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Everything posted by MarketStEl

  1. As for your lunch at Kobe: Tell you what -- when next I'm in Richmond, I'll keep your hubby company for lunch. We could probably order the sushi combo for two and save some money. After reading this, I was expecting a voice to come out and say, "Par-kay!" All the same, that is a most interesting variation on a Philadelphia icon. There's a cheesemonger in the Italian Market that makes fresh mozz on the premises; this sounds like a good excuse to go get some. Looks yummy, and I put on five pounds just looking at the pictures. Your onion rings look divine, and probably tasted as good as they look. Your unfried green tomatoes remind me of the unfortunate results I had with unfried eggplant in our tag-team weight-management blog. I guess: 1) some foods were just meant to be fried; 2) and if that's the case, you can't use the coatings meant for the imitations to produce the genuine article. Though I did try the spread-the-eggplant-slices-with-mayo tip suggested to me after my mishap and got acceptable results.
  2. Kim: Even though you decided you didn't have the talent or perserverance or whatever you thought was missing to make it as a writer, let me assure you that there are far worse writers than you getting paid for their work. One of them, a former U.S. Senator from this state, has a column every other Thursday in The Philadelphia Inquirer, where essays of mine also appear from time to time (on a different page from the one where said clunky writer appears). Discipline, a quality I find somewhat lacking in myself, is key. In the words of legendary wartime journalist Ernie Pyle: "Writing is easy. You just sit down in front of a typewriter and open a vein." Still, I would consider asking around to see whether there isn't some small press in or around Richmond that might be interested in publishing one of your cookbooks. You are a most capable writer, and cookbooks -- as you obviously know -- are a genre of literature unto themselves and one that, it seems, draws a large number of interested amateurs to writing. As far as open cabinet doors are concerned, we are also kindred spirits there. Edited to insert appropriate adjective before "capable."
  3. Slow Food does an awful lot of that. We are all about making sure markets are created and/or sustained for products that fit the good/clean/fair model. And for the record, I'd much rather spend $12/pound on La Quercia Prosciutto (made right here in Iowa) than $100/pound on Iberico any day. I'll have the Iberico if I ever get back to Spain. I'm passionate about good food, not silly about it. ← Thanks for answering my question. However, once you factor in the cost of airfare and lodging, that $25 quarter pound of jamon iberico is probably a better buy for someone who is not planning to visit Spain for some other reason anyway. Still, thanks also for confirming my second statement about good elitists not hesitating to spend less for something. Of course, this is not exactly what's going on here; instead, what you describe is a rational decision to settle for something that meets all your requirements even though it may not be the absolute best in its class because the absolute best simply costs too much. Sensible conoisseurs do this all the time, as do sensible non-conoisseurs. Unfortunately for me, the jamon iberico is easy for me to buy, because someone here in Philadelphia decided it was worth importing, while no one here has yet decided that the Iowa prosciutto is worth importing to Pennsylvania. Now if someone in Lancaster County decides to make a specialty ham to match these or the cave aged Cheddar-style cheese from that same county that I happily plunk down $20 a pound for when I can afford it, I will in all likelihood buy it before I buy jamon iberico. But I only turn 50 once. Your points about the romanticization of the rural poor and their customs as a form of entertainment for the well-to-do are well taken, and I could understand them because you stated them in reasonably clear English. But post-structuralist/deconstructionist/postmodernist theory and criticism have earned their rep among non-academics because the people who produce it often use language that is dense to the point of impenetrability; that snippet explaining Bourdieu from Wikipedia heads well into that territory. Agency I can understand. Ditto subjectivity and objectivity, and structure too, while I'm at it. Yet I can't shake the feeling as I read these terms juxtaposed as they are in the passage in question that I am reading a passage that is meant to obfuscate as much as it is to explain, or even worse, to cover up the fact that the author really doesn't have anything to say. You are familiar with the tale of the physics professor who submitted a totally fake paper to a deconstructionist academic journal, and the journal published it? Things like that tend to confirm the skeptics' view of the subject.
