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Childhood Unplugged

Sorry, dad. Eric Northman wins.

I grew up without cable TV for the oddest reason. My folks were neither poor nor cheap—they always did the best they could with what they had. They also weren’t demanding about fresh air. I don’t recall ever being kicked to the curb for a Saturday of mandatory exercise. No, it was more that my dad detested the cable company. The idea that a utility worker not sanctioned by the city could have an easement over his property was a pill so tough he refused to swallow. Being my father’s daughter, I wholeheartedly agree with his logic. I also love True Blood. You can see the bind I’m in.

Growing up with only a handful of channels, I became very acquainted with PBS. It was there that I became a child of Julia Child. Her positive attitude and unwavering dedication gave me my first, figurative taste of culinary crack (been hooked on the stuff ever since). Yan Can Cook? So can Kim. As for Jeff “The Frugal Gourmet” Smith, not only did he insist on saving his audience from spending too much money, but also insisted on saving little boys from a childhood of not being touched by him. Since he was never convicted of those charges, I wonder if that last sentence is libelous?


This entry is gonna end up being more anecdotal than informative, as I really have no idea what point (if any) I’m trying to make. Hmm. While something as disengaging as television might not be good for kids, try to keep an open mind because you never know when and where inspiration will strike? Yeah… that’ll do nicely.

Holy Mole (courtesy of Raquel Phillips)

Thank you, Rockie!

  • 4–5 lbs chicken, bone in (with or without skin)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp pasilla ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 Ibarra chocolate bar
  • 6–10 almonds
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 6–10 saltine crackers
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1–2 cups hot water

I adapted this from a Mole recipe one of my BFFs gave me years ago. My personal touch is to use chili powder instead of soaking whole, dried pasilla chilies. Heat oil in large stockpot. Add chicken and saute over med-high heat for 15–20 minutes. Meanwhile, add all remaining ingredients except hot water to blender. Pour hot water a little at a time into blender and blend on low until a sauce is formed. Pour sauce over chicken, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20–30 minutes, until chicken is falling off the bone. Serve with tortillas, refried beans and roasted sweet potatoes.

I seem to have teetered off into hyperbole up there. (Who? Me?) Of course television wasn’t the only culprit behind my foodie goodness. Coming from a big Baptist circus of silently competitive food snobs might’ve had a part in it, too. When you can feel the heat emitting from their laser eyes as they covet the center of the dinner table—the perfect showcase for their greatest of holiday dishes—what opportunity did I have to be anything else? I had to adapt or die. It’s not my fault I cook better than you.

TWTG says, “I have to put on hoochie mama makeup to get my picture taken.”


16 responses »

  1. A-M-I with an "I"

    Though most of us PBS-bred cooking kids know this Frugal Gourmet of whom you speak, I think you’re off the libel hook. After all, you made said unsavory statements about some guy named Jerry. Fruge’s name is Jeff. 🙂

  2. Still waiting for my Chinese chicken recipe, but this will do in a pinch. 😉

  3. Ahhhhh, Mole. Only I learned how to make it by copying my aunt-in-law and using Mole Poblano paste in a jar – to which I added a dollop of peanut butter, chicken stock etc. Makes it a bit quicker, but the chicken still needs time to cook.

    • I made Raquel teach me after she made it for me. She taught me all sorts of Mexican food tricks like how to make Mexican rice and guacamole. Also, stirring a little milk into canned refried beans makes them taste so much more like homemade. 🙂

  4. Mmmm – I sure loves me some mole, but I never thought it would be something I would actually try preparing. But now I just might – thanks for sharing this —–

  5. while i’m a fan of mole, not so much the kitchen (as i eat my scrambled eggs and toast for dinner). maybe i DO need to make a trip down there.

  6. Holy mole! Next to Eric, it’s one of my favorite things! And yrs looks somewhat low-fat. Where’d you get yr Ibarra chocolate bar? World Market?

  7. Pingback: Sixteen Candles (Plus Two) « The White Trash Gourmet

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