels good in the hand-like my Sabatier knives do. THe pocket knife…I disagree my friend! What is impractical about that. it’s a great idea!!!! Do you have a Laguiole wine opener? SWEET tool!

Leave a Reply