  4. Are you sure that in one of your other lives, you aren't a college professor as well as/instead of an everyday housewife? Your love of literature (culinary division) rivals -- nay, exceeds -- that of any academic I've met, and I am familiar with the affliction, for my partner's one, and we're both voracious readers. And speaking of literature, cooking and housekeeping, are either of Peg Bracken's proto-feminist classics of the early 1960s, the I Hate to Cook Book and its sequel, the I Hate to Housekeep Book (my mother had that one), in your collection? You might say that those books did as much as anything Betty Friedan or Germaine Greer wrote to advance the idea that women don't need to stay at home and pour all their energies into keeping a spotless house. I visited Richmond in the mid-1980s, during which time we dined and hung out at bars in the Fan District. It really has a lot of vitality and funky urbanity, and I look forward to revisiting it. You should really throw in a shot of Monument Avenue for the non-Richmonders reading this blog too. I guess your experience with weight and dieting goes well beyond what Ellen, Randi and I cataloged in our tag-team foodblog, and desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures. Glad to see that they are working for you. Welcome to the ranks of eG foodbloggers, and carry on; I'll be hanging on every word and picture.
  5. Have no fear, it's coming... but first, the last sausage post: the cold-smoked Hungarian Paprika sausages were finished off in the cold smoker while the pork was smoking in the hot chamber. (most photos deleted) Is the patty you cooked (presumably for yourself) midway through the process a quality control step? I've recently started patronizing a sausage maker in Port Richmond, a neighborhood in lower northeast Philadelphia with a sizable Polish population, which makes and smokes its own sausages on the premises. The only thing better than the smell of the smoke coming from the smoke room at this place is the taste of their kielbasa and breakfast sausage. They built their rep on kielbasa, but the breakfast sausage is the best I've had anywhere, period. I haven't eaten cold-smoked sausage (that I'm aware of); what besides the method and need to cook it distinguishes cold-smoked from hot-smoked sausage? Is there a difference in flavor? (The place in Port Richmond sells both fresh and smoked kielbasa, btw.) Your husband and I would get along famously. I love everything about the place I live except the absence of suitable outdoor space in which to barbecue. Chris: In Kansas City, the sauces are also tomato-based. Spareribs and burnt ends (the charred ends of a side of beef or pork) are the local specialties. You owe it to yourself to pay a visit and check out Oklahoma Joe's (best meat in town), Gates' (best sauce IMO and legendary greeting as you enter) and Arthur Bryant's (for the legend, period). This has been a fantastic blog! Of course, you will look us up when you return to Philly?
  6. BTW, Chris: Fantastic pictures, and did I tell you you look cute with that "oh-my-God-she's-got-the-camera-again" expression? It's almost as good as that lookie-at-what-I-got! expression in your avatar. Not only are you a meat and chocolate god, you are obviously a Photoshop god as well. It really is a shame you won't be joining us Philly phood phans.
  7. I will assume that when you encounter this cut in a restaurant in Dallas -- or in OKC, for that matter -- they call it by its proper name: Kansas City strip. My one-man campaign to educate the unwashed masses of the Northeast is making very little headway, assistance from Ted Turner (via Ted's Montana Grill) notwithstanding. (Had a buffalo KC strip there Friday before last, courtesy my closest friend in the PGMC. Just as tasty and rich as beef, but much leaner.) Of course, the bigger tragedy is that you can get better Kansas City strip steaks in steakhouses in the city for which it is misnamed than in the city whose name it properly bears.
  8. AFAIK, Wegmans is strictly a Mid-Atlantic phenomenon -- New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. They (and Whole Foods Market, BTW) regularly land on Fortune's annual "100 Best Companies to Work For" list. Can't even imagine these sauces. Sounds like it's time for a visit to one of my local Vietnamese restaurants. What dishes would I find nuoc leo in? (The one Indonesian restaurant I'm aware of in Philadelphia is the local outpost of Penang, an East Coast chain of Indonesian restaurants. It's in Chinatown. But I do have a friend -- a retired Drexel math prof who's also a native Kansas Citian -- whose partner is Indonesian, so maybe I could impress upon him to give up the secret...) The spice shop I patronize, The Spice Corner on 9th Street, has a peanut butter grinder too. Otherwise, I'd probably have to travel all the way up to Mount Airy in the northwest part of the city to find one. Unfortunately, as partner and roommate both have blood pressure issues, fish sauce is an absolute no-no in my repertoire. Given what I've seen of the sodium content of most Asian sauces, I'm beginning to wonder whether anyone on a sodium-restricted diet can eat most East or Southeast Asian cooking. (I don't recall this subject coming up in our tag-team foodblog, mizducky.)
