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Ask the Profussor: Merry Christmas

December 9, 2010

We’re done. It’s over. The kids have their presents. My belly has been filled with fried foods.  And now there is nothing left to do but bide my time until the Tour de Hot Dog.

I suppose I could start thinking about New Year’s Eve, but that seems way far off.

Instead, I’ll sit here in my sickness and answer the questions that have piled up over the past month.  Seriously, it’s been a month.  Where does the time go?  Maybe in the days and weeks to come I’ll try and come up with some good Christmas gifts you can buy locally or online.  That way you’ll have no excuse to skip the Tour de Hot Dog on December 18.

I hope Jenna decided to order Thanksgiving from Chez Mike:
The idea of being able to relax with My Sweetie and enjoy someone else’s food gets more appealing as the day draws closer. And I’ll still have the whole weekend in front of me to tackle whatever silly cooking projects I dream up. Now, that’s a sound, rational argument, right? Well then why do I still feel just a little bit weird (ok, a lot weird) about the whole thing?

Cooking is great. Everyone should know how to do it. But like religion, it should be a joyful experience and not come from a place of guilt or shame. There are plenty of people who can effortlessly prepare a stunning holiday banquet.  I’m not one of them.

Without a doubt there is a stigma attached to ordering out for your holiday meal.  But like anything else, you need to decide what is important to you.  Is it what other people will think about your qualifications as a cook/homemaker/spouse?  Or is it about enjoying time with loved ones without having to worry about cooking and cleaning, but also without sacrificing a traditional holiday meal.

I tell you, if I had the means, I would hire a personal chef like Chef Cory to cook for my family all the time.  But I think before putting a chef on staff, first I would get a driver.

This is why I shouldn’t wait so long between AskTP’s.  Jill wanted some Thanksgiving help:
Suggestions for a SMALL take home dinner?

What a pity.  Jill and Jenna should have teamed up for a take-home Chez Mike Thanksgiving.  Next year.

Albany Jane wonders if my observations aren’t dated:
Dude, when was the last time you had sides at Capital Q?! I used to think they were just okay/meh, but they are so freaking good, especially for food kept under heat lamps! Mac and cheese = yum. Collards = oooh yum.

Dude, I just had them this week.  And they are still weak.  For real.  The creamed spinach was gritty, the mac and cheese was bland, and the croakers (deep fried mashed potato balls seasoned with bacon, cheese and jalapeno) were pre-fried and sitting on the steam table.

I do like their insanely vinegary collards, their meaty meaty chili, and their house-made spicy pickles though.

Tonia is breaking out the ban-hammer:
Well, they have to ban Red Bull and vodka, or any other Red Bull drinks, because isn’t that the same thing??

My guess is that the personal injury lawyers and the insurance companies will soon have a negative impact on the availability of Red Bull cocktails at bars.  Given the government’s stance on the effects of stimulants mixed with alcohol, the first person who gets into some nasty wreck will plead that they had no idea they were too intoxicated to drive.  If the liability for the accident is then shifted onto the bar, methinks some bar owners will think twice about putting a cooler of Red Bull on the mahogany.

Mike B. knows the way to a man’s heart is through his kitchen tools:
Have you shopped at any local restaurant supply stores? If so, how was the experience?

I have.  And it was great.  See my review of Central Restaurant Equipment for more details, but they have a dungeon where all the good stuff is kept.  In a word, it is stunning.

Phairhead wanted a bit of clarification on the final stage of frittata preparation:
Why does it have to be cut into slices before being served?

Maybe it wasn’t entirely clear, but the frittate that I described in the post are meant for more than one serving.  A hearty one generally constitutes a light supper for our family.  Sometimes you can also sauce a frittata, and in those cases I like to pour a bit of sauce on the plate and place the slice on top.

But certainly if you are eating family style, there is no reason that you couldn’t put the whole golden pie on a serving plate and let everyone slice off as much as they desire.

I could not resist answering Jess’s rhetorical question:
One of the worst drinking experiences I’ve had resulted from being underage in a bar while a “friend” was sending pints of Red Bull and vodka over our way. How do people drink that combo?


Stanford Steph is looking for some validation:
Is it okay that I think Pepperidge Farm herb seasoning stuffing with the addition of some onion and celery is the best ever?

It’s okay as long as you don’t mind a little high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soybean oil with your stuffing.

There was widespread concern about my sandwich on a plane.
Sarah M.: You were THAT guy, eating a big smelly sandwich on the plane? Oh, Daniel B., say it ain’t so.
Kerosena: Oh dear, the other people on the plane must have wanted to vote you off. What else was on the sandwich? If there were pickles, onions, sauerkraut or coleslaw involved, you are automatically d/q’ed as a “good traveler!”

