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ryuthrowsstuff

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How to Make a Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail

@Ardbeck.

I'm just not buying that mashbill has that little effect. I for one can taste it. Though its true *other* things typically have a bigger influence. Part of what I was getting at. The similarities in current rye and bourbons are more an artifact of process than the grains having little effect on final flavor. Go taste an Irish whiskey. Go taste a Scotch whiskey made via as similar of a process as you can. Both are 100% barley. But there as is a noticable difference. That Irish sour flavor. One is all malted barley, one contains a big portion of un-malted. The difference can be subtle but its identifiable. And that's the same grain.

The presence of corn in mash bills initially, so far as I've read, has more to do with rye being a poor substrate for fermentation. Even when malted it lacks for critical yeast nutrients and sugar content. You could add yeast nutrients direct or some other way. But you usually need some other grain in there or the fermentation stalls. Previous to modern commodity food systems (developed in the 19th century). Corn wouldn't necessarily have been the cheaper or more available ingredient. In a place where the dominant fermenting grains grown were rye and barley, and eating grains wheat. And we used to grow a shit ton more rye in the North East than we do now. Its still used as a common cover crop, but in pre-1900 agriculture where I am right this second. The default rotation for staples was wheat-potatoes-rye. And similar. Corn didn't factor. Sweet corn came post depression from what I understand. And field/feed corn for anything but feeding your own animals didn't factor in a large way until the 70's or 80's. Of course what little distilling tradition there was here was rum. Because port towns. But you see my point.

Then you've got things like Knob Creek. Their regular bourbon is higher rye than typical, and tastes similar to what we might expect rye to (why its one of the few bourbons I like). Their rye however doesn't taste much like a stereo typical rye, even high rye versions. But its likewise tastes almost nothing like bourbon. Its fruity, slightly spiced, and light. A lot of the high rye, craft, ryes to crop up more recently fit that mold. The difference is in all the other things. Yeast, the rest of the mash bill, and so forth. But it still distinct from bourbon, even bourbon using those same methods. But there are key markers and similarity. Like the spice. And citrus base. Less sweetness than corn whiskey (less fermentable sugar = less residual sugar at a given ABV). And so forth.

As for Beam. Beam/Suntory doesn't publish (to my knowledge) mashbills or similar information. In the past they've answered the question on the ryes by offering a ranked list. From least to most rye. With Overholt labeled as "most rye". But that's an old list that pre-dates their more recently introduced brands. Its possible that the claim they're all the same mash bill is a result of them changing the process more recently. MANY brands, particularly big ones have done that. Especially to keep up with the current whiskey boom. But I think its more likely that both claims are accurate. Unless you're talking single barrel, or other special bottlings. All whiskey is blended to one extent or another. Particularly large brands. Its how you get that consistent reliable flavor that defines a brand. The major difference with the current beam brands is in the blending. Not just barrel aging. Which barrel, which batch, different ages. Its possible that what is meant by "the mashbill is the same" is that all of the Rye whiskey is made of the same mashbill. All of the corn whiskey is made of a single different mash bill. And all of the barley whiskey (which they're likely making for blending even if they don't market it) is made of a single third mashbill. While what is meant by a given whiskey has more rye is that more of the whiskey in the *blend* is from the rye whiskey. Keeping within legal limits for the style. I've long assumed this is the case given the vague and contradictory information, simply because that's how most large distilling operations have done it for a century or more. Knob Creek is not just older Overholt, from the North East quadrant of cellar 16. It is a different blend (even where such a thing doesn't legal fall under "blended whiskey" that's still what it is). Different ages. Different barrel sizes. Different batches of whiskey. So potentially different ratios of rye whiskey to corn and barley and whatever the hell else they're dealing with.


And yeah that's about what I've read up on the Sezerac. But its doesn't clash with, or dispute the fact that by the time the recipe was first published. It called specifically for rye. Solid dates don't seem to exist. But cognac was indeed the original base, the cognac in question was only first imported into the US in the 1850's. The bar and the drink were named after the particular cognac brand. By 1870 a guy named Handy had bought the bar. And in 1889 he published the first known recipe, calling for rye whiskey. The Phylloxera blight seems to have been introduced to France in the 1850's. With the first confirmed case being in the early 1860's. Shortages of wine started early. Brandy would have held out longer due to stores of aging product. But by the mid 1870's the worst of it was over. Though shortages remained because, well dead vines. Its suspected it was around the 1870's under Handy that the brandy was switched for rye. And its pretty clear due to Handy's published recipe that Rye was the standard under his ownership.

That doesn't leave a lot of time for "likely switched to other brown spirits that they had around in New Orleans. Probably Rum, and especially Bourbon." If Cognac was phased out some time in the 1870's. And by 1889 the recipe was codified, with rye as the base. You've got at most, and quite likely less. 20 years of playing around with other spirits. Its quite likely to be a lot less. So arguing that it was more likely to be bourbon during a few year's attempt to settle on something else doesn't mean much to the ~140 year history of the drink, dating *almost* to inception where it was Rye.

