August 2007 Archives


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Smbrowncrabs0003.JPGThere are crabs in all the world’s oceans, in freshwaters and on the land.  I once met a man in Rarotonga called Piri Puruto (‘the Coconut King’) who kept large red land crabs as pets - crawling free around the living room.  The smallest is the minuscule Pea Crab which lives inside oysters, and the largest is the Japanese Spider Crab, with a leg span of up to 4m.

You don’t want to be an Alaskan King Crab fisherman; 300 of every 100,000 are killed every year, the highest fatality rate of all professions.

Thai crab salad in lettuce cups

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Here's an easy (yet impressive) hors d'oeuvre for a summer party.  We made them for Matt's dad's 70th birthday boat party, and they seemed to go down well.  The pink bubbly and Dorset coast sunset only helped.  We actually made loads of hors d'oeuvres, with the fine help of our nephews - budding chefs Wilf and Oliver - and their parents, so I should be able to send you more of those recipes should party food be of interest - ?

Smthaicrabcups0003a.jpgThis recipe is with thanks to Matt, who managed to remember how we used to make these sweet and aromatic little cups years ago when living in Cambridge.  We probably originally found it in a book or magazine, but can’t remember which.  Each cup is crispy and juicy, cool and refreshing yet with a chilli kick, all in one bite.  Yum. 

So, it turns out I really like restaurant work.  In fact I'm loving it.  I am learning loads every day at Chez Panisse.  For example:  you can never peel too many onions (or shell too many beans); dead lambs are quite heavy, and a bit bloody; you can still cook with blistered, slashed and burnt hands; you need a very big pot to make 6 gallons of soup; a 'bus tub' has nothing to do with buses or bathing; it's surprisingly difficult to keep a chef jacket white; there is very little traffic at 6am, but loads at 6pm; and a tonne more about a spectacular array of fresh ingredients and nifty cooking techniques.  What has struck me most is that good restaurants like this one are phenomenally slick, well-organised, efficient machines staffed by extremely talented and knowledgeable people.  Hopefully some of this will rub off on me.


Culinary Anthropologist