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AskTP – Part One of X

February 18, 2015

So far the new job hasn’t gotten in the way of my daily posting schedule. That’s good news. But it seems to have made my ability to answer all of the questions that have collected in the comments section of the FLB take a disastrous turn.

I may have to start doing the unthinkable and answering questions when they arise. Egads.

Now is not the time for looking forward. Now is the time to look back. And I’m going to try and get through as many of these as possible, but some of these questions go all the way back to December. Yikes. Don’t forget to check out the mystery link of the day, which today not only serves as a line of demarcation between questions, but will also lead you to a very special local giveaway.

Just know that whatever we don’t get to today, will be picked up again very shortly. Hopefully this week, but no promises. Now, without any further ado, on to the questions.

Mike H. had some thoughts on the standing rib roast:
Have you seen the reverse sear method on Serious Eats? I think I am going to give it a try with our next roast.

I am, and it was one that I had also considered. However, given the success of the set it and forget it approach–and the joy it brought my father-in-law–I suspect we’ll be sticking to the new tried and true.

Dee may have been trying to communicate in code:
What is the last ingredient D002H on Grape Nuts?

Folic acid. I hear that’s great for you. Actually, it’s the reason I try to eat as much foie gras as I can. Which reminds me, I haven’t had nearly enough lately.

Mike isn’t so pleased with the changes for the better at Subway:
So what Subway is saying is that they are finally giving us chicken with no preservatives, and they advertise it like we should be happy??! Thanks Subway for feeding me shit chicken for the last 20 years full of preservatives you pricks. Also thanks for removing the “non harmful” yoga mat ingredient from your bread. WTF are we really this stupid?

Yes and yes.

Mr. Dave thinks I’m being inconsistent:
You won’t tolerate calling red lentil hummus “hummus” but you are ok with calling an apple brandy that is objectively not applejack “applejack?” Are we being selectively fussy? I remember you mentioned you were aware of the false title in a previous post, but where is the outrage?

Jack C. would seem to agree with Mr. Dave:
If you want to be super fussy (Fussier Little Blog?), applejack should really be made by applying the jacking process to cider – i.e., freeze distillation. Evaporative distillation is a different process. Laird’s is neither, as you say, so why the h-e-double-hockey-sticks do we call it applejack? Why does Budweiser call their new swill “Lime-a-Rita” when it’s made with beer and not tequila? The wide world of alcohol is full of improper nomenclature and miscreants who prey on the ignorance of the masses to shill their swill.

Oh, you two. Technically, you are both right. But a distilled version of applejack isn’t some modern perversion of a classic. According to my source, distilled “applejack” has been around since 1698. Granted, the same source suggests the jacked form of apple cider could have started as early as 1630. But still, 300 years buys a lot of credibility in my book.

-R really isn’t that gross, and I’ve seen him eat:
While I also enjoy a splash or two of malt vinegar, at heart I’m a tartar sauce guy. I usually order an extra to dip my fries in (I know, I know, kind of gross, right?).

I’ve done it too. For me it’s all about my fat tooth. Potatoes poached in oil, then crisped in oil, and then served with an oil and egg emulsion? How can you say no to that? I suppose some people may not be into the relish, and that’s fair. But people eat grosser things every day. You know, like Dunkin’ Donuts. Seriously, who actually prefers their donuts this salty?

Greg K. is indignant over the misrepresentation of the Chicago Dog:
It is similar to me freaking out whenever I see a Chicago Dog on a menu and its not on a poppy seed bun. What the!!? Obviously this is a minor detail – one that probably is imperceptible on the palate because of the heap of other stuff going on – yet it breaks my heart when I see a ‘Chicago Dog’ without it.

I hear you. It’s not a minor detail. It’s part of the package. There are people who try to make lobster rolls on something other than a grilled New England style hot dog bun. There’s a name for people like this. Philistines.

Greg K. might as well have asked me if I built my own car:
Have you tried making your own sprinkles? For your kids, of course. Ive been sitting on a recipe for them for a while – and have seen some high end pastry chefs using them for a while – but Ive never bothered because its somewhat labor intensive.

No. I don’t even bake them cookies. Maybe if they are lucky I’ll make them real hot cocoa once or twice a year. Mostly my kids are terribly deprived of everything except computer programming tools, Barbies, pork buns, soup dumplings, Beyblades, Barbies, granola bars, candy, television, books, art supplies, and fretted instruments.

EPT felt a sense of kinsmanship over how I was eating while Mrs. Fussy was away:
That’s what to do on a bachelors week. I’ll lean toward a LARGE steak, usually with a nice demi glace, wicked rich mashes potatoes and creamed spinach…Hmmm sounds like a steak house dinner, so what’s the problem?

There was no problem per se, it was just that my body is not used to eating such heavy meals. Much like making it through the Super Bowl, I’m kind of amazed that people eat like this on a fairly regular basis.

Sarah M. is one of the FLB readers from the Capital Region in the diaspora:
Mrs. Fussy! Salty Sow?! No bueno! If she’s on that part of Manor Road, Dai Due and East Side Cafe are far better bets, and don’t need to hide their multitudes of sins under piles of bacon.

It’s so nice to have people all over the world looking out for us. Truly. Thank you. I passed on your note to the Mrs. while she was on her travels. It turns out she had some kind of lovely salmon crudo at Salty Sow that wasn’t hidden by bacon. But I was dismayed by how little she ate out while on her trip. No Franklin Barbecue for her. She didn’t even try.

Jennifer (@irisira) has an idea on how I keep my weight in check:
“When people ask me how I can maintain my weight even though I write a weekly donut feature and eat fried foods with reckless abandon, I point to the fiber rich staples of my diet.” – Or just good genes? And no working out, either.

Maybe. Or maybe it’s just balancing eating like a jerk with eating very very responsibly for the vast majority of the week.

Jessica R W also had something to share from Serious Eats:
Someone posted this, and I had to show you. Blasphemy or genius? http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/10/cast-iron-skillet-tortilla-pizza-bar-pie-food-lab.html

I’m going genius. Jon in Albany might fall on the blasphemy side of the fence. But you never know with pizza folk. They always keep you guessing.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2015 10:36 am

    wait…so you didn’t build your own car?

  2. February 18, 2015 11:07 am

    I have read that article you linked before. By the way, I don’t think you can get away with calling any random blogpost a “source”…

    Anyhow, The “jack” in applejack refers directly to the process of “jacking” which is freeze distilling. They probably would have called evaporative distilled stuff “cider spirits” or apple brandy. In fact, that incident in your article where Washington asks Laird for his recipe he asks for the recipe for “cyder spirits” (not applejack) which they left out of the article. Some may have called evaporative distilled apple brandies “applejack” out of convenience or ignorance, but it still would have been a misnomer then as it is now.

    Also, it is interesting to see how class/cultural biases exist into the modern time. That article perpetuates the idea of traditional applejack as rough, low-rent, and potentially dangerous. The truth is if you take steps to reduce the amount of pectin (more pectin = more methanol = more hangover) in your cider and don’t get too ambitious with the initial ABV (before jacking) the resulting hooch is surprisingly mellow and tasty. And it does not create hangovers of greater intensity then normal hooch. No “apple palsy.” It is a tradition that should come back.

    • February 18, 2015 11:22 am

      Read through the examples on Laird’s own factoid page – http://www.lairdandcompany.com/facts.htm Anytime they are talking about historical examples they refer to the beverage as apple brandy, cider spirits, or apple jack-apple brandy. Even ol’ Abe Lincoln’s saloon license refers to Laird’s product as apple brandy in 1833. You can see Apple Brandy written on the old timey bottle they show in one of the pictures too – http://www.lairdandcompany.com/images/Old-bottle-wax-top.jpg

      It is probably a 20th century innovation to refer to their product as “AppleJack” (notice the capital J). It is just a trademark or a brandname and Lairds knows they don’t really produce actual applejack.

  3. Jack C permalink
    February 18, 2015 1:38 pm

    To be clear, I’m fine calling evaporative-distilled cider “applejack.” I was just pointing out the super-duper-fussy response. My greater point was about Laird’s not being either.

  4. February 18, 2015 8:43 pm

    I don’t think I’d call it either. The cooking method is pretty clever, but putting traditional pizza toppings on top of or in something and using the word pizza to describe it isn’t new. Anything that has a flavor profile that reminds you of a slice is called pizza. Pizza rolls, pizza burgers, mashed cauliflower topped with sauce and cheese…anything. But the list of recipes Kenji has developed that I would want to try before this one is long. His chocolate chip cookie recipe is a long process, but they were damn good cookies.

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