Archive for the ‘Cook Book’ Category


I read this book about Moldova and realized that I didn’t know a thing about the country.  So while looking up Moldovan music, I found this collection on YouTube.

I’m sure it’s quite subjective, but it’s a start for hearing some Moldovan pop songs.  There’s a bit of diversity here.  Most of these songs are dancey.  Many of them are in English (apparently Moldovan singers sing in English, Russian or Ukranian, typically).

I’ve noted songs that are in English, with a very brief description of any songs that aren’t straight up dance songs.  I’ve also put in bold my favorite tracks.

  • 01. Vanotek – Back To You [eng]
  • 02. Irina Rimes – Cosmos
  • 03. Misha Miller – What Mama Said [eng]
  • 04. Valeria Stoica – Get Back [eng] (slower, almost folky singer songwriter)
  • 05. Dan Balan – Hold On Love [eng]
  • 06. The Motans – August
  • 07. Hans Green – Run Uma [eng]
  • 08. Iova – Hit The Gas [eng] (interesting sounds and melody)
  • 09. Dan Balan – Numa Numa 2 (dance with steel drums)
  • 10. Blacklist ft. Carla’s Dreams – Tequila (rap)
  • 11. Nicoleta Nuca – N-am Pierdut Nimic (pop singer)
  • 12. Mark Stam – Doar Noi (power ballad)
  • 13. Tosh – Simplu (slow ballad)
  • 14. Mihail – Who You Loved [folky, gravelly voice]
  • 15. The Motans – Versus
  • 16. Nicoleta Nuca – Nu Sunt (diva)
  • 17. Mark Stam – Vina Mea (power ballad)
  • 18. Ionel Istrati – Wake Me Up [eng] (poppy with a big drop)
  • 19. Carla’s Dreams – Sub Pielea Mea (this band is very popular, featuring a masked singer who raps and other things)
  • 20. Natalia Gordienko – Drunk (Pyanaia) (diva–I can;t tell from the video if she is happy or in anguish)
  • 21. Infected Rain – Black Gold {heavy metal) [A growling female singer with heavy chords and lots of synth]
  • 22. Lia Taburcean – La Nunta Asta (folk/polka) [This song is a lot of fun]
  • 23. Andrew Rayel ft. Emma Hewitt – My Reflection (dance banger)
  • 24. Carla’s Dreams ft. INNA – Te Rog [Not as heavy as the other Carla’s Dream songs]
  • 25. The Motans ft. Delia – Weekend (folk dance)
  • 26. Misha Miller ft. Alex Parker – Fix Your Heart (eng)
  • 27. Valeria Stoica – Empty Air (eng) [Folky dancey singer songwriter]
  • 28. Irina Rimes – My Favorite Man [interesting vocal manipulations in a dance song].

[READ: August 20, 2020] Be Our Guest.  Discover Moldova!

I saw this book at work and decided to check it out since I know nothing about Moldova.  I didn’t realize that it was primarily a cookbook.  There’s also some cultural information, but you would check it out for the traditional Moldovan dishes as prepared by Nata Albot and her mother.  It was originally published in 2018 as Hai la masă, puișor! and translated by Doina Cioca.

Nata Albot is a blogger, TV producer, journalist and a media manager from Moldova. She has had several popular shows on radio and televisions in Moldova since she was 16 years old. She graduated from the Law School of Moldova State University. She produced the TV series “Aventura Americană” about Moldovan students spending their summers working and traveling in the United States. In 2013 she moved from Chișinău to Montreal.

This is her second cookbook.

It features

  • Salads
  • Breakfast
  • Snacks
  • Vegetables
  • Mains Course
  • Meat
  • Pastries
  • Winter Preserves
  • Dessert

Albot is big into fresh vegetables (radishes, cucumbers, peppers) in her salads, but is not above throwing in some beef heart.  While most of the recipes were interesting and a few sounded fantastic, some of them were…questionable.  Like Soured Milk.  For this drink, you boil milk, add sour cream, cover and let sit for 2 to 3 days.  The picture is even more revolting than the description. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: COURTNEY BARNETT-“Dawned on Me” (from WILCOvered, UNCUT Magazine November 2019).

The November 2019 issue of UNCUT magazine had a cover story about Wilco.  It included a 17 track CD of bands covering Wilco (called WILcovered or WILCOvered).  I really enjoyed this collection and knew most of the artists on it already, so I’m going through the songs one at a time.

This is a pretty standard cover of this song with Courtney Barnett on acoustic guitar with no accompaniment..  Her voice sounds great and it’s fun to hear her sing this in her Australian accent.  I definitely miss the wonderful bass line in the song, but her version is lovely.

[READ: February 2, 2020] Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 2

The book opens with Peony in a cell.  The disembodied voice shows that she signed a contract to be on Cannibal Coliseum. It is signed Peggy, ha.  They tell her she’ll be chopping or being chopped in an hour.

She says that she can’t cut up and cook someone.  The voice says “It’s called Can-nibal Coliseum not Can’t-ibal…”

Peony realizes the she has her phone so she turns it on and sees NO BARS.  You’re in space, what did you expect.

Back at the Space Battle Lunchtime set, it is revealed that Peony left a note–she forfeited.  But the cameraman says that doesn’t sound like her. Neptunia says that Peony bailed on their date as well.  And, what a surprise, Chef Melonhead has offered to fill in for the missing Peony.

Neptunia and the camera guy look at footage of the  loading doc and see that Peony was taken by a Cannibal Coliseum van.  (more…)

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porkSOUNDTRACK: THE FRONT BOTTOMS-“Mountain” (2011).

fb The Front Bottoms have a new album coming out.  I’ve liked a lot of their songs and decided to dig a bit deeper in their catalog, and that’s when I discovered this song which led me to realize that they are from New Jersey (Woodcliff Lake, in fact).  As a New Jersey band they clearly grew up eating Taylor Ham sandwiches.  And so they get the honor of being attached to this book.

The Front Bottoms are a fun lightly punk pop band.  The singer Brian Sella sings slightly off kilter and sometimes is speaking more than singing. And their music is energetic and sorta sloppy (but not actually sloppy at all) and it all stems from a great ball of fun that the band seems to be having.  The songs are largely guitar and drum, although they have added keyboards and the occasional trumpet to flesh out these simple ditties.

This particular song has some rollicking drums, an introductory trumpet and simple strummed guitars.  It also features this perfect lyric:

“I bought fireworks, a big bag in Pennsylvania, I’m gonna light ’em up when I get home to Jersey.  They’ll probably arrest me they’ll probably ruin my whole summer.”

Their new album is coming out in a few weeks and features the super catchy song “Laugh Til i Cry.”

[READ: August 22, 2015] The Pork Roll Cookbook

I saw this book at the library and had to check it out.  I love pork roll, it’s a treat that my father loved and which my family simply doesn’t eat often enough.  Of course, since we’re from North Jersey we called it Taylor Ham.

I wasn’t really interested in pork roll recipes because, well, you really only ever need to eat it with egg and cheese on a roll (or bagel).

But the beginning of the book gives a fascinating history of this local delicacy which barely makes it beyond the New Jersey border. (more…)

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relishSOUNDTRACK:RHEOSTATICS-World Next Door Festival, Winnipeg, MB (September 5, 1998).

wndI was pretty excited to hear this outdoor festival version of the Rheostatics.  I knew the show would be short (and it is at about 45 minutes), but i imagined the entire feel of the show would be different in this setting.  What surprised me is that the recording is taken from a CBC radio broadcast of the show (which in and of itself is pretty cool).  But the recording is terrible!  The sound is bad and there are dozens of stops in the tape.  Bummer (especially when Aliens gets cut off).

Perhaps the most enjoyable part is when Dave says there’s going to be a double neck guitar war between Martin and Gordie Johnson (he was the front man for Big Sugar, a band I don’t know.  They apparently headlined the festival and he plays a mean double neck guitar).

Strangely enough I can’t find out anything about this festival which apparently doesn’t exist anymore.

[READ: March 5, 2014] Relish

Sarah read and really enjoyed this graphic novel. She said I would like it too and she was right.

This is a collection of memories from Knisley.  She writes about growing up in a family of foodies and how at a very young age she at anything.  She even began to crave unusual foods (in one short piece, she says that as a child she craved sautéed mushrooms).  But what’s cool about the story is that although she was raised in a snobby food way (you she see her father’s reaction to McDonald’s and her mother’s reaction to ketchup) she still appreciated junk food. She says, “Anyone who can fail to rejoice in the enticing squish/crunch of a fast food French fry or the delight of a warmed piece of grocery-store donut, is living half a life.”

At the end of each chapter is a recipe for something from the book.  The recipes are pretty simple, although some of them have extravagant ingredients (like her Chai Tea which sounds amazing, but is frankly too full of expensive ingredients for me to ever make–cardamom pods, star anise? No way.).  However, her recipe for marinated lamb sounds delicious and uses only the most basic ingredients. (more…)

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cooksSOUNDTRACK: PHISH-The Story of the Ghost (1998).

storyghostThe Story of the Ghost is one of the first Phish albums that I was aware of when it came out.  I remember buying it and liking it, especially the first few songs.  This is not surprising as the first few songs are much more electric and funky.  By the end of the album there’s a lot of mid tempo songs that feel like they’re somewhat incomplete—good ideas but the songs feel…unfinished?

“Ghost” has a funky guitar and drum section, it’s a song I’ve liked from the day I bought the disc.  But the real hit was “Birds of a Feather,” which has an amazingly catchy chorus.  This version (as opposed to the live one) is weird in that Trey is kind of whispering the vocals, but the guitar is ferocious.

“Meat” is a weird skittery song that sounds cavernous here.  The weird processed vocals are certainly something that keeps this song like more of an oddity.  “Guyute” sounds an awful lot like early Phish—like it has come from Gamehendge, it’s a nice return to old form.  It’s a great song with a really lengthy instrumental section.  This features one of Trey’s great extended pretty solos.

“Fikus” is a strange little song (2 minutes), with lots of percussion and a quiet bass line.  “Shafty” has got  some cool wah wah guitars, and is also only 2 minutes long, but it shows that there is a bunch of funk on the disc.  “Limb by Limb” is a fun if simple song that seems sparse until the chorus kicks in.  “Frankie Says” is a kind of circular song that is interesting but doesn’t really go anywhere.  “Water in the Sky” is a short piece but it is full of ideas—percussion, slide guitar, and nice harmonies.  “Roggae” is a fun little song with some fugue like vocals.

“Wading in the Velvet Sea’ is a very pretty song with very nice harmonies.  “The Moma Dance” is a funky wah wah guitared track which really comes to life live, although I like the way they reprise “Ghost” at the end.  The final track is called “End of Session,” it’s a very mellow little number (also less than 2 minutes) with organ and gentle guitars.  There’s a small verse of harmonies as the albums drifts off.

This album is one of the band’s less popular recordings, but i think it’s quite good.

[READ: October 30, 2013] Lives of Notorious Cooks

Brendan Connell is back with a book which demonstrates that whatever subject he writes about, he delves in deeply and with great relish.

Connell’s new book is, as the title says, a series of brief lives of fictional cooks.  There are 51 biographies in this book.  From Connell’s previous works and from the title, I expected that these cooks might be somewhat less than savory characters.  But Connell makes these chefs genuinely impressive—making delicious meals from both the finest ingredients or the lowest of items.

As with previous stories by Connell, the depth of his knowledge is impressive—he includes not only recipes but complete menus of feasts.  And as usual, his word choices are wonderful—exuberant when necessary, obscure if useful and always spot on.

Although I am normally inclined to make a comment about each “story “ in a  collection, this one really resists that.  There are not enough distinguishing characteristics between cooks for me to write enough about each one (without rewriting the book).  This is not in any way to say that each is not unique, but that they are all cooks, each specializing in a different food or style.  But rather than from saying “Agis cooks fish” it’s better to take this book as a whole rather than in pieces. (more…)

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lp8.1SOUNDTRACK: TYPHOON-“Dreams of Cannibalism” (2013).

typhoonNPR was steaming this album for a while.  Now they’re giving away this song.

Typhoon is yet another band that has a crazy amount of people in it (between 12 and fourteen) and they have a vast array of instruments in play at any one time (Horns, violins, xylophones, electric guitars and mandolins for example).

At the same time, Singer Kyle Morton’s vocals are distinctive enough and are used like an instrument as well as to deliver lyrics.  This gives them quite a unique sound.

The song opens with an array of horns slowly building to a simple guitar melody.  The verses are somewhat quiet with occasional punctuations of band (and great backing vocals).  But as the song progresses, more instruments kick in (horns adding a melody line).  I really like the way the end of the song shifts direction totally, bringing in a complex instrumental section with interesting time shifts and even better backing vocals..

I enjoyed the whole album while it was streaming.  And while I can’t say that this song stands out more than the other songs, (I think “Artificial Light” is probably the best,) it represents the sound of the band pretty well.

[READ: September 2013] Lucky Peach Issue 8

I haven’t been reviewing Lucky Peach issues in their entirety because they are mostly about food and cooking and recipes and I don’t really have anything to say about that (I enjoy the articles a lot, but I don’t need to comment on them).

But I wanted to bring special attention to this issue because of the way it is presented.  This is the Gender Issue.  It has two covers (see the “female” cover tomorrow) and the magazine must be flipped over to read the different genders.

It’s not often that I think of food and gender as being connected, but there are some really interesting articles in here that talk about not only food itself, but about the people who prepare it.  Like the fact that most big name chefs are men even though cooking has traditionally been “women’s work.”

The women’s side of the magazine has these interesting articles: (more…)

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peach6SOUNDTRACK: THE DICKIES-“Eve of Destruction” (1979).

dickiesI didn’t know the original of this song until I listened to it just now (man it is depressing).  I have known this Dickies cover since the 90s, which speeds up the original almost twice as fast and makes the lyrics pretty much inaudible (which makes it less depressing).

The Dickies have done a lot of great covers, and while this one was never one of my favorites (I’m a “Town without Pity” and “Hair” man, myself), I always enjoyed the “over and over and over again my friend” part (and the squeaky guitars).   And now after listening to the original, I really prefer the cover.

[READ: April 2013] Lucky Peach Issue 6

I haven’t been reviewing Lucky Peach issues in their entirety because they are mostly about food and cooking and recipes and I don’t really have anything to say about that (I enjoy the articles a lot, but I don’t need to comment on them).

But I wanted to bring special attention to this issue, which is all about the Apocalypse.  And there’s a couple reasons for that.  Zombies are huge, that Mayan end of the world business was all fun, and of course everyone seems to think that Obama will cause the end of the world.  But on a more serous level, global warming is unchecked and no one seems to care about the environment at all, and with the weather being as crazy as it is, all bets are off as to what our world will look like even ten years from now.  So why not read a magazine that has recipes for all kinds of things that might still be around in a decade.

The first half of the magazine is all about preparing for the apocalypse.  There’s a degree of tongue in cheekedness in it but it is entirely sincere: there’s plenty of recipes for canning, there’s information about seed savers and a fascinating article about Seafarming, which I seriously hope takes off, as it sounds like it could be a real solution.  There’s some fascinating information about Shelf Life and even a recipe entitled “pollution” which looks like a polluted sea but seems very expensive to make.  I also really enjoyed the brief story about the couple who won a honeymoon in a bomb shelter for two weeks (compete with all of the canned food they could eat–oh, the Fifties). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: CORB LUND-“Dig Gravedigger Dig” (2012).

I’m not what you’d call a country music fan.  There’s a lot of reasons for this.  But most of the reasons have little to do with the music itself–some of which (the faster honkier tonkier stuff) I rather like.  Corb Lund is a Canadian country singer who I’ve heard of but don’t know anything about.

This song is a honky tonking, harmonica stomping, group singing song about digging graves.

This is the kind of country I could get used to. Whoo!

[READ: July 19, 2012] Bake Sale

Why not follow a cookbook with a book about cooking.  Bake Sale is a graphic novel about a cupcake who makes cupcakes.  He is friends with an eggplant and all of the residents of his Brooklyn neighborhood come into buy his wonderful baked goods (a bag of sugar loves his brownies and an egg gets coffee every morning).  Cupcake is also in a band with his friends: bagel on banjo, pear on bass, egg on horn, eggplant on trombone.

(After I read it, Sarah pointed out how odd it is that all of the characters are foodstuffs, and that the bag of sugar is eating something that contains sugar.  I noticed that (how could you not?) but I allowed for some cognitive dissonance I think).

Turns out that Eggplant’s Aunt Aubergine knows Turkish Delight, the famous chef.  And Eggplant is traveling to Turkey to visit Aunt Aubergine.  Cupcake would love to meet Turkish Delight, but he can’t afford an airplane ticket.  So cupcake has a choice to make–work longer hours and quit the band or simply not meet his idol.

Cupcake decides to work extra hours.  But not in his shop–he begins selling his cupcakes (and more) on the street.  I enjoyed his table laden with themed items (for a boxing match, for the blessing of the animals at the cathedral, and even dog biscuits for the Westminster dog show). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: TAME IMPALA-Innerspeaker (2010).

Tame Impala are from Australia, and their sound is majorly retro.  They remind me a lot of Dungen, including the fact that I would have guessed (from the way the words are sung) that English wasn’t their native language (which makes this already trippy album feel even more trippy).

Fuzzy guitars over a cool bassline introduce this album.  “It is Not meant to Be” is something of  statement about the sound of this album.  And when the vocals come in (fuzzier still), it’s retro all the way.  “Desire Be, Desire Go” continues the fuzzy guitar with a slightly faster pace.  The chorus comes in a little cleaner which is nice as it breaks up the fuzz somewhat (but only somewhat).  “Lucidity” ups the noise and pace with a great catchy riff and a strong chorus.  I think of this as the “hit” based solely on the fact that I heard it first, but when they played KEXP in studio sometime after the release of the album, they didn’t play this song .

They did play “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind” which is probably the real single–the cool reverbed riff and the soaring guitars sound great.  “Solitude is Bliss” has become my favorite song on the album lately.  The vocals remind me of early songs by The Who (maybe from Sell Out), but again, the music is all reverbed and hippie sounding, it’s a nice pairing and the chorus is once again, really catchy.  “Jeremy’s Storm” opens with a cool riff. It turns into a wild jam instrumental.  “The Bold Arrow of Time” sounds like a song from the 70s.  The guitar sound as it opens could come from Jesus Christ Superstar and when the riff finally kicks in, it could be a Cream song.  And yet the vocals (always soaring) don’t sound like anything from that time).

I love any song with a good bassline (especially one that’s not just repeating the guitar riff)–so I love the cool bassline that runs through “Runway, Houses, City, Clouds”–high and kind of obtrusive.  A perfect way to keep pace.  And when the bass gets a little “solo” at the end, it’ s a nice payoff.  The final song is “I Don’t Really Mind.”  It’s the most conventional and not dreamy sounding album on the album.  There’s even a break from the wall of guitar where we get just some drum beats–it’s very p0ppy.  It’s a good ending, upbeat and catchy and makes you want to start the whole shebang over again.

The album is a little long-feeling overall (it’s about 55 minutes), and some of it can be a little samey, but there’s enough diversity and great songwriting to make this album really enjoyable.

