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Shalmanese

What are you most & least excessive about?

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As a community of foodies, it's understood that we're not like normal people. But of all the various ways we go to absurd extremes, in what way do you most deviate from the normal person? In what ways are you completely indifferent? I'll start:

Most:

Vinegars: The average person might have white wine, red wine & balsamic on hand but I own about 20 different vinegars at any one time. Whenever I see a vinegar I've never heard of, I'll generally pick one up. I just bought one today from a scandinavian food store that I don't even know what it is. I'm guessing it's a malt vinegar and it smells pretty delicious.

Grains: I've pretty much raided the Whole Foods bulk section for nearly every type of grain & bean. Rice & pasta get boring after a while so it's always fun to sub in some pearl barley or red rice.

Fruit: I really, really love fruit. During the summer, I'll occasionally buy up to 10lbs of fruit and then sit at my computer and munch through the entire lot by the end of the day. Friends who have seen me do this say it scares them.

Least:

Pots & Pans: I hate having a lot of different pots & pans rattling around, they take up space and they're a pain to manage. I get by with a few (albeit high quality) pieces.

Condiments: I go to other people's houses and I'm amazed at the stunning number of condiments they have in their fridge. I've only recently started stocking mayo, before that, about the only reliable condiment you would find in my fridge is mustard.


PS: I am a guy.

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Most :

Rice - generally have 6-7 kinds in the cupboard at a time.

Honey - I hardly eat it or use it, but love to collect it.

When I want to use it, I taste thru the whole collection to pick the best one for the project. Cant remember them all, but current inventory includes desert wildflower, clover, orange blossom, manuka, tupelo, something from hawaii and a couple others.

Least :

salts. Have one. it works well.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I have a lot of pots and pans for someone who lives in an apartment in New York, though the current apartment has a reasonable sized kitchen. I just made a quick survey, and there are 32 pieces of stovetop cookware. I'd sell off or trade some of the thinner copperware that my father bought in the 1980s, if I could, to make some space, but it's not a well enough recognized brand to sell for enough to make it worth the trouble.

At the moment I've got around ten kinds of flour and two kinds of cornmeal on hand, which is probably a little excessive.

Is it excessive to have five kinds of stock in the freezer (beef, chicken, veal, vegetable, and fish)?


Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)

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I'd guess the area where my kitchen deviates the most from the average person in the grocery store (unless that person happens to be an eGulleter :raz:) is the wide variety of industrial ingredients I have in my toy box.

I also have a much wider variety of options for sweetening things than your average non-eGulleter probably bothers with.

And I'm definitely not an equipment minimalist... though sometimes when I stand there and look at it all I wish I was.

Going in the other direction:

knives - I have some good knives but I pretty much have what I use with backups for a couple of the essentials and that's it. I like the idea of being a hoarder of knives but, so far, I haven't been.

canned goods - "and when he got there, the cupboard was bare" is a hauntingly familiar tune. I don't tend to stockpile them, to the point where I often end up having to make a store run even for basics.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I don't stockpile canned goods either. At most I may have one or two cans of tomatoes or coconut milk at any given time. I tend not to buy many canned goods in general.

Knives, well...I'm not a knife minimalist. I'm not exactly sure how i got to be a knife non-minimalist, since I don't make knife purchases very often. Once I got a whole set of Sabatier 4-star Elephant knives for $40 at a stoop sale in Brooklyn, so that pushed up the average, I suppose. After using them for several years, I decided the 10" was just too light for me, but I liked having a 10" chef's knife, so I sold it for around $85 on eBay and put it toward a Wusthof wide 10".


Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)

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I think I own a great deal more Asian ingredients than the average non-Asian person. Though I bet my collection is only middling compared to a typical eGullet member, and pathetic compared to the average Asian household.

Where I think I'm really obsessive, though, is in recreational cruising for interesting new markets and restaurants. Sometimes I'll take a drive through certain neighborhoods for no other reason than to see if there's been any openings or closings. Sometimes, when I see an "opening soon" banner, I'll keep haunting the neighborhood until the "grand opening" banner goes up so I can check the place out ASAP.

Wow, when I typed that out, it sounded a little creepy. :unsure: Food stalker behavior much? :laugh:

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Most: produce. when you buy most of your food from farmer's markets, sometimes you go overboard.

going from memory I have: corn, beets, French breakfast radishes, watermelon radishes, cippolini onion, regular onion, chard, black cabbage, garlic, shallots, parsley, basil, tarragon, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers in the fridge. most of those will get used up by this weekend. it's not uncommon for me to have two or more things of the same type in the crisper.

least: I'd have to say meat products. I swear I'm turning into a vegetarian. :blink:

okay, 75/25 as far as vegetables to meat is concerned.

