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Ask the Profussor – Augustus Oops

September 7, 2011

“Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately.”
“I wouldn’t say I’ve been *missing* it, Bob.”
~Bob Porter & Peter Gibbons

Something went missing in August. The entire month flew by without an Ask the Profussor. But that’s not quite as bad as it sounds. For the first time in many months I was doing a better job about staying on top of questions as they appeared in the comments.

There is also a lot of Q&A that happens on Twitter. For some reason the FLB Facebook page just isn’t terribly active. Perhaps that’s because Twitter is more immediate. But I’ll tell you a little secret; nobody gets a great answer in only 140 characters.

Still, a few questions did slip through the cracks. And as long as you used a question mark, I’m committed to eventually making sure that all questions are answered. That means I’ve got some catching up to do. Ready, set, go.

N.B. I gave up linking back to the individual questions some time ago. If you are curious, Google does a great job in picking up threads on the FLB. Instead all of the extra long links in the post below all get directed to the “page of the day”. It’s not an error. I’m doing this on purpose. Maybe you click on one just for fun.

Tonia is jonesing for some potato dumplings:
What church in Troy has these magical pierogi?? Muza’s are good also. I’m always looking for the perfect pierogi like my grandma used to make.

The pierogi you are asking about come from the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in South Troy. This is not to be confused with the St. Nicholas church in Watervliet. While the latter also makes pierogi, I’ve been told that the Watervliet ones are just okay. Keep your eyes open, because the better ones in South Troy should be available to the public towards the end of this month.

Bruce Rooter in response to my post on the TJ’s coming to State College PA:
Yet even during this time I still receive “reports” from some of my “troops” with contacts inside Trader Joe’s that they are still actively looking in the Capital District. I suggest we hang on to this glimmer of possibility, because what is the alternative?

The alternative is to switch horses and start pulling for a Wegmans. Or given that we now know a TJ’s will not come here for at least two years, perhaps someone can put their energy into cobbling together a low-overhead TJ’s co-op. I’d gladly pay a 10-15% premium over TJ’s shelf prices if someone would schlep a box of my favorite goodies from Paramus.

Deanna from Silly Goose Farm is always full of ideas and wanted to share:
I always thought being a “menu writer” would be a cool job. Is that even a job?

You bet it is. We even have a local restaurant consultant in town who I’m sure helps his clients do just that. More places need to hire Steve. But sadly, many chefs are egomaniacs who insist they know what is best. Sometimes they do, but not always.

squirrelfarts voiced support of my calling The Point to task for errors on the wine list.
A regular error here and there is one thing, but to get someone’s product name wrong is unacceptable. Sure, I understand that a lot of them are big scary foreign words, but when you have the label right in front of you, there’s no excuse. Can you imagine putting “Coco-Coola” on your menu?

It sounds like a refreshing coconut water drink at Dunkin’ Donuts. Mark my words. But like all things at Dunkin’ it will be totally disgusting.

Alison B. writing in from California taunts us all about the weather:
I love panzanella, and I’m not quite sure why I haven’t made it lately. (Possibly the fact that it doesn’t quite feel like summer in Berkeley?)

Oh, it will. Berkeley totally gets hot. It was hot when Young Master Fussy was born. Except in Berkeley, nothing is air conditioned so you just have to suffer through it. Ha ha. So you just take your gorgeous fresh figs and mountains of other perfect summer produce and cry me a river.

stanfordsteph wants some guidance as to how to order a drink at a bar:
The Old Fashioned is one of my go-to drinks if other things on the special menu seem too sticky sweet. However, what’s the best way to order the drink so that you end up with what you want?

It’s the rare bar that can make a good Old Fashioned. Unless you have reason to believe you are sitting in one of them, I’d recommend getting something much more foolproof, like a Jack Daniel’s on the rocks. Even if you are a fledgling whiskey drinker, a chilled glass of this stuff goes down a lot easier than you would imagine. Trust me.

KB @ Home-Baked Happiness pondered Mr. Dave’s question:
Why should I eat something bad just because it’s what I know?

I do agree with Mr. Dave that sometimes memories are more important that culinary enlightenment. When I go to Miami, a stop at Reuben’s Cuban Cafeteria is not mandatory because they make the best cortadito in Miami. No. I go there because a lot of my youth was spent at that counter and it feels like home (even if my Spanish is unspeakably rusty).

Albany Jane would like to see me get a little more crazy:
Maybe I’ll even have you drinking out of a funnel one time (wine-bonging?)

When I was in college, visiting another chapter of my fraternity, some jarheads grabbed me and tried to get me to shotgun a can of beer. Suffice it to say it did not work out very well.

mr. dave also was not so impressed with my walk on the wild side:
Wine in a pint glass? I don’t know if I can live at that speed.

Did I neglect to mention the pint glass was filled to the brim? That’s seriously irresponsible stuff right there. It makes whiskey in a coffee mug look downright wholesome.

