Barry Foy

Author of "The Devil's Food Dictionary: A Pioneering Culinary Reference Work Consisting Entirely of Lies" (Frogchart Press, Seattle)

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Video: Fried Turkey Disasters

From "The Devil's Food Dictionary: A Pioneering Culinary Reference Work Consisting Entirely of Lies":

"Turkey, Deep-Fried: A common form of insurance fraud disguising itself as holiday entertaining. Perpetrators of the deep-fried turkey scam typically erect a homemade deep fryer, capacious enough to accommodate a large turkey, within six feet of their home. When extraction of the cooked bird inevitably results in the tipping-over of the apparatus, the furiously boiling oil spills onto the heat source and catches fire. The flames spread rapidly and consume the entire structure in minutes. The American fondness for Thanksgiving turkey makes arsonous intent nearly impossible to prove."

Cook the Book: 'The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto'

I thought I had encountered gelato already when, not too many years ago, I stepped into Vivoli in Florence and had a scoop of their riso flavor. All previous gelatoesque experience instantly obliterated!

Poll: What's Your Favorite Pizza Style?

I like PIZZA. Every kind. I'm bored to tears with this mania for Neapolitan--not with Neapolitan pizza itself, but with the notion that that's the only style of pizza with any foodie cred. Absurd!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Praise the Lard Gift Box

I spent much of my year of residence in Taiwan ('86-'87) doing what any sane person must do there, namely, explore the street food scene. One night I happened on a cart selling an unlikely looking concoction called a guabao, versions of which can now be found in some Stateside restaurants. A sandwich made of soft steamed bread, it had a curious zigzag of tastes and textures: sweet, sour, crunchy, soft, unctuous, nutty, and a few others. At the heart of it, though, was an umami-tastic piece of fatty pork belly. I've tasted some delicious things in my life, but none more delicious than that.

Sous Vide Cooking with Heston Blumenthal

More wasteful, consumerist silliness from the go-to-any-lengths-for-a-single-delicious-bite school of gourmandise. For one thing, to say this will "revolutionize home cooking in ways that the microwave didn't even dream of doing" presupposes that the microwave revolutionized home cooking in the first place. In fact, all it revolutionized was the reheating of leftovers and stale coffee, as a sort of consolation prize for rendering us stupider and less skilled. It isn't awfully hard to envision the day when thrift-store shelves will be lined with home sous-viderators, alongside all those wedding present bread machines.

The Nuts in Kung Pao Chicken: Peanuts or Cashews?

1) America is, as they say, the Land of the Free, so I suppose Serious Eats readers and tweeters and Facebookers have the right to dream up just about any combination of ingredients they can think of and call it gongbao jiding. But that doesn't ground their little thought experiment in earthly reality. In other words, the opinions of sundry New Yorkers, Nebraskans, or Alaskans on the subject--particularly those who've never been to China-- don't add up to a hill of peanuts, chicken morsels, and dried peppers. To begin with, their notions of Chinese food have very often been shaped by restaurants that make numerous concessions to non-Chinese tastes.

2) Guiyang may claim paternity when it comes to gongbao jiding, but I think you'll find that nearly everyone from anywhere else in the Chinese world associates the dish with Sichuan province.

3) There's something about the look of a pair of chopsticks jutting out of a bowl of food, as in the photo above, that is simply irresistible to Western illustrators and photographers; you run across it all over the place. For the record, though, in Chinese culture that image is considered inauspicious (for reasons I'll spare you right now), and a pair of chopsticks sticking out of a bowl of food like that is a definite no-no at the table.

That's Nuts: Is Kung Pao Chicken Authentic?

Gongbao jiding (not "jidan") is totally authentic, but what's shown in that photo ain't it. What are those green bits supposed to be? Cucumber? Zucchini? Based on my experience in China and Taiwan, they don't belong. Also, there seems to be more peanuts than chicken, and even the most devoted peanut partisan shouldn't get away with that. As for cashews, not a chance.

As stated, Jennifer 8 Lee's book clarifies the record re: Gen'l Tso's, but gongbao jiding, as far as I know, is quite a different story.

Cook the Book: Pumpkin Walnut Cranberry Quickbread

I made this recipe last night (only substitution: raisins instead of cranberries, since I had none, but the orange zest bits still provide nice bright flavor), and it is indeed very tasty. The only problem is, as you warned, it makes two really BIG breads, and impatient sort that I am, I took one of them out too soon. By the time I discovered it was still wet at the core, it was too late to fix. This despite the fact that I'd done a successful skewer test--I must have happened on a tiny pocket where it was fully cooked. Next time I'll go for three pans.

