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Human Bean

Northeast jealousy of west coast

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The Jan/Feb issue of Cook's Ill has a review by Christopher Kimball (editor, from Boston) of two cookbooks by San Francisco chefs. Part of his intro reads thusly:

"My first impulse, being from the Northeast, was to cry, given the diverse cornucopia of fresh ingredients enjoyed by our West Coast brethren. Then, when reading a passage such as, "Make this with wild king salmon that comes out of the Pacific Northwest," I changed gears into an angry defense of a New England culinary landscape that is sparse by comparison but breeds a more resilient, scrappy home cook...we are not soft like the pampered lotus-eaters of the West"

To which I can only say, tough shit, scrappy boy; enjoy your sparse landscape. That's just more salmon for us lotus-eaters.

Visit, but don't stay. [R.I.P, Tom McCall.]

The Northwest is full; go away. :biggrin:

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New England culinary tradition?

Somehow, I just don't think many PNW folks are aching for boiled cod and baked beans. I could be wrong, but I doubt it...


Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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Kimball is wrong. I've lived here for 5 years and have yet to eat any lotus. :unsure:


"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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I think Chris needs to loosen the bowtie a little....

I've actually cooked lotus root before at home, so I guess I am a 'lotus-eater' after all.... :cool:


Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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The best lotus I ever ate was at Tabla, in New York. So there!

This reminds me of this terrible Kimball essay from some back issue in which he talks about having a great Vietnamese meal and then says, basically, that all of this choice of ethnic cuisines is too complicated and we need to get back to simple farmhouse cooking. (He's not talking about Asian-American farms, I guess.)

tighe, you stole my bowtie joke, which was going to be, "Take that bowtie off, buddy, because I'd never hit a man with a bowtie."


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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To which I can only say, tough shit, scrappy boy; enjoy your sparse landscape. That's just more salmon for us lotus-eaters.

Visit, but don't stay. [R.I.P, Tom McCall.]

The Northwest is full; go away.  :biggrin:

Those of us (natives) in the real northeast have a similar feeling. Must be because of the sparse landscape.

Our attitude is - spend your money and leave. :biggrin:

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tighe, you stole my bowtie joke, which was going to be, "Take that bowtie off, buddy, because I'd never hit a man with a bowtie."

Would you smack him if he still had his glasses on, but no bowtie?? I'm not sure I could bring myself to deck someone who is such a pansy.

(Note: Don't get me wrong, I actually think his mag is good and has a lot of useful info, but Chris just drives me nuts sometimes.)

Having gone to school in Boston, I will say that his attitude is pretty typical of those who consider themselves New England "natives".


Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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Somehow, I just don't think many PNW folks are aching for boiled cod and baked beans. I could be wrong, but I doubt it...

Odd that you should mention that. Coincidence or conspiracy on their part? The very same issue has a recipe for...

(Wait for it...)

Boston Baked Beans.

I've eaten lotus too - roots and seeds. ISTR that both were canned, and not particularly impressive, but slices of lotus root look pretty cool; sort of like an edible doily.

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tighe, you stole my bowtie joke, which was going to be, "Take that bowtie off, buddy, because I'd never hit a man with a bowtie."

(Note: Don't get me wrong, I actually think his mag is good and has a lot of useful info, but Chris just drives me nuts sometimes.)

We subscribe to "Cooks" and find that there are a couple of good nuggets an issue. But, oh my. Mr. Kimball's writing style!

Tighe: If Chris drives you nuts on the page, don't be in our kitchen when my husband is preparing dinner and giving commentary (deliberately) in the style of Chris, or more accurately perhaps, "Cook's." "We tested 43 kinds of waxed paper and found..." Etc. It's hilarious for about three minutes, but after that I'm begging for mercy.

And don't push that "pansy" thing. I remeber a recent editorial of Kimball's extolling the joys of getting out the trusty rifle and going hunting. :biggrin:


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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New England culinary tradition?

Somehow, I just don't think many PNW folks are aching for boiled cod and baked beans. I could be wrong, but I doubt it...

I am waiting for someone to offer a good lobster roll - or at least a shrimp or crab version.

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Tighe:  If Chris drives you nuts on the page, don't be in our kitchen when my husband is preparing dinner and  giving commentary (deliberately) in the style of Chris, or more accurately perhaps, "Cook's."  "We tested 43 kinds of waxed paper and found..."  Etc.  It's hilarious for about three minutes, but after that I'm begging for mercy.

I swear they could cut the whole thing down to a 5-page newsletter if he would just friggin' cut to the chase. It's either an intense desire to establish credibility or a need to fill space, I can't decide. The conclusions are, in my experience at least, usually correct however. One of my wife's favorites was the reccomended method for roasting mushrooms, which produced excellent mushrooms, but also almost burned down our kitchen. She still hasn't forgiven Chris for that one I don't think....


Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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Our attitude is - spend your money and leave.

Without any disrespect to the PNW, its people, its produce or its landscape, all of which I know and love, you may rest assured that this is exactly what we Yankees will do.

And we'll enjoy doing it as much as we will enjoy coming home.

As to the title of the thread, if there is such a jealousy, I'm not aware of it. New York City, in particular, isn't jealous of anything. The guy with the bow tie is not our appointed spokesperson.


Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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Calling Tony Bourdain...


=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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Tighe:  If Chris drives you nuts on the page, don't be in our kitchen when my husband is preparing dinner and  giving commentary (deliberately) in the style of Chris, or more accurately perhaps, "Cook's."  "We tested 43 kinds of waxed paper and found..."  Etc.  It's hilarious for about three minutes, but after that I'm begging for mercy.

A friend of mine is always mimicking the Cook's test kitchen and saying, "We tried skim milk, whole milk, and heavy cream. Testers preferred the cream." Then, "We tried ground pork, ground beef, and ground lamb. Testers preferred heavy cream."


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I like CI. Maybe it's a New England thing. And of course, I'm always happy to find that I'm using whatever it is that comes out on top - in the testing of things. :biggrin:

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Kimball is wrong.  I've lived here for 5 years and have yet to eat any lotus. :unsure:

5 years and still a tourist. :raz:

I've read exactly 1 (one) of Mr. Kimball's Editorial essays - that was plenty. Now I don't even glance at that page on my way to the good stuff.

Speaking of jealousy, I confess to being envious of all the rare, organic produce that seems to be all over the Bay Area, as well as their extra-long growing season. But then I like the rain up here.

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I've read exactly 1 (one) of Mr. Kimball's Editorial essays - that was plenty. Now I don't even glance at that page on my way to the good stuff.

Speaking of jealousy, I confess to being envious of all the rare, organic produce that seems to be all over the Bay Area, as well as their extra-long growing season. But then I like the rain up here.

You should be jealous of the bay area produce. In February, the farmer's market in Marin is a thing of beauty, truly. The most romantic thing ever done for me was two grocery bags of produce schlepped from Marin to Chicago in late February, when I was pining for something other than chard or kale. But we do have it pretty good here. The farther east you go, the grimmer it gets in winter months.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who goes bonkers over the way Chris writes. The other thing that drives me crazy is the handy tips page or whatever it's called, it seems filled with things I already know how to do or things so anal retentive I wouldn't bother worrying about them (solutions for the little bit of pepper that the pepper grinder leaves on the countertop for instance). The other person in the house rants whenever they do an Asian ingredients taste test; he went nuts when they tested soya sauce by eating it on rice! But then, he goes crazy if someone uses Japanese soya in a Chinese dish. Yes, we have 5 different bottles of various types of soya at our house.

I get CI mainly for the dessert recipes and some techniques (they were brining long before I even heard of Alton Brown). Most of the savory dishes I don't really care for...um, kielbasa in cassoulet? No.

regards,

trillium

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I just joined this site recently and noticed the strong NE bias in the listing of areas: NYC, NJ, PA, New England, etc, etc, California and then finally "Pacific Northwest and Alaska". I guess it could have been worse: Seattle could be under "Other"! Oh, well, I guess this makes it easier to get reservations.

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The Cook's phad thai recipe is actually really good.

SeAAtle, at least we're still ahead of Canada. :cool:


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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The Cook's phad thai recipe is actually really good.

I can't remember...did they call for ketchup or tamarind in their recipe? Most of their Asian recipes make me wince, so I tend to ignore them.

regards,

trillium

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Tamarind. And salted preserved radish, dried shrimp, and fish sauce. They're getting better.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I just joined this site recently and noticed the strong NE bias in the listing of areas: NYC, NJ, PA, New England, etc, etc, California and then finally "Pacific Northwest and Alaska".  I guess it could have been worse: Seattle could be under "Other"!  

Yes, there is a strong bias in favor of the margins of the country: NE, NYC, NJ, Penn, DelMarVa, CA, and PacNW (plus HI & AK).

The other 85% of the country is charitably included as either "Other" or "South Other." ("The Heartland"--you can tell they find that term amusing: "It's a breadbasket, all right--with only one kind of bread, har-har.")

Demographically, the only reason that the Northeast supports a lot of restaurants is because of the population density. Once upon a time, as late as 1973, Gourmet covered only NYC because there weren't any other cities populous enough to support that many gourmet restaurants. As the population of the US grows, and more and more cities reach "critical mass," more and more cities start accumulating gourmets and gourmet restaurants. NYC has more because the East Coast started first. Judging from Gourmet, you'd think the only places in the US where you can get gourmet food are still NYC and California.

To be fair, though, there are vast stretches between Lake Tahoe and Pittsburgh where the gourmet opportunities are decidedly sparse. But they're there--you just have to look harder for them. Anybody can find a good place to eat in NYC, but it takes a dedicated foodie to find a good place to eat in South Dakota.


Edited by Deacon (log)

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You want to talk geographic distribution of good restaurants, you want to talk France not the U.S.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Actually St. Louis is a surprisingly good little foodie town. Lots of Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, traditional Italian American as well as regional Italian and plenty of eclectic American gourmet/Regional/International fusion type places.


=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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Actually St. Louis is a surprisingly good little foodie town.

Oh, I wasn't meaning to disparage St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Phoenix, Dallas, etc. etc. That was my point exactly: that the restaurants are there, just not in as great a number as in the Northeast, because the population in the middle of the country isn't dense enough to support as many restaurants.


Edited by Deacon (log)

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