September, 2023 Newsletter

How frustrating it was to come to publish my September newsletter only to find that it had disappeared due to a technical glitch at the website hosting company. I constantly write in advance when I get ideas – am already working on January, 2024. I am trying to remember what I wrote as some things were definitely September related. It is shorter than usual as I have had to rush to get it out – some may say that is preferable!

Schools are back and the snow birds aren’t here yet, so take advantage of FLAVOR PALM BEACH Restaurant Month (Sept. 1 – 30) to visit restaurants you may not usually go to, say Cafe Boulud or La Goulue and enjoy their prix fixe special menus at a considerably reduced price. Some 50 restaurants are participating and the area covered ranges from Tequesta in the North to Boca in the South. For a full list of participants go to www.flavorpb.com. It’s too good to miss out on. NB – drink prices are not generally reduced.

Now schools are back and so are packed lunches. You can take the easy make a sandwich and a piece of fruit route but there is a world of choice out there if you want to get creative (www.healthyfamilyproject.com). When my children went to school the bento box concept of putting different foods in separate compartments hadn’t been invented so everything sort of sloshed around. Putting a balanced meal in the box is so important as it is a crucial part of learning. Statistics show that children who come to school without having breakfast perform less well which is why the British government started a heavily subsidized Breakfast Club which is completely free to the children. Evidence shows that starting the day with a healthy breakfast can contribute to improved readiness to learn, increased concentration and improved behavior. When I volunteered at a local Food Bank only a few miles away from me in Florida I discovered that not only do children not have breakfast, they don’t get much to eat over the weekends or school vacations. This organization provides a weekend bag of food for children at risk and also makes sure they have enough to eat during vacation times through outreach programs. If you want to volunteer you can go as an individual or with a group of friends. It is very well organized but it requires quite a lot of lifting www.pbcfoodbank.org

I just gave a baby shower for my daughter-in-law with the help of two of her friends and Peter Rabbit was the theme. I have to thank GANACHE (306 S. Dixie, West Palm Beach) so much for providing delicious cookies with an image of Peter Rabbit on them – it is amazing what technology can do. They were really special and so original and any image for any occasion can be taken and put on a cookie with a few days advance notice. Ganache has a mouthwatering array of cup cakes and cookies when you enter the store and they make custom cakes and wedding cakes as well as offering baking classes. www.ganachebakerycafe.com

Summer has ended and sadly RABELAIS BOOKS in Biddeford, Maine has just closed its doors – very sadly for a book lover like me who just loves browsing. Bon Appetit called it the best cook book shop in America and it has an unparalleled inventory of rare and hard-to-find culinary books, manuscripts and ephemera. The books on the shelves represent over 600 years of cookery writing. There are also specialist books relating to drinks. Rabelais may not have a bricks and mortar presence any more but you will still be able to browse their website. And, if you want to give a gift, provide a price range and some information about the recipient – likes, dislikes, type of cuisine, etc – and a book will be chosen and dispatched. www.rabelaisbooks.com

I read cook books like I read travel books – for all the information they impart and there is always some sort of ah ha moment ‘so that’s how they do it or why they do it. Years ago a friend told me of Marcella Hazan’s cook books. I had never heard of her and didn’t really take any notice but over time her name crops up again and again and I began to realize what an influence she had. She introduced Italian cooking to an American audience. She was the Julia Child of Italy. Before her there hadn’t really been an Italian cuisine, it had all been regional so the type of cookery in, say Venice, would be unknown to the people of Naples and different from the food found there. This is partly because Italy has a varied climate. The winters in the Turin area are colder than Copenhagen while near the sea it is the weather of the Riviera. Hazan managed to create an order to Italian cooking when she produced ‘Essentials of Italian Cooking’, which is actually her first two books combined into one. A special 30 year anniversary edition was published last year. Quite apart from the recipes there is a wealth of information both historical and devoted to Italian ingredients. It has been very well researched. There are only a handful of really well-known and influential cooks and she is one of the stars.

BOOK OF THE MONTH – Dying for a Taste by Leslie Karst

When I read Karst’s book about cooking for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I didn’t realize that she had written a series of amusing culinary mysteries. If you want an engaging, light read with a few recipes thrown in give this one a try – it’s the first in a series of six.


This is a little find at 6611 S. Dixie, West Palm Beach. The best Mexican food I have had starting with a complimentary bowl of salsa and chips followed by an amazing shrimp ceviche large enough for two people. My husband went on to have Pollo al Mole and the mole sauce was delicious. Mole sauce is made of chocolate which may sound odd but chocolate in its original state is not sweet. If you are going to make it yourself buy 85% or above dark chocolate. In Mexico it is made with a special spiced chocolate. I had some very good tacos. The wine list is interesting with many from Mexico. Mexico produces some of the most valuable and sought after wines in the world. I was unaware of that. The decor is bright and cheerful as are the staff. The other diners were Spanish speaking which I always find reassuring.

MOVIE OF THE MONTH – A Tale of Two Kitchens

This is a short documentary that is really quite thought provoking. While it is the tale of two restaurants – one in Mexico and one in San Fransisco, it is more about the people who work there and the philosophy which stems from the management that everyone deserves a second chance in life – one of the staff was in prison for 30 years. Many of the staff are from Mexico and came for a better life in the US. They feel in many cases a hostility towards them from Americans and they feel conflicted because they aren’t American and never will be considered as American and yet they don’t feel Mexican when they back to visit because they are judged for leaving. There is genuine affection for each other through good times and bad and they very much operate as a team and unusually for a restaurant they pool their tips and share them out It gives a slight window into the lives and stories of immigrants who are hard at work and largely unseen in kitchens and restaurants all over the States – in fact the documentary is dedicated to them.

RECIPE OF THE MONTH – Blackened Tuna Salad

Before I came to Florida I hadn’t had blackened fish and I just love it. Usually, it seems, firm white fish are offered blackened on menus but I decided to try blackening tuna (my source for tuna is Aldi in the frozen section – very good quality). I don’t make my own blackening spice but buy Creole or Cajun seasoning. The rest of the salad was cabbage, cut thinly as in coleslaw, celery, cucumber and scallions plus a lemon dressing. Lots of different crunchy flavors.

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