I wanted to finish with my favorite soda fountain drink, which is also one of the simplest: the flavored Coke. My dad first introduced me to these at a historic diner in West Lafayette, Indiana, a place known as the Triple XXX, and no, not for pornography. He ordered me a simple vanilla Coke and to this day I don’t think I’ve tasted a better soft drink. Made from genuine Coca Cola syrup with a shot of thick vanilla syrup added, it was served cold with no ice (as soft drinks usually were back in the heyday of soda fountains) and I savored every last drop.
The lime rickey is a sleeper soda fountain delicacy that I love. Not terribly sweet, not too citrusy, but with a sophisticated twang that comes from the addition of cocktail bitters. It’s a snap to make if you happen to have a little simple syrup lying around. Add to a glass about an ounce of lime juice…
The black cow is another fountain staple, and the favorite drink of my father-in-law. It goes like this. Pour about two tablespoons of chocolate syrup into your favorite glass.
Of course it has no eggs nor any cream, which you know, are expensive. This drink is sometimes known as a “phosphate” since once upon a time soda jerks put dabs of diluted phosphoric acid in them to give a little extra kick. Sound scary? Actually it’s not, though when I went to look for phosphoric acid in the pantry I found I was fresh out. So I made do with the usuals: chocolate syrup, whole milk and soda. You start by adding about two tablespoons of chocolate syrup to a glass of your choice (Fox’s U?Bet syrup is the classic).
Rick Bayless calls these Juchitán-style tamales, which is a word I love to say: “hoochie-TAHN.” Juchitán is a city located in the southeastern Mexican state of Oaxaca (also fun to say: wah-HOCK-ah). It’s a town known for food, art, cross-dressing and indigenous languages. Don’t ask me about the third thing, it’s a long story…Mrs. Pastry will tell you all about it if you ask her, she was in Juchitán in November on a research project.
Now just to be clear, I don’t have to eat the wrapping too, do I? I remember quite clearly asking that question when I was first confronted with non-convenience store tamales. How the heck do you eat these things? It’s a fair question for any inexperienced tamale-eater, since very few foods land on our dinner plates still in the wrapping…unless of course Dad got lazy dishing up the Happy Meals at the kitchen table this week (something you can pretty much count on at our house).
“Mielie” in Afrikaans means “corn.” As for “pap”, that’s not hard to figure out: “porridge”, “gruel” that sort of thing. This version is clearly not a gruel, souped up as it is with honey, but more than that bacon and cheese (which make everything taste better). My 4-year-old, who’s mad for all things corn — cornbread, tortillas, tamales, arepas, you name it — couldn’t get enough of this and had to be restrained lest she exploded. Begin by turning your oven on to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Next combine the milk, buttermilk, honey, butter, salt and corn meal in a saucepan.
This a pretty dressed up version of the South African classic. Some call this a cornbread but a baked pudding or porridge is really what it is. Save for the cheddar cheese, this could easily be a classic southern American preparation. Check it out:
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup milk
2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup chopped slab bacon
Salt crusted chicken is a French preparation that makes up in razzle-dazzle what it lacks in presentation. A steamed chicken isn’t as golden and crispy-looking as a standard roast chicken, but the technique produces a subtly seasoned and extremely moist bird. Start by preheating your oven to 325. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of your mixer.
Here’s something that’s well outside of what I normally do — and thank goodness because I sorely need a change of pace. Although thinking about it, this technique has a lot more in common with pastry than it does with, say, grilling. Technically speaking, it’s in the same spirit as Medieval pie bakery, which I’ll get into a little later. For now let’s get to the recipe. You’ll need:
1 large, 4-6 pound roasting chicken
1 medium onion
2-3 springs rosemary
2-3 sprigs parsley
2-3 springs thyme
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic