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Everything posted by wnissen

  1. I'm going to interpret this question as: stuff that goes bad on the scale of weeks or days rather than months that we always have an extra of: For lunches, bread, lunch meat, bell peppers, baby carrots, apples, oranges. For dinners, garlic, shallot, onion (I always have all three around, for whatever reason), potatoes, romaine hearts, nonfat milk, heavy cream, butter, eggs. I think that's it. Now, 90% of the time we have tomatoes and bananas, but I realize it's not actually a huge amount of stuff. There's a million things in the overstuffed pantry, but the real staples are quite limited. Thanks for coming up with this idea. Walt
  2. wnissen


    Assuming you've just done all your other dishes, your hands will be essentially free of skin oils, and won't smudge the glasses anyway. Yes, the same effect that gives you dishpan hands also helps your Riedels to remain unsmudged. Walt
  3. What can I say, a lot of people have it in for Olestra. The anecdotal evidence is worthwhile only to the extent that it suggests further study is necessary. For my part, I had several servings of WOW chips and was fine. Walt
  4. I agree with you completely. In fact, I will go one further, and state that it would be extremely suspicious if advertisers did not get high scores. Yes, you read that correctly. It only stands to reason that wineries getting poor scores would decline to advertise, and wineries getting good scores would advertise to point out that fact. If my $40 bottle of wine gets an 84, there is no way in hell I am going to send ad money to the publication that is causing me problems. Conversely, if W.S. gives a great score, you had better believe that I am going to trumpet it, and what better place than the publication that bestowed the score in the first place. Walt
  5. Wow, I can only add a small anecdote to those that have come before. My worst meal was at my aunt's house, which had a serious aroma that presumably came from never being cleaned. Dinner was pot roast, made without seasoning. No salt, no pepper, and none provided. Vegetables were potatoes and carrots, both unpeeled. The carrots were absolutely inedible and had infused the rest of the dish with serious bitter, yucky flavor. As this was a birthday party, we were served cupcakes that were fine on top but had almost totally uncooked bottoms. Scary. Walt
  6. Squeat, Perhaps this was an oversight on your part, but Care Not Cash was endorsed by the voters, to the tune of a 60% margin. It was a judge's ruling that the initiative process could not be used to set that kind of policy that threw it to the Supervisors, where it lost by one vote. Guess who that vote was? Yes, Gonzalez, who just happens to be person who was just defeated in the mayoral runoff. The voters seem to have a pretty clear opinion on this. Getting back to the topic at hand, my family was on WIC for a period, and it certainly was no picnic but I think if you're willing to cook it is not that difficult to survive. Part of the problem is people working two jobs don't have time for much more than pizza and mac 'n cheese, and the truly poor don't have access to cooking facilities anyway. My job is only 40 hours a week and I have no idea where I'd get another 40 hours from to work the second job. Maybe the solution is "WIC prices," where the shittier the food is, the more it costs. And, in an almost completely unrelated vignette, a friend of a friend, Ben, used to spend nine months out of the year at the Library of Congress, researching topics that struck his interest, including working through encylopedias in order. The other three months he worked as a farmer on the family farm (obviously, this requires quite a bit of capital now that the homestead act is defunct). He calculated that by buying by the sack (55 lbs., I think) he could assemble legumes, oatmeal, and other grains, plus powdered milk and a multi-vitamin, into a nutritionally complete diet. The daily cost of this diet was US$0.17! He used to joke that it had five elements: the bean element, the grain element, the milk element, the trace elements(did I mention that Ben had a degree in physics?), and the heating element. So, it certainly it possible to eat for a trivial amount of money. The problem is that human beings don't want to. A burger and fries taste good, even if they are expensive. It's an affordable "luxury." Walt
  7. wnissen

    A Chef's Beer

    Um, yeah. I somehow read that as 7-8 gallons. Let this be a lesson for the lurkers: A person who cannot even tell the difference between '4' and '7' is able to make beer. You can too. :) Walt
  8. wnissen


    Re: 10FF to the dollar. Pretty amazing. That's 1.52 euro to the dollar, or a euro at 0.66! Walt
  9. wnissen

