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Everything posted by Meanderer

  1. Yesterday, toward the tail end of a two day conference for a nonprofit organization(about 200 in attendence), the Executive Director of the organization asked the entire food staff of the conference center to come out and be acknowledged by the conference participants. I thought that was pretty classy.
  2. Shortly before Memorial Day, we had a hailstorm which left about a half inch of pea-size hail everywhere. Two weeks ago, we left on vacation, leaving a garden that was meticulously neat, tidy and weed free. We returned over the weekend to a lush carpet of purslane of prodigious size and vigorous health. I can only conclude from these events that at the heart of each hailstone was a purslane seed and that the frozen water surrounding the seed contained a significant quantity of Miracle Gro. I am hoping the county extension agent will come out and investigate this phenomenon.
  3. Some people are constitutionally unable to admit to mistakes and I suspect your bartender was one of them.
  4. Most, if not all, of the episodes in the first season of Men of a Certain Age have a scene in which the characters played by Ray Romano, Andre Braugher, and Scott Bakula discuss their lives over breakfast, apparently sitting at the same booth each time.
  5. I would have something called The Special at Stefanich's Tavern, Joliet, Illinois, circa 1965. Stefanich's existed from the 1930's through the late 1990's or so and, as a kid growing up during the middle part of those years, my family would eat there about once a month. After I left the nest, I stopped in whenever I was back in the region. In the 60's, there were only three menu items from which to choose--The Picnic, which was two pieces of fried chicken, fresh cut fries, tossed salad, and a delicious French bread, pre-buttered; The Dinner, which was identical except it had three pieces of chicken; and The Special, which had four pieces. The chicken, the best I've ever had, was a secret Slovenian recipe and it never changed during the decades I ate there, although the rest of the meal went downhill when the place began serving frozen fries and an inferior bread with Country Crock. I miss that place more than anywhere I've ever eaten.
  6. Saveur had a recipe several years ago. I managed to find the ingredients, including dried sarsaparilla root, at a shop specializing in herbs and spices. Unfortunately, the final product wasn't very appealing--it finished dead last in a blind taste test against three other products.
  7. Another vote for Even Williams, but Old Forester is another reasonably priced standby for me(or was, until the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board dropped it from its stores). For Irish, I drink Clontarf because it is a bit cheaper than powers and, in my view, its equal. For a blended Scotch, I like White Horse.
  8. I assume there are different varieties of Naval oranges based on a recent experience. Normally I don't eat Naval oranges because I find them pretty tasteless but, because I was cooking something that required orange peel, I bought a couple at the supermarket out of a bin that merely said "Naval Oranges." After I scraped the peel I needed, I ate the remainder. It was soooo good, better than any orange I can remember, I immediately ate the other one. The label said the orange was from South Africa but that was about it. The next time I returned to the store, those oranges were gone. So those Navals are my favorite but I may never see them again.
  9. My wife recently made a dessert with Oregon brand canned purple plums. Surprisingly good. Now I want to sample some of the other fruit canned by that outfit.
  10. Honey, a small plates restaurant, is worth a visit. While its dishes seem a trifle expensive compared to other comparable restaurants, the portion sizes are a bit larger than typical so you can eat to satiety on fewer dishes.
  11. We've been using a Cuisanart Classic Style Electronic for what seems like a long time, though I have no recollection of when we bought it. I just know it has lasted far longer than any others we have had.
  12. When I read the comments from those who hate to grate cheese, I think of Martino, a character in the novel The Castle of Fratta, by Ippolito Nievo, whose "one task was to grate the cheese. It is true that with his naturally phlegmatic nature made more so by age, and with the extraordinary quantity of minestra consumed in the kitchen, this task kept him occupied for many hours a day." What a life he must have led.
  13. Cleaning spinach and leaf lettuce. No matter what I do I end up with some grit unless I rinse each individual piece, which can take an eternity when I am using more than a little at a time.
