Category Archives: Funny Iris quote

Make way for…

The other day I got a call from a reporter for the Huffington Post, who wanted to talk to me about my book. Because it was the Huffington Post, I got the sense that she wanted me to be as controversial as possible. I doubt I lived up to this expectation; usually when I try to be controversial, I fail miserably. For example–and this is not a joke–I once wrote a column that I was sure would be total flamebait. It was about treasury bonds.

Anyway, the reporter asked me whether I’d heard of the book That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, a children’s picture book about vegetarianism and factory farming. I said I hadn’t. She asked whether I would mind if Iris read the book. I said, well, I’m not going to bring it home from the library, but if Iris comes across it and wants to read it, I’m not going to try and stop her, either.

Iris was lying on the couch reading a (different) book, and she said, “WHAT? WHAT BOOK?” After I got off the phone, I explained that it was a book arguing that people shouldn’t eat animals.

“But I love crispy duck leg,” said Iris, and went back to reading.

See also.

A conversation after dinner

Iris and I had lunch today at Blue C Sushi, the conveyor belt sushi place. Iris ate and enjoyed a tempura green bean.

After dinner, I had to drag Iris into the shower because she was absorbed in a new book.

Laurie: Books are evil.

Matthew: Yeah. Iris, from now on, no more books, only video games.

Iris: NOOOOOOOOO.

Matthew: And no more salad, only burgers.

Iris: That’s okay, because I don’t like salad.

Matthew: You like green beans, though. You ate one today.

Iris: Yeah, but it had a crunchy outfit around it.

A thali for my crew

Poppy is this awesome restaurant in my neighborhood. The gimmick is that they serve thali meals, more or less Indian-influenced fare served in small dishes. You order a thali and you get a bunch of little delicious bites all to yourself. Here’s today’s thali, for example. (You can also get a smali, which has a couple fewer dishes and costs $10 less.)

Every day’s menu has a name. Last Tuesday, for example, was A Thali for Our 44th. I know, because we were there. Iris and I got Laurie a gift card for her birthday and we all had dinner at Poppy on Tuesday.

Iris liked the eggplant fries and the beef tongue and potato pancakes, but she was really after the dessert thali, made by our friend Dana Cree. The dessert thali is insane. You get to choose an ice cream and a plated dessert, plus a variety of extra small desserts (crispy Nutter Butter squares and chocolate caramels were a couple of ours). Iris, naturally, went crazy for this and ate most of the chocolate malt ice cream.

Everything Iris loves, hates, fears, or covets ends up in a kitty-and-pirate story sooner or later, so tonight K. Rool and his crew headed for Poppy. Here are the savory and dessert menus.

A THALI FOR GETTING MAROONED

two sandwiches
some fries
milk

sorry, no rum

A DESSERT THALI FOR NUTTER BUTTER SQUARES

cookies and cream cake
raspberry and chocolate ice cream bars
regular ice cream
milkshake
opera cake
slice of fun cake
strawberry-basil tart
cream horn

sorry, no hardtack

We’ve got duck legs

One of my winter break projects this year was making homemade duck confit. Even though I love duck confit, I’d resisted making it because I thought it would be hard.

It was a snap. I used eight duck legs, three pounds of duck fat, and the recipe from Paula Wolfert’s Cooking of Southwest France, which you can find online. I cooked it and put it up (okay, put it in the fridge) two weeks ago, without a hitch, and tonight we cracked into it and had roasted crispy confit for dinner. “Can I get one with a duck bone?” asked Iris. She could. This confit was as good as any I’ve had anywhere, albeit a little light on the salt, which will be easy to fix next time.

A few notes on making confit. First, the process takes three days, but the first day (dry-rubbing the legs) and the third day (layering the top of the container with lard) take ten minutes or less. The actual cooking done on the second day is extremely simple: put the legs in the fat, bring them up to temperature, cook until tender, put away. That took about three hours.

The main thing to know is that the first batch is the expensive one, because you have to buy the duck fat, unless you cook a lot of ducks (hi, Liza!) and render the fat. Once you have the duck fat, you can reuse it for additional batches of confit for several months, at which point you’re looking at a marginal cost of a couple bucks per leg. Per serving, that’s cheaper than fresh chicken breasts, and (I measured) thirteen times better.

There are four legs remaining in the fridge, and I’m going to let them sit tight for another few weeks and see if the flavor changes.

Oh, while Iris was eating her duck leg, she pointed to a piece of cartilage and said, “I think that’s the duck’s gill.” Perhaps we haven’t adequately explained the whole waterfowl concept.