    A Chef's Beer

    I haven't been there for six weeks or so, but as far as I can tell they are open and their website is working. Probably just a glitch. Nut brown sounds good to me. I've brewed a Porter, a Pale Ale, a Hefeweizen, an American Ale, and a West Coast Pale Ale. The last was from a US$30 Mr. Beer kit, and was drinkable but not that great. Nut brown will make a super next beer. I do have a comment on equipment. I've done a couple of partial boil batches with a 16L pot (I now have a 28L) and they turned out fine. A big stock pot is really all that is necessary, as long as you keep an eye out for boil-overs due to the increased density. As for the quality of the beer, any person who cooks (or bakes, especially) will be able to make a very good tasting batch of beer the first time out as long as they are scrupulously clean. Unfortunately, that does preclude starting the siphons with your mouth. :) It will take 5 or so hours and a good bit of effort the first time, but it is not in any way difficult. Walt
  10. wnissen


    This post is a little too subtle for me, oldschooltie, perhaps you could explain the point of it to me, using small words? :)
  11. I will admit to being quite surprised that among this group, which prides itself on knowing a lot more than the average diner, there is not more support for hiding an Easter Egg on each page of the list. To give a practical example that I have run into, take the Wente Vineyards Restaurant, which is the only real fine dining within twenty minutes of my house. Their markups are, in the main, rapacious. The usual suspects, such as Yellow Label (US$90) and the Wente wines are typically in the range of triple or quadruple retail. And yet, every time I go, I always find, nestled deep in the list, a dry rose', for a very reasonable price. Right now it's the 2001 Heitz Cellars Grignolino Rosé for US$29. Not bad at all and typically a great match with the California cuisine. You had better believe that I am grateful for that one reasonably priced wine. I'm sure that it is there as a small gift to small fry wine lovers such as myself. I am happy to let the other diners enjoy their 1999 Opus ($345) because, frankly, it's not that important to them. I don't feel that they are getting screwed; they have the same opportunity as the rest of us to take a look at the list and make smart choices. I guess the question is, is this practice better or worse than a mechanic charging a novice big bucks to fix his or her car? Walt
  12. wnissen


    I just figure that we were given a gift with a few years of very favorable exchange rates, and now we're coming back to reality. We honeymooned in Antibes and Paris in June 2001, and everything was dirt cheap. The food stupidly so. Now the prices have come back up so that it actually costs the same amount to stay in Paris as in, say, New York. Seems about right to me. While I cringe at the exchange rate, I worry more that overseas investors will pull their capital if they see the dollar sliding much more. I can afford a 30% increase in the cost of a vacation. I can less well afford a 30% drop in my retirement accounts. BTW, the comment by Sec. Snow was that he felt a strong dollar was one that people would want to use for commerce, and that couldn't be counterfeited. No, that's a strong dollar bill, you moron! :( That's a long winded way of saying that our driving trip from Frankfurt to Paris in April 2005 is still on. (What can I say, we have a lot more vacation ideas than vacation time). Who knows, maybe the pendulum will have swung back by then. Walt
  13. Sorry to say, but I haven't made it out to the Ferry Market. The one in Pleasanton is 15 minutes from my house and open year round, so they tend to get my business. There's an excellent mushroom lady in Pleasanton, who typically has six or seven kinds, including pristine Chanterelles and delicious oyster. She also has dried at very attractive prices, like US$10 for a sandwich baggie of morels. The produce is good overall, but not spectacular. I'm still waiting to get a tomato that is as good as homegrown. However, when the season is right, I have been blown away by the Brentwood sweet corn, asparagus, green beans, peaches, pears, and strawberries. Worth a stop if you happen to be near Pleasanton between nine and one on a Saturday. And, of course, we're quite fond of the kittens they have up for adoption. :) Walt
  14. Everything alive in this picture came from the market in Pleasanton, CA. Except the onion, I think that was from Safeway and I figured the basket needed an onion. The cats are Persy [L] and Grapey. Walt
  15. wnissen