Scott Bakula isn’t that Scott Bakula but I love him anyway:
Are you saying you text while you drive? I’m surprised that you’d be so cavalier about an act that puts other people in danger. Why didn’t you include driving while hammered in that list? You know, because killing people isn’t that big a deal, right?

I do not text when I drive. I’m just too old to do it effectively. I can barely text while standing still. And it’s not me that’s being cavalier; it’s other drivers. Take a look around you next time you are in a car at how many people are multitasking on their phones. I see a lot more illegal cell phone use than I see the erratic driving that’s the hallmark of an inebriated driver. But thank you for your high opinion of me. It keeps me cozy at night.

northcountryrambler has me mistaken for someone who orders a turkey sandwich:
Who the heck puts mustard on a turkey sandwich. You from California or something?

What does the khaki-pants-wearing army of business-casual workers order as a healthful lunchtime staple in these parts? That was indeed a common refrain heard in California. I always preferred a salad that ate like a cheeseburger when I wasn’t off getting dim sum or cheap Vietnamese food. But that’s another story.

Tonia might be feeling a little bit defeated, but it will get better:
It is great for all of us to debate on here…pay attention to the Montsanto and the Michael Taylor stuff. But how many people outside these little groups care? I often feel discouraged within my own group of people…people think I’m crazy when I talk about these things…How can we influence these people??Can we?

Buck up there camper. This GMO thing is just getting started. The organic thing started off with the lunatic fringe too, and just look at it now. I never thought they would get partially hydrogenated oils out of most our food supply, and now they are mostly gone. High fructose corn syrup is on the run. GMOs are likely here to stay. But I really do suspect that labeling will loosen their stranglehold on our farmlands. However it will take time and a lot of work by committed passionate lunatics advocates.

Jennifer explicitly had a question for Ask the Profussor—here it is:
What is your feeling on some honey maker’s printing that their product is “organic” on their labels?

I remember when organic used to mean something. Now it’s a way for big companies to improve their profit margins. I just wrote about Cowbella yogurt for All Over Albany. They are not officially organic. However, in my opinion, their animal husbandry practices beat the big organic yogurt producers. So, la-dee-da. Some things it’s important to buy organic, others not so much. I have little interest in organic honey.

Mirdreams seems to really like this whole Tour concept:
I think we need a Tour de Beer (or maybe just a Tour de Stout, Tour de Pale Ale, etc), but we’ll need designated drivers. Maybe rent a bus?

These tours are low-key affairs. If there is a Tour de Beer it will be a walking tour, so it will have to wait until spring. It’s actually a pretty good idea, and I’ve already got it worked out in my mind. I just need to talk to Bill Swallow to figure out the last few details.

squirrelfarts proved with his question that nobody reads the wine posts:
Remember all the talk years ago about opaque milk jugs? Same thing. Keep the beer cool and dark.

Um… so I don’t know how to say this. But it hasn’t been very long since I wrote about cardboard blocking wine-damaging light and the difference that glass color plays in protecting wine from UV rays. Do people see the word “wine” and just bail? I don’t get it.

Capitol to Capital (and others) are a bit unclear about my beer initiative:
I admire your desire to to educate yourself about beer and maybe understand enjoying it in a different way (if that’s what it is, even?)

It’s all about understanding. There are some beers that I really enjoy. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale, Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA, Celis White, and Anchor Liberty, to name a few. I don’t need people to tell me these are good. But I want to understand what I’m tasting and why. And I really want to be able to identify flaws in beer too. Maybe I need to flush this out a bit more by giving wine examples in the weeks to come. Or perhaps I just need to move forward with the project and it will become more clear in time.

Tonia wants to know why I deviated from the brilliance that is Wolfgang Puck:
I just looked at that recipe. Ridiculously. Decadent. Why no hazelnuts??? (They’re my fav.)

This was just one of a couple dishes I was making for the meal and I was trying to cut down on the amount of work. Everything I made for Thanksgiving contained Wild Turkey, you know, in honor of the holiday. So I made a mint julep sorbet (which served as a palate cleanser between courses) and the bread pudding was accompanied by a chocolate bourbon sabayon.

Jennifer answered her own question about my upcoming plans, but I’ve got one too:
You know the nice thing about beer and cupcakes?

I do. Decent ones can be had for a buck a pop (even though fancy ones can get much more expensive).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mirdreams permalink
    September 7, 2011 11:43 am

    The question of brown glass vs everything else was brought up because you weren’t sure why beer snobs are anti-Heineken. We didn’t bail on the wine post, we were just addressing the question in the context of the beer post.

  2. September 7, 2011 11:24 pm

    Fun blog – my sister turned me on to it.
    One beer I’ve really enjoyed lately (from Capitol to Capitol’s comment) is Blue Point Toasted Lager. And it’s even brewed in New York!

  3. September 8, 2011 5:17 pm

    It’s true… my eyes glaze over when there is talk of wine. But if there’s a spelling error on a menu, I’ll see it from across the room.

    I have since gone back and read the required posts. I had no idea that UV penetration affected wine so much, but it makes sense. Light is just plain evil to all happy beverages.

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