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« Happy New Year! | Main | Red Cooked Pork Hock & Red Cooked Oxtails »

Friday, 02 January 2009



I just threw up in my mouth a little.


It's not difficult or expensive to mix up flour, baking powder, and salt with some melted butter in hot milk. Spoon those into some simmering broth, put on a lid and steam before adding sauteed vegetables and shredded chicken, and you have a homemade, inexpensive dinner that I daresay will taste better than this. This is, of course, just a suggestion. I usually keep these thoughts to myself after reading the Friday posts, but after this one, I just can't remain mute. Canned biscuits are just pitiful. You don't even have to knead and shape dumplings--they're a drop biscuit anyone can make by hand. Really, they're easier and so much better than torn up canned biscuits.


Oh wow, Dobbson. I got you to come out of lurking. Welcome to the commenting side of the blog.
Amy- I hear you, and I have made chicken and dumplings in the "from scratch" way and this way...and really, the canned biscuits have the same flavor and texture of drop biscuits *in this recipe* (but canned biscuits should not be used in all situations, in fact this is the only reason I buy them). Really, both your way and mine are dropping raw dough into hot liquid. I just don't have to measure or mix or have as much to clean up afterwards.


I understand the cleanup issue, but as for measuring, this is why I bought a digital kitchen scale. It saves me a good deal of time and cleanup, because all I have to wash is the bowl, and whatever I use to heat the milk and butter. I will admit that the main reason I cook from scratch is because of food sensitivities that make convenience items like canned biscuits a problem. But, I have to say that there is a big difference in both texture and flavor between canned and from scratch. From scratch do not have a long list of ingredients that are included in the canned, and I can taste the difference. I hope that you can taste the difference too. I'm sorry but I've got to stick to that point--chicken and dumplings is one dish in which it really is worth the trouble of a little cleanup.


i've gotta agree with amy here. i would much rather make dumplings from scratch. on the other hand, i would never make drop dumplings. blech! delaware-style slippery dumplings are in my blood.


The texture difference between canned and scratch is different Amy, because the definition of 'dumpling' is different regionally. I grew up in the North and found a different way to make the dumpling while living in the South and mid-Atlantic region, with a texture that is closer to what Dave likes-the Delaware style slippery dumplings- which have shortening as an ingredient. I do like to try different recipes, and if I like one, I stick with it, or end up going back to it. Sometimes it is easier to make things from scratch and sometimes I like to just eat tasty things. Fortunately I don't have any food sensitivities.
Dave-thanks for the reminder of what those dumplings are called. If you have tasted dumplings made my way and don't like them, that is fine. I think some people are reading the recipe and looking at the ingredients and only imagining what it might taste like. It really is good this way. I won't blog recipes of things I haven't made or don't like.


Amy and Dave are correct, but that won't matter to Cathy, who is typically unwilling to hear dissenting views about her preferences in food.

That Cathy has cooked something, or likes the way it tastes, are not reliable indications that the dish will in fact be good. In fact, having reread many of her posts today, I've determined that the opposite is true; you can use Cathy as a sort of "Bizzaro World" guide to bad cuisine.

I note that the sorts of dishes Cathy describes each Friday often originated with working-class women forced to sustain their families on a few dollars per meal. I grew up with such women, and recognized early on that it's cheaper to cook a meal - really cook one, with all the shopping, chopping, heat and mess that goes with the effort - than it is to lay out processed, packaged and pre-mixed foods, incidentally indicating to your diners that you don't give a damn what they think about the meal. It's also healthier and more fun to do it the right way.

It's time to put an end to the "Friday Freak Show". Serious eaters and cooks read this blog, across the country and around the world; these homespun homilies to white trash cuisine are an embarrassment.

Perhaps Cathy should START lurking, leaving discussions of food and cooking to those with functional taste buds in their heads.


Greg, et al: I just found this (above) blog and post about chicken and dumplings just today. A link is now included in my post.

Regions of the United States vary. I have lived in many of them and have adapted my way of eating in all of them.

That recipe is very similar to mine and the comments made in that blog are in no way as negative as I have seen here. By referring to people who live in the South (and who have made and do make this recipe) as 'white trash' you are insulting a good portion of the population of these United States.

I am more than willing to hear dissenting views, but until you have tried the recipe and *then* do not like it, I will wait to discuss. Please do not tell me what I do or do not like.