  9. Triscuits and Ritz. Between the two, there's probably not a cheese they can't handle. (But there are a few that should go on water biscuits.) Tonight I topped my Triscuits with a new find: a Spanish-style cheese from Wisconsin. I hadn't seen Gran Queso in DiBruno's before, and there appears to be some confusion among the staff there over who makes it: the shelf label at the 9th Street store said it was from Hickory Farms, but the label on the wheel said it was made by Roth Kase USA, which appears to be quickly gaining a rep for producing very good European-style cheeses in a place known for cheese, but not cheeses like these. It tastes a little like Manchego, only not quite as firm -- but firm enough. Tangy start, sweet finish. Great for snacking. tamiam: Would the cheesemaker be a name we'd recognize on the East Coast? Is it in Washington State, or Oregon? I think that most of the store brand commodity Cheddars sold around here come from either Wisconsin or New York State -- if the latter, they are so labeled; the New York State Cheddars are generally a notch better than the generic ones.
  10. So: Have you found the One Optimal All-Purpose, All-Occasion Peanut Butter from thta batch? Or are certain brands/varieties more appropriate for certain uses (e.g., spreading on a cracker, spreading on a slice of bread with jelly, spreading on a cracker and topping with a slice of Cheddar, dipping an apple wedge in it, spreading on an apple wedge and topping with a slice of Cheddar,...)? Historical trivia: Peter Pan (originally made by Swift & Co.; now made by ConAgra) is the oldest brand of mass-produced commercial peanut butter; it was introduced in 1920 or thereabouts. I find it a bit too sugary for my taste; lately, I've gone from Jif (not as sugary as Peter Pan but pretty sugary still) to Simply Jif (which has less sugar in it). Skippy used to have even less sugar, but (I guess) Procter & Gamble's marketing machine got us all hooked on the sweet stuff ("Jif tastes more like fresh peanuts!" No, it really doesn't), so eventually Bestfoods caved and boosted the sugar in Skippy until it tasted more like Jif. P&G sold Jif (and Crisco) to the J.M. Smucker Co. a year or two ago, so now Jif and Smucker's are brand mates. I haven't eaten any in a while, but I will wager that of those brands, Smucker's tastes the most like just-ground peanuts. So you gotta stir the oil back in; big whoop.
  11. Loved those action shots! I hope more people provide some, but doubt this will become an eG Foodblog tradition, for it requires another person to take the pix. I never learned to flip food in a skillet! Though I wonder how well that would work with a cast-iron pan as opposed to one with a rounded bottom. (I have a saute pan like yours but prefer my cast-iron skillets.) Is there an eG Cooking School lesson on this?
  12. I didn't see anything in the article that suggested that Slow Foodies are poseurs, or that they are dishonest about their motives. It's all out there in the open: they're using the global market to protect culinary diversity. I do think that what has people upset is the word "elite." But Slow Food is, among other things, an elite movement. I mean, what else would you call people who pay $100 per pound for jamon iberico? I don't consider that an insult; it's just a fact. ← Well, since you (and I, by way of the thread you linked) raised the subject: I hit the half-century mark this coming October 22. I figure a quarter-pound of this would make a dandy birthday present, and if nobody buys me any, I'll buy myself some. Which brings me to the post that IMO puts everything in perspective: Actually, she has a point -- and if I was correct in assessing Stirling's piece as a dart rather than a backhanded compliment (I will admit it could be read either way, which makes it even worse than the OP imagined, for it should at least be clear what the author's intent is in writing something: if this was satire, he didn't screw his tongue in his cheek firmly enough), then lots of people lack similar perspective. There are food lovers on these boards who are of very modest means, including one who shares Slow Food's worldview and has posted to this discussion. I am sure that she would not hesitate to spend far more on some high-quality food product than she would on some other expensive item given the money to burn simply because that's something she cares about. The snobs buy expensive things because they are expensive. The GOOD elitists buy them because they are superior in quality. There is a difference between the two. The good elitist would not hesitate to spend LESS for a superior product either; the snob would. I posted on Phillyblog about "American Hyacinth Buckets." (My partner, I fear, has more than a little Hyacinth in him.) If you know this character, you should be able to understand the distinction now being made.
