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Thankful for Old Friends

November 23, 2016

Do you know who is in town for this week of Thanksgiving? ADS! He’s here with his wife J9 and the twins. Today, Doc will come down from Vermont with his lovely family in tow. And tomorrow, all of us–in addition to LH–will descend upon Raf’s new New York home for a Thanksgiving feast with his brood.

Even Raf’s little sister will be there with her family.

If you took all the people who will be assembled around the Thanksgiving table, and added up the years in which I have know each of them, it would be well over 200 years of combined friendship. Maybe it’s even much higher. I’m tired. You can’t expect me to do math right now. Regardless, that’s a lot of years.

Somehow, we were all able to avoid our own family obligations on Thursday, and once again we’ll all be together, like we used to be back in the California days. Of course, there will be more kids this time. But hopefully the little ones will entertain each other.

I’m incredibly thankful to everyone for making this happen. It’s like a dream come true. Now before I get too sappy, maybe I can tell you just a wee little bit about how I’ve been pre-gaming Thanksgiving with ADS.

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Thankful for Penzeys Emails

November 22, 2016

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
~ Edmund Burke

Today’s post is going to use a lot of quotations. Large, block quotations too. I’m going to add boldface to the text for emphasis, so you can skip to the important parts. But so much has been misquoted in the press lately, so many positions have been mischaracterized, and so many statements have been truncated to change their tone and/or intent.

What’s the antidote? Well, if you believe Bill Penzey, it starts with cooking.

This is a spice company from Wisconsin. The business may be national, but the heart and soul of this company is in the heartland of America. Where do the coastal liberal elites buy spices? My guess is Whole Foods or maybe Williams-Sonoma. I honestly have no idea.

All joking aside, Penzey’s doesn’t sell to liberals or conservatives. It sells to cooks. And the company celebrates cooks every chance it gets.

Recently, Bill Penzey sent out three email newsletters. While they all sell spices, they also take a strong and decisive stand against the rise of racism in America. Just in case you had not yet seen them, I thought I would post them here. In full. Unedited. With the relevant sections called out in boldface by the Profussor.

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Thankful for Meating Chester

November 21, 2016

When I was a kid, one of the greatest experiences of my childhood was a special VIP tour of Disney World in Orlando. I don’t know exactly how it happened. But it had something to do with my dad being a corporate lawyer, and maybe Coca Cola?

Whatever, when you are young, you don’t ask too many questions. All I know is that we had a private tour guide driving us around, and getting us into secret behind-the-scenes lines that bypassed the lines for the paying public.

This was literally the identical treatment Michael Jackson would get when he visited the park, or so I was told. The only reason I mention this is because last week I got another very special behind-the-scenes tour. This one came with a tasting, and it was much closer to home.

So today, I want to share what I learned from my time behind the counter at Chester’s Smokehouse.

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The Weekend Beofre Thanksgiving

November 18, 2016

Did I tell you that Mrs. Fussy left me? Again.

Yep. She’s off traveling somewhere in America. I think it’s some big city. And I’m not entirely sure when she’ll be back. I do know that I am 100% responsible for the kids for this weekend. So that is going to put a crimp in what would be my stunning weekend plans.

Sure, Mrs. Fussy will be back. And yes, I never really do anything on Friday nights anyhow. It’s true. And it’s also true that Saturday has to be leaf day. I haven’t raked once this season, and the leaf truck is coming by early next week. Saturday promises to be gorgeous. So while the kids watch hours upon hours of Phineas and Ferb, I’ll be dragging leaves into the street.

Man, being an adult sucks sometimes. But I bet it will suck for many of you too. It’s the last weekend before Thanksgiving. This is when the supermarkets become a complete shitshow as everyone tries to gather all the ingredients they will need to make a Thanksgiving feast. If you’re planning to go to a supermarket this weekend, may God have mercy on your soul.

All that said, there are three events happening this weekend, that you should know about.

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Ric Rolls

November 17, 2016

Last night’s Taste Maker class at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity was filled up. This was the third class in its inaugural series, and featured Ric Orlando demonstrating a few seasonal side dishes for the holiday table.

This year, like most years, I won’t be cooking the holiday meal. We’ll be guests instead of hosts. But I love brussels sprouts, and it’s always great to watch a professional chef cook. There are always a few tips and tricks you can learn by paying close attention.

Since this class was constrained to just a couple dozen people, I thought I might take a moment to share some of the gleanings I took away from the event.

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A Chicken Woody

November 16, 2016

This is America. We like things big. We have big cars. We have big open plains. We’ve got big ideas. We’ve got big pumpkins. Seriously, have you seen the monster that’s parked in front of Empire Wine & Spirits? It’s huuuge.

What ever happened to small?

I made the case a million years ago that cocktails should be small. I’ve been begging for smaller portions since the beginning of the blog. Actually, the small portions are one of the reasons I love Peck’s Arcade so much. At some point, I most likely wrote about smaller chicken wings being preferable to the giant ones being served these days.

When I see jumbo sized wings, it makes me think about how big that chicken must have been. But we’re making bigger chickens too. Not only that, we’re growing them faster than they’ve ever been grown before. Why? Because we’re Americans.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Southern Fried Comfort

November 15, 2016

Would you believe that I’ve never roasted a turkey?

It’s true. In those rare years when I’m not attending a large family feast, or spending the day with friends, I’ve made a small meal with all the familiar flavors for the immediate Fussy family. But because there are just four of us, those meals have focused around a roast chicken.

This year, we’re going to attend one Thanksgiving with friends, and follow that up with a Saturday Thanksgiving with family. You might think that I might be staying away from turkey until then so I don’t burn out. But you would be wrong.

Don’t underestimate the importance of training.

Anyhow, turkey can be prepared in many different ways. Last night I got to enjoy a southern style preparation with a group of friends, and that was a very special treat.

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