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I confess: my X isn't as good as Y's


Fat Guy
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My roast chicken is not a good as the rotisserie chicken from even the lowliest supermarket.

Next?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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My roast chicken is not a good as the rotisserie chicken from even the lowliest supermarket.

Next?

It could not be better, since they are different methods of cooking. In a rotisserie the intense heat applied for a short time in a confounded in a small surface of the chicken allows for even cooking, but with crispy skin and juicy meat. Roasting is intense heat for prolonged time in a large surface (the whole chicken actually).

My stir fry is not as good at the 2.5 pounds (4 dollars) stir fry across the road...

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My roast chicken is not a good as the rotisserie chicken from even the lowliest supermarket.

Next?

Fat Guy - 5 words-

Set it AND FORGET IT!

The Showtime rotisserie is truly amazing.

Thai seems to be my stumbling block.

Steve

"Tell your friends all around the world, ain't no companion like a blue - eyed merle" Robert Plant

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I had a George Foreman rotisserie for a while and the damned thing was amazing. You absolutely could not screw up a chicken with it. It just took up more space than it was worth for that one task.

That said, my french fries are still inferior to nearly all other fries in the world.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I think this thread is moot because every Y listed will have years more experience than each poster has with their X. I mean I could certainly say my short ribs aren't as good as those at Craft, but those are from a formerly-Michelin starred chef who has been cooking for over 20 years.

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My rice always turns to mush. I just can't believe it. I finally bought a rice cooker and now everything's all better.

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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Fried food.  I just CANT do it.

Its better left to profesionals.

:laugh: Me. either!! But considering that I really dislike that stale-oil reek and greasy fog that hangs around the house for days afterwards I don't feel too inadequate.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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My chocolate ice cream isn't as good as Häagen-Dazs.  Hell, it's not even as good as Breyers.  I've tried several recommended recipes and never liked the results, so I've stopped trying.  I can make a decent any-other ice cream, but not chocolate.  Kills me.

I'm sure you've already tried this one, but just in case...

Everyone that's ever tried the Chocolate Ice Cream from David Leibovitz has loved it...especially my father, who now refuses to eat store-bought chocolate ice cream! I use Green & Black chocolate, 72%, which also has additional cocoa butter added.

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My homemade haggis is never as good as the restaurant stuff. I have until this weekend to remedy this.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Pizza. I got to where I could make a decent pizza starting with frozen dough I bought, but just the crust from that dough has much less good yeast aroma than what Domino's sells.

Chinese Stir-Fry. One of my worst frustrations is Chinese stir-fry compared with what was long readily available just at my local Chinese carry-outs (although in recent months their quality has gone way down) and far, far below what I used to get from the Northern Chinese restaurant long on the west side of Connecticut Avenue in DC just south of Maryland. I conclude that what the restaurants actually do, even for the simplest dishes such as Chicken with Garlic Sauce, is NOT well documented in readily available sources. I have a good Chinese wok, a propane burner with plenty of BTUs (170,000), etc. and did make some progress but am lacking good recipe details.

Moo Shi Pork. The only Chinese stir-fry I can do that is better than the Chinese restaurants is Moo Shi Pork as in

Joyce Chen, 'Joyce Chen Cook Book', J. B. Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1962.

This recipe has no cabbage, but the restaurants include cabbage of some kind in their Moo Shi Pork, and I don't have a clue what they do, what cabbage they use, how the cut it, or how they cook it.

Alas, the Chen recipe requires some ingredients that mostly have to come from China, and now I am reluctant to eat anything from China.

Memphis BBQ. I grew up in Memphis and may have eaten a ton (2000 pounds) of Memphis chopped (NOT "pulled") picnic pork shoulder BBQ sandwiches with coleslaw and hot sauce. Their coleslaw was NOT thin and watery, was NOT especially acidic, was NOT especially 'creamy', and did NOT have pieces of red cabbage, bell pepper, pimento, or any other items on a very long list of what many cookbook authors try to include to make coleslaw or 'Memphis coleslaw'. I have only a little idea how to make the BBQ and no idea how to make either the slaw or the hot sauce. My 'oven-Q' ersatz BBQ has decent texture but too often smells awful, like pig poo (which is one of the worst smells on the planet), so I gave up on the picnic pork shoulders I can buy. Somehow I suspect that, for the pork I can buy, the hogs were not raised on a diet of mostly clean acorns from the hills of the Pyrenees!