    A Chef's Beer

    Hi folks, I'm an extract brewer who would like to participate as well. I've heard lots of good stuff about Northern Brewer, but buy all my supplies from the superb Beer, Beer, and More Beer (http://www.morebeer.com) because they're close by. Anyone else in the San Francisco Bay Area interested? Walt
  16. Better than I got, Bux. Below is the response I received (minus perfunctory bits). Hard to tell if this is a completely generic form with "the removal of foie gras" placed in the {CUSTOMER WHINE} field, or if it actually got read. My source for the PETA involvement was http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...BAGBD35L431.DTL Walt
  17. Something that I did not realize was that Williams-Sonoma has stopped carrying foie gras in their catalog, due to pressure from animal rights groups. I thought this was cowardly and stupid, especially considering that they continue to carry numerous animal products, and told them so. If you would like to make a comment, their feedback page is here. Walt
  18. Hello, Just a follow-up to my earlier post, I went to the Hayward, CA Business Costco today during lunch, and you can indeed buy their selection open stock. It was good to finally see the vaunted Sitram Profisserie in person. I was a little put off by the fact that the clad disk did not cover the entire bottom of the pan, but it was basically as shown on the Costco Business website. I walked out of there with a 1.1 qt saucepan, 2.4 and 3.3 qt saucepans with lids, and a 9.4" fryer and 11" saute with lids. They were out of the 7.9" fry pan. With tax, $157. I decided against the set because I really don't need a stockpot. I already have a non-aluminum model that works fine for liquids. Next step is to get some of this washed in time for Thanksgiving! Thanks for the help from the folks on this board. Walt
  19. As much as I love "special" food, Thanksgiving tends to be the kind of foods that you would throw together out of your cornucopia. So, here's our menu: Crudite with dip, baked Brie with cranberry sauce, stuffed mushroom caps, and cider two ways: mulled and sparkling. Actually, the plan is for me to carbonate some unpasteurized cherry-apple cider in the mini-keg, so that's a little out of character. First course: Root vegetable puree soup, rolls. Although, help me, I'm bringing truffle oil for the soup. Main meal: Rotisserie turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, cranberry chutney, cranberry sauce, green beans, and broccoli in spicy orange sauce. Dessert: Citrus platter, pumpkin pie, apple pie, raspberry jam tart. I'm looking forward to this meal so much I'm vibrating in my seat. It sure do suck to have a whole day and a half of work left. Walt
  20. Okay, I actually found the Sitram stuff on costco.com, open stock. If you click the "Business" tab and search for sitram they have a good chunk of the whole line. As an example, the 22 qt stockpot, with lid, is $102. The 11" frying pan is $37. Big catch is you need to have a $250 order. I'm looking into whether I can buy this stuff off the shelf at the Business Costco in Hayward, CA. Walt
  21. Yes, I do give them credit for that. I still had the receipt, and that piece of crap went back the next day. They took it back even though I had bent the blades in my increasingly desperate attempts to get it to actually cut all the way through a parsely leaf. :) Walt
  22. By far, absolutely hands down, the most worthless kitchen gadget is the oxo herb mincer. The damn thing simply will not cut herbs!!! I continue to be astonished that OXO would produce a product that does not work, and that Williams-Sonoma would be clueless enough to carry it. Walt
  23. Greg, Thanks for the pointer on the Sitram at Costco. Not sure what Costco in Chicago is like, but they only have the 5-ply copper bottom cookware at my Costco in Livermore, CA. That set also looked pretty good, although the Sitram seems more "professional" and is also dishwasher safe. One other note, it appears the correct spelling is Profiserie, not Profisserie. I had some trouble searching for the former, but the latter turned up a bunch of hits. Certainly is counter to what my limited French intuition would tell me, though. Walt
  24. I'm not even a big garlic lover, and when I went two years ago it was pathetic. The food was competent, but nothing we ordered had any serious garlic flavor. I certainly wouldn't wait in line and pay those prices when I could be singing with the waiters at Steps of Rome down the street and having a much better time. Walt
  25. One useful resource for comparing this sort of thing is www.oanda.com which has historical exchange rates going back years. It's not enough to look up the rate when you get back, because it might have changed by a percent or two from when you made the transaction. MBNA swears up and down that they don't add the fee, but I haven't checked any transactions myself. This may be a bit late, but I would not be sure about being able to use a checking account to withdraw from France. The ATMs I've used do not ask which account you want to draw from, it always comes from checking. While a student I ran out of money because I was hoping to draw from my savings account. Thank goodness someone else was paying for meals and accomodations. Of course, this doesn't mean that a savings-only account wouldn't work, but a prepaid card like Buxx is certainly more reliable. Walt
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