Oh and the Etymology of Bourbon is disputed. But its generally assumed to either be named after Bourbon County Kentucky, a place where it was made. Or Bourbon Street in New Orleans, a place where it was shipped/distributed. Though documentation is bad. The Bourbon County attribution is surprisingly late, and the Bourbon Street connection is a more modern theory, and has been argued largely based on the late date of the County evidence. I'm not aware of any serious scholar or etymologist who claims it was simply applied as marketing to make it seem more French. What little information we have points to it as a classic place identifier. This is Bourbon Whiskey. Whiskey from Bourbon (or even The Bourbons if it might be an indentifyer for people or a family name). We just can't cleanly identify which Bourbon its referring to.

How to Make a Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail

@arbeck

I think you're drawing too much from the difference between mash bills. While its roughly true that a high rye bourbon will not be significantly different from a low rye rye. Assuming roughly similar mash bills otherwise. Not all bourbons contain rye at all. Not all contain them at levels where there will be a significant rye character to the whiskey. And not all Rye's involve much corn, and sometimes not all all. Certain ryes (based on taste, no listed mash bill) seem to be incorporating notable amounts of *unmalted* barley and deleting the corn (or using very little). Unmalted Barley is what makes Irish whiskey taste sour. So you've completely swapped from incorporating a little sweetness to balance the rye, to incorporating a little tartness.

51% is the legal minimum of corn or rye for each whiskey respectively. It doesn't wash that a whiskey that is 51% corn and has 20% rye might be almost identical to a whiskey that's 51% rye and 20% corn. More over these standards are modern. The rye standard is based on the legal definition of bourbon, and follows its the Southern bourbon distilling tradition. But Rye was much more common in the North where different distilling traditions prevailed. Including the use of new, charred oak barrels and the general aging time lines. Those were Southern techniques, and may not have been used in the bulk of Rye's produced in the past.

So while there may not have been a massive difference between Southern rye and Southern Bourbon. The American whiskey landscape was once a lot more varied than it is now (stylistically). The only nationally distributed Rye to survive prohibition and the whiskey die off in the 60's. And pretty much the only continually produced Northern example. Old Overholt. Doesn't list its mash bill. But its suspected to be well above the minimum 51%, and Jim Beam lists it as "most rye" in its rye line up. Meaning it must be over 51% And from what I know of the history that's generally supposed to be true of most rye produced in the North.

As for the Sezerac. The first published recipe, from one of the proprietors of the place that invented it. Dates from 1889, tail end of Phylloxera wine shortages. So far as I'm aware he listed Rye specifically. So while its likely there was plenty of substitution going on (always is). They'd clearly settled on rye within 20 years.

How to Make a Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail

@dr.kevin Prefer what you like, no problem there. The issue is that *as defined* the drink contains citrus peel. Pretty much since its inception in the 19th century. Although early descriptions and definitions don't necessarily call out that addition, it seems to have been pretty basal to the thing.

I would tell you to give the twist another chance. A big, fresh cut twist brings a lot of flavor to the table. Though similar effect can be had by switching to or adding orange or citrus bitters.

It also strikes me that the article doesn't necessarily define the sort of bitters. Though the recipe calls out two brands. Traditionally you're looking for Aromatic/Gentian based bitters, like regular Angostura (they make Orange now too) and Peychauds. Angostura is "traditional" because they were, until a few years ago, just about the only broadly available bitters of any sort. Especially Gentian. But there's a whole range of Aromatic and Gentian based bitters. As well as very similar one made from different bases, including cinchona bark (whence Tonic and Quinine come from). I think alternate bitters, especially orange, tend to work better with bourbon. Many are less aggressive than traditional styles, and they shine through better with milder whiskey.

For sugar I like to stick to demerara/turbinado. As it brings a bunch of flavor that white sugar or simple syrup doesn't. Without getting cloying like brown, maple, or some other alternate sugars can. But you can just make your simple syrup with one of those and get similar effect. Syrup is fine in a classic old fashioned, especially if your not into the whole undisolved sugar hanging around bit. But for modern old fashioneds (muddled fruit), you need those sugar crystals to help cut/grind up the orange slice.

If anyone is looking for a season variation on this. Though its more in the modern mold. I've been selling a hell of a lot of cranberry old fashioned. Just muddle some fresh cranberries with your sugar. Add the bitters after they're good an pastey, remuddle to fully disolve the sugar. Add an orange or lemon twist. Ice, Whiskey, then stir briefly and serve. Still think it works best with Rye. Especially something with a little tartness from unmalted barley, like Hudson Manhattan Rye. Though its still great with bourbon. Those fruitier, almost bubble gum like ryes, like Knob Creek's. I think are best avoided for this sort of thing. They're already very light and fruity, so making them more light and fruity seems odd.

