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  • Archive | April, 2006

    Oh.My.God.

    For all of you Food Historians out there, professional or otherwise, comes this article from the New York Times Magazine. The whole things is an entertaining read, but first part about the chicken is the best.

    “… Then you take this poor chicken, and you kill it, and you stuff its neck with a mixture of quicksilver, which is mercury, and sulfur, and then stitch it up. And apparently — obviously I haven’t tried this at home, or at work — the expanding air in the neck cavity as you roast causes the mercury and the sulfur to react and somehow creates a clucking noise.”

    Oh, my God.

    Thanks Jack and Joanne!
    Technorati Tags: Food History


    Grape and Avocado Salad

    Grape and Avocado Salad

    Oh avocados, is there anything you can’t do? *loving sigh*

    Here’s a short but sweet recipe that fits perfect as a side salad for your mexican recipes, or even as a salsa for chips if you wish. The tartness of the grapes works nicely with the creamy goodness of avocados. It’s worth the ten minutes it will take for you to put together.

    It’s also the perfect vegetarian recipe, as there is no meat products within, although I did slaughter several veggies. Let your own ethics guide you.

    • 3 cups red seedles grapes, chopped
    • 2 avocados diced
    • 1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
    • 1/3 cup sweet onion, diced
    • 1 Anaheim pepper, diced
    • 3 tblspn cilantro, chopped
    • juice from one lime
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • Bean sprouts, to garnish

    Mix all (except the bean sprouts) of the ingredients in a medium sized glass bowl. Cover with Saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hours, allowing the flavors to maserate.

    Remove and serve, topping with aforementioned bean sprouts.

    Serves 4

    Technorati Tags: recipes, salad, salsa, grapes, avocado


    Grapes

    Phew… after all that work on Dairy (milk and yogurt) and then salt, I’m glad to be moving on to a sweeter project…grapes! They are nature’s bite sized morsels and the passion of many an oenophile. You don’t see raspberries getting such attention.

    Now one may ask oneself, “which came first, domesticated grapes, or the production of wine?” Archaeologists are fairly certain that wine making came first, as it was quite easy to go out into the woods, and pick grapes without planting and harvesting. That it took nearly 2000 years between the time wine production is first reputed to have taken place (6000BC) and the time that grape domestication took place (4000BC) strikes me as a bit unlikely. One of the several motivating factors in innovation is the desire for mankind to find a more efficient means of altering our state of sobriety. But this is only my take on it.

    Regardless, we know that viticulture was taking place in the in the Tigris-Euphrates region around 4000BC. Grapes were also mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh, recognized as one of the first recorded pieces of literature. It’s been around for a while.

    The grape is the most widely planted fruit crop in the world. It is produced into dried fruits such as raisins, currants and sultanas, and beverages such as wine, brandy and good ol’ reliable grape juice. Every continent, save one, produce some variety of the fruit. Not many plants get that kind of exposure, including many of the grains that we take for granted.

    So in the next few weeks, expect several posts and three, count ‘em, three recipes based off of grapes. I may include extra recipes for raisins and currants, but I haven’t decided fully as yet.

    As always, comments, suggests and requests are welcome.

    Technorati Tags: Foods, Grapes


    I really need to get my priorities straight

    When reading the headline Chinese Scientists Clone Mad Cow-Resistant Calf, the first thought that came to my mind was “Yeah, but how does it taste?”

    That’s not inappropriate, is it?

    Technorati Tags: Food, Beef, Mad Cow


    Manufactured Luck: KitKat in Japan

    For those people who follow the candy industry, the tale of the popularity of KitKats in Japan is a fairly well known phenomenon. The basic story goes like this:

    • KitKat sounds roughly like the Japanese phrase “kitto katsu”
    • “kitto Katsu” is apparently a phrase that students tell each other prior to exams.
    • Parents, who want to wish their children well during exam times, purchase KitKats for the kids as a form of “good luck” charm.
    • Nestle, noticing the trend of upward sales around the national exams, ensures new flavors are available around these times.
    • Profits galore for Nestle!!

    It’s a nice little story that has been mentioned repeatedly over the internet . It is completely believable and quite possibly…not true.

    AlphaMale has his own version of the story:

    Year 1: Hotels in Tokyo began giving complementary KitKat bars to students who came to the city by the thousands to take the fiercely competitive university entrance exams. The KitKat was presented as a little “lucky charm”. Students were surprised and touched. They didn’t know the candy giveaway was sponsored by the manufacturer.

    Year 2: The advertising agency behind this stealth campaign wangled some news stories (not ads) about the hotels’ candy giveaway. The reason for the stealth: Japanese young people are suspicious and scornful of advertising.

    Year 3: Some ads began to appear. They didn’t look like ads. They were cute little stories about teachers, mothers, students and the lucky charm. The ads were fiction, but real Japanese moms began packing KitKats for their kids when they left home to take the exams.

    While the author of the post offers no links to help reference the above actions, the marketing process is entirely plausible (and probable, in my opinion).

    Technorati Tags: KitKats, Japan, Marketing


    Let’s give it up for the 206!!

    The Seattle Times Food Section recognizes that the Seattle Food Blog scene exists! Hoorray!

    Let’s give it up for all of the Seattle food blogs mentioned…

    • Cornichon
    • Gluten-free Girl
    • I Heart Bacon
    • Orangette
    • Phat Duck
    • Roots and Grubs
    • Seattle Bon Vivant
    • Tasting Menu

    And a special shout out to those Seattle Food Bloggers that should have been mentioned but weren’t:

    • Culinary Fool
    • Cookbook 411
    • But my kids won’t eat it
    • Belly Timber
    • Robotic Gourmand
    • A Food Lover’s Journey (which had no chance in hell in being mentioned in the Seattle Times, for reason that will become apparent once you click on the link)

    Technorati Tags: Food Blogs, Food Press


    Salt Taste Test

    Last night was “Salt taste test” night in our household, which speaks more to our lack of social life than anything else…but I digress.

    We had arranged to have several different types of salt, including Sel Gris, Korean Salt, Palm Island Red Gold, and my own personal favorite, Black Lava salt (It’s puuuuuurrty).

    Slices of cucumbers were cut up and sprinkled with it with a type of salt. From there, results were tabulated, notes were compared, and conclusions were made. The two primary conclusions that I arrived at were:

    1) Some of the salts did differ in taste…slightly. So slight, in fact, that a person would have to be looking for the difference to even notice it upon a slice of cucumber. If placed in a dish with stronger flavors, it’s unlikley that the difference would be noted at all.

    2) Texture made a great deal of difference. Some had an enjoyable crunch, others felt light upon the tongue. Texture would also change via the method of its application, whether used for roasting, baking, sauce making or simply finishing a dish.

    So, the conclusion I reached is as follows (and probably would not be a surprise too many professional chefs out there): The type of salt one purchases should primarily be determined by the “mouthfeel” one wishes to acheive with a dish. Of course this only works if you’re purchasing some variation of sodium chloride. Purchase potassium chloride, and you’re on your own.

    Technorati Tags: Salt, food, Taste+Test