Wednesday, May 04, 2005

on sourcing

Ever since Amanda explained all these fancy words to me, I can't stop using them! I'm, like, so "in". Since you aren't, let me explain that "sourcing" is how we talk about "ingredients." Here are some things I've been meaning to say about those:

Sorrel came up a few weeks ago, and I neglected to mention -- I am hardly the first person to discover this -- that it works very well with fish when you are too lazy to go pick a lemon. Halibut cheeks with a sorrel salsa verde. Just saying.

Favas. Andy Griffin wrote last week about Jack and his broad bean stalk, but it's not online for some reason. And while Saveur's editorial direction remains mystifying, the fava pastiche from the May issue was quite good, if a little late: "habas de abril para mí; las de mayo para el caballo": too true, I'm afraid. They're already over. But the strawberries are finally turning the corner.

I'm not trying to torment you poor east coasters, who will have to wait another two months for your own strawberries, really. Take solace in your ramps. Dana's got a good idea of what to do with them [and, pardon the phrase, their rectal repercussions].

Beef. I finally picked up a Creekstone prime strip steak the other day [background] . I hate to say it, but when it comes to a steak, grassfed is not ready for prime time. Maybe restaurants can get a good steak out of it, but they have better suppliers than the rest of us. Braises and the like are a different story, but there are still some seasonal problems with off flavors, in my experience. But you should only be eating a real steak a couple times a year, unless you are my sister. Anyway, the Creekstone was good, dripping with the lipid gold of your agricultural subsidies at work (i.e., corn-fed fat), but it is a crime to sell prime beef that hasn't been properly dry aged. It just reminds you of its own wasted potential. This was confirmed a few weeks later when I picked up some dry aged prime Niman T-bones. Sublime, of course. Problem is you can only get meat like that if you know someone or live in NYC. And you pay through the nose.

Speaking of which, my sister angrily corrected me (re: the Smith and Wollensky hair that she was already outside Brooklyn when the need for steak arose. Depsite the "surprisingly fast" L train, there was no time to dawdle, so she had to go to S&W. Also, when told of the hair, I did not reply "gnarly," despite speculation based on our reported conversation.

Of course, it is important to know about how your ingredients are produced if you are really concerned about quality. I don't know who this douchebag is, but he does explain, at excruciating length, a little bit about organic certification and its discontents.

Part of an excellent Farmers Market theme issue from the LA Times, which I will -- ever so carefully -- critique along with the rest the food media if I ever have a chance. At least the Cod is doing the heavy lifting, wading through T: and all its effuvia:

Evidently, the Times stylebook is changing, as "tasteful" is clearly some kooky rhyming slang for "indescribably vulgar."

[Finally, the whole Radosh thing is outside our purview, but in keeping with the "where does my food come from?" theme, it did unearth John Bowe's 2003 New Yorker article on agricultural slavery. Read it again.]

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