Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sheppard Mansion Idyll


My wife and I spent last Saturday and Sunday at what in retrospect seems like the most unlikely place in the world: a meticulously presented fin de siecle mansion nested in the heart of an old American factory town.

The place seems unlikely not only because it is a very grand house in a sea of contemporaneously built modest-to-humble commercial and residential structures (I cannot imagine why H.D. Sheppard, the man who commissioned the house in 1911, would chose to put such a grand house here.) or because the house is furnished with very posh looking stuff bought and beloved by it's original inhabitants, but also because it is all of that and it is home to rare culinary talent.

Now I don't mean to suggest that this talent is rare within the town of Hanover, Pa. where the Sheppard Mansion hangs like a cherished family portrait in a quaint home that needs a good dusting. (I'd never been to Hanover before Saturday. How would I know anything about how people cook there?) And I'm not going to say that it is rare relative to any geographic area because if I did, I know I'd end up insulting some feverish and talented chef whose only "fault" is that he or she works in some place that I have never visited. That'd be wrong and dumb.

When I write that Chef Andrew Little and his crew have rare talent, I'm using my professional experiences as a basis of comparison. I'm comparing their work to my own work and to the work of every student and professional cook that I have come into contact with -and I've known thousands. I'm also comparing Chef Little's work to what I know from the literature of the tradition within which he is working: that quantum of cooking techniques, service schema, naming conventions, ideology and aspirations that I think of as the haute cuisine, La Grande Cuisine or Classical French Cuisine.

Of course, I cannot quantify how often I have come across someone who shows the kind of serious of purpose and commitment to craft and aspiration to art that Chef Little showed me. But I suppose I could guess that out of the more than six-thousand students who came through my classrooms and kitchens at The Culinary Institute of America and the various restaurants where I have worked and eaten, maybe one percent of the cooks appeared to have this kind of aptitude and ambition?

I will not do a line-item review of the food I ate to attempt to prove to you that this kitchen is worth paying attention to. But I will say that the ten course tasting menu we had was beautifully executed (No small feat for a kitchen with only four cooks, chef included!). Every dish except one, showed solid command of technique. No portion was too big or too small and the sequence of the dishes made perfect sense. A sequence of two dishes representing the fish and meat course in the classical dining form could have been a little deeper, but what they lacked in depth they recouped in composition and demonstration of classical cooking technique. I was really impressed by how chef tries not to waste any part of any ingredient (thrift is sine qua non in classical cooking). A superb sweet custard made from scraps (corn cob) proved to me that he really does get it.

In sum: The menu was absolutely true to the form of a classically composed meal and very much like a mildly challenging piece of classical music. The overture was quite and slow and established the theme. The tempo got a little quicker through the second movement until things started to get pretty serious. There should have been an intermezzo to break the tension, but I'm not complaining. The third movement, the finale, resolved all conflict and made everything okay.

The front of the house, the domain of Karen Van Guilder and Timothy Bobb, was inspiring. The service was polite and crisp and every one seemed imbued with the spirit of hospitality. It was the kind of service I'd expect in a Manhattan New York Times 2-3 star property or at a Ritz Carlton almost anywhere. It's never easy to get Americans to be comfortable serving people. So many of us seem to think that there is something deeply wrong with a job that requires that we defer to the needs of others. In places where the labor pool is broad and deep and the competition for jobs in prestigious restaurants is tough, it's relatively easy to find people who are willing to put their egos on a back burner and be nice to needy, sometimes demanding guests, but Hanover is not Paris or London. Whatever Karen and Timothy are doing, they are doing it better than I thought possible outside of the big cities.

Finally, I need to apologize and offer a sop to those of you who may have found my "review" of the food hard to relate to because it is so full of chef-speak. So let me leave you with this.

The standard that I use to decide if a meal is worth remembering, says that at least one dish has to move me to tears. That does not happen very often. Last weekend my eyes welled up with tears twice.

Man, you can't beat this stuff with a whisk!



