Wednesday, November 25, 2009

character and ingredient envy

I looked at this book with some doubt when Scottish Husband brought it back from Atlanta lately. It took me a while to get over the hairstyle, the exclamation mark, and the general air of being pleased just to be among friends.

By the time I'd flicked through to the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich under a silver dome plate cover, I was quite a fan. I'd like to be an American too. I'd like to forge sincerely ahead, bring my family values to cooking, celebrate Elvis's birthday and live on oyster-stuffed quail instead of boring old toast. I'd like to have tremendous confidence, chat-show genes, charming openness and a larger washing-machine.

And I'd like to have the phone number of whichever US department is in charge of Foreign Aid as I urgently need these ingredients: grits, graham crackers, jack cheese, refrigerator biscuits and vanilla wafers.


  1. Yes! I think I can just about cope with the measuring in cups, but then get defeated by mysterious ingredients. Of course, that could just be another excuse of mine...

  2. I feel so pedestrian. I don't even know what refrigerator biscuits are...

  3. speccy, thanks for pinning your picture up over there on the right. You're a very friendly presence in these troubled times, not that the times are troubled.

    Shell, I think refrigerator biscuits are big fancy cars with V8 engines that wouldn't fit on European roads and that run on ridiculously cheap petrol. I'm only guessing here.

  4. 2 questions:

    Are you still talking to your husband?

    Is refrigerator a flavour?

  5. Giggling at the back, soon to be sent to headmistress

  6. Jaboopee, to be fair, he asked whether I'd like perfume or bling but I said no, as I've cleared the perfume and bling dresser in the bedroom for MY poetry competition prize. If I were you I'd withdraw my entry before things get ugly. I mean that in the nicest possible way.

  7. Was witness to Biscuits and Gravy while in Memphis - they did *not* live up their name!! Just bought a book on American Diner Cooking for a friend and looks very intersting! G

  8. haha... even tho im in canada, i can get almost all that stuff here... and i know what most of it is !
    grits tho, straight from the south of USA, hard to find here in the north.
    good luck and have fun!

  9. Yes but we still don't know what refrigerator biscuits are. Whatever you do don't get that hair do! Husbands get some brilliant present ideas sometimes don't they!

  10. OMG! Paula Dean is hilarious to us Northerners...or maybe just me. However I would love to be her cardiologist as she has an amazing obsession with butter.

    I can get most of those things but I refuse to send you grits. They are absolutely terrible in my eating sand. Refrigerator biscuits are simple biscuits/rolls that come refrigerated in a can. You twist the can and pop then out...amusing none the least. I'll be happy to answer any more questions about the mysteries of American foods...there are many a mystery LOL :)

  11. Good lard she must be a type because she looks just like Patti Newton in Australia. I would like to be American too sometimes. Oh the optimism. I am guessing she has one overdecorated house though.

    I also pine for Graham Crackers (pronounced Gram not Graaaa-aam as we would). They are SUCH an important ingredient in US style slices.

    Ps my word verification is slogram. Does it KNOW?

  12. Oh I have just read Amy's comment. Biscuits in a can! That takes the cake, so to speak. Is there anything that can't be canned?

  13. haha i thought refrigerator biscuits are the kind that you make the batter and keep it in the fridge and just bake some today and some tomorrow or whenever you want.
    apparently i have no idea
    ~cheers, laura

  14. Paula Deen could easily lead one down a delightful path to a heart attack. I've never seen so many recipes incorporate sticks of butter. It's actually her talent, I believe, to take a recipe (such as steamed corn) and turn it into a butter-kicking, gravy-pouring, biscuit accompanying kind of meal.

    Enjoy. ;)

  15. What's wrong with butter? I've got quite a few Martha Magazines and, I have to say, southern style cooking looks amazing!

    If I lived in the USA, I'd probably be huge in a few months!!!

  16. I'm not going to dis our American friends, Mise. I'm sure every country has a Paula Deen of their own.... although, I have had grits (YUK), I think we had some of those biscuits in a can here in England, a few years ago. They were obviously not a success !!
    Will you let us know if you make anything out of the book ? XXXX

  17. all this talk about this woman, then i go on my facebook and find this !

    its kind of awkward... ~L
    altho i have a bit of a warped sense of humour

  18. I just love Americans, they're just indefatigable when it comes to celebrations. July 4th! Labor Day! Superbowl! Halloween! Thanksgiving! Christmas! Damn it, they need ready made food in a can or tube...those women are exhausted. Spare a thought for our American "sisters" as they celebrate Thanksgiving today. Meredy xo.

  19. Ah, lads, no disrespect is intended, but rather admiration of American verve and of a style of cooking that outdoes Nigella herself.

    I occasionally see croissants in a tube for sale here and stockpile them as they are v. delicious - I wish everything else came in so easy a form.

  20. I always thought refrigerator biscuits were the kind you made with melted chocolate etc and then set in the fridge? But that would be in the UK. I hear they do things differently in America.

    And digestive biscuits are a fair approximation to graham crackers I think....

    PS Went to the Post Office today - thought you might be interested to know, Mise ;-) (And now I'm going out to have coffee with friends. Later I shall have lunch. I can pop back later on and share more details of my day if you wish?)

  21. The Post Office, humel? My heart missed a beat. But wait, don't go yet. What did you wear and how did you get there? Which friends and what sort of coffee? Lunch, really?

  22. Oh my! Such interesting reading for this American.

  23. i mean this in the nicest possible way too...BUT....
    it's MINE...

    I'm ACTUALLY redecorating my ENTIRE bedroom in anticipation

  24. I've actually been to Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah. She doesn't make true Southern cooking, though. A true Southern cook would never use refrigerator biscuits in a recipe. They'd use homemade.

    I have to say that real grits cooked properly are heavenly. They're just the American version of soft polenta, really (I'm a Northern girl, so I put maple syrup, butter--just a pat, not a Paula-style stick--and a bit of milk on mine). Paula Deen scares the beejesus out of me. My brother lives just outside of Savannah, and they do talk some trash about her down there, but I'll admit that I admire her gumption.

  25. I'll start worrying if your profile picture shows you with Paula's hairdo, okay? Good grief, Charlie Brown!


  26. Living on the edge of the deep south, I see newspaper advertisements for "See Paula Deen Live" when she appears at the nearby casinos! I'm an American, but I'd perhaps face a firing squad before I would attend something like this. We try to eat mostly organic, healthy foods at Garvinweasel, maybe have some foie gras (on boring old toast) and Champagne at Christmas, and not a biscuit to be found in the refrigerator. Paula Deen brings to mind, for me, the old joke:

    Q: how many feminist does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: that's not funny

  27. I absolutely adored Ireland during my too short visit. But I'm just not sure I could give up graham crackers, jack cheese, refrigerator biscuits and vanilla wafers.


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