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AskTP – Thankful

November 26, 2014

This is the season for giving thanks. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. The only day some people will sit down to eat a meal with their family all year. The day people cook food from scratch. The day that people fret about pairing wine with their meal. The day that people overwhip their cream (and send it hurtling towards butter, well past the silky soft peaks that complement a beautiful slice of pumpkin pie).

My family and I have already started our annual argument over the whipped cream. And I’m happy to take all their criticisms about its silky texture and restrained sweetness. All I really care about is the stuffing.

Tomorrow, the FLB will have its traditional Thanksgiving post. But before we settle into the holiday season, it’s probably a good idea to take care of some housekeeping. I’m sitting on a pile of questions that have been asked in the comments section of the blog. And dammit, I’ve made a commitment to answer them. You know, just so long as they include a question mark.

Don’t forget about the mystery link of the day. It’s there for two reasons. One, to make it easier to scan the long list of questions. Two, if you get tired of my shenanigans, you’ve got a convenient way to read something much more interesting. Or maybe not. You’ll have to click and see.

Now, without further ado, onto the questions.

Mister Dave may not realize that only a true hipster would call themselves an anti-hipster:
Hipster? I am pretty much the anti-hipster… In any event, I do have 5 gallons of apple cider vinegar doing its thing in my basement. A lot of switchel is in my future.

You cannot win, my good sir. So just grab your jug of switchel, dig a pickle out of your brine and enjoy your smoked meats while considering your next avant garde project which will help people see the ordinary in new and unusual ways.

Jack C. had a practical question about the Tour de Donut that won’t get a practical answer:
When do you think it’ll end?

The Tour de Donut will end on that cold dark day when apples can no longer grow in the Capital Region and we can no longer rejoice in the bounty of this fruit’s juices. And even then, the tour may not die, but only shift to some other flavor of donut. People love their donuts, and this tour is always a ton of fun.

Linds was curious about one of the shops that didn’t make the cut:
What about Nibble Inc in Troy?

I could put the question back on you. Which donut shop should I have left off this year’s tour to make room for Nibble? I wanted to hit the classics, so that meant Bella Napoli and Schuyler. Cider Belly is also new, but cider donuts are their thing. That’s all they do. Yonder Farm is the #1 pick on Yelp for cider donuts, and it turned out their were very special indeed. And just last year Kristy’s Barn got rated #1 by the Times Union. There are still a few more we haven’t tried. Maybe there’s a way to get one more round in before tackling a Tournament of Champions. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Marianne Russell had a question that goes all the way back to Halloween:
What candy did you end up getting?

Heath bars, Milky Ways, and Nerds. I blame the Heath bars on TC Paris because I tried their toffee and needed a fix. The Heath bars were a poor, poor substitution. But they scratched the itch. I need to get up to Saratoga and spend some quality time with chef Paul.

KB @ Home-Baked Happiness had some thoughts on the tastemaker nominations:
I vote Rory from Comfort Kitchen — locally-sourced, fresh, homemade, awesome food, at an affordable price? Yes, please! We need more of this.

That happens to be my favorite price for locally-sourced, fresh, homemade, awesome food. Yes. We absolutely need more of this. Mrs. Fussy just returned from northern California and has gone back to remarking on how cheap all the good food out there seems in comparison to what we’ve got here.

Ryan H. was a lot less surprised that the orchard didn’t do better on the tour:
Sacrilege? No way. Don’t send a farmer to do a baker’s job. We get most of our produce from Kristy’s Barn at our local farmer’s market, and we love them. But I just don’t think it’s possible to be the best at both farming and baking.

He does make a good point. I love this guy.

Cyril asks the obvious question, and I actually have the answer:
How do you even pronounce their name? Ef X 3? Fit Food Fast? F times 3?

Eff – ex – THREE

theresa518 is just as surprised as I am at the question:
Broadcast television? Sorry, I’ve got nothing. There are a couple of shows that are fantastic but not the type of shows that you could watch for one episode and appreciate them.

It’s kind of amazing to think of all the infrastructure we have in place for this outdated technology? I mean, there are HDTV transmitters all over the country. I mean, we’re talking 210 DMAs. And I’m pretty sure that each local station still needs to have one. That’s a lot of steel and energy for something that most people are just getting over cable or the internet.

Sarah is similarly perplexed by this ancient technology:
Jane the Virgin (new this year, so should be easy to catch up) is great. That’s on the CW, which I think is regular broadcast? Everything else I can think of (like the Good Wife) is too well-established to enjoy jumping in on. Brooklyn 99 is ok.

I think it is too. Although I suppose it’s possible that the CW switched over to being a cable network in the face of declining ratings.

Maeve had her thoughts on our local tastemakers:
Has anyone considered The Ginger Man wine bar and restaurant? …As for the family that ownes it, wasn’t the Ginger Man the first wine bar in the area? Talk about tastemaker! Wine bar on lark, wine bar in Saratoga, confectionary in troy…..these places wouldnt exist if (I think the ginger man has been opened for 30 years) hadn’t opened and paved the way for wine lovers everywhere.

I want to get in there for their deep fried Monte Christo. Damn that looks good. But years ago when I went into the Ginger Man, their fancy wine dispenser system was just for display. I was told it hadn’t worked for years. Yes, they had a lot of wines, but a lot of wines does not a wine bar make. As far as I’m concerned, the Confectionery is the only actual wine bar around. Those may be fighting words, but I’m willing to duke it out.

Burnt My Fingers was wondering where the front line was in the great burger war:
“there’s a place for both In-N-Out and Five Guys”. And what place would that be? Las Vegas, actually. And I dare you to eat first at In-N-Out then go to Five Guys. I don’t think you’d be able to choke down that vastly inferior product.

Spoken like a true left coaster. All I know is that both chains exist in Tempe, Arizona. I noticed this a few years ago in my travels. The funny thing is that I had assumed Five Guys would totally trounce In-N-Out. But then I revisited the double-double animal style. Let’s just say that each has a special place in my arteries.

Burnt My Fingers never struck me as the kind of guy who cleans his skillet:
I am assuming you threw your skillet in the garbage can afterward? Otherwise, you should include clean-up time in your spreadsheet.

Clean it? I leave mine dirty on the stove and give it a wipe when I need it next. Or, if Mrs. Fussy is around, I might hide it dirty in the oven.

Weenie Girl knows how to play this game:
Here’s something I came across. I’d love to know your opinion.
http://lifehacker.com/go-ahead-and-use-soap-to-clean-your-cast-iron-pan-1658416503
Here’s your question mark so you’ll recognize this as a question…?

Yeah. I know. But I still don’t do it. Old habits die hard. And why use soap when you really don’t have to for it to come clean?

julieovaltrades is wondering about a strange sounding ingredient in food:
Isn’t ‘modified’ food starch something that’s no bueno? When modified is in the list of ingredients of food I usually put it back on the shelf thinking that it’s bad for me.

You should feel great about closely reading food labels. Even when I read them carefully, every now and again something unexpected sneaks through. Modified food starches, however are relatively benign. Whole Foods Market permits them in their stores. Should you want to read up on this further, Bob’s Red Mill published an interesting story on the ingredient.

Nicole K. hasn’t lived the life of a food blogger for a while:
What? No mention of the delightful, witty, interesting staff at this monthly tiptoe through the breakfast?

It’s true. Not everyone likes to be mentioned on the blog. I’ve been learning this over time the hard way. But she’s right. The staff was delightful, witty and interesting. And you should totally check out the next Rock & Roll Brunch at The Low Beat.

albanylandlord also has tried this increasingly locally famous monthly brunch spot:
I went last time based on your recommendation. I really enjoyed the food. A lot. I was very disappointed by the music though, it wasn’t anything near what I expected for a rock-n-roll brunch. There was no music at all until 1pm maybe? And then a guy with an acoustic. I liked him but rock-n-roll it wasn’t. It was especially frustrating because I tried ahead of time to find out about the music, even posting a question on the facebook page and calling, but nobody seemed to know. Based on that one visit, this definitely shouldn’t be called a rock n roll brunch – just brunch.

Looking at Josh’s menus, I always assumed Rock-n-Roll Brunch was a description of the food. There’s music?

Zena, Goddess of Fire probably isn’t trying to get me riled up:
Indictment or not, a riot was going to happen and everyone knew it – either from anger or glee. What kills me is why in the name of Zeus did they have to announce the decision at 8:00 p.m.??? Why not 8:00 a.m. when most people are sober, on their way to work, dropping the kids off of school, and the sun in high in the sky?

My understanding is that if the Ferguson PD doesn’t use the military gear, the military will take it back. I mean, they can only serve so many warrants a week. By calling for a state of emergency before anything ever happened, the city had been fanning the flames of a riot for days.

Billy is wondering what’s going on here at the FLB:
Is this a food blog or a political blog? Daniel, your political insights are not nearly as interesting as your insights into food. Stick to what you do best.

Yes. Yes it is. I’m sorry you don’t think my political insights are all that interesting. And I wish it were within my power to separate food from politics, but it’s not. I’ve written about farm policy, food labeling, the understaffing of regulatory agencies, federal standards of identity, national food recalls, and a host of other politically fueled food topics including hunger and poverty. Even the story about Rolf’s had to do with how public schools are failing when it comes to teaching our kids about food. Yes, the Ferguson story had less to do with food, but I was still able to make one connection. It’s just hard to write about something light and indulgent when we’re gassing our own citizens.

Dora apparently enjoys more than just sustainable seafood:
Awesome meal, Daniel! And, an excellent education for young Master Fussy. :) Have you two ever tried the leberkase? Just fantastic, especially if it is warm from the oven.

I’m a fan of the leberkase. It may have been my first bite of anything at Rolf’s.

MikeH could use a nudge:
In full disclosure I love my wife’s sauce with meatballs but it isn’t the Sunday gravy I am looking for – Her, “Why in the world would you put pork ribs in spaghetti sauce?”

Full disclosure: I’ve never put pork ribs in the spaghetti sauce. But as I sit here and contemplate the richness and flavor that ribs would bring, that makes me question everything I thought I knew. Nice.

One Comment leave one →
  1. enough already! permalink
    November 26, 2014 2:18 pm

    When you get a rack, save the small end with a few ribs to throw into the sauce. Freeze them till needed if necessary. You won’t want sauce any other way after that. Yum…

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