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Ask the Profussor – Farm Life

August 1, 2012

Things are quiet down on the farm. Maybe a little too quiet. In the past few days I’ve found myself on the Twitter trying to create a run on cookie butter at the Trader Joe’s opening, weighing in on what strangers should have for lunch, and deciding if I were a bird what kind of bird would I be.

But I’ve also been hammering out some of the details about the ice cream sandwich showdown with the Saratoga Idiots. And I had a great conversation with Brian Bowden. There are some great pictures on deck for the upcomming Eat This! next week on All Over Albany that have the farm as a thematic backdrop. Don’t tell AOA Greg. I want it to be a surprise.

You would think with all this free time that I’d be able to answer reader questions as they came in. But I haven’t. So here is the regular round up of unanswered questions. Today I give them the response they deserve, because that’s my commitment to you all. All questions, provided they were asked using proper punctuation, eventually get answered.

Now let’s get hopping.

Jenh718 somehow thinks all disgusting fast food is created equal:
You’re calling someone out for going to Dunkin Donuts when this is your reasoning for going to McDonald’s? But…to each his own, you know?

My argument with Dunkin isn’t just that it’s worse than independent options, but it’s also more expensive. That shit is crazy. The menu of items my family chooses from at McDonald’s is ridiculously limited. Here it is in its entirety: Ice cream cones, Sundaes, French Fries, Yogurt & Fruit, Premium Chicken Selects, ketchup, coffee, milk and water. Going to McDonald’s is not based at all on their commercials, but rather the ubiquity of the restaurants.

Kerosena wanted a clarification on the Dunkin’ Donut dust-up:
Did they specifically report buying/eating donuts?

No. But the coffee is just as bad if not worse. You know, as I think about it, there’s actually nothing redeemable there at all.

frangrit is trying to nail me down:
When you say, “I imagine Baba Louie’s might be able to scratch an itch,” does that mean that you recommend Baba Louie’s? Or that you’ve heard good things, etc., but have never been?

I’ve heard good things from people I trust, but I have yet to go.

Jessica M. Pasko on the subject of wine bars:
On the other hand, there isn’t exactly a lot of competition in that category. I’ve been away for a bit, but what others are there?

Besides the one is Saratoga? In theory The Ginger Man has the tools, but last time I checked they were out of service. Mio Vino claims to be a wine bar, but I have yet to go. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with the one being developed in Troy.

Chucko3 was perplexed by Metroland’s Best Pizza pick:
Also, like Emperor, they always anoint Fireside in Schenectady best pizza. Well since they haven’t been open this year, closing sometime in 2011, how do you rate them Best Pizza in Schenectady for 2012?

I’ve had Fireside in the TOP and a bunch of other picks from Metroland in the past. They have a strange notion about what makes a good pizza pie. Maybe one day I’ll get the chance to sit down and talk with them about it.

Kayla is psyching herself up for shopping local:
We could, and should, get our butts to local farmer’s markets. Perhaps this weekend after breakfast at AGB? :)

Maybe. I think I’m the outlier on this one, but I prefer the fall and winter markets to the summer ones. I really do think the fall vegetables and winter storage crops are some of the things that our region produces best: great potatoes, carrots, cabbage, beets, winter squash, celery root, and onions In addition of course to our apples. Which we may not get this year because of the early thaw and subsequent frosts.

AddiesDad asks a strange question, but I’ve got the answer:
Saratoga Farmer’s Market, Elihu Farm, because their lamb is amazing, so how couldn’t their eggs be equally amazing?

Because sheep are mammals, and they don’t lay eggs.

AddiesDad really wants to get me to Putnam’s Cheese Cave:
Let me rephrase this: Can I assist you in scheduling a tour of the cheese cave?

Absolutely. My email is danielb at fussylittleblog dot com and I’m booked pretty solid through August. But we can talk scheduling off-line.

Matt wanted a ruling on a technicality:
I get a dozen every week through my Denison Farm CSA. Does that count as “buying” them?

If you give Denison Farm money, and they give you eggs, that’s an exchange of currency for goods or services. I believe that is commonly referred to as “buying” or “purchasing.” But you still didn’t win.

Taraneh must think that it never hurts to ask:
Can I please win?

Yes you can. But you didn’t. Sorry. is a capricious algorithm. Maybe next time.

Megan didn’t realize what was missing from her equation:
Lamb from Foster Sheep farm in Schuylerville. Pick up yarn AND lamb? Yes Please.

Sheep are also great dairy animals. If you could get yarn, lamb, cheese, milk and yogurt, then you would have my attention. Can’t eat yarn.

foodiemom must think I’m clairvoyant:
I had the most amazing ice cream sandwich at NWBB Bar too. Creme Anglais was involved, need I say more?

Yes. Yes, you do. Look. I don’t mean to sound like a dick. But the above statement tells me nothing, except that something which is supposed to be eaten with one hand mysteriously is paired with a classic dessert sauce. Maybe it was amazing. But I don’t accept platitudes without support. If you eat something amazing, I want to know about it. I really do. However I expect you to spell it out for me in detail after lascivious detail. It’s to die for? Really? Why? Convince me. Please.

KB @ Home Baked Happiness is going to make me get all philosophical:
Is it really hurting the chicken if you eat the egg it was going to lay anyway, or drink the milk that’s already there for the taking? The animal still lives either way.

