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Food in the time of a pandemic


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1 hour ago, KennethT said:

Maybe 10 years ago, I invested in a small chest freezer - it lives in an inconspicuous place in the living room.  It's the best thing ever. It's footprint is 2x2 feet but it holds so much.

 

Another thumbs up for this — when we were in a city condo, we had an upright freezer with a similar 2'x2' footprint that made our lives much easier. Basically was like an extra tall dorm fridge. For our space the chest freezer wouldn't have worked as we couldn't have put anything above it — so we were really glad both options were available.

 

When we sold out and suburbanized earlier this year, one of my first purchases was the largest upright freezer I could find 😂

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53 minutes ago, weinoo said:

 

When it's stock making time, I often (or used to often) venture to a market in Chinatown, where I was able to buy old stewing hens - 2 for $5, and worked great as a stock starter. I was thinking maybe at some of the Chinese markets they get some special Bobo birds?

 

Oh, now checking the web site as well, I wonder if It might be worth a trip to Williamsburg, and their retail market. Much more product.

 

Of course for really great Euro style birds, I don't think one can do better than LaPera Bros. If one can deal with bringing home a warm, freshly killed chicken.

In the past, when I wanted a ridiculously good stock (or making the chicken rice master stock) I'd use go to Chinatown to get a silky chicken and a couple of old stewing hens, plus some extra feet.  The meat market I used to go to (prepandemic) carried Bobo farms stuff and had both types of chickens (years ago I once got one of each plus a blue foot chicken from Ottomanelli and did a side by side tasting), and also silkies, stewing hens, quail, squab, you name it.  One of these days, now that I live a bit closer, I have to get back there.

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1 hour ago, KennethT said:

In the past, when I wanted a ridiculously good stock (or making the chicken rice master stock) I'd use go to Chinatown to get a silky chicken and a couple of old stewing hens, plus some extra feet.  The meat market I used to go to (prepandemic) carried Bobo farms stuff and had both types of chickens (years ago I once got one of each plus a blue foot chicken from Ottomanelli and did a side by side tasting), and also silkies, stewing hens, quail, squab, you name it.  One of these days, now that I live a bit closer, I have to get back there.


Was it the market on Catherine Street, a street I often refer to as blood alley?  The even had duck legs and duck livers at one time!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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49 minutes ago, weinoo said:


Was it the market on Catherine Street, a street I often refer to as blood alley?  The even had duck legs and duck livers at one time!

I think it was Hong Li meat market on Mott between Hester and Grand.  They not only had raw meats, but also a cooked meat section where you could get roast ducks, pork, etc.

 

Edit - hmm, maybe not - maybe it's Deluxe Market on Elizabeth between Hester and Grand.

Edited by KennethT (log)
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Thanks for the perspective, everyone. I was considering using Wild Fork for seafood. We don’t eat a lot of meat, on the rare occassion that DH wants beef, the local options work fine for his tastes. We probably eat seafood more often than other proteins, so I’m focused on that first. There is a good Asian market near my office, if I plan ahead and bring a cooler (I have a 45 minute drive home)…might see what options they have, as well. I have bought produce there, which was very good.

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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BC, before covid, a weekly stop at Fairway, (bankrupt and closed now), covered everything with a rotation of a monthly rotation of a few specialty shops. Costco 2-3 times a year.

In the NYMetropolitan area FreshDirect might be the best overall for price and variety. And dependable. First lockdown I ordered and thought we were set but could not get a delivery time-slot for months so they went out of sight and mind. Just checked and I could get delivery Thursday this week. But no 'one' delivery service covers all our needs or desires.

Insta-cart has some annoyances and AmazonWH is hits top of the annoyance list.

BC, fall 2019, we tried Walden Local Hudson Valley Farms. And Misfits. Walden has excellent quality and add-ons like farm eggs, locally made cheeses, honey, etc. And some of the best sausages we have ever had. Not salty and fatty. We were on the fence for a while with unfamiliar cuts like Babette, Denver, shaved beef. But eventually embraced trying something new rather than comfort/familiar. And lots of offal and chicken backs and necks, one buck a pound, feets, pork necks, marrow bones. Much more than any delivery for master stocks. They have their own vans for delivery and in various areas only once a month so very dependable. Small one pound thick cryovac'd packages with easy to remove labels for SV. Dry ice packed. At one point we almost canceled when Baldor started delivery to home residence, but they stopped us and suggested just to keep postponing as their waiting list for new members hit a thousand. So we order about every 3-4 months. Just hits timing for a big batch of stock. I freeze in half pints. Walden may be a bit more expensive but what they have done to support local farms is impressive. Getting my stock bones cheap sealed the deal. 