BBQ Beans. There in Memphis the BBQ places also sold BBQ Beans with chunks of meat and a good sauce, and I have not a weak little hollow hint of a tiny clue what they did. In particular the sauce tastes nothing like anything I've had outside of Memphis, from a bottle, recipe, or restaurant.

Chicken Soup. After a lot of trials with a lot of chicken, onions, carrots, celery, etc., my chicken stock is passable, my corresponding 'schmaltz' is fairly good, but my chicken soup is still awful, and my local diner has Manhattan clam chowder that is consistently much better than any soup I know how to make.

Pan Sauce. I am working on a pan sauce for sauteed beef steak with onions, but so far any restaurant serving the best I have would go out of business between lunch and dinner on the first day.

Beef Burgundy. Similarly for all the many trials I did of Beef Burgundy -- wasted a LOT of time and money.

Souffles. My souffles always puffed up nicely, and sometimes had good aromas, but the texture was always amorphous chunks of coagulated egg slop surrounded by watery egg swill instead of a more homogeneous 'custard like' texture I got at a good French restaurant. I never saw any discussion of texture anywhere. A French restaurant serving my souffles would have screaming customers, souffle goo thrown against the walls, and be out of business somewhere between lunch and dinner on the first day.

Sliced Turkey. My local diner serves a turkey club sandwich with sliced turkey far better than I know how to cook or buy. The time I bought a large chunk of 'turkey' for slicing, it tasted AWFUL and had texture like something manufactured that had never lived, and I threw it out after it had rested in the refrigerator for months.

Fried Fish. I finally learned how to make edible deep fried cod fish, but any fish and chips shop serving my best would be out of business during lunch the first day.

Difficulty. I made A's in college chemistry, right away, easily but after DECADES of effort on and off am getting a F in cooking. I can think of two or three recipes where in total I put in more effort than my successful engineering Ph.D. dissertation, literally.

Explanation. My view is that it's easier to understand the mathematics of Hilbert space (e.g., from Rudin's 'Real and Complex Analysis'), quite carefully, than how to cook just from the books a good version of, say, Chicken with Garlic Sauce. The difference is that the writing for the mathematics has quality one of the top, center crown jewels in all of civilization while the writing of recipes, especially for Chinese food, has quality even worse than the worst wasted effort among the many I flushed. Mostly I blame the cookbook editors, apparently mostly college majors in pointless, meaningless, useless, worthless, irrational, overly emotional, confused, absolute total nonsense.

Planned Solution. When I retire from business, I will HIRE experts, one on one, to TEACH me to cook, one dish at a time. I will have the kitchen awash in HD video cameras. When I get good at cooking a dish, then I will back up and carefully document the work, complete with careful MEASUREMENTS of weights, volumes, times, temperatures, and maybe also viscosity, pH, and spectra. I hope to get some gas chromatography equipment for more analysis. Then I will put the resulting rock solid, very careful documentation on the Internet so that anyone who can read, watch video clips, and measure will be able to get good results QUICKLY.

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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My chocolate ice cream isn't as good as Häagen-Dazs.  Hell, it's not even as good as Breyers.  I've tried several recommended recipes and never liked the results, so I've stopped trying.  I can make a decent any-other ice cream, but not chocolate.  Kills me.

I'm sure you've already tried this one, but just in case...

Everyone that's ever tried the Chocolate Ice Cream from David Leibovitz has loved it...especially my father, who now refuses to eat store-bought chocolate ice cream! I use Green & Black chocolate, 72%, which also has additional cocoa butter added.

Thanks, but I have actually tried that on at least three occasions with different types of chocolate. I found it too thick and pudding-like before it even went into the machine. It is tasty and creamy, but too dense for my tastes. I figure it's me, because everyone else seems to love this recipe.

Project, thanks for a good laugh. That was hilarious! :raz:

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My beef curry is never as good as my mom's. Neither is my beef stew, for that matter. The beef never gets as soft and unctuous as hers, it's always kind of mealy and dry. Even though I follow her instructions to a T, my curry and stew is always missing that special something-something that makes mom's so delicious.

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My beef curry is never as good as my mom's.  Neither is my beef stew, for that matter.  The beef never gets as soft and unctuous as hers, it's always kind of mealy and dry.  Even though I follow her instructions to a T, my curry and stew is always missing that special something-something that makes mom's so delicious.

Perhaps try velveting?

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I suspect that many of the seemingly mundane things that never turn out as well at home compared to a restaurant are due to the fact that we're reluctant to use the massive amounts of fat that restaurants use. Take that chicken parm. Now try cooking the breaded cutlets in an inch and a half of hot fat.

--

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