It’s been an odd 24 hours.  Yesterday, the dogs belonging to 2 friends were not doing well.      It may seem odd, but we’re a close community on Twitter.  And even closer on Food52. One sweet one is in liver failure, having already survived beyond the anticipated time.   Another is approaching being elderly and has had a series of ailments.  The stray cat that the latter’s “mother” tends to was not at the garden door for breakfast as usual yesterday morning, but during the night had left half a mouse on the doormat.

Those of you who are not cat people may not understand the potential significances here.  It could certainly be a compliment.  Many years ago, before the advent of the son and the daughter, the husband and I had been back East for a couple of weeks visiting his family and wandering around the amazing state of Maine.  When we got home to California to a big house we shared with the sister and the now husband, our cat Mike (long story, the name, not interesting) repeatedly ran up into the woods behind the house to kill a bird and bring to us at the back door.  He was glad we had come home, that we had not decided to abandon him for fault of not being an adequate bread-so-to-speak-winner.  On the other hand, the stray cat’s mother knows the cat’s schedule.  She also knows that neighbors regularly use poison against mice.  She interpreted the cat’s absence and the presence of the half mouse as evidence of his demise.  Several of us followed her line of reasoning.

We of the Twittersphere were already sad about the dogs, and the cat’s presumed death followed the spiral downhill.  And all this happened by about 9:00 in the morning, my time.  The dog and cat events were taking place on the East Coast.  I don’t know that that needs to be capitalized, but I’m taking no chances, for reasons that will become apparent.

I contribute recipes to a website by the name of Food52.   It’s a fantastic site where cooks of all stripes can contribute recipes, read posts from amazingly intelligent and generous people, and ask questions about anything under the sun that is food-related.  I won’t describe it any further because it would simply take too long.  Visit the site.  You’ll fall in love.  You’ll get my point.  I post recipes and participate in a question and answer  forum that is a whole wide world of wisdom freely shared.  People can ask questions without fear of feeling ignorant, and others share information generously and without condescension.  Until yesterday.  All of the above found itself snared around a word I had used in a recipe.  A word.  I don’t have the stomach for repeating the entire conversational thread.  You can read it for yourself here.  At one point the original questioner SCREAMED.  Even I, probably the last convert to the wonders of  the world-wide-web understand upper case letters to constitute a SERIOUSLY raised voice.  The word in question was glug.  At the risk of repeating myself, you can read the original recipe here, and you can read my response (after 24 hours of quiet thought) here.  My alias on Food52 is boulangere.

Several kind friends spoke up.  Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, the original questioner totally missed the point, as did one responder who added to her objections.  Friends, if you ever have a question about a recipe or an instruction, please, please, please email me through this site.  I check email assiduously.  I will respond to you.  I care deeply that you achieve good outcomes.  Translated, that means that I want you and your families to be happy making whatever you make.

To get around to the original idea, stock, today I simply needed some comfort.  Last weekend I roasted a chicken.  I roast whole organic chickens over a “fond.”  “Fond” is a fancy French term for onions, celery, and carrots scattered over the bottom (“fond”) of a baking dish.  It literally means “base.”  The fond lifts the chicken up off the bottom of the baking dish, it adds layers of flavor to the chicken, and what it does for a pot of stock is almost indescribable.  Speaking of the chicken, I stuff its cavity with a pierced lemon, some cloves of garlic, and sprigs of fresh herbs. I used rosemary.   After I’d eaten what I wanted and picked off  and frozen the rest, I pulled the lemon out of the cavity and scraped everything else into the pot of my slow cooker.  People ask me regularly if they can make chicken stock in a slow cooker and I always respond, “Sure.”   But I’d never actually done it.  I decided I should know whereof I speak.  As in glugs.  More to come.


About thesolitarycook

I'm a chef, a cook, a teacher, a reader, a writer, a bike-rider, a dog- and cat-woman
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14 Responses to STOCK

  1. Bevi says:

    That was one tough thread to plow through. Both my grandmother and father were consummate bakers. They measured, but they also intuited ingredients. And the fruits of their labors did not suffer. I am goig to be spending the next 3 weeks with my folks, getting them ready for their journey to a new, assisted phase of their lives. My plan is to honor them by baking your lovely breads for them. To wit: can I substitute currents or raisins in your nouveau soda bread in place of celery? How much?

