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December 7, 2016

I’m not like my father. Well fine, I look like my father. We have similarly loud laughs and sloppy penmanship. But I’ve made very different decisions.

I’m not much like my mother either. Sure, I credit her as being the source of my creative mind and my appreciation for the arts. However, we’ve been disagreeing on matters of substance for as long as I can remember.

And I think this is fine.

There seem to be two schools of thought on this. People can grow up to be just like their parents, or they can create their own lives in contrast to those their parents have led. I suppose there is room for a middle ground too, but indulge me for a moment, because in a moment I’m going to turn this around into a story about food.

Contrasts don’t have to be divisive. Contrasts can be delicious. And in fact, culinary contrasts are some of my favorite things. I was just reminded of this yesterday on an unexpected birthday stop for a late lunch in Troy.

There wasn’t much time to eat. I had just dropped of some Yelp schwag bags at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity for Wednesday’s holiday cookie themed class, taught by the owner of Leah’s Cakery.

But I had to run up to The Cookie Factory to pick up my cake, and make it back home for a date with Little Miss Fussy to finish A Monster in Paris. I always make a quick batch of popcorn on the stovetop for these little afternoon adventures.

Hungry, I remember that Nibble had deep fried potato doughnut pocket sandwiches. I had tried the potato knish one with caramelized onions. And it was good, but I wanted to return and try a version that balanced the deep fried doughy shell with something a little more protein centric.

Yesterday, I was finally able to try the bacon, egg, and cheese deep fried doughnut pocket.

With no exaggeration, I’ve been waiting years to try this thing. Was it perfect? No. Was it delicious? Yes. Would I recommend you try one? Absolutely.

Let’s talk about this study in contrasts. The golden deep fried crust was hot and crisp, giving way to a springy crumb with a pleasant chew, surrounding large-curd scrambled eggs. The shell of this sandwich, made from doughnut dough, was slightly sweet. But the finished pocket is sprinkled with salt and pepper, which provides a wonderful savory counterpoint to the underlying sweetness of the dough.

One has the option of ordering this pocket without bacon. But you need the bacon. The whole package benefits not just from the smokiness brought to the filling, but also from the meaty texture of the thick cut pieces.

Crisp but tender. Sweet but salty. Novel but classic. This pocket was totally delicious, but its excellence is built on these layers of complementary contrasts.

Other great contrasts?

Tender smokey pulled pork with tangy, sweet, and crunchy slaw.
Pungent blue cheese with a floral gewurztraminer.
Salty peanut butter and sweet jelly.
French fries and milkshakes.
Tacos and horchata.

I could do this all day. But I think you see the point. Still, allow me to make the even bigger point.

What I’ve been hearing a lot these days is that we all need to come together and unite under our new benevolent overlords. I’m going to respectfully disagree. We can be very different and still get along. Oil and vinegar is a great example of that.

But this works best by celebrating our differences, delighting in the contrasts, and figuring out how to put them together in delicious ways. I mean whoever would have thought that the lefty environmental activists and the army veterans would have come together against the Dakota Pipeline?

Maybe I’m getting political again. But trust me, it’s a better choice than having me delve deeper into my family life.

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