Food Thread: The Glorious Food And Drink Of Albion


Ah…the Sunday Roast. A tradition in the UK that is a fine example of their civilization, now sadly depleted; but the roast still hangs on as a wonderful reminder of what once was.

And it isn’t just the food, or to be honest, until recently it was in spite of the food! Although the food at many Sunday Roasts is quite good; but better than the food is the friendship and fellowship that it seems to amplify. It is a leisurely meal, with drink and conversation and comfortable pauses to look at the roaring fire or the other diners or just gaze into the middle distance.

And it isn’t reserved for restaurants. Plenty of people will make traditional Sunday Roasts at home. We had dinner with an expat friend who was quite proud of her Sunday Roasts; in particular the Yorkshire Pudding she has perfected. She can even make them puffy, or with a dip in the middle, depending on how one likes to eat it!

It is a lovely tradition, sort of an enforced pause in the frenetic pace of life. And I wonder whether the “roast” part evolved specifically to slow down the pace of cooking and reinforce that leisurely ramble through Sunday afternoon. After all, you can’t rush a roast leg of lamb…it will be done on its own schedule!

But…no rush…it is Sunday, and the whole day is ahead of you!

Why am I waxing poetic (badly) about a British tradition? Well, I am flying back from there instead of writing the Food Thread. I have spent the week seeking good English pub food and great English Bitters. And here you will find my embarrassingly amateurish attempts at food photography, with a little tipsy commentary thrown in for good measure!

covent garden pint.jpg

A nice pub in central London (Covent Garden), where I had my first English ale in more than two years, courtesy of Wuhan Flu. That’s a Nicholsons…one that I have never had…and it was quite tasty! It is in a class of beers called “real ales,” which means that they undergo a secondary fermentation in the keg or cask. In addition, they do not use CO2 as a propellent, using hand-powered taps instead. And best of all? They are low in alcohol, so I can have a proper English pint (or three) of 20 ounces without feeling tipsy and able to belch Beethoven’s 5th..

Fish And Chips.jpg

Why yes! That is Fish and Chips with some mushy peas, eaten with great gusto at a pub on the Thames called “The Gun,” whose name comes (supposedly) from the cannon fired to celebrate the opening of the West India Import Docks in 1802. Yup…this is East London, and it got Goering’s full attention in WWII. Oh, they claim that Lord Nelson used to meet Lady Hamilton in one of the upstairs rooms! He was killed at Trafalgar in 1805, so it may be apocryphal, but I choose to believe it!

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Lest you think that all pub food is simple fare, that is a perfectly roasted chicken breast and wing with an excellent pan sauce. This is exactly the sort of food I think of when I defend English cooking. Two generations ago that would have been an overcooked mess. But today, perhaps pushed by the influence of a wealthier country and many more people traveling the world and eating all sorts of good meals, one can get food that is the equal of anything in the world.

Roast Carrots.jpg

See! I eat my veggies! Damned fine roast carrots in tarragon butter.

Dessert was good too! Some sort of mousse, but very thick and chocolaty. It came with a mandarin orange Granité that was nice and tart and went well with the richness of the mousse.

Mandarin Mousse.jpg

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After a few hours tramping around The National Gallery I was a bit peckish. And what better way to ease my hunger pangs than to try some typical English fast food. Nothing fancy, but it was shockingly good! The pastry was perfectly crispy, and the sausage meat was nicely spiced and not fatty or gristly. I ate only one, and that was a significant tactical error.


The Gin & Tonic is a close second to beer as the national drink of England, and so it makes perfect sense that they take their tonics seriously. I counted four different ones at the hotel bar, along with about 20 different gins.

I don’t have the palate to differentiate the gin in my G&T, but the tonics themselves are quite good. Less sweet than the typical tonics in America, and sort of subtle and complex.

mutton chop.jpg

That is a perfectly cooked mutton chop with a small slice of mutton belly (sadly, a bit overcooked, but still tasty) and a mutton croquette that was deliciously crispy. I guess mutton is an acquired taste, but anyone who has eaten wild game will certainly enjoy it. I have no idea where to get it in my neck of the woods…the last time I bought it was years ago. There is a famous chop house in NYC that made its reputation on their mutton chop, so it is definitely available in the U.S. I have had the mutton at Keens Chop House, but the one in the photo was easily its equal!

smoked loin.jpg

How could I resist a nice slice of smoked pork loin with the delightful bonus of some fried eggs? The answer is: I couldn’t! I didn’t know what to expect because it was described slightly differently, but it turned out well; nice and smoky with a bit of fat, and the eggs went nicely with the pork.

It is an odd choice for smoking…I would have smoked a boneless shoulder because it is fattier and would stand up to the drying smoke a lot better. But it did taste good, so that is just a quibble.

Guardsman Pint.jpg

Yes; there is a theme to my visit to London. Those real ales are something special. And for any of you who are sick of the over-hopped, overly-alcoholic IPAs that still dominate American craft brewing, they would be a revelation. I hope that they catch on in America, because it really is a long trip to go to London for a beer.

Romaine lettuce that is green, instead of the white crap they sell that has never seen a photon, pork rib roasts from the front end of the pig where all the good and fatty meat lives, carrots that don’t taste like stalky chalk, spare bottles of Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year Old Bourbon, an herb garden that actually produces herbs (but no basil!), well-marbled NY strip steaks and elk backstrap to: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com.

And don’t think that you are off the hook with maple syrup and French Toast: I’m watching you…all of you! And I am watching you perverts who shake Manhattans and keeping a list for the Burning Times.

Doughnuts And Tacos! But What About A Taco Doughnut?

FL Salty.jpg

Those are what I would consider “Adult Doughnuts!” Not cloyingly sweet, and with a nice salty component that makes them quite appealing. And they really hit the spot fresh out of the oil as a snack after a wedding. What a good idea!

