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  • Welcome to Chef’s Last Diet…

    Nancy Lowell has spent a lifetime loving, eating, cooking, learning and reading about food. She has owned a small restaurant in Delaware County, New York, a catering business in New York City, worked for fifteen years for Whole Foods Market, and served Breakfast at Tiffany’s during her time working in corporate dining.

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Mashed Potatoes, from Good to Great

Everyone loves mashed potatoes, but do you like yours smooth or lumpy, smashed or mashed and silky? Chances are good that if you’re my age, your grandmother had a potato ricer, and you remember her mashed potatoes as creamy and silky. When I was growing up (in the 1960s) instant mashed potatoes began appearing, and […]

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August 18, 2014 - 1:46 pm

Peggy Gilbey - Hi Nancy, my favorite way to cook mashed potatoes is to boil them until fully cooked, drain, then return them to the pot on medium high heat, stirring gently just until the outer moisture is removed. This takes just a couple of minutes. I then proceed with mashing and added additions from there. Folks love my mashed potatoes and they are a favorite comfort food to me. On instant mashed potatoes, my siblings and I used to be so Jealous when other kids families had instant mashed potatoes- only fresh in our home, and today, well, only still. Interesting Post, thank you.

August 18, 2014 - 2:09 pm - Peggy, it sounds like your method is very much like Corriher’s, and they sound great. I know what you mean about being jealous of things other kids ate, we grew up on what is now called real food. I was jealous of the fun things other kids got like fish sticks, and TV dinners.

August 18, 2014 - 4:40 pm

Linda LindySez Baker - Yes, I use the ricer when I want them smooth and silky – with Idaho russets, or the potato masher, when I want them chunky…

August 19, 2014 - 12:56 am

Karen Rodwill Solomon - I ALWAYS use Yukon Gold with cream, butter, salt and a dash of garlic. Sometimes cheese, I love cheese….

August 19, 2014 - 9:38 am - Yes,
I love Yukon golds for mashed potatoes, especially if I’m mashing not ricing them.

August 19, 2014 - 9:38 am - Linda, I do the same. Sometimes you just want a chunky mashed potato!

August 19, 2014 - 2:43 pm

don - Always looking for ways to improve mashed potatoes! It’s my mom’s favorite dish.

I was turned on to a way to cook fingerling potatoes (talking potatoes now) that basically involved boiling them whole in like half a pound of salt. Every heard of such a thing? They were really good though.
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August 19, 2014 - 2:48 pm - Don, I have heard of this. Years ago I had a friend who made what he called salt potatoes, made just the way you describe, but with small new white potatoes. It is amazing the variety of potatoes we have available now, compared to what there was back in the 1980s.

What I learned From My 600 lb. Life

I don’t do it often, but sometimes, while channel surfing I find myself sucked in and realize why we watch reality TV. The first time I saw Hoarders all I could think of was what a sh*tstorm it was, and how does that happen to anyone. Then after finding myself on the third or fourth consecutive […]

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August 14, 2014 - 2:18 pm

Peggy Gilbey - Interesting as well as introspective Nancy.

Corn Clafouti, What a Great Breakfast!

Clafoutis are traditionally made with sour cherries, or with all variety of stone fruit and berries, but what about a savory one, what about a corn clafouti? I have some leftover corn in my fridge (all summer I have leftover corn in my fridge) and you can get a clafouti in the oven by the […]

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August 11, 2014 - 8:39 pm - Peggy,
As I was making this I was thinking of what I could add, and how far I could take it, but I wanted to start with a baseline. Your version sounds very good. Maybe we can bring the clafoutis back into fashion!

August 11, 2014 - 10:01 pm

Peggy Gilbey - Looks great Nancy. You’ve got my mind going here with that corn. I wonder how fresh chopped parsley, basil, and, maybe a bit of cayenne would work too. No eating birds here, lol, its against the house commandments! Great Post, thanks for sharing.

The Mind of a Chef

Quite by chance I happened upon the PBS series The Mind of a Chef, on Netflix.  I am still on season one, and season three begins this September, so we have time to catch up. Having grown tired of the non-stop food competitions on Food Network, and the glorification of  individuals who have no more […]

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August 7, 2014 - 8:27 am

Ryan Boudreaux - Thanks for turning me on to this show, I need to watch it soon.

Bon appetite!
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August 7, 2014 - 8:46 am - Ryan, please let me know if you like it! I am almost done with season 1, and season 2 starts with a new chef, so I hope I still love it as much! David Chang simply rocks my world!

August 7, 2014 - 5:20 pm

Peggy Gilbey McMackin - Looks great Nancy, I plan on giving it a try. As far as inspiring TV cooking programs, I much prefer the calmer, instructional shows, but anything that provides insight with some intelligence, depth, and sometimes, even practicality, is good.
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August 8, 2014 - 4:17 pm

Suzanne Gray - “This is emotionally delicious” has to be the greatest food description ever!