Seriously Italian: A Tale of Beef, Three Ways

At the no-nonsense Nerbone eatery in Florence's central market, I once ate a brothy soup/stew of nothing but beef and potatoes. It was the homeliest, plainest-looking thing imaginable, but the beefy flavor was as deep as the ocean, fantastically hearty and delicious. It sounds as if this soup recipe is headed in that general direction, with its long cooking and long sitting, so I'll give it a try. Meanwhile, any other tips on how Nerbone might have achieved that unforgettable depth of flavor?

Bazbeaux Pizza: Indy's Best is Just Eauxkay

Without trying to sound too harsh, I'll say this: Indpls has been getting pretty foodish pretty fast, and there is an ever-growing number of people there who know their stuff. However, that's all happened over a relatively few recent years. Because of that, the facts that Bazbeaux's (1) dates back to 1986 and (2) was a popular favorite for so long, are probably cause enough in themselves for lowered expectations. If you're looking in Indpls for the kind of food that might impress this site's readers, you'd better track down something that started up more recently (or much, much earlier, and didn't change with the times).

Magnetic Chopsticks That Recreate the Feeling of Pulling Apart Wooden Chopsticks

Is it just me, or does "Stickpecker" sound vaguely obscene? Not that it would interfere with my meal or anything...

Pie Lollipops

I would have called them "lolli-pies."

Bogey's Pizza & Guns, a Combination Pizzeria and Gun Shop

Seeing this, I can't help but think of Quincaillerie Dante, the wonderful shop in Montreal's Little Italy, near the Jean Talon Market. Half the store's devoted to kitchenware, the other half to hunting gear--rifles, camo, all that stuff. Gourmet mag's Montreal issue (a couple of years ago) gave it a look, focusing on the work of cooking teacher Elena Faita, who also happens to be the store's proprietor. Well worth a visit.

Why I Hate 'Hell's Kitchen'

Yes indeed. Happening on it last night, after missing a few months, I noted that the show's trajectory had moved in oh-so-predictable directions. The original approach of throwing in one or two psychologically iffy contestants just to stir things up had morphed into a conscious policy of recruiting people with obvious personality disorders; cooking skills had regressed from actual to token to completely imaginary; and the bleeping had become virtually continuous. This much is clear: First, the producers won't give up till they've delivered an on-camera murder and/or fatal heart attack, and second, anyone foolish enough to eat food produced in such a poisonous atmosphere would run the risk of considerable spiritual, if not physical, damage.

What is Chinese Brown Sauce Made Of?

I hope this clears things up a bit:

"GLOP: A versatile substance with a pivotal role in the cuisine known as
Chinese-American, where it functions as a binding, flavoring, and
lubricating agent all in one. Not a juice, not a sauce, not a gravy,
not a starch, and not quite an emulsion, it becomes an element of
presentation with the addition of red food coloring."

from The Devil's Food Dictionary: A Pioneering Culinary Reference Work Consisting Entirely of Lies (Frogchart Press)

Win Tickets To The Great American Food & Music Fest

"Who says Buffalo wings are bad for you? Apart from my hands being on backwards, I'm in excellent shape!"

Video: How to Make Green Screen Cookies from 'Food Party'

Very definitely the best thing since "Pee-wee's Playhouse"--and the best thing to happen to Cleveland since they extinguished the Cuyahoga!

Single-Serve Packages in Japan

The Japanese are fanatical about--not to mention extraordinarily inventive and accomplished at--packaging. That was all well and good when the packaging materials were biodegradable (bamboo leaves, rice paper, etc.). But in an era of seabird-choking, endocrine-disrupting, bioaccumulating synthetic materials, that mania ends up being suicidal for them and murderous for the rest of us. Are they entirely to blame? Well, I don't recall ever encountering a packet of "individually wrapped, pasteurized, process JAPANESE cheese slices" at the supermarket.

Dinner Tonight: Beef Miroton

I grew up with a variant of this very satisfying dish, cooked by my English Canadian mother under the influence of her French Canadian mother-in-law. In our house it went by the name "ragout."

In Videos: And Finally Tonight, Jesus in a Bucket of Spumoni

Believe it or not, I bought a Cuban sandwich yesterday that had an image of Adam Kuban on it. I'm saved!

Celebrate Pi Day with Pie

"PIE: A preparation consisting of a pastry crust that serves as a kind of
package or dish for a sweet or savory filling. Most restaurants
sell pie only by the slice; to find out how much it would cost to
buy an entire pie, multiply the number of slices by the value of pie,
which is currently about $3.14159265358979323."

---The Devil's Food Dictionary


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