Top left is a maple glazed, then comes the star of the show…salty bacon! The next one (clockwise) is a guava jelly filled (weird but good!), and the last one is a meringue-capped filled doughnut that was nice, but nothing exciting.

There are plenty of great doughnut makers in America, and while these may not be the best in the country I would definitely nominate them for the top spot. I absolutely loved the savory aspect of them. But…obviously somebody else did too. I couldn’t get a photo the next morning before they were munched by person or persons unknown.

Who goes to Florida and finds great tacos? Your intrepid Dildo does! A little place on South Dixie Highway in West Palm beach called Cholo Soy Cocina does a fine job with the standards plus some interesting twists!

FL Tacos.jpg

Upper left is a chorizo and octopus taco, and it may have been the star of the show. The others were excellent too. Chicken, steak and a really good fried fish taco.

Oh, that was my second visit. I ate too quickly to get a photo the first time!

By the way, there is nothing complicated about these tacos; just good fresh ingredients made to order, which is the recipe for success in the restaurant game.

Well, one of them.

Commenter “jix” sent this along, and I must admit that I am intrigued, even though I am content with my beef stew technique.

About a week ago, an Italian friend posted pictures of a stew she made on Instagram. It got me wondering, “Is there an Italian beef stew?” I did an internet search and found Spezzatino di Manzo (Italian Beef Stew). I made it this evening and it was quite a hit with the family. It wasn’t any more labor intensive than my usual American-style beef stew but the flavor was so much more vibrant and had real depth. I’ll be making this version from now on. The only change I made in the recipe was to substitute Kettle & Fire beef bone broth for the low sodium beef broth.

It’s an interesting recipe, and I wondered to “kij” whether the addition of the mushrooms at the beginning of the cooking was responsible (at least partly) for the depth of flavor.

One more thing of note: tomatoes? Does anyone put tomatoes in their beef stew?

Cocktails that are too focused on their look are often disappointingly boring or one dimensional. But these, from The Dewberry Hotel in Charleston and inspired by a Garden & Gun program are just too beautiful to pass up.

southern bill cocktail.jpgjewel of the south cocktail.jpgnonpariel cocktail.jpg

I rarely garnish with anything other than a twist of lemon or orange, or a good maraschino cherry. I have made bacon swizzle sticks, and once or twice I have garnished with a sprig of Rosemary, but that’s about it!

Oh…wait…basil leaves for basil gimlets are nice.

But the architectural stuff is beyond me.

Our very own professional chef weighs in on hospital food, but expands to include the joys of socialized medicine!

Here is “kch” with a restaurant review, and more!

I recently spent five days in hospital, giving me a somewhat in-depth exposure to the level of food considered acceptable to the patients at a Canadian health care bureaucracy-run institution – the end product of our single-payer, no competition, no accountability to the end user system.

So, how was it? Well, to paraphrase Opus the penguin, it “did for cuisine what the Jonestown kool-aid did for kids’ drinks”. Good Lord, it was awful, and in so many ways….

To start with, nothing, absolutely nothing, that wasn’t from a package was seasoned. Not just under seasoned, completely not seasoned. Everything tasted flat – the proteins, the starches, the vegetables, all of it. Yes, a nurse eventually took pity on me and brought me salt packs, but adding it after cooking is never as good.

Nova Scotia is home to many fine Atlantic salmon farms, but what I got was frozen pre-portioned Pacific Pink filet – low grade and cheap. The haddock was almost certainly twice-frozen Chinese processed. The chicken was obviously skinless boneless pumped IQF breasts. All of which, regardless of description – baked, fried, grilled – were cooked in a combi-oven, as were any sides that couldn’t be steamed.

Sauces for the above were either non-existent or right from a package. The scrambled eggs were steamed and unseasoned. The vegetables were frozen mixes that were steamed and unseasoned. The mashed potatoes had no salt, no butter, no milk or cream. The breakfast porridge was completely – you guessed it! – unseasoned.

Condiments and accompaniments? If not specified, I got margarine packs, not butter. The only peanut butter available was Kraft Light. Crackers were no-salt. No mayo, everything was made with Light Miracle-Whip. Light cream cheese only. The cheapest brand of canned fruit available. Same for juices – the cheapest available. Cheap, terrible coffee and no cream, only milk. As for milk, you’d better like skim or 1%, because that’s what you’re getting. Can’t speak to salad dressings (wasn’t allowed salads), but if I had to guess, they’re all likely to be of the light persuasion.

I’ll admit, the soups were seasoned, as was the mac and cheese, but that’s because Campbell’s doesn’t make no-salt frozen versions of either, or I’m sure they’d have been as flavorless as the rest…

The final straw was that of all of the meals ordered for me, only one arrived as ordered. Every other one had missing items or wrong items. Absolutely pathetic.

So why it it this bad? I think there are several things going on.

First, it’s a government monopoly. There is, by law, no competition. Therefore, no incentive to change or improve.

Second, the food services at our hospitals are run by dieticians/nutritionists. They know all about the health of the foods, but really have no clue about how to cook food, or what makes food tasty and appealing. They set the menus and produce the recipes, apparently without regard to the final result. The cooks are only following directives, and with no stake in making anything better don’t bother trying, I guess.

Last, it’s a government operation. That means everything is low-bidder to keep the costs down. This comes at the expense of quality and common sense, of course. I use the same main wholesaler as government operations in this province, so I’m pretty familiar with what’s available and trust me, what they buy is the cheapest out there. It could make sense for the taxpayer, I guess, but given that the daily food cost of a hospital room here is about 1% of the total cost, it really wouldn’t take much to dramatically improve. Hell, they probably spend more on DIE initiatives than they do on food…

Socialism: What can’t it screw up?

