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American Booze Hall Of Fame: The Best Spirits of the Northeast

Nothing, NOTHING, from Westford Hill Distillery in Ashford Connecticut? WTF?! Have you tasted any of their eau-de-vie line? The poire will knock your socks off, it is the best I have ever had. They make several variations of it with various varieties of pear. They do a very respectable apple brandy. But the pear, OH!! You can even get it with the pear grown in the bottle, I've seen it growing on the trees and it ain't no import.

You know, I don't know that Serious Eats pays all that well, but given this as an assignment, I would have thrown myself into it and done more extensive tasting before getting cocky enough to invoke Hall of Fame & Best so casually.


How to Make Mexican Tamales

Once sweet corn season is in swing, don't bother with the dried husks. Use fresh ones. Or, if they offer shucked corn, ask the folks at your local farm stand to save you some husks.

Why Good Cheese Doesn't Come Cheap: The Sneaky Multipliers of Cheesemaking

Have worked as the cheese seller at a local independent greengrocer in New Haven that specialized in Italian imports back in the 80s, none of this comes as a surprise to me. Yes, cheese is expensive. Yes it is worth it. There have been times in my life when I have not been able to afford it. And if I can't afford the real stuff, I don't eat cheez! Ugh. I won't eat that plastic sh*t that most people call cheese. It's synthesized lab-rat choking rubbish that chain restaurants melt on everything and stuff in everything, including the customers, a practice best described this as "Killing you softly with queso."

The Best Way to Store Fresh Herbs

I had a coworker who, as a grad student, was studying ways of keeping cilantro fresher longer after harvesting. I think, directly after picking, you dunk it in very cold, or maybe even ice water, for a few minutes before you dry it off an pack it. Some variation on that might be useful to know for home gardeners with a penchant for experimentation.

How to Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet and Organize it—for Good

Oh sh*t, I saw a masala dabba at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago, unused, for five bucks. I wanted it, but had no idea what it was and didn't just want to accumulate stuff. Had I but known...

One Brand of Coconut Water Destroys All Others

I had antibiotic colitis as a kid. Nasty. As part of my recovery, I had to drink a lot of Lytrin and PediaLyte. More sickening stuff there never was. Coconut water tastes just like Lytrin to me. And not for nothing, it is loaded with electrolytes. Good for you, I guess, but vile. Mind you, I have never had fresh coconut water. Is this one brand good enough that I would like it? The other stuff makes my throat constrict with revulsion. My eyes water just thinking about it.

Snapshots From Turkey: Kenji's Best Bites From Istanbul

Dondurma is one of the two food items on my bucket list. The other is honeypot ants.

But what, no lokum?

Take it With You: The Best Culinary Souvenirs

The best souvenirs are the things you can use. I have long stainless steel spoons from Seoul that I use every day to make the honey-citron tea that I have to go to Flushing to find. But I also treasure another food souvenir you do not mention: seashells. I have some gorgeous turquoise-colored abalone shells that will always invoke, not only the volcanic peaks and Haenyo stations and the black sand beaches of Jeju, but also the briny oyster-like flavor of the abalone itself.

(But what's wrong with mismatched plates? The whole concept of matching dishes is just marketing brainwashing. Wabisabi mix & match is where it's at!)

Mull, Muddle, and the 12-Gallon Soup Pot: The Secret History of the South's Most Obscure Stew

Maybe the reason that chef tried to make a gluten-free version was because he, or somebody he cared about, had Celiac disease but was pining for the stew. Sorry if it was screwing it up for you. In the future you might develop some kind of dietary health issue. I hope not. It sucks. But there is, at least, the benefit of a bit more empathy. And, truth be told, sometimes those kinds of dietarily-mandated recipe adaptations are tasty food in their own right.

How the West Coast Became a Cheesemaking Titan

Can a region or a location be a Titan? I think not. A titan is a deity, a rank, a person, not a place or thing.

The Best Gin to Buy on a Budget

I still cannot forgive you for suggesting Evan Williams bourbon. Gag! Ack! Paint thinner!

