Life's too short to eat bad food - Me

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

Friday, March 29, 2013

Reviewing the Situation

The highway is replete with culinary land mines disguised as quaint local restaurants that carry such reassuring names as Millie's, Pop's and Capt'n Dick's. - Bryan Miller

On Thursday, March 21, 2013 a restaurant review under the byline of Andrew Z. Galarneau, Food Editor of The Buffalo News, appeared in the weekly Gusto section of the paper. That review was of a local outpost of a national chain.

The food world did not burst into flames.

I thought the review was a hoot.

Others disagreed.

Let’s get this out of the way.  I have made my feelings about restaurant reviews plain here and elsewhere. Also, Andrew is a friend. Whatever limited insights that may have given me have been overtaken his recent writings in the News. He has let us know his thinking about the job of a restaurant reviewer, and his job in particular.

When a friend asked me what I thought about this review I said that I found it quite humorous. He did not share that sentiment and apparently others agreed. His objections were centered, on the fact that a national chain is not a local restaurant and should not be given what amounts to free advertising. My response was simply “it is here, and it is a restaurant”. That response seems a bit trite in hindsight. So I will attempt to address my thoughts on this matter in an open letter to that friend.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Mommys Brisket - Redux

No matter how much you revisit the past...there’s nothing new to see. -Robert Tew
One of the most important lessons that any cook, particularly a self-taught cook, has to learn is that a recipe is just somebody’s opinion. As James Beard put it, “it’s always a good idea to follow the directions exactly the first time you try a recipe. But from then on, you’re on your own.” Inspiration, improvisation and even whimsy are the hallmarks of a good cook, and what makes cooking something fun to do.

Even my mommy’s brisket recipe, a hallmark of our family holiday celebrations, has gone through some changes at my hand. But, this year’s brisket was cooked in a really cool way.

I cooked it sous vide.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In A Pickle

On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally's cellar. - Thomas Jefferson.

I have often mentioned The Sausage Maker, Inc. in terms of how lucky we are to have this resource in Buffalo. They are not only a resource in terms of equipment and supplies, but also as a source for information.

It was that which brought me there, seeking background for a Buffalo Rising article. We chatted on the subject at hand, I took some photographs, and we chatted some more. It was then that I noticed the gizmo.

The Perfect Pickler, encased in plastic, hanging from a rack. I had neither heard of it nor had any idea of how it worked. I was intrigued. We chatted about it for a while, and was surprised (and pleased) to be presented one to test out.

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

Life's too short to eat bad food -