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  1. @blue_dolphin, your paté is gorgeous!
  2. Pork pâté: the forcemeat is 2/3 belly and sirloin, 1/3 liver. Garnishes are braised heart and tongue, and diced gammon. I marinated the meat and liver in cognac, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, lots of white and black pepper before grinding. 1/3 of the meat was ground with a 3mm plate, remainder and liver with a 1mm plate. Other additions include shallots, parsley,egg, cream, and flour. I made 4 of these in 15x7cm molds. This one is a little lopsided as my pressing weight shifted.
  3. I work with a number of small livestock farmers in northern NY, and some of the prices that are being posted here for industrial meat exceed those asked by these small farms, all of whom raise their animals on pasture and with great care. A lot of these farmers have had a banner year-plus as pandemic-related supply chain issues and commercial meat price spikes sent folks to local meat sources. Some of them want to expand their operations but are hamstrung by a lack of processing infrastructure. I agree with Paul o'Vendange in that we'd all be much better off if everyone could eat meat raised locally, humanely, and in an environmentally sensitive manner. Sadly, we are a loooooong way off from that being a reality.
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    Dinner 2021

    With our high of 17 degrees (F) reached early this morning, I thought it a good day to make Tourtiere du Lac St. Jean. Chunks of pork, venison, grouse, and potatoes in a lard crust.
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    heritage pork

    It is a lot! We feed organic and like most things the cost of feed took a jump this year. I also slaughter at @ 9-10 months so we need to feed them a little longer than is typical We don't market our pigs. My wife is one of six kids, and each of her siblings has a decently sized family, so we do this strictly as a family affair (they help with costs and some labor). If I could slaughter on-farm and sell, I might think differently about it. Gloucester Old Spots have fantastic meat, but the fat is prodigious! GOS are lard hogs and it's a little overwhelming.
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    heritage pork

    Beautiful chops, @Margaret Pilgrim! I share your (and others) preference for Berkshire pork, though I am biased as my wife and I raise Berkshire/Gloucester Old Spot cross hogs. Over the last decade we have rotated other breeds into our farm (Large Black, Tamworth, Yorkshire, Duroc, and mixes of these) and we find that we definitely prefer the Berkshire and Berk crosses. While there are definitely breed differences, for example the deep redness of Berkshire meat, how the pigs are raised has a huge impact on their deliciousness. This year we had a couple Yorkshire/Duroc crosses (like those that Llano Seco raise). This is a standard commercial hog that grows longer and leaner than most "heritage" breeds, the "other white meat" kind of pig. They turned out great, full of flavor, juicy, beautiful color, and with a decent amount of fat. To put the cost of this kind of pork into perspective, this year it cost us @ $4/ pound just to feed our pigs from weaning to market weight. That's not counting labor or other costs like bedding or replacing old fencing. It is expensive and labor intensive to raise quality meat, and while I certainly understand that it is not affordable for many, I am heartened to see folks who can afford to do so choose to purchase non-industrial pork.
  7. The English version is https://villagecookingkerala.com/
  8. I slaughtered one of our hogs Friday afternoon and this morning salted around 40# of noix de jambon, which I first became aware of here on eGullet through @DiggingDogFarm several years ago. I have modified the process as some in my family did not care for the light cure and smoke, and soft texture of the traditional method. No Gascon would recognize these as noix de jambon, so we simply call them ham nuts. These are cured longer and get a heavier smoke, and are like a less intense country ham.
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    Making Tempeh