A small freezer could easily handle their load. Pantry, eggs and cheese, go into the fridge. Thaw and roast bones for stock within a couple days. Thaw a couple meals right away and what goes into the freezer is minimal-ish. 

 

I ordered ButcherBox only twice and recently. Happy so far and the same dealio. Just postpone delivery as I do with Walden. I set it up for February as I did with Walden. Will push to March no doubt. January-March in this home is about post holiday 'try new recipes' based on fresh veg and broth. Warm winter fare. 

 

Misfits is the best deal on the internet delivery system. Twice a month and so fresh. Pick what you want. Like Fresh Direct, they are set up in low income areas and hire employees needing work....distribution centers where my veg box is on my door step way ahead of the BigGrocery method..they farm to packaging to distribution, to grocery back dock, to stocking the shelves...Misfits is packed without plastic 90% and 90% organic. Straight from the farm bulk palates. They pack open box raw and always toss in something extra. They had a rough start but so improved now.

I don't order, they don't send. No mysteries. Straight forward, no BS. Vermont creamery butter and goat cheese, US cheeses and Diestel Ranch meats. Mary's boneless skinless chicken thighs.....

 

 

 

 

 

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One place discovered and utilized (only occasionally, as it's expensive) during the pandemic has been Regalis Foods.  Their product is exemplary, so when they present a sale (which isn't that often), sometimes a few clicks happen. For New Year's this year, they were offering a nice price on Black Pèrigord truffles (the white truffle season was not happening, as the prices were insane), as well as on caviar.  Splurge for New Year's eve and a few dinners, as it appears we'll be hunkering down again.

 

Last night...

 

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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20 hours ago, Annie_H said:

Walden has excellent quality and add-ons like farm eggs, locally made cheeses, honey, etc. And some of the best sausages we have ever had. Not salty and fatty. We were on the fence for a while with unfamiliar cuts like Babette, Denver, shaved beef. But eventually embraced trying something new rather than comfort/familiar. And lots of offal and chicken backs and necks, one buck a pound, feets, pork necks, marrow bones. Much more than any delivery for master stocks.


Wait — Walden Local Meats has cheap stock bones?! I would have signed up ages ago if I'd known that! (They are actually very local to us — we live about halfway between their warehouse and their butcher shop in Boston.)

 

Looking at this thread in their forum they seem to have pork leaf fat available too, sometimes.

 

@Annie_H — you mentioned postponing your box — can you see what's available as specials before you do that?

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I've just finished the first batch of turkey stock from our not-Thanksgiving-not-Christmas-not-New-Year's-Eve meal for 16, and I want to give you guys a tip. I cook the bones and vegetables down to concentrate the broth and then freeze it in ice-cube trays. Sort of frozen bouillon cubes. I never have enough freezer space, so several years ago I realized that I can add water to these stock ice cubes and save a ton of space. The reduced stock is jelly-like and very intense. The usual suspects--onion, celery, carrot--plus bay leaves, whole black peppercorns, garlic (whole unpeeled cloves) thyme and parsley, but no salt, to make a concentrated neutral stock. 

 

Of course you can use this technique with beef or lamb or pork bones. I just happen to have more poultry bones. We don't eat much meat from what a friend calls "the farty animals."

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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32 minutes ago, dtremit said:

— you mentioned postponing your box — can you see what's available as specials before you do that?

The monthly special list is long. If I was ordering today I would add the bacon ends and smoked ham chunks at 4$ a pound. I like the chunky bacon ends to start a chowder, then a mirepoix, then add back later to the table. The ham chunks I like to pack heavily with a homage cajun spice blend. fridge dry 4-6 hours, then into the smoker for an hour or oven low and slow. A bit like a mock tasso. And of course add-on some sausages and offal and soup bones. Eggs.