  2. Bevi, I am honored to accompany your parents onto the next phase of their lives. I would suggest that you replace the raisins in the same amount as the celery. But first, soak them in hot water to cover for 15 minutes, then strain the water off and rinse the raisins. Raisins contain many wild yeast spores on their skins (hello, wine) that need to be soaked off lest they produce “blooms” around the raisins in whatever you are baking. For all the chemistry involved in baking, your grandparents were clearly in touch with its intuitive qualities. Great story, and thank you. Have you read my Tell Me A Story story? Please do!

  3. Angela says:

    Wow, some people have way too much time on their hands to get nit picky about words. I am not an experienced cook or baker but I still understand what a glug would be. If I didn’t I would ask, not act like a child throwing a tantrum. But I am a cat person. Maybe that makes a difference. I really enjoy your posts and someday I will be brave enough to try your recipes.

    • Gosh, Angela, I’m not sure what the difference is. But I totally agree with you: life is short. Live it well. And I imagine that you have plenty of skills to cook lots of foods.

  4. Jenny says:

    All that comes to mind is I’m sorry people can be hateful. xo

  5. What a wonderful post, following the hotline thread was painful at times because the attacks by the questioner were hurtful and mean and totally uncalled for and when they are hurled at you my friend I take it personally and I am sure all of your Twitter and food52 friends feel the same way, because we are friends albeit at a distance. Want to just put that all behind now and move on. I made the same thing the other day, I made the stock in the oven laying the chicken on a bed onions, celery and carrots, adding some water, stuffing the cavity with lemon and parsley and it was probably the best stock I have had in a very long time. Comforting and flavorful.
    Justin returned this morning, my cat lady friend told me that I should give him some antibiotics in case there could be infection so this morning I fed Justin a can of tuna and crushed some antibiotic and mixed it in. He ate every bite and then went away to rest. We have a home for him when we can capture him, if we can capture him. Just want to get him healthy again.
    Your kindness and concern for my animals touches me deeply and your recipes have inspired me. So happy to have met you and am honored to call you my friend.

    • As Jenny mentions, she insulted everyone who doesn’t measure as she does. And she completely missed the point I explained in my response as to why I list dry amounts by volume. She even more completely missed the point of Food52 – that it’s a safe place for people exchange in a generous give and take. I loved her statement in the thread that she’d read back over her comments, and basically saw nothing wrong with them. Wow.

      I’m very glad you’re getting some antibiotics into Justin. What a good suggestion. What an amazing person you are.

      The whole thread seems to have reminded many of us how much we care for each other, so in that sense, something good has certainly come from it. Bless you.

      • Pat says:

        I didn’t read the Hotline thread when it was first posted because I “sort” of knew what a glug is….after finally reading the whole thread and your post today I’ve come to the realization that some people will never be happy and some people are just plain ignorant. I think you handled it beautifully! And I can’t believe she saw nothing wrong with her comments. Double WOW!!!

      • It makes me quite sad that she says she has no imagination and maybe never has. I just can’t imagine going into such a RAGE over something so small, especially after her original (insulting) question had been answered. Life is way too short to carry that much anger around. Thank you, Pat.

  6. Jenny says:

    I took an elderly friend to the doctor this morning (yes I have a lot of elderly friends :-)) and this post was on my mind – I want to further add to my comment above. I love to cook and bake. I know baking is “exact” – but I’m a Nigella Lawson type of cook – I try to measure – but I’m messy – I experiment – I don’t follow exact recipes – I play and 95% of the time – they turn out wonderfully. I think these nasty comments on food52 insult all cooks and bakers – by stating “real” cooks do this…”real” bakers do that. Any person that can put a plate of food in front of me and it is edible is a real cook and so am I.

    • You’re exactly right, Jenny. She insulted everyone and then took it a step further by saying that she didn’t understand why people were so put out with her tone. Life is way too short to be that angry over something so small. And I love your definition of a real cook!

  7. ldpw says:

    I was going to say the exact same thing as Jenny. People’s time shouldn’t be spent that way.

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