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Everything posted by Reefpimp

  1. I clamp my 4x24 Porter-Cable belt sander upside down to the workbench, put on a 180-grit belt, and switch it on. I don't use gloves, so I'm able to tell when the edge is getting too hot. After re-establishing the bevels, I go to a 600 grit diamond hone, then a 3x12" black Arkansas, then 1500 grit sandpaper on a glass plate; I finish it by stropping with crocus cloth. I can and have used my 10" Wusthof to shave my face with to convert nonbelievers. Not to be done on a daily basis, though, I get kind of rashy. I've never burned a knife edge. I've been thinking about buying a Tormek system but who has six hundred bucks to spare? I see where Delta has a very good copy at about a fifth the price, I might look at that.
  2. And sometimes, violence is just plain... fun.
  3. So glad I'm moving to Molokai in a couple months....
  4. teh Kerrygold Swiss has been a revelation to me. And I'm from Wisconsin.
  5. Reefpimp

    Walnut Oil

    Oh, crap, you'll only hurt yourself with that stuff. Box it up and send it to me and I'll make sure it gets disposed of properly.
  6. I really liked mr farina in that one Guy Ritchie movie. I've cooked for Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reese; Keanu Reeves; Jenna Jameson; and Hilary Swank. Also Ijie Oue, conductor of the Minneapolis Orchestra at the time, had a big crush on our floor manager so he was in probably 3 nights a week. He had a cereal box cover, so I guess he counts as a celebrity. I always tried to do something interesting for him.
  7. 1) We are, as far as I know, the only species on the planet that can force its own evolution along. 2) Homo Sapeins plus technology (in particular, silicon technology) will eventually be a differently-evolved species than Homo Sapiens without technology 3) You are what you eat. I still don't understand the furor over MG techniques. Is it the old-guard chefs afraid and insecure they are about to become obsolete? You see this sometimes in academia, where tenured professors in shouting distance of retirement become bitterly opposed to new reseach that will invalidate their lifetime's work. Look at how AB announced that episode: When Mr Morimoto was making "caviar," he explained it adequately and as if it were no big deal; when Mr Cantu's team was doing the same thing, he was scoffing and for all the world acting like the class hotshot when a new, smart, strong kid walks into class. For real. I lost a lot of respect for Mr Brown tonight when I finally got to see this episode. For somebody who does a food chemistry show, he really revealed the abyssal depths of his ignorance about food. And I say that with intent. The science wonks tell us there is no such thing as cold--there is only more heat or less heat. Well, as somebody who has weathered his share of Minnesota winters, I'd take exception to that; still, from a thermodynamics POV, it's true. Why should it matter if the heat comes from a laser or a gas range? If you're looking to cool something down in a hurry, the difference between a blast chiller and LN2 is only efficiency and cost. All cooking ultimately comes down to chemistry--what's the difference between combining chemical compounds haphazardly as in what AB calls "soul cooking" and doing it more precisely by weighing ingredients and attempting to have a greater measure of control over the reactions? I've said it before and it bears repeating: If no one ever said "Hey, what would happen if we...," we would all still be working with bearskin knives. Learn. Advance. Grow. Evolve.
  8. 1) I bought a decent 12" aluminum sautee pan with whatever it is they use for handles--some kind of bronze alloy?-- riveted on. A year and a couple months later, the handle was wobbly. I was using it at home and I wasn't using it to drive spikes or pry tire beads loose, so wha?.... Curious, I cut the handle off. Each of the three rivets had thinned considerably (less than .05", but measurable) where they passed through the handle, and there was evidence of corrosion on the aluminum of the pan under the rivet heads. Galvanic corrosion, sure enough, no lie. Now I use Vollrath, and have had no problems like that. B) There are welds and then there are welds. Big difference between a nice, neat TIG seam done by hand that looks like a tiny little lava flow, and two or three spot-welds done by robot. Even a seamed weld will generally fail progressively, but spot-welds--there isn't enough metal, not enough ass on the damn thing, for a failure to be anything but immediate. Or perceived as immediate; if it fails over the span of two or three seconds, I guess that's progressive failure; it seems immediate when you're in danger of losing something yummy to gravity's inexorable tug. At least with rivets, if you were of a mind to, you could replace them with stove bolts. Re-welding a handle back on seems like a fools errand.
  9. "You may find that you don't have to settle for poor quality, or overpay for non-utilitarian materials and design." Well put, Fat Guy. How many times have all of us bought something that promised the world and fell apart at a crucial moment? How many times have we spent hard-earned cash on something that has not delivered? How many times does it take until we learn that cheap and easy has a price? It's more of a philosophical thing than a utilitarian thing with me; I use professional equipment because I am a professional in the kitchen; and it doesn't matter if I'm collecting an hourly wage to do the best I can with the daily fish special or pouring Cheerios into a bowl at ten in the morning at home on my day off. Professional equipment is a reminder to me that somebody grew the food or harvested the food; an animal died or some poor punter nearly went overboard in the Bering Sea in Force 11 weather to get this food to me. It deserves my respect, and all the focus and care and attention I can bring to bear to the task is just barely sufficient. They say it's a poor workman who blames his tools. But I've been banging nails off and on for twenty years now; and I notice that the guys who do the best work are the ones who drive the 3/4 ton Diesel trucks, who buy the expensive yellow drills and the expensive blue saws and the expensive grey routers. And they use them hard and they take good care of their tools, feed them the pricey bits and blades, and they have absolute confidence that they will do a good job. These are serious men with serious mustaches and some of them even smoke pipes; they don't waste a word when a nod will suffice; and there is something in all of us, I think, that says that these are men who should be listened to.
  10. Dennis Leary once said, 'marijuana doesn't lead to other drugs; it leads to fuckin' carpentry, okay???' I have made smoking utensils out of apples (classic), potatoes (ditto), assorted beverage cans with strategic dents and a couple holes punched in them; carrots, yams, and on one memorable occasion a veal shank bone left over from osso bucco. But he might have been wrong; maybe marijuana is a gateway drug to culinary leaps of genius! Jkonick, you absolutely must try pot pot pie. Easy to use. Warm water cleanup.
  11. It may come as no surprise that I've been known to twist up a fun-log and smoke it from end to end. Lately I've been subject to UA; and since I refuse to lose my demeaning, low-paying back-breaking job because of my drug use, I'm off the weed. Kind of like a biker being in between bikes, I'm a stoner in between joints. Two things: First, if smoking it--or the idea of smoking it--bothers you, remember that something like 95% of the carcinogenic compounds in the smoke are water-soluble. Just run the smoke through a water bath (hookah, nargilh, or your favorite bong) and you're golden. Two: The munchies. I think they're your bodies reaction to some ancient, seldom-used stimulus. Michael Pollan talks about this a little in Omnivore's Dilemma, in the chapters where he's foraging for a meal. Apparently there are cannabinoid receptor sites in your brain that are active only when you're stoned (or something like that). Hunting will also cause your brain chemistry to change a little. My theory is that as we evolved from hunter-gatherers, we kept this useful bit of anatomy; and now, when you get stoned, your brain "thinks" it just went hunting--and now it's hungry. Interestingly enough, thoroughly satisfying the munchies really kills the buzz. Stay hungry, man. I think one of the funniest things I ever saw was when my friend Rocky and I decided we were going to try to smoke a quarter ounce of Trainwreck in one day. Yeoman effort, and we almost made it. We would have, except Rocky decided he wanted some spicy food. He ate an entire gallon jar of pickled jalapenos. He didn't leave his house for three days. At one point, he just wrapped a towel around his waist and swaddled both hands in bumwad, so as to save time. "Hey, Rocky's got his shitmittens on again!!" I think his girlfriend broke up with him over the episode.
  12. I don't have a problem with rivets qua rivets. I have a problem when the pot, the handle, and the rivet are three different types of metal (more if there's a lining or cladding to the pot.) Galvanic corrosion and loose handles show up in a remarkably short time, with the average cooking liquid being noticeably saltier and more acidic than perhaps it should be for metal preservation.
  13. I got a bunch of hotel pans and their subdivided sizes a month ago. I don't use them as much as I thought I would, but it's nice knowing I have them and *could* use them if i wanted to. Got 'em used for two bucks a pound, too, mostly Vollrath.
  14. Pass the dutchie on the left hand side....
  15. Just putting an uncooked egg in somebody's wadded-up side towel is good for a yuk or two. They'll grab for it eventually. Ideally, it breaks right on their shoe. An interesting variation on this is to blow out an egg, then hurl the empty shell at them. Wide eyes and shock, followed by relief. Hiding in the basement to leap out and holler "BOO!" at somebody coming down for produce or whatever. Best done to skittish female waitstaff. Do you have a co-worker who hides things in the ceiling tiles? Moustraps are cheap and readily available.
  16. You have any idea how much the bar makes? There are--what, 32 shots in a 5th of Jack Daniels. At $3 per, that's almost a hundred bucks a bottle. What's markup on wine-150% over wholesale? Some of these stingy f***ing owners could come up off those profits and reward the people who cook the food that keeps people returning. It'd be a good outlay, in the end, with higher wages and decent benefits leading to decreased turnover and greater job satisfaction giveing better results on the plate.
  17. Well, I took the job they offered me: lowly, lowly line cook. Pay is squat, not quite nine bucks an hour--but the benefits are unreal. Free accommodation aboard ship. Free medical and dental on-board. Meals are free--legitimately, that is, no payroll deductions for staff meal. Free whites, free laundry service. 3-4 to a cabin, so 6-8 per bathroom. Unlimited hot water. Full (nice!) workout facilities. Staff-only library. Free wireless high-speed Internet. Free Jetski rental, kiteboarding lessons/rental, trapshooting, shuffleboard, etc., etc. Decent 401 (K). 1 weeks' paid vacation after 1 years' employment. Deep, deep discounts on other NCL vessels worldwide--like under $100/wk exclusive of airfare. Any work over 40 hours a week OR 8 in a day is paid as overtime--and that runs between 15-30 a week, so 55-70 hrs/wk total. So my wages are effectively doubled. Plenty of room to advance, either on the maritime professional side or the culinary. Schedule is 7 days a week for 20 weeks, then 4 weeks unpaid off, but airfare to and from the mainland is taken care of (I am never stuffing my oversized backside into a transpacific Coach seat again, though. Business-class upgrade mandatory.). However, on our off-watches, we are encouraged to spend time ashore in the ports-of-call, and to use the amenities the cruise line offers. I don't think I'll regret it. Might just have to blog it.