Here is the menu and the names of the staff.

clip_image002

July 26, 2008

Red Thumb Baked Potato

Housemade Bacon, Black Truffle Crème Fraiche, Garden Chive

Schramsburg “Mirabelle” Brut Rosé (Napa) NV

______________

Smoked Ham Hock ‘Tartine’

Rillette Of Ham Hock, Sliced Radish, Frisee Lettuce

______________

Scott Robinson’s Berkshire Pork Sausage Pizza

Grilled Ratatouille, Three Sisters ‘Serena’

______________

A Salad Of Kathy Glahn’s Heirloom Beets

Creekside Farms Micro Lettuces, Black Truffle Vinaigrette

Gainey Vineyard Riesling (Santa Ynez Valley) 2006

______________

Whole Roasted Hudson Valley Foie Gras

Balsamic Glazed Shiro Plums, Toasted ‘Palladin’

______________

Crispy Skinned Chesapeake Rockfish

A Salad Of Heirloom Tomato, Corn, Black Beans And Grilled Corn,

Chimichurri Sauce

Famiglia Bianchi Chardonnay (Argentina) 2005

______________

Roasted Rettland Farms Milk Fed Poularde

Peaches, Frisee Lettuce, Sweet Corn Jus

______________

Cherry Glen Farms ‘Monocacy Crottin’

Sweet And Spicy Pecans, Honeycomb

Late Harvest Chardonnay, Bouchaine “Bouche D’Or” (Napa), 2006

______________

Sweet Corn Custard

Blackberries, Garden Mint

______________

Boyers Orchard Peach Tart

Honey Ice Cream

The Staff of Sheppard Mansion

Andrew Little, Chef de Cusine
Karen Van Guilder, Restaurant Manager and Special Events Coordinator
Scott Robinson, Sous Chef
Alan Taulbee, Chef de Partie
Daniel Smith, Chef de Partie
Jessica Daley, Waiter

Timothy Bobb, Innkeeper
Erin Mumma, Waiter
Jeremy Braughler, Waiter
Samuel Jacquez, Waiter
Robert Womack, Dishwasher

Bennigan's Restaurants Shut Down Nationwide

This might be cause for celebration if there was reason to believe that it was the beginning of a long trend. And, of course, we don't like to read about people losing their jobs.
Bennigan's Restaurants Shut Down Nationwide

Monday, July 28, 2008

Now This

This is just sad.

Apparently so few humans have been able to eat her cooking, that Rachael Ray has had to turn to feeding dogs to satisfy her creative ambitions. This seems "EVOO" on it's face, yet I suppose we should be happy that the dogs are finding her food "Yum-o." At least something wants to eat what she cooks.

But then again, dogs are fond of eating feces, rotten garbage and road kill. (I once had the honor of riding in a car with a dog who had eaten of a bloated harbor seal that had washed up on a Cape Cod Beach; it was a revelation.) so she better not let their appreciation for her cuisine go to her head. If Ms. Ray wants to be a good cook she still needs to work on her cooking skills and get over her dependence on the prepared foods that she slops out of bags and cans into her Rachel Ray branded pans.

Rachael Ray Launches Line of Super Premium Dog Food & Treats - MarketWatch

Classic Win at Chicago

We had some excitement at Hendrick's Farms and Dairy last week when within a couple of hot Friday afternoon hours, 3 of our hogs came back from the dead (1) in boxes as loins and bellies and bags of ground meat and we learned that Trent and Rachel had won a 3rd place prize at the American Cheese Society's annual competition in Chicago. As a relative newcomer to the farm and the world of cheese making in general, I thought I'd ask Trent to write a few words explaining the significance of the competition and the win.

The American Cheese Society is the premier guild of cheese makers, we have won many awards from their annual competition. We entered the farmstead division this year because that is the heart of the show, and is where the most heated battles occur. The judging is point-based on technical and aesthetic attributes, and if the total value of the points awarded to the highest placed cheese does not reach the 90th percentile, then the next best cheese in that class will be awarded second prize. So it’s a serious event. The US and world championships are larger, but the ACS is top shelf.

We won gold at the US show for a goat cheese 2005, but the blue we got at the ACS in 2006 meant more. ACS allows for more creativity then the other shows and attracts more artisans, the other shows attract more dairy companies. We only sent two chesses (Telford Tomme and Keystone Classic) this time in Farmstead under 90 days and farmstead over 90 days. In 2006 we came in 2nd in both. Next year we’ll do better.


Hendricks Farms and Dairy Keystone Classic

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lonzino Update

In an earlier post I wrote with some trepidation about a couple of IBP loins that had come into my possession under questionable circumstances and how I decided to cure them just see how they turned out. Well, they turned out much better than I thought they would.

