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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 4

Charcuterie Cookbook

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599 replies to this topic

#31 Bombdog

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 12:32 PM

Dave, nice looking stuff. Coppa is 1 piece, not multiple chunks. I don't know what you made, but it looks very tasty:)

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I remember well the discussion we had a few months ago about that. I used your pictures to remove the coppa. After curing it I cut it into smaller, more manageable pieces to get it into the casings.
Dave Valentin
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#32 jmolinari

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 12:54 PM

Dave, got it. You should get some bigger casings so you can leave the piece whole. I've gotten casings from butcher-packer in collagen up to 120mm. For coppa i've found the 100mm work best though.

jason

#33 francois

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 05:54 PM

As mentioned upthread, a saturated brine also helps keep the humidity at 70%

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And that does mean saturated! I used a locally available block salt which comes in pyramid shapes about three inches tall, I have found that once the salt is saturated the blocks become water logged and actually help in transferring the moisture to the atmosphere in the refrigerator as they stick up above the water about two inches. Saves having to use a container which has a large suface area of water!

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What kind of store would sell block salt? I have never seen that anywhere.

#34 Bombdog

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 07:18 PM

Dave, got it. You should get some bigger casings so you can leave the piece whole. I've gotten casings from butcher-packer  in collagen up to 120mm. For coppa i've found the 100mm work best though.

jason

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Thanks for the size tip Jason. I've got an order to place soon anyway and I'll add some bigger casings. Although this stuff tastes good, it's totally unmanageable. When you try to slice it, the chunks just kind of fall apart. Which is rather odd, as Michael says you can use chunks in the book.
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#35 tristar

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 07:59 PM

As mentioned upthread, a saturated brine also helps keep the humidity at 70%

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And that does mean saturated! I used a locally available block salt which comes in pyramid shapes about three inches tall, I have found that once the salt is saturated the blocks become water logged and actually help in transferring the moisture to the atmosphere in the refrigerator as they stick up above the water about two inches. Saves having to use a container which has a large suface area of water!

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What kind of store would sell block salt? I have never seen that anywhere.

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Hi Francois.

You don't say where you live, but I am in Indonesia. I would suggest that you try an asian store for these, the ones I have look like a pyramid but with the top cut off flat. They are widely available in Java and are certainly available in China as well. I believe that in the West something similar is sold for water softeners and dishwashers, and for horse and cattle mineral supplements! It doesn't matter if it is not for human consumption as you will not be consuming it, you are just using it to maintain the moisture level in the atmosphere of your refrigerator!

Regards,
Richard
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#36 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 11:27 AM

Charcuterie gets a mention in a great piece by Russ Parsons in today's L.A. Times:

Of course, you don't have to go to a restaurant to enjoy these products. A few hard-core home cooks are making their own from the new book "Charcuterie," by Brian Polcyn and Michael Ruhlman. But this takes dedication (to say nothing of a storage space that will maintain temperatures in the 60s and 60% to 70% humidity).

The ABCs of salumi

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#37 Abra

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 01:08 PM

We're so hardcore!

#38 Bombdog

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 01:47 PM

We're so hardcore!

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Have to admit, it's not the first time I'm been accused of that! It does sound better than fanatical though.
Dave Valentin
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"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#39 Comfort Me

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 02:01 PM

I love making my own sausage, and particularly like chicken sausage. I generally make it in a way I learned from an old videotape from a California culinary school -- instead of adding fat, I add crushed ice when making the forcemeat in the food processor.

Do you think I could freeze broth -- chicken, turkey, or a combo of both -- in ice cube trays, then crush them and incorporate them into the sausage? I don't know if poultry stock freezes or thaws at a different temperature or if that would be relevant anyway.

(I'm thinking of whipping up a batch of chicken sausage with cilantro, red onion, and chipoltle peppers in adobo. Yum.)

Aidan
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#40 tristar

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 09:41 PM

I love making my own sausage, and particularly like chicken sausage.  I generally make it in a way I learned from an old videotape from a California culinary school --  instead of adding fat, I add crushed ice when making the forcemeat in the food processor.

Do you think I could freeze broth -- chicken, turkey, or a combo of both -- in ice cube trays, then crush them and incorporate them into the sausage?  I don't know if poultry stock freezes or thaws at a different temperature or if that would be relevant anyway.

(I'm thinking of whipping up a batch of chicken sausage with cilantro, red onion, and chipoltle peppers in adobo.  Yum.)