How to Make a Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail

First a proper classic old fashioned features a piece of citrus peel. Usually orange. Not as garnish, a twist is an integral part of the drink.

Second all that nonsense about "may very well be the ur-cocktail" is beating around the bush. So far as I'm aware the word "cocktail" originally referred to this drink. Old fashioned being short for "old fashioned cocktail".

Third for the king of bourbon cocktails the bourbon is a very modern substitution. At its inception the drink was brandy based. But by the time it became the old fashioned the hooch was *rye*. After prohibition rye started to disappear from the American market. Some rye cocktails moved to Canadian whiskey due it's (at the time) higher rye content. The old fashioned transitioned to bourbon. You wouldn't have really seen bourbon as the default booze here until the 60's. Around the same time you see muddled fruit and neon cherries making the scene.

And rye is still the better choice. Corn based bourbon is sweet. Dumping sugar into it is just adding sweet to sweet. Spicy, dry, rye does better with the additional sugar. And the citrus peel and bitters likewise better highlight and play off rye. Adding complexity to the sweetness and adding additional spice notes to go with rye's black pepper like hit.

11 Kitchen Unitaskers That Are Worth the Space

#Any Horrocks even if you could it'd likely cost you more than a new pizza wheel. Just order one of the white handled Dexter ones, it what the pros use. The model number is even p177a. Should stay sharp for like a decade, at around 10 bucks.

Cocktails 101: How to Shake a Cocktail

I don't agree that beginners should stick to a glass mixing cup for their shakers. Their prone to breakage, don't always seal correctly. Often get stuck together quite badly. But importantly they are *large* a full Boston shaker with the glass cup is bulky and awkward to handle. The awkwardness means that *everyone* has difficulty moving the shaker in such a way to get the ice moving properly. Leading to longer shaking times, and over watered drinks. Unless you assume the position. Hand on top of the shaker, other hand on the bottom of the shaker, shaker held high next to the head, horizontally, and shake. This is awkward as hell.

An all metal shaker can be handled one handed because they're smaller and lighter. Even at the same capacity (the metal mixing cup will seat itself deeper because its thinner walled and narrower in diameter than the glass). You grip by the large shaker, and hook a finger or two over the small cup. The metal cups seal more easily with less leakage. And you can even strain from them directly. If you break the seal, but leave the halves together. With a gap small enough to exclude ice. You can pour off the liquid directly. This, along with the size and ease of separating them makes them *faster*, by a large margin, than glass.

When I was being taught to bartend I was taught with metal mixing cups. I picked things up a lot faster, and had a much easier time of it than when I was trying to learn using glass. Under the same advice that seeing what I was doing was important, turns out it wasn't nearly so important. And you can see pretty well by just looking into the mouth of the cup, rather than through the side.

Additionally you guys should have noted that the shaking motion *isn't* a straight up and down. The method used by your man in the video is great but it obscures this fact. Everyone should take notice that he's both moving the shaker up and down *and* back and forth. The more standard way to go about it (and great when shaking one handed) is to move the shaker in an ellipse. Little oblong circles, more up and down that side to side.

The idea is to get the ice moving in a consistent way, tossed up the side of the shaker, over and back down the opposite side. The consistent, swirling movement of the liquid chills faster with less dilution that random clattering in every direction. Reducing the chance that you'll over dilute things, and the effort needed to do so. You *can* pile drive back and forth, but it requires a lot more effort. Rapid, hard, back and forth movement to aggressively move the ice directly back and forth. All that extra, very fast motion can easily lead to over shaking. Though it does seem to incorporate more air.

Finally on strainers: Its a good idea to keep a small mesh strainer on hand as well. When working with heavily muddled ingredients, or anything that might contain debris like small seeds (often an issue when using jams, which I love as a cocktail ingredient) or undissolved sugar, fine finish requires you to remove that crap. A hawthorne strainer is mainly designed to remove ice. It'll catch larger pieces of leaves and fruit, but it lets most of that stuff through. Small cocktail sized mesh strainers will remove it all. Best practice is placing the mesh strainer on the *glass* and using the hawthorne with the shaker to exclude ice. Basically double straining in one go, hawthorne gets the big stuff, mesh catches the skags.

The Food Lab: Why You Should Never Buy Gravy Again

@jhillock Ideally your deglazing the fond from the roasting pan when you're making gravy this way. Which means you'd be adding a good amount of liquid to your pre-made gravy. Which is gonna thin it out. I think you'd basically find yourself in a situation where you're making gravy in the moment anyway, just using it to bulk out existing gravy. You'd be better off roasting off some turkey wings to get drippings ahead of time. Or deeply roasting whatever you're using to make stock, and making sure to deglaze the pan you roast it on.


