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Photo Friday: Highs and Lows

January 19, 2018

It’s been a while since the last Photo Friday on the FLB. And since then I’ve eaten a lot of things. Some of them I even photographed.

Today’s the perfect day for something like this, because last night was the first of the Rascal + Thorn Dinner Series. I’ll have more thoughts on that soon, but last night was a late night. Surely the official photos from the event will eclipse the snapshots I took on my phone. But these pictures are mine.

Of course, I don’t eat this well all the time. In fact, it’s a rare treat. So, included in today’s batch is one particular lowlight. Let’s see if you can find it.

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The Unconsidered

January 18, 2018

Besides the deep and bitter cold, there’s another thing that’s synonymous with January in the Capital Region. Yep. I’m talking about the Times Union’s Best of the Capital Region readers’ choice poll.

It’s now live.

When the FLB started many many years ago, I had a plan to try and influence the poll by asking readers to vote as a block. Some suggested that my move was anti democratic, but I still contend that lobbying and asking like minded citizens to vote a certain way, is exactly how democracy functions.

Regardless, the days of the FUSSYlittleBALLOT are over. And while the effort did seem to have an effect around the edges, I found I was able to influence the poll in other ways. Namely, reaching out to the TU and suggesting the ways the poll itself was insufficient.

Subsequently it has changed for the better. Sure, they have gotten rid of the Best Local Blog category which is a bummer. But now we have rid ourselves both of the “Chinese/Japanese/Korean” and “Indonesian/Thai/Vietnamese” categories. Plus the Best of the Capital Region results no longer include Subway or Pizza Hut among our best sandwiches or pizzas.

That’s a reason to feel optimistic. However, there was another important change made to the survey which is having unfortunate consequences.

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Nothing Good Comes From Staying Silent

January 17, 2018

Longtime readers of the FLB have surely noticed a change over the years in both the content and tone of this blog.

When I first started writing, I knew nobody. I wrote An Open Letter to Capital District Chefs and had not sat down with a single restaurant owner. And frankly, there was a bunch of stuff that I got wrong.

I hate being wrong.

Thanks to my day job, or my ambassadorship, or whatever you want to call it, I’ve spent the past three years talking to local business owners and getting to know more Capital Region chefs. In today’s climate of social media and online reviews, the one thing I hear time and time again is how they wish people would speak up if there is something wrong with their meal.

But apparently, not everybody feels that way, so I wanted to take a moment to discuss it.

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Twice as Rice

January 16, 2018

The Food Pantries for the Capital District shared an interesting article last week, Please Stop Telling Poor People to “Just Cook” to Save Money.

It’s a trap I’ve fallen into before, where the cost of organic or more sustainably produced food is positioned as out of reach for people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. That argument always gets me riled up because making a mountain of rice and beans is not just cheap and healthful, but with a little time and knowhow is also fabulously delicious.

What I fail to even consider is the cost of the cooking tools, pantry items, and even energy. Those three hours of simmering on the stove aren’t free. Plus who has three hours to cook a pot of beans?

Sadly, Mrs. Fussy is no fan of my slow cooker brown rice and lentil casserole. It’s one pot. Just a few simple ingredients. And one of my favorite things. But making it through one batch would mean I would have to avoid all other food for the remainder of winter.

Maybe I could make a smaller batch in the Instant Pot. That could be fun to try. Speaking of which, not only did I take my new toy out of the box, but I also have started to put it through its paces. However, before I tell you what I’ve done, there’s one important fact to cover off first.

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No FLB Day

January 15, 2018

It’s MLK Day.
Some of you will have it off.
Some of you will have to work.

Last year I heard a reading of the I Have a Dream Speech on the radio and was particularly struck by the closing passage. And then I realized that the FLB did not have a great track record of commemorating this day.

So I pledged to do better. Yes, this is a food blog. But we don’t always talk about food. For example, on Thanksgiving I post a video of the same Thanksgiving song year after year.

Today I want to share something about MLK that has a more local connection. Did you know the New York State Museum has the only known recording of a 1962 speech Dr. King gave in Manhattan to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation?

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Bring Me My Bottle

January 12, 2018

Have you ever been in the eye of a hurricane? The strongest winds of the storm form the eye wall. And once you pass through that, there is an oasis of calm. The sky above is blue. There is no storm. That is, of course, until the backside of the eye wall smacks you with full force.

Today feels a bit like that, but with winter.

Welcome to the eye of the storm. It feels like spring. The temperature is going to be in the fifties. There will be rain. Maybe even enough to melt down all the snow. And then blammo. Starting at 10pm tonight, the mercury dips below 50 degrees and within 36 hours plummets down to 3 degrees. Three.

That’s what those who wake up at 8am on Sunday will get to experience. As far as I can tell, this is God’s way of telling us all to sleep in. And then it’s a week of below freezing temperatures and maybe a little more snow. Yay, winter!

Thankfully, I haven’t been listening to the weather forecasters. Knowing something about the TV news, they have probably named the coming weather system ice-nine or something like that. Ice-pocalypse or ice-mageddon just feel a bit overused. And maybe everything will be fine. Having spent most of my life in Florida and California, I know nothing about weather, or how winter actually works.

But let’s pretend it’s spring for the day. Because there is something at the top of my list for when it arrives, and maybe somebody out there can take advantage of the opportunity today presents.

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Instant Pot Goals

January 11, 2018

Okay. Let’s get this out of the way. Yesterday when I mentioned that I bought the three quart Instant Pot instead of the six quart Instant Pot, I got a little bit of pushback. And that’s fine. I love passionate, opinionated people who are eager to share their thoughts.

Now that I’ve finally taken the thing out of the box, I’m more convinced than ever that this smaller sized model was the right call for me.

But how will I know for sure? Well, it helps to have a clear set of goals.

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