The cure I used was a mixture of salt, salts of nitrate (Instacure) sugar (sucrose) dried thyme, black pepper and bay laurel. The loins were in the cure for ten days, rinsed tied and hung for a little over 4 weeks. The texture is superb, really chewy but not in any way tough. The flavor, alas, is a little disappointing. Like most pork that comes out of the mass production sector of the farming community, you have to spend a lot of time reassuring yourself that what you are eating is really pork and not a facsimile created by a gifted chemist. However, if you chew it slowly and breathe deeply to make sure that your olfactory bulb gets a good dose of aroma, your palate will, I assure you, begin to rock a bit.
The upfront taste is salt with bitter and numbing notes from the pepper, bay and thyme. After those sensations fad, the sweet earthy aroma of thyme and pork appear. There is not enough of the aroma of fermentation and decay that I have come to crave in a piece of air dried whole muscle. But that's no surprise because the loins did not hang for very long. I certainly would have hung them longer, but they were beginning to case harden (dry too much on the outside) and without a way to drive up the humidity of the drying room (our cheese room) I was faced with the choice of either harvesting them now, or letting them hang an shrivel into a a couple of bull pizzles.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Technology to extend flavor shelf-life

Trent Hendricks sent me this interesting bit news

"Cargill has introduced new flavor technology to capture consistent flavors in food and beverages which is said to be safer for food manufacturers to use than liquid alternatives."

Called Freshzone, the technology is used to encapsulate volatile (prone to vaporization or oxidation) flavor components so that more aroma is delivered to the old schnazola when you eat manufactured foods.

Sign me up!

Technology to extend flavor shelf-life

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pizza Dough Recipe with Contempt Laden Rant

Earlier I wrote that I'd had enough questions about how I made pizza dough to warrant a post about my recipe. I was planning to post this yesterday, but Blogger was down when I was free to write. So here is the recipe with (apologies to anyone who knows how to use a camera) an illustrative slide show.


About the recipe

The ingredients are listed in the order that they are to be combined. The salt and yeast must be added to the dry flour to assure even distribution. The oil must be added before the water otherwise it will be repelled by the wet dough and the nascent gluten structure and will not be able to do its job of shortening the gluten network and tenderizing the dough.

Cool water -between 60-68 degrees F- is used because gluten forms better at lower temperatures AND I'm almost never in a hurry to proof this dough. I prefer relatively long periods of fermentation at low temperature for most bread doughs to give the yeast more time to produce flavorful compounds and to give the bacteria (which in fresh dough is a minority component of the microfloral community) time to catch up with the yeast.

Although the recipe is written for hi-gluten flour (>13% protein) you could AP flour or Tipo 0 or Tipo 00 flour if you prefer a crust that is less chewy. Sometimes when I'm in the mood for crust that is crispy and does not work my jaw like too much, I will swap out some of the hi-gluten flour for some AP (10 % protein) or other low protein flour.

Never, never, never use any whole wheat or any type of whole grain flour for pizza dough.

Whole grain pizza is a perversion of good taste, an insult to the concept of pizza and a knife-in-the-back to the generations of chefs who have labored to make pizza the way that god and nature intended it to be. If you don't care about this and still want to make whole grain pizza dough, fine. Just don't serve it to anyone.

There is a special place in hell for people who feed other people whole wheat pizza, and if you don't want to find out what that place is like, don't make it. If you think I'm kidding, go read the Hell (Inferno) section of Dante's Divine Comedy. You won't find any description of the region of hell reserved for the makers of whole wheat pizza because Dante understood that it was so awful that no one would buy his book: not even Beatrice! :0

All ingredients are weighed: I have no patience for measuring cups and spoons.
  • Hi-Gluten Flour 20.5 ounces/575 grams
  • Salt 0.30 oz /9 grams (Approx 1.5 tsp table salt)
  • Instant Yeast 0. 10 oz/ 4 grams
  • Olive oil 40 grams (approx 3 Tbsp)
  • Cool water 380 grams/380 ml/14 ounces/14fluid ounces
  1. Combine the flour, salt, yeast in the mixing bowl
  2. Add the oil and stir that in with a spatula until it just begins to disappear.
  3. Add the water and stir it in with the spatula and let it sit (autolyse) for 20 minutes or so.
  4. Knead with the bread hook for 10 minutes (I set the mixer to 4) or by hand until the dough is smooth and shiny. Kneading by hand will require the addition of flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and work surface -don't overdo it.
  5. Proof the dough at room temperature for three or four hours (2 rises and "punch downs").
You could use it for pizza now, but it won't taste as good as it will if you put it in the refrigerator and ferment it overnight or longer. I usually dump it in a plastic bag and leave it in the bottom (coldest part) of my refrigerator until I'm ready to use it. At other times I apportion it into three masses and place them on a parchment-covered sheet pan which in turn I cover in oiled plastic to prevent the dough from sticking. But mostly I find the latter method too fussy.