  13. There's more where that snippet came from: And I thought it was just me. Generally, if I'm in Starbucks, I'm either drinking tea or one of their frou-frou coffee-candy drinks. I think DD did you a favor by opening closer to your office. It is a shame you won't be a neighbor. Like Lindsay Ann, I like your attitude too -- and I would have loved to go mano a mano with you on pancakes. The family is in the restaurant every day, cooking, taking orders, and waiting tables, and they take a lot of pride in the place. They really are friendly (despite occasionally threatening to beat you with a large stick ), so next time you are here, stop by! ← I know a few people who would want to go to Herwig's because they'd get beaten with a large wooden stick, but that's not important now. Their sense of humor rings through loud and clear, and I suspect that the food there must taste all the better because of it. Usually people who have fun doing what they do do it very well.
  14. I think the net impression Sterling is trying to leave -- if he is being serious -- is that Slow Food is a bunch of effete gastronomical snobs who are actually making the world safe for well-off poseurs under the guise of protecting culinary and biological diversity. Or something like that. I'm all confused now.
  15. I'm glad to hear that you've found rewarding work in the Southern Midwest and in a place where you can grow food for most of the year. But Oklahoma City has never really floated my boat. I don't know whether it's the conservatism of the place or the flatness, but I've tended to regard the place much as I regard Wichita, the next sizable city to the north on I-35: I guess it will do, but there's better places to live. However, you will have access to good barbecue -- the best barbecue joint in my native Kansas City now was co-founded by an expat Okie -- and distances in the Midwest being what they are, you can always tool down to Dallas-Fort Worth, a mere 150 or so miles to the south, for a weekend's worth of the Big City Experience, or take a slightly longer trek north-northeast up I-35 to my hometown. As you are a fan of the pig, I would highly recommend the latter, for short of finding employment in metropolitan Kansas City, you are likely to come no closer than you are now to the epicenter of American barbecue in your future career. (I used to say that while I would always be proud to be from KC, I would never return there to live. After going back for my 30th high school reunion in 2006, I am no longer firmly convinced I couldn't live there again -- it's changed in several important ways without losing its special charms. But as it has no rail transit yet, it's probably still off my short list.) Anyway, congrats again! Don't forget to duck -- or head to the bathroom if you don't have a cellar -- when the tornadoes hit in the spring!
  16. Glad to see you roll your own! Crust, that is. I've tried hand-tossing and -stretching crusts on a few occasions, and every time, the result is the same -- a hole in the crust somewhere and wildly uneven thickness. So I resort to the rolling pin too. I feel inauthentic doing it, but it gets me the crust I want. That pie looked delicious! I'm sure it was worth the parchment-paper fire.
