This October a huge number of meadow mushrooms, agaricus campestris, have sprung up in the church lawn. They are delicious raw or fried in butter. After a rain they did look as if they were flecked with drops of blood— I hesitate to mention it, but they were delicious raw anyway. And the older black-gilled ones are fine to eat, raw or cooked. I made soup very successfully. They weren’t collecting worms or bugs, which made them good for soup. I combined cut-up mushrooms with milk, onion flakes, MSG, salt, and pepper (too much pepper, as it turned out). I was able to dilute it heavily with more milk and it still remained flavorful. It didn’t turn black— more a sort of oyster stew color. I think butter would have helped.
See Steve Sailer on the new Nature study.
An example from PRof. Bainbridge of a not uncommon irony: the half-educated snobs sneer at the practice of the fully educated who know the exact principle, not just the rule of thumb. This comes up in writing style all the time.
In the US these days, of course, you’re far more likely to encounter a red wine served at 70+ degrees. At that temperature, the alcohol starts to volatilize and you experience a hot sensation on both the nose and palate. The solution is simple, but requires confidence. Ask for an ice bucket and stick the red wine in it for 10 minutes or so to knock the edge off. You will almost certainly face anything from condescension to non-cooperation. After all, you’re dealing with barbarians — if the staff and management knew anything about wine, they’d serve red wines at a proper temperature. But it’s your bottle and you can do what you like. And next time, go someplace where they treat wine with the respect it deserves
Bringing Flavor Back to the Ham
By HAROLD McGEE in the NY Times is very good.
HAVE you ever placed a vanishingly thin morsel of rosy meat on your tongue and had it fill your mouth with deepest porkiness, or the aroma of tropical fruits, or caramel, or chocolate? Or all of the above?
A really good dry-cured ham can do just that. Not a standard pink, cooked ham, juicy with injected brine, but a raw ham preserved by the application of dry salt, hung up to age for months or years, then sliced paper-thin and eaten as is, uncooked, yet transformed into the intense, silken essence of meat….
I recently tasted dry-cured hams from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Iowa, and some rival Europe’s best. Their makers are variously determined to revive country ham and to develop American versions of European classics. They have made significant progress by rediscovering the ingredients that made dry-cured ham so good in the first place, when pigs were fattened on the autumn harvest and their meat preserved for scarcer times.
Above all there’s the pig, which should be mature, well fed and free to run around. Muscles of such an animal are packed with the raw materials for creating flavor, enzymes that will catalyze the first stage of that creation, and fat to lend tenderness and moistness.
Then there’s time. It takes many months for muscle enzymes to break down flavorless proteins into savory amino acids, odorless fats into aromatic fragments, and for all these chemical bits and pieces to interact and generate new layers of flavor. And it takes months for meat to lose moisture and develop a density of flavor and texture.
Berkshire hams are in scant supply and sold mainly to restaurants. But Edwards’s Surryano is $19.95 for 12 ounces at virginiatraditions.com, (800) 222-4267. La Quercia’s Green Label prosciutto, from a Berkshire cross, is $32.95 a pound for 8- to 10-pound pieces at laquercia.us, (515) 981-1625.
Ariel Rubinstein’s Montreal coffeehouse pick is proud of that.
I like English pubs. Here is an HT article on Bloomington saloons that welcome children. I don’t know if they allow dogs or not.
Rago said Nick’s was cognizant of retaining its reputation as a bar, which is why it confines its under-21 business to daytime and early evening hours. ... The Crazy Horse, 214 W. Kirkwood Ave.: Under 21 patrons welcome but cannot remain after 9 p.m. Grazie Italian Eatery, 106 W. Sixth St.: Seating in the restaurant proper is open, and minors can be in the bar lounge, if not the bar itself, if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The Irish Lion, 212 W. Kirkwood Ave.: Families can congregate upstairs. Downstairs, under-21 patrons have to be at least 18, in the company of parents and must sit either in the loft or well areas of the room. The Irish Lion also has a “babes in arms” policy. Infants can be downstairs, provided they’re being held. Malibu Grill, 106 N. Walnut St.: Families can sit in the restaurant and, in the separate bar area, patrons at least 18 years old can enter with a parent or legal guardian, but can’t sit at the bar. Scotty’s Brewhouse, 302 N. Walnut St.: Families can sit throughout the main restaurant area, but not in the bar area proper, which is blocked off by a half-wall. Trojan Horse, 100 E. Kirkwood Ave.: Under-21 patrons can sit downstairs and also in four booths upstairs. The Uptown Cafe, 102 E. Kirkwood Ave.: Families can sit throughout the restaurant, and 16- to-20-year-olds can also enter the bar area accompanied by parent or legal guardian, but cannot sit at the bar itself. Yogi’s Grill & Bar, 519 E. 10th St.: Yogi’s advertises all-ages service until 10 p.m.
