This season’s MasterChef, on Monday and Tuesday nights on Fox, featured two local heroes: Jennie Kelley, a singer with Polyphonic Spree, and travel writer Ben Starr. Kelley was bumped off last week. Now we’re down to Ben. Intrepid intern, Harrison Smith, is all over the show like hot on fries. Here’s his recap of last night’s show.
Gordon Ramsay is starting to grow on me. Maybe this is because after ten episodes of MasterChef I’ve become anesthetized to his shouts and rants. Maybe it’s the happy, cheerful work environment here at <i>D Magazine</i> that’s influencing my opinion of him. I don’t know what it is, but the Scottish chef just doesn’t annoy me like he used to.
Last night’s episode began with a team competition at Ramsay’s restaurant at The London West Hollywood, one of three of his restaurants in the U.S. Two teams of contestants, one led by Dallas’ own Ben Starr and the other by Gloucester fisherman Christian Collins, were given 90 minutes to make hors d’oeuvres for a Hollywood party of 300 people. Both teams were required to cook three courses: vegetable, beef, and dessert. Strangely enough both teams decided to cook just about the same thing. Ben’s team turned out a chilled tomato-mint gazpacho for their vegetable entry, beef Wellington, and chocolate profiteroles (a French way of saying “chocolate cream puffs”).
Last summer, Amy Severson, co-owner of Sevy’s, blogger, and all-around smart person, and I had what we thought was a great idea. We decided to write a book on the history of Dallas food. We began collecting bits and pieces of information and interviewed grandchildren of long-lost Dallas restaurants and food businesses. What we have found is unique and amazing and over the next few months, we will post some of the discoveries.In Part 1, we wrote about La Tunisia. Today we profile Mrs. Ida Chitwood, a courageous woman who lived in Dallas and may have been our first national cooking show star.
You all know Casey, Tre, Lisa, and Tiffany. But do you know Ida?
Mrs. Ida Mae Chitwood (nee Keener) was Dallas’ first “super star” food personality. A pioneer in Texas and across the nation, her free cooking demonstrations were attended by hundreds of thousands of women from Albuquerque to Syracuse, New York. She made headlines wherever she went. “Thousands hear Mrs. Ida Chitwood Lecture” ran across the top of the San Antonio Light on February 2, 1929. On November 17, 1933, the Chicago Daily Tribune exclaimed “Five Thousand Women of the West Side Yesterday Heard Mrs. Ida M. Chitwood.” The Chicago Tribune reported “Sophie Tucker of the Stage gets a few pointers from Mrs. Ida M. Chitwood” on November 22, 1934. Even after her popularity during the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, she’s almost been forgotten in the history of Dallas food.
Ida was born in Tennessee in 1885, the fifth of ten children. The family relocated to Ector, Texas when her father, who worked for the railroad, was transferred. Ida could have had a quiet, life as a housewife and mother. In 1908, at age 23, she married farmer Loren Chitwood and they had baby girl who they named Christeen. But Loren was killed when the mule he was riding ran into a barb-wire fence and his throat was cut when the mule tried to pull away. The mule returned home without him. Christeen was only 10 months old.
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I suggest you head to The Capital Grille between now and September 4th for one of the best wine specials of the summer. The event, called The Generous Pour, is similar to something that I reported on last summer. For a flat $25 you can sample up to nine selected wines with your meal. Last night, at the press announcement, the restaurant presented a live satellite feed from Florida with Capital Grille’s corporate Master Sommelier George Miliotes, who talked about the wines and paired them with some popular items on the menu.
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