Latest Comments

The Millionaire's Turkey: A Father-Daughter Story

The issue with this essay, I think, is that it is pointless. If you consider "In Defense of Bad Coffee" and "Cooking With John," both of them are somewhat poignant and point to lessons learned and/or wisdom gained. Those are really great pieces.

This essay, on the other hand, does the opposite: It portrays a man who is tough to like, and a daughter who seems to have adopted all of his traits (women, drinking, inability to cook turkey). And that's that. I got neither a sense of movement nor emotion. It's just a simple collection of facts, and I'm sorry to say that said facts are not very interesting.

Lots of us have less than ideal relationships with our parents. That's not notable. What might be notable is how your less than ideal relationship made you grow and improve as a person. Still getting drunk at Thanksgiving, unable to figure out how to cook a turkey, even though you're supposedly a food writer? That's stagnation, and doesn't make for an interesting essay.

Ounces and Grams: Why Mass Is Not the Best Way to List Ingredients

@Bill Woods

"what kind of recipe uses gold measured in ounces?"

Clearly you've never been employed as Lil Wayne's private chef.

The Case for Bad Coffee

Wow. Coping mechanism? Fear of death? Methinks someone needs to go relax with a nice cup of coffee.

Get Yerself a Thermapen for $69 Before 11/1!


This one goes to 11.

Based on those Amazon reviews, it seems like Thermapen gives an improvement of 0.2 degrees of accuracy and maybe 1 second of read time vs the competitors. Neither of which is something the vast majority of people, even hardcore food geeks, will ever really notice.

I didn't know about these competitors until clicking your link. I've had my Thermapen for two years now. Do I regret not doing more research before buying it? Not at all. It works perfectly, it feels solid and I think it will last for a long, long time, and I have a high degree of confidence in its readings.

I think that like many luxury items, what you're paying for here is not necessarily a huge jump in performance or whatever, but rather just the knowledge that you have bought basically the best version of the thing you can get your hands on.

The Case for Bad Coffee

Great essay. And that last paragraph? Wow. Yeah, you're pretty much dead on there. But really, it's a generational thing. My mother drank Maxwell House, my father usually Chock Full O'Nuts. Like any other teenager in the '90s I spent an inordinate amount of time in crappy diners drinking crappy diner coffee. There was no Starbucks culture yet. Today, I use beans from Blue Bottle. I'm not planning to go back to the cheaper stuff, and the coffee chains ain't going anywhere. Hell, even McDonald's serves a drinkable cup these days. So it's unlikely that my kids will have many fond mental associations with truly bad coffee...

Also: "Goddamn, Jimmie! This is some serious gourmet shit! Usually, me and Vince would be happy with some freeze-dried Taster's Choice right, but he springs this serious GOURMET shit on us!"

The Varnish's Milk Punch


Interesting. I was thinking the same thing regarding resting and siphoning--and was even going to add some sparkolloid or some other fining agent to help--but then I read the following:

"The overnight steep of milk tastes really harsh by comparison. Strongly of booze and the fruit is not as clear. Also, it seems much thinner, more bitter, and kind of nasty. Basically, like a not very good day old plain punch you have chilled in the refrigerator."

Have you done a side-by-side?

Another twist, perhaps, would be the addition of some rennet to help with formation of a stronger curd. I'm not sure if that would influence flavor.

I have messed with the curds quite a bit and I think they're basically useless for human consumption, except from a purely nutrient perspective. (I presume they're almost 100% casein.) Mine are exceedingly granular and usually have a slight bitter note. Perhaps they can be dried and added to animal food or something like that? Composted?

The Varnish's Milk Punch


That's an impressive batch! How did you filter it? After making several small batches I did a two gallon batch this year for July 4 and it was something like 10 hours of work over two days; the larger batch size seemed exponentially more difficult to work with. Came out great, but unless I can find a more efficient method, I never ever want to do that again.

Why Bottled-in-Bond Whiskey Is the Best Deal In Booze

That's sad about Laird not being able to use the label given the increases in demand. It's an absolutely fantastic product. I hope they're not forced to skimp on quality.

Interesting that vodka and gin can be "BIB" as well. Seems entirely pointless, but has any producer ever done that?

