Every year at this time I make sure to pick up a copy of the magazine Saveur. The Jan./Feb. issue is devoted to "The Saveur 100," a compendium compiled by the staff of their "favorite tools, tips, ingredients, cookbooks, recipes, restaurants, and more." Each year the list has a theme and this year it's "The New Classics."
The Saveur 100 is the perfect midwinter read: engrossing and entertaining. And I always make a game out of reading it, giving myself marks for foods I've tried, tools I own and the like. Of course, since some foods and restaurants they talk about are in other states and even other countries, I do a bit of fudging on the foodie scale. I get points if I've tried the local equivalent.
Here's how I fared this year:
- 13. Baumgartner's Limburger Sandwich. While I am not a big fan of this sandwich, I have been within sniffing distance of it. Chalet Cheese Cooperative in Wisconsin is the last producer in the country of Limburger, so like it or not, I am proud of its history and Wisconsin connection.
- 20. Griswold Cast Iron. We grew up using Griswold muffin molds and every time I visit my sister in Erie, PA — home of the Griswold company which folded in 1957 — I try to talk her into giving me the family Griswold pans. I've found them in antique shops in her area but the prices have kept me from buying my own.
- 29. Linie Aquavit. I learned to drink Aquavit (with a beer chaser) when I took a spinning and weaving class at Peter's Valley Craftsmen out east. But here in Wisconsin, with its strong Norwegian heritage, I learned to appreciate Linie. At all times — like right now — there's a bottle in our freezer staying properly chilled.
- 59. Christmas in Connecticut. Watched it for the millionth time between Christmas and New Year's this year. Make sure to get the original 1954 version and not the ghastly re-make. Despite the photo in Saveur, Barbara Stanwyck has a fabulous wardrobe in the movie.
- 64. Vietnamese Pork Chops. Had them for lunch on Saturday at Saigon Noodle in Madison. Saveur provides a recipe, but I'm not sure I'd ever bother making them when I can get them right in the neighborhood.
- 66. Old Gourmets. I, too, hoard my back issues of the now-defunct Gourmet magazine. I've got a few dozen issues going back to the mid-1980s; in particular those from November and December with all the great holiday recipes. And then there are untold articles and recipes I've clipped from Gourmets before I tossed them.
- 67. Judith Jones. If you love cooking and cookbooks, you know Jones. She's the legendary editor who persuaded Knopf to publish Julia Child.
- 68. Homemade scones. I make 'em, I eat 'em.
- 93. Lambrusco. A guilty pleasure and a must with Chinese food.
Soon I will be able to add No. 91. Sweet Orange Buns (pictured above). Mark, who doesn't have an insatiable sweet tooth like mine, pointed out this recipe to me in a way that clearly indicated he'd be mine forever if I made him this treat. What could I do but send him to the store for some oranges and yeast?