Thursday, September 24, 2009

Make: Tasteless Treats

This week we bring you the delightful Meredith Ethrington and recipes from her mecca of taste-free, texture-full cuisine: The Sandpaper Puffpastry Bakery! Time to sing a vegan ode to these clue-free treats and get down, or something like that. Spoof Gwyneth Paltrow GOOP.

POOG: Meredith, how long have you been making tasteless, gravelly but beautifully decorated and (mostly but not entirely) sugar and dairy-free baked good? What inspired you to take up the mantle of this worthy culinary cause?

Meredith Ethrington: You know, I didn't pick this route. It picked me. It was a kind of intestinal destiny. In 2003 I had six months of just DREADFUL diarrhea (which is SO hard to spell, but SO easy to get) and unbelievable gassiness. My doctor broke the news: stop eating. I explained that I LOVE eating and she conceded that if I ate cardboard-like foods I would improve significantly. It was a sad moment because I LIVE for food that tastes at all. But, I decided to embrace the necessary changes. The first time I went to the food store was disorienting. Usually someone else does it for me. But, once I got used to being there it was just, well, it was annihilating. If something was white, it was probably tasty. If it was green, it was filled with air and chloroform or something like that. If it was red, it either once lived or maybe grew on something. And, if it was packaged in plastic, well, you just can't do that anymore. I thought - why can't I find something scratchy and buff-hued with textural hints of mocha that was wrapped in a stiff, pleated ivory recycled thingy! It is really that hard? So...I did it and I thought I should share my Gastric Epiphany with the world. It took 6 weeks, but The Sandpaper Puffpastry Bakery was born in those six weeks.

POOG: What has the result been? What positive outcomes have come out?

Meredith Ethrington: Well, I've always been rail-thin and now I'm positively skeletal. It's been a great side effect of taking everything out of my food. You really don't have to diet when you take this approach. It's a lifestyle and if you follow the one rule, eat dirt, then you don't have to remember a bunch of silly little ones or count calories. And, since you're generally too weak to exercise you never have to do that either. I am just exceedingly cautious about letting any color creep into my food at all.

POOG: What are your to-die-for ingredients?

Meredith Ethrington: Well, my top ingredients would be berrit oil extract (it's really high in florid acid, stimulates the amygdala minor and can create almost the same taste as butter without the taste), guava skin (I prefer guavas from Costa Rica because it's nicer there then some other places) and Ray's Gluten/Sugar/Dairy/Chlorophyll/Salt-Free Powdery Filler (my whole Bakery would cease to exist without this miraculous substance). You can get all of these at a local health store or online.

POOG: How did you make your recipes? I mean, no one's done this before, right?

Meredith Ethrington: You know, many people have tried this at home, but haven't really capitalized on the availability of these ingredients in the way I am. My recipes were hard to come up with because people like things that taste good. It's a downside of evolution and there aren't many of those, so that's hard to grapple with on a daily basis. Because, I believe heart and soul in evolution. Especially in a spiritual mind/food/body way, from an Asian perspective, via Brooklyn and Brixton in the late 90s. But, I put myself on the mad culinary steeple chase and I had to move forward.

POOG: Is frack sugar-free? I know EVERYONE thinks that and are wrong. Maybe you can clear that up.

Meredith Ethrington: Frack is not glucose free. It's a genetic antecedant to cane. Sometimes people can digest frack however, but still not eat sugar. It's white. Even when it's brown.

POOG: Are there any especially thrilling recipes you're working on? Variations on old classics. As you know, I love El Soya Marzipanito Preservados faux Little Debbie Raisin Cakes, do you think we'll ever have a taste-free version of the real fake one?

