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AskTP – Closing Out 2018

December 27, 2018

Holidays are about traditions. And today may not be a holiday per se, but it is the week between Christmas and New Years. This is a holiday of sorts. It’s a weird week, where not much happens. People are away on vacations, and the country kind of grinds to a halt. Or maybe that’s just the government shutdown.

Regardless, this has become a great opportunity to answer the outstanding reader questions on the blog. Fortunately, I’ve been doing a better job of answering questions as they come in, so I should be able to clear the slate with one solid push from the farm in Pennsylvania.

Maybe I’m on vacation, but several years ago I committed to making sure that every question posted to the comments section of this blog received an answer. My only stipulation was that questions needed to include proper punctuation. And dammit, I’m going to make good on that promise.

Thankfully, I never said those answers would be timely. I never even made a claim that those answers would be correct. Heck, the answers don’t even have to come from the Profussor. But there are unanswered questions, which need to be resolved. Before we get to them however, please remember that the links embedded before every question all go to the same place. I like to call it the mystery link of the day. If this is frustrating for you, just don’t click on them.

As far as links to find the original post? Sorry, that’s too much to ask. The curious can copy a chunk of text into Google, and be whisked off to whatever corner of the Internet it takes you. Now without any further ado, onto the questions.

Burnt my Fingers was curious about some of the cookware hanging on my wall:
But it looks like you have 3 basically identical small high-sided pans I assume you use for melting butter. 2 of those can go. And what is that little tiny cast iron pan? A novelty item?

That tiny cast iron pan is not a novelty item. It’s a functional tool in my kitchen. It’s great for reheating. If I don’t have burner space, or the other pans are occupied, it’s perfect for one fried egg. Also if you have to toast a small quantity of spices or pine nuts, the smaller pan offers better control. Hope Santa put one in your stocking this year.

Ewan challenged my assumption that I could defend all food, regardless of how bad:
Something that you “couldn’t possibly defend”? Palm oil, given that its use directly causes Amazon deforestation? Elephant steak? Burritos containing the last known African white rhino?

Palm oil I could defend. Not all palm oil causes deforestation. I’m sure there are some hippies in the jungle someplace producing sustainably sourced palm fruit oil. And endangered species? I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. And clearly the right ethical answer is that its an indefensible practice. That said, if some trusted chef offered me Ortolan, I would be hard pressed not to take them up on the experience.

Tone joins the ranks of those who are hoping to one day hear from Mr. Dave:
Does anyone have the recipe or a way to contact Mr. Dave? Or if anyone has a tried and true recipe for fantastic meat sauce, that would be wonderful.

I’ve reached out through the back channels of the internet on your behalf. If you do hear from the mystery man, please let us know what he said.

Ryan H asked a question about where food goes once it’s returned to Trader Joe’s:
I wonder what happens to the open containers. Maybe the employee gets to pocket it?

Maybe. I suppose it depends on what food item gets returned. This is another quandary when it comes to food waste balanced with issues of food safety.

-R was weighing in, as asked, on his daily meat consumption:
Now, breakfast meat (namely bacon) during lunch is a fairly regular occurrence, because really, who doesn’t love bacon?

There have to be some people. Believe it or not, I think I went through an anti-bacon phase once in my youth. It was just so darn fatty, and I seemed to be getting a bunch of limp, chewy bacon. Maybe it was the Miami humidity? Maybe it was just bad luck. Regardless, I’m glad those days are long behind me.

Burnt My Fingers was keeping me on my toes and feeling impatient:
Wait. The week’s over and you never reported on the donut results. Guess it slipped your mind?

Nope. Life has been getting busy these past four years. And I think the blog has suffered. But I thank all of you for your patience and continued readership.

Eric T must have clicked through a link on the Denny’s post to discover more nutritional facts:
Even the broccoli has soy? Dear God.

Yep. Even the broccoli.

Eric Scheirer Stott, commenting on the most recent Tour de Donut made the following observation:
Lemon & Chocolate is a lovely combination – what would you say to a lemon curd filled donut with chocolate icing?

I’m totally on board. Make it so.

Jonathan Caswell may want to ask one of his nurses to check his meds:

I did not know that. Thanks for sharing that tidbit of soda news. But really, it’s not really something I think is worth screaming from the mountaintops.

Dave may have gotten hungry reading about Old World Provisions:
What local stores are the deli meat sold?

Right now, I know for certain you can find it at Healthy Living Marketplace in Saratoga Springs, and Whole Foods in Albany. But you can always write to and ask for an update.

Timothy Snyder had only two words when looking at An Insider’s Guide to Troy Restaurants:
Famous Lunch?

Yeah. I feel you. My hope was that someone would claim this old school counter as their single most favorite place to eat in Troy. And for a while, it was most definitely mine. But while it remains an incredibly special place, when it comes to food options, there’s so much more to Troy now than its most famous luncheonette.

chrisck had a different take on what to do about french fries:
There is another solution. How about people ordering fries only once a month (or less) and enjoy the whole serving while it’s hot and at its best? That day you can eat less fat at other meals. I hate food waste, too, and the idea of throwing away food is abhorrent.

That could definitely work. Especially, if fries weren’t already included in so many meals automatically. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Another reader suggested asking to substitute something else for the fries, even if it will cost a premium to do so. And it’s one of those obvious answers which for one reason or another, never would have occurred to me.

chrisck kicked me off my soapbox to do a little preaching of their own:
We only truly enjoy the flavor of something in the first couple of bites. After that our taste buds are used to the sensation and the flavor is muted compared to the first couple of bites of anything. We continue to stuff the food in because it’s there, because it’s nutrition, because we paid for it, because we are technically hungry, but our tongue doesn’t really care so much. So why not harness that reality to eat small servings?

Yes! Which, incidentally, is why I was at Slidin’ Dirty in the first place. I love the fact this restaurant enables the diner to order one slider and a side salad. When food is involved, less is most definitely more. Yet another reason why I love my small cast iron skillet, regardless of the shade Burnt My Fingers would like to cast on the pan.

Burnt My Fingers must not have been in a Googling mood:
Where are the links in this post? And I don’t mean the sausages at Euro Deli. P.S. That was a question.

It’s possible they got lost underneath the small cast iron skillet. In all seriousness though, I think I mentioned the current time crunch. My priority is to produce content on the FLB every day. Sometimes that content may not be as complete as I might like. Sorry about that. But we’ll always have Google.

Dave is praying for a hail Mary:
Maybe someone will step up to the plate and take over? Sure will miss AOA.

I’m going to miss AOA too. But I’m hoping that AOA Greg might have more time for lunch once he’s no longer grinding out multiple stories every day to feed the beast. Still, I’d love to see someone else take it on. Personally, I just don’t have the time. I can barely sleep as it is.

Sd is looking for good news about the Albany Med cafeteria:
Is it back open? And is there still turkey sandwich Wednesday?

Great questions. I have no idea. But when it does, I’m looking forward to getting in there and trying one.

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