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August 2009: Fussy Takes A Vacation

January 28, 2016

Here we are in the fourth week of this FLB TBT project. You remember. This is the bad idea I had at the beginning of the year to try and chronicle the history of the blog. See where it’s been. Try to chart the arc it took. And check to see which ideas have stood the test of time.

What we’ve learned so far is that in the beginning there was a whole lot of wine, then I started casting blame about the state of food in the Capital Region. That must have caught some people’s attention, because the blog started to gather steam, and then I dropped the ball.

Yep. That’s what happened in August. After three months of daily posts, I took a trip to San Francisco and I had more than a few days without content. And readership took a nosedive. It would take another couple of months to recover, but I learned a valuable lesson. Post or perish.

So how did it break down day by day? I’m glad you asked. But before we jump into the daily summaries, you may want to refresh yourself with the color coded key. Oh yes. Today’s post looks like I lost a battle with a box of crayons.

Bold: Fundamental Beliefs. Core Ideas. Still hold true today.
Gray: Outdated ideas, naive assertions, blog maintenance, and other non-essential posts.
Red: Fundamentally sound, but could be updated to reflect current thoughts.
Purple: Wine posts. Apparently none of them are a good fit for this blog.
Green: Hyper local posts about the Capital Region or some place else.

August 1: How Cheese Came Into My Life: Everyone Has A Favorite
The ongoing story of how I became so fussy about cheese. In this chapter I learned that by telling others about the amazing cheese I discovered, people started telling me about all the fantastic cheeses they tried. And in seeking those out, I found even more deliciousness.

August 2: Why Not Wine?
I had asked a question about what people drink with dinner, and discovered a few reasons why people didn’t drink wine. Wine goes with fancier meals. Wine causes hangovers. Wine is left over and goes to waste. Wine doesn’t taste very good. And I had answers to all of them.

August 3: Old Dogs
In which I explored our unique regional hot dog style and the places that make them. I conclude, “Say what you will about these local delicacies, but they are ours. And if you live here long enough, quite assuredly, you will miss them when you leave.”

August 4: The Well-Constructed Cheese Plate
Rule One: There should be at least three cheeses but no more than five.
Rule Two: The milk of every major dairy animal should be present.
Rule Three: There will be blue cheese, and cheeses of different intensities.
Rule Four: A firm, a semi-firm and a soft cheese must be included.
Rule Five: There should be variety in the country of origin as well.

August 5: Ask The Profussor – Gone Eating
I announced my trip to San Francisco and my intention to post daily while I was away. Then answered questions on adjectives, oatmeal, cider donuts, Capital Q sides, and the Pig Pit in Troy.

August 6: Salmon Patrol
As you probably know, farmed Atlantic salmon and I don’t quite get along. When I found it on a menu at a restaurant that claimed to buy only the best ingredients, I was driven to extreme actions. I actually sent a grumpy email to the restaurant. And I wrote about the response I received from the establishment.

August 7: Continental or Provincial
I was excited by the wine list on my Continental flight out to SFO. But then the flight attendant came and told me none of those wines were available on that particular flight. Harumpf.

August 9: How Cheese Came Into My Life: Going Behind the Counter
By this point I had become a regular feature at my local cheese shop. So one time, they invited me behind the counter to help them split a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Then the cheesemonger carved out the heart of the cheese and gave it to me as a trophy. That was a very good day indeed.

August 11: Whole Lot of Love
I felt like the blog had been getting too positive. So I reminded everyone of the things that got under my skin: s’mores, a bad cappuccino, the TU’s review policy, farmed Atlantic salmon, sour mix, maraschino cherries, and cocktail glasses.

August 12: Where’s the Love?
Still in vacation mode, I published another listicle about some of the posts from the archive that for some reason or another didn’t capture the same number of eyeballs as other stories.

August 19: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Returning from a week long hiatus from my SF adventure, the thing I was struck by most was the change in the coffee culture. It exploded in my two year absence. So, I raved about Blue Bottle Coffee and their Gibraltar (which in 2016 is now widely known as a cortado).

August 20: The Other Place
As good as Blue Bottle Coffee was, people in the Bay Area were even more gaga about another coffee joint. And that was Philz, which was all about the pourover. My bottom line, “These two institutions are raising the bar in a town where the standards were already high. Let’s hear it for high standards.”

August 21: A Reliably Good Cappuccino
Back in 2009, there was really no place to go in the Capital Region for a reliably good cappuccino. So what makes SF so special that you can walk into any random bakery and receive a reliably good cappuccino? I wasn’t sure, but I suggested a few possibilities.

August 24: How Cheese Came Into My Life: An Ocean Away
As my relationship deepened with my local cheesemonger, they told me to drop their name when I visited Neal’s Yard Dairy in London. As a result, Mrs. Fussy and I were treated like visiting dignitaries, and given samples of every single cheese in the joint.

August 25: Eating Dim Sum Like a Native
I’ve eaten a lot of dim sum in chinatown. And I’ve noticed that the way Chinese eat dim sum is much different than the way Americans eat dim sum. I love the Chinese way of taking your time and being all leisurely about it, relative to the American goal-oriented approach.

August 26: Small Market Envy
One of the top 10 restaurants of 2009 was in Austin, Texas. I had said in the past that I wished Albany were more like Providence. Now I was wishing it was more like Austin. Small markets can have big food ambitions. What’s wrong with Albany that we aren’t striving for better?

August 28: First Pull the Cork
Why don’t people drink more wine? Because they aren’t opening bottles of wine. Corkscrews can be intimidating, and wine is saved for a special occasion, or held until it reaches some kind of mythical peak. Two of those problems are tricky. Don’t be intimidated by corkscrews. I found one that was great.

August 31: Hot Librarian
We keep a lot of different brands of hot sauce around the house. Some are more herbal, others are a thick peppery puree, there are the vinegary ones, and more. This was my pitch for keeping a library of hot sauces on hand.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2016 11:49 am

    I am glad you deprecated the Hot Sauce Librarian post. To me a kitchen with a bunch of different hot sauces is a sure sign of ADD dilettantism…. especially because most are private labels of the same stuff. (Eg if you compare Hattie’s proprietary sauce and Crystal you will find a surprising similarity…)

  2. January 28, 2016 12:35 pm

    You may want to darken your green font a bit. I find it hard to read, but maybe it’s just me. I have a very good display, it’s not my display.

    • January 28, 2016 12:38 pm

      My intention is to help visually separate the wheat from the chaff.

      • enough already! permalink
        January 30, 2016 7:50 pm

        I appreciate what you are trying to do but the green (and purple) are very hard on the eyes. Can you perhaps make the colors deeper?

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