Aidan

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Hi Aidan,

I don't see any problems with substituting the crushed ice with stock, but I would be sure to skim off any fat from the stock before freezing, I believe the rendered fat would smear in your sausages and could possibly make them oily or spoil the texture. I normally make my chicken sausages with added chicken skin and fat, plus the crushed ice! or if using chicken meat only I make a mouselline sausage with double cream and egg! Not for the calorie conscious of course!

Regards.
Richard
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#41 Abra

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 05:56 AM

Michael, any update on when the hot dog recipe will be ready for testing? I really want to turn out some perfect dogs for 9/23.

#42 guajolote

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 11:02 AM

I should add that the worst part about this whole Green Bacon Affair is that I really don't feel like I can share it with anyone -- and I have a lot of the stuff.

I mean, I've eaten it a few times, it's quite delicious and I really doubt that it's unsafe but I just couldn't give it to anyone else without knowing with absolutely certainty that it really isn't harmful.  And I just cannot find enough information to get me past that point.

=R=

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:sad: you gave some to me
:wub:


#43 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 11:39 AM

I should add that the worst part about this whole Green Bacon Affair is that I really don't feel like I can share it with anyone -- and I have a lot of the stuff.

I mean, I've eaten it a few times, it's quite delicious and I really doubt that it's unsafe but I just couldn't give it to anyone else without knowing with absolutely certainty that it really isn't harmful.  And I just cannot find enough information to get me past that point.

=R=

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:sad: you gave some to me
:wub:

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And you lived to tell the tale :biggrin:

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#44 Abra

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 04:54 PM

Here's the Shrimp and Salmon Terrine with Spinach. The original has mushrooms, but I had a fungusophobe at the table.

Posted Image

It's dead easy to make, and is a lovely cool treat in our current hot spell. I added some baharat for seasoning to the shrimp mousse, and tucked in some slivers of home-preserved Meyer lemons. Next time I'll put the lemons all the way around the salmon, for more of a jeweled effect.

#45 Bombdog

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 05:18 PM

Abra, that looks FANTASTIC!
Dave Valentin
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"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#46 Chris Amirault

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 11:04 AM

Two thoughts on the theme of "When Sausages Attack!"

Do you think I could freeze broth -- chicken, turkey, or a combo of both -- in ice cube trays, then crush them and incorporate them into the sausage?  I don't know if poultry stock freezes or thaws at a different temperature or if that would be relevant anyway.

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FYI, I tried using some crushed ice in the water for my Italian sausage primary bind yesterday, and had bits of ice flying around the kitchen. :blink: Probably obvious, but 1-2 minutes of paddling doesn't melt ice in cold meat.

Not that it was entirely cold, mind you. I wasn't careful enough with the temperature of the meat, and the emulsion never took. So, since I've lovingly depicted successes, here's the disaster's gory detail:

Posted Image

It may look oddly juicy, but take my word for it: it's dry, crumbly, and truly unpleasant to bite. I crushed a bit into some tomato sauce on the plate, and that seemed to redeem it slightly, so sauce it will be.
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#47 Abra

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 11:22 AM

That looks just like my very first sausage, Chris, and I was pretty proud of it at the time. Amazing how experience and developing expertise makes you be hard on yourself!

I see fat in the sausage, so I assume you weren't using ice instead of fat, as ComfortMe describes above, but ice in addition to fat, right?

#48 Chris Amirault

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 02:48 PM

That's right, Abra, ice and fat both. (I'm definitely incapable of making sausage without fat!)
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#49 tristar

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 11:18 PM

Two thoughts on the theme of "When Sausages Attack!"

Do you think I could freeze broth -- chicken, turkey, or a combo of both -- in ice cube trays, then crush them and incorporate them into the sausage?  I don't know if poultry stock freezes or thaws at a different temperature or if that would be relevant anyway.

View Post


FYI, I tried using some crushed ice in the water for my Italian sausage primary bind yesterday, and had bits of ice flying around the kitchen. :blink: Probably obvious, but 1-2 minutes of paddling doesn't melt ice in cold meat.

Not that it was entirely cold, mind you. I wasn't careful enough with the temperature of the meat, and the emulsion never took. So, since I've lovingly depicted successes, here's the disaster's gory detail:

Posted Image

It may look oddly juicy, but take my word for it: it's dry, crumbly, and truly unpleasant to bite. I crushed a bit into some tomato sauce on the plate, and that seemed to redeem it slightly, so sauce it will be.

