Cooking for the Toothless, Part 2

Can't wear 'em. (Chronic gagging problem, whether I wear dentures or not, but dentures greatly exacerbate this problem.)

Cooking for the Toothless

I never thought of that, but, honestly, I don't think I could swallow (or tongue-mash) caramelized onions. But, I'll try some French Onion Soup in the near future, just as an experiment, and report back to you on the results.

Cooking for the Toothless

Then cut it back to suit your taste.

Do you think eating pickles and ketchup together is weird?

Actually, the combination of pickles and ketchup is one of the main reasons I like regular McDonald's cheeseburgers. I sometimes make a "Mock MickeyD Burger" whose toppings consist of cheese, ketchup, and large chunks of Kosher or Polish pickles. (I don't partcularly care for mustard or fried onions, which are also included on regular McDonald's cheeseburgers.)

The Blumenburger -- The Most Labor-Intensive Hamburger Ever

In all this talk about NYC hot dog brands (maybe there should be a separate section, called "A Warm Canine Today") I completely failed to mention the many "papaya joints" in Manhattan, which are some of my favorite hot dog experiences. These places began in the German-American neighborhood of Yorkville, centering on East 86th Street (don't forget that the sausage itself is usually referred to as the Frankfurter or Wiener, recalling the Teutonic origin of this item). The original joint, Papaya King on East 86th Street (I've never actually eaten there), was started in 1932 by a Greek-American who fell in love with papaya juice while on a trip to Cuba, and sold the juice with hot dogs to draw in the Germans who predominated in the area. Since then, Gray's Papaya (famous for its "Recession Special" of two hot dogs and a drink) in Sherman Square and at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Eight Street in Greenwich Village and Seventh Avenue Papaya near West 23rd Street have joined the game. Sometimes there are long lines outside these places, and I've gone to the extent of waiting in line to buy a hot dog, then carrying my hot dog back to the end of the line, eating it while in line, and then buying my next hot dog and repeating the process.

I have no idea which brand these places serve, but I think the way they cook them (nice and crispy and slightly charred on foil-lined griddles) is what counts.

The Blumenburger -- The Most Labor-Intensive Hamburger Ever

With regard to the portion of the Blumenburger story referring to hot dogs and hot dog rolls, I've found that slit-top rolls (which CAN be found outside of New England, usually under the appellation of "New England Hot-Dog Rolls") are actually far better for hot dogs, whether New York or not (and I, personally, FAR prefer Nathan's and Hebrew National (both NYC brands) to Sabrett's), in that the perfect hot dog is served on a toasted roll, and split-top rolls are easier to toast than the other kind. The split-top roll is further more amenable to stuffing with deli salads, or for lobster rolls (another form of deli salad sandwich.).

And, Boston has no decent hamburger joints? Just a short subway ride away on Harvard Square in Cambridge is Mr. Bartley's Burger Bar, which I consider the best hamburger joint I've yet tried.

The bottom line is that Chef Blumenthal is an experimental chef, just as, in the world of music, Sonic Youth are an experimental band: just as Sonic Youth primarily want to influence your music without your slavishly copying them, Chef Blumenthal just wants you to attempt elements of his culinary methodology without necessarily turning out an army of copyists. Still, it's very interesting to see what happens when one slavishly copies his recipes (as I did when I made his roast potatoes, with great success, and his roast chicken, which I thought was awful. (But I've incorporated elements of his recipe into my own "Chicken Providence", the recipe for which I'll post elsewhere on this site at a later time.)

And, by the way, I've lived for many years in NYC, and have also lived many years in Provdence, RI. I like to take the best of NYC and New England cuisine (as well as my native Milwaukee German-ethnic working class cuisine) and combine them to my personal tastes.

After all, taste is what we're all about, right?

Cooking for the Toothless, Part 3

Three words: acini di pepe!

This form of pasta (whose name is the Italian term for "peppercorns") can be cooked up like regular pasta to be served with regular pasta sauce or gravy, or boiled in broth to make soup, or mixed (cooked, drained and chilled) with mayo and salad mustard to make pasta salad.

One of my favorite applications is to top acini di pepe with a simple Asian-style sauce, which consists of six tablespoons of honey, two tablespoons of soy sauce, and one tablespoon of garlic, gently heated before serving.

Also, anything that can be done with acini di pepe can also be done with softly scrambled eggs. (Except for the salad, for which I recommend finely diced hard-boiled eggs.

By the way, it's not my intention to dominate this discussion. If anyone else has any ideas, please feel free to post away under the "Cooking for the Toothless" heading.

Cooking for the Toothless, Part 2

One of the things I miss most about having teeth is eating those open-faced roast beef and roast turkey sandwiches that constitute one of the classic offerings at truck stops across the US. So, here's an item that I call "Open-Meat Sandwich Sans Meat".

Cooking for the Toothless

A while back I had all my teeth extracted, and, not only haven't I starved to death yet, I'm really eating quite well.

Here's my first recipe, which I call Garlic Toast Crouton Soup:

Buy one hard roll (something that would fight back if you had teeth (this is necessary for body)).

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