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eG Foodblog: Fat Guy - A Normal Week

Fat Guy

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I assume that some of those containers held tartar sauce.

Yes, two containers of very good tartar sauce and two containers of mediocre coleslaw. The coleslaw containers were only slightly larger than the tartar sauce containers. We were laughing about it, because an order of onion rings at this place consists of like a million onion rings whereas an order of coleslaw (made from equally cheap ingredients) is totally parsimonious.

We also took a tray full of little white paper cups of various condiments, like cocktail sauce, ketchup and vinegar (you can sort of see it in the picnic table photo).

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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I hate picnic tables – they are designed by sadists who hate fat people – but it was nice to be outside.

Picnic tables are the work of the devil, or somebody else who doesn't want us to sit and enjoy a nice leisurely meal: no padding, no support for your back.

I'm guessing that Puritans were somehow involved.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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After dinner, rhe crew went out to the pier to get ice cream. In addition to being antisocial, I’m not really a dessert lover –


I don't remember you being so antisocial a couple weeks ago....

Didn't you taste all of the desserts at the Heartland gathering, or is that Ronnie's plate I am remembering?

Those fried clams are incredible looking, I think I have only had fried clams once or twice and it was from Long John Silver's. :hmmm: Now I have a serious craving.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"


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After dinner, rhe crew went out to the pier to get ice cream. In addition to being antisocial, I?m not really a dessert lover ?


I don't remember you being so antisocial a couple weeks ago....

kris - there is a serious divide between friends antisocial and family/in-law antisocial... or even online friendly vs in person antisocial ...as most of the people i work with will attest to

edited to add - fg and ellen you do make beautiful babies together... or adopting them(momo). and it is wonderful to see a child revel in his/her world and discovering it

for the first time. i would have been one of the people flirting with pj. as i tell my husband as a librarian all the men i flirt with are under 5 years of age or over 70

Edited by suzilightning (log)

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.


Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Our maritime activity for this morning was a trip to the Wellfleet pier, where we walked with Momo and PJ and checked out some fishing boats that looked like they were right out of Perfect Storm, except that was somewhere else in MA and, curiously, not one of the guys on the fishing boats looked like Mark Wahlberg.


Part of the plan for the pier expedition was to eat breakfast at Mac’s, at the outside seating area with the dog. Mac’s is sort of the centerpiece of the Wellfleet pier area, and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and whatever you call the ice cream meal. Unfortunately, Mac’s turned out to be the only place of its kind I’ve ever seen with a “No Dogs Allowed” sign at the entrance to its outside seating area. We thought about getting carry-out and eating on a bench on the pier but ultimately said screw it.

When we got back to the house after a detour to the beach for a run with the dog (well, I didn’t run), I made some eggs in my trusty 10” Calphalon Commercial Nonstick skillet.


Moments after I finished the eggs, my sister’s family started waking up and my brother-in-law asked if I wanted to go with him and my nephews to the Lighthouse restaurant for breakfast. How could I refuse? The Lighthouse is to the Wellfleet downtown area as Mac’s is to the pier area. Not that the food is particularly good – it’s average-quality for a diner-type place – but the waitresses have attitude and tattoos and my brother-in-law impressed me greatly by pulling a bottle of real maple syrup out of his pocket for us to use instead of the synthesized crap the restaurant served.




Yes, the Lighthouse has a fake lighthouse on its roof.

We decided to spend the afternoon in Provincetown. Ellen and I took our two nephews, PJ and Momo alone – my sister and brother-in-law went to some flea market. Provincetown is the town at the end of the Cape. It’s a year-round community with a very substantial artsy population including a lot of very out gay residents and visitors. The main downtown street is a total scene. Compared to the other towns on the Cape, Provincetown is downright urban. Anyway, because we were managing so many people we didn’t do a lot of photography, nor did we eat at any good places. I’d wanted to go to Clem & Ursie’s raw bar – a Provincetown institution – but one of my nephews only eats pizza and his needs were paramount. So, we went to George’s Pizza, and I shared a pie with one nephew while my other nephew (who eats anything but pizza) had a “chicken McGeorge” sandwich, and Ellen, Momo and PJ sat in the park across the way. It was all fine. Afterwards we bought candy and cookies at some tourist-trap stores, took a photo of some colorful boats (sea kayaks, I guess) on the beach and checked out the tower, which is the main architectural feature of Provincetown (you can see it from miles away as you approach on the highway).