Meredith Ethrington: I just made a version of these the other day! It was terrific, because the original was already kind of a brown/oatmeal color, I just had to find a way to get the yellow out. I LOVE El Soya Marzipanito Preservados marizipan reproductions of processed foods! It's my goal to improve on them by making foods that look like them, but have no taste at all. When I announced that I had made a fat/sugar/gluten/butter/dairy/taste free version of El Soya Marzsipanito Preservados Litte Debbie Raisin cake in the bakery every started shrieking, but in a tasteful way. One woman on 78th and 5th even slipped out of her yoga class early to try one. Luckily, everyone adores them and some people even say that it's the best thing I've ever done. "Qui sais?" as they say in Locust Valley!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

GET: Fall Fashion and You

Last month, I secured the help of a new friend, Jennifer Milly, the Fashion Editor (and now Contributing Blogger) of Vain and one of the best dressed, pre-pubescent looking women I know. She helps me get dressed every day by using her discerning eye to create trends for fall that will work every fall until 2010, when she'll come up with new ones.

Jennifer Milly shares:

Here is my stylating list of Fall (pout) and Winter (double pout) trends for 2009/2010. Since I'm really already thinking about Fall and Winter of NEXT year, what I'm about to describe will smack of the passe, but to you every single stitch will feel bright and shiny new. It's coming to me now...this year's trends that speak to what you can do everyday to be fashionlicious. Just remember: Be true to yourself, but not too true.

Reptilian Intergalactic It Girl: Remember those shoulder pads that your mother still wears? Well, as they say in the fashion world, what comes around goes around. My life would not be complete without Alexander Wang ribbed leggings (just $425!) topped by my genuine anaconda-lined Z-zipped Club Monaco jacket (shoulder pads included, of course). Top it off with your retro, over-the-top headband hair bow and you're good to go this October!

Girly Girl Diva: There is no such thing as too much flounce this fall. Some fashionistas might say "Don't Do This At Home". I say, "DO!" As my father to said to me on my 11th birthday, "You're MY little girl, but now you're the world's and don't ever forget it!" When you add layers of pouf to a simple, every day skirt the whole world stops to stare. My favorite: D&G patent leather crinoline underskirt ($1225) - goes from carpool to cocktails. I wish I had a picture.

Sex Slave: We all know bondage comes and goes, at least as far as fashion is concerned and this year is no different. Boots, belts and bows are all the rage and no Fall and Winter 2009 wardrobe is complete without at least one nod to the dominatrix in all of us. Take your pick: over the knee leather boots or velvet neck collar, it doesn't matter. What matters is making carpool memorable: after all, that part of your kids' life is just a small part of yours, why not make it something they remember fashion-fondly,

Helmut, Krina, Nicholas, Brian: designers that I HAVE to mention. If you don't know them, you should. Now you know their names at least. Their designs, fitted, baggy, shaggy, tapered, it doesn't matter are elegant on any woman (not literally of course), whether she's on the red carpet or the kitchen floor.

I only buy my leather at Annbelle Bespoke Newton-Smythe's (yes, that is actually her middle name - how cool is THAT!) whose lovely little store is just off Sloane Square in London. You can't do that, but I thought I'd mention it.

A GOOP Spoof

Thursday, September 10, 2009

MAKE: Bimbobop

It's irresistible. Bimbobop, which roughly translates into "silly women's food," is essentially a rice bowl that you can fill with medium grain taupe coloured rice and obscure vegetables that someone told me are good for you. It's a great way to use food that no one else particularly likes. The key is the GALO - Glutinous Asian Liquidy Oleo (GALO) that holds it all together.

Serves: 4 (if two people don't really eat)
Time: More than you have, but I'm OK with that

4 1/2 cups of medium grain taupe coloured rice
3 tablespoons GALO* (see above, usually I try and make this myself, but you can find it in specialty stores)
Blukoko and Celery Pinko
Roughly 16 3/4 cups worth of flummy root, blanched anise bulbs, sauteed mini squash with seeds shaved out, ginger and garlic grown in a sandy loam and, if you are able to find it, aged kimchee powder
1 firm block of firm basil-infused polenta, shaved into roughly 80 slices
2 tablespoons of tasted, husked sunflower seeds for garnish

*If you haven't used them yet, you should get the excellent measuring spoons that I use - they are ceramic and made in Monaco by a small women's cooperative.

Layer your rice bowls with the shaved polenta and rice three times (as you would a lasagna). Allow the two people eating to add the remaining ingredients in any way that makes them smile. Garnish with sunflower seeds!! Voila!

Virual video produced by Merrell Cherouny
Music would be by I'm So Fine

A GOOP Spoof