View Post


Did you use any chicken skin Chris? I have read somewhere that different meats have differing amounts of water soluble protein and it is the water soluble protein which effects the bind. It is possible that the chicken skin is where the most water soluble protein is? I have not had any problems with my chicken sausages apart from those to which I didn't add chicken skin, as I said in an earlier post, I now normally add egg to give me the bind in those.
"Don't be shy, just give it a try!"

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#50 thursdaynext

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 07:14 AM

Here's the Shrimp and Salmon Terrine with Spinach.  The original has mushrooms, but I had a fungusophobe at the table.

Posted Image


Lovely!
:wub: :wub: :wub:
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#51 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 07:22 AM

Abra, that looks FANTASTIC!

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I agree; just beautiful. :smile:

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#52 Abra

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 08:14 AM

Everybody should give the shrimp and salmon terrine a try - it's just such an easy bang for the buck. Takes no time to make, slices nicely, makes people on diets happy, and looks cool. I do advise cooking up a bit to taste for seasoning - that's what led me down the baharat road.

#53 FoodMan

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 02:32 PM

Everybody should give the shrimp and salmon terrine a try - it's just such an easy bang for the buck.  Takes no time to make, slices nicely, makes people on diets happy, and looks cool.  I do advise cooking up a bit to taste for seasoning - that's what led me down the baharat road.

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I'm sold on it and your picture looks fantastic. How did it taste? What did u serve it with?

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#54 Abra

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 03:03 PM

I served it almost as shown. Cool, with a preserved lemon garnish, and a little salad with hazelnut oil and fig balsamic. I think it would be really good with a finely-diced potato salad of some sort, but besides the no-mushrooms person there was also a carb-avoiding person at the dinner.

As to taste, it's pretty subtle as written. It's awfully hard to get shrimp that taste like much, anymore, so there wasn't an intense shrimp flavor. I could have improved that by infusing the cream with the shrimp shells before adding it, and next time I'll do that. And because I didn't use the mushrooms, there was no caramelized or buttery flavor. But with the touch of baharat and preserved lemon it was mysterious, haunting, delicate. Most people here don't recognize the flavor of baharat, so that added to the mystery. The salmon should have been seasoned before I set it into the terrine, and I'll do that next time too.

Thanks for the compliments, everybody. It's ridiculously easy, so I really don't deserve them, but I'm happy to accept them anyway.

#55 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:21 PM

An update on the charcuterie revision. alas, our ed at norton, maria, wanted only small revisions that wouldn't change the layout or page count, so a broader revision has proved to be impossible right now.

maria asked for a recipe for guanciale, and though it's basically a pancetta style cure, she wanted people to better understand this item which is growing in popularity. so that will be in there.

i was never happy with the hot dog recipe and so worked on an alternative method. there wasn't a lot of time to get it done and abra was the last to bring it up so i asked her to help me test a new method and she did. i'm very grateful to the many others who volunteered.

abra took interesting pix of the various methods tested and did an extraordinary job. abra, please post your pix if you feel like it.

It's impossible to make a hot dog at home identical to the big good producers (such as vienna beef, which makes the best commercial hot dog there is) due to the power of their choppers, so the main goal for the hot dog was to devise a method that could give a home sausage maker a good dog with a firm texture and a good bite.

The main innovations of this recipe, if you will, is to use the meat from beef shortribs, which are very fatty, rather than using suet or pork fat and leaner beef. the flavor of beef fat is very important to the hot dog. this soft fat emulsifies well. second, and this i learned at the vienna beef factory, the salt and pink salt and water are added to the ground shortrib meat at least a day before regrinding and mixing. myosin is salt soluable and this brining stage helps ready the protein that will give the sausage a solid texture.

the main flavors of the hot dog are beef fat and beef, paprika, garlic and smoke. the smoke is more critical in a hot dog than i'd imagined. abra tried adding some liquid smoke to what she felt was an insipid batch and she thought, "There's the hot dog flavor."

they don't need a lot of smoke, just a little. I smoked a batch for twenty minute and finished them in a warm oven and they were extraordinary.

so any, that's the hot dog story. abra, please feel free to weigh in with your comments if you wish.

#56 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:33 PM

Interesting, Michael. When I was at my butcher's shop just a couple of hours ago, he gave me a full tour of the shop. I'd never been behind the counter before and it was very cool but I digress.

In his walk-in were several racks of beef ribs, hanging on hooks. When I asked about them, he told me that the meat from those racks was specifically for hotdogs. I chalked it up to personal preference but now, after reading your comments above, I understand his method much better.