Easy Techniques to Improve Any Shrimp Recipe

I don't think SV is worth the effort for shrimp. Reasons:

A) They cook super-fast, so there's not much to be gained from a time perspective; as a matter of fact given the time it takes to set up the SV, bag, de-bag, etc, I think it's a net loss

B) They cook super-fast, and then they overcook rather quickly -- even when doing SV. I found that leaving 'em in for even an extra 20 minutes causes them to start getting mushy. Mushy shrimp are just plain gross -- I'd actually rather have shrimp that are conventionally overcooked (i.e. rubbery) than shrimp goop.

I consider the ability to let stuff just hang out to be one of the primary benefits of SV, and with shrimp and other shellfish it's just not there. Be careful and keep your eyes on the clock!

Classic Biscuit-Topped Peach Cobbler

Made this tonight.

The biscuit topping was excellent! Great texture and flavor. I added a little bit of cinnamon to the syrup and it came out beautifully brown and fragrant.

The syrup flavor was also very good. The nutmeg really goes well with the peaches, as does the bourbon flavor.

Only problem was that the final product came out a bit too tart for our taste. The peaches tasted pretty good on their own, but once cooked there was a definite acidic edge that was not very pleasant. Without ice cream this certainly would not have been a very nice dessert. (Luckily, we had scoops of vanilla gelato on top--dessert saved.) If I make this again I'll halve the lemon juice and add a bit more sugar than what is called for.

The Best Peach Cobbler Is Also a Simple Peach Cobbler

This is indeed a cobbler. One modification I personally like is to drop the biscuits a bit apart from one another. This not only looks prettier once you plate it -- everyone gets their own round biscuit -- but also exposes a bit more of the fruit juice to the oven for evaporation and thickening, in addition to providing a bit more opportunity for the juice to soak into the biscuit. (Which in my humble opinion is the entire point. Well that, and an excuse to break out the really good ice cream.)

How to Make a Provençal Vegetable Tian (a.k.a. That Dish From the Ratatouille Movie)


How about cooking the squash at low temperature in the oven -- in a single layer -- just to tenderize, and then using a blow torch to brown? Perhaps easier/quicker than doing the work on the stove?

The 7 Rules of Perfect Pita Bread

I make pita fairly regularly. A couple of comments:

A) I never bother to do a final proof on mine, and I get beautiful pockets and puffiness. I just roll 'em out and then right into the oven. Usually the dough hasn't been kneaded much either, but has had a long initial fermentation (24+ hours -- I tend to use some version of a low or no-knead method). I think the key is to use a very high hydration dough. The recipe posted here looks a bit low to me, at 64% hydration; I'd personally push that up to the 70s.

B) I notice that your oven has a convection fan. Use it! It's amazing how well it helps with both pita and pizza. (Not so much with most other things I've tried, including larger loaves of bread.)

The Secrets to Making the Best Shrimp Cocktail

Great article, but the intro paragraph left me feeling a bit cold. We've truly graduated to a new level of stuck-up food asshole when shrimp cocktail is considered a "guilty pleasure" because it lacks someone's idea of "adult sophistication." Give me a break. There's nothing unsophisticated about a simple dish, and no reason for guilt. This is a food site, remember?

Embrace the Wobble: Why I Love Jellied Foods and You Should Too

Some tofu preparations can also have this texture.

As much as I love beef tendon (i.e. a lot), there is nothing worse than an undercooked chunk, and I tend to have it served to me tough and gristly way more often than not :-(

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Fish Sauce?

Try holding back a bit of the salt when making scrambled eggs or an omelette and replace it with a few dashes of fish sauce. It amps up the egg flavor in insane and unexpected ways (at least for me) and the result is much, much more than the sum of its parts. Culinary alchemy at its best.

Kenji's Excellent Asian Adventures, Part 4: The Long, Smelly Road to Chengdu

Let me guess, Kenji. You're being paid by the China Bureau of Tourism to write this series. Right?!?!

I didn't think an article on a food site would ever make me want to remove a place from my travel bucket list, that mop story accomplished it quite nicely...

Why You Should Seek Out Rhum Agricole (Plus 4 Essential Bottles to Try)

No Depaz?? It has a characteristic spicy flavor that I'm hooked on.

@TexSquid El Dorado makes great rums, no doubt, but they're molasses based, so not pertinent in this particular context.

The Best Ice Cream in Boston, 2015 Edition


If "North Shore" includes Wakefield (I think it does, more or less), then I highly recommend a visit to Meletharb.

Hold the Mayo, Make Grilled Potato Salad for Your Next Cookout

How does one grill bacon without the risk of intense and constant flare ups? I've never been able to get it done sans singed arm hairs and fear of burning down my house.