Skip to content

AskTP – Snowy Spring

March 21, 2013

Sure, there is snow on the ground and it may not feel like spring. I’m just happy I didn’t jump the gun and remove my snow tires before this last storm. The roads were icy yesterday morning.

We have more new people here today than usual. So I’ll take a moment to explain the semi-regular feature Ask the Profussor or AskTP for short. Despite people’s natural tendency to call me Mr. Fussy, I answer to no such name. That is someone else’s intellectual property and I am neither green nor sport a mustache. Instead, you are welcome to call me the Profussor.

The entire enterprise of this blog is intended to help people out. And sometimes people have questions. So I’ve committed to answering every question asked in the comments thread of the FLB just as long as it contains a question mark. After all, without proper punctuation it isn’t a question but a statement. Right? Right.

However, I’m terrible at answering questions in a timely way. So every couple of weeks, usually on a Wednesday, I’ll look back on all the unanswered questions and get them all answered in one marathon session. Oh, and it may seem like all the links to the questions are dodgy. Don’t be alarmed. That’s just the mystery link of the day.

Now that that’s all settled, onto the questions.

Burnt My Fingers is actually asking about the intellectual property of bread:
I was responding to your post about Monsanto and legal protection against a farmer who keeps some of the seeds grown with a patented seed stock to use next year instead of purchasing fresh seeds. You said that was a no-no. If seeds are protected, what about sourdough starter? I purchased it fair and square as pizza dough, then converted it to starter. Is using that a no-no too?

If the pizza dough was patented, and if you were compelled to sign a technology license agreement before you were allowed to buy the dough, and that license permitted you to only bake the dough into a crust for the purposes of pizza, then converting it to a starter would be a no-no. However, since that pizza dough didn’t require a biotechnology lab and millions of dollars in research and development to produce; and since that pizza dough wasn’t a patentable form of life, please feel free to use your starter with reckless abandon.

And by reckless abandon, I mean baking a miche for moi. I’ll even drive up to Saratoga to fetch it. Maybe buy you breakfast at Compton’s.

RVGB has done an admirable job in finding common ground:
I agree that if we were to let the 9 billion+ animals live out their natural lives we would face severe ecological hardships but not breeding animals and fattening them up with hormones only to to force them to sit in cages and pens until their days of reckoning would certainly solve that problem, no?

I agree. There are far too many animals being bred for slaughter. However, that’s easier said than done. As far as I see it, the only way to make it happen is to drastically reduce the demand for CAFO meat. That means getting people to wake up to the reality of their pepperoni pizzas, turkey sandwiches and holiday hams. That, my friend, is what I’m trying to do in my own fussy little way.

Stanford Steph is seeking to split shares in Schenectady:
Anyone interested in sharing a Roxbury share?

Come on people. Splitting shares makes a ton of sense. Look at a calendar, sit down with your sharing partner, and agree on a set of weeks. Cherry pick the dates you want. Schedule around vacations. Give yourself a few weeks off from the onslaught of produce. It’s a great way to dip your toe into the waters of CSA life.

Actually, I’d love to split a share with someone, because the end of my summer is going to be a bit tumultuous. And sadly it’s keeping me out of the CSA this year. If Steph lived in Albany, I’d share with her in an instant. She’s good people.

Theresa518 probably didn’t think about the fact that waste comes in many forms:
I am curious about the size of an average weekly share. Is it a reasonable amount that could be used during the week without fear of waste?

I suspect you are talking about wasting produce. And every piece of wilted kale or moldy pepper from the CSA that has deteriorated while in my charge is heartbreaking. I totally understand. There can be a lot of vegetables that come in every week. So many that it’s hard to justify ever going out to a restaurant. The guilt of letting the veggies sit another day unused is just too great.

However, waste can be reframed in financial terms. When you look at it this way, even letting half of the veggies rot still probably ends up saving you money in the long term. Good vegetables are expensive at the farmers market. I’ve found the value of the Roxbury CSA to be quite impressive.

Waste can also be seen as a wasted opportunity. The food from my CSA was so good. And it was inspiring to get vegetables I might not otherwise buy and find delicious ways of preparing them. Without the CSA we never would have stumbled upon the glory of escalivada.

-R really has a thing against Clifton Park:
Who the fuck goes to Clifton Park for anything? Do you remember Shades of Green of Lark St.? Before your time? The best pure vegetarian food this area has ever seen, in my opinion. And although AGB pleases me, it hits a different note.

I’m guessing that means you missed out on those amazing pancakes from the Jonesville store. There’s also Matt’s Cape House, Harbor House, and the Country Drive-In. The Rusty Nail has its fans, as does Giffy’s. All I’m saying is that there is indeed good stuff most everywhere. Sometimes it’s hard to see it. Trust me on this.

Shades of Green on Lark was indeed before my time. The other place I like to go for pure vegetarian food is Parivar. That is assuming you are aren’t using pure as a synonym for clean or sustainable. Parivar may not deliver on those grounds, but it’s another place where one can eat vegetarian and never miss the meat.

Mr. Dave in response to -R’s tirade against Clifton Park involved a bit of self mockery:
Why go to Delmar?

For Swifty’s deep fried hamburger, of course. Cooked rare. With fries and extra Buffalo sauce on the side. And a beer. From a bottle. Poured into a glass.

Chad’z Adventures somehow missed the point, so I’ll try it one more time:
But anyway, if I’m reading you right you’re saying your beef with Olive Garden is that they claim so many of their dishes to be “authentic” Italian and they are not? Fair enough. But I’d say that’s true even of the local Italian restaurant too since, as the article says, there’s no spaghetti and meatballs in Italy.