I love cauliflower. But I am in the minority at Chez Dildo, so I have to make things like cauliflower gratin with more cheese than should be legal, or cauliflower martinis* to get anyone but me to consume the damned things.

So what to do with the small head of cauliflower I bought a couple of days ago? Make cauliflower steaks of course! Which I have never done, but how hard can it be? I’m going to trim the green leaves and the hardest part of the core, slice it into 2″ “steaks,” brush it with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast for 30 minutes at 450 degrees. Maybe some minced garlic, and maybe a sprinkle of Parmesan for the last few minutes.

It’s cauliflower, and I like it, but no matter how good it is nobody will admit it and I will be abused for my food choices.


*I may have made that up…

[Hat tip: dhmosquito]

Romaine lettuce that is green, instead of the white crap they sell that has never seen a photon, pork rib roasts from the front end of the pig where all the good and fatty meat lives, carrots that don’t taste like stalky chalk, spare bottles of Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year Old Bourbon, an herb garden that actually produces herbs (but no basil!), well-marbled NY strip steaks and elk backstrap to: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com.

And don’t think that you are off the hook with maple syrup and French Toast: I’m watching you…all of you! And I am watching you perverts who shake Manhattans and keeping a list for the Burning Times.

Smash! Smash Your Meat!


It was outside agitators! I had no plans to make fast-food burgers for dinner, but subversives carefully manipulated dinner plans at stately Chez Dildo and before I realized what was going on I was rushing out to pick up the vital ingredient…Kraft American Singles! And pickle slices. And potato buns.

The rest of it is insanely easy and loads of fun. What I found interesting was that the smash technique is not quite so effortless as one would assume, because after all it’s just ground meat! I had to use a solid spatula and push down on it with my hand. Smash means SMASH!

Anyway, a few minutes in a screaming hot cast-iron pan to develop a nice crust, then flip it, slap that slice of cheese on top*, and watch the glories of a fast-food burger unfold.

I caramelized a bunch of onions (see below) and made my special secret sauce, which is just like everyone else’s special secret sauce: mayo and ketchup.

The order of construction is important, and the younger brat insisted that the sauce be slathered…ON THE BOTTOM BUN! What witchcraft was afoot in my home?

No, I didn’t put pickles on mine. Maybe next time.

Oh, that is a double: two patties, each of four ounces, with two slices of cheese and a ton of onions, because caramelized onions are glorious.

*Don’t forget to unwrap it!

This Best-Holiday-Meal-On-A-Budget contest has turned into a huge pain in the ass, and it is all your fault. Every single one is at least interesting. Seriously, there isn’t a dud among them.

I hate you all. How the hell am I going to choose a winner? Obviously I will dump all of the heavy lifting on Moki, because this whole contest is her fault.

Anyway, here is another one of the menus, with a particularly amusing dessert.

[I am joking about the “hate you all” part. Well, mostly joking.]

Straight from the Bog Family Kitchen – My entry for the Extravagant Meal Tiny Price Sweepstakes. Appetizer – Baked Brie in Phyllo Dough with Cherry Chutney


Brie was from Costco about $8 Phyllo Dough from grocery $4 Chutney 3 TBLSP $1 Butter $1 Total $14 Entrée – Moroccan Spiced Chicken with Baked Cauliflower and CousCous.


This recipe is easy and delicious. Marinade Chicken Thighs with Onions, Garlic, Parsley, ground Ginger, pepper, turmeric, paprika, red pepper flake, thyme, cumin and harissa paste. I also added two preserved lemons that we make at home. Just Salt, Lemon and time to cure. Brown the Chicken thighs in your dutch oven with some olive oil. Remove thighs then sauté the remaining marinade ingredients until they smell heavenly. Add the thighs back to the pot with 1/4 cup of pitted olives. If you are extravagant you can also add saffron but I thought the cost and unusual spice preclusion may prevent its use. Although there are a lot of spices in this they are relatively common. Takes about 15 minutes to make up the marinade, cooks in the oven about an hour at 375 degrees. We served it over a side of plain CousCous along with a side of roasted Cauliflower with Lemon, Salt and Pepper. Chicken Thighs from Costco 5 lbs @ .99 per pound $ 5.00 Two Preserved Lemons and two fresh lemons $ 3.16 Two Onions and five garlic gloves $ 3.50 One bunch parsley $ 1.80 Cauliflower $ 4.71 bunch of spices (tsp and tblsp generally)say $ 5.00 WAG Half tube of Harissa paste (tube was 7.50) $ 3.25 half cup of olive oil $1.00 WAG Total (if my head math was right) $27.42 Dessert – What else could it be?


Pudding Cups 4 for $2.49 $5.00 Candy Skull $4.00 Total $9.00 Total Cost of Dinner for 8 approximately $50. We subsequently blew out the budget cause we drank too much wine. A lot of boxes of Valu-Red died that day, let me just tell you.

[Pete Bog, with the assistance of the lovely and talented Mrs Bog, formerly of California, now roaming the high plains of Wyoming]

From a reader (and hopefully a commenter) comes a deeply odd and sort-of-gross sounding snack that is probably fantastic.

I love spicy crackers and nuts and finger foods. They go so well with cocktails at the beginning of the evening, or with a cold beer on a hot day…do they wake up our palates in preparation for the meal?

Fire Crackers Southern thing. Very good snack 1 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin) 1.5 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp. onion powder 1 tsp MSG (Accent) 1 tsp cayenne 2 TB crushed red pepper flakes 1 tsp lemon/citrus pepper 2 x 1-ounce dry Buttermilk Ranch dressing packets 1 Lb of saltines (regular or mini) Put saltines in a 2-gallon ziplock. Mix all the remaining ingredients together. Pour the mixture onto the saltines, turning them in the bag occasionally to make sure the stuff’s not poured onto 1 cracker. Let marinate 24 hours, turning the bag occasionally to distribute the ingredients. Put crackers onto a half-sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes at 275, stirring once to redistribute the crackers. Let cool if you can. Great with beer. This recipe can be halved easily. This is pretty hot and spicy, if you like, leave out the pepper and it’s still good and mild. Also works without MSG, if you have problems with that ingredient (I don’t).


