Monthly Archives: April 2011

Feeding the Monster

My sister is pregnant, and while a generation gap and lots of young cousins have given us plenty of practice with kids, my family is reacting in pretty predictable ways to the new addition to our little family unit. My mom hasn’t put down her credit card since my sister and brother-in-law told her the news- I think she has outfitted this child at least through her third year.  My dad immediately took a week-long scuba diving trip with his brother (also about to be a first-time grandpa), just in case his grandfatherly duties keep him too busy to pursue his hobbies. I have confidence that I will be an amazing aunt when she’s a bit older- my future niece and I already have a standing date for her first Planned Parenthood rally, just as soon as she’s old enough to hold up a sign.  But other than buying her Baby Wayfarers and cracking jokes about performing her baptism in the lake at our cottage, I’m at a loss when it comes to baby preparations.  I have no advice about bottles, diapers, or strollers, just an affinity for onesies printed with strands of pearls.

Baby loves bacon

But as always, food is a reliable way of demonstrating care.  Her whole life, my sister has been the world’s most moderate eater. A vegetable lover from an early age, she was never a sweets fiend, and has been known to order a second shrimp cocktail when everyone else is having dessert. So it is amusing to watch this baby turn her into an eating machine. Specifically, a bacon eating machine.  When she went gaga over a family friend’s Facebook post about the bacon milkshake at Michael Symon’s B-Spot, it was clear I would need to recreate the recipe. A note: use the best quality real maple syrup you can find- the subtle maple flavor adds a needed depth to this shake, and Mrs. Butterworth is not going to cut it here.


Maple-Bacon Milkshake

From Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes, via Serious Eats

2 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
6 tablespoons cold milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Pinch of salt
1 quart French Vanilla ice cream

In a cast iron skillet, cook bacon on medium high heat, until fat is rendered and bacon strips are crisp.  Set bacon aside on a paper towel lined plate.  Remove the skillet from heat, and let bacon fat cool in the pan.

In a blender, combine milk, maple syrup, salt, and ice cream. Add 1 Tbsp of rendered bacon fat, and blend until thick, scraping down the sides with a flexible spatula if necessary.  Pour milkshake into four chilled glasses, and garnish with crisp bacon strips.


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While my hostess skills are generally top notch, I sometimes struggle to balance the urge to try out new recipes on a captive audience with the golden rule of entertaining: always make your guests comfortable. This year at Thanksgiving, I was mesmerized by an unlikely sounding sweet potato recipe with coconut and curry paste. My mom was busy with holiday preparations, driving out to the organic turkey farm to pick up ‘Professor Wigglebottom’, our free range bird, and I convinced her to put me in charge of the all-important sweet potato side. Come the big day, I was shooing away gawkers wondering why I was mashing an avocado and using an immersion blender. My preparations were not for nothing, these ‘taters were amazing- my best friend Q and I ate the leftovers for three days straight. BUT… apparently, Thanksgiving sweet potatoes are not a side dish you mess with, at least not in my family. Sometimes you have to concede to popular opinion and keep things, err… traditional.

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