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

June 2011

Four for the Fourth


Four for the Fourth

 Come Independence Day, it’s a given that most of us will be attending a picnic or cookout; more likely the latter.  The idea of sitting on the ground and eating cold food out of a basket is now more nostalgic than appealing.  Cooking in the backyard—like most everything else—has gone high tech with gas grills than rival a Maserati in both style and cost.  The menu has changed as well and for many a wienie with yellow mustard on a doughy bun is just too pedestrian. However, the Fourth is a celebration of all things American.  Granted we have become so multicultural than increasingly that gets more difficult to define.  For me the holiday would be incomplete without certain classic summertime favorites.  The list of entrees is...

Posted at 09:17 AM | Permalink | Comments

Peas in our Time


Peas in our Time

 Growing up, peas—the kind in inedible pods that must be shelled—were the most popular green vegetable.  Inevitably they were canned or frozen; inevitably included in Swanson TV Dinners. Not that fresh ones weren’t available, but the season is short so all the more sweet. I anticipated the first peas of the season every bit as much as asparagus and strawberries. Sadly, those days are gone. Super markets today—excluding the snow and sugar snap varieties—seem to avoid selling them. Probably because people don’t buy them since preparation involves tedious hulling. Fortunately, fresh peas are still available seasonally at farmers’ markets and gourmet markets.  Trader Joe’s even sells them out of the pod in plastic bags....

Posted at 08:03 AM | Permalink | Comments

Frozen Assets


Frozen Assets

 A lot of folks around here argue over which is better, ice cream or frozen custard. As far as I’m concerned they’re all good—ice cream, frozen custard, frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet, granita and sherbet.  The number of brands and varieties of frozen fabrications that come in every shape and size at the supermarket today is staggering.  And it’s not just about dairy any more with creamy frozen desserts concocted from rice, coconut and soy as well.  The list of specialty flavors offered by Gourmet stalwarts like Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs has grown so long, that they are often rotated seasonally to accommodate available freezer space. There’s no shortage of places in town to chill out either. Come summer, lines form at...

Posted at 12:10 PM | 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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