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AskTP – Call Me Tubbs

November 21, 2012

January is when people are committed to taking off their winter weight. Right? It’s why all the good Jazzercize classes are filled to capacity and sales of “6-Minute Abs” go through the roof.

Logically that means now is the time to pack on the winter weight. Oh boy. And life just got a little bit more dangerous with the grand opening of The Cheese Traveler. In the past, it’s been easy to be good because there was less tempting food around to eat. Now, it’s a whole different ballgame.

But that’s a worry for January.

Today we feast. And by today, I mean tomorrow. And for me, really it’s Saturday. But you get the idea. Today we are actually answering reader questions that accumulated over the past two weeks. Sometimes I’m good, and answer them right away. But most of the time I’m bad and put off for tomorrow what I could do today.

However, I’m committed to answering every question asked in the comments just so long as it includes proper punctuation. So here is a roundup of those that slipped through the cracks. Now, without any further ado, onto the questions.

addiesdad might be trying to make me cry:
What do you think of the recent chef exits at the Flying Chicken and Creo? I’m especially surprised Brian Bowden leaving Creo as I thought he was doing great things there. Thoughts?

I’m totally broken up about it. I really like Josh and Brian, and I thought both were elevating the food at their respective restaurants. I spoke to Josh recently about his future plans, and they sound really exciting. Hopefully they come to pass, and soon. I don’t know what’s going on at Creo, but I heard a rumor that the new General Manager just resigned.

Barbara thinks I’m a woman:
Dear Ms. Fussy,
I am curious, do you know what kind of Wild Pollock fillets Dr. Prager’s fish sticks uses? I wasn’t able to find the specific type, or where it was caught, which all makes a difference when making sustainable choices. I ask because I would like to make sure I’m not purchasing items with Iceland caught fish that seafood watch recommends consumers AVOID due to trawling practices. Thanks in advance for any insight!

Mrs. Fussy is my wife. You can call me Daniel. Now that we’ve clarified that, let’s clear up one more thing. It’s not Icelandic pollock that are the problem. It’s only the ones caught there by trawling. According to your own link, there are also fish caught in the island nation’s waters by the Set Gillnet method, which is fine. Honestly, I do not know where or how the fish Dr. Prager uses meet their end. However, the way I make my decisions is based on the odds. Most of the pollock options are okay. So if you like these fish sticks, I’d continue eating them, content in the notion that your seafood choices aren’t causing nearly as much harm as they could.

Burnt My Fingers is asking me a music question:
The Stones have not penned a new song in what, 30 years?

Actually, as luck would have it, The Stones just released two new songs this summer, “Doom and Gloom” and “One More Shot.”

Jenna C. is spoiled:
I recently went out to eat at one of the places you mentioned, paid the upcharge for the real stuff and I thought for a brief moment as I was eating, “Huh, this is real maple syrup?” I then remembered I’ve been spoiled by the Grade B stuff and chalked it up to that.

Exactly. The thing is, that if the restaurant only served real maple syrup, it’s unlikely you would be doubting the authenticity of the syrup you actually received.

Pirate Jeni wants to BYOS:
Personally, I have no issue paying more for the real stuff, if it’s quality real stuff. I have been charged an extra $1.00 but would happily pay $2-3 for real maple syrup. I understand the food costs etc. I wonder how they would feel if I brought my own in?

It probably depends on how sneaky you are with the bottle. But syrup always drips. And at the end of breakfast, the last thing I would want to is pack up a sticky bottle to bring back home. Still, I know that there are others who engage in the practice.

Britin F. has a theory on watery syrup:
Nick keeps the syrup in his steam table for service – is it possible the syrup the reader got was warm, and therefore more thin than if served at room temp or cold (we store ours cold)?

I suppose that’s a possibility too. But my hunch is simply that as an agricultural product, there is a significant variation in taste and texture between batches.

jenh718 thinks I picked the lesser of two evils:
The problem is with places that can’t even be bothered to offer it for an upcharge and only have the fake stuff. Those places I take issue with. Assuming I want some synthetic version of a natural food? What other assumptions are you making with the ingredients used in the food you serve me?