I usually pre-bake the dough until it is "set" but not browned because it makes it a bit easier to keep the crust from getting soggy. I dock it with a fork to prevent it from billowing up, and cook it for, I don't know, ten minutes on stone in an oven preheated to 500 degrees.

If you need a recipe for simple tomato sauce you will find one here.



Friday, July 18, 2008

Dinner

With the kids away at camp I have more time to screw around with the camera while I'm making dinner. That's why I've been posting so often about what I cook for my family. I cook like this (simply and with an abiding devotion to simplicity and fundamental technique) almost every night but, because the kids tend to get in the way, I rarely bother to take pictures and even more rarely blog about what I make for family meal.

Update:

I've had enough inquiries about how I make the dough, that I have decided to post the recipe. It will appear in a new post later today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Show and Tell Dinner

The kids are away at camp, so for the next couple of weeks I get to cook dinner for only myself and my wife (when she is in town, she travels a lot). Here is a slide show of what I made last night. What did you make or eat for dinner last night? I'm curious.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Emulsions 101: No Yolk Required

I'm posting the photos below by way of addressing a misconception about emulsified sauces that I believe is in part a function of the use of emulsions made with egg to explain how emulsions are made and structured. Because emulsified sauces like mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce are widely known to depend on the presence of the emulsifying agent lecithin in egg yolk to enhance the attraction of fat and water in the ingredients, many cooks assume that in order to create any emulsion lecithin or some other emulsifying agent, must be added to any recipe that one wants to emulsify. Not so.

Given the right tools an emulsified "sauce" can be made with nothing more than water and an off the supermarket shelf vegetable oil. Take a typical oil in water emulsion as an example.

In a simple oil in water emulsion the oil is broken up into millions of tiny drops that are suspended in a continuous sheet of water. As long the oil is a pure oil made up of only one type of very hydrophobic (water repelling) oil molecule, the likelihood of making the oil and water attractive to each is very low. However, culinary oils are never entirely pure. They always contain more than one type of oil molecule some more hydrophilic (attractive to water) than others. They also contain a certain amount of protein and other "impurities" that can be quite attractive to water under the right conditions.

And what are those conditions?

Well, first and foremost the temperature needs to be within a certain range. The range will vary slightly from oil to oil, but generally it should be between 60-80 degrees F. Room temperature if you will. (The water needs to be about the same temperature too.) Next, the oil must be broken up into the smallest droplets possible so that a maximum of surface area of the oil is exposed to the water.

The best commonly available tool for breaking up the oil into droplets is an immersion blender. A standard blender is almost as good, but cannot match the efficiency of a device that enables you to raise and lower the spinning blade. I've made emulsions with nothing more than cool water and high quality cold pressed and minimally filtered olive oil and an immersion blender.

The photos below show an emulsion that I made today from balsamic vinegar, olive oil and garlic. I added the garlic after the emulsion came together, so it played no role in enhancing the attraction of the oil and the water.






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On Yuck


This morning someone who goes by the -I assume- iconic name of Abulafia, posted the following comment to my post about a paper by Jane Lane titled Young Children and Racism. The comment was so well-rendered that I decided to re-present it on its own legs.
Since Mr./Ms. Abulafia's email address is unknown to me, I was not able to secure permission to publish it in this form and will remove it if asked to do so. Finally, while I have made a few corrections of misspellings and errors of case, the post is essentially the same as it appears in the original, eminently readable, form.
-Bob del Grosso

On Yuck
by Abulafia

The yuck reaction is kinda interesting. We use it for all sorts of situations.

For food we intensely dislike in terms of taste.

For ideas and experiences we find unpalatable, or disgusting.

We use pretty much exactly the same disgust reaction to express our disgust at rotten food, at human waste, or, if we are racist, to express our distaste at other cultures.

I'm thinking of the things we make that disgust face for. The link I'd hazard she is tracing is the one between food disgust, and taboo disgust.

And the reaction is the same one. We make the same face for Durian fruit, as we do for dog faeces on the soles of our feet, as we do for ideas we consider so unacceptable as to be disgusting. Incest for instance. It's the taboo reaction.

