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Chris Amirault

Foods or Dishes About Which You Are a Purist

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Funny, when I discovered guacamole in Mexico is often no more than avocado coarsely mashed with lime, I found it a revelation. When the avocados are good, it's perfect. I only make a more complicated one when it's used as a dip for chips, in which case I usually just add salt and garlic; the salsa gets onions, garlic and cilantro).

I also grew up on the ricotta version of lasagne, but most of my Italian colleagues had never heard of that until coming to the US. For them, the bechamel version was the definitive one. Though I'm sure there are regional differences, within the US Italian-American cuisine was defined by mostly poor immigrants from the South.


Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I also grew up on the ricotta version of lasagne, but most of my Italian colleagues had never heard of that until coming to the US. For them, the bechamel version was the definitive one. Though I'm sure there are regional differences, within the US Italian-American cuisine was defined by mostly poor immigrants from the South.

My Italian grandmother only made the red-sauce, southern-Italy version of lasagna that I can recall, but a few years ago she sent me her favorite cookbook: it was Bugialli's "The Fine Art of Italian Cooking," which contains the recipe for the northern-Italy version. This was the first time I had ever seen the northern version of lasagna, made with no ricotta and no tomato sauce, but rather a meat sauce (with only a little tomato paste in it) and bechamel (balsalmella). It is a completely different dish, but also wonderful in its own right (I have come to actually prefer it). So, we have two dishes called "lasagna," both completely "authentic."


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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my gucamole tends to be avacados, some onion (I usually like red), a bit of garlic, some sort of pepper (serrano or jalapeno), lime juice, cilantro (if I have it or feel like buying it) and salt. I find that it needs a good amount of salt. (like potato dishes)

It's almost always used as a dip for chips.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Three pages and no one has mentioned barbecue? Ok, I'll have at it.

Barbecue does not come out of a microwave, stock pot, oven, or crock pot. It especially doesn't come out of a plastic tub in your grocer's meat case. It comes out of a smoker after a long time over coals and or wood. One does not barbecue hamburgers or steaks or potato chips. Barbecue is spelled barbecue.

I feel better now.


That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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Three pages and no one has mentioned barbecue? Ok, I'll have at it.

Barbecue does not come out of a microwave, stock pot, oven, or crock pot. It especially doesn't come out of a  plastic tub in your grocer's meat case. It comes out of a smoker after a long time over coals and or wood. One does not barbecue hamburgers or steaks or potato chips. Barbecue is spelled barbecue.

I feel better now.

and it's most properly (and best) made from a cow.

(runs away)


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Three pages and no one has mentioned barbecue? Ok, I'll have at it.

Barbecue does not come out of a microwave, stock pot, oven, or crock pot. It especially doesn't come out of a  plastic tub in your grocer's meat case. It comes out of a smoker after a long time over coals and or wood. One does not barbecue hamburgers or steaks or potato chips. Barbecue is spelled barbecue.

I feel better now.

Good call, Mike. I love barbecue, but questions remain... does it have sauce??? And what, exactly, is barbecue sauce? Pork or beef? What kind of wood? Is there "one true barbecue" to rule them all?

One thing is for sure though---you are right about that, Mike---barbecue means smoke. I could definitely be a barbecue purist. Yum.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I also grew up on the ricotta version of lasagne, but most of my Italian colleagues had never heard of that until coming to the US. For them, the bechamel version was the definitive one. Though I'm sure there are regional differences, within the US Italian-American cuisine was defined by mostly poor immigrants from the South.

My Italian grandmother only made the red-sauce, southern-Italy version of lasagna that I can recall, but a few years ago she sent me her favorite cookbook: it was Bugialli's "The Fine Art of Italian Cooking," which contains the recipe for the northern-Italy version. This was the first time I had ever seen the northern version of lasagna, made with no ricotta and no tomato sauce, but rather a meat sauce (with only a little tomato paste in it) and bechamel (balsalmella). It is a completely different dish, but also wonderful in its own right (I have come to actually prefer it). So, we have two dishes called "lasagna," both completely "authentic."