[READ: July 2012] At Home on the Range

Another frickin cookbook?  For a guy who doesn’t do cookbooks, there’s certainly a lot of cooking-based items on this blog.  Blame McSweeney’s who put out this book, too.

As everyone knows Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love.  I’ve never read it (although I have read some of her earlier books (Pilgrims and Stern Men) which I liked quite a bit–I was into her before she was cool, man).  But this book is actually a cookbook that her great-grandmother wrote and had published in 1947.  Gilbert’s contribution is slim, but engaging.  She gives a lengthy biography of her Gima.  She was born rich (Main Line Philadelphia rich) and loved to travel.  Gilbert says that you can sum up Gima with a Jazz Age sensibility and one word: Enjoy!  By the time she was married (to an “impossible” man) much of their money was gone–indeed, she slipped out of a few foreclosed homes as the sheriff was coming for them.

Gilbert also points out how far ahead of her time Gima was.  The 1940s saw food moving towards prepackaging and processing.  So this cookbook came out right around frozen dinners to try to re-introduce women to the kitchen (although not in a retrograde way) and to be proud of what you can accomplish there.  But more than just a cookbook, Gima tried to introduce Americans to Brains with Black Butter, Eels, Tripe and Calves’ Head Cheese.  She was also unafraid to try things in different neighborhoods (the story of how she first encountered pizza is wonderful).  Gilbert wonders what might have become of her in a different time place or circumstances and it’s true for she was really a remarkable woman.

And the remarkable nature of this cookbook is not the recipes (which are remarkable and I would like to try some of the simpler ones), but the prosaic nature of the book.  Gima is telling a story with each recipe.  Indeed, the recipes aren’t even given in standard annotated form: they are written in the prose.   Gilbert’s other contribution is to take ten of their family’s favorite recipes from the book and write them out in conventional cooking style for ease of cooking.  I enjoyed this book a lot–Gima is a fascinating woman with a delightful taste for life.  The question is what to try first? (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: RUSH on Archer (2011-2012).

Not really a soundtrack, but I wanted to mention some of the Rush references in Archer.

I was really hoping to use the Rush in Cleveland DVD as my Soundtrack, but I haven’t finished it yet.  And yes, I am padding this out a bit so that the pictures fit nicely.

Cobra Cobra Cobra (that’s a joke to the book below).

The Archer guys like Rush and they put nods to Rush in occasional episodes–usually through mad-scientist (I want to call him The Professor), Krieger.  Here’s three of Krieger’s vans.

I love the detail that went into “Vanispheres.”  Since Krieger always wears a lab coat, it’s a wonderful detail to have him wearing it as the nude man.  And, of course to have him as both the nude man and the clothed man is perfect.

Since it’s my favorite obscure Rush album, the Caress of Krieger van just cracks me up the most.

And just to add to the fun here’s a video of Krieger’s Neil Peart-like drum set

It’s pronounced “Why Why Zed.”

[READ:May 9, 2012] How to Archer

Although the Archie Meets Kiss comic proved to not be the joy I’d hoped, How to Archer easily made up for it.  I love Archer, it is one of my top ten shows ever, I think.  And this book is basically a print version of the show.

It’s designed as a how-to manual written by Sterling Archer himself.  He gives you tips on how to become the world’s best secret agent.  He teaches you how to dress (the details about buying shoes are amazing), how to drink (he provides cocktail recipes and his own opinion of subpar drinks), how to eat (a recipe for Eggs Woodhouse that sounds divine) and even a secret to gambling!

The fact that Archer is an abrasive, cocky, sexist, racist dick only makes the book that much funnier.

If you haven’t seen Archer (on FX), it’s a cartoon about a spy.  His mother, Malory, owns the spy agency and they have a very contentious relationship.  (The fact that his full name is Sterling Malory Archer should be just one clue to that).  Malory gets the introduction to the book, which is pretty darn funny as well. (more…)

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