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Everything posted by marinade

  1. I once had a conversation with Jack Mc David at Jack's Firehouse about his doing a cookbook. He had some early Food TV exposure with Bobby Flay. The first thing he asked me was how long did it take (hours) to write my book. When I told him, he then said divide that by your royalties minus your expenses. He felt he could make more money selling BBQ at the ‘Cue competitions. But getting back to the thread, not all Chef’s books are high-end even though they may look like it. There is some bench-mark work written by chefs domestically that contain bang for the buck credible information, I’m thinking of Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli among others. Not a color shot in any of the signatures yet it can hold its own as far as theory, technique, and recipes. Professional level, yet accessible. On the other extreme, The Art of Aureole by Charlie Palmer has a high-end Euro design style look but its diagonal copy knocked out of a “negative” duotone of the recipe photo shot makes the work illegible. Palmer called the shots on this one. Nice eye candy if you are “looking” at type—not reading it. Some of the pro-level books I've scanned at Kitchen Arts and Letters (on the back wall) do carry a pricing structure as though they were membership fees. Lots of them read like technical journals, not food porn. Then some of the pro-baking books I’ve grabbed out of there really do glisten graphically. On the other hand I’ve gotten some pretty books that were like a bad blind date with too much makeup.
  2. Just a couple of thoughts. Regarding the high-end, the vast majority of 4-color plus hard-coverbook production (as well Museuem Exhibit catalogs)is done overseas. Ten Speed Press, who publishes, Mark Miller, Charlie Palmer, Charlie Trotter, and others, prints most if not all of over seas. I spent a considerable amount of time in commercial printing and the costs are frigging insane to print these domestically. I’m not even counting the cost of design and photography. Now some publishers have been approached from off-shore companies who will copy edit and actually do design assembly. Armed with a house style sheet and a recipe template, it’s not that far fetched to work with a cookbook. Paper stock is less expensive to produce in Asia. Even when they're shipping the pulp from the Pacific Northwest. They are not bound by enviornamental laws as some of ourdomestic paper mills. The cost surrounding the number of "color plates" is more about phography and styling. If a book is printed on the same stock or paper, it's usually printed on the same press. If the color is inserted in sections or signatures within the bulk of the text on a uncoated stock, then there are two presses involved and thus will kick up production costs. Paul Prudohomme's Lousianna Kitchen is an example of the latter while Charlie Trotter's Meat is an example of the former. Typically the first printing is a break even or cost recovery situation. Most royalty contracts reflect this. $x amount on the first 17,000 $xx on items sold after. As far as an ongoing presense of the domestic high end, I get a lot of my action from Art Culinaire. Technically not a book but a hard-back periodical, it has the look of a lavishly photographed European work. I have a full set of these these and it’s been wild watching some chefs morph from a targeted article to a full size book of their own. But it really comes down to demand. There are some beautiful short-run Art books that you may find in specialty book stores and not at the malls. As I mentioned above, it's about break even points. The amount of discount that's given to huge online stores, chains, and Book-of-the-Month can be less than 50%. There was a time we had a distribution system of small volume or specialty book sellers, they're falling by the way side. They complain that folks come in, scope the books, and then order on line. There may be more of them in Europe to act as a support system for the high-end. Since the online-chain-book club is a huge buying block, they won't carry them no matter what the discount. A lot of publishers got burnt in the 90's with high end Chef-Restaurant books. For a while it was like a culinary vanity press. Every chef felt they needed to have one to show the world they arrived. Publishers are in it to make money no matter how much they like your food or what you have to say about it.