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Most:

1. Butterfat! Obsessed with great butter. If it's pale yellow, I don't want it.

2. Cured thingies, anything from capers to sardines to salumi.

3. Using authentic ingredients for ethnic cuisine, no shortcuts.

4. Bread, pastry. There's a huge chasm between what's great and what's awful.

Least:

1. Eggs, oddly enough. I use dozens a month, but I just can't seem to find that much difference in farm fresh vs. the others.


Edited by fooey (log)

Fooey's Flickr Food Fotography

Brünnhilde, so help me, if you don't get out of the oven and empty the dishwasher, you won't be allowed anywhere near the table when we're flambeéing the Cherries Jubilee.

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I have about 25 kinds of salt. I'm not sure how it started, but it's getting a bit out of hand.

I also have an excessive number of tart pans and rolling pins.


Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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Asian ingrediants, my larder is like a mini chinese market. Rows of dried mushrooms, spices, soy sauces, vinigars, dried and preserved goods and a ten kilo sack of great thai rice. Freezer full of stock, fish heads, chicken feet and pork and beef mince. It has been a great little adventure growing from a chinese market newbie to someone who knows their way around the subject a bit. The guy a my local market has finally stopped asking me if I am sure I want to buy the century eggs, chinese sausages and fermented tofu. I like the feeling that apart from fresh goods I am stocked to go.

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Geekery:

1) I have five or six types of rice at any given time.

2) I can look at a one-pound bag of dried mushrooms for $100 and think, "SCORE!!!!!!!"

3) My "everyday" knives cost more than my first car.

4) I have olive oil from five different countries in my pantry right now.

5) My wife collects aspic molds and has so many cookie molds that a manufacturer called her asking for sales advice and if she wanted to be a regional distributor.

6) I own a commercial panini press that weighs more than my first car.

Not-so-much:

1) My spice collection is pretty lame. I grow my favorite herbs. But half the dried spices in my cabinet should really be thrown out. It's rather embarrassing.

2) My wine storage strategy is basically, "First in, first out." I don't have the room, climate, nor inclination to store wine properly. It helps that we both like champagne and young tannic reds.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Excessive?

I consider most are necessary! :biggrin:

Vinegars, many varieties, including home made red, rosé and white wine.

Sherry, palm, raisin, coconut, honey/mead, balsamic - several brands and including a very old one I have yet to open,

gallery_17399_60_130782.jpg

Salts, many varieties from all over the world. :wub:

gallery_17399_60_15712.jpg

I also have several varieties of peppercorns, most purchased from Pepper-Passion.com.

And there is definitely a difference in flavor from one to another.

I probably have too many knives: here are some, but not all.

gallery_17399_60_121850.jpg

gallery_17399_60_183387.jpg

I tried to count the number of flours I have in the pantry and in the freezer but lost count.

Ditto rice varieties.

Have nine varieties of beans currently on hand.

I have several olive oils - plus various other vegetal oils, including avocado, walnut, grapeseed, coconut, palm, tea, sunflower, safflower and rice bran oil.

Currently my favorite olive oil is a Spanish extra virgin oil from Olivar de La Luna, however the Abbae De Quiles is a close second.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Excessive?

I consider most are necessary! :biggrin:

Vinegars, many varieties, including home made red, rosé and white wine.

Sherry, palm, raisin, coconut, honey/mead, balsamic - several brands and including a very old one I have yet to open,

Andie, that's an impressive collection to say the least.

I love the vinegars that I have, but I'm nowhere near the intervention level others may have achieved :biggrin: mostly because I've lost plenty due to shelf-life expiration, spillage, fruit flies, etc.

How old are the very old vinegars, and will they keep getting better?


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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Looking at that big two-handled cheese knife has me wondering about your cheese collection, Andie.

Up until about three years ago, I was making a lot of cheese, some semi-hard and while I have a couple of cheese wires, I was losing my grip (due to arthritis in my hands) :blink:, and found the Wusthof two-handed cheese knives were easier to use.

I use the big pizza knife mostly to chop large batches of herbs when I am going to dry or freeze them. I have several mezzalunas but this big one is much easier to use on a big chopping block.