Caramelizing onions is not a difficult technique, but it takes either a long, long time, or a lot of attention. It’s tough to do it quickly without hovering over them, but the long, low and slow variation takes way too much time for most people.

So…here’s my Solomonic technique: Cut the onion in half and then half again, so you aren’t left with any really long slices. Then just slice thin. Don’t stress…just slice as thin as you can without worrying about losing the tips of your fingers. Put them in a pot with a tight cover over very low heat. A pinch of salt won’t hurt. Poach in their own juices for 60-90 minutes. Then take the cover off, increase the heat to medium-high, and when most of the liquid has evaporated add your fat of choice (butter works nicely) and stir and stir and stir until they reach the color you want.

Yeah, it isn’t perfect, but it’s the best I can do.


That was last night’s dinner at Chez Dildo. By request for my SIL’s birthday. But I did not take into account the extra mass of the 50% in protein that for some reason I was convinced I needed. So it took a lot longer to cook than I anticipated, but nobody got to bitch because it was my booze they were drinking while I cooked. It turned out well in the end, and I have enough leftover paella for about seven more meals, so no complaints.

Except from my waistline and my low-carb diet.

Nuts! Anthony McAuliffe Would Be Proud


Our intrepid exercise-yard enforcer and fine cook Bluebell sent me a recipe for “Savory Spiced Pecans” a long while ago. I resisted them for as long as I could, but finally relented, and they are fabulous. Now, I would call them more sweet than savory, but hell, she’s a Red Sox fan, so the fact that everything was spelled correctly is a great victory!

Anyway, I melded her excellent recipe with a much less successful recipe for “Spiced Almonds” that I found in the New York Times, and the results are above. The jar is sort of cloudy and dirty looking because the butter and sugar mixture doesn’t really get perfectly hard and dry, but that is perfectly all right, because they taste great!

Here is a link to the PDF of the recipe. It’s pretty straightforward, and to be honest the most important part is the technique from Bluebell’s recipe. The spice mixture I used can be changed according to your palate.

Coincidentally I was wandering my local market a few days ago and saw a display for spiced cashews. Now, that is also a fine idea and one that I will be exploring in the near future. Made in my own kitchen, because $14.99/lb. is just…um…nuts!


I have extolled the virtues of the Brit’s “Sunday Roast,” and have recommended that we embrace it and improve upon it here in America.

The Ritual of Sunday Roast

The classic meal is a gray-weather-soothing, all-day-eating, then veg-on-the-couch-in-a-food-coma affair (think Thanksgiving, if it came once a week), and the communing around slabs of roast meat is a remarkably sturdy tradition—one that’s survived mad cow disease and the new appreciation in Britain for healthy (even vegan) eating and remains a nostalgic bulwark against the spread of American-style brunch.

Yup…The Sunday Pub Roasts I have attended were conspicuous in their overindulgence of wonderful, fatty, rich, alcoholic comestibles, and even more conspicuously short on healthy alternatives. It’s almost as if people like to eat good food and drink good booze and have a good time, and are less concerned with the politics of food (because that is what veganism is: pure politics). I don’t appreciate the shot at American brunch though. It’s not that big a deal in many parts of the country.


I like looking at these sorts of things because they are usually total crap, and this one stays true to form. My first hint was the incorrect conversions for weights and volumes. But it is, as you have probably already guessed, just clickbait. But a six-month Gold Membership with Ampersand utility for anyone who can find three glaring errors.

152 Things You Must Know In the Kitchen — Ultimate Guide

Hat Tip: Misanthropic Humanitarian (although I think he was trolling me)


Arby’s Makes Meat-Based Carrot in Response to Fake-Meat Food Trend

“Arby’s is not one of the restaurant companies interested in working with Impossible Foods,” Arby’s said in a statement this May. “The chances we will bring plant-based menu items to our restaurants, now or in the future, are absolutely impossible.”

In fact, Arby’s is so opposed to the idea of plant-based meats, that they’ve decided to essentially troll the entire fake-meat industry by creating a fake vegetable, called a “megetable.”

Hat Tip: Bitter Clinger



Coq au Vin is an immensely satisfying cold-weather dish, but there are many recipes that are overly complicated and just too much of a slog for it to be in the regular rotation for many people. This recipe is pretty straightforward, although it is written in European Kickball units, so you will have to translate to a civilized language.

Easy coq au vin

As for the two bottles of red wine? Buy something cheap from Australia. It will be plenty rich enough, and it won’t break the bank. Or even use one bottle of red and replace the second bottle with chicken stock. It won’t be quite as rich, but it will be good. And for my sake don’t use three bay leaves. That is at least one too many.


I absolutely love when market forces are unleashed to fix a problem.
Putting purple sea urchins on the menu could save California’s kelp forest
But because it is California, it gets stupid:

The reason for this growth in numbers of the purple sea urchins comes down to rising sea temperatures, but also a disease that affected the sunflower sea star, the urchins’ predators.

When in doubt, blame global warming! Never mind that there is another perfectly reasonable and far simpler explanation for the increase in the sea urchin population.

I spent an amazingly painful few hours in the ER, having a bunch of their spines removed from my heel. They went through my fin strap, through my bootie, and deep into my foot. So anything that knocks down their population makes me a happy (and vengeful) abalone diver.


Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

Braising And Cold Weather — A Match Made in Heaven


The hiss of the radiators is a clear signal that braising season is upon us! And while braises are notorious time sinks, they really are pretty damned easy. Sear the meat, take it out, brown the mirepoix, add some herbs and spices, return the meat, along with some liquid (wine, beer, stock, etc) to the pot, let it simmer for a long time, then eat.

Simple, with thousands of fun variations, most of which you can do on your own without needing a recipe. Just find a good basic recipe that works for you, then tweak it and twist it and make it your own.

One of my favorites is braised beef short ribs, but the dish never turned out the way I wanted it until I realized that it is counter-intuitive. Most dishes benefit from fat, but there is so much fat in the short ribs that removing most of it really does improve the dish. I do that by making it in advance, then chilling the pot overnight and simply scraping the excess fat that floated to the top then hardened.

So give braising a shot. It’s a great technique, the cook is rewarded by using cheap cuts filled with connective tissue (they break down over time and add to the succulence), and you can empty your vegetable drawer of that old bag of carrots, the limp celery, and the onions that have seen better days. Dump it all in and be a happy and frugal camper.


Gwyneth Paltrow is a dangerous fool. Now that we have that out of the way, Let me go on a bit of a rant about healthful foods and healthy foods and unhealthy foods. But let us start with a grammar lesson! “Healthy” means in good health. It does not mean good for you. “Healthful” means good for you. And I defy you to find foods that are “healthful” and “unhealthful” independent of dose. And what I mean by that is simple…food is fuel, with a few vitamins and micro-nutrients thrown in for good measure. Most people get those vitamins and micro-nutrients from their diet without any attention being paid to much at all. So we are left with the inescapable conclusion that most food is just fuel.

That’s all. Nothing complicated. If you do well on a low-carb diet, then go for it. If you do well on a caveman diet, then go for it. But protein, fat and carbohydrate is pretty much all it is, and no amount of massaging of the sources of those macro-nutrients is going to do much.


From commenter “Muad’dib”

Lamb rib chops are great too. Get them “French” cut, which leaves the rib handles. Marinate them as CBD suggests with olive oil, crushed fresh garlic, salt, and balsamic vinegar. We call them lambsicles.


“Frenching” the ribs, whether it is on a lamb chop, a pork chop, a beef rib steak or a bumblebee is a crime against nature. That’s why it’s called “frenching!” Duh!

The meat and fat and other stuff on the ribs is a delicious bonus and should never, NEVER be trimmed off. However, I approve of this poor deluded Wisconsinite’s recipe, although I would add a bit of chopped fresh rosemary to the marinade!


Yum. Not that a bolognese sauce is anything arcane or rare, but he puts Spanish chorizo in it, and that sounds great!

Pasta Bolognese

Don’t confuse it with the Mexican version (which also has its uses), and if you have any left over, then make paella, because chorizo is fantastic in paella!


From commenter “Lurker Lou Here For Five Minutes” (and that’s a good nic!).

Found Haleem by accident at an Indian buffet in San Fran that had it…good thing that the lights were low. It’s very ugly no denying it.

Traditionally eaten to break the fast during Ramadan, but as there are no committed middle eastern or Indian restaurants near where I live, I thought it sounded like good cold weather eating and have made it from time to time.

Restaurant had it with lamb. Lovely. I made it with beef, s’okay. But then someone gifted me with a three year ole moose roast and I thought with all of those spices, it’d do.

What I’ve learned over the years is that moose + cumin are meant to be (other stories). There is pretty much every spice you’d want in this dish. But add a strong flavored meat and this is amazing. It does not hide the flavor, it augments it and elevates it.

This week a friend tried my recipe but subbed 15 bean mix beans for the lentils (avoiding the ugly presentation of lentil stew) and caribou (!) for the lamb or moose.

Better than lamb or moose with lentils. Seriously.

Get your hoar frostiest mutton out of the freezer and try this. Divine! Even if you don’t like mutton although I know you do.

Here is an easy recipe; I’m sure there are more difficult ones out there. I love to shred the meat but some people hand blend I guess. I’m not big on making home cooking fussy and this is home cooking.

Slow-Cooker Haleem — A Traditional Mixed Lentil and Meat Soup

Looks interesting, and Lou’s point about strong-flavored meats is a great one. I have always wondered why some famous dishes use a mild meat and a strong-flavored spice mix or accoutrements. Like…veal saltimbocca! I love the dish, but why waste mild veal? Use pork or chicken at a quarter the price.


One of the pleasures of cooking is the mastering of techniques that make everything easier and faster and better. Ramsey may be larger than life, but he started out as a great chef, and that hasn’t changed.

How To Master 5 Basic Cooking Skills – Gordon Ramsay

For most of us this is easy stuff, with a bit of a twist that I blame on his upbringing. Olive oil in the pasta water? Nope, not necessary.


I love baking the receptacle for this dish. What a nice idea. The recipe isn’t clear, but it sounds like you just wrap the baked pizza dough around the food, maybe like an ice cream cone or a burrito. Who knows, but it sounds like fun and I’m going to try it.

Chicken Cacciatore “Trapizzino”

The cacciatore recipe is different too, without tomato, which is a new one for me (thanks Bluebell for pointing that out).


Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

Ovis Aries And Tide-Pods…Breakfast Of Champions


I am a lamb lover from way back, and I’ll eat pretty much any cut and in any preparation, which is a good thing, because lamb can be quite pricey. Racks of lamb or rib chops are usually among the most expensive cuts of meat in any butcher shop this side of sheep country, and even ground lamb is more than some of the fancy beef grinds I see occasionally.

And to make matters more complicated, it can be a challenging meat to cook, because it seems as though though the fat requires higher temperatures than beef or pork to render or soften into something delicious and rich instead of hard and greasy.