Most of this stuff really is just an excuse to get militant about what really is a personal preference. In general I kinda like how recipes are subject to change and adaptation.

I will happily admit, however, that (...and this is a personal preference, mind you...) one of the very few foodstuffs that I absolutely abhor is the so-called ricotta lasagna. This doesn't come from a place of 'purity', especially considering that we're talking about food that I grew up with. It doesn't come from a place of "oh, you just haven't had it prepared well"- I believe I have, my family are quite good cooks, especially within their comfort zone. It is just that it (as well as the dreaded 'baked ziti') is such poorly conceived convenience food that is designed to completely ruin all of the individual components- gummy pasta, pasty sauce, even at its freshest and best- ugh. I understand why it is trotted at large family gatherings, what I will never get is why everybody but me seems to look forward to eating it.


aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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Three pages and no one has mentioned barbecue? Ok, I'll have at it.

Barbecue does not come out of a microwave, stock pot, oven, or crock pot. It especially doesn't come out of a  plastic tub in your grocer's meat case. It comes out of a smoker after a long time over coals and or wood. One does not barbecue hamburgers or steaks or potato chips. Barbecue is spelled barbecue.

I feel better now.

Good call, Mike. I love barbecue, but questions remain... does it have sauce??? And what, exactly, is barbecue sauce? Pork or beef? What kind of wood? Is there "one true barbecue" to rule them all?

One thing is for sure though---you are right about that, Mike---barbecue means smoke. I could definitely be a barbecue purist. Yum.

I'm in KC, and have barbecued beef, pork, elk, and lamb. I have cooked chicken on my smoker but I believe that the temperatures are too high to be considered barbecue. Sauce is up to you. There are a lot of variables. Regional quirks if you will. Some people like to put cole slaw on their barbecue, its still barbecue but I don't care for it. As long as its cooked over coals and or wood, long and slow, I'll consider it barbecue.


That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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Three pages and no one has mentioned barbecue? Ok, I'll have at it.

Barbecue does not come out of a microwave, stock pot, oven, or crock pot. It especially doesn't come out of a  plastic tub in your grocer's meat case. It comes out of a smoker after a long time over coals and or wood. One does not barbecue hamburgers or steaks or potato chips. Barbecue is spelled barbecue.

I feel better now.

And the choir shouts back AMEN!

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Lasagna.

It needs to be made with noodles that have been boiled. NOT those pasty abominations that 'cook' in the oven. *shudder*.

I'm not picking on this one person, but I think this post illustrates why I disagree with much of this thread. I would much prefer my pasta to be fresh. I think there is always room for improvement in any food, and if you limit yourself to one way of enjoying it you will be missing out on a lot.

French fries smothered in gravy is kind of nasty, but dipped in gravy is great. What's so controversial about potatoes and gravy?


Edited by jsmith (log)

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(...and this is a personal preference, mind you...)

I thought that was the ENTIRE point of this thread ?

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No sugar in cornbread. None.

If you put sugar in something that might otherwise qualify as cornbread, you have made cake.


Can you pee in the ocean?

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I think there is always room for improvement in any food [...]

Now see, that's where we disagree: I maintain that perfection is attainable. I'm not saying that we should stop trying to come up with new dishes, but I think that one can come up with a "definitive" example of some dishes, at least to ones own taste.

For example, my Fettucini alla panna obsession: I have tried dozens if not hundreds of modifications to the basic recipe. These are small modifications (herbs, garlic, basic quantities, etc.): large changes would result in a different food entirely that I would not call "alla panna." I really think that the recipe I use is perfect. I keep trying things, sure: I might be wrong, and I wouldn't want to miss out on an even better version. But I haven't found one yet.

