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Fussy Little Bar Fights

October 14, 2016

What do normal people get into fights about in bars? Part of me thinks it’s manners, but that can’t be right. There are often spirited disagreements over sports. Maybe some are about romantic entanglements?

I remember once witnessing a bar fight in a seedy Oakland Irish pub where the bartender walked a dude into a door jamb before throwing him out into the street. If memory serves, the offense there was that this jerk was screwing around with somebody’s hat. True story. Shitty story. But true story.

My bar fights are different. Not that I go out to bars all that often. But last night I popped into Slidin’ Dirty for two reasons. One, to get my 26er card punched. The other was to try Chatham Brewing Company’s Same Day Series beer of the month. They do this crazy thing where they put the beer into kegs, and drive it to bars that very same day, where it is tapped immediately and enjoyed as fresh as fresh can be.

Anyhow, I may have gotten into a teensy little fight about fresh mozzarella.

Actually, it may have started with a little rumble about mozzarella and melba. You know, sometimes it’s hard to get people to come around on the notion that fried cheese can go with anything besides marinara sauce.

And even though L may have disagreed with my assessment that mozarella and melba is really a workingman’s brie en croute, she respected the thought that I put into the position.

But it was her position on fresh mozzarella that broke my heart.

The thing is, I totally get where she is coming from. Because I too have been left scratching my head about the love for what is mostly bland and spongy cheese. And the two of us shared common ground on preferring a pizza made with shredded mozzarella rather than sliced disks of “the good stuff”.

Did I ever tell you about the first time I understood all the fuss for fresh mozzarella?

I remember it like it was yesterday. There was a food event in Downtown San Francisco, and the Egg Farm Dairy had a table. At the table, a man was pulling fresh mozzarella. And when he asked if I had ever tried just-made mozzarella, I had to tell him “no.” So he cut off a small piece, handed it over, and… lightning bolt.

This cheese is all about the delicate expression of liquid milk in solid form. But those subtle flavors are fleeting. Here’s the clincher. I’m guessing that pretty much all of the fresh mozzarella you’ve had was purchased out of a refrigerator of some kind or another. Well, that’s all it takes to ruin a perfectly good ball of mozzarella.

It sounds far too fussy to be true. But it is. Kenji has proven it. Thankfully, he also has the solution for how to bring a refrigerated ball of mozzarella back to its prior glory.

My argument was to not hate on fresh mozzarella if up until now you’ve only had refrigerated versions of the good stuff. Because what that actually means is that you’ve never actually tasted the good stuff.

The good stuff that’s been ruined is no longer good. It’s still tasteless rubber. But that’s not the fault of the cheese. It’s the fault of our crazy food system which says you have to refrigerate cheese. Harumpf.

Don’t even get me started on the rules our country has for cheese production. Unless you want to get into a fight too. Actually, if you want to watch the little veins pop out of my head, you can save the discussion for Saturday’s Tour de Donut. Holy cow! That’s tomorrow. I better print some scoresheets.

Hope you can make it. Seriously, don’t be shy. But if I don’t see you, have a great weekend.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Steph permalink
    October 14, 2016 10:49 am

    I don’t suppose that somewhere local could be persuaded into a fresh mozzarella demonstration/event? I’m a fan of even the supermarket stuff, and would love to try some mozz that had never known a fridge, but I wouldn’t know where to look. I know HWFC uses Maplebrook curd – great start! – to make theirs… which is, of course, sold from their refrigerated case. Sigh.

  2. October 14, 2016 11:20 am

    Sadly, no Tour de Donut for me this year. C was asked to do a freelance piece on gift giving specifically using local shops in Schenectady, so he’s asked me to be his wingman Saturday while he puts this together. Looks like a great lineup, though, I can’t wait to read all about it!

    • October 14, 2016 11:35 am

      We’ll miss you. Hope you catch these in Schdy:

      Bottle aged beer from The Bier Abbey
      Butter Crunch from Uncle Sam’s
      Tea from Divinitea (upper union)
      Casa Visco hot chopped pepper spread

      Can you give things like bread, fresh cheese and sausages? Because that opens up even more options.

      Have fun.

  3. Jack C. permalink
    October 14, 2016 1:09 pm

    We’ll miss the donuts this year because of tiny human, but we’re looking forward to the results! Have fun!

    • October 14, 2016 1:56 pm

      I may discriminate against tiny humans at 21+ Yelp events, but these are open to everyone.

      Of course I know that tiny humans can be horrible people on long car rides, especially when deprived of naps… and donuts.

      Next year I fully expect to be doing a Tournament of champions.

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