And, no doubt, there are occasions where one thing gets mixed up with the other.(eg"How can you eat that shit?"or"How can you eat that foreign muck")

A child who is taught that spicy food is representative of a repugnant idea, foreigness and otherness, may take that association to heart. And that disgust reaction can be a taboo taste reaction.

That said, stacks of racists love curry, tikka masala, hot spicy food. A quick trip down to the wrong Indian, or Chinese restaurant on a Friday night this side of the water will demonstrate the point nicely.

And stacks of kids just have weird, and bizarre food likes and dislikes. I'm Irish, I had, and retain, a pathological hatred of cabbage. Served every Sunday in my house. Some parents are neurotic without being racist. Some are just macrobiotic. Some kitchens just lack imagination. Some kitchens are so staunchly traditional that certain tastes never make it to the kid's palette. Again, I brought the first pepper into my house, age 14. A happy day for all concerned.

There's certainly a possible relationship. Some children will have inherited a palette that is indicative of, or characterizes, an attitude to food determined by racism. They may well bring the same set of determining taboos to the sports they like and play, the tv programmes they watch etc. etc.

But the correlation is far from 100 percent. There are far too many other variables at work.

As barometers go, it's not reliable.

Conversely, we often hold up, as an image to ourselves, our liking for diverse foods and cuisines, and knowledge of them, as a working example of our curiosity and open-mindedness, don't we?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Man robs station with cheese grater

Now why didn't I think of this when I was broke? I cannot imagine!

This is almost as funny as the news story I heard about 16 years ago while traveling on the Long Island Expressway from Queens into Nassau County.

This guy was in a phone booth at Flushing Meadow Park (the site of the two World's Fairs) when he was approach by another guy with a big snapping turtle. The guy with the turtle taps on the door and when the caller opens it the turtle-man tells him to hand over his wallet or the turtle bites him. The turtle-man got fifty bucks!



Man robs station with cheese grater

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Inconsistent Biofuel Data Is Questioned - WSJ.com

I am less surprised by the assertion that the Bush administation would misrepresent the truth about the impact of biofuel on price of food to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, than I am by the disclosure that large amounts of the soybean crop are being converted into diesel fuel. What's next, beef fat?

I'm virtually certain that Tyson Foods is going to build a plant that will turn chicken fat into biodiesel .

Even though one could argue that beef and chicken fat are byproducts, they do have food value as cooking fat and shortening. And what impact will there be on food prices in markets that consume animal based shortenings when gets diverted into gas tanks?

Food should not be used to make fuel for internal combustion engines. Food should be used to feed people and livestock. We need to phase out the internal combustion engine and in the meantime drive smaller cars less often. Lets ramp up public transportation, walk more and spend more time at home.

Oh, and another thing. Ban low density housing developments that are not built close to where a majority of residents work, shop and seek services.

Inconsistent Biofuel Data Is Questioned - WSJ.com

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kids Food and Racism

While I have not read Young Children and Racial Justice by Jane Lane, I have done enough due diligence to say that the author believes that racism is learned behavior (Link to PDF of table of contents) . I'm not sure what to make of this UPI story about the book that suggests that Ms. Lane thinks that when kids say 'yuck' to food that is from outside of their culture they may be exhibiting racist behavior.

Certainly my own experience does not support this hypothesis. It's my observation that almost everyone is conservative when it comes to eating and prefers to eat that which they are used to eating and will initially reject the unfamiliar even when it is food that should be comfortably within the confines of their particular cultural envelop.

Mostly, I think, people tend to eat food that they believe is safe and that 'safe' food is that which that has been demonstrated to be safe over a longish period of repetitive consumption. So when a British kid, or adult for that matter, says 'yuck' to a bowl of curried goat he's rejecting the dish because he does not trust that it is 'safe' to eat and not because he suspects it was prepared by or symbolizes someone of a despised race.

Morning at the Farm

Nothing deep going on here. Just some photos I took last Thursday soon after my arrival at work. It was about 7 AM, and everyone was already up and working. Although I have been bringing my camera to work everyday since I began working there in November of 2007, I'm always so busy producing stuff that I don't get to use it as often as I would if Trent did not drive me so hard :-).

So I shoot mostly at the beginning of the day before I get too busy, or when something extraordinary happens. I'd love to shoot more video, but that is even more difficult to do.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Teach Your Children Well

And your pigs to be patient


As I said to Trent today, I never thought the learning curve for raising pigs was going to be so steep. These animals are vexing. They show no circumspection whatsoever. They hurtle everywhere. They dive into the feed trough. They hurtle from one end of the pasture to another. Mom's in the lead while the piglets tread incautiously beneath her teats hoping to get a suck in during the rare moment when she isn't racing somewhere. Obviously they are oblivoious of the fact that if they falter, Mom will crush their skull with her hind feet.