The Best Way to Mince Garlic

I understood these properties of garlic in a general way. Interesting to know just how much of a difference the processing method makes. Every single cell has its statement to make, you go from a group, to a gang, to a crowd, to a mob, to a horde capable of overrunning the Great Wall!

Perhaps next you could break down the caramelization thing by degrees, just as an excuse to sing the praises of black garlic.

The Better Fruitcake: Baking Stollen at NYC's Bien Cuit Bakery

I am not keen on marzipan eaten straight out of hand, but it is dreamy when you bake with it. Yes, yes, yes, as filling in a stollen. But also, swap out a sheet of it for the top crust on an apple pie. It makes beautiful latticework and it tastes delicious!

Black Garlic From 'Bar Tartine'

Are rice cookers and slow cookers safe to leave on for weeks at a time? I don't believed they are designed for it. I would think this would be a terrible fire hazard.

The Food Lab's Emergency Cooking Kit: How to Fit All the Tools You Need in One Small Box

That short paring knife, with classic blade, I just want to add, is amazing. It is the cutlery equivalent of a Mazda Miata. It's cute, functional and fun to use. The roadster turns on a dime, a 2.5" classic paring knife will pivot on a molecule. I get behind of the wheel of the Miata and I smile, every time. I pick up the little paring knife and it makes me happy to use it. Good design is a beautiful thing.

I don't understand why only the 3.5" versions are commonly available. They just don't pivot for sh*t!

The Food Lab's Emergency Cooking Kit: How to Fit All the Tools You Need in One Small Box

I would add some sort of colander or basket strainer to that list. I learned on a stainless hybrid cleaver, instead of a chef's knife. I'm no pro, so what the heck, I will soldier on with my decade's long bad habit there. But it spares me the need of a bench scraper because I use the cleaver blade to transport the chopped stuff. Also I would certainly add a paring knife to the list. I have an old 2.5" that I adore. For small hands, it's much better than the larger ones. It has a straight blade instead of a birdbeak, the closest thing I see around like it is the Wusthof Classic 2-3/4" fluting knife. I can skip the blender, thanks. And if I am camping, I very much like one of those light flexible cutting surfaces.

The Food Lab Turbo: Why You Should Really Be Grilling Your Cabbage

I'm a cabbage freak, always have been. I get teased about it. It's a peasant food that never had the popular affection that, say, potatoes do here in the USA.

I love grilling. I love grilled vegetables.

Grilled cabbage? GRILLED CABBAGE! OMFG, why has this never occurred to me?


/runs outside to start the fire

Cheese 101: Why Imported Italian Mozzarella Isn't Always Better

In North Haven, Connecticut, Luizzi has been making top-notch motz for years. They also have a terrific selection of imported cheese (and other goodies) and make a wicked sandwich. But if you live in New Haven, you probably know this. I suspect that Luizzi cheese may play a role in the excellence of the local pizza.

How Korean Cuisine Got Huge in America (And Why It Took So Long)

@ Bill Woods. I'm thinking that's a typo. The fifth is savory/umami.

Coffee Science: How to Make the Best Pourover Coffee at Home

You want the foam to be light colored. If the crema is a dark brown, your water is too hot.

Ask the Food Lab: What's the Point of Bay Leaves?

During childhood summers spent on Block Island, RI, I learned that bayberry leaves (Myrica sp.)can be used in much the same way as bay leaves (Laurus nobilis). The flavors are not exactly the same, but they do add a background note that I like to use in chowders. There's something pleasing about using a plant I associate with childhood beach days to season seafood.

Most people know the plant for candles traditionally made from the waxy berries. If you've smelled those candles, you have an idea of the flavors. It could probably be infused to good effect. I'm waiting for someone to introduce a New England martini.

And although the plant grows in temperate zones, its preferred seaside habitat means the sturdy salt-tolerant leaves take to drying very well. Best of all, from my broke-ass point of view, the bushes are common so this ingredient is FREE.

What Happens When You Add Olive Oil to a Cocktail?

Walnut oil isn't flavored oil, at least not in the sense that a flavored oil has flavor added. Walnut oil is an oil with flavor.

This makes me want to play with bottle of hazelnut oil in the fridge. And if you want to talk about flavored oils, howzabout those truffle-infused oils, eh?


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