This here is called Uncle Tim’s Bridge (we’re back in Wellfleet now).


Uncle Tim’s Bridge is the true, right, official name of the bridge. There’s an official government sign right at the entrance to the bridge that says so. It’s not much of a bridge, but it does connect the main part of Wellfleet with a little island (Uncle Tim’s Island?) with a little hill in the middle (Mount Uncle Tim?) where we let the dogs run around and play. The place my sister rented is only a few hundred feet from the entrance to Uncle Tim’s Bridge, so my sister just calls it “Tim’s Bridge” – she feels that not only does the proximity justify this familiarity but also that the house she’s renting may actually be Uncle Tim’s house (I hasten to add that the latter claim has not been supported by any actual evidence or even a convincing argument).

We had dinner at PJ’s – how could we not go to a restaurant called PJ’s when we have an actual kid named PJ. Not that they gave a crap when we told them his name was PJ. Anyway, the place is another of these large-menu, mostly seafood, order from the window joints. We got a bunch of fried stuff. I had a lobster roll, because my brother-in-law said the lobster rolls at PJ’s were good – and that turned out to be very true. I confess a preference for the Connecticut style of lobster roll, made with hot lobster and butter, but the upper New England style, made with cold lobster mixed with a little mayo (the less the better), is tasty too, and this was a good specimen.


After we had eaten, my sister started going on about how great her tuna roll (tuna salad sandwich on the same split-and-buttered hot dog roll they use for a lobster roll) was, and said I should be sure to write about it in my foodblog. I observed that I hadn’t tasted it. My sister, who is an editor at the Wall Street Journal, understood the journalistic ethical quandary this situation presented, so she went and bought another tuna roll for me to taste. She also grabbed a grilled cheese sandwich because, she said, she got a good vibe from it. Well, I’ll be damned if the tuna roll wasn’t excellent. The hot buttered roll, the cool tuna with lots of mayo – it really worked. The grilled cheese was nice too – the cheese was thankfully white. In photographing the tuna roll, the whole family got bitten by the reality TV bug and collaborated during an impromptu food styling session, adding various utensils and condiments to the shot until it was magazine perfect.





Here’s PJ eating a piece of the bagel he’s been working on for the past couple of days.


Self explanatory.


For dessert we went to Bob’s Sub & Cone. The establishment serves, among other things, subs and cones. Also assorted fried seafood and such. My nephews really worship this place. The older one actually has a Bob’s tee-shirt, and a CD with the Bob’s Sub & Cone song on it (which replaces the lyrics “Like a rolling stone” with “Bob’s Sub & Cone”). Here they are worshiping at the altar of Bob’s Sub & Cone.


This is the place.


PJ enjoyed a taste of ice cream, his second ever and first from a cone.


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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Every time I see a photo of your wife I can't stop thinking to myself "What gorgeous teeth!". I have no idea why, of course. :laugh: PJ is way too cute for his own good, I'll wager.

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So, did I espy fish pants above?

And, more about those onion rings. I can't seem to find a decent onion ring within driving distance. Even at the burger joints on the way to the Cabin, they don't meet the expectations. Their breading is wrong and "flakey."

Your last few pictures have made me realize my mission tomorrow at the Minnesota State Fair is Onion Rings.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Steve, will you ever tire of hearing how gorgeous your child is? Those eyes, that hair ... I love the photo of him in the backpack on the beach with his big brother and Mom.

Brings back some memories, I'll tell ya. Firstborn did his first tasting tour of Napa at 4 months, in a backpack, and slept through most of it.