So for this evening’s boneless leg of lamb, I am going to try low and slow for awhile, then a quick shot of high heat to crisp it up.

Why yes, it’s going on the grill, because grilled lamb is the best lamb!

And if you can get cheap cuts, or if you are really lucky some mutton, give it a shot. If anything the shoulder chops are easier to cook and just as good, and mutton is divine, but I think an acquired taste.


This article is a chaotic mess of leftist memes and flaccid logic, but it does bring up an interesting point about how restaurants are managed, and how their employees are motivated.
Why It’s So Hard for Restaurants to Go Tip-Free

The pay equality gap always bothered Barcito owner Andrea Borgen. The 2016 Eater Young Gun winner opened her Los Angeles business in 2015 and noticed the front of the house earned two and a half to four times as much as the kitchen staff. To address this, Borgen very publicly converted to a no-tipping model in 2016, and on July 2 she brought tipping back. Borgen views this recent shift as a sustainable way to build equity between Barcito’s front-and back-of-house staff.

I went to a well-regarded NYC restaurant a few months ago, and had a very nice meal. But the service (which was included) simply didn’t compare to my last meal there, before they shifted to a no-tipping policy. I think there is something to be said for a direct relationship between one’s work and one’s compensation, and tipping is exactly that.
I am torn between revulsion and interest… The Tide-Pod

BC TidePod.jpeg

It ain’t the best drink, but it’s good for making fun of Tide-Pod munching, f*cktard millennials. To make one, grab yourself a 1.5 oz cordial glass similar to what I’ve got here. Or don’t, make it in a shot glass if you like. Make it in a red solo cup or in a tube sock, I really don’t care, it’s your drink. But to make it look cool like this, start by pouring 1/2 ounce of Blue Curaçao into a cordial glass. Next, combine 1/4 ounce of Bailey’s Irish Cream with 1/4 of half-n-half (one of those individual creamers is perfect). Drizzle that over a barspoon down the side of the glass to form the middle layer. To finish, take 1/2 oz UV Orange Vodka and drizzle it over the spoon to form your top layer. It kinda tastes like a creamsicle, if you are an alcoholic and use your imagination.

Courtesy of Bitter Clinger.

Yeah…I love this stuff. Salt cod is a weird ingredient, but damn, it is spectacular when done right.

Salt Cod Fritters

There is a French dish called “Brandade de Morue” that is essentially salt cod and whipped potatoes. it is ridiculously good. But the reconstitutiong of the cod just takes too long. It’s not difficult, but it does take planning.

State Fair of Texas Adds Even More Ridiculous Fried Foods to This Year’s Line-Up

I’m not sure I agree with “ridiculous. It’s more like, “Oh my God! That sounds decadent!”

Shanah Tovah!

Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

September 22, 2019


I have been eating a lot of bacon recently, both for the undeniable pleasure of those delectable, fatty morsels of porcine wonder, direct from a pig that gave his all for me, and for the convenient bonus that it really fills me up in the morning. Toss in an egg or two (my current obsession is with hard-boiling them), and you have yourself a fine and tasty meal. I play around with the condiments I use on the eggs, and have settled for a bit (okay, a dab. well, a large dab on each bite) of mayonnaise, but a spoonful of spicy chili crisp hits the spot too.

Back to bacon! Why is it so good? Well, it has pretty much everything pleasing about food. The fat provides wonderful mouth feel and a succulent texture, the salt gives us a pop of pleasure, the smoky meat has just enough flavor and texture to please, and to top it off, it comes in a convenient shape…just perfect for munching neatly or folding into one’s mouth in a frantic orgy of gluttony and pleasure.

Commenter “Boswell’ recently had an interesting thought…

Kale is the only thing that could actually ruin bacon.

But I stand here before you in all of my reactionary glory and say, “Even kale goes well with bacon!” I recently had a meal, courtesy of a cousin, which included a great kale and bacon and blue cheese salad. Great stuff!

So…bacon may be the perfect food. It compliments everything and ruins nothing. And don’t throw ice cream at me. I have had ice cream with bacon sprinkles and it is a fine, fine thing.

I bought a quart of milk to make a Béchamel, and for whatever reason I never needed it. So I tucked the milk into the corner of the refrigerator, where I know the temperature is slightly below freezing. I hadn’t opened the container, and since it was pasteurized (like 99.9% of milk in America), it was essentially sterile. Fast forward six months (yes, you read that correctly), and all of a sudden I needed a Béchamel, and I didn’t feel like going out for a fresh quart of milk.

So what does a cheap bastard do? Use the damned milk of course. It was fine. The container wasn’t inflated, the milk wasn’t discolored, it smelled like…um…milk, and aside from a bit of separation (which I fixed with a vigorous shake), it was indistinguishable from fresh(er) milk.

My wife was disgusted, and refused to eat the spectacular Cauliflower à la Bluebell that I made with six-month old milk and heels of old cheese, from which I trimmed the mold and desiccated bits.
GAO report examines how date label confusion contributes to food waste
I’m not suggesting that everyone use six-month old stuff, but we do fixate on the various sell by/good until/best before messages that we see on our food. For instance, if a can of peas has an expiration date one year out, then unless the can has a structural failure, I can’t imagine that the peas wouldn’t be safe two years or three years out. Sure, eventually the metal on the outside and the coating on the inside will decay enough for something bad to happen, but I doubt very much that the eight-year-old can of peas in the back of your pantry will kill you.

It is not concern for the starving in the world that motivated me to post this link, because after all, the world produces plenty of food. it is geopolitical issues that prevent us from feeding the world. Hell, if America wanted to, we could take farming seriously, spend the subsidies intelligently and probably feed the world on our own!

No, it was a very conservative sense that we shouldn’t waste. Could I have afforded the $2.25 for another quart of milk? And the $1 for gas and wear and tear to get to the store? Sure. But why waste something that is perfectly okay?

