Thursday, November 10, 2011

Food for Thought [Thursday Think Tank November 10, 2011]

Thursday Think Tank

I've officially lived in Far Far Away, NY for over 3 months.  Do I miss NYC?  Hmmm...well...up until a few weeks ago I hadn't missed anything specific about NYC at all.  Of course I miss my friends but I have found that the people I was close to before I left are the same people who stay in touch with me even though I am 8 hours away.  But then, dum dum daaaaa, it happened.  I crave NYC food.

Anyone who knows me in real life knows I am not a foodie.  I don't care about food.  I don't enjoy cooking.  Quite frankly, I'd happily subsist on a box of Wheat Thins rather than turn on the stovetop to boil water.  The microwave?  Uh, yeah, we aren't really friends.  I find it a messy annoying beeping appliance that I'd rather avoid.  And when I am in the midst of a creative project - well, I forget to eat completely.  Of course I am completely unique in this regard.  Coming from a Cuban family I was regarded as the freakish anomaly that no one could relate to.  Then I married into a family that also values food, good food, exotic food, expensive restaurants, nice wine, that sort of thing.  But me?  Eh.

So why, why, why am I growing dizzy with desire over the thought of a regular cheese pizza from any New York City pizza place, or drooling with the consideration of an egg and cheese sandwich with salt/pepper on a roll. (I called the local delis to see if they could reproduce this delicacy and one woman said to me "wait a hamburger roll?"  UGH.)  I'd literally kill someone for a decent Saag Paneer, Mango Lassi and Naan.   Pssht, while I'm creating my dream list I might as well throw in some legitimate Cuban Cafe con Leche y Queso...because let's be real, that stuff is truly to die for and every fiber in my being yearns for it and the smell of my Grandmother's kitchen.  Then it hit me.


Our Thanksgiving Spread Brooklyn 2010
Last year we stuck to turkey-loaf as it was just three of us eating.
Miss V was asleep in her swing chair most of the day...

No, it isn't pizza or Indian food...but it is something familiar and comfortable.  A meal that is tried and true.  The menu is more or less a set one and easily managed from most decent grocery stores.  [Having experiences with Thanksgiving in other countries like the UK, Mexico, and Taiwan there are some advantages to our huge overwhelming US grocery stores when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner.]  And because I am jonesing for comfort food I am already mentally preparing my Thanksgiving menu...

  • Turkey 
  • Stuffing (I don't care for stuffing, but the Mr. does...)
  • Gravy
  • Mashed Potatoes (I like mine with butter, garlic, and sometimes cheese.  Plus, they must be mashed by hand as taught to me by my Aunt.)
  • Beets (not cranberry, beets!)
  • Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows melted on top
  • Dinner rolls with butter
  • A dish of black olives and pickles
  • String beans with almonds
I'm sure there will be more but these are the essentials for me.  I can't even think about mind is on the savory items for now.  Ah, I have two weeks to finalize my list before facing the kitchen.  

Miss E and I making Mashed Potatoes.  By hand of course!

Learning to Sew: An MRL Class
A non-edible issue on my brain these days is a promise to a friend to teach her how to sew.  She has recently acquired a Brother sewing machine and says that when she looks at it all she sees is the needle maliciously glinting at her.  Hahahahaa...I remind her that she has the ultimate power to take the needle out of the machine and show it who is boss!

But, seriously, the think tank on this one.  What to teach her and where to begin?  My experience teaching people how to machine sew has consistently taught me that no matter how comfortable I am with a sewing machine most new sewers are not.  I think I will start with how she can master the machine...once you feel comfortable using the machinery then I think you can really self teach a lot of the piecing and quilting techniques that are out there.  Any thoughts on this?  If you had to teach a friend where would you begin?

So as always...

Feel free to rattle off anything that has been brewing in your creative heads.  It can be anything, quilting, home improvement, fashion, crafting, DIY gifts, cooking...whatever you have recently thought "hmmm, you know what I should create" is perfectly appropriate for the Think Tank.  Have a blog?  Grab the Thursday Think Tank button displayed on the right.  

Please leave a link to your T.T.T. on your blog in the linky party below or leave a comment with your Thursday Think Tank ideas!  

- rebecca lynne


Archie the wonder dog said...

I'm sorry, no matter how many times I hear about it I can't get my head round sweet potato and marshmallows mixed together and then put on a plate with turkey and gravy - you'll have to pop over for a visit and make some for me to see if it tastes better than it sounds *w* As for the sewing...hmmm...I'd start with something really simple with lots of straight lines...maybe even stitching on paper with lines drawn on for her to get a feel of how the machine runs (you could use one of your old needles so she doesn't blunt her evil glinting one!) and then something easy like a very simple cushion and then perhaps moving on to something slightly more complex but still relatively easy to build her confidence. It also depends on what she wants to be able to make as if it's dressmaking she's interested in then perhaps she could tackle a simple skirt...I'm sure you'll both have lots of fun!

Issabella The Cat said...

I'm with Archie what who just eh? sweet potato and marshmallows? Is that a local thing, I've never heard of it but don't think I want to eat it! :D

Katie said...