    Homemade tempeh is for sure an entirely different product than the gross, waxy, and bitter slabs you buy at the store. It's been a couple of years since I have made it, but I used to do so regularly. The person who taught me how to make it stressed two things: undercook the beans slightly, and don't make the cake too thick. 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch is ideal.
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    The etymology of the word "tofu" is interesting, considering that fresh tofu is not a fermented product. I wonder if in the past, tofu was fermented post-production as a matter of course to preserve it?
  11. Those are the small bags of flour. For bakeries, you're talking 100lb bags. Yeast comes in 25-50 lb sacks. Some bakeries sure, but certainly not all. A good-sized bakery that I used to do business with (they make 1000 dozen bagels per day) buys flour exclusively in 50lb sacks because that's the only way the mill packages it. This is a trivial point though, and frankly a tad pedantic. I was simply making the point that if you work in the food business, be you a line cook, baker, bartender or dishwasher, you are lifitng heavy things every day. I have no interest in arguing who works hardest or whose job requires supreme physical effort. We'd need to look outside of restaurants and bakeries if we want to argue those points.
  12. I think the title of this thread is a little misleading. It seems to me that the author of the NY Times article was not trying to argue that chefs are as tough as elite athletes or have the same level of conditioning or fitness. The basis for the comparison is that they are both physically demanding professions that can only be worked at for a limited number of years before wear and tear on the body takes its toll. As Annabelle and Celeste pointed out, this is true for any number of manual labor professions. A good buddy of mine is an arborist on the cusp of 50. His Dr. just told him that he'll need to stop working pronto because of the nerve damage in his hands and arms. I think there are a number of things about restaurant work though that do make its physical challenges different than other manual labor jobs. I grew up in the restaurant business and cooked professionally for close to 20 years before switching careers. Physical issues were definitely factors that spurred my career change. The hours are the first thing that springs to mind. 10-12 hour shifts (frequently more) were the norm in the kitchens I worked in. 60+ hour weeks are common in the industry. Working 6 days a week, or many days in a row without a day off are also common. I have many friends in the building trades and the vast majority of them work 40 hour weeks. The only time any of these guys work 6 days a week is if they choose to pick up a side job on the weekend. None of them have ever worked 10, 12, 14 days in a row without a day off. You are generally also spending the entirety of your kitchen shift on your feet, often on a hard tile or concrete floor: not all kitchens provide mats for employees to stand on. Unlike my contractor buddies, kitchen workers generally do not get to sit and take a 1/2 hour lunch break mid shift. Ditto morning and afternoon breaks. Additionally, and this is especially true for line cooks, all of this standing is done in one place. You might need to go to the walk-in or dry storage, but generally you're stuck at your station with little chance to move around other than bending to reach into a low boy and twisting between the range and the pass. Lifting heavy things is also a daily part of the job. The comparison between cooks and bakers was made upthread. Yes, flour comes in 50lb bags, but so do potatoes, onions, carrots, turnips, cabbages, etc. Meat comes in 80lb cases. I worked my way through college and my first year of graduate school in a high volume barbecue restaurant. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings I'd prep 3 cases of pork butt, 4 cases of ribs, 4 cases of brisket and 100 chickens. That's nearly 1,000 lbs of meat that I'd move (by myself) from the walk-in to the kitchen and finally into the pits. The frenetic pace of restaurant work also causes cooks to try to minimize trips, so carrying big loads is the norm. I can't count how many times I have seen line cooks pile a sheet tray with full 1/6 pans of mise en place and hustle it into the walk-in. Along with the heavy lifting comes constant fine-motor repetitive motions. Celeste made the point that kitchen implements aren't heavy. That's true, but while a pair of tongs may only weigh 6 oz. or so, squeezing them 100s of times a day every day for years on end is a perfect recipe for repetitive motion injuries. Same thing with knife work, or shaping bread and pastry. These tasks may not require brute force, but the constant repetition of specific movements can cause serious and painful injury. I suffered bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome that thankfully improved once I stopped cooking professionally. To answer your questions Mitch, yes I absolutely agree with the author's premise that cooks have a finite number of years in which they will be physically able to do the job. As I mentioned above, I cooked professionally for a hair under 20 years. To heck with the golden years, it was the thought of not being able to get out of bed in my late 40s that motivated me to get out of the kitchen!
  13. Sorry, no American conspiracy to deny international readers the dimensions of my mortar was afoot. The quarter was simply what I had in my pocket when I took a quick photo. The mortar's dimensions are 56 x 42 cm and @ 8cm deep.
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