Is it Friday? How is that even possible?
Say au revoir to le Profussor, because I’m off to Sturbridge today. Gotta drop the kids off with their gramma. And it’s very possible that before coming back home, I’ll make a pit stop at Tree House Brewing Company for some of its hard to find and impossibly juicy beers.
But I’ll be back on Saturday for The Enchanted City in Troy. And that’s going to be a great time. Because not only are some great chefs going to be vending from 11am-2pm, but there’s also going to be a culinary competition starting at two o’clock.
Guess who’s going to be both head judge and master of ceremonies for the chef versus chef cooking challenge? It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it.
Actually, the hardest part of the job will be doing it in costume when it’s hot outside. I’ve got my steampunk cowboy outfit mostly ready. It’s a little past my comfort zone, but I think it kinda works. Plus I’ll be going much further outside my comfort zone on Saturday night when I head up to The Hangar for Mab After Dark’s burlesque and curiosity afterparty show*.
You know what I won’t be bringing to The Enchanted City? A flask full of cheap vodka. That I’m saving for an entirely different event.
Sometimes global disasters can seem very far away. Heck, sometimes domestic catastrophes feel very removed from our lives. It’s almost impossible to understand the unreality of finding your entire town devastated by a flood. And I can’t even imagine what it must be like to find your neighborhood flattened in an earthquake.
I was lucky in California to only live through a series of small quakes that did only negligible damage at most. But in Miami, I got to experience Hurricane Andrew and saw what looked like bombed out buildings that were left in the aftermath.
Nature’s fury is jaw-dropping in its intensity.
Amatrice is reported to be one of the hardest hit towns from the recent earthquake in Italy. Amazingly, a 13th century bell tower is still standing. But the town is in ruins. People are trapped under the rubble. And it has been hard to get support to people in need because roads have been cut off.
How does this have anything to do with food? Well, it’s Italian. So it has everything to do with food. Especially because Amatrice is the home to a famous sauce. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Although if you haven’t, you’re going to learn something new today.
Writing something down is a powerful act.
Last year, I completely missed out on Gene’s Fish Fry. It’s the seasonal fish fry place in East Greenbush, and one of my favorites. A lot of that has to do with its non-traditional versions of the classic condiments: tartar, chili, and cocktail.
Anyhow, just yesterday I was lamenting that it looked like another summer might go by without me popping in for a visit.
But by writing down my desire, I was able to make it happen. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I had a burst of inspiration from a fellow local food blogger.
This is a first. The kids already have all their school supplies purchased, with two weeks of summer vacation remaining. It’s usually a last minute scramble. This year I’m ahead of the game. Here are two other small, but notable, recent events:
- On Sunday I bought some Sierra Nevada Octoberfest.
- Last night, the mercury dipped down to 52 degrees.
There can be no doubt, summer is ending. But it’s not gone yet, dammit.
This cooler temperature should serve as a wakeup call to cross all of those things off your summer to do list. And maybe your summer to eat list, if you have one. By the way, you should totally have one. If you don’t, I’ve got a few suggestions.
The title of today’s post is misleading. Let’s talk about prosciutto for a moment. Here is a craft that has been honed for generations. World class prosciutto exists thanks to the combination of great pork, plenty of salt, and even more time, But it needs a skilled hand and watchful eye over those many months of aging.
When it’s done, you’ve got a thing of beauty. Or rather, you have a great leg of potential. Because how the prosciutto is sliced can make a world of difference.
Little Miss Fussy loves prosciutto. It’s one of her favorite things. What can I say, she’s daddy’s little girl. And I’ve been bringing her up on La Quercia. But we dabble in the imports when we can’t get the good stuff from Iowa.
Did I ever tell you about the one time I bought some prosciutto as a special treat for her school picnic from Via Fresca in Guilderland? It was sliced so thickly that even my powerful chompers had a difficult time biting through the fat. My daughter’s disappointment was palpable.
Even a child knows that Prosciutto is not the same if you slice it too thickly. It’s not. Let’s discuss.
It’s good to have modest goals. Modest goals are achievable. There are a lot of things that I wanted to do on this trip to Pennsylvania. However, we didn’t come down here for me. We came for the kids. But really, there was one thing that I wanted to do more than anything else.
So, that became my priority. All the other stuff got pushed to the side. And I’m okay with that.
You see, my mother-in-law grows tomatoes in her sunny and warm garden. And they are fantastic. Sure, they may be a little smaller this year than in the past. Still, they are firm, juicy, and packed with flavor. And, of course, deep red all the way through.
My plan was to try and gather the supplemental ingredients required to enjoy these home grown delights to the fullest, which in rural Pennsylvania is easier said than done. But these days, we have the help of one incredible local resource.
Words matter. One of my favorite things about visiting the farm is our proximity to The Meadows, because this homegrown chain is famous for its frozen custard.
Frozen custard is hard to come by in upstate New York. Although I noticed on the Tour de Italian Deli 2.0 that Marcella’s in Schenectady had it. However, when I tried to call it frozen custard, I was rebuffed. “If it were frozen, it wouldn’t be custard.” I suspect the fellow behind the counter was trying to parse the difference between hard frozen and partially frozen.
But one thing was clear, it wasn’t soft serve. And in my book soft serve isn’t ice cream. Just yesterday my kids tried to call The Meadows’ frozen custard “soft serve” and I dadsplained the difference between the two. one. more. time.
So this week wasn’t intended to be the beat-up-on-Unilever week. But when I was researching Monday’s story, I ran across something small on the internet that made my blood boil.