Frankly you aren't really making gravy unless you make it from the drippings/fond. Its a pan sauce, and you can make crazy good gravy with just what lingers in your pan, flour and water. Particularly if you set aromatics around the roast.

Equipment Review: We Put ChefSteps' Joule Sous Vide Circulator to the Test

"sign up for a service, and give out my email address and personal information to a third party, all just to be able to turn it on."

You lost me right there. Aside from convenience issues, the base privacy issues of signing up up with some one else. Once you start requiring a Chef Steps login to use the thing you're talking about device as a service. What if Chef Steps goes down? What if they withdraw or stop supporting the App? What if they go behind a pay wall? What if Apple/Google nuke the ap? And a thousand other things.

Requiring a second device (and third! Also another service with Echo) to operate the thing is insane to begin with. But once you start tying it to web logins for what should be a stand alone, non connected device you're in internet of things, walled garden service instead of ownership territory. While it sounds like a good device it seems like they designed it as an accessory for Chef Steps readers. Stick a couple buttons and a 3 digits display on the top in place of the LED on the top and the whole problem is solved.

The Food Lab: For the Best Broccoli Cheese Soup, Divide and Conquer

@lux_lisbon


You're not supposed to refrigerate potatoes. Its supposed to do something to the starch/texture. Either way they won't keep materially longer in the fridge. Stored in a cool, dry, dark place they last for months. We once had a bag from the farm stand that we kept in the garage for 2 years without problems.

We Aged Eggnog for 1 Year to See if It's Worth the Wait

@boston Adam. Indeed I did. Auto correct is a bitch and comments here can't be edited for spelling errors.

We Aged Eggnog for 1 Year to See if It's Worth the Wait

@DRMCFACEKICK

Ummmmm typically rum is made from molasses, as it was back in the day. Even shit rum isn't going to be made from plain sugar (or anything not cane based). Some forms of rum, like rum agricole (iirc) are traditionally made from sugar cane juice. As we're the precursors for rum. Thing is they're STILL made from cane juice. As are cachaca and pusco which are related.

And really cane juice IS sugar, it just hasn't been processed/evporated or stripped of its molasses yet. So "no added sugar" it is not.

Sounds like some one got bit by craft hooch marketing. Pitching a rum that way is just inaccurate. And typically most of what you read on the side of a bottle, or hear from a producer is gonna be at least a little BS.

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous Vide Halibut

What's the info on sous vide and parasites in fish? I know parasites can be a little more difficult to nuke than bacteria. Most commercially available, especially "sushi grade" fish are going to be flash frozen in a way that kills parasites. But where I'm located fish is frequently fresh from the boat, no freezing. And anyone catching their own is going to be in the same situation. Deep water bottom fish, including halibut, are often loaded with parasites. Though the issue is more frequent with cod. Which are dirty, bland, lame fish I seldom eat.

Grilled Oysters Are Better With Butter: How to Make the Best Barbecued Oysters

@Wongadon.

Au contraire. As Blue Points have become a marketing myth the Wellfeet has been the standard bearer for top quality, broadly available North East oysters. They well loved world wide and many a famous chef sings their praises on the regular. Wellfleets are boss. Even as a hardcore partisan for my local oysters (the best aren't terribly available nation wide), I often recommend Wellfeets as the sort of Ur-oyster from our coast. If you want to get a sense of what they're all about, and want to get a sense of what they're like when they're good. Go Wellfleet. Where ever you are in the US you should be able to find them and they're never a disappointment. Wellfellets and anything out of Duxbury are among the only Mass oysters I don't automatically eye with suspicion.

Grilled Oysters Are Better With Butter: How to Make the Best Barbecued Oysters

For all the people hating on East Coast Oysters. Our oyster were famous world wide before your oysters had a market. If you prefer yours? Fine. Some people, even on the East coast just prefer the fishier, creamier flavor of the Pacific species. But like wise some people just prefer the briny, metallic flavor of the Atlantic species. Regardless of where they are raised (and yes you raise our oysters out there, and we raise your oysters here, and they raise both in Europe). For my part I prefer real North East Oysters (not just the species but raised here), but I'll eat and enjoy many West Coast varieties. Just find them... Boring? I'd rather have them cooked ultimately. Gulf and southern Atlantic oysters I'll be more bearish on. There are fine oysters in those areas, often farmed. But on the whole oysters from Virginia south through the Gulf are bland, chalky, dirty, and insipid. I think that has to do with high volume catches (most of the commercial catch comes out of the Gulf these days), and the fact that the good ones stay put while the not good ones get shipped out. But I'll have to visit the gulf to check.

