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Underfoot

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  1. Thank you! I find this sort of etymology so fascinating, plus the translation is good for my Japanese studying
  2. So we've come to see by now that some people are totally fine with small physical contact from strangers, some not. However, one thing I think most of us are overlooking is the attitude of the server. Servers depend on pleasing their customers for most of their wages. If a server is any good at all (and if he/she is strategic enough to try to manipulate you into tipping them more with touching) they should DEFINITELY notice their customer's negative reaction to a touch. Any waiter worth his/her salt tries to anticipate desires, reads the customers, and generally strives to understand a customers wishes before they are verbalized. So at the very least, a customer can prevent touching from waiter by some sort of physical reaction (shrinking away, eyes, frown, etc). In the case of the totally oblivious waiter, the customer could say something. Of course if the customer is the type of passive-aggressive personality who won't tell the waiter what they want... well then they can just stew in their own disgust and spitefully reduce the tip later. Bottom line, waiters are people. People touch people. If you don't want to be touched please say something! How sad and disconnected our modern society must be if so many people out there take offense at simple human contact and can't even express their wishes for it to stop. **edited to change "stranagers" to "strangers"...
  3. This is probably the closest thing to a food neurosis I have, and it doesn't drive me nuts, but it does make me worry that I am in my heart of hearts a snob. Whenever I eat ice cream or something similar like full fat yogurt, I must eat it with a nice, small silver spoon. Somehow it's the only appropriate way because the size forces you to savor it, and the decadence honors the food! Yeah, okay, maybe I'm not neurotic but I am clearly crazy!
  4. So I was learning about the mythical Japanese creature 河童 (kappa) the other day, and I learned that it is the origin of the name for the cucumber roll, かっぱまき (kappa maki). Apparently people used to put cucumbers in the river as offerings to the kappa because they liked them. It was mentioned that other foods have been named after mythical creatures and or deities. Looks like inari zushi is named after the fox-god "Inari" whose messenger was a fox. People used to catch foxes with deep-fried mice and so people began to make offerings of fried tofu skins stuffed with sushi rice to Inari, imitating those mice. (According to this link which I may or may not have understood fully) What other foods are sort of "nicknamed" after other characters (and why)? Do they all stem etymologically from some sort of offering made to the deity/creature? Also, is there any record of how a certain deity/creature was deemed to like a certain food? Thanks for any insight.
  5. I think in some cases liberal usage of obscenities can serve as stress relief for cooks who are used to working apart from the customers. I have a theory that cooks, whose profession hasn't been traditionally viewed as one to aspire to, relish being in that atmosphere of let's get 'er done, bang 'em out kind of rebel blue collar-ness (as exemplified by Anthony Bourdain's exaltations in his several books). It's only recently that the regular restaurant kitchen has become subject to America's gaze in the slew of reality shows on Food Network, Bravo, Fox, etc. That being said, it is probable that some TV chefs have been encouraged or chose to swear on camera to seem more authentic, to fit the kitchen experience viewers want to peek into. However I'm of the opinion that those who participate on Top Chef don't put that much thought into their "performances" in the kitchen. Also, if the appeal of Top Chef is the reaction of real life cooks to intentionally stressful situations, why would the viewer wish the cooks to "act" for the camera by censoring themselves? There is always the issue of editing as well. I'm sure that Bravo has hours of tame, kid-friendly video they could have chosen, but I believe they chose to include the contestants' swearing to convey the sense of authenticity, stress, and challenge they milk out of the contrived situations. So disapprove of whom you will, but I don't necessarily see the streams of obscenity as the cooks' failing. And yes, many "professional" kitchens swear a huge amount. Just not the open ones. Or those with chef counters or tables. **edited for grammatical reasons **
  6. Nothing to see here, move along.
  7. Perhaps he was hoping to season his dish by "peppering" his language with obscenities (ha ha ha...) Or perhaps he just secretly idolizes Gordon Ramsay.
  8. Thanks all for the informative responses. For the record, I was slicing mushrooms with a Santoku when this question popped into my mind, so it must be my technique!
  9. Preface: I am in no way professionally trained in the culinary arts. Okay. How do professional cooks keep slices from falling underneath their knives when they are rapidly slicing something? I would think that it would be in their best interest to maintain the pretty shapes they are making for certain purposes (salads, garnish, etc), so it seems that any slice accidentally cut in half would be a waste of product in these cases. Or is it unavoidable and just shrugged off as just another casualty? Thanks for any professional insight.
  10. That looks delicious. Although to me it almost looks more like a sunset on the ocean, what with the rays of the sun and the waves highlighted by the waning light... Heh, right. I think I have been watching too many bad romance movies.
  11. Underfoot