The pigs even hurtle to sleep. A 200 pund pig gets tired, she falls over like a tree and she falls asleep. And when she is asleep, she rushes through that too.

Not so comfortable on this side? Fine. I'll slam myself over onto this side. Never mind that I have 10 piglets sleeping next to me. F--k that. I must be comfortable!

Then BAM! Two piglets are dead. Blivet. Gone. Into the compost pile or the wood furnace that takes care of all of the dairy's heating and hot water needs.

Feeding time is always a trip. The pigs go hog-wild when they think they can get a lot of food without having to do any work. I've grown used to seeing them stampede the slop trough when they see me walking over from the kitchen with a bucket of scraps. (Frankly, this makes perfect sense to me as there is rarely anything in that bucket that I would not eat myself if I was hungry enough. It's usually bristling with skimmed fat and meat from the stock pot, scraps of bread, cheese rinds, broken eggs not fit for sale. You know, really wonderful stuff.) They are like a bunch of kids racing up to touch Bozo's hair: frantic.

In short, pigs are not like most humans. They are the Jim Morrisons and Janis Joplins of farm animals. I saw Janis perform once. Believe me, I love her, but she was hitting on a bottle of Southern Comfort the whole time and running around the stage and falling down like a sow cutting through a pile of sour mash. After 30 minutes She was banging into everything, turning over amps, knocking known her mike stand, slurring lyrics. She was stampeding the stage like a hog at slopping time.

This morning at about 9 o'clock during a fervid attempt to engorge herself on grain, a Janis among our Duroc sows knocked over the feed box killing one of 10 day old piglets and injuring another. Of course the kids found out about what happened first and came running up to tell us that the injured pig had a broken leg and the other piglet was dead and somebody needed to do do something.

So Trent tells them to go down and bring up the hurt pig so he can fix her leg. The piglet was trembling the entire time. Her skin was cool to the touch and I was afraid she was in shock. But then while I was watching Trent move the leg around I noticed that the bones seemed fine. There did not appear to be a break. Later, after the piglet had been returned to the pasture I said to Trent "That pig didn't have a broken leg. did it?"

Trying not to look me in the eyes he said " Sometimes the lesson learned from something is more important than knowing the truth of what happened."


Friday, July 4, 2008

Accountant for Rachael Ray show claims anorexia bias

The skinny is that a guy who has anorexia is claiming that he was fired from the Rachel Ray show when he complained that coworkers were breaking his bones about his weight. I wonder why he doesn't go the whole hog and claim that having to watch Rachel Ray cook over-and-over-again is what CAUSED his anorexia?

Accountant for Rachael Ray show claims anorexia bias

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Attempted Matricide by Sausage


JUNE 30--Meet Gregory Praeger. The Florida man, 46, is facing a battery charge for allegedly striking his mother in the head with a pack of Polish sausage. Praeger flung the three-pound package during an argument Saturday night. [The Smoking Gun]


What a loser. The dude gets drunk, has a fight with his mother, then whacks her with Kielbasa and HE'S NOT EVEN POLISH!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Not the Slowest Food, but it's a Meal



I doubt that I will ever cook a meal that is made up exclusively of ingredients that I produced by myself, but it's fun to dream about doing it and even more fun to try. This meal contains only two elements that I had a hand in producing (sausage and bread) but when one considers how easy it would be to order a pizza, eat it at home, and call it "dinner" this seems like a pretty decent achievement.

It's even got a few local ingredients in it too. I made the sausage from pigs that were raised on the farm where I work (Hendrick's Farms and Dairy), the onions are from the farm too, some of the lettuce in the salad is from a farm about 10 miles from my house. The rest of the meal is from all over the planet. The wine, cheese, pasta, and radicchio are from Italy; the artichokes are from California, and so on.

Well, like I wrote above, it may not be a meal that would make Michael Pollan or Carlo Petrini call me up to ask how the hell I pulled it off, but it is a little bit slow and kind of local and most importantly. It's a meal that I got to eat with my family.

Eventually, time is going to rob us all of the opportunity to sit down and eat with those we love. If you find yourself making up excuses for not making dinner, you might want to consider how you are going to feel when you no longer have the option to cook for yourself or anyone you know.