Life's too short to eat bad food - Me

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nomeclature IV

What a kid I got, I told him about the birds and the bees and he told me about the butcher and my wife. - Rodney Dangerfield

As people begin to get used to buying locally, they will be in for a surprise when it comes to meats.  We don't have the butchers.  I am not talking about the few remaining independent butchers that will still stick their elbows on the counter and give you advice on how to cook that hunk of meat you just bought.  I am talking about the kind of USDA approved places that will slaughter the beast and fabricate the carcass in to recognizable parts.

The problem is they have forgotten how to be butchers, seemingly limited by only getting to deal with venison. I have split a delicious pig with a friend for the last couple years.  But I don't want sausage.  I don't even want ground pork.  I want bones in my chops.  I want to specify the cuts.  I got hocks which I will be smoking next week, and some neck bones I used to make a rich gelatinous stock.  I want my skin, my trotters, my head.  I bought a half a pig and I want half a pig. (And I can't help thinking that the butcher is reselling the parts I don't get.) I have considered asking for the whole half, but I have neither the room to store it nor break it down. 

I blame the producers a tiny bit for not anticipating the educated consumer.  I blame consumers for being gullible enough to embrace the skinless - boneless mindset.  I blame the butchers for not being flexible, but now for mislabeling. I have written about this several times before, but identify the part accurately! 

The pork comes frozen and carefully wrapped in butcher paper, labeled with a sharpie. Yes, you can roast any part of a pig, even a whole pig, but certain cuts are better suited to different methods of roasting.  When I thaw a a package labeled "Pork Roast" I anticipate a cut that can be cooked at high heat.  When I peel back the butcher paper and see the unmistakable "7" bone of a shoulder aka butt it pisses me off.  It's one of my favorites - my go to for sausage and pulled pork.  It wasn't what I was planning on in the time frame I had.  It came out tasty but tough.

It's the tasty part that kills me.  Absent the butcher issue, this is food worth paying a bit more for.  That same week, I cured a ham from that piggy in a brine with Grade B Maple Syrup, cold smoked it then roasted it.  I glazed it with some of my jalapeƱo jelly thinned with  some white wine.  It was delicious.  My wife, who is not a ham fan, called it the best she'd ever had.

Of course, the dilemma now was what to do with leftover ham and roast pork.  Easy call.  Cuban Sandwiches.  Ham and pork, thinly sliced, Swiss (I actually prefer Jarlsberg), and a dash of mayo (sometimes a tad of mustard). I don't own, nor do I want, a pannini press.  A cast iron pan with another on top works fine.

Now if someone could just definitively state: dill pickle, sweet pickle or no pickle . . . .

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Morning Food Porn

Lunch yesterday at Suzy Q's .  Yum Yum!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cold Hearted Orb

Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room
Bedsitter people look back and lament
another Summer's useless energy spent
- Graeme Edge (with a slight modification)
 And thus another summer comes to an end.  Oh. I know it doesn't officially end for a few weeks, but we all know that summer is over Labor Day, especially as a parent.  Tomorrow the pool will be drained and the lifeguards gone.  I will walk a child to the bus stop for the last time.

To make matters worse, shortly after rising I realized that I was having one of my occasional attacks of vertigo. Just casting a cloud over a day too cloudy by any Labor Day standard.  The "cold hearted orb" of the title is supposed to be the moon, not the sun.

But nothing will stop me from my annual Labor Day hot dog.  Not this year.  My second article for Buffalo Rising was on the history of the hot dog based on the differences between Buffalo and Rochester - my two homes.  You can read it here and here.

This year I am going Rochester style.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke

Life's too short to eat bad food -