Monday, September 3, 2012

Leslie's Got a Brand New Blog!

Yes, it’s true: I have been very lax about posting here of late.

But not to worry—I have a new blog, dedicated to the joys of mystery writing and food. It’s called Custard and Clues, and you can find it here

I want to thank everyone who has followed me here at eat.sing.ride. This blog will stay up and running, and if I have things to say about music or cycling, I will continue to post them on eat.sing.ride. But for my musings about mysteries, writing in general, and food, you can henceforth following me at Custard and Clues.

See you there!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Celebrating Alaska’s Bounty

eat. When I saw an ad in the Fairbanks paper for the end-of-the-year dinner presented by the UAF Culinary Arts Department students, I quickly called up to get reservations for Robin and me. Having gone through the culinary arts program at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, I know what a great deal these sorts of dinners are.

This $100-a-plate meal, the ad said, was called “Celebrating Alaska’s Bounty,” and would consist of eight courses, using wherever possible sustainable, locally sourced ingredients. 

Click here to read about the meal on our Fairbanks Dreaming website.

 table setting, with the amuse bouche 
deviled picked egg with bairdi (aka snow) crab

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mooseburgers, Reindeer, and Pie—Oh, My!

Click here to see the post on our Fairbanks Dreaming site.

 a mooseburger BBQ in the snow!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A New Blog About Fairbanks, Alaska

Robin and Ziggy and I have now arrived in the chilly northern reaches of the country, where we will be until mid-June. It’s been a balmy 10°F the past few days, with a lovely, light snow falling at times. Ziggy has taken to the new clime like the Jack Russell she is; her new name is the Snow Dog.

at Creamer’s Field, Fairbanks
[photo: Elizabeth Shapland]

We’ve started a new blog, entitled Fairbanks Dreaming, which will detail our non-eating, singing, and riding experiences while in Alaska. But stay tuned here, too, for posts about the afore-mentioned subjects.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Your New Irish Stew

eat. As you may know from past posts, I am in a Finnegans Wake reading group which meets twice a month at a local Irish pub to drink beer and ponder the wonder of James Joyce’s brain. (One of our members has a blog about the group.)

It’s been almost three years, and we are now up to page 216—about a third of the way through. (You may think, ah! That means they’ll be done in six more years. But no, as the work is circular—the first sentence of the book is the second half of the last sentence—we’ve decided to just keep going when we finish, and start all over again.)

Some of my readers no doubt are aware that Finnegans Wake is a dense, complicated work of fiction, which spans the history of everything. But did you know that it also contains a recipe? When we came across this passage last month, we decided that for our next book group dinner party we would have to have the dish as the centerpiece.

ingredients for the new Irish stew

Here, in his Joyce’s words (at pp.189-190)—which are surprisingly easy to understand, compared to most of the book—is the recipe for “your new Irish stew.” [The captions in brackets under the photos are my editorial comments.], who sleep at our vigil and fast for our feast, you with your dislocated reason, have cutely foretold...(O hell, here comes our funeral! O pest, I’ll miss the post!) that the more carrots you chop,

[note the recipe book on hand for easy reference]

the more turnips you slit,

the more murphies you peel,

the more onions you cry over,

the more bullbeef you butch,

the more mutton you crackerhack,

[I used lamb neck, since mutton is hard to find
and is a tad gamey, in any case]

the more potherbs you pound,

[oregano and flat-leaf parsley are what happened to be in my garden]

the fiercer the fire

and the longer your spoon and the harder you gruel with more grease to your elbow

the merrier fumes your new Irish stew.

So now you can say you’ve read a part of Finnegans Wake. And understood it!

I admit I added some steps to the recipe: I floured the bullbeef and mutton and browned it, and then braised the meat, carrots and turnips in Guinness stout (JJ would have approved of this, as Arthur Guinness and Sons features prominently in the book.) I roasted the chopped murphies and onions in the oven with the potherbs, and added them to the stew at the very end. Here it is plated up, along with the delicious Irish soda bread Cathy made for the meal:

Cathy also made a light and creamy Carrageen moss blancmange for dessert. (I have to admit that whenever I hear the word blancmange, I think of that exceedingly silly Monty Python skit about the dessert become incarnate. See here, and start at 1:45.) You can see Cathy’s blancmange on the left of this photo of our dinner party:

And here is a close-up of a slice, showing the raspberry and brandy(?) sauce she made to go with it.

