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A Plate of Vegetables

November 13, 2018

Some people need to sit down to a big piece of meat at dinner time. To them, nothing less feels like a meal. Vegetables may be token gestures that get put on the side. Maybe they will even be fried. Starches are available to extend the meal, lest the protein on its own be insufficient. But often times they are left uneaten, or merely picked over.

A salad might be offered at first, but that is almost like a punishment. Maybe a tax. If you eat the tired mix of iceberg lettuce, a wooden tomato, red onion rings, and a slice of cucumber, you’ve earned the avalanche of food that’s to come.

It’s my understanding that my grandfather used to eat like this. Lots of people used to eat like this. Heck, plenty of people still do eat like this. The prooftext is simply the American restaurant menu.

Maybe you’ll be able to find other options. But this mode of eating is still present. Even Chez Panisse would keep steaks on hand should an old school eater make their way into this dining room that was all about local, seasonal, and sustainable produce.

Which is why I cherish those places that are breaking from the mold.

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Old Salt

November 12, 2018

Today is Veterans Day. Again. As alway, today I offer up a big, heartfelt thank you to all of those who have volunteered for military service. Truly. I mean it. It’s because of the sacrifices veterans have made, that I’m able to do what I do in peace and security.

So what do I do? Well, today I’m writing about a veteran cookbook writer, again, who is no longer with us. Her name is Marcella Hazan. And if you haven’t read my previous posts about her, a good place to start is the post Italian Goddess of Fussy.

Why today? Well, just yesterday I made a fortuitous discovery. But before I can tell you about that, I need to make a quick confession.

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Melt N’ Toast and Cheese

November 9, 2018

How is it Friday again? Where does the time go. There is more to share with you than I can possibly squeeze into one post. So some of the stories from this week are going to have to wait until next week.

What cannot wait is an update on the ticket giveaway for Troy’s annual grilled cheese festival. But since we’re on the subject of grilled cheese, it will also be a good opportunity to share a story from last week involving The Cheese Traveler.

But maybe we need to back up a bit and recall what happened in the judging of last year’s Melt N’ Toast.

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Personal Pizza

November 8, 2018

Thanksgiving is coming. People will travel. That means airports, rest stops, and train stations are likely to be in your near future. You might not be planning to eat dreck for a meal, but dreck you will eat. Largely, because you have no other choice.

Sure, you could buy an overpriced sleeve of nuts to stave off the hunger until you can find a better option. But those fast food signs are calling you. They are beckoning. The pictures of the food certainly look appealing. It’s been years since you’ve tried it. And you have a long distant memory of an enjoyable experience.

This was me at a highway rest stop maybe last year. There was a Pizza Hut stall that was open. And I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a pan pizza. But those personal sized, six-inch four-cut pies, tucked away in a cardboard box, were the stuff of my childhood. Literally, my high school offered Pizza Hut pan pizza as a lunch option.

So I got one. And it was terrible, but in all the right ways. The pizza scratched an itch, and now I don’t need to eat the stuff for another ten years, or maybe longer. Although that little thing, which is easily gobbled up in a few bites, is a whopping six hundred calories, without meat, toppings, or a soda.

But this isn’t just a Pizza Hut issue, it’s everywhere. And the notion of a personal pizza makes me angry. I won’t say irrationally. Because there are plenty of reasons to get angry about such a thing.

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New News on Old World Troy Meat

November 7, 2018

Sometime soon we need to talk more about meat production and sustainability. Because I believe it can play an integral and positive role in our food system and environment. But I know not everybody does.

However, I’m glad some people do, because they are pushing our food to be better. People like the Shukets. Months ago I met Jessica Shuket, and when she told me about what her family was doing, I got very excited.

The Shukets are the family behind Old World Provisions in Troy.

Let me put it another way. They are the family that makes the pastrami for Katz’s Deli. And it’s incredible. Sadly, they have closed their little sandwich shop at the production plant. But the good news is what they are doing to make their products even better.

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Kimchi Fried Everything

November 6, 2018

Today is the day. If you haven’t voted yet, stop reading, put down the device, and get to your polling place. Now. Do it. The blog will be here when you return.

No matter what happens today, the next few days are going to require some self care and lots of comfort. For everybody. On both sides of the aisle. My plan tonight is to meet with a new Yelp friend over drinks and not speak one word about politics. Instead, we’ll talk about some of our favorite local businesses, and ways in which we can have more fun.

But there will be drinks. And that will be good.

We’ll be talking more about comfort food in the days and weeks ahead, because what is Thanksgiving if not a festival of comfort food. However, just yesterday we were talking about the amazing gifts immigrants have brought to the people of the United States. One of my current comfort foods is actually Korean, and that’s “Kimchi Fried Everything”.

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Thankful for Immigrants

November 5, 2018

Thanksgiving is coming. Many of us have our long standing family traditions. The Fussys will be doing Thanksgiving with Raf and his family in Westchester, and then we’ll be off to Connecticut for a second family feast on Saturday.

That means no cooking for the profussor. I’ve even been banned from making whipped cream at Aunt N’s house, because apparently my gorgeous and silky chantilly cream isn’t sweet enough for the kids around the table who prefer a sweeter cream to crown sweet pies. Madness. It feels like I’ve failed to teach my children well.

It also means we are entering into the season of thanks.

In part because of the spirit of the season, in part because of my culinary experiences over the weekend, and in part because there’s a big election coming up tomorrow, I wanted to take a moment and talk about why I am thankful for immigrants.

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