Critiques, Cravings and Conundrums From the Madison Food and Dining Scene
Small Dishes

August 2009

Julia Mania

09/13/09

Julia Mania

A couple of weeks ago, Katie Vaughn, a writer at Madison Magazine, sent me an email with the tidbit that one of the chefs at Tornado was related to Judith Jones, Julia Child’s former editor.  Actually, Judith Jones is a culinary icon in her own right, but frankly I was amused that Julia’s celebrity status is now such that even an association à la 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon is worth touting. Of course, this is all because of the current hit movie, “Julie and Julia.”  I’ve been utterly astounded at friends of mine who have gone to see the movie and are now rushing out to buy Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a book that has been around since 1961. Obviously this is a national phenomenon since the book now tops various best-seller lists, a...

Posted at 07:15 PM | Permalink | Comments

More Tomatoes

08/31/09

More Tomatoes

It doesn’t get any fresher than this!  Jim and Jenny Schiavo, owners of The Continental Fitchburg  are growing their own tomatoes, peppers and basil in a garden right behind the restaurant.  The Continental also features a special summer menu of home-grown tomato specials, including bruschetta, panzanella and a polenta-crusted pizza.This past weekend I made a wonderful heirloom tomato salad with Hook’s blue cheese (pictured) that I highly recommend.  I was inspired by the recipe in From Emeril’s Kitchen Cookbook which can be found here.

Posted at 02:41 PM | Permalink | Comments

Portrait of a Bellini

08/23/09

Portrait of a Bellini

For the most part, arriving at any new destination is unremarkable, since airports and freeways have a generic sameness no matter where they are. For me, traveling to Venice for the first time was an exception. Even the name of the train I was on was impressive, the Direct Orient Express. Leaving Santa Lucia Station, I boarded a water taxi—the No. 1 vaporetto—that would transport me up the Grand Canal and into another world. It was a warm August evening and the gothic marble palazzos that edged the water—just like in a Canaletto painting—were tinted pink and gold by the setting sun. I can still hear the diesel engine of the boat, churning up waves, and the squawk of the sea gulls. The air had the scent of salt from the Adriatic and the underlying musk...

Posted at 03:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

Radical Sandwiches

08/17/09

Radical Sandwiches

A PB&J or grilled cheese is comforting, but sometimes I crave a little more titillation

Posted at 04:02 PM | Permalink | Comments

Killer Tomatoes

07/31/09

Killer Tomatoes

 The season is here. Despite the fact I can buy them at the grocery store year around, for much of the year I hesitate to do so. Admittedly, the quality of out-of-season tomatoes has improved of late. But, one bite of a perfectly ripe tomato straight from the garden reminds me that there is no substitute.  It’s now wonder that in this country, they are the most popular vegetable—or fruit if you’re a purist—grown in the home garden. In Wisconsin, their season is all too brief. Most of us know by now that tomatoes originated in the Americas, specifically Peru where they were the edible green fruit of a wild herbaceous plant. The Aztecs probably cultivated the first tomatoes which are believed to have been small and...

Posted at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

About This Blog

Dan CurdI found my interest in writing by accident. My training and first job was as a graphic designer. Unemployed, the only employment I could find in advertising at that time was as a copywriter. Somehow, I convinced Richard Newman & Associates to hire me. Later I learned they were desperate. Madison has been my home off and on since 1957 (nonstop for the past 31 years). I write about food, which I love. – Dan Curd

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