We move on to Part II of Finnegans Wake next meeting—quite the milestone. But as Robin and I leave this week for four months in Fairbanks, Alaska (more about that in later posts), I will have to follow along with the Wake via phone calls to catch up on what’s been discussed.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Do You Follow Lance on Twitter?

ride. It’s been a while since I’ve written about cycling, and high time for another post. So when I saw this video on Facebook (hat tip to Sandy S. for posting it), I laughed so hard I knew I had to pass it along to y’all.

Are those carbon wheels?
(all photos of 2008 Santa Cruz Criterium)

Folks who ride bikes, follow the Tour de France, or hang out with cyclists will no doubt appreciate it the most, but I think others will find it amusing too. And no, it’s not all that far-fetched; I’ve heard lots of those phrases come out of the mouths of Lycra-clad road warriors. (Okay, so I’ve said some of them, too).

The video was made in support of an organization called Peopleforbikes, which has an on-line petition you can sign. They describe their purpose as follows:

We formed (PFB) in 2010 to help make bicycling better for everyone. We wanted to encourage individuals to show their support for safe, stress-free bicycling in their hometowns. We wanted to publicize and celebrate all the great things that happen when people ride bikes.
I’m pretty sure I have a flat.

So far, so good! After a solid first year, the PFB movement nearly tripled in size during 2011. Nearly 500,000 supporters now power our collective, unified voice. We will continue to grow in 2012.
We've rallied the PFB troops four times to show how much Americans care about the federal investment in bicycling. In 2011, our movement sent more than 100,000 letters to U.S. Representatives and Senators. These messages made a strong impression, and inspired Congress to preserve dedicated funding for essential bike infrastructure and programs—at least for now.

I’d totally be a pro if I didn’t have to work.
Nevertheless, some members of Congress still want to eliminate all support for bicycling and reallocate that money to highways. They fail to recognize how the steady federal investment is boosting bicycling and helping our nation in many important ways. They overlook the tangible outcomes and the cost-effectiveness: 3,000 bike projects are backed nationwide for less than the cost of a dozen miles of multi-lane highway in a single city.
Your voices have made a difference. But the fight isn't over.
2012 will be a challenging year for federal support of bicycling. Federal transportation funding expires at the end of March. Congress must either approve a new, multi-year bill or extend the current bill again. Either way, the value of ongoing bicycling investments will be debated. Future funding will be determined. is ready for this fight, and we want all of our supporters to be ready for additional calls to action. Together we can protect key investments in bicycling that keep people safe and encourage more individuals to get on their bicycles.

Ride on, people!

Crits are so lame.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Perfect Baguette Recipe, Now Published

eat. Several years ago I mentioned here that Marty Ginsburg, the wonderful, witty, tax professor/attorney husband of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had divulged to me the recipe he had come up with for “the perfect baguette.” Based on two long phone conversations with him, I had written out—to his exacting instructions—a detailed recipe for his baguettes, which I sent to him, and which he subsequently approved (with some minor changes).

As I note at the beginning of the recipe, “I am not an experienced baker, but followed the recipe carefully and ended up with the best baguettes I have ever had outside of France.” And it’s true.

a batch of the "perfect baguettes," just out of the oven

The next year, I asked Marty if I could include the recipe in my memoir about the dinner I had cooked for him and his jurist wife, Cooking For Ruth. (You can read about the dinner here.) Apologetically, he requested that I not use it, explaining that so many folks were always asking to publish his recipes that he just found it easiest to say “I never let any of them be published.”

Marty and me at the dinner I cooked for the Ginsburgs

Sadly, Marty passed away in 2010. As a tribute to him, several of the Supreme Court spouses decided to put together a book of his recipes, entitled Chef Supreme. It’s published by the Supreme Court Historical Society, and is available on line, and at the Supreme Court gift shop.

When I heard about the book, I of course had to buy a copy. It arrived yesterday, and I immediately started flipping through the pages. The frontispiece is a charming photo of Ruth and Marty:

web photo, (c) Mariana Cook, 1998

And lo and behold, to my delight I saw that the third recipe in the book is entitled “The Perfect Baguette,” and is a word-for-word reproduction of the recipe I had written down and sent to Marty. (And yes, the book does give me credit.) I guess Ruth must have passed it along to the Supreme Court spouses for inclusion in the cookbook.

So the good news is that his terrific recipe is now available for all the world to use.

working, after my bike ride, on a batch of Marty’s baguettes

You can read about the cookbook, and about Marty and his famous baguettes, here. And if you’d like to buy a copy, go to this website (note that the book is $25, but there’s also a $10 shipping fee).