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The Profussor Responds – Big Week

July 17, 2009

This feels like a big accomplishment to me, but this is my first blog, so what do I know.  But this past week, less than three months out of the gate, the FUSSYlittleBLOG blew past 10,000 page views.

You all have posted over 300 comments.  I have written over 60 fussy posts.  And it would seem we are gaining momentum.  Weekly page views are now about double from when the site launched.

Thank you for your ongoing support, and please keep mentioning the FLB to your friends, family and coworkers.  You can also help me spread the word by posting links to articles on your Facebook and Twitter feeds as the spirit moves you.  FLB merchandise, T-shirts, baseball caps, and water bottles should be available shortly.

But without further ado, onto the questions:

Mama Ass wanted to know, “why DOCG is better than IGT. It seemed that where I was shopping, all the Chianti was DOCG and all the white was IGT. I could research, but I’m lazy. I’d rather you tell me.”

The DOCG versus IGT shopping technique is really more shorthand than objective truth.  The IGT designation carries fewer rules – this could be wonderful or ill-advised.  The wines people call Super Tuscans, which can sell for a pretty penny, are IGT wines, because as a newer style they do not fit into the rigidly controlled boundaries of DOCG.

What the DOCG assures you, as a consumer, is that the wine in the bottle (at the time of bottling) tastes the way wine from that region is supposed to taste.  And that it is made in the traditional manner, without taking any shortcuts or using any sneaky tricks.

When shopping blindly and looking for value, this shorthand can prove to be valuable.  I’m glad it has been helping you out.
Mama Ass had another question, “Can I put gin in the refrigerator? What about Seagram’s V.O. whiskey?”

Sure, you can put booze in the fridge.  But if you are making cocktails, you may want to reconsider the icebox, or at the very least consider making some adjustment to your drinks.

Water is a critical component of cocktails.  You wouldn’t necessarily think about it, since you don’t add any to the mixing tin.  But when you stir or shake your drink, depending on which is appropriate for the cocktail, the ice throws off water.  Starting with chilled spirits will alter the dilution, and you may find that your drinks taste out of balance.

You could try to correct for this with more shaking, additional stirring, or simply the addition of water.  But it sounds like a pain to me.  It’s your call.

And if you aren’t mixing, but just drinking the gin straight, you can even throw that sucker in the freezer.

Mama Ass is on a tear this month (bless her soul).  “I guess straws take away from smelling your drink. Maybe we should not drink wine with straws? Maybe not anything should be drunk with straws?”

Sometimes it is fun to do the things we know we shouldn’t.  Take the Sofia sparkling wine that comes in pink cans with plastic straws for example.  And try to drink it without having fun.  Just try it.  Can’t be done.  It’s a hoot.

There are some who say that a mint julep must be drunk with a very short straw.  The aim of this is to push your nose into the glass that is brimming with fresh mint.  It’s a very clever way to get the feeling of drinking the smell of freshly picked mint.

But fundamentally you are right.  On the whole, I’d skip the straws.

Vanessa suggested, “I think that Mezze Notte may need a bit of work on the semantics of their menu…but my husband and I eat there frequently and have yet to be disapointed. The food is fresh, and delicious. They do source from their own gardens (from what I remember) and for a local (within 5 minutes) we love it.”

I am glad that you love MezzaNotte.  They really drew the short straw this week.  And it is good to hear that they may source from their own gardens.  The argument was not that the food isn’t delicious (I haven’t tried it so I cannot say) but that it is not ambitious.

Even if we took the fussy qualifiers off the ingredients and compared the two menus, the dishes being offered exist in two separate universes.  And honestly, I am not looking for the Bay Area.  I will need to make that clear in a dedicated post.  I would settle for Providence, RI or even Charlottesville, VA.

I think a double-date would be fun, but it is impossible to get Mrs. Fussy out of the house.  Sigh.

Jafe had a comment that I want to address, and it was followed by a question.  “It sounds like you’re advising that unless you can find a bartender/mixologist who makes the *perfect* whiskey sour, you’re better off doing without. Or to put it another way, unless you’re eating kobe beef, you’re better off staying away from steak.

Steak is a whole separate issue that I intend to address in another post.  But you are right.  I am indeed saying that about whiskey sours.