  3. Hi Gang, Thanks for the nice words. Every year around this time I get the hankering for some good trad French comfort food. Now I can get up off my lazy ass and do it (as sometimes I will), or I can get a bunch of friends together and have someone benchmark for us. Thanks for indulging me and from your response to the cassoulet dinner last year and this one, a lot of us have the same hankering. Mummer and I travel in some of the same music as well as food circles. A lot of the stuff we play be it Swing, Ragtime, Jazz standards or bluegrass, Celtic or Old time fiddle tunes are tunes that are passed down over the years. Some of the musicians go to almost the same lengths as Civil War re-enactors to keep it traditional or classical. I always felt that you need innovators to refresh an idiom and traditionists to keep it honest. I feel the same way about cuisine. And what excites the hell out of me is when I hear a band or musicians combine the two or taste it on the same plate. That combination of trad and innovation was what Olivier’s menu was all about. He made great plate music. BTW, I just sent Olivier a email linking this thread. When we were settleing up at the end of night he was more concerened about the feedback than the cashback (not that he can afford to comp us). Thanks and we’ll do this again. Jim
  4. Great cassoulet by the way. I think Jeanine's was on the second floor above La Truffe. The issue with Book and the Cook may be a more of them trying to find a location for the Book and the Cook fair since they lost the Ft Washington location. I was part of the event last July that was actually part of the White Dog Cafe Foundation's Buy Local, Buy Fresh. B&C's particiapation in the event was pretty thin. The publicity they tried to generate kicked in a few days before with an ad in the City Paper. The restaurants tanked. If you knew about the White Dog and B&C's web sites, you knew about the event. Personally I think B&C has had their day. The South Beach Festival is packed floor to ceiling with network chefs as well as a lot of national chefs. They have a lot of video firepower and TV sells books.
  5. The recipes need more furniture. I'm looking for more "on-a-bed-of(s)" or is that so nineties? I actually make a Rosemary Sorbet. I also had a conversation with Nach Waxman, at Kitchen Arts and Letters, and he was describing a Wasabi Sorbet on raw oysters. Scary!
  6. Herb, I think that depends on the spirit. For example single barrel (premium)bourbons that I have priced in Louisville-KY, State Line in Elkton, and PLCB differ only by a few bucks in the $40.00 and above range (include some $30.00 to $40.00 while we're at it.) The massed produced stuff may have a greater pricing range, but that I haven’t checked. When I'm in Louisville I hit one of their bourbon tasting bars to try before I buy. Before I run over to the local Party Mart I go online to the PLCB catalog and price it out. More often than not it's there and sometimes cheaper than Kentucky. However some of the very small batches and special releases never make it up here. But with keeping with the thread, this appointment seems political. From what I heard the Rendell appointed CEO is being paid more than Newman. Helluva way to thank someone. Jim
  7. Thanks Karen and welcome. I know Weaver really well. They have a nice selection of jerky, pates, and dried beef. They're quite the scene at the Wayne Farmer's Market. Jim
  8. Thanks for tips gang! I'm nudging my friend to do an air drop from Nodines so I can pack some bacon on the back end. It surprises me about the lack of ham choices in the area. WKL, can you get some location details on Jansen's. There's a jam session that I occasionally sit in on that's hosted by David Bromburg in Wilmington on Tuesdays. I'd swing by there earlier and grab a ham.
  9. Thanks Bob. I havn't seen Smithfield type country hams in these parts at all. I just put a call into Country Time Farms. They list smoked hams on their web site and maybe they can bring one along when they're in the area next week. Jim
  10. In answer to 1). I know in my freezer I can attribute it to one of 2 things: a) Re-using bags - I suspect many of them get pinholes and over time they allow air to enter - I no longer re-use bags for freezer storage but will re-use them for cheese that will be used fairly soon and resides in the 'fridge where I can keep an eye on the condition of the packaging. b) Similar problem - the sealed and vacuumed bags get tossed around in the freezer where they will collide with sharp edges of ice, other products, etc. and once again small pin holes allow the loss of vacuum. ← Anna, I've had the seals rupture on some bags as well. Here's what I think may be going on. It may have something to do with the fact as food freezes and expands it can stress a bag made with an uneven seal enough to create some pinholes allowing some of the vacuum to release. The double sealing technique is a good workaround. Now these bags are plenty thick and it didn’t seem to occur when my unit was new out of the box. I’m also wondering if it also has something to do with the strength of the vacuum or pump over time. Less vacuum when the unit seals the bag automatically would give the food a greater volume to expand. Now this could be my own culinary paranoia but do any of you notice a drop off of vacuum suction with some of the older units due to slight food build up or just age? Maybe a side by side comparison between an older versus newer unit would be interesting. Has anyone attempted any internal cleaning of any of the units? Jim
  11. Yo Dudes and Dudettes (should have seen the havoc that hath wrought on my spell check with that one). I have a friend who wants the ultimate drum stick for Thanksgiving, namely a smoked country ham. I’m not sure he has the time to go online and get it in time. Are there any good local sources? And no Holly, I’m not parting with my two-year old that’s hanging from my rafters. I like the guy, but hell not that much. Jim
  12. Thanks JasonZ for the web site catch and to Ducksredux for the retail list. On another source, does anyone have any experience with the Scottish Smoked Salmon from Assouline & Ting?