It’s nothing like a classic burger, although it certainly sounds interesting as a peek into the food of bygone years. But the gushing hagiographic tone of the writer is off-putting. I doubt very much that he knows much about Hemingway, who, while one of my favorite authors, was also a prick to most of the people in his life, including all of his wives and all of his children.
How to Make Ernest Hemingway’s Favorite Hamburger
One of Hemingway’s many conceits was his arrogant assumption that the way he did things was the best way. And this recipe doesn’t disabuse me of that impression.

I might give some version of it a shot, although i am reminded of what a foodie friend said to me when I mentioned that i was going to adulterate a burger with some innocuous ingredient (chopped onion I think). “That’s meatloaf!”

[Hat Tip: Misanthropic Humanitarian]

Gordon Ramsay can cook, and he can run restaurants. I have eaten in a few, and everything worked the way it was supposed to, and that is a rare and impressive thing in an industry known for flakiness and stupidity and venality. But he has a reputation as a bit of a dick. Well, maybe more than a bit, but here he is in a different setting. Gordon Ramsay on “Hot Ones” which is a hoot! He seems like an actual human being, with a sense of humor and a brain!
[Did I post this awhile ago? Hell, I have no idea, but it’s worth a watch]

Back before Mexico turned into a war zone, I used to go occasionally, and I would bring back bottles of mezcal that I would buy from mom-and-pop stores. The stuff was probably homemade in less-than-sanitary or safe conditions, and I would filter it when I got back to civilization…through a coffee filter! I chose to ignore the risk of heavy metals or other crap, because I was young and stupid.
Burros, Stones, and Machetes: Here’s How Mezcal Is Distilled
But there has been a renaissance in the mezcal world, and some of the stuff I have tasted recently has been quite good.

[Hat Tip: redc1c4 ]

Oh great. Now I have to start using dried chickpeas instead of canned, and make my easy and rather good hummus recipe into a PITA (see what I did there?). How To make Hummus Oh, the guy’s enthusiasm is infectious! Seriously, dried chickpeas seem like the way to go, and there are other longcuts in this video that make a lot of sense.

And here is Chris Kimball’s new venture, called “Milk Street,” with a similar version of How To make Hummus

Speaking of cool ways to open wine bottles…

Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

Corks And Bunnies

cork v screwtop1.jpg

Corks are great, and have worked reasonably well for a very, very long time. But there is nothing magical about them, in spite of being “natural.” They don’t really breathe, so the idea that corks allow wine to age gracefully is mostly a fiction. And besides, the amount of air that can pass through the cork and then permeate the wine is vanishingly small. What really ages the wine is time, which allows the wine’s components (sugars and acids and all sorts of aromatic compounds) to play together and hopefully improve.

And there are big downsides to cork: it is a natural product and can vary tremendously, and it is also associated with the tainting of wine with a chemical called TCA (trichloroanisole), which can impart an unpleasant taste and aroma that I perceive as wet cardboard. That’s not a flavor I vigorously pursue in my booze, and I doubt many people enjoy it much.

So why use cork at all? Tradition and snobbery is pretty much the only answer I can come up with. The cost of metal closures is on par with cork, and they don’t impart any flavors at all.

When I go shopping for wine, in particular everyday drinking wine, I give bonus points to wines with screw-tops. It’s more convenient, the bottles fit in the refrigerator more easily, and even ignoring the risk of TCA contamination, there is much less risk of failure. Everyone has seen crumbly corks and corks that broke off halfway out of the bottle, and that just doesn’t happen with screw-tops.

The Aussies use screw-tops a lot, and I am seeing it more and more on American wines, and even Froggy and Spanish wines! I haven’t seen any on Portuguese wines, mostly because I rarely drink them and have very little experience. But Portugal’s greatest wines are Ports, and it can be a huge problem pulling the corks on old bottles. I wonder whether they will finally figure out that screw-tops are the way to go? I doubt it will happen any time soon, because Port drinkers love the ritual and pomp and circumstance of opening a 50 or 60-year-old bottle, and the breathless anticipation of whether the cork is total crap adds to the experience.

Personally I think that is dumb, because the bottles are expensive and rare, and why risk anything when the whole point is the pleasure of drinking what’s inside?

By the way, the bottle on the left is a five-year-old Aussie Shiraz, and it was quite good. The bottle on the right is 29-years-old, and waiting patiently for a crisp autumn weekend and a meal of braised short ribs. I just hope the cork has survived!

Anyone like rabbit? I sure do, especially grilled with a mustard glaze. I wonder whether the rabbits that live in my yard are tasty?

Don’t worry, I probably won’t trap one and grill it.


My local poultry farm also carries rabbit, so I will try them before I resort to suburban trapping. As I have mentioned before, the only rabbit I ever saw when I was a kid was stuff from a biological products company called “Pel Freez.” Yeah, rabbits figured prominently in their manufacturing, but I really, really hope that the food rabbits and the bio rabbits were separate.


[Hat Tip JT, who asks whether this could be Bluebell in retirement in 30 or 40 years…]

This is market economics in action. An invasive species that government can’t eradicate, but the market has an instant solution. Eat the damned things!

Aaron Franklin is a bit of a loon, but he is exactly the kind of nut-job who makes the world a better place. These three videos will take you through the entire process of smoking brisket, and you will be a better person after you watch them. Cooking shouldn’t be mystical and special and reserved for the elites….And this guy is happy to share his secrets with you.

The Brisket

The Cook

The Payoff

Fun stuff, and his other videos are great as well.

I wonder whether he will approve of my plans to sous vide a brisket?

