Irony at the table


Last summer I got a new bike for my birthday. Besides being a gift that I really wanted,  going to the store to be fitted for my bike was a bit of a present, too. Martin chose a Dutch bike for me that’s only sold at a handful of places including a store on Toronto’s Bloor Street near the University of Toronto campus.

The staff, besides being knowledgeable about bikes, is also young and painfully fashionable in a nerdy way. In fact, the sales person I dealt with directly was a walking iteration of Ned Flanders’ younger brother: over-sized, brown framed specs,  70’s moustache – his style was so ironically hip, it hurt!

Just like those crazy moustaches hipsters are wearing these days, ironic foods have a place in our current food landscape, too. From doughnuts on fine dining dessert menus, mac and cheese with truffle oil, fancy meatloaf concoctions and the fried chicken I mentioned earlier this week on these pages, elevating retro, originally homey or down market favs has never been more popular.

What about at home?  When you entertain do you find yourself glamming up retro favs or do you try to pull off four star restaurant panache?  I’ve definitely  been enjoying making ‘ultimate’ versions of old favs such as pizza and tacos at my parties. In fact, just recently, I had a very fun dinner party where I made three kinds of gourmet burgers (chicken, beef and lamb) and home made hamburger buns to match. Dessert was brownies and butter tarts. I think we all enjoyed it as much as any more formal, three course meal I could have made.

PS: I borrowed this montage of 70’s moustaches as sported by actors both old and new from the blog Alice Q. Foodie where you can find lots of posts about food and a few about moustaches.

Off Topic Announcement:  I’m thrilled to have been chosen as one of’s best Canadian bloggers. It’s doubly exciting since I’m the only food blog featured. Please drop by their site and make a comment or vote for your favs.


13 Responses to Irony at the table

  1. Congrats on being one of Canada’s best bloggers!!

    Had to laugh at your moustache montage. A recent news item said moustachioed men earn 8% more than their clean shaven counterparts — but they spend 12% more!

    As for my entertaining. The menu varies with the guests.

  2. Daniel says:

    I better shave off my moustache then.

    Congrats Dana, it was only a matter of time before the blogging powers that be recognized the great work you do here. Keep it going!

    Casual Kitchen

  3. Cheryl says:

    Yes, congratulations! And I honestly had no idea people were still drizzling truffle oil on mac and cheese. That seems so 2007.

    I haven’t entertained in far too long, so I can’t answer your question. It’s obviously time for me to throw a party.

  4. Shaslam says:

    When I entertain I like to pull out the “wow” dishes. I don’t do fancy too often (we have 3 boys in hockey and few free evenings) but I’m a sucker for the oohs and aahs from guests.
    Having said that, one of my favourite evenings with friends is a fondue night–it’s fun to make everyone else cook. It’s the one meal my parents didn’t include us kids in when they had guests over–too grown up I guess–is that doubly ironic??
    What I do go retro on is appetizers…nothing beats a good pig in a blanket, or bacon wrapped anything, pate and toasts, a great cheese spread or mini quiches…is that passe or trendy??

  5. Timely post. I’ve been craving good old spinach dip – complete with water chestnuts and served in a hollowed out loaf of sourdough.

  6. adrian says:

    My favourite recipe in the last year (after your banana bread, of course) is French Onion Tart, via Cooks Illustrated. Pretty easy, very versatile (Salmon and broccoli is my favourite variation but I also did a salmon & spinach version, inspired by an old Dana McCauley Bakefest recipe) and a big hit at parties. The “effort” to “impressive” ratio is very high.
    Also: curious to hear about your bike. Which one did you go for?

    • danamccauley says:

      Oooh – Cooks Illustrated is one of my very favourite food magazines of all time! LOVE it!

      BTW, Adrian, did you see that the people chose our chat about banana bread as the post to highlight in their list. That’s pretty cool.

      As for my bike, I refuse to tell you anything about it until I see you in person. It has been far too long. Call me!

      • adrian says:

        I’ve been publicly scolded! And rightly so!
        Yes, I noticed that the Banana Bread post was the screen-grab. But that wasn’t why I voted for you, honest…

  7. Jamie says:

    A few months ago a friend told me she was making a cheese ball for a party we were going to, and she asked me to pick up crackers for it on the way. I couldn’t imagine what a cheese ball was, so I bought all kinds of fancy $7/box crackers from a gourmet cheese shop. It turned out that my crackers were totally out of place because the cheese ball was straight out of the 50s! It was made of cream cheese blended with I-know-not-what, and covered with grated bright orange cheese. I could have saved quite a bit of money buying triscuits and soda crackers! The retro cheese ball was hilarious and very popular.

    • danamccauley says:

      I’m not surprised it was popular – it’s fun to be ironic!

      Elizabeth Baird threw me a hilarious bridal shower. I have a scorn for jellied salads so every guest brought one. It was fantastic!

  8. Congrats on being a “Best Blogger”!! Auguri!!
    Oh, and enjoy that bike… I bike everywhere, in all seasons.
    I love cooking old skool, I’m really big on making cheese fondue, I adore deviled eggs and I’ve been known to stuff celery from time to time.
    It’s always fun to mix it up, some fancy food and some down home.

  9. Hello There. I discovered your blog using msn. This is a very neatly written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read extra of your helpful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

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