This is a blog. An anonymous diary of what Kirk, ed and I eat. That is it. We do not claim to be experts nor professionals. We don't make health claims nor advertise. It is a public diary.

If you grew up with working class women who stretched a dollar, Greg, I would think they would have taught you to respect others, especially in a public comment section (since you gave me a fake email address and we cannot discuss in private.).


Let me guess, Greg is the same cheerful fellow who hates tuna casserole? Greg, here's a thought: Cathy contributes to this blog for fun. You don't have to agree with her. You don't have to read it. But your insulting comments certainly tell us a lot about you. Why don't you read Amy's thoughtful posts disagreeing with Cathy and learn something in this new year?


Nodding at dissent then steamrolling over it isn't the same as hearing it. I've yet to see you reply to a contradictory comment by acknowledging that you might have been wrong, or misguided, or uninformed, three things I can swear have been the case from time to time.

As for "don't knock it til you've tried it", what are you, my dad? I don't have to eat a handful of mud to know it won't be tasty. One thing you do bring to this forum is a talent for description; relying on your words, I'm often sure that what you recommend would be awful.

Sure my email address is fake. I've seen how you abuse those who express honest disagreement with your opinions, and I have no intention of allowing you to inflict that grief on me via private email.

I mean, just look at your prickly response to my comments. One might assume I'd called you an idiot, when all I did was suggest that you have poor taste in food (which is no crime, Cathy; it's just a waste of time for those who like reading Kirk and Ed).

Finally, I give you more respect than you give the readers of this blog. At least I make sure that my comments and recommendations will serve the public good.

ed (from Yuma)

Geez, folks, I haven't seen so much gang tackling since the Rose Bowl.

While this blog aims to please, nobody (well except for Kirk) pays for it.

Not all recipes are aimed at the same audience. Not everyone reading this blog has the same culinary skills. If some recipe seems below one's level of expertise, well so be it.

Like Amy, I tend to avoid store-packaged stuff and prefer to work from scratch, but not everyone can make a good biscuit batter - my mother sure couldn't.

In my family, we would have cooked the chicken from scratch, making a thick soup, and then added egg noodles to soak up the extra liquid. Good, but not southern chicken 'n' biscuits.

Sometimes, I read one of Cathy's recipes, and realize it's not for me, but I have done her meatloaf and the brussel sprouts and bacon (in fact, that one was part of Christmas this year) and I really appreciate her sharing these with us.

Fast, cheap and easy can be very good things. In fact, back when I was in college . . .



I am, in fact, cheerful, and I have no opinion of tuna casserole, having never eaten it (though I'd have to say, it doesn't sound very appealing).

While I appreciate your effort to keep the peace and protect Cathy, you'd have to admit that, as this is a public forum, not a clubhouse for the Super Friends, all opinions based in fact and/or on good faith are valid and appropriate, even if they don't sound nice.

The notion that I should avoid reading what I disagree with strikes me as odd. I live on a street with speed bumps, which bug me every time I cross them, but I still drive home every night.

Finally,I haven't said anything that I can't either back up with a quote from Cathy's writing or with a convincing argument. Just like Amy did.


Greg, ordinarily I wouldnt waste my time responding, again, to you. But I will because you are typical of people who cross the line between offering criticism and being downright insulting. Re-read your original post (yes, Greg, I'm really not telling you not to read blogs). You managed to include at least five insulting comments in such a short space. (Bizarro world ((bizarre mispelled but I shouldnt criticize in an insulting way, so forget that), friday freak show, homespun homilies to white trash cuisine, tell cathy to quit bloggin, oh, and her tastebuds are non-functional) Classy guy. with a fake email address.


I'm tied up at the moment. Does anyone else want to explain Bizzaro World to rooney? As for the rest of it, I'll get back to him shortly.



First, let me say that I do not regret my choices of words today. To the contrary, I spent a lot of time finding just the right phrases to express my opinions, and if anything, I'm a bit proud of the results.

All the writers here are serious about what they craft. I don't like Cathy's taste in food or her defensiveness, but she's a damned good writer. Kirk should be writing travel books, or articles for Bon Apetit. Ed has a happy, naturally breezy style that, frankly, makes me want to move to Yuma.

Insulting? Not to anyone who takes time to understand WHAT I've said, instead of reacting to the sounds of the words.