I'm surprised the links will not work but here it is....Walden offal and bones

 

Might want to give it a try. If they have openings now. A few friends joined up early and have held on. We have all postponed to about every three to four months. We all just get the beef package. You can always delay delivery or cancel after the first delivery. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, weinoo said:

One place discovered and utilized (only occasionally, as it's expensive) during the pandemic has been Regalis Foods

Thanks for the reminder. I just signed up for e-mail alerts. A few things listed I would not hesitate ordering for a special occasion. 

We ended up having an oyster festival for a few days. Canceled gatherings. With omicron and a nasty winter cold going around we kept it simple. Friends with teens are passing around the cold. My brother just tested positive. (both of our extended families are vax'd and boosted) 

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I've mentioned elsewhere that I ordered from iGourmet, SuperMarketItaly, and Eatily(gift certificate), the year of 2020. 

Now that this new faze of lock-down is imminent for a while and we need to be careful....a few treats at grocery store prices meeting the 'free shipping' cost is

better than fast food take-out or some local deliveries that charge so much extra for tips and fees. One of them used a boat-load of bubble wrap but no memory. 

Not many times ordered at all because our palates went pretty pedestrian for a while. Soups and comfort over HumboltFog and GooseLiverPaté. 

 

Why master stocks and kombu became important. Any having miso on hand at all times. Quick Miso soup with a 1/2 pint of stock for lunch or dinner. I did use a silicone cube tray for a couple years but 1/2 pints work best for us. One less step. Into the freezer asap. The pups get the skimmed fat in small doses in their food.

We go through stock quickly especially now being soup and noodle bowl month like every year. 

Found a shelf stable tofu in small boxes like kid juice boxes. Misfits has it again now but on amazon....tofu 12 boxes for 20 bucks. Handy pantry staple. 

Misfits is probably organic. I think I paid 1.29. 

 

 

 

STOCK AND CONTAINERS.png

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/2/2022 at 1:03 PM, dtremit said:

 

Another thumbs up for this — when we were in a city condo, we had an upright freezer with a similar 2'x2' footprint that made our lives much easier. Basically was like an extra tall dorm fridge. For our space the chest freezer wouldn't have worked as we couldn't have put anything above it — so we were really glad both options were available.

 

When we sold out and suburbanized earlier this year, one of my first purchases was the largest upright freezer I could find 😂


Was in the supermarket this am.   No milk, no eggs, no meat other than pork shoulders and whole briskets.   Very happy I can braise.    I will also never be without a chest freezer and my food saver.

 

hope you all are staying safe, warm and fed

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Just now, Dr. Teeth said:


Was in the supermarket this am.   No milk, no eggs, no meat other than pork shoulders and whole briskets.   Very happy I can braise.    I will also never be without a chest freezer and my food saver.

 

hope you all are staying safe, warm and fed

What region are you in....sigh...who would have thought all of this would still be going on.....

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All spotty I think. Yesterday plenty of eggs on sale. Meat was bit wonky - plenty of things most don't buy regularly like leg of lamb, ground lamb, and lots of hams post holidays. Interestingly a guy came up to one of the butchers and said he was there for the donations. Must be for a local food kitchen. Butcher: "Sure just a sec". Pasta aisle was a wasteland (except gluten free...) No black peppercorns in weeks now. So one becomes flexible.

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I’m in DC.   The area is known to grind to a halt when it snows around here, and it did snow last week closing I95.   But one of the folks working at Giant said they haven’t had a resupply in a week and a half.   
 

Also enough bus driver are out with COVID that my kids schools have shut down some routes.   Same with city buses.   So who knows it could be a larger supply chain problem.

 

Tonight, however, I bought one of the pork shoulders and the boys like carnitas tacos

2 hours ago, Shelby said:

What region are you in....sigh...who would have thought all of this would still be going on.....

 

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We've got a double whammy here in Central VA this weekend.  The pandemic and snow in the forecast.  Richmond absolutely panics at the mention of snow.  We were out shopping last night for supplies to do our churches monthly lunches we make for 3 homeless shelters in the city.  We make 100 lunches consisting of bologna sandwiches w/ packets of mustard, pretzels, Little Debbie oatmeal cakes, a banana, and soda/juice.  The church has tax-exempt accounts at Sam's and Walmart.  Sam's had NO lunchmeat whatsoever.  They haven't had packets of condiments in months.  Walmart didn't have any all beef bologna (we don't use pork products), so we had to buy packets of turkey.  They didn't have the Walmart brand bread we usually get, but we were able to get Sunbeam - we had to clear them out of their last loaf.  There were NO Little Debbie products at all, so we bought Walmart brand cupcakes. 