  17. OK, now, there are some sacrifices I just can't make! Sounds like a grilled sticky is in order, though: maybe I will have one for breakfast tomorrow (<homer voice>mmmm, ice cream for breakfast</homer voice> ). ← Well, if you can arrange to have me shipped to State College and back before the blog's over, I'll gladly take one for the team -- and repay you with Moriarty's wings when you are next in Philadelphia. And if your wife manages to decide as I believe you told me you hoped she would when I met you at Chick's Thursday before last (hope all the noise we Phillybloggers made didn't unnerve you), that may be not that long from now. The funny thing is, Limerick is in the Philadelphia metropolitan area*, while State College lies in splendid isolation in the state's geographic center. Yet the grocery shopping's better in the latter, and it's all because of Wegmans. Go figure. BTW, Chris: I told another eGer that what you had really done with that picture is swipe a photo of the Missouri River floodplain near Leavenworth, Kan., and pass it off as Central Pennsylvania. No landscape I've been through anywhere outside the Midwest has reminded me as much of home as that of Central Pennsylvania farm country -- driving along PA 283 from Harrisburg to Lancaster felt downright eerie, the resemblance was that strong with the Missouri River valley region of northwest Missouri/northeast Kansas. Of course, this same farm country is the source of everything that is good about eating in Pennsylvania save the talent of our local chefs. Do your meats come from around us, or are they imported? Looking forward to more of your blog and all that lovely bacon. *Nearest SEPTA service: Bus Route 99 (Norristown Transportation Center to Royersford via King of Prussia and Valley Forge) to its outer end at Limerick Square Shopping Center. Nearest SEPTA service to Graterford Prison: Bus Route 91 from Norristown Transportation Center to the prison, Saturdays only.
  18. "The unheralded Grey Lodge Pub"? Okay, maybe unheralded for its cheesesteaks, but how can one possibly say an establishment named one of the "10 Best Bars in America" by Esquire magazine be "unheralded"? Which makes for a good segue to... No, I think you may have a point, at least when dealing with matters of taste. Subjective values inevitably enter into the picture, and the fine gradations that may be evident to one person may be absent to another. Nonetheless, mrbigjas does nail the dynamic that produces these lists by the score month in and month out, and frankly, I think that any business losses a highly regarded place might suffer from not making it into the Top Five or Top 10 on a "Best" list will prove transitory, as the things that make it highly regarded haven't changed. Similarly, a place that is unexpectedly placed atop such a list may not enjoy permanently increased business unless it is truly an undiscovered or overlooked gem. (I doubt that Cosmi's is doing that much better for having won "Best Cheesesteak' in the 2004 PhillyMag roundup.) Perhaps we could take this whole issue to a meta-level: "The 50 Best 'Best' Lists"?
  19. Now you've got me perplexed. Whenever I prepare roast beef at home, I usually end up slicing it, and the resulting slices are usually moist, even if they do have a crust and have not been sitting in juices for a while. (They usually produce their own, which I then reduce to make gravy.) What should a good roast beef sandwich feel like in one's mouth?
  20. Elitism and snobbery are often confused, especially by critics of the latter. And since snobs often do a passable job of passing themselves off as elitists, it makes the job of distinguishing between the two that much harder.
  21. Wow. I just finished dinging someone on Phillyblog whose sentiments about yupscale poseurs I generally share for displaying reverse snobbery in his criticism of snobs, and now this comes along. I'd say this is another case of reverse snobbery. And yet...and yet...while it's true that preserving agricultural/culinary/food diversity ultimately benefits everyone, and that our corn-fed regime of cheap food isn't really all that good nutritionally for the people who benefit from it the most, it does strike me that most of the local/artisanal products promoted through organizations like Slow Food are a bit beyond the reach of the poorest, price-wise if not geographically. I know that organizations like our own Food Trust here in Philadelphia go to great lengths to bring local farmers and producers together with consumers in places like Kensington, Chester and Southwest Germantown; do Slow Food convivia contribute to these efforts? How do we best address this apparent flaw in the model?
  22. And to think he was the third place I stopped in my hoagie quest in my second foodblog! I got a sense of deja vu reading Mike's post. Carmen is clearly a master.
  23. Pardon me, but: Mango chutney "Western" food? Mangoes are tropical fruit, and I thought that chutneys made their way to Britain from India. Ah, the wonders of assimilation!
  24. Footnote: Went back up there on Good Friday to buy more breakfast sausage and some plain kielbasa. Stood in line for an hour. Realized as I approached the door that I wouldn't get to place my order in time for a noon roundtable discussion at the Inky, so left. Returned the next morning to get both. No line. No breakfast sausage, either. Kielbasa fresh out of the smoker, though. Folks, it doesn't get any better than this. My fellow choristers polished off the bulk of a pound, fried with peppers and mixed with mezze penne and Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Another attempt at breakfast sausage later today. If this keeps up, I may have to consider moving to Port Richmond.
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