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The Biscuit That Dares Not Speak Its Name

August 1, 2014

The only thing I know about biscuits is that I love great ones. Like all things involving baking, I generally am happy to let the experts do their thing, and for me to be the recipient of their talents. Granted, that relies upon me finding great examples of the breads I enjoy wherever I travel. But hunting out good eats is a passion of mine.

When it comes to baked goods, I must confess a love for the simple. I prefer a plain croissant to one filled with chocolate, and ideally one that’s made from just a few kitchen cabinet ingredients. The fewer the better.

Recently I stumbled onto an easy biscuit recipe that claimed to only use four ingredients. It almost didn’t seem possible. But people (on the internet) were gushing about this recipe, so I decided to check into it further. What I found was so horrifying, that I simply had to make a batch for myself.

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The New Moderation

July 31, 2014

Just in time for those despondent about yesterday’s nutrition news about Buffalo wings, the Center for Science in the Public Interest just released its worst of 2014 list. These are just a few of the outlandishly outsized portions of food that chain restaurants sell across America every day.

The most horrifying part of it all, is how this list of shame hasn’t done a thing to curb the increasingly outrageous dishes. In fact, since the CSPI started publishing this list in 2007, the calories of the most egregious options have doubled.

Back in the day, 1500 calories was seen as something shocking. But like most shocking things, we seem to become desensitized to them over time. Yesterday, we found out that there are two restaurant chains (with outposts in the Capital Region) where you can strap on your feed bag to the tune of over 3,000 calories.

And guess what, neither of them is The Cheesecake Factory.

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A Basket of Wings

July 30, 2014

I love chicken wings. I’ve loved chicken wings for a long long time. Buffalo wings were a favorite of mine years before I even know about Frank’s Red Hot or the existence of a place called The Anchor Bar.

Since then, wings have become a national phenomenon. The market price for chicken wings has skyrocketed. At the beginning this little flap of mostly skin and bone was pretty much considered worthless. Now the wing business is a goldmine.

Dagnabit.

The good things always get discovered. And when they do, they somehow get stupid expensive. I guess that’s supply and demand in action. Besides being cheaper, an order of wings was also larger. Generous places would sell them by the dozen. These days it’s much more common to see wings in orders of ten. But it’s not unheard of to see an order of eight.

There are some who lament the declining number of wings in their basket. But I can’t say that I’m one of them. As much as I love wings, having fewer of them in an order actually makes me happy for a few of reasons.

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Whipping Up a Sauce

July 29, 2014

Twelve people eating. Six adults. Six children. That’s what we’re facing at the cabin every day. Really, three times a day. Even boiling a pot of water to make pasta for that many people is a chore. Honestly, going into this vacation, I had no idea how we were going to be able to do it.

The answer seems to be: in shifts.

At dinner time the kids get fed first. The adults make sure the little scamps have everything they need. Then as soon as they’re finished it’s back to the dungeon downstairs playroom while the grown-ups eat. For other meals everyone tends to just feed themselves whenever they’re hungry. Remarkably, it’s all working out great.

Saturday night we went out. Granted, there were only seven of us then. But we’re going to reattempt this success at the same place on Friday night. At least I think that’s the plan. Last Sunday night was tube meats. The kids had hot dogs, the adults enjoyed sausages. Monday was crock pot pulled pork.

Mrs. Fussy was a big fan of this simple method for slow cooking pork shoulder, and I suspect we’ll be trying this at home in the future. There was only one minor snafu.

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Martin’s Potato Rolls Change for the Better

July 28, 2014

Greetings from Pennsylvania. Our cabin in the Poconos is spacious with plenty of modern amenities, most importantly wireless internet. So for better or for worse, the blog will indeed continue this week.

It’s only fitting that the first story should be about a Pennsylvania classic, Martin’s Potato Rolls. They are from Chambersburg, home of the famous Pennsylvania peaches, and beloved by many. In fact, Pirates Lakeside Grill has put these distinctive, soft widely-available buns on their menu with a great sense of pride.

That last part always struck me as odd. How could a place that uses local grassfed beef for their burgers and has a Tilldale Farm pastured pork hotdog, feel good about using a roll that is made with FD&C Yellow 5 & 6. Yes, that’s right. That signature color that some consumers must instinctively associate with eggs or butter really comes from artificial coloring.

Now what strikes me as strange, is the fact that Martin’s would finally fix a few flaws in their formulation, and keep such things under wraps. And for what it’s worth, the improvements go beyond the color.

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The Keystone of Summer

July 25, 2014

Hello, I must be going. Sure, after returning from New Jersey, I’ve made a series of short trips to Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I had hoped to make it down to Brooklyn for the recent book signing, but there was so little time and so much to do up here in Albany.

Now that the kids are signed up for school, doctors visits scheduled, house repairs shored up, boxes unpacked, car tires replaced and realigned, utilities reconnected, shoes fixed, pantries filled, and the grill assembled, it’s time for a vacation from my vacation.

Tomorrow, we’re headed off to Lake Wallenpaupack in northeastern Pennsylvania for a week. There we’ll meet up with two other families. In total there will be six adults and six children. And while all the adults were friends a long time ago in college, this is going to be the longest we’ve all spent together in decades. Decades. With an s at the end.

But that’s not the part I’m worried about.

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New York, Food Laws & Transparency

July 24, 2014

Did you hear the one about… There are lots of stories floating around the Interwebs about food. These days it seems like it would take a thousand monkeys a thousand years to read even a month’s worth of content. It’s staggering.

Every day things come across my radar that are interesting. And mostly they stay open on some tab or get filed away as some bookmark never to be heard from again.

Periodically, I’ll take a moment, share what’s on my screen, and clear my cache of content. Today seems like as good a day as any, especially given the prominence of the Capital Region in something from earlier this week.

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