  13. You may want to try Max and Me in Bucks county. They no longer have their retail outpost but here's their web site and phone number. They also have a cookbook on Smoked Salmon. Jim
  14. Victor, For lunch (and dinner too) I'd point you towards Sila in a strip center on RT 130 in Edgewater Park just south of Burlington. This was my lunchtime replacement when "The Turkish Restaurant" closed in Bristol. Jim
  15. Hey Vee' Are you referring to Caffe Valentino at Wharton and Moyamensing? We have rezzies for Sunday dinner. Their antipasti and carpacci menu looked interesting so I thought we'd hit on it. Jim
  16. Just saw this in a Zagats newsletter: Carmine's Creole Cafe: John Mims' ragin' Cajun-Creole is fixing to move in November from Narberth into the Bryn Mawr space currently occupied by Citron Bistro (818 W. Lancaster Ave.), with plans to add a liquor license and live blues. This is not the first time John has tried blues. There was a short run in Ardmore at the site of the Head Nut (2408-10 Haverford Rd). The name escapes me but I think it was named for one of his daughters. Gonna miss the BYOB part of it. On the other hand the extra room and the parking behind the theatre will be better for him. I think the Narberth space was choking him. Jim
  17. Hate to sound like a one-trick pony for Narberth-Bala-Merion Station restaurant recommendations but give John Mimms a shot at Carmine's Creole Cafe. He does corporatate events and since he isn't open for lunch you may get the restaurant for yourselves. It's worth a call and if it works, let us know. Maybe a bunch of us will incorporate and have lunch too. Jim (soon to be CFO)
  18. If you like lamb I'd head over to Saffron's. . It's refined Persian cuisine. Then there's Proof on Main if you can get in. BTW, the links will get you into Robin Garr's Lousiville Hot Bites which will get you into some other good places. If you're cabbing I'd also rec. Bourbon's Bistro (bourbon list) for a nightcap. Enjoy, my wife and I will be heading into Louisville next weekend and we'll be hitting on Proof and BB. Jim
  19. I'd look at Carmine's Creole Cafe in Narberth. The place is BYOB, no reservations, and has a fairly good wait on the weekends. A work around is to call ahead for the Chef's tasting usually $40 to $50 for a five course dinner. That they will take rezzies for. Enjoy Jim
  20. Love Excel. I know I'm coming on late to this but I used Excel extensively as a data set when revising my last cookbook:Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, and Glazes The revision would have been a logistical nightmare if I hadn’t figured out a way to track it. I took the approach that some folks do when they’re renovating their kitchen, that is, gutting, and installing new fixtures (chapters). Since I needed floor space to create space for new ones I had to drop recipes that had a redundancy of overlapping ingredients or convert others to variations. I also needed to convert the old recipes from one house style to Ten Speed’s. I was also doing subtle tweaks to some of the older recipes by converting citrus measurements from 1/4 cup lemon juice to using the whole fruit in order to make the recipes more intuitive. Needless to say the old and new recipes had to be editorially consistent. I had to be able to sort them by chapter and category (even when I was moving and creating chapters) Most importantly, I had to keep on track. I was dealing with over 500 recipes. When I was packing out data bases at my last job I used Excel to manipulate my data and them I would roll it back into the data set. I used the same approach here. I created fields across the top of the page to track the status of the recipes. I know the screenshots are microscopic. I also used the fields to also track my recipe timelines. I had found a shareware program calledPrintFolders that would print the contents of folders in either text or hyperlink format. I modified the recipe titles and loaded them into Excel and the hyperlinks held. Now all of the recipes were hyperlinked to their corresponding MS Word doc. Once I checked their status, I could go directly to work on them without going from folder to folder wondering if I got the right version. Once it hit the Word doc, I used some