I feel like much of the out and out spite for North East Oysters comes about because of Blue Points. And those oysters were justifiably famous. But here's the thing: There are no Blue Points. Its not a thing anymore. If you're under 70, and haven't ever lived IN BLUE POINT you have likely never had one. Blue Point was largely fished out by the 50's, the fisheries (along with much of the Great South Bay) collapsed entirely by the 60's. Small commercial and residential catches, that largely stayed in the area, continued for a while. But polution tool its toll and for a really long time all the Oyster bearing water ways around Blue Point have been closed to commercial and residential shellfishing. There hasn't been even a small commercial catch of oysters out of Blue Point in decades. There are oysters living there today. And the waters are frequently seeded with more. But none of those are considered fit for human consumption.

The name "Blue Point" is used as almost a generic name for the Atlantic Oyster. The vast majority on the market are low quality, wild caught oysters out of Virginia. And occasionally the Gulf (if they were higher quality they wouldn't need to pretend to be Blue Points). There are some farmed oysters sold under that name, but they sure as shit aren't from anywhere near Blue Point. Raised in the Long Island Sound (opposite side, different water way). And are decent oysters but nothing to get excited about. If Blue Points are what you're thinking of when you think of North East Oysters. Well you've been had.


Also I can't speak highly enough of that Duxbury shucker Daniel likes. A local oyster farmer and raw bar owner turned me on to them. Hell of a thing. Best oyster knife I've ever used, and because of the oyster bar in question they're rapidly displacing everything else in our area (including the traditional old screw driver). The New Haven style is a tiny bit easier to learn with, but it tends to cause broken shells, and makes it a lot easier to mangle the oyster meats. And its trickier to use when you're doing tons of oysters. The Duxbury is fast, simple and comfortable to use once you get the knack. I don't feel like I actually got good at shucking oyster till I picked one up.

Grilled Oysters Are Better With Butter: How to Make the Best Barbecued Oysters

For all the people hating on East Coast Oysters. Our oyster were famous world wide before your oysters had a market. If you prefer yours? Fine. Some people, even on the East coast just prefer the fishier, creamier flavor of the Pacific species. But like wise some people just prefer the briny, metallic flavor of the Atlantic species. Regardless of where they are raised (and yes you raise our oysters out there, and we raise your oysters here, and they raise both in Europe). For my part I prefer real North East Oysters (not just the species but raised here), but I'll eat and enjoy many West Coast varieties. Just find them... Boring? I'd rather have them cooked ultimately. Gulf and southern Atlantic oysters I'll be more bearish on. There are fine oysters in those areas, often farmed. But on the whole oysters from Virginia south through the Gulf are bland, chalky, dirty, and insipid. I think that has to do with high volume catches (most of the commercial catch comes out of the Gulf these days), and the fact that the good ones stay put while the not good ones get shipped out. But I'll have to visit the gulf to check.

I feel like much of the out and out spite for North East Oysters comes about because of Blue Points. And those oysters were justifiably famous. But here's the thing: There are no Blue Points. Its not a thing anymore. If you're under 70, and haven't ever lived IN BLUE POINT you have likely never had one. Blue Point was largely fished out by the 50's, the fisheries (along with much of the Great South Bay) collapsed entirely by the 60's. Small commercial and residential catches, that largely stayed in the area, continued for a while. But polution tool its toll and for a really long time all the Oyster bearing water ways around Blue Point have been closed to commercial and residential shellfishing. There hasn't been even a small commercial catch of oysters out of Blue Point in decades. There are oysters living there today. And the waters are frequently seeded with more. But none of those are considered fit for human consumption.

The name "Blue Point" is used as almost a generic name for the Atlantic Oyster. The vast majority on the market are low quality, wild caught oysters out of Virginia. And occasionally the Gulf (if they were higher quality they wouldn't need to pretend to be Blue Points). There are some farmed oysters sold under that name, but they sure as shit aren't from anywhere near Blue Point. Raised in the Long Island Sound (opposite side, different water way). And are decent oysters but nothing to get excited about. If Blue Points are what you're thinking of when you think of North East Oysters. Well you've been had.


Also I can't speak highly enough of that Duxbury shucker Daniel likes. A local oyster farmer and raw bar owner turned me on to them. Hell of a thing. Best oyster knife I've ever used, and because of the oyster bar in question they're rapidly displacing everything else in our area (including the traditional old screw driver). The New Haven style is a tiny bit easier to learn with, but it tends to cause broken shells, and makes it a lot easier to mangle the oyster meats. And its trickier to use when you're doing tons of oysters. The Duxbury is fast, simple and comfortable to use once you get the knack. I don't feel like I actually got good at shucking oyster till I picked one up.

What Is American Cheese, Anyway?