Thanksgiving is so weird for me because my family ate different foods than what is "normal". We always had a starter course of sweet soup (don't ask what it really is because I never tried it), followed by lutefisk, Swedish meatballs, lefse, flatbread, scalloped corn, and mashed potatoes (at least there are usually found, lol). I always ended up eating just corn and potatoes and lots of lefse covered in butter and sugar. We had pickles and olives too, but never enough for all of us so someone always went without. That was my mother's side. On my father's side, it was ham and some kind of freshly killed wild game that was rotated every year. Most years it was pheasant.

Thanksgiving aside, I love to cook and could spend days in the kitchen. I don't even care if I eat what I make. I just love the process of cooking so much. If you lived close by, I would totally cook for you. :)

As for the sewing, I would recommend starting off with just straight stitching, and like Archie suggested, even stitching on paper without thread. In the sewing class I took in college, we started off by making a pin cushion and a needle book. Then we did quilted coasters to pracice turning. The bigger projects were making a tote bag and sewing children's clothing to practice making a garment. There was the option of making other things outside of class, like pillowcases and mittens. This was great for me because I had not used a sewing machine since home ec in middle school.

I guess it depends also on what your friend is interested in sewing. If she doesn't care about making clothes at all, then I don't see the need to go there.

Lucy @ Charm About You said...

I had the BEST egg and cheese roll in Florence, Italy - mmmmmmmm!!
I agree with Helen, start simple, just get used to using the pedal and straight lines. Have fun!

Patti said...

Our Thanksgiving was last month but I'm with you on the hand mashed potatoes! I sometimes put sour cream in them too, with tons of garlic natch! While I do like sweet potatoes, I prefer my marshmallows in hot chocolate!! Pickled asparagus and pickled beets please, and yes to the olives. Okay, I'm hungry now!
I wouldn't even attempt to teach someone anything, so kudos to you for agreeing to it. Were you tipsy at the time? Ha!Ha!

Janine said...

It will be fun teaching your friend to sew. Although it might seem obvious, I think getting the hang of threading up a machine, winding a bobbin, drawing up the bobbin thread etc are important because manuals are often hard to see unless you have a fair idea of how it works already. Apart from that, I think the main thing is being able to control the foot pedal and not putting her fingers in front of the needle. Apologies if this is too basic - I've only ever taught children :)

Erin @ Missy Mac Creations said...

Yep paper with lines printed on it is a great way to start - no messy thread, chance to learn to control the pedal etc etc. Maybe check out the Sewing School at Lots of great youtube videos for beginners.

Craft Couture by T.C. said...

Reading your post made me crave sweet potato and marshmallows ;)

I remember when I first got the sewing machine, the sale lady really rushed me through things. She made me scare of using the machine for a while. :(

Toni said...

I love to cook, but I really love to eat! There isn't too much that I don't like to eat, so those gross days of complete food aversion during pregnancy were torture! I love hearing what other people eat for traditional meals. I'm weird, I know.

As far as the lessons, maybe you should teach her how the machine works, like the tensions, knobs, stitch widths, etc first so she is totally comfortable with what it does first, not scared of it.

Pam said...

I'm with you re cooking. In fact, nowadays I don't cook... ever. My husband is the cook, thank goodness, or I'd starve.

Depends on the person's personality re teaching sewing. If they like to jump straight in, they'll want to sew an actual item. Go with something easy that they'll use... a child's skirt, a cushion. If they are tentative, maybe they'll need to practise on scraps first... straight lines, starting and stopping, etc.

Snoodles said...

Have you got a jellyroll? She could get used to straight line sewing, putting two strips together. Then cut into pieces, and put four-patches together. The idea would be to first get used to sewing in a straight line, and then get used to starting and stopping...kinda counter intuitive, but I think it would work. Then she could put the fourpatches together to make something simple like a tabletopper, and have a huge sense of accomplishment.
A fat quarter apron would be a good next step after that? Just some random thoughts!

Anonymous said...

If she's never sewn before, never even used a machine, I'd start with familiarizing her with the machine. I've always found that understanding how it works goes a long way toward feeling confident. Explain how to thread it, the direction the needle should face when inserted, what and when to clean (I clean out the bobbin area every time I change the bobbin), what and when to oil, frequency of needle changes, what tension means, how to tell when the tension is off, how to fix it, and what affects tension. Um...what else? Stitch length - how and when to change it. Not sewing over pins. Not sewing over one's finger. I have a couple of lovely photos to illustrate that last one. Once she's comfortable with the idea of the machine, just sew some scraps together without any purpose. Then you can start sewing long strips together. (I assume you'll also go through an "intense" course on rotary cutting. Sorry, no visual aids for that one - knock on wood.) The strips are great for subcutting into a rail fence block, which is a great "first" quilt. They're fast and don't require much in the way of seam matching, but still feel like an accomplishment. Another, even easier first, is a Chinese coin table runner - strip sets sub-cut and sewn into long columns, alternating with solid strips to make a table runner or small quilt. That has NO matching seams to worry about.