Man, it goes fast. Your blog goes fast, too. Love it.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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PJ enjoyed a taste of ice cream, his second ever and first from a cone.


That's beautiful! That photo could show up displayed and in albums forever.

I like the sounds of a Connecticut style lobster roll, made with hot lobster and butter. I'm going to make one of those. Is it anything besides hot lobster and butter on the roll?

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Right. It's just the meat of a steamed lobster, chopped into manageable chunks, served still hot, dressed with drawn butter on a New England-style split, buttered and griddled hot-dog bun. It's not really even the same genus as the lobster roles they serve in Maine, Mass., etc. I like both, but would always choose the Connecticut version.

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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This blog is turning into sweet torture. I am now filled with so much nostalgia for Cape Cod that I'm like to burst with longing.

(And I'm in no shape right now to go driving around in search of fried seafood to even partially assuage my condition. Maybe, though, I can convince a minion to fetch me some ... )

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'Sfunny, when I look at your photos of the lobster roll and tuna roll, I remember again the conundrum of that bread: it looks terrible; I wouldn't buy that kind of bread on a bet; I adored the lobster rolls up there on Cape Cod and at Martha's Vineyard. It somehow works, that cheapo bread with the luscious lobster bound with just the merest hint of mayonnaise. I've never tried or heard of a tuna roll, but out here in the Midwest that might actually be possible to do. We're fortunate that your sister appreciates the need for journalistic integrity.

P-town was quite the experience when my boyfriend-of-the-time and I visited there. The scenery was beautiful - you're capturing it brilliantly, by the way, complete with funky diners and beautiful beach - and the culture was new to us. We blew our mad money on dinner at some upscale restaurant with dim lights, velvet curtains, red-flocked wallpaper and excellent food. The waiters all flirted with my boyfriend and ignored me. It was hilarious even before we started in on the wine.

Thanks for a great tour. It's not everyone who can pimp a photo shoot of a grilled cheese sandwich and tuna roll.

...and PJ! Oh, PJ! If you get a chance, show us a shot of PJ feeding Momo, please? :wub:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Thanks so much for sharing your vacation AND your vacation time with us! That tuna roll brought back memories of a simple, delicious tuna roll I had at a pub called the Queens Arms in Breage, Cornwall, Eng, last summer. Nothing but excellent mayo mixed with tuna, piled on a fresh, warm crusty baguette. Totally off the map in calories and pure heaven!

I may be in Nashville but my heart's in Cornwall

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Right. It's just the meat of a steamed lobster, chopped into manageable chunks, served still hot, dressed with drawn butter on a New England-style split, buttered and griddled hot-dog bun. It's not really even the same genus as the lobster roles they serve in Maine, Mass., etc. I like both, but would always choose the Connecticut version.

Neptune Oyster in the North End of Boston sells a hot buttered lobster roll, pictures of which can be seen here.

Eating pizza with a fork and knife is like making love through an interpreter.
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PJ decided to do us the favor of getting up extra-early this morning, so we figured we’d go to the beach and try to tire him out. This was his first experience of actually crawling in sand, as opposed to being carried in the backpack.



There was a loose plan in place to make lobster bisque for lunch, using the leftover carcasses from our lobster dinner the other night, however my sister and I decided we couldn’t wait any longer. So she made us “lobster scrambled eggs” for breakfast. We were lucky in that the guests the other night were not particularly resourceful or motivated lobster eaters, so there was a total of maybe a pound of meat still left on the lobsters.


Basically, the improvised lobster scrambled eggs started as heavily reduced lobster bisque. Then my sister cooled the bisque and added some eggs. I was an observer, rather than a participant in the cooking, though I was occasionally consulted. I made the mistake of telling my sister I planned to be an observer, so of course she kept addressing me as “Mr. UN Observer” and may never stop


Then she added butter that she cleverly kept from last night’s dinner to a skillet and poured in the bisque and egg mixture.



She let them set a bit, then gently stirred.