This looks good. Breakfast Casserole In The 18th Century? – Egg And Bacon Pie

Wow. An appliance designed to cook food. Who would have thought that it was appropriate to use know…cook food? I replaced my oven with a waffle maker, and you should too. Okay, but can you branch out a bit and suggest things that aren’t waffles? Because I can imagine cooking a bunch of other foods without any problems. I’ll start with chicken pounded thin and dredged in a light batter. Crunch the waffle maker down hard, and the texture will be fun.
[Hat Tips: Curmudgeon]

There are too many food and cooking sites, because far too many of them produce dreck like this. besides listing all of the bagels in the world, they don’t actually rank them, they just blather on about how good each flavor is. Besides, cinnamon-raisin is not a real bagel flavor. That’s a sop to wimps who can’t handle real bagels.

What’s next…pumpkin-spice bagels?

All the Best Bagel Flavors, Ranked

I keep telling you people; any food can be improved with the addition of fat. If you don’t like chickpeas but seem to think that you should eat them because they are healthful or some other virtue-signalling crap, then fry ’em up and serve them as a side. Or just fry them up and serve them on the side because they taste good when they are crispy.

crisped chickpeas with herbs and garlic yogurt

I might hold the yogurt and use sour cream or creme fraiche instead. Or even better…use the chickpeas as a garnish for grilled pork chops. Or toss them into a stir-fry.


Speaking of fat. Fried crab and avocado can’t possibly be bad. Avocado Crab Bomb sounds like something I would absolutely order in a restaurant, but maybe not ever try to make it at home. It seems like too much work, when the deconstructed dish would probably be even better. Crab on an avocado with some crispy fries? That sounds good to me.

But if you want to make this and invite me over, I will happily come, and bring booze too.

[Hat Tip: artisanal’ette]

Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

Fire Burn And Cauldron Bubble Edition


This is why my house occasionally smells like it is on fire…I love, love, love to fire roast or toast or, let’s face it, burn peppers over my biggest burner before I cook with them. It’s easy, it’s fun, you get to burn things inside the house, and it rarely requires professional assistance from your neighborhood fire brigade. Although…my wife got stuck behind an FDNY truck a few days ago and asked whether one of the prerequisites for the job was to be handsome…so maybe for some of you that is a bonus.

Anyway, the technique is self evident, and the flavor boost is huge. Even if you peel the blistered skin you are left with the toasty, smoky flavor of the pepper, and that is a grand and glorious thing. I pop them in a paper bag to steam after I toast them on the stove when I am planning to peel them. That allows the peppers to soften a bit and it seems to loosen the skin.

When I make salsa I overload it with peppers, and it doesn’t really matter what kind, as long as I toast them first. The flecks of charred skin in the sauce are a lovely addition. Oh, you can do the tomatoes the same way, and even in the depths of winter the charring makes them palatable. Sort of.

Random Notes From The Vast Kitchens Of Chez Dildo

The pickling experiment continues, with the sensational addition of thinly sliced red onion and sliced jalapenos. Not together! I pulled some of the veins and seeds out of the jalapenos because I didn’t want them to be too hot. I was looking for a nice bit of heat and a vinegary tang, and I got it! A few of the pickled jalapeno rings on top of a burger but under the cheese is a damned fine way to build a cheeseburger.

Yes, I am lazy, so the four racks of pork ribs I made a few weeks ago went onto the grill, not into the smoker. Fine, take my man card and make me wear a frilly apron (or in Garrett’s case, a lovely gingham one), but we had 20 people for dinner, so I was interested in easy over authentic. But I got smart and used two temperature probes, and discovered something most of you knew already; the temperature gradient in a gas grill is huge, particularly if you have only one of the burners going (the one under the smoke box). About 210° on the far side, and about 385° over the smoke box.

Grilling asparagus is much easier if you put them on the grill at right angles to the grates. Just sayin’.

Meatballs were on the menu, and there was much rejoicing, and much cleaning too. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are any shortcuts, so making the meatballs was a careful and gentle and long process, ending with frying them a bit, which is messy. But gently formed meatballs that are browned in fat then simmered in good tomatoes is a fine thing. And plopping a couple or five of them on top of my almost-world-famous ratatouille is a different and most excellent combination. And a dollop of ricotta doesn’t hurt.

My grandmother also made spectacular chopped liver, but the idea that one uses beef liver borders on heretical. It’s nonsense. Offensive nonsense. Arrantly offensive nonsense. Patently ridiculous, arrantly offensive nonsense.
A Love Letter to Chopped Liver
There are lots of versions of chopped liver, from the simple concoctions of Ashkenazim (broadly, Jews from Eastern Europe) to the labor-intensive deliciousness of a fine pâté or rilletes. But I have never had a bad one, and I have never had one made from beef livers.


So, these people are vegans, so that means they are loons. But they are funny loons, and for some reason they don’t come across as preachy as much as just foul-mouthed and funny.
Grilled Romaine Salad
That being said, this recipe would be damned good with a Caesar dressing (raw egg!) and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Just sayin’.


Anybody ever seen or used one of these things? Because it sounds like an elegant method, although an auto feed for the fuel would make it close to perfect. Anyway, here’s the website, which is worth poking around if any of you are sort of geeky about cooking. Or just geeky. Or like barbecue. KBQ

I did not know that there was such a thing as Tupelo Honey. I mean, I knew about this Tupalo Honey, because everybody knows Van Morrison. But it’s also a real honey? And, apparently, a rather good one.


This is French cooking at its best. Oh, I guess the haute cuisine of Paris and Lyon are better known, but getting out of the cities (or eating at a good bistro in one fo the big cities) will reveal the kind of food that many Frenchmen eat, and it is good stuff! Normandy-style pork and cider casserole reminds me of the stews my mother used to make. Well, not all of them. The ones with tripe or brains or, strangely, the veal stew, made me gag.

Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

Here is a pdf of my Lemon Cheesecake recipe.