The Questionable Epicurean


"Cat, the other white meat." I think it was Steve's brother Robert who slapped that magnet on my refrigerator. Remind me to tell you that story sometime. Meanwhile, here are some recipes for dishes I particularly enjoy.

Paul’s Russian Tea Mix

3C Tang

1C powdered lemon Drink

1C powdered instant tea

3/4C sugar

1/4C powdered orange rind

3tsp powdered cloves

2tsp powdered cinnamon


Directions and Notes:

1.) Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a bowl and then store in tightly sealed jars.

2.) Do not substitute other powdered orange drinks for Tang. The other guys have some additive that gives their drinks a gagging after taste that gets you right in the back of the throat.

3.) I powder the instant tea granules in the blender before measuring or using. If you don’t crush those little spray-dried spheres, they rise to the top of the conglomerate rather than mixing.

4.) Remove the peel from several oranges, cut into strips and then dry at room temperature for a week or so or in the oven for some hours on the lowest setting. Grate the strips to powder in a blender. The peel is not adequately dry until it is absolutely rigid and snaps like a cracker between your fingers. If you add inadequately dried orange rind to the other powders, the mixture will set up like concrete in storage and quickly become unworkable. Good luck getting it out of the jar without breaking the spoon, the jar or both!



I make a cup of hot tea with two tea bags and then add three heaping teaspoons of mix. That makes a brew strong enough to draw inquiries from across the lunchroom.

“What is that you’re drinking? It smells like Christmas.”

“Russian Tea mix.”

“Oh yeah, I remember that. Grandma used to make that around the holidays. What is that stuff floating on top?”

“That’s orange rind. I add orange rind to give it a little extra zip.”

“Oh. It doesn’t look very appetizing.”

“Yes, well, you see, that way I don’t have to share.”

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Adeline’s Strawberry Fondant

Dessert! Dessert! Did someone say dessert?

Do you have a sinful sweet tooth that is leading you astray?

Do you want a piece of heaven but you can’t believe in God?

Hear me my brethren! Receive thee the blessing of this recipe – bought with prayer and supplication from a missionary woman!


2C sugar

1C heavy cream

3TBSP light corn syrup

1 quart strawberries

Cook sugar, cream and syrup to 240°F (soft ball stage). Pour this mixture into a buttered pan and cool. Knead until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate overnight in a sealed container. Reheat in a double boiler and thin as necessary with a little cream. (But be careful not to make it too thin!) Wash and refrigerate the strawberries. Handle the berries by the stems, dipping them in the fondant and placing them in a pan lined with wax paper to cool. Refrigerate to hasten cooling. Be sure the berries are dry; otherwise the fondant will not stick to them. Prepare this dish only hours before consumption. Like any devil’s treats, leftovers of this dish will lose all their appeal by the morning after.

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Wine Maxims

p160In the wine world there exists so vast a field, so many exceptions, so much change in fashion and sensibilities, so much variation within classes, so much change within the industry, so much difference vintage to vintage, it is folly to propose such a thing as a “rule”. And yet my experiences cause me to propose a few:

Tannic and acidic wines are better between bites. Smooth, sweet and fruity wines are better by themselves.

Wine and cheese are tireless lovers.

French wine with French foods, Italian with Italian, Spanish with Spanish and Alsatian with Asian.

Cook not with wine you would not drink – and (if you follow this rule), what could be better than more of the wine the dish was cooked in?

A feature dish or a feature wine. Never make two stars compete.

Never a wine less sweet than dessert.

Nothing born of vinegar can be a friend to wine.

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