"Life is short, but the days are long." Somehow, that seems to mean that we should get our mittens into every possible crevice, in case we miss anything while we're in a hurry, sticking our mittens in other crevices.
Ahem. Anyway, I have a presence on Google+ as Joseph D. Eater. You will find me there on occasion. You may find me there more than you find me here, or maybe not. I certainly prefer G+ to FB. It's certainly easy to drop items of interest there.
I think fall has come early this year. It smelled like it to me a few weeks ago, and it smelled like it again today. Not much in the way of tomatoes this year, but at least there was rain, and relief from the punishing heat.
But fall means Thanksgiving — and Thanksgiving is an entire 84 days away — but I've already started thinking about turkey. Thus prompted, I pulled out a grilling book to look up a turkey recipe, and found the following amusement:
WILD TURKEY I
If it hasn't already been broken, crack the government seal and lay the bottle over a moderate fire. When just warm, sit on the back porch and serve with cool branch water, sardines, and saltine crackers. Leave some in the bottom of the bottle for tomorrow and stay off the telephone.
Long-time readers of this blog will remember when I occasionally used to post a comic or three, often from Chris Onstad's Achewood. Chris's output has fallen off, unfortunately, but I still check by occasionally to see what's going on. Still no Achewood, but further searching revealed a couple things: Chris and his wife have apparently split up, which is enough to screw up anyone's creative juices. But Chris's have oozed out in another direction, as he's now the resident food critic for the Portland Mercury. This is good: those of you who keep up with the guy know of his increasing interest in food, and of course understand that he writes well and is funny. This all collides pleasingly in his reviews. Even though I'm probably not going to be going to Portland any time soon, I still enjoy the reviews, and see the humor and agile mind behind the words. Thanks, Chris. Good to hear from you. :)
I liked Bob, and liked talking to him when I went in Fowler's. He told me once there was never any telling what he might be doing in the store at any particular time — helping customers, writing up an ad, or "swabbing out the john."
There was a long time in Durham where there was not much in the way of resources for food geeks. The big exception was Fowler's. Bob was the one who successfully took a small family grocery store through the transition to a gourmet resource, with (at one time) the best wine selection between DC and Atlanta, and maybe beyond.
When I was a kid, I had a problem with being easily sucked into magazine polls: the type article where you answer 17 questions, then find out that you'll turn into a serial killer, have tooth cancer, Socialist tendencies, a liking for cheap frozen pizza or maybe just cheap beer....
That tropism crops back up occasionally, and I think this Deadspin ranking triggered it:
It's not a poll, per se — actually I don't know how they came up with it — but it caught my eye because regular Coors is ranked 3rd out of 36 "cheap American" beers. I've never had #1 or 2, or really a lot of them. But I've had a lot of cheap Coors in cans, especially when I could get 18 or 24 cans for, say, $12. Michael Jackson — no, not that dead one, this dead one — kind of agreed with me, giving the lowly beer two stars in one of his beer books, which was better than most any other widely available American "premium" lager I could find listed in there.
But almost everyone I know hates Coors, even when they prefer, say, PBR or Bud or whatever. I don't get that, but it's ok. De gustibus non est disputandum. If you like something, good. If you like it and it's cheap, or good for you, or easy to make, great. If all of the previous are true, you should find a way to live off whatever that substance is. ;)
Hope you all had a great 4th of July, and had plenty of cheap beer. :-D
... isn't an appliance at all. It's a woodworking bench:
I'd really gotten tired of trying to find the right sideboard/work table for the kitchen. So I gave up and bought the wrong one. http://www.harborfreight.com/60-inch-workbench-93454.html was about $160. It's mostly oak, 60"x20", and counter height, which fits well where it needs to go. The drawers are small — they're really meant for small tools — but they'll still be useful.
Now if I can figure out what, if anything, I want to do about the bench dog holes, I'll be set. I figure I can use the tail vise to crack walnuts. ;)
God bless Tom Ferguson. He knows Cary needs something, and he's going to try to give it to them good and hard help them out. Maybe some culture will be just what they needed [for my extensive out-of-town readership, the following might help explain the situation in North Carolina's Research Triangle: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Cary, and I'm not bitter. ;-) ].
