The Food Almanac: May 3, 2011
This is National Pannee Meat Day. Like most other Orleanians of Baby Boom, I grew up eating panneed veal, chicken, and pork. Enough of it to have an article of faith on the subject: even cardboard is good panneed.
Pannee meat is a thin, pounded slice of meat (usually) or almost anything else. The first steps in the preparation are to coat it with flour, pass it through egg wash, and then coat it with seasoned breadcrumbs. The panneed item then is fried in about a half-inch of hot oil for a minute or two on each side, drained, and served still sizzling. The classic accompaniment is pasta bordelaise, although it goes with almost any vegetable or starch except other fried things.
Pannee veal is universal in Italian restaurants, where it's often called veal Milanese. The word "pannee" probably refers to the breaded aspect of the dish, but it's also been proposed that it's the pan you cook it in that's noted in the name. Nobody really knows. Some controversy exists about the spelling. The word appears in very few cookbooks or dictionaries. On menus, you see every possible variation in the number of n's and e's. Sometimes an accent mark appears over one of the e's. Another curiosity: many people in New Orleans pronounce it "PIE-nay." However spelled or pronounced, it's always good.
Pantown is a neighborhood in the northern part of St. Cloud, Minn., population 66,000. It's upstream on the Mississippi River and 71 miles northwest of Minneapolis. The city was incorporated in 1856, just five years after the first settlers arrived. At one time steamboats could make the trip all the way to St. Cloud from New Orleans if the river was high enough. Pantown is named for the Pan Motor Company, an early (1917) manufacturer of automobiles. The most promising nearby restaurant for panneed veal is Ciatti's Ristorante, a mile away from the park in the center of Pantown.
Food in History
Today in 1944, wartime rationing of meat in the United States came to an end. Many cookbooks and articles had been written to help people get along with less meat. Even the best food writers were engaged in that activity, including M.F.K. Fisher, whose rationing book was How To Cook A Wolf. She and all the other authors of such works had to figure out something else to do.
New World Food
Christopher Columbus first landed on the island that would later be called Jamaica today in 1494. The first time I went to Jamaica, I was struck by how much the food of that country resembles the Creole cooking I grew up with in New Orleans, even though the colonizers were different. Jamaican food, because of its mix of Spanish and British roots and wealth of unusual fruits and vegetables, is utterly unique. Perhaps the most offbeat item is ackee, a fruit related to the cashew. When it ripens it explodes on the tree. When cooked, it looks and sort of tastes like scrambled eggs. But if you eat it before it's ripe, it can kill you.
The Old Kitchen Sage Sez
Since I can't get Jamaican saltfish and ackee where I live, I guess I'll have to eat scrambled eggs and bacon.
stamp and go, Jamaican, n. — The classic Jamaican native breakfast, composed of three kinds of fritters. One is made with fish — traditionally dried, salted codfish, soaked overnight before frying. The second is ackee, a starchy tree fruit which resembles scrambled eggs. The third is callaloo, a spinach-like green leafy vegetable. The name comes from the rapidity with which it's cooked and served, and the way people pick it up from a cook and walk away with it.
Food in Show Biz
Today in 1939, the Andrews Sisters recorded yet another hit, Beer Barrel Polka. "Roll out the barrel," said the lyrics, "we'll have a barrel of fun." What innocent times those were.
Today is the feast day of St. Philip, one of the twelve Apostles. He is the patron saint of pastry chefs.
William Charles Salmon, a Congressman from Tennessee, was born today in 1868. Boxer Sugar Ray Robinson was born today in 1920. Norman Chow, long-time offensive coordinator in college and pro football, took The Big Snap today in 1946.
Words To Eat By
"The healthiest part of a doughnut is the hole. Unfortunately, you have to eat through the rest of the doughnut to get there." — Randy Glasbergen, American cartoonist, in "Thin Lines."
Words To Drink By
"There are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend, one's present or future thirst, the excellence of the wine, or any other reason." — Ancient Roman proverb.