There are a lot of examples of similar items, and I wonder where you draw the line. I’d argue that even “quality” orange juice like Tropicana are still synthetic versions of a natural food given their use of flavor packs to create a consistent taste batch to batch. But I went to a diner that didn’t have packets of butter, only buttery spread. It was shocking.

LB was prescient when she wrote the following question:
Do we get extra points for wearing a pig costume to Different Drummer’s?
I’m not sure whether I’m free, and I don’t have a pig costume. I just want to check.

Funny you should mention that. I didn’t quite get the joke because I don’t watch Bob’s Burgers. But Randy, one of the other finalists, donned a hat that resembled pig ears to me. She didn’t get any extra points, but she did get her picture in the Times Union. So she’s got that going for her, which is nice.

Burt made a plea for Beaujolais Nouveau:
OK about white wines…but…this time of year at least try one bottle of nouveau. This year there will be a shortage as I understand the weather hurt the grapes. The Japanese are purchasing enough to fill spa tubes up to bathe!?

A shortage, I’m unsure about. I remember the great champagne “shortage” of 2000 that never came to pass, although I do concede that the yields of the region were half that of the prior vintage. Now onto the question at hand, if the Japanese want to bathe in it, that’s fine with me. In fact, I find it preferable to the stories I hear about folks in China mixing first growth bordeaux with soda.

Burnt My Fingers has a two-fer with a follow up, making him this week’s winner:
Are you planning a series of “cooking for dummies” classes for folks like the fellow who thought making hot chocolate from scratch was too complicated? That’s a worthy endeavor but I bet it will be a challenge convincing people who think they can’t cook or that it’s not worth the bother that they can, and it is. Please keep us posted on your progress in merchandising this. Well, I guess you will, won’t you?
Fussy’s challenge is harder because that guy who doesn’t know how to make hot chocolate also doesn’t want to learn. What to do about that?

Here’s the nut. When asked if I were interested in teaching a cooking class, I told the manager at DDK the story about the hot cocoa, and expressed my interest for teaching a class on the very basics. My question like yours was, “Is this even feasible?” The answer was an enthusiastic, “Yes” with a rejoinder that the store receives lots of requests for Cooking 101 classes, but didn’t seem to have anyone to teach them. Now granted, this might not get me closer to the fellow who was reluctant to learn. However, inspiring others to start off on the right foot is close enough. And as always, I’ll keep you posted.

Mr. Dave needs to understand something about the Profussor:
But it doesn’t matter if you are thin if you don’t do any “meaningful exercise.” You might as well just enjoy yourself and get festively plump. Don’t you live in McKownville? The SUNY loop is almost exactly a 5k (if you run Collins Circle). I’m just saying…

Doesn’t matter? Doesn’t matter! Of course it matters. It may not matter to my cardiovascular health. But it matters in how I feel. And it matters that I can still fit into undergarments that are older than some of my readers. Regardless of where I live, running a 5k isn’t in my DNA. I’ve got flat feet and a deviated septum. Plus I’m convinced that running is awful for your health. My running friends would probably say the exact same thing about not running. As far as I can tell that’s a stalemate. So we agree to disagree, and head over to The City Beer Hall for an ice cream sandwich.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Elyse permalink
    November 21, 2012 11:11 am


  2. November 21, 2012 11:38 am

    When I saw your entry title, I went here (don’t know if that was intended or not):

  3. November 21, 2012 2:03 pm

    Oh come now, the human body (maybe not yours, but in general) is almost purpose built for running long distances… . Read this – We used to run down our prey. In any event, the article is a sobering look at the sorry state of human physicality.

    It is just that being a normal weight, but metabolically obese, is a dangerous situation (not that this is your situation, just in general). You can eat all the healthful food you want but it isn’t going to save you from a sedentary life style.

  4. November 26, 2012 12:22 pm

    icecream sandwich at city beer hall! I’m in….running sucks and I do it all the time.

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