The people who used to supply me with milk, that I pasteurized myself, moved too far away to make it easy for me to get sufficient quantities of the non-ultrapasteurized milk which is much better for cheesemaking than the stuff in the markets. So I stopped making the hard cheeses.

I still make fresh cheeses, cream cheese, sour cream, etc. I also buy a lot of cheese and prefer to buy it in full wheels (as long as they are not enormous) and cut it myself as a big chunk keeps better than the small portions.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Excessive?

I consider most are necessary! :biggrin:

Vinegars, many varieties, including home made red, rosé and white wine.

Sherry, palm, raisin, coconut, honey/mead, balsamic - several brands and including a very old one I have yet to open,

Andie, that's an impressive collection to say the least.

I love the vinegars that I have, but I'm nowhere near the intervention level others may have achieved :biggrin: mostly because I've lost plenty due to shelf-life expiration, spillage, fruit flies, etc.

How old are the very old vinegars, and will they keep getting better?

The oldest bottle of balsamic vinegar I have is 60 years old. It was a gift. I have never opened it.

I have half a bottle that is 12 years old and I have been using it sparingly for a couple of years.

Usually I buy the stuff that is between 5 and 10 years old.

I have found that it is a lot like fortified wines and keep for a very long time if kept tightly sealed and I store the bottles upside down so as to keep oxygen away from the liquid.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have an excessive amount of rice, other grains, pulses and spices on hand at all times.

Also, an excessive amount of vegetables. In my regular shop, most of the cart is made up of produce!

What don't I have a lot of on hand? Well hardly and cans or frozen stuff, and practically no prepared food stuffs such as sauces, jams, etc. We need it, I make it!

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Funny. There are only two people to feed in my household, though some food does get "rehomed" from time to time.

Excess:

Butter: Five pounds in the fridge now. I will use it all - no worries - and will pick up a couple of pounds this weekend to keep the inventory number right. FIFO, mostly.

Sugars and syrups: Yep, slews of those.

Flour: Six types

Yeast: Buy it by the pound. Most people don't do that.

Cinnamon: Yep, one pound bag of 5% oil Vietnamese. Nothing else will do.

Copper molds: 21 of them adorning my dining area. They just make me happy.

This is the biggie: Obsessed, not just excessive, with growing and producing on my own. Three hens laying eggs. In excess of 50 tomato plants to go in the ground. Peas. Greens. I really need to put in more peppers and herbs this year. It used to be flowers, now it is food stuffs.

Eh, whatever things:

Knives: Not real big on them, but seeing where I need to boost the inventory.

Milk: Half gallons. Usually store brands.

Vinegar: Cider, white and one bottle of rice wine.

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I just realized as I was taking inventory of all my vinegars that, even though I have 13 different kinds of vinegar, I actually don't own a white wine, red wine or distilled vinegar anymore. When I ran out, I never bothered to get more.


PS: I am a guy.

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I just looked in the cupboard and counted only nine types of vinegar, which I suppose is not excessive by eGullet standards. I don't have any balsamic at the moment. I decided to take a break from it for a while until I think my budget and some festive occasion can justify a tradizionale.

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For me, it's not so much accumulating things as it is being excessive/obsessive about fresh ingredients, the best meat I can find, the best produce etc. I've been known to go to three or 4 stores at one go, to get all the food things I need.

Plus making sure I always have proper stock on hand, and making more things from scratch than most of the people I know.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Plus making sure I always have proper stock on hand, and making more things from scratch than most of the people I know.

I've reached that point too re: from scratch.

It's a lot of work and, I have to admit that for some things I'm starting to wonder if it's really necessary, if what's on hand at the supermarket is really that much worse. If I read the label and see stuff that I can't pronounce, ya, I'll make it myself.

But I tell ya', I'm getting to the point where I'm reconsidering my obsession re: from scratch.


Edited by fooey (log)

Fooey's Flickr Food Fotography

Brünnhilde, so help me, if you don't get out of the oven and empty the dishwasher, you won't be allowed anywhere near the table when we're flambeéing the Cherries Jubilee.

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vinegars

oils

mustards

spices

a herd of animals in the freezer

condiments of all kinds

hot sauces

salts

peppers

and just starting with different flours


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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3) My "everyday" knives cost more than my first car.

You could probably summarize some personality types by their knife/car price ratio.

My current chef's knife cost 3/4 what I paid for my last car. I finally sold the car this summer.

Public transportation gets me where I need to go--crappy knives don't!


Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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