  18. When I was working as a deckhand on the Upper Mississippi River, our shop went through the unionization process; in the end, the vote failed and we remained an open, unrepresented shop. I learned two things from this: 1) The threat of unionization makes management very, very, very nervous and kind of cranky. However, seeing the deckhands and boat pilots band together like that did make them realize that even though they had decent boats with lots of power, absolutely no cargo would move without deckhands to lash the barges together. Just the threat of unionization brought about an almost 50% raise in base pay. 2) What most people don't realize is that the union is not the organizers and the negotiators and the representation; the union is the people in it. After the votes were cast, I spent some time bullshittin' with other deckhands about it--and the ones who voted against it, most of them did so because they'd never worked in a union shop before, and really didn't see any benefits to "taking orders from somebody in Seattle." No no no no no no no. THEY work for us, I'd say. WE tell THEM what we want, and then they represent us and bargain for us. "Oh. Well, I didn't know that." Damn, ya goober, I sure wish you'd have asked me about it two weeks ago. Line Pigs of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your blisters!
  19. Tomorrow, A MAJOR PLAYER in the cruise industry is conducting interviews in my area for staff for their Hawai'ian operations. Not to name names but it rhymes with Borwegian Bruise Lines. Their blurb says they are hiring (among other positions) cooks at all levels, from execs and sous on down to comis/dish. That covers a lot of ground, and I'm pretty sure there's room for the Reefpimp somewhere in the middle. My question is, several years ago, the cruise lines had a horrible reputation as places to work, with accomodations for the crew that were little better than slave ships--20 people to a cabin, rusty water in the head shared by 50 staff, etc., etc. But I hear things have really improved; and, among other things, these vessels fly the U.S. flag (Jones Act regulations), and so are required to conform to USCG stability curves and accomodation standards. So what does anybody know? Anything beyond the vaguest of rumors? I need to rack up sea-time toward my getting my 600 Ton Master's papers and my Unlimited Tonnage 3rd Mate license as well; I'd much rather cook than chip paint and change light bulbs.
  20. I worked at places where we called that a "slow Tuesday."
  21. If you're handy with tools and like to tinker, you can buy a product called 'Woods metal.' It's an alloy (gallium-based, I think) that has the dual benefit of melting at very low temperatures-like 118* F, I think-- and also holding very fine detail in castings. If you make plaster of Paris molds of dinnerware, and then use same for Woods-metal repros, you can really frustrate your co-workers during Staff Meal. It's kind of toxic, though, so you have to bard your evil streak with the drippings of compassion. No one would be afraid of me if they didn't have inflated egos or snotty attitudes. Joisey, I think you and I ought to work the same line together sometime. I think hilarity would ensue.
  22. 2 nice, round #4 scoops of frozen duck fat with espresso glaze will put most waitstaff off "vanilla ice cream" forever. Yell at me? AT ME??? Okay, we'll see how you like it when I hose down your spanking-new North Face jacket with dishwater and hang it up in the walk-in freezer. I deep-fried a green card once, that was pretty special. I knew it was a counterfeit, otherwise I wouldn't have done it. At work parties, dry Chinese mustard and baking soda in the right proportions look like fun things to snort. Judging by the reactions, they aren't. Heating up a sautee pan in the pizza oven, then hanging it back on the rack while backs are turned will ensure merriment and jollity. Supergluing somebody's shoes into their locker cubby can be awesome. Those little Thai peppers that look like peas or capers are a dandy thing to have around for livening things up. Back in my black-market trade days, I once quit a job by dosing the beverages of everyone I didn't like with about 500 micrograms of LSD. Not much got done that night. In a similar vein, I once put rehydrated psylocybin mushrooms on a waitress' staff meal. She was a trouper and it was a slow night but she never did sleep with me again...
  23. I wish they'd run the Wolfgang Puck show where he goes through basic technique earlier and more often. I think there's definitely a market for that sort of thing--an elementary technique and food-chemistry show a little less hammy and more in-depth than Good Eats. Knowing what happens in the pan, and why, would be really useful to a lot of people.
  24. Yeah, you could call it "Kitchen Confidential" or something.
  25. Someone who shall remain nameless (But he posts on eGullet as "Reefpimp") did the classic stock-straining down the drain thing at work just last week. I only lost a quart or so out of a 3-gallon batch; still..... Several years ago I learned never to try to catch a falling box of Sysco plastic wrap. You don't think of a box as being sharp; still, they all came with slicers that put scalpels to shame. 4 stitches and a happy little scar.
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