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Killer Kale and Sad Strawberries

March 21, 2019

The green that some people love, and others love to hate, is under attack. This time from science. Well, that might be overstating the methodology of the Environmental Working Group, and its annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

Okay. It’s definitely overstating the methodology.

Nobody pays attention to the details anymore. It’s all just flashy headlines. Every year the EWG publishes a list that includes the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen” made up of fruits and vegetables ranked by their synthetic pesticide loads. This year, kale is extra dirty.

The idea is to help consumers create a short list of which conventionally raised produce they can feel good about buying, and prioritize where to spend limited dollars on pricier organic fruits and vegetables.

Fundamentally, I salute the effort. It’s a great reminder about just how many pesticides can be used in conventional farming. We see abundance at the supermarket and give little thought to how all that produce arrives from so far away looking as beautiful as it does.

However, some of the data behind the EWG report itself is weak, and it leads consumers to false conclusions. Most notably about the alternatives to conventional produce.

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The Remains of the Fall

March 20, 2019

Welcome to the vernal equinox. Technically it’s the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, but you and I both know we’re still in the unlocking. Still, we’re getting close. The seasonal soft serve shops are starting to open. The snow has mostly melted.

But this morning as the kids went to school, the temperature was below freezing.

During the summer and fall, we try to squirrel away enough local vegetables to sustain ourselves through the long cold winter. Remember, while there may be hoop gardens which will produce early leafy greens, it’s going to take months before the farmers markets are bountiful with local fruits and vegetables.

In our freezer, there is still one last packet of pesto remaining. Perhaps tonight is the night to finally crack into it. What else has survived winter and made it into the solstice? Well, let me share my secret shame. Although, part of the blame for not eating all the vegetables falls on Mrs. Fussy’s shoulders.

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Emily L and the Jamaican Ice Cream

March 19, 2019

When it comes to food appreciation, flavor and texture go hand in hand. But in my experience, if pressed, people will be able to tell you which of the two is more important to them.

I’m #TeamTexture

Which isn’t to say flavor isn’t important. It most definitely is. But I can overlook dull, muted, or even slightly off flavors, if the texture of a dish is especially pleasing. However, if the texture is off, it can be a deal breaker.

This is cogent to today’s guest post from Emily L because it’s all about Caribbean ice cream. As far as I can tell, this is all about flavor. Still, so much of the love I have for great ice cream has to do with texture, which is one reason why I prize The Dutch Udder.

My snobbery for such things might have otherwise kept me from exploring this decadent treat which can be found on Central Avenue in Albany. And that’s one of the reasons why I love having guest posts on the FLB. They open me up to new ideas and potentially new experiences.

So, without further ado, let’s hear from Emily about her latest international adventure in the Capital Region.

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A Slice of Domino’s

March 18, 2019

Being a parent is hard. There is so much to teach your kids so that one day that might grow up to be respectable members of society. 

Important things like a love and affection for early Talking Heads deep cuts, and the finer point that the name of the band is Talking Heads and not The Talking Heads.

You see, it’s not all about food. But food is important too.

In some ways, I feel like I’ve completely set my kids up for future disasters. For example, the first time Little Miss Fussy had chicken wings they were from 20 North in Schenectady. Now, there may be better chicken wings to be found some places in central and western New York. Still for the most part, from that point on, she was doomed to disappointment.

The kids have come to understand how awful Dunkin’ Donuts truly are. I’ve gotten Little Miss Fussy away from putting ketchup on hot dogs. The young man is a cannoli connoisseur. And they both have a love for dim sum carts, even though they each have unique and distinct preferences for the treats the dim sum ladies are hawking.

On the flip side, with me as their food sherpa, the kids have a few culinary blind spots.

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A Few Notable Troy Cocktails

March 15, 2019

Yes, it’s Friday morning and we’re talking about cocktails again. But that’s because it’s a Friday in March, which is when Albany Distilling Co is hosting its 3rd Annual Cocktail Contest. This year, after two years of bitter complaining about missing all the early rounds, I’ve landed a front row seat at the judges table.

Each Monday this month the show is going on the road to each of the four corners of the Capital Region. In just a few days, you’re invited to join in on the fun at Flatbread Social in Saratoga Springs. This is going to be a critical round, because Saratoga is the city that won the finals last year, and Hamlet & Ghost will surely bring the heat.

If you want to read about the results from Schenectady, you can do that here. If you missed that post last Friday, I’d recommend giving it a quick once over, because it went into all the details on how the judging for this contest actually works.

Today, I’m going to simply focus on the drinks that I thought were particularly notable in our visit to Troy earlier this week, along with a few words on the people who made them.

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A Hearty, Healthful, and Delicious Breakfast

March 14, 2019

I know it’s only Thursday, but tomorrow I’ve got to talk about cocktails, so today let’s talk about brunch. Brunch is one of those meals that I really want to love, but these days I’m finding it extra challenging.

In part, this is because I’m trying to eat smaller portions of more healthful food. Of course that opens the door to a million different opinions on food and health. Mostly, I’m trying to limit refined grains, sugars, and deep fat fried foods. Fattier meats are okay in moderation, but I am trying to lean more towards vegetables and lower fat sources of protein. And of course, I’m trying to do it all while still prioritizing deliciousness.

That makes the average breakfast menu in this part of the world a minefield, and the hunt for a hearty, healthful, and delicious breakfast harder than you might imagine.

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Hide the Granola

March 13, 2019

We all have our secrets.

Personally, when I feel guilty about something, my instinct is to share it. Let’s get whatever secret shame is out there into the universe, so then there is nothing to fear. The blog is a great resource for such efforts, and I confess things on here all the time.

Which isn’t to say that I don’t keep things hidden. I totally hide things. Most recently I hid some luggage from Mrs. Fussy. Well, it’s not so much that I hid it as I put it away. Naturally, I put it away in the places where I thought it belonged. But she could not find it. And actually, that was a good thing.

At least for awhile.

When Mrs. Fussy opened the foyer closet door and finally located the luggage on its top shelf, I got an angry text. However, the suitcases are still there. It’s the best place for the bags. And all I had to do was relegate Little Miss Fussy’s baking kit to the cooking supplies overflow bin in the garage.

But sometimes I hide things from Mrs. Fussy for other reasons.

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