There wasn’t any good bread in the house, but there was a big box of Saltines, so the lobster scrambled eggs were served with Saltines and, on the side, a little cup of lobster bisque that functioned as sort of a sauce. This was probably the best thing I’ve eaten on this vacation, if not in my entire life.


For lunch we went to Mac’s down on the pier. The place was seriously crowded but, surprisingly, the prices were lower than what seems to be the Cape average, the ingredients were super-high quality (the Mac’s people also own a seafood market), and the atmosphere felt very genuine old-school Cape. There was all sorts of fried stuff served, and we decided Mac’s onion rings were arguably better even than the ones at Arnold’s. I had a fried cod sandwich, in addition to tasting other stuff. Ellen had a grilled tuna filet sandwich, which was really nice. We ate outside at the picnic tables, which of all the picnic tables we’ve encountered on the Cape are by far the most uncomfortable.


My cod sandwich.


We also ran into some of my sister’s friends, who shared our uncomfortable picnic table with us. They had baked a loaf of banana bread, but I guess their kitchen was as poorly provisioned as ours because they didn’t have enough bananas for the recipe so they supplemented with plums and nectarines. The bread was described to us as “plummy nectarine-y banana bread,” and a discussion of how to spell “nectarine-y” ensued (my sister and brother-in-law are both newspaper editors). It was great. Later we gave them three nearly rotten bananas from our kitchen so they could make another loaf of banana bread, this time with just bananas and no plums or nectarines – though I can’t imagine that would represent an improvement.


For dinner, we returned to Bob’s Sub & Cone. Please don’t tell Bob, but Bob’s Sub & Cone was not our first choice. First, we went to the Beachcomber restaurant, which as the name suggests is at the beach, but I assigned no credibility to the claim that our wait for a table would only be “25 to 35 minutes.” There were a zillion people there and the hostess who gave us the information didn’t seem to have a clue. So, we decided instead to go to Moby Dick’s out on Route 6, pretty near to PJ’s. Mind you, at each step of the expedition, my nephews were saying, “Why aren’t we going to Bob’s Sub & Cone? It’s the best restaurant,” and singing the Bob’s Sub & Cone song. When we saw the parking lot at Moby Dick’s, which was totally overpopulated, we drove right on by and headed down Route 6 to Bob’s Sub & Cone.

The amazing thing is that the food at Bob’s Sub & Cone is just as good as at the other good places on Route 6, but because it’s a couple of miles farther out from Wellfleet it doesn’t get nearly as busy as Moby Dick’s, PJ’s, et al. We had virtually no wait (one family ahead of us on line at the ordering window) and were able to claim two picnic tables and a high chair.

In addition to having all the same fried seafood stuff as all the other places on Route 6, Bob’s Sub & Cone has an extensive subs menu. I felt I should try one, since last night I’d had a cone – shouldn’t I have a sub tonight? So I got a sausage sub, and it was pretty damn good. Also excellent were the onion rings. The broiled cod sandwich was a surprise highlight – it’s not actually listed as such on the menu board but we got the 411 that it was available. Cape Cod has got to be the best place in the world for onion rings. I mean, maybe there’s one place somewhere that serves better onion rings, but surely there is no region that has more examples of excellent onion rings.




At Bob’s Sub & Cone, you order cones (and other ice cream items) from the outside windows, but you order savory food from a counter indoors. Behind the counter, we noticed a pass-through to the kitchen, and a guy toiling at the stoves. “Is that Bob?” I asked the young lady at the cash register. “Yes, it is,” she replied. My nephews were very excited about this piece of information. I later mentioned to her that my nephews really worship Bob, and she said, “Oh, you better tell Bob.” So I yelled the information back to Bob in the kitchen and he kind of nodded. Luckily, I went to college in New England, so I understand about the whole “man of few words” New England non-speaking style (kind of like how Japanese people understand the subtleties of bowing) and can interpret these nods properly. I could tell Bob was pleased with the information.