@wingbatwu That's self evident. Wood pulp = cheap. Cheese = expensive. Which is why its treated as routine food contamination and fraud. And remember that's not all grated cheese. Its the little tubs of pre-grated Parm and Romano (etc) you find in the cheese case near the deli counter. The stuff that's supposedly more respectable than the shelf stable cheese dust in the green can.

What Is American Cheese, Anyway?

@scalfin

Sodium Citrate is apparently the sodium salt form of citric acid. So I'm gonna go with no. Those sodium atoms are gonna cause some sort of difference in how the stuff works. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_citrate

And to slightly correct Kenji, from what I understand about Rennet. While calf rennet is still the gold standard its in short supply due to the dropping popularity of Veal. The vast majority of cheeses in the world are now made with rennet produced by GMO bacteria. Vegetable rennet/enzymes are increasing in use, but aren't preferred because they lead to a stiff, plastic like texture. This has been a major issue in the GMO labeling debate. As MOST cheeses will subsequently end up labeled as a GMO product despite not containing any actual modified genes. Giving the false impression that there are genetically modified cows running around.

Muffin Myth-Busting: Don't Waste Your Time Tossing Berries in Flour

By all means lets keep dickering about on the subject of gravity. Technically gravity doesn't make anything sink, it pull things towards a center of mass. In our case the center of mass for the earth. Buoyancy is an opposing force where by the liquid something is suspended in pushes against the gravitational pull effected on that same object. Things can have buoyancy and still sink, the buoyancy will just effect the rate of sinking. They can have neutral buoyancy and stay suspended in position. Or they can have enough buoyancy to over come gravity and float. Whether they do or not is factor of the viscosity, density and other features of the fluid they sit in. As well as the objects own density, position, and most importantly SURFACE AREA. An all steal boat is awfully dense, especially if you discount the unenclosed air space of its interior. Still floats. Because all that weight and density is spread out over a large surface. Stick that same boat pointed bow down. And it'll sink. Like a rock.

Point being unless you can decrease the density of the berries a whole lot. Vastly increase their surface area by changing their shape. Or some how alter the way gravity acts on the. (Tossing in flour does none of this). You aren't going to much effect their tendency to sink or float much. And totally FLOATING berries are just as bad as sinking, they'll just pile up at the other end of the muffin. What you need are neutrally buoyant berries. Berries that sit just where you put them. There aren't a lot of berry side factors you can control. But on the batter side you can manipulate how thick things are. Which means increasing or decreasing its viscosity and density.

Hence thick batter. Berries that sink slower (slow enough to get locked in position when the batter sets) or stay neutrally buoyant.

Equipment: The Best Manual Citrus Juicers and Reamers

@BostonAdam

The issue is that the plastic of the handles fatigues, wears and becomes brittle over time. Every time you use it the plastic of the handle flexes just a bit, that wears out the plastic just where it joins the cups. Eventually that handle will snap with very little pressure. I've even had a handle on a plastic model (though not the Chef'n) snap off when I picked the damn thing up. How long that takes to happen is going to come down to how heavily you use it, and how you clean it (dishwasher vs hand wash). In an environment where I might be juicing dozens of pieces of citrus in a given night, and the things may take more than a few spins through a commercial dishwasher. Every night. Forever. That comes down to a few weeks at most. Sometimes plastic juicers even go in a single shift. But it will happen under house hold use. At home I've gotten around 6 months to a year out of plastic squeezers.

The enameled ones have their issues (collect citrus oil and can chip as you've said), and they will eventually fatigue and snap in the same way as the plastic ones. But it takes much much longer. Up to several years in a working environment, and practically forever at home. Though that's entirely contingent on buying a decent brand. Its some what disingenuous to discount the metal options based on lower quality examples, in favor of a name brand of the plastic. As I mentioned you can find plastic squeezer that will break on first use. You can also find aluminium squeezers that will break on first use.

That's why I prefer to go with a quality, commercial grade stainless steel model. Which can be had for around the same price as the Chef'n.

The Best (and Worst) of Times for Japanese Wagyu Beef in the US

@illone

"These chefs and restaurant owners are not stupid when it comes to sourcing and procurement."

You would be surprised. First and foremost most restaurants are not run by hipsters who know the defference between and ramp and a scallion. Second that's a poor comparison ramps and scallions are easily distinguishable. The issue is being able to distinguish between two nearly identical products. A scallion and spring onion. Or a scallion from New Jersey and a scallion from Asia. Or two distinct varietals of scallion. When the producer or purveyor is labeling the scallion as a green onion (or vice versa), or a very specific sort of scallion from a very specific place. Even when its not. It can be difficult or impossible to distinguish unless you have direct experience and knowledge of that special scallion.

If I offer you two boxes of Kobe steaks. Bother are labeled as Kobe, both are labeled with information about Japan, and the process used to raise Kobe. Both are from Wagyu breed cattle. Both are marbeled well above prime. And both sit at an appropriate price point. But one is from cattle raised in the US, but packaged in Japan to get a product of Japan label. And the other is actual Japanese beef. How well are you going to be able to distinguish between the two? On a deadline?