    Dinner! 2008

    I love the cute hearts on your pot pie, perfect symbolism of the love that went into it! There is, however, another way to show one's love. For me, that's with a yummy risotto: Happily while making this I remembered some tips I had heard from Mario Batali (on TV of course), making sure to saute the onions until soft, not golden, and to saute the arborio rice until opaque. Unhappily I had no butter to luxuriate with but it turned out tasty nonetheless with a generous helping of parmesan cheese and good quality olive oil. It feels like it's giving my stomach a big happy hug (AKA I'm stuffed!). PS That bay leaf is a bit ridiculous as a garnish, but I did use it so it can serve as a representation of flavor...
  12. I'm honored you took my humble suggestion. (That's just thinking with your stomach for you)
  13. What I'm saying is that food purism often butts up against these other reasons for eating, and that these other reasons are more interesting as a departure point for discussion than taste is. It's totally valid to say "I only eat this dish prepared in this way because it tastes best." But that's subjective; so there's not much to discuss. If, on the other hand, you say, "I only eat this dish prepared in this way because it's how my grandmother made it," or "because that's how they do it in Rome", well, you've suddenly got something to talk about. ← Another common reason someone could maintain strong, specific standards about the composition of a dish is to (in their eyes) ensure that the dish continues on in its original form. In other words, by "voting" with ones stomach one can try to limit the variations that naturally occur, and support the one true iteration. This could be seen as a form of preservation a la historians, environmentalists, etc. I don't know how many people make their "purist" choices consciously using this logic but it would definitely imbue the argument with a strong moralistic tone.
  14. I'm reading into what you said a little here, but I assume you love big piles of sea foam on top? That's actually *not* a cappucino. A cappucino is simply equal parts espresso, milk, and foam. The foam should consist of as small bubbles as possible, and be mixed into the milk with the foaming action so that it can just be poured into the cup without any of this spooning on top stuff. Sorry, but I'm a huge stickler on this one! ← Yeah, that sea-foamy stuff is one of the signs of an unskilled barista to me. Like I said, one of the major reasons for me to order a cappuccino is to be able to enjoy the creaminess (and therefore small bubbly-ness) of the foam. I will admit that I tend to order a lot of "dry"s just to get more foam, but some places seem to give one lattes no matter what kind of cappuccino one orders. To reiterate, I don't expect them to create pounds of foam just for me, but many places don't even meet the equal parts foam/milk/espresso requirement you so knowledgeably informed me of. Now at least I know to keep my foam hopes moderate
  15. I would say they tasted good compared to non-vegan muffins, however I must preface that this "recipe" is verrry loose so please feel free to change it if needs be. First I deconstructed a grapefruit, removing all pith, etc, separating into about 1" sections if larger than that. Then I tossed them in a saute pan with about 1 cup of sugar and left them on low heat, stirring occasionally, until all the juice cells separate. I used self-rising flour because I was lazy, so I used 1 1/2 cups of that, plus 1/2 cup of cornmeal just for kicks. Into these add 1 1/2 tsp salt. (I think this recipe benefits from a little extra salt). As for the liquids, combine 1 1/4 cups water, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp almond extract, and 1 tsp orange or grapefruit extract. If these measurements don't lend a batter of the correct consistency please adjust, because I didn't measure when I made them. I baked them at 400 degrees for about 18 minutes. I was pleased to note that the grapefruit maintained its pretty pink despite having been cooked twice! edited to adjust sugar
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