Because I made so many trips back to the counter to get trays, condiments, etc. (apparently nobody else in my family was available to help with these tasks), I had several opportunities to communicate with Bob. At one point, when the cashier was off doing something, I approached and Bob came out. “What’re you missing?” he asked. We needed a large lemonade, so he poured it and walked away. My nephew was particularly excited to learn that his lemonade had been poured by Bob’s own hand. He wouldn’t let anyone else touch it, and expressed regret that Bob hadn’t signed the cup or at least the lid.

At the end of the meal, I saw Bob inside at a table talking to what must have been his family. He waved. We decided there was no way we were leaving without a photo of Bob. There was some question whether Bob would stand for it, but Bob totally exceeded our expectations and turned out to be a real ham. He even posed with PJ.


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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Damn, Steven. I needed to see this meal you had at Bob's. We had every hopes of getting to the great and wonderful Minnesota State Fair today to consume copious and obscene amounts of fried food, but the weather and a network problem at Paul's office prevented it, so Monday it will be.

But, darn it, your comment about the onion rings. I haven't managed to find a noteworthy onion ring in this fair state. I guess that's my mission this fall. To visit any and everywhere and search for a good ring. An almost perfect food when done right, IMHO.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Steven, thanks so much for being so generous with your time this week. My family spent a few weeks on the Cape when I was around 9, and I remember the meals like they were yesterday - the lobster, the fries, the ocean. This is a pretty decadent week of eating you are having, it really has the consummate essence of a summertime beach vacation.

I also love what you and your wife are doing in exposing PJ to restaurants and being comfortable in different environments. It's something we've done with our boys (now 3 and 5) since they were born (I can remember carefully slurping Korean soup and Thai noodles over their tiny heads as they always seemed to need to nurse just as the food arrived :wacko: ). And I think it has been a success, as we feel comfortable that we can take them to many types of restaurants and they will behave quite well. They key is, though, that the menu be of interest to them. The more engaged they can be in the meal, it seems, the less restless they become.

Just to drive home how adorable PJ is, my older guy saw the photo of PJ at the beach up on my computer screen this morning and immediately started calling his little brother, "Come here, you have to see this, it's so cute, come and see..." Priceless.

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That is an amazing amount of food to consume in 4 days - I can't imagine the calories and saturated fat.  :blink:

This is a pretty decadent week of eating you are having....

Oh, you must be assuming we don't always eat this way!

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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I've spent some time with Steven and Ellen. Steven manages to consume a few calories when on the road. Or at home. Or in a boat. Or with a goat. Or in a box. Or with a fox.

Ellen, on the other hand, manages to look like she's eating a ton of everything, but she's sly in her ways. Her physique don't lie!

Dean McCord


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Will you get to go back to the Beachcomber? That is a fun place. I haven't been for about 8 yrs, but the last time we were there, we ate dinner and stayed to hear the live music afterwards....I remember the food being good, typical, Cape Cod fare.

Fat Guy wrote:

For dinner, we returned to Bob’s Sub & Cone. Please don’t tell Bob, but Bob’s Sub & Cone was not our first choice. First, we went to the Beachcomber restaurant, which as the name suggests is at the beach, but I assigned no credibility to the claim that our wait for a table would only be “25 to 35 minutes.” There were a zillion people there and the hostess who gave us the information didn’t seem to have a clue.

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The week has been such a whirlwind of activity that I never even paused to consider how great the weather had been all week. Sunny and warm during the day; cool and breezy at night – it’s the kind of weather that makes one consider going to college in New England. Today, however, the weather was much more authentically New England-ish: rainy, damp and cold. We caught the last bits of sunlight on our morning walk on the beach, and got back in the car just as the storm clouds rolled in and started dumping rain.

At the beach, the tide was low so several sandbars popped up. Momo, I hasten to add, fierce though he may look, is terrified of water. Nonetheless, Ellen was able to drag him out to a sandbar. Once on the sandbar, he considered escape, but that would have required getting his feet wet again. Eventually he made his peace with being on the sandbar, and he ran around while PJ had a good crawl.