VBA techniques to create a series of drop down menus for reoccurring instructions and measurements. One of the biggest advantages of Excel is its Auto Filter. I was able to drill down on certain chapters or recipe groups and go to work on them. If I needed to spot check how many glazes I had in my Asian chapter and their stages of completion, again I could see it in a glance. Currently I’ve added modules to track recipes that are using in columns, articles, food demos, and cooking classes. It’s more of a who, when, where, and how often. I also use spread sheets for market orders. Across the top I’ll list my recipes and use the rows as my ingredient lines. Column “B” has my summary formulas. I’ll do this even whan I’m doing multiple recipes at home. While this might look too high tech it really freed me up to do what I really wanted to do - cook and write. I wrote the last edition with a full time gig while in the Graphic Arts. Make no mistake about it, writing a book is a full time gig in itself and some of it can be routine and clerical. Any tool I could use to free up my time I’m going to roll with it. These tools are eminently adaptable to any author, chef/restaurant, web site, or publication recipe set. Jim
  21. Depends on the chef and their sense of presence - and it can go either way. Take Masa’s in San Francisco. The original chef/owner Masataka Kobayashi, was murdered more than 20 years ago (the crime has never been solved), yet the restaurant continues to turn out bench mark food and constantly refreshes itself. I see this to be a little different than the casino franchised chefs (who are too numerous to name) which is more about branding a new space. In the case with Jack’s Firehouse, Jack has been spending a lot of time vending and competing on the competition barbecue circuit. He sells a ton of smoked food. It’s where he has shifted his interest. Since the Down Home Diner continues to pack ‘em in at the Terminal, if something had to go the Firehouse was the logical choice for him. So much for the "why", now it's about "how" the place tastes without him.
  22. Nothing works better for me than a swarm of groping Harpos ticking off the hotties. Dinner theatre at it's Marxist best!
  23. Ya’ know we can have some really mean spirited fun with this. Once someone confirms the restaurant we can run another post on Craig’s List: Casting Call Male & Female Harpo Marx look-alikes must stay in costume and character and be ready to grope. (Location of said restaurant on a busy hottie night) All we have to do is bring a bunch of folding chairs, sit across the street and watch the fun. Be a great idea for a site for an eGullet pot-luck outing.
  24. Sorry to have been asleep at the wheel and just caught this thread but this restaurant totally blew us away the last time we were there Proof on Main. It had more of an eclectic menu last spring and now it seems to have a "Tuscan" bend to it this time around. They do make their own charcuterie on premises. The unit looks like a Sub-zero with a glass door. They are able to control the temperature and air circulation on consistant basis with it. Cool looking joint with a museum and hotel attached. Here's my Louisville food source: Louisville Hot Bites. While you're there, try to tap into Bourbon's Bistro.. That's where my son-in-law and I hang out when we want to benchmark bourbon before we head out to Party Mart to stock-up. The flights are fun, but don't think about driving if you're into multiples. Enjoy.
  25. marinade

    Shipping Wine

    When we were in Sonoma in 2000, we were able to get cases into Pennsylvania from wineries, wine stores, and boxes we sent via UPS/Package drops. They came in via UPS, FedEx, DHL, baggage, and common carrier. They all made it intact. Last year we were traveling up Highway 49 through Amador and tried to get 5-1/2 cases back. Only three cases made it. The rest were confiscated by UPS. Times have gotten harsh. The shippers were threatened with loosing their UPS agreement. Most shippers wouldn’t even look at the cases no matter what you put on it. It seems that Penna laws are shifting to allow consumers to bring wine in so it seems for me the best way to go.
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