  14. I've learned to add the word "up" to most cooking verbs. I now fry up bacon rather than fry it and I chop up onions, I no longer chop them. "Up" is also a helpful enhancement to slice, freeze, cook, stir, boil, and dice, at least according to Giada and others.
  15. We have two systems in a way. We accumulate the organic matter we use during the day in a bowl or other container and it goes out to the compost bin in the evening. Trash goes in a container made by Brabantia which opens and closes by a slight touch on the top of the lid. I suspect a large, smart dog would be able to figure out how to open it with its chin.
  16. Food would, indeed, affect my decision because I would want to live in a place where I could continue to grow my own fruits and vegetables. That rules out cities and, for other reasons, I would eliminate suburbs and small towns. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to live too far away from urban areas because I enjoy the food and other attractions to be found where large numbers of people tend to congregate. Mud Butte, South Dakota and similar locales, then, are out of the running. That narrows my choices down to places in the countryside having arable ground within an hour or three of interesting cities. Based on these criteria(and because I fell in love with the area several years ago), I'd choose five acres and a house anywhere within a 10 mile radius of St. Antonin Noble Val, France.
  17. All my wife wants is information. Specifically, she wants to know which dishes she cannot eat(including soups in which mushrooms were used to make the stock)and then she knows which dishes are safe to order. All that requires is a well-informed staff.
  18. You are right. I expressed myself poorly. My point was that it is irrational for kitchen staff to be annoyed by those who have allergies because there are some people who don't have them but assert otherwise. Now, whenever my wife mentions her mushroom allergy(some may call it an intolerance--regardless, the effects are quite unpleasant for her) in a restaurant, I will have a vision of a kitchen full of annoyed employees, skeptical of her condition. That might annoy me a bit.
  19. So what you are saying is that kitchen staff get annoyed at all who claim an allergy because an unknown subset doesn't actually have an allergy. That would be like saying doctors ought to be annoyed at all of their patients because some of them are hypochondriacs or voters should be annoyed at all politicians because some percentage are liars(oh, wait, bad example).
  20. I'm curious about your statement that kitchen staffers are annoyed by allergy claims "because most people really do not have the allergy." How would they know one way or the other?
  21. I haven't been to Pittsburgh for a couple of years but the last time I was there I enjoyed dinner at Le Pommier very much. Perhaps if you post your inquiry on the Pennsylvania forum, you might receive more responses(though the posts there tend toward the Philadelphia side of the Commonwealth, so perhaps not).
  22. Elvis may be the King, but not, it appears, when it comes to background music in restaurants. While in England and Scotland during the past couple of weeks I was serenaded by Frank Sinatra in a pub in Hawkshead, a small inn near Spean Bridge, and a restaurant in Durness. While it is quite common(too common, in my opinion)to hear Sinatra while dining out in the states, I was a bit surprised by his regular appearances across the pond. Back in the '90s, it seemed as if I heard Billie Holliday in every other restaurant I walked into in the U.S., but she seems to have fallen out of favor. How do restauranteurs here and abroad choose what music to play in the dining room and is it the same music every day? I realize there are likely to be as many answers to this question as there are restaurants but I am most curious to know whether 1)a guess is made as to what people would like, 2)there are people out there who use market research to advise restaurants on what music customers are likely to enjoy(or, at least, not find offensive), 3)the music is chosen to please the staff who have to listen to it day after day for hours at a time, or 4)it is simply based on the individual tastes of the owner or whoever happens to be in charge at the time?
  23. I saw this discussion at an interesting time, having just returned from a vacation during which I ate breakfast on the first and last two days when we stayed where breakfast came as part of the deal but did not eat breakfast during the week in between when we were in a rented cottage. Thinking back, I can recall no particular difference in how I felt or functioned on the days I had breakfast compared to the days I did not. Nor do I recall my hunger at lunchtime having been affected--I am always hungry at lunchtime.
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