Olive Garden claims the entire enterprise is “Tuscan Inspired.” The only way that’s true is that their executives go to Tuscany, and while there the corporate chefs are inspired to invent dishes that appeal to their consumers’ Italian-American sensibilities. But fundamentally, it’s deceptive.

Local Italian restaurants make no claim to trying to bring the classic flavors of Tuscany to their diners. Most of them proudly proclaim their Italian-American cuisine. It’s red sauce and cheese, with pasta served on the side of practically everything. And like anything else, great versions of this cuisine exist and should be cherished. I love a good chicken parm as much as the next person.

If this is still confusing, go and watch the first scene of The Big Night and we can discuss.

addiesdad unloaded two weeks worth of questions in one comment:
Any thoughts on the recent “Best Chefs” book and list? Does it seem odd (a more cynical person might suggest suspicious) that a couple of local, Brand Name Restaurant chefs were named “Best”, but some of our most promising up and comers weren’t included? Two chefs from Maestro’s? Really? Jason Baker is amazing, but how much cooking for the average diner is he doing these days? Three chefs from Mazzone? Dale Miller from Sperry’s (I’d be shocked if he knew Sperry’s was if I hadn’t seen him sharing a cocktail with guests on Sperry’s patio in the middle of service)? Some day someone is going to have to educate me on the brilliance that is Hattie’s, ’cause I just don’t get it.?

I would agree that the “Best Chefs” is just another version of “Who’s Who in America.” Like some of the chefs who made the list, I think it’s prudent just to ignore it. But damn, that’s some indictment of Dale Miller. It sounds like someone has a story to share. With any luck I’ll be making my way to Hattie’s after Passover, so I promise to keep you posted if I get any brilliant insights.

Chef Paul may be interested in some of my magic beans:
Finally, did you say chana masala? That is one of my absolute favorite Indian dishes. That with some warm nan to slop it up. I no longer have time to make my own chana masala, so I am looking for suggestions on “the best in Albany” for this dish? Send me in the right direction please???

Honestly, I find it hard to order chana massala out anymore now that I cook it at home. Mrs. Fussy continues to think it’s one of the best things I make. But if I’m not eating my own, I’m most likely eating the chana at Parivar. Perhaps there are better examples of the dish in Albany, but I just can’t bear to pay a lot for something that costs pennies to make.

-R is in rare form this week:
Barnes isn’t really writing about anything anymore – I mean, how much effort does it take to post, “X restaurant featuring Y for Easter” twenty times on his blog?

Doing anything twenty times takes effort. But I don’t envy the poor man. Have you ever read the comments he receives? It’s painful. I feel incredibly lucky and very thankful for all the thoughtful and generally respectful commentary that happens here on the FLB. Of all the food blogs in the area, I think I totally have the best readers. Thank you. Thank you all.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Theresa518 permalink
    March 21, 2013 8:32 am

    I am reaching out to the CSA today!

  2. March 21, 2013 10:22 am

    I guess it’s like that Mitch Hedberg joke. “The movie wasn’t based on real life events, it was just inspired by real life events. My friend said: Mitch did you hear about that woman that drowned all her kids in the lake? Yes I did, and that inspired me to write a story about a gorilla!”

  3. March 21, 2013 11:14 am

    My husband and I just had a great breakfast/brunch at a new little start-up, husband and wife team, called “Infinity Cafe” in North Troy that opened last October. It’s right on the Hudson and is kid-friendly. Their prices are more than reasonable. They make there own sausage and everything from scratch. All homemade, and cooked in front of you. Thought I’d share with everyone as we have been looking for a good breakfast place nearby….

  4. March 21, 2013 11:16 am

    I think I may have given up on the CSA dream, but I’m still game if someone is looking to share. I’m considering Field Goods right now as an option. They do pick ups at fin, which would give me an excuse to go there and get more fish into my diet.

  5. March 21, 2013 11:21 am

    It would behoove anyone who gets a CSA to learn how to can/freeze/preserve. It is stupid easy. I cracked open a quart of Roxbury Farm CSA corn and peppers this week to make tacos, and still have loads and loads of parsley, basil and green beans in my freezer. You can have amazing food year round with a surprisingly small amount of effort. =)

  6. March 21, 2013 1:19 pm

    Here’s a note from John Laposta on the “Best Chef’s” book, posted on TableHopping:
    As a Chef on the list I will confirm the entire process was very odd. Most of their calls did not get to me as they were screened as unsolicited sales calls.
    The only way I finally spoke to them was by actually answering one of the calls when it came in. I point blank asked the gentleman if this was some type of scam to sell me something. He assured me that it was totally above board.
    Since being in the book I receive constant emails to purchases plaques, patches, etc. While it is always nice to have your name in positive print I do not believe this book is in any way a comprehensive or well researched representation of the Best Chefs in America. Just my opinion.

  7. March 21, 2013 4:35 pm

    You’re on, Mr. F–I mean Profussor. Just name the date, giving me a couple days notice because it takes that long to make a miche.

  8. albanylandlord permalink
    March 23, 2013 12:54 pm

    Stanford Steph mentioned the FieldGoods “CSA” which is an option for those who don’t want to commit to 20+ straight weeks of food from a traditional CSA. You can jump in and out as often as you want from a website. Even do every other week. Would this be a good fit good fit for you Profussor? My main motivation is to pickup from Fin (there are many other sites) as it is nice and close to me. I actually enjoy being drowned in veggies and don’t expect to take any off weeks unless we are gone for the whole week.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: