- Date: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 -- 7pm
- Location: East Lansing, MI
- Kitchen: Our House
- Fellow Chef: Matty
- Recipe Rating: B+
I spotted some quail at our local Asian grocery store, so I grabbed them to make this recipe! It was these little quail which caused the Quail Versus Produce Refrigerator Disaster, so there is still a slightly bitter taste in my mouth about this recipe. But I will try to put that aside! When preparing this dish I first made the creamed corn. I cooked corn in boiling water, then cooked bacon in a skillet until browned. I combined heavy cream, water, lemon juice, the bacon, sliced scallions, and butter and simmered. Then I added the corn, plus some salt and pepper and cooked for a few more minutes. Then I attacked the quail. I cut each quail into four pieces. I dipped each piece in whole milk, then dredged them in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. I deep-fried the quail until golden and cooked though, then I served the quail with the creamed corn. I had mixed feelings about this dish. On the one hand, the fried quail were delicious! Think fried chicken, but with a higher fried to chicken ratio. Yum! The coating was just the right thickness and crispiness and the meat came out tender and moist. On the other hand, the creamed corn was pretty disappointing. Corn and bacon are two of my favorite things so I figured it couldn't be bad. Somehow though, it was. Mostly it was a textural issue. Rather than being creamy, as creamed corn should be, it was quite watery. And because it was watery the bacon got soggy even though it had been browned. The flavor wasn't bad but the texture was unappealing enough that I didn't want to eat it. I would definitely make the fried quail again, but without the creamed corn.
The recipe is here.
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When I was still in graduate school I went to a workshop in Germany. It wasn't in my field exactly, but I had been invited because I knew one of the organizers. It was a good experience, and I enjoyed the workshop a lot. Now, years later, the thing I remember most vividly from that week is that there was an amazing talk given by a young female mathematician. The workshop was focused on the work of a couple people. So in her talk she was explaining someone else's work. She did so with amazing organization, clarity, and confidence. Her talk was well thought-out, well-delivered, and easy to learn from. Although I think she was younger than most of the other speakers, she blew everyone else away. In a week full of talks, she was one of only a couple female speakers. I don't know who she was -- it was a long time ago, and the people there weren't really in my field, so I didn't know who most of them were. I don't even know for sure that this woman is still in math. But when I think back now on the moments throughout my career when I felt most empowered and most confident that it is possible to succeed as a woman in math, watching that talk stands out in my mind.
I am older now, and giving a lot of talks of my own. This week I am at a workshop, not in Germany this time, but rather in Berkeley. This workshop, like the one I went to years ago, is based around some specific work of a few mathematicians. I was asked to speak at the workshop, giving a talk explaining the proof of one component of their main theorem. I give a lot of talks, and in general I don't worry so much about them any more. This time, though, I felt a great sense of pressure. In part it was because I wanted to do justice to the great work that I was talking about. When I talk about my own work, if I do a less than stellar job it only reflects badly on me. In this case, talking about other people's work, it was important to me to represent them well. But more than that, I found myself really wanting to be an example for younger people, in the way that the woman I saw in Germany years ago was an empowering example to me. There are 18 talks at the conference this week, 2 of which are being given by women. The way the gender break-down is in my field, having 2 women speak at a conference is the most you would expect to see. I have always thought of myself more as a mathematician than as a female mathematician, but as I get further along in my career it seems more important to me that I recognize that I am a woman in math, and as such, an example for other women.
My talk was yesterday, and I think it went pretty well. And maybe someone in the audience will remember it as a nice talk, and feel empowered by it the way that I did years ago. That's my hope anyway.