Now that's pretty high level stuff, but its the sort of thing that's endemic to our food supply. The producer/distributor end of it is trying everything it can to obscure where a huge portion of what its sell has come from, and what exactly it is. Down the chain (and price scale) you've got products that are out and out fraudulently labeled as Kobe, trade marks with Kobe inserted into them to them more legitimately (its not really a protected term "Uncle Bobs Premium Utah Kobe TM" with all but Kobe in tiny text). Things pitched by the sales force as "pretty much Kobe", "better than Kobe" etc. Customers who won't pay for Wagyu or Matsuzaka beef (because they have no clue what it is), but will for Kobe. Low end products labeled accurately in a technical sense (ie Kobe that doesn't pass muster shifted off to markets that don't know the difference). And on and on.

Not all of this happens for each individual desirable product. But you can multiply this by nearly any product available to a restraunt. Shit I've had a sales creature pitching me DOC and DOCG Italian wine for months. I've tried the product. Its all colliers blends, imported from Europe and packaged locally. Sometimes those can be a great value. All the info and paperwork that I've seen looks kosher on this stuff. Pretty clearly cooking wine that's been repackaged, and I wouldn't be surprised if it all had a bunch of low end Cali wine blended in to stretch it. My owner (who doesn't know a lick about wine), and the rest of the staff (who know only marginally more) would have bought it. It looks entirely worthwhile on paper, at a price that's hard to beat. And even tasting it most of them thought it was drinkable (it damn well isn't). And to top it all off it comes from the local super high end farm to table purveyor. Who package it themselves. Everything else they sell is carefully and clearly sourced, and they can even bring the farmer who raised it by to say hello. If you don't happen to have expertise in that particular subject (Italian wines), and a decent palate with concerns and experience as to wine quality. You could be easily fooled into carrying that stuff.

I once worked in a seafood restaurant (not a particularly great but very popular one in our area). The chef, a guy who has cooked 90% seafood for his entire career, was an avid recreational fisherman. This guy knew fish. Among our customers were multiple commercial fishermen. And a local marine biologist.

The chef started serving something (from Sysco, so many of these problems are Syco related) called "Hawaiian White Tuna". A common trade name used for Escolar (along with several other variations of white tuna, and hawaiian butter fish). A fish that can make you ill by its very nature. One that has been occasionally banned or restricted from the market (and at the time was "reccomended" not to be imported into the US) because of the health effects from its consumption. I had a really interesting afternoon trying to explain to the chef, several fishermen, and that marine biologist why we probably shouldn't be serving it unless we could prove it wasn't Escolar. Not one of those people believed me, it said "Tuna" right on the box! And not one of them was aware of the issue with eating or serving Escolar. None of them had even heard of Escolar. The sales rep was unwilling or unable to confirm what species the was. But did insist it was tuna. As far as I know noone got the shits. And a better restaurant would have taken it off the menu anyway. But if I hand't have happened to be there on the day that shipment came in. No one would have been the wiser. Even those actual experts of fish were unable to catch the potential mislabeling.

Being an expert in something is great but it does not make you an expert or authority in all things. Our fisherman and seafood cooks here deal with fish from the North East Atlantic. And the Marine Biologist specialized in inshore estuaries. Not one of these was "expert" in a tropical to subtropical, deep water fish, usually caught in the Pacific and seldom marketed.

Equipment: The Best Manual Citrus Juicers and Reamers

I'll agree on the Chef'n. Having used one behind the bar they aren't generally long lived. Any squeezer with plastic handles is going to have those handles snap after enough use. In a professional environment they're gone in a matter of weeks. We stick to Norpro all metal models from the restraint supply house. They work pretty damn well and more importantly don't break. The most common ones are enameled aluminum, which will wear out and snap a handle eventual. Preferred are the stainless steel models.

Counter to the advice above about the larger orange squeezers being a better all use tool, you really want to stick with the lemon sized ones. And use an the orange only for orange and smaller grapefruits. The medium sized lemon squeezer work fine for lemon and limes (and in fact better for limes than small lime squeezers), and can do a decent job on larger fruits if you simply cut them smaller (or buy smaller fruit). But the orange juicers are problematic for anything but prefectly sized orange. They trap excess juice in the now concave top of the fruit, spilling it all over. And don't extract juice particularly well from lemons and limes (they slide around avoiding the point of highest pressure). And due to sizing and leverage issues they're much more likely to snap a handle.

The Best (and Worst) of Times for Japanese Wagyu Beef in the US

@jwardell

Probably American or Australian raised Wagyu or Wagyu Hybrid beef. LOTS of that in the US. By reputation its good, not nearly as rich as Japanese Wagyu. But that means you can eat more of it.

