Tag Archives: whipping cream

Homemade Butter… in 5 minutes

14 Sep
Homemade Butter.jpg

Butter made in 5 minutes

One of my favorite movies of all time is Rosemary’s Baby, still as chilling and brilliantly acted and directed as it was almost 50 years ago when it debuted. A favorite line in the movie has a modern relevance regarding food.

Rosemary (Mia Farrow), as you should know, becomes pregnant after moving into an old gothic apartment building on Central Park. On the advice of her doctor, she begins drinking a fresh, healthy milkshake every day, mixed and delivered by her next door neighbor, Minnie Castavet (Ruth Gordon deservedly won an Oscar for this role). According to Minnie, the shake contains raw egg, gelatin, herbs, and something called Tannis Root.

Rosemary Baby Shake 2

Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon in “Rosemary’s Baby”

Rosemary, along with the audience, slowly begins to suspect there is a conspiracy to steal or harm her baby. Famously, very little happens in the movie yet it ruthlessly crawls under the skin. The ordinary becomes terrifying as we wonder if something is actually happening or if Rosemary’s imagination is running wild. 

When the book (1967) and the movie (1968) were each released, both phenomenal hits, our country and much of the world was in the midst of a decades long embrace of chemically created food over natural: formula over breast milk, margarine or oleo over butter, Saccharin and corn syrup instead of sugar, boxed food over food made from scratch, etc, etc. It seems so obvious now that something natural would be healthier than something created in a lab. But given years of misinformation and outright lies from both the government and food corporations, there was no reason for the public to believe otherwise. (I really despise the FDA, a rant I’ll reserve for another post.)

What’s fascinating today about Rosemary’s Baby is that the shake, made from natural ingredients, is one of the creepiest things in the movie. It becomes a focal point and a source of fear for the audience, and then Rosemary herself. A knot begins to form in our stomachs every time Rosemary takes a sip. As her paranoia increases, she finally snaps and revolts against what she perceives is being done to her. Rosemary then delivers the line I love:

“I want my vitamins from pills, like everyone else!”

Crafted and created in a lab is what was healthy and normal to audiences at the time. Natural was not. Even with our modern perspective, we are thrilled when Rosemary takes this stand. Is she too late? Is anything actually wrong? You’ll have to watch this brilliant movie to find out. (Note: It’s free if you have Amazon prime… the movie is gorgeously shot by William Fraker so try to watch it on a big screen!)

We are thankfully moving away from the days of margarine and corn syrup (lies, LIES!) and the idea that crafted in a lab is good for you. We have returned to the wonderful knowledge that something as simple and wonderful as butter can be enjoyed without the guilt that was thrust upon us for years. It actually is healthy!

Yet true, decadent butter is still hard to find, at least in the USA, thank you FDA. Years ago I was in Italy and ate at a small family owned hotel/restaurant on a farm. After I sat down, they brought me bread and butter. I tasted the butter on the bread and thought my head would explode. I’d never tasted anything so good. I called the owner over and in my very broken Italian kept asking him, ‘What is this??” He kept shrugging and saying, “It’s butter.” I kept saying,  “No, this is NOT butter.” He became frustrated and looked at me like a stupid American and finally threw up his hands. “It’s just butter!” I realized later it was butter that had been churned that very day, with no pasteurization. My goodness, was that incredible butter, so different than what we buy in most stores. 


Il Falconiere

I’ve recently discovered you can make such butter at home, fast, without a churn! All you need is some heavy (whipping) cream and a food processor. With basically no effort at all, you will have fresh, incredible butter. Give this a try (and let me know what you think!)

For the recipe, click here: Continue reading


10 Oct
Chocolate Pots de Creme

Chocolate Pots de Creme

I grew up in one of those neighborhoods that now must seem alien to many. We had a lot of kids in the neighborhood, quite a few my own age and we all pretty much ran free with little or no oversight. In the summertime, for instance, it was not strange to leave home after breakfast only to return in time for dinner without ever checking in during the day. Sure, you might run home for lunch but given all the kids and all the houses, it was easy to snag lunch somewhere.

As for dinner, our family ate late. Dinner was never earlier than 7:30 PM and was often later, given my dad worked long hours. Also, no matter what time Dad came home, he and Mom had a cocktail before dinner. This was one of two special times Mom and Dad took each day to be alone and enjoy one another. It was their time to connect, something I’ve always appreciated about them as a couple. (The other time was having coffee together early in the morning.) Personally, I didn’t mind a late dinner. A food fanatic even then, I realized the benefit of eating late. I could snag an invite to dinner at a friend’s house at a more regular hour, then head on home for dinner #2.

Sometimes life is good.

Around the time I was 10, a new family moved to the neighborhood, The Tuckers. There were two children, Marcus and Robin. (Robin was great, too! But, you know, we were ten, she was a few years younger, and a girl.)  Marcus was my age and a great guy. He immediately was a big part of the gang running around the neighborhood. We all learned quickly that the Tuckers ate dinner at 6 PM religiously every night. Unlike some of us, in the Tucker household it was a rule that the family sat down together every night, no matter what. Even if we kids were in the middle of, say, a very important game of baseball or hide and seek, Marcus would run home exactly at 6, eat dinner, then soon after run back out to continue to play in the twilight of the evening.

I snagged a lot of 6 PM meals at the Tuckers. Marcus’ mom was a wonderful woman with a beautiful smile and an incredibly infectious laugh. She was also a terrific cook. While I had many a great dinner at their house, the first one remains vivid in my memory for a very specific reason.

Continue reading