From Randy Barnett at VC:
Every year I like to celebrate my birthday in my home town of Chicago where I can eat my favorite comfort food: Teibels Family Restaurant for lake perch (boned and buttered), Carson’s, The Place for Ribs for baby back ribs, and Walker Brothers, The Original Pancake House for apple pancakes.
Mr.Herb’s Restaurant in Hebron Kentucky, near Cincinnati, is very very good. It is a seafood restaurant. I had Mr. Herb’s Famous Fish Platter. A review says,
I’ve never had a bad meal at Mr. Herb’s; over the past few years I pretty much order the same thing: Mr. Herb’s Famous Fish Platter. Two huge pieces of battered and fried North Atlantic cod are served with two side items and your choice of hush puppies or dinner roll. Don’t forget the (extra) tartar sauce.
For me, the must-try side items are the green beans and the stewed tomatoes. I could make a meal just of these down-home classics. During the summer if you see the smoker parked outside, you’ll want to order the pulled pork BBQ. Mmmm. Delicious.
Yesterday I went jogging with L. and F. in the stroller and B. on his bike. We went to the persimmon tree on Sare Road. All the leaves but only a few fruit had fallen, and they were ripe and delicious. Persimmonpudding.com is a website devoted to persimmons.
Mushy peas are dried marrowfat peas which are first soaked overnight in water and bicarbonate of soda, and then simmered with a little sugar and salt until they form a thick green lumpy soup. Sometimes mint is used to alter the flavour. Green colouring is often used.
Ruddles County, from Rutland , 4.7%, calls itself a “serious country ale” and fits that well. It is not as oily as some strong ales, but is very bitter and good.
Old Hooky, from the family-run Hook Norton Brewery in Oxfordshire, 4.6%, also avoids the bad features of strong ales. It is a classic bitter, except from the bottle it is not as smooth as the best of the style. It is fizzier than I thought: I brought it home in a backpack and it exploded on me, quite humourously, when I opened it.
Cotswold Way, from Wickwar Brewing of Gloucestershire, was disappointing, much less bitter and less flavorful generally than the other two.
I tried all three in the company of Jim Alt, when he came over for supper.
Whitbread’s Gold Label Very Strong Special Beer is a cheap barleywine. It is undrinkable when the can is first opened, but gets much better if it breathes for a bit. Chill it, too. 17 proof– very strong indeed.
Sin. I’d benefit from understanding sin better. Evangelicals are to content to say something is sinful simply because the Bible tells us so. That’s fine for a start, and a good “reduced form” as we say in economics. And I agree with Ockham that it is God saying something is sinful that makes it sinful, rather than God looking at something, seeing it is independent sinful, and therefore so naming it. Murder is because God says it is; God doesn’t necessarily say it is sinful because it is. But there are also natural law reasons for why most sins are sins, reasons not based on divine revelation. Murder is an example– there are good natural law reasons for it to be considered bad. But we should also look at lust, gluttony, sodomy, greed, sloth, and so forth.
Gluttony is an overlooked sin. Why is it sinful? What is it, exactly? Here are three possibilities.
1. Gluttony is poor stewardship. If I eat a lot, somebody else doesn’t get to eat as much.
2. Gluttony is bestial. I degrade my humanity, and pollute God’s image, by stuffing myself and by making myself fat.
3. Gluttony is distracting. I put food before God, both in my attention and when it comes to conscious tradeoffs.
These all have different implications. Thin people who don’t eat much can be guilty of Type 1 and 3 gluttony.
Varietal Eggs. I hadn’t seen these in America. Free-range eggs are a big deal in England, for both humanitarian and epicurean reasons. I am skeptical of the difference according to either reason. Chickens are very stupid creatures and bred for contentment in small cages. Eggs are rather distant from everyday chicken functions, and I wonder whether eating bugs and getting exercise really affects them. But I could be wrong. My wife says free-range eggs do have a different color of yolk.
|Breed-Specific (Varietal) Eggs|
Pork Scratchings. This British version of the pork rind is very good. All four older children like them (they’re too tough for a baby). The package says, “Authentic Black Country Pork Snacks.” There is a site called Pork Scratching World that ranks this brand as 7, the second highest category.
|MS Pork Scratchings|
Lamb Balti. I had good lamb balti tonight at an Indian restaurant in South Kensington. Wikipedia says:
The name Balti food has nothing to do with an ethnic group living in India and Pakistan who are also called Balti. These Balti people are Tibetan Muslims. The food ‘Balti’ is named after the pot in which it is cooked. Balti food is a Punjabi recipe and prepared mainly in the Punjabi way.
The food is a hot curry-style dish, most likely taking its name from the thick flat-bottomed steel or iron pot in which it is both cooked and served. Normally the balti is served with large naan bread…
Balti combines the spices and ingredients of North Indian cuisine with the economics and efficiencies of Chinese cooking.