The Best (and Worst) of Times for Japanese Wagyu Beef in the US

@illone & andsowouldi

In the vast majority of cases the restaurateurs and their staff aren't even going to be aware that misrepresentation is happening. Most of this mislabeling happens at the producer/packer/distributor level. You talk to your purveyor about carrying a product. In this case kobe or wagyu, and you go though the list of available products. It says "Kobe" on the label, its listed as Kobe in their materials and databases, the producer will confused ass line about special breeds and beer massages, and even the salesman probably isn't aware that its not technically Kobe. The same thing happens with a whole host of products in restaurants. A personal pet peeve of mine is Blue Point Oysters. There really aren't any Blue Point Oysters on the market. Huge chunks of the Great South Bay, including most of those immediately around Blue Point are closed to commercial and residential shellfishing. And even if they were open, over harvesting decades ago have left those beds pretty tapped out, and the pollution means you probably wouldn't want to eat them anyway. And yet its nearly impossible to find anyplace serving oysters that DON'T have supposed Blue Points. From what I understand the vast majority of "Blue Points" out there are wild oysters from Virginia, though there are some farmed oysters from the sound (quite far from Blue Point, on a completely different body of water) billed as such. And Blue Water oysters from off Fire Island that loosely market themselves as "real Blue Points" by virtue of being closer to Blue Point than anyone else.

New England's Greatest Contribution to the Hot Dog

"They say that you become a real New Yorker after 10 years in the city".

The most commonly cited number I hear, even from born and bred New Yorkers (often even Manhattanites, the least like New Yorkers to accept transplants as New Yorkers) is 3 years. Though mostly predicated as "if your not a New Yorker in 3 years you'll never be a New Yorker". The idea being you adapt to New York quickly or not at all (or New York mutates and warps you quickly, or chases you off).

"gray kraut that real New Yorkers know to ask for"

No. There is nothing inherently NY about kraut on a dog. You find it nearly everywhere you find hot dogs, especially if there is (or was) a German population of an sort. The real NY shit, the thing New Yorkers know to ask for and noone else does is Onions in Sauce. That is the definitive, NY metro area only, hot dog topping.

Other than that I'll just say that Massachusetts dogs are, frankly, not all that good. Your right about the spit top bun being generally better. Though it is the SAME bread as regular buns, and the same ammount, its just shifted around differently. The spit top bun is too thick at the bottom, but nice and thin toward the size. Side spit buns are too thick everywhere BUT the bottom. But the Mass dogs themselves are seldom what I'd call a quality dog. For my money they are a pale imitation of the often much better dogs from Maine. Best known for the red hot dogs (they also come without the dye, or in orange, pink or green). Unfortunately most of Maine's regional brands have been bought by national concerns and shut down, or acquired by regional brands from Mass and replaced with inferior Massachusetts dogs. The last producer of real, quality, traditional Maine hot dogs in Maine that I'm aware of is W. A. Bean and Sons in Bangor. They produce both their own recipe, and the recipe from one of the handful of major brands that's now Gone. Rice's. We order a case of the Rice's from time to time. Just like I remember from childhood visits with family up there. That's not to say there aren't quality dogs in Mass, they're just harder to find that in NY. Time was in Maine ALL the dogs were absolutely classy, now it takes some looking. And I blame Massachusetts for that.

http://www.beansmeats.com/

@Berroci

Greys, Papaya King, Nathans and the handful of others (including a number of old school delis) still doing it that way are NOT cart style dogs. The traditional NY style cart dog is poached in water. Hence the name Dirty Water Dog. Grey's and their competition are the older tradition of NY hotdog stands. They griddle the dogs, usually on tin foil. Different style, different drink. Both are supposed to be natural casing dogs, but its getting harder and harder to find dog carts that use natural casings. Even the carts with actual Sabretts (all have the umbrellas, fewer and fewer actually sell them) are typically using skinless now. I've had most luck finding natural casing dirty water dogs in Jewish neighborhoods and looking for carts advertised as kosher.

I'm also skeptical of the bun being the be all end all. But she's right that generally the buns on NY dogs kind of suck. But the NE style isn't inherently superior. They're typically from the same manufacturers, made from the same cheap bread. But the split top bun is easily toasted, which is nice. Where as NY buns are typically steamed to render them warm and soft. That's your culprit right there. Because it also makes them cottony and bland, and sometimes soggy or even rock hard in parts. Its not a great practice and it should probably end. But frankly in terms of base sausage quality, NY dogs. Especially those from Sabrett (both Papaya King and Greys are made by Sabrett), our dogs are just higher quality more often. And like I said the real shit, best dogs in New England, just as quality as good NY stuff hot dogs were from Maine. And they're harder to find as they've been largely replaced by inferior brands from points south.