Well that depends. If the chicken was debeaked so that it could live on a factory egg farm without cutting into profits, that’s hurting the chicken. If that chicken is considered to be an egg laying machine and not a sentient being, and it forced to live in a cage stacked below other chickens, never seeing the sun, and being fed a diet that includes rendered cow and antibiotics, that’s hurting the chicken. You buying its eggs is creating a market for eggs produced in such a manner. If you and others like you make a decision to shift your spending to more ethically produced eggs, producers will notice and change to adapt to market conditions. Plus the more efficient the factory, the younger it kills their hens to keep productivity up. So don’t think buying eggs isn’t killing chickens. Because all except the smallest family farms and backyard egg producers, culling goes hand in hand with laying.

Burnt My Fingers is coming up with side projects for me:
It doesn’t really say how diet soda makes you fat. More research is needed, by you, don’t you think? (that is a question)

As far as I’m concerned there is a line. On one side of the line is food. On the other side is stuff that resembles food. Where refined sugar falls in relation to that line is an interesting question. But it’s one I really don’t want to think about because I don’t actually want to know the answer. Diet soda on the other hand is easy to classify. I’ll let the scientists do further research. But fundamentally, it’s not food. And one should not be surprised should health problems occur when it’s consumed in significant quantities,

KB @ Home Baked Happiness has a question about taste:
Do they really need to make a less-sweet soda, necessarily? Or couldn’t they just cut some of the sugar, cut some of the acidity they add and have it come out tasting about the same?

Cutting back on the sugar and the acid in the right amounts would produce a drink that had the same perceived level of sweetness. However that’s not to say it would taste the same. It would be missing its acidic bite, which would totally change its flavor profile. In wine terms we would call something like that flabby. It would be sweet without any balancing tartness.

Mr. Dave who finds crazy things all the time is surprised about something:
Isn’t it funny that they are trying to do the same sort of thing (calorie reduction) with American style beer? I drank one of those “64.5″ calorie jobbers (or whatever they are) and it gave me a headache.

I’ve never understood light beer. But it’s not surprising.

Capitol to Capital really really loves eggs and needs a miracle:
I want a backyard chicken connection. Who can I pay for eggs???

This sounds like a good use for Craigslist. Or maybe you’ll get lucky and someone who knows someone will post something here. If you have eggs for Cap2Cap and don’t feel like sharing your email address with everyone, feel free to email me directly, and I will pass it along to her. This lady loves eggs, so if you have extra, please consider helping her out.

KB @ Home Baked Happiness was wondering what happened to Albany Jane:
Hey wait… she moved her blog and didn’t tell anybody beforehand?

She’s got a whole new design and everything. You can see it at but that still doesn’t change the fact she is posting less frequently these days. Grr. At least I can still sometimes convince her to come out on food outings.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Bill permalink
    August 1, 2012 9:11 am

    I grew up with Dunkin Donuts as a staple. It was also the benchmark for really good coffee. Over the years, and especially so over the last five years, they have gone downhill. Their prices are insanely high for what you’re getting. Their food is no longer made on-sight. (Remember when they’d crack open an actual egg for your breakfast sandwich?) Today everything is pre-cooked, pre-formed, and undoubtedly loaded with preservatives. The shops near me don’t even make donuts on sight. The best part of going there as a kid and young adult was smelling the cooling donuts as soon as you walked in the door. And the “coffee” now is nothing more than tan bitter water. The only time I ever stop at a Dunkin Donuts now is late at night when I am mobile and need a coffee to stay awake, and all other options are closed.

  2. August 1, 2012 11:58 am

    Dunkin has one good thing on the menu — the turkey sausage and egg white Wake-Up Wraps. By “good” in this case, I mean “reasonably healthy, fairly cheap, decent-tasting and a good option when you need a grab-and-go meal” — I don’t go to Dunkin except when I’m headed somewhere on a road trip and need a really quick, effortless breakfast.

  3. August 1, 2012 12:23 pm

    LOL (ok, more of a smile). I’m a lady?! Sure. I really like Baba Louie’s! GIANT SALAD. GIANT PIZZA WITH DELICIOUS THINGS ON IT. I’m having trouble going wrong. I had brunch at the new shmancy place in Hudson and I need to blog about it…

  4. Tonia permalink
    August 1, 2012 1:08 pm

    I agree on the Farmers Markets. I love fall and fall produce. I do love the heirloom tomatoes of summer though. Nothing beats them. NOTHING. Especially right from your own garden.

  5. Stevo permalink
    August 1, 2012 4:03 pm

    Daniel, for the next ask the profussor would you mind giving me some restaurant recommendations?

    I will be going to SF the last week of August. I will be attending a conference at the Moscone Center. I am open to any kind of place, hole in the wall or sophisticated, doesn’t matter. I have no preferences really, I just want to experience some good food. Keep in mind I will be on foot, so they need to be within walking distance of the Moscone Center or be easy to get to via public transportation. I’ll be eating lunch at the conference so dinner recommendations only please. Also, as my employer is paying, I can’t spend too much. Entrées priced in the low to mid 20s is about the limit.


  6. servedx1 permalink
    August 1, 2012 4:56 pm

    D: love the sarcasm and honesty in your answers! Best yet, keep on w/ this vein

  7. August 1, 2012 6:31 pm

    Can you believe I not only clicked on the link and watched the very funny video, but then went to find the original review to confirm it wasn’t one of yours?!

  8. August 2, 2012 9:06 am

    Hey Daniel – I had a really interesting conversation the other day with another foodie about which was more important to search for when shopping – local or organic. Obviously both would be preferable but that’s not always the case in grocery stores or even farmers markets sometimes. What do you think? Want to give your two cents on the next Ask the Professor?

  9. silver price permalink
    August 8, 2012 9:21 pm

    Using your fingers, form indention into the kale. This will hold your egg — so if you want more cooked eggs, you can make the indention smaller (it will be more likely to run through the kale). If you want less done eggs, make the indention bigger (so it will be more likely to stay put and not break).

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