Actually, that’s not entirely true.  The original question had asked, “Where to find a decent whiskey sour in the capital district. everywhere i go, i end up w/ a drink that tastes like dirty water.”

The short answer (shy of trying a lot of crap whiskey sours around this town) was to look for the presence of ingredients that are required to make a proper drink.  Certainly you would agree that if the bar had fresh citrus and a bowl of eggs on display, you would likely get a decent whiskey sour.  No?

Jafe’s question was, “Why would I enjoy Bombay Sapphire and tonic, but dislike versions using other gins (e.g., Tanqueray, Plymouth, Hendrick’s, etc.)?”

It seems similar to the question, “I like Jack and Coke (actually I don’t – but work with me here) yet I do not care for Jack and Pepsi.  What gives?”  All the gins offer different flavor profiles based on their botanical blends.  Taste is idiosyncratic.  You will like certain things, just because you are you, and the things are different.

Perhaps you like those other gins but only when mixed with tonic do they become unappealing.  But the culprit is still probably your flavor receptors and not some bizarre chemical reaction between the gin and the quinine.

Brownie asks, “And while I’m washing the poo off in the sink, aren’t I also washing away the pesticide? Like poo, there’s always a little left over, still safe for consumption.”

First I have to thank Brownie for all his recent comments.  I didn’t realize he was so funny.

Um, poo is not actually safe for consumption unless it has been cooked, and the bacteria killed (which happens only once it reaches a certain temperature).  Not even a little.

It’s one of the reasons I can justify my aversion to raw vegetables.  The concern isn’t bug poo either.  It is birds that fly overhead, or workers that defecate in fields.  It could be water runoff from a nearby animal farm or contaminated cargo containers.

Pesticides and poo are completely separate issues.
Brownie also asked, “It’s away from a window, but receives indirect sunlight and temperature variations between 65 and 75 degrees year-round.  Obviously the closet would be better, but are we really ruining the wine we have in this rack?”

You are not ruining your wine.  You are speeding up the aging process.  It’s rotting quicker, but it was rotting anyway.  That’s wine.  You can see why people resort to snobbery.

If the stuff you have in the rack is readily available from a reliable wine merchant (aka one who takes better care of wine than you do) you could have a fun tasting opportunity on your hands.

Just pick the oldest modestly priced bottle, and try to find its doppelganger at the wine store.  But in this case vintage matters, so you may not want to choose the oldest bottle per se.  Get two glasses per person, and open both bottles, and try them side-by-side.

Let me know how it works out.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. brownie permalink
    July 17, 2009 12:22 pm

    Congrats on gaining a well-deserved audience, Mr. Fussy. I’m learning and having fun at the same time here.

    I was wrong about correlating pesticide with poo-related illness as Raf pointed out, so I lose. Should’ve just called him a poo-head for exposing my ignorance. And worker poo? Now that’s enough to scare me into organic produce. My question: are we paying the organic workers enough to use the indoor plumbing? I’d say threatening a poo-in is far more effective than collective bargaining for their wages.

  2. Mrs. Fussy permalink
    July 17, 2009 1:41 pm

    Umm, Mrs. Fussy delurking here to defend myself. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I would love to leave the house. However, Little Master Fussy can’t quite yet reach the freezer to defrost the breastmilk for Little Miss Fussy. (Young Lassie Fussy? Itty Bitty Fussy?) Anyway, I submit that that’s the unsolved problem here, not my agoraphobia.

    ObFood: My take on the organics is this. Sure, if you want to and can afford it, go for the organic and limit your and the earth’s exposure to pesticides. But all those studies where people who eat more fruits and vegetables live longer? Those people aren’t eating organic. So choosing *no* produce over conventional produce for health reasons? Not really a defensible strategy. Not that anyone in my household has ever taken such a position.

    Kisses from the one who looks forward to visits to Grandma’s, where she can eat pesticide-laden Wal-Mart cherries.

  3. Mama Ass permalink
    August 5, 2009 10:33 am

    Thanks for the answers. I only saw this post here now. I’m behind on my fussyblog reading. We did make the whiskey sour with the egg white for Papa Ass on our vacation and it was delightful. I want to make one for myself, but I’m not ready to go through the shaking and we don’t have a proper shaker at home. Thanks for all your cocktail advice.

  4. October 31, 2010 3:59 am

    See how far this blog has come. I love all you guys! Keep up the good work.

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