And this show sounds right up my alley. It’s cold and rainy here this weekend and our cookout for tomorrow night just got cancelled. Perfect time to curl up with a good food show! Thanks Nancy!
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August 8, 2014 - 4:29 pm - I know right? I hope you love it as much as I do, Suzanne, please let me know what you think!
BTW, I am going to see The Hundred FOot Journey this weekend, so I’ll let you know how I like it.

There is Never a Good Answer

We go through life looking for answers in all the wrong places, and sometimes there is never a good answer. Last weekend I attended my first blogger conference, BlogHer 2014.  It was an amazing getting to meet so many virtual friends, and getting a taste of just how much I have yet to learn, about […]

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August 4, 2014 - 8:58 am

Sarah @ LeftBrainBuddha - Ok, first of all, you’re awesome! And I beg to differ with the characterization of the selfie as narcissism. Sure, sometimes they can be done all self-promotery, but it’s also about being comfortable with our bodies and our selves. It’s seeing how much we change through the day and the year. So often women are the ones behind the camera, snapping pics of our kids or our pets or whatever, and the selfie lets us be seen. So bravo to you for snapping your lovely selfies and sharing them and being seen! (And you should totally watch Scandal — it’s so good!) Take care, lovely :)
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August 4, 2014 - 9:48 am - Wow, thanks Sarah! What a great way to start the day with a comment like this! I am working on the whole selfie thing, so BlogHer definitely gave me a strong nudge in that direction. Scandal it is!

August 4, 2014 - 11:06 am

Jade - Totally get where you’re coming from, and the feeling that it’s easy for people like Kerry to throw away the scales.

In some ways I’d love to say – screw it, I’m big, whatever – but I’m so unhappy I can’t.

I also understand how hard it is to share a photo when you feel that way, so well done for doing it!
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August 4, 2014 - 1:36 pm - Jade, Just say ‘screw it’ it will liberate you (at least a little).

August 4, 2014 - 2:10 pm

Carol Cassara - That’s all we can do, search for ourselves. And good for you!

August 4, 2014 - 2:59 pm

Carolann Iadarola - Great post! I don’t weight myself either….who cares? Great post and pics! I don’t think it’s pathetic at all…I think we deserve to have ego boots…do what makes you happy!

August 4, 2014 - 4:45 pm

April - You’re the first person to mention that Demetria and Kerry were there… LOL! I say that like I know them! I’ve seen Kerry on countless things and Demetria on her reality show. Anywho. I keep my scale out, but I don’t use it primarily. That said, I don’t take selfies. I don’t even brush my teeth in the bathroom, I realized. I don’t know if there are answers. I really don’t.
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August 4, 2014 - 4:46 pm - Carol,
Thanks for that, and thanks for the reminder, I can’t ever get too many of those :)

August 4, 2014 - 4:47 pm - Carolann,
Thanks so much, yours is a great philosophy, and one that I attempt every day!

August 4, 2014 - 4:49 pm - April,
Thanks for the comment, and I’ve read a bunch of recaps, and I guess you’re right. Were you there? I met so many people my head it still spinning, though it is slowing down!
I say if I can take a selfie, anyone can, and you certainly should!

August 4, 2014 - 5:56 pm

Sarah - I love your selfie! I’m so bad at them! Loved meeting you! And you NEED to watch Scandal! XO

August 4, 2014 - 7:00 pm

Aussa Lorens - I didn’t start taking selfies until I had a blog (and became a complete narcissist, obviously–ha). There is a strong pull to look at every single photo and immediately identify something wrong with the way I look, it’s incredible. But it’s a waste of time. I majorly regret that I have almost zero photos of myself traveling overseas, simply because I was too self-conscious to be in a photo. It seems like a quick way to leach opportunity out of a moment, when you’re so trained to criticize yourself.

I know I’m totally fixating on the selfie thing, but I really like this youtube video I recently found: Particularly where she talks about taking bad selfies. I’m on SnapChat and ONLY talk to my Sister in Law and I send her INCREDIBLY unflattering photos all day long. For some reason, this makes me feel better, like how I look doesn’t matter.
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August 4, 2014 - 7:57 pm - sarah, thanks, I’m happy to hear I’m not the only one who thinks my selfies suck! I think I’m due for a marathon of Scandal, which I will schedule for when my daughter goes to Guatemala (sniff) and leaves me all alone.

August 4, 2014 - 7:59 pm - Aussa,
I think you have the right idea about taking tons of selfies! I have one friend who always has good photos of me, and that’s because he always takes a million, so odds are some will be winners! I need to just suck it up and self-on (so to speak).
You’re also right about no pix of me anywhere for the last several years, and there’s no getting that back.

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