Thanks for the additional information :smile:

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#57 Bombdog

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:35 PM

i was never happy with the hot dog recipe and so worked on an alternative method.  there wasn't a lot of time to get it done and abra was the last to bring it up so i asked her to help me test a new method and she did.  i'm very grateful to the many others who volunteered.

abra took interesting pix of the various methods tested and did an extraordinary job.  abra, please post your pix if you feel like it.

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TEACHER'S PET!

At least if Abra let's us in on the recipe I won't have to buy another copy so soon! :laugh:
Dave Valentin
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"Got what backwards?" I ask.
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#58 Abra

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 03:41 PM

Well, I'm sure we all agree that Michael's a great teacher, but I have to confess to being an unruly pet at best. I have a tendency to talk back and do things my own way, but it was tons of fun in this case.

I started with some wonderful short ribs (and my new show-off knife that I got myself as a birthday present)

Posted Image

after dicing, the meat was ground once before the cure, and then once again after.

Here's a nice clean grind with little to no fat smear

Posted Image

and as Michael mentioned above, there's a lot of fat. In the bowl it looked like about 45-50%, just eyeballing it.

Posted Image

Then the meat cured overnight before being futher seasoned and ground again. I was amazed by how much the coriander is the mystery flavor of hot dogs, something I'd never actually detected before.

One thing I checked out for Michael was whether there was a big textural difference when you do the bind in the food processor, as opposed to the stand mixer. Here you can see that when raw it looks like the mixer ( left dog) produces a much coarser bind than the processor (right dog).

Posted Image

It was easier to stuff the meat from the mixer, I think because more air was incorporated and it was less dense and pasty. My intrepid husband helped me with the stuffing, and we managed to do it all into sheep casings without mishap, a personal first. Later we decided that the result is a bit too skinny for a good hot dog, as you get too much bun-to-meat ratio in every bite.

I was also testing cooking the dogs in the smoker vs. cooking them in a low temp water bath. I hung the dogs to be smoked in the fridge for an hour to develop a pellicle. The soon-to-be water method dogs just rested patiently on the shelf.

Posted Image

This is a great use for those new silicone food loops, by the way.

Then came the hard part. The water bath-dogs went into a shallow pan to slowly cook, and I hung the smoker dogs in my smoker by one of the most improvisational systems imaginable. This is my Hot Dogs in Hell shot.

Posted Image

The tough thing was trying to follow Michael's instruction to smoke the dogs for one hour at 120. Have you ever tried to keep your smoker at 120? It's a total PITA, let me say. I sat by the firebox for the entire hour, feeding it one little chunk of cherry wood after another, with all the vents closed down, and even cracking open the smoking chamber from time to time, and it was still next to impossible.

So then I did a little comparison of the methods

Posted Image

From left to right: mixer-bound water-cooked dogs, processor water dogs, mixer-bound smoked dogs, processor smoked dogs. Here, although you can still see a mixer/processor difference in texture, it was pretty negligible in your mouth. However, the water/smoker difference was huge. To level things out a bit, I stuck one of the water dogs over the remaining flame in the smoker

Posted Image

So here we have a water dog that's been grilled, which is WAY better that a water dog that's just been cooked in water, but is still not nearly as good as a smoked dog.

So, you hardcore smoker folks, get ready for some finicky fun. Plan to make these on a day when you need solitude. This project will let you legitimately shoo everyone away from the smoker, as it will require your full attention, and a considerable portion of your vocabulary of colorful words and phrases as well. It's hard to do properly, but then, we love that, right? Dog challenge ahoy!

Oh, and be sure to roast those short rib bones for stock, demi-glace, or your favorite canine. And then take the fat and drippings, get them hot in a cast iron skillet, fry up some croutons of good bread in the drippings, quickly and gently add some beaten eggs and scramble them with the fat and croutons. Plop this concoction over a salad of mixed garden greens and a light vinaigrette, and there you have a really delicious and offbeat lunch that you never would have had otherwise.

#59 snowangel

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 03:51 PM

Abra, thanks for taking "one for the Gipper." You mention in the sheep's casings part of your evaulation that there wasn't enough dog to bun ratio. Do you wish you'd used hog casings?

BTW, magnificent display. Thanks for taking the hit for us.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#60 Bombdog

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 03:56 PM

Absolutely terrific Abra! Thanks so much!

Oh, BTW, don't give the cooked bones to the dog, just the raw ones.
Dave Valentin
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"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.






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