I'm not convinced this makes me a purist, though---just a perfectionist. ETA: and maybe a pompous, arrogant jerk :biggrin: .


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Lasagna.

It needs to be made with noodles that have been boiled. NOT those pasty abominations that 'cook' in the oven. *shudder*.

I'm not picking on this one person, but I think this post illustrates why I disagree with much of this thread. I would much prefer my pasta to be fresh. I think there is always room for improvement in any food, and if you limit yourself to one way of enjoying it you will be missing out on a lot.

French fries smothered in gravy is kind of nasty, but dipped in gravy is great. What's so controversial about potatoes and gravy?

No, pick away by all means!

First of all, I didn't mention fresh pasta, but only the horror of those "oven-bake" pastas, specifically when used in lasagna. Fresh pasta can be wonderful, but I'd rather use good dried pasta from Italy in many applications, (as would many Italians).

Totally not getting the "potates and gravy" reference, sorry. I was talking about poutine; which is, after all, a snack food. And "limiting myself to one way of enjoying it"???? Huh?

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Pizza- tomato, cheese only (maybe some fresh basil)

Hot dogs- mustard only

Pastrami- rye bread and mustard

I once went to the 2nd ave deli with a friend who wanted pastrami on whole wheat with mayo. She may have been the anti-christ

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Pastrami- rye bread and mustard

That reminds me: the Reuben! I am definitely a Reuben purist. Corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and either Russian or Thousand Island, on rye, grilled. Many other good sandwiches exit: this is the only that may be called a Reuben. And I love it. So very much. :biggrin:


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Barbecue is an interesting one, with many people insisting that it properly consists of x, y and z and can't be a, b or c.

Interestingly, "barbecue" has been used to describe an open-air gathering where one enjoys grilled (note: not long-smoked, sauced, etc.) meats since the early years of the 18th century.


--

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Barbecue is an interesting one, with many people insisting that it properly consists of x, y and z and can't be a, b or c.

Interestingly, "barbecue" has been used to describe an open-air gathering where one enjoys grilled (note: not long-smoked, sauced, etc.) meats since the early years of the 18th century.

That's very interesting. Does that pre-date its use meaning "to smoke" foods?


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I once went to the 2nd ave deli with a friend who wanted pastrami on whole wheat with mayo.  She may have been the anti-christ

She should have been arrested on the spot! :angry: Mayo? Mayo?? :sad::shock:


Iris

GROWWWWWLLLLL!!

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Greetings to all. This is my first post and I must say I'm enjoying this forum so much that I think I'll soon become addicted to it!

As per the topic, I don't know how to categorize myself as far as many have defined, but here goes.

Do NOT use Sazon Goya in dishes that need coloring. That's what achiote seeds are for, to extract the color and flavor that is need to make that delicious rice with chicken or rice with pigeon peas, etc. Take the time to heat up some oil and toss in some of those seeds to steep in it, instead of putting man-made chemicals in your food. I cringe when I see someone use Sazon. Has anyone read the label?

Butter and whole milk are natural products. Don't mess with them. They taste good and a little goes a long way to add that special flavor needed in many dishes.

Lard... if you want your Mexican food to taste good, give it what the recipe calls for. It's not like you're going to eat it every day. Same as with butter, a little bit is enough for that special flavor.

Diet or Lite anything. Same philosophy... if it's chemically tweaked I'd rather not eat it. For heaven's sake, you only live once! Enjoy your food instead of getting all worked up about it. A smaller serving of fantastic food is a whole lot better than filling up on foods that leave an aftertaste in your mouth.

Not pre-seasoning meats. It drives me nuts to see people cook who remove the chicken or chop from the package, sprinkle a bit of salt & pepper on it, then immediately start cooking it.

Rice cookers...Come ON, buy a caldero and make rice that will give you pegao. (crunchy rice on the bottom of the pot) You'll never go back to the RC again.

I know it's me. raised watching my family cook the old Puerto Rican way and having to learn on my own when I got married at 17. But heck, why should I apologize for it?