As a breakfast snack, I had a cup of steaming hot leftover lobster bisque.


We traveled back to Orleans at brunchtime, this time to the actual town of Orleans as opposed to the strip area where the Stop and Shop is. (Although, we did make it back to the Christmas Tree Shops on the way out of town, where we got, for $1.99 a box, better and more saltwater taffy than you get for $7 at the ripoff places in Provincetown, and also some nice jam made by Trappist monks.) Orleans is great – I think were I to have a Cape Cod vacation home, I’d want it to be in Orleans. Not that I’d ever want a vacation home anywhere, even if I could afford one and even if I had the patience to deal with all the headaches of maintaining a vacation home. I much prefer short visits to other people’s vacation homes.

We had brunch at Sparrow’s (the full and correct name of the place is the Hot Chocolate Sparrow, but people just call it Sparrow’s), which was a change of pace from the steady diet of fried seafood, subs and cones of the past few days. Sparrow’s serves actual food. It’s mostly a dessert and coffee place, with a small menu of high-quality panini and breakfast sandwiches. Ellen had a turkey, roasted red pepper and pesto panini (or whatever the singular of panini is); I had a ham, egg and cheese sandwich (the signage was emphatic on the point that the eggs were free range – perhaps that gives a sense of the style of the place); and PJ had bits and pieces of everything – he particularly enjoyed a piece of the bread with pesto on it. We also had a cranberry scone and a piece of crumb cake. Everything was good, but the panini and the scone really stood out. Oh, the place has pretty good coffee.



My sister made dinner tonight. The original plan was for linguine with clams, and that did happen, but the menu somehow proliferated to include lobsters, corn, steamers, Caesar salad, pizza and other stuff, and also four guests (my brother-in-law’s cousin, wife and two kids). Actually, the original plan was to grill outside, but the meteorological situation made that impossible, which turned out to be a nice piece of culinary luck because the dinner we had was better than what we would have grilled.

My sister’s method for linguine with clams is highly effective: a box of linguine cooked very al dente (because it will cook more and absorb the sauce) and drained, tossed in a pot with a generous amount of olive oil and a stick of butter, very little garlic, oregano, a jar of clam juice, a cup of wine, some grated parmesan and a lot of pepper. Then add about 30 steamed clams, some shucked and some left whole, a ton of parsley, and more parmesan and pepper at the end. Tonight’s preparation was a double recipe.





(Rookie’s pizza in Wellfleet is, by the way, not nearly as good as George’s pizza in Provincetown. Which is not to say that George’s is all that good either.)

My sister insisted that I transcribe the following quote from her: “My life’s ambition is to have a recipe on my brother’s website. Now I’ve achieved it, and there’s nowhere to go but down.”

A terminology note there: Everyone in my family insists on referring to the eGullet Society as my website, as in “How’s your website? Does it make any money?” no matter how many times I explain that the eGullet Society is not a website but is, rather, a not-for-profit public charity for which I work, alongside a staff of volunteers from around the world, in which I have no ownership interest of any kind, that among other things (like the eG Scholarships program) offers several web services like eG Forums, the eGullet Culinary Institute, the Daily Gullet, eG Spotlight Conversations, etc. They actually get annoyed if I try to explain this, like it’s a problem I have.

Also as part of the dinner event, I made vodka gimlets, which are the only cocktails I know how to make that Ellen likes. I’m a partisan of gimlets made with a combination of fresh lime juice and Rose’s lime juice. Without the Rose’s, it’s just not a gimlet, but with only Rose’s it lacks freshness.



We capped off the evening with ice cream from Mac’s. I confess, the mint chocolate chip ice cream at Mac’s is extraordinary, because the chips are like little mini versions of Andes mints – you know, with the chocolate on one side and mint goo on the other. I don’t suppose Mac’s makes its own ice cream, but whichever supplier they chose, they chose well.