I was exactly that guy, and I have no regrets or remorse.  You know what?  I’d do it again.  It was an amazing sandwich.  And since I was in town for work, I even expensed it.  There may have been a pickle and some mustard.  But when I’m eating good corned beef, I’m a purist.  No onions, sauerkraut or coleslaw need apply.  It’s corned beef, rye and good deli mustard.  I refresh my palate with sips of Cel-Ray and occasional bites of full sour pickles.

Beck announced her intentions to sit out the Tour de Hot Dog:
I’ve lived in this area for almost ten years and I’ve still never actually had a mini hot dog from any of those places. Does the works include raw onions?

Aiyeeeeeee.  The Tour de Hot Dog may not appeal to you, but you are exactly the kind of person this was meant for.  For shame.  Ten years.  Ten years without trying one of the two true regional specialties that are still available for consumption.  You need to do this.  If not with me and the ragtag bunch of readers I assemble, then on your own, at your own pace.

For the record, the works is meat sauce, raw onions and mustard.  Now before you dismiss it as something you will not like, try it first and see.

KB @ Home-Baked Happiness has initiated some pre Tour de Hot Dog smack talk:
Six mini-dogs? That’s nothing! I could probably order six from each place and be fine. They’re so teeny, after all.

That’s some tough talk.  They are not that teeny.  But you’ll get a chance to show us what you’ve got later this month.

Mike W. wants a little love for Schenectady:
Can we consider adding a Schenectady leg? Broadway Lunch, First Prize Mike’s and Newest Lunch all have excellent, albeit full sized, dogs with meat sauce, onions and mustard.

This topic seems to require the aid of a local food historian.  The regional specialty is mini hot dogs with the works.  Meat sauce, onions and mustard on full-sized dogs is the hallmark of Coneys from Michigan.  Why these larger specimens are dominant in Schenectady while the uniquely diminutive dogs are concentrated on the banks of the Hudson remains a mystery to me.

But to be clear, the tour is specifically for mini hot-dogs.

DerryX joins in the chorus about the state of eggnog these days:
Do we really need to jazz up egg nog with other holiday/seasonal flavors?

I noticed these flavored eggnogs last year when they were doing a sampling of them at a local Price Chopper.  Eggnog is sweet, but these were sweet on top of sweet.  The vast majority of them were foul.  But people like their sugar.  What we need is simpler eggnog, made with real sugar and other kitchen cabinet ingredients.

Mr. Dave has some grave concerns about the Tour de Hot Dog:
Are you simply judging the hot dogs on their own? or are you judging the joints themselves?

The only things being formally evaluated are the hot dogs, buns, and toppings.  It’s impossible to believe that one’s surroundings do not influence one’s perceptions.  And part of the final write-up will include a bit about the different establishments.  But Gus’s is neither going to be at an advantage nor a disadvantage for its unique set-up.

ajw93 suspects that the FUSSYlittleBLOG has paranormal abilities:
So THIS is why I became obsessed with having a chili dog for dinner lastnight? Sort of psychically connected to this blog post?

Well, the post and all that drinking.

AddiesDad has learned the ropes:
Mea culpa on the lack of question mark, Profussor. A real question this time: do you or anyone on the site know anything about the Bunn NHB Professional Brewer?

Thank you.  As promised, when you use a question mark, your comment will make it into Ask the Profussor.  So without further ado, onto your answer: no. Sorry.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike B. permalink
    December 9, 2010 11:32 am

    Thanks so much Mr. Profussor! Would you believe I live within walking distance of Central Restaurant Equipment? My wife and I have driven through the parking lot to peek in the windows but we only saw the big stuff. Nice to know they’ve got the small stuff too. The Mrs. needs herself some more baking pans.

  2. Sarah M. permalink
    December 9, 2010 4:18 pm

    My thinly-veiled criticism stands. I understand the desire to eat regionally as long as possible on a business trip– I frequently bring a big gross Ferdi from Mother’s as I’m departing through MSY. But I eat it in the airport! Never, never on the plane.

  3. December 9, 2010 7:55 pm

    Those Michiganders are confusing everybody. Everyone knows that a REAL Coney is a white hot dog from central N.Y.

    PS– Sadly, probably won’t make the Tour-de-Dog. Had surgery on my eatin’ hand. :( But I could put down at least 8 Famous Lunch dogs at a time, for sure.

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