 

This is normally a group project, but Mr. Kim and I did it alone for a few months before the vaccines came out.  With the expected surge, we've gone back to just the two of us.  I make and pack the sandwiches, he packs the lunch bags and we deliver them.  We have the option of doing PBJ sandwiches, but I'm not going to be spreading 100 sandwiches worth of peanut butter and jelly by myself!  

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2 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

We've got a double whammy here in Central VA this weekend.  The pandemic and snow in the forecast.  Richmond absolutely panics at the mention of snow. 

 

One of my funniest work travel memories was visiting a client in Richmond during a ~4" snowstorm. I was staying in a hotel next to the client, but ended up working with them over WebEx because they couldn't drive in to the office themselves. While eating breakfast the weather person on the TV news was trying to explain why cars lose traction in snow (friction, etc) — never thought anyone would need that explained to them!

 

Lovely thing you are doing with the homeless lunches -- I am sure they are very much appreciated!

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6 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

We've got a double whammy here in Central VA this weekend.  The pandemic and snow in the forecast.  Richmond absolutely panics at the mention of snow.  We were out shopping last night for supplies to do our churches monthly lunches we make for 3 homeless shelters in the city.  We make 100 lunches consisting of bologna sandwiches w/ packets of mustard, pretzels, Little Debbie oatmeal cakes, a banana, and soda/juice.  The church has tax-exempt accounts at Sam's and Walmart.  Sam's had NO lunchmeat whatsoever.  They haven't had packets of condiments in months.  Walmart didn't have any all beef bologna (we don't use pork products), so we had to buy packets of turkey.  They didn't have the Walmart brand bread we usually get, but we were able to get Sunbeam - we had to clear them out of their last loaf.  There were NO Little Debbie products at all, so we bought Walmart brand cupcakes. 

 

This is normally a group project, but Mr. Kim and I did it alone for a few months before the vaccines came out.  With the expected surge, we've gone back to just the two of us.  I make and pack the sandwiches, he packs the lunch bags and we deliver them.  We have the option of doing PBJ sandwiches, but I'm not going to be spreading 100 sandwiches worth of peanut butter and jelly by myself!  

Bless your hearts. I agree about the PB&J - carpal tunnel trauma for sure!

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Shortages have so far been sporadic — one chain will be out of something, but another will have it. Until now.

 

I was talking to a friend in the Philly area yesterday and he was complaining about not being able to find half and half. I had half and half on my grocery order to pick up this morning. Got a text it was out of stock. Ok, I had to get out and get the necessities  — wine and dog food — for the coming cold weather, so I’ll hit another grocery and pick it up. Four grocery stores later, I finally discover and pounce on a half-gallon of half and half.

 

I understand supply chain issues. But dairy is a time-dated product. Is all the half and half in the world sitting in refrigerated warehouses somewhere, slowly going bad? Or worse, is it sitting in the cow causing great distress? 
 

inquiring minds want to know.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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3 hours ago, kayb said:

I understand supply chain issues. But dairy is a time-dated product. Is all the half and half in the world sitting in refrigerated warehouses somewhere, slowly going bad? Or worse, is it sitting in the cow causing great distress? 

 

I think there's just so many steps in the supply chain that right now, it's too easy for one of them to go wrong. A half-staffed dairy plant might choose to prioritize production of higher volume products like milk, or there could be a shortage on quart containers. 

 

Weirdly every Target around here has plenty of half-and-half (they're the easiest store for me to check online) -- but none of our warehouse clubs seem to have normal chicken thighs. 

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as I mentioned in the TJ's thread the other day :

 

Tj's looked close to normal

 

but the long day case was almost wiped out :

 

Milk , yogurt , fancy pants expensive refrigerated

 

good for You drinks

 

and the egg section , pretty large for that sized store had

 

maybe 12 + cartons for sale :  most $ 6.00 , the king w the hens name on

 

each egg.  $ 2.99 brown eggs , cage free , nameless .  2 cartons.

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