Tomorrow will be a travel day for us: extremely early departure from the Cape (Saturday is the day most rental houses turn over, so you’ve got to leave early to beat the traffic), a visit with the inlaws in New Haven, CT, and then back to New York City. I’ll post a wrap-up late tomorrow night or early the following morning.

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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      Beef with Bitter Melon

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice


      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.




      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.

      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.

      And here they are:
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
    • By FoodMuse
      Hello everyone,
      eGullet was nice enough to invite me to write a food blog chronicling what I've made or eaten out for one week. I'm so excited about it! Thanks guys.
      About me:
      I dream about food, I wake thinking what's for dinner and I'm so excited to share it with you. I'm part of the food world in New York. By that, I just mean that I'm so fortunate enough to be invited to great events where I get to eat great food. I'm also a nerd and a part of the technology world. I produce, edit and sometimes host food related web videos and I'm also a part of the tech world.
      I'm launching a website called Please, Pass the Gravy. www.pleasepassthegravy.com We let you create a menu, invite friends and then collaborate on that menu. Never host another potluck with 8 pasta salads. You could use it now, but we're alpha launch, it works but it's ugly. It's my ugly baby. So, if you use it be kind and message me if you have improvement ideas. I thought it would be ok to write about it here because it is food related.
      I live in Brooklyn with a lovely guy who likes to eat and a small corgi mix dog. I cook pretty much every night and do a nice brunch on the weekend. I am not a crazy dog lady, but I do admit to cooking food for the dog. I have an excuse, beyond doting, he had seizures that have stopped since not feeding him dog food.
      Foods I cook:
      Spicy foods! If you look at my blog I have a simple papaya ketchup with habanero that is pretty darn good.
      I love great cheese. This may be the week for Beer Cheese Soup.
      I try to limit carbs, though I do cheat.
      In any given week C. and I probably eat cauliflower, broccoli and green beans as a side.
      Tonight's dinner will be Vietnamese inspired. We'll see how it goes. I'll post about it as soon as I can.
      Any requests? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.
    • By Duvel
      In these challenging times, a full summer vacation is not an easy task. For the last 1.5 years we have been mostly at home with the clear plan to visit Catalonia (or more precise my wife’s family) latest this summer. And it looked good for a while. Unfortunately, the recent rise in case numbers in Spain have resulted in …
      OK, let’s skip this part. Long story short - my wife and me are fully vaccinated, as are >90% of the people we care about in Catalonia. After some discussion (after all, Germans tend to prefer to be on the safe side of things) we simply fueled up the car, got each a test (for the transit through France) and started to drive …
      After a leisurely 11h drive we arrived at a small fishing town somewhat north of Barcelona around 3.00am. We unloaded the car and my wife an the little one went straight to bed. 


      I found an expired beer in the elsewise pretty empty fridge and enjoyed the cool breeze on the terrace. Holidays, here we come …

    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.

      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women, including her, wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.

      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:

      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.

      The children don't get spared either

      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.


      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.

      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.

      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.

      On a nearby table is this

      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.

      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.

      Let the eating, finally, begin.
      In no particular order:

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato

      Bamboo Shoots


      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery

      Stir fried pork and beans

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)

      Pig Ears

      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.

      Stir fried Greens
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
      Roll on dinner time.
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By shain
      It's been more than a year in which international travel was challenging to impossible, but gladly this is changing, as more countries are able to vaccinate their population.
      Greece had managed to return to a state of near normality, and opted to allow vaccinated individuals to enter. And so I decided to go on a slightly spontaneous vacation (only slightly, we still had almost a month for planning). To the trip I was joined by my father, to whom I owed some good one-on-one time and was able to travel on a short-ish notice.
      Many people are yet unable to travel, and many countries are suffering quite badly from the virus, and therefore I considered if I should wait some time with this post. However, I hope that it will instead be seen with an optimistic view, showing that back-to-normal is growing ever closer.
      We returned just a few days ago, and it will take me some time to organize my photos, so this is a teaser until then.
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