I think I'll make some mofongo stuffed with shrimp tomorrow as a Valentine's Day treat.

mmmmmmmmmmm

Sandra


Edited by Tropicalfox (log)

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Pastrami- rye bread and mustard

That reminds me: the Reuben! I am definitely a Reuben purist. Corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and either Russian or Thousand Island, on rye, grilled. Many other good sandwiches exit: this is the only that may be called a Reuben. And I love it. So very much. :biggrin:

Ah yes. I pretty much only make my own Reubens now, after being served so many toasted corned beef sandwiches with coleslaw (and mustard!) called "Reubens". It's not as though they're so tricky to do right, either.

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None of you are purists unless you refuse to eat the evil variations on the any things even though they taste good.

Hmm. That's a tough one. I guess I feel like the things beyond the scope of some of my quasi-purist tendeicies don't taste good. Honestly, I couldn't imagine drinking a vodka "martini" and I'd rather have nothing than a Domino's pizza. Is there anyone who really won't eat something that tastes good to them because of some kind of foodie purism?

Well, I refrained from posting to this thread for as long as possible, as being a meat-substitute-loving vegetarian, I find food fascism irritating and think that there's already quite enough of it on this board without creating a thread solely for the purpose of inciting it. But when I read this question I was forced to accept the horrible truth about myself: that, in fact, I am one of these people. For instance, ever since I moved to Europe I avoid brownies like the plague, for fear of coming across one of those European-style chocolate cakes masquerading as a brownie, even though I actually prefer chocolate cake to brownies. The same goes for bagels - I've turned up my nose at many a soft and fluffy round roll with a hole in it, just for pretending to be something it's not. I also won't touch a Liege waffle made without yeast. To my mind, they must have yeast or they're just not Liege waffles. For a long time I refused to eat savoury crepes made from regular wheat, as opposed to buckwheat, flour. Though I knew I would really like them if I ever deigned to taste them (which eventually I did). Oh and pesto. As many others have stated, I won't touch walnut pesto with a ten-foot pole. Even though I love walnuts, and don't particularly care for pine nuts. And I don't think I would ever eat brown rice sushi, though I greatly prefer brown rice to white. Then there's the famous "cheese naan", mainstay of Indian restaurants in France. Everyone loves it and raves about it, but I will never, never try it. I love cheese, I love naan, but I just cannot sanction this unholy union.

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That reminds me: the Reuben! I am definitely a Reuben purist. Corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and either Russian or Thousand Island, on rye, grilled. Many other good sandwiches [exist]: this is the only that may be called a Reuben.
Presence of cheese is slightly controversial, or individual (like lemon peel vs. olives in a Martini). And don't forget, "Thousand Island" dressing traditionally is a Russian diluted with more mayonnaise, and in early recipes, also unsweetened whipped cream (to kill off any surviving savory flavor). I dug up the history a few years ago and posted it.
Bagels? I can roll with most savory additions, but bagels with raisins, blueberries, cranberries, or anything else sweet is just NO.  Rule of thumb: if it would clash with nova lox and sliced raw onion, it doesn't belong in a bagel.
Well put. Discussion a few years ago: some defended sweet bagel flavorings, arguing they tasted good. Others argued against. I maintain the problem isn't that they don't taste good (they probably do). The problem is that they're wrong. Some see it immediately, some never. Like an ear for music, or words.

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Totally not getting the "potates and gravy" reference, sorry. I was talking about poutine; which is, after all, a snack food. And "limiting myself to one way of enjoying it"???? Huh?

Sorry, I should of been more clear, I wasn't referring to your post when I mentioned the fries and gravy, I was mixing two thoughts in one post. I see a lot of fries and gravy bashing on this board, which is fine, it just surprises me as potatoes and gravy are such a great combination. The fact that you are a fan of poutine makes you automatically cool in my book.

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