But I did feel a little sad that our own beer and winemaking areas aren't given more notice (that's not going to be Asimov's focus for this article in the NYT, so no criticism to him). All legal wine and beer production in the country had to start from scratch after Prohibition was over in 1933, but the Great Depression and WWII kept the industry down until the 40s. When it did, it was largely the industrial producers—the ones who could serve an entire country—who took off. A lot of smaller rivals were left behind in the dirt. They stayed behind. Not too long ago, Weeping Radish had a brewery off the corner of Duke and Morgan Street. They didn't make it (which may have had more to do with their not-so good restaurant than anything). Wineries like Duplin Wines have been going since the 70s, but with their focus on inexpensive wines appealing to what they feel are local tastes, they're not likely to see much more than local recognition.
But it's better now. Durham itself has three breweries, and seems to have no problem supporting them all; North Carolina has over 60 breweries and brewpubs. Wineries are doing well too, with three American Viticultural Areas currently recognized by (and I can't believe I'm saying this this way) the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The AVAs are all west of us, near the Yadkin River valley, but wine and beer are made all over the state. So, just in case you can't find a North Carolina producer of beer or wine:
The beer map has a list of breweries on it. For lists of North Carolina wineries, you'll need to pull down a menu or two from near the top of the page. But for both beer and wine, find someone in the state, try them, and see if you like them. When you find a match, tell us about it, will you? :)
I haven't been paying much attention to the sidebar recently, so it had gotten a little stale. No longer: pretty much anything obviously dead or not recehtly updated has been removed, along with Twitter feeds to places I'd already linked to. I've also added a couple things.
There seems to be an epidemic of celiac disease going on. I keep running into more and more people with the disease, and more and more products are proclaiming themselves gluten-free, as if gluten were some kind of plutonium. It's not: it's a complex of proteins found in wheat, and possibly in other foods based on wheat-like grains. But to some celiac sufferers, it might as well be plutonium, because that's how strongly they need to stay away from it. Others not as much: it might be worth it to them to eat an occasional slice of pizza or a doughnut. But the disease does seem to be on the rise.
It turns out to be complicated. There's a genetic marker, but most people with the genetic marker don't have the disease. The current, easier test is to look for certain related auto-antibodies. (Grabbing a villi sample out of someone's gut and seeing if the villi are impaired, along with other characteristic gut problems, will also tell you if there's a problem.) But there seems to be an environmental factor.
Lately, some people have been avoiding gluten due to a non-specific feeling that eating too much gluten might be a problem. This disregards the fact that folks have been eating wheat and related grains for thousands of years. But who knows: some folks have similar sounding problems with lactose and milk, except that's a totally separate type problem (some folks lose the ability to generate lactase, some don't, but it's also partially dependent on how much lactose you have to deal with).
Now, guess what? Someone says that withdrawing gluten, especially to children, might be exactly the wrong thing to do:
The upshot is that, well, it's complicated. :) But it may have to do with gut bacteria, breastfeeding, and not withdrawing gluten from kids' diets. The good stuff in the article is down toward the bottom, where they start talking about a veritable epidemic of celiac in Sweden in the 70s, and what probably caused it: a decrease in breastfeeding coupled with a decrease in gluten fed to infants immediately post-nursing. So less gluten caused more gluten intolerance.
The jury is still out, but getting rid of gluten willy-nilly doesn't seem like a good idea anymore. That's not much help for current sufferers, but more knowledge about disease is always a good thing.
When I started the "What We Really Eat" category, I intended it to chronicle things I really ate or thought people really ate, but was too ashamed to list as something I'd actually made. Now I notice I've screwed that category all up. Oh well.
Anyway, I'm not much of a Mexican food person, and I sure as hell don't know how to cook it properly. But I've eaten it a lot of this, er, "salsa" with bags of tortilla chips since my friend, Special Agent "Ass-O-USA," taught me how to do this. My friend Maura says it's the only thing that makes jarred salsa tolerable. It also makes me feel better about hauling a bag of tortilla chips to a party, and you can usually find some sort of cream cheese and salsa at whatever grocery store you stop at.
So.... Salsa Assousa:
1 container salsa, pico de gallo, picante sauce, homemade salsa.... The possibilities are endless here
1 container cream cheese
1 bag tortilla chips
Find decent-sized clean bowl.
Put some or all of cream cheese into bottom of bowl. If it's soft, that'll make it easier to grub it out amidst the salsa. You can buy whatever kind of flavored cheese you want to try, or use some spuriously-generated fat free cheez, or screw this up however you like: you're eating a bunch of stuff out of bags and cans here, so I say go for whatever floats your boat.
Pour as much or as little tomato product over the cream cheese as you want.
Open bag of chips.
If you eat this, I'm wondering what you ran out of first — chips, salsa, or cheese? Of course you can always make more.... :)