To your points:

Re: Bizarro World

"In the Bizarro world of "Htrae" ("Earth" spelled backwards), society is ruled by the Bizarro Code which states "Us do opposite of all Earthly things!"


You said, "You don't have to read it."

I said, "The notion that I should avoid reading what I disagree with strikes me as odd."

Where exactly did we disconnect?

As for my other comments, I stand behind them, finding them supportable after reading Cathy's blog entries and comments for the past few months.

Finally, I agree with you; you shouldn't have wasted your time responding to me, and I have a question for you: Is this really the sort of forum you want to participate in? Though your comments slighted me personally, you offered no real discussion of the subjects we've raised today. If there's something specific I've said that you disagree with, please discuss it; I remain ready to be wrong.

PS Kindly note that, for the purpose of advancing serious thought, I have refrained from saying what, eventually, must be said: "Neener, neener, neener."


When Cathy reviewed her hotel waffle maker, I assumed her posts were in jest. Are you telling me this is not the case?


Cathy, I've made the slippery dumplings you mention, rolling out the dough and cutting into strips. Those aren't the dumplings I grew up eating in central Kentucky. Drop dumplings are what near everyone does there, so yeah, it's probably a matter of personal preference. (I also prefer drop biscuits to the flaky, layered kind, even though those were more common in KY.) I can't try your recipe unless I can find canned biscuit dough without corn or soy ingredients, but honestly, I've stopped looking because homemade are that much better, less expensive, and not that difficult once you get the technique down. Shirley Corriher's recipes in BakeWise and CookWise are what turned me on to the drop method. She describes the technique really well, as well as the chemistry involved. If you ever have a slow weekend, check her out at your library and give the recipe a try. I can't help but want to make a drop dumpling convert of you! Of course, I will continue to read even if some of the recipes are ones I'd never be able to try.

BTW, to other commenters, my mom was a working mom in the seventies, but rarely resorted to these kind of processed foods at our family dinners. I thank her for giving me a taste for what I consider home cooking, otherwise described as "from scratch." Greg, maybe the women you grew up with didn't care about what they were feeding your family, but it's unfair to ascribe that attitude to every other woman who serves the same sort of food. I am concerned that in this poor economy, our food choices will dwindle in many parts of the country as smaller, locally owned restaurants, delis, meat markets, produce vendors, and groceries close while McDonalds and Walmart thrive. We have an opportunity here to help others learn real thrift in home cooking rather than relying on more expensive convenience or fast foods. It doesn't help matters to insult one another.



Apparently, I've allowed legitimate criticism to be mistaken for insult. I didn't mean to say that "the women [I]grew up with didn't care about what they were feeding [our] family."

Just the opposite; I was sure I'd agreed with you, Amy. I meant to convey that these women had taught me that it's "cheaper to cook a meal - really cook one, with all the shopping, chopping, heat and mess that goes with the effort - than it is to lay out processed, packaged and pre-mixed foods, incidentally indicating to your diners that you don't give a damn what they think about the meal. It's also healthier and more fun to do it the right way."

Sorry for any misunderstanding.


I am deeply dissappointed that the comments - remember, this is not a forum, but the comments have dropped into the depths of name calling. I am all for different opinions, and do respect those that are not what I call "drive by trolling", I learn something new everyday..... But I need to take full responsibility for this. Why? Because the Missus requested a fast Chicken and Dumpling Recipe from Cathy. I'm also very worried that folks think phrases such as:
"a sort of "Bizzaro World" guide to bad cuisine"
"homespun homilies to white trash cuisine are an embarrassment"
" have refrained from saying what, eventually, must be said: "Neener, neener, neener."
isn't in some way insulting. I'm also one of the few remaining blogs that refuse to moderate. Cathy is too nice to mention that it was I who requested this. So by all means lay it at my door. The fact of the matter is, that unlike the street on your drive home, you can avoid this blog if you don't like it, really, you can. Perhaps, our time as a blog has come to an end....if this is what the future is like, and this is what is relevant, why keep going?


It looks like I misread your post, Greg, sorry. My point stands, however, that it's meanspirited (and frankly, just plain wrong) to say every woman who cooks in a particular way is doing so because she doesn't care about her family's opinion of the food. There are so many reasons that people eat the way they do. Without getting all sociological, this sort of generalization is just not that useful and IMO, a sign of bad faith. Please, rein yourself in a bit, for the good of all here. There are more constructive ways to voice your opinions, surely.

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