Welcome EDSBS shoppers. Please, make yourselves at home, and when you're done, explore the rest of The Filthy South, the test kitchen, the various regional stuff under "Incursions and Excursions," at right or savor some beef, or more diffuse grumbling.
It's hard to write about bacon. Everybody loves bacon, but through some whim of the blogosphere its popularity has itself become popular. Perversely, many assume there is something droll about liking bacon; equally perversely, many have put bacon where it does not belong. The state of bacon-liking in 2010 is like the state of Elvis-liking circa the fat-Elvis stamp thin-Elvis stamp controversy -- it's hard to express a sincere appreciation for "Kentucky Rain" when your roommate in the work shirt with someone else's name on the pocket (get it?) thinks it's hilarious to say "thankyouverymuch."
We speak not of ordinary bacon, however. Thanks to a nice lady we'll call Tia Maria,* The cinetrix and the Cod recently came into a healthy quantity of Alan Benton's smoked country bacon. He makes it in Madisonville, Tennessee, and it's the best thing to come out of the Smoky Mountains since Sherry McAdams. True enough, David Chang did drop a multi-page mash note to Mr. Benton into his Momofuku book, but there are more compelling reasons to get yourself some of this. Food and wine writers like to talk of "terroir," or how a a food reflects local character. Well, eating this bacon is like being adopted by Dolly Parton. It tastes the way your flannel shirt would smell after you and Dolly sat around a campfire and she sang old Hank Williams songs and played guitar. It has a smoky flavor that will immediately ruin you for all other bacon, but not in an oppressive head-in-a-woodstove way. It tastes like the pig it came from, and it's the only bacon I'd consider a legit swap for home-made guanciale when making buccatini alla amatriciana. Neither too thick nor too thin, and I'd rather cook with the grease from this bacon than any actual bacon I can think of.
Want you some? Get you some. Some music while you click or call:
Late to the PR party here, but a chance tonight for you New Yorkers to sample wares from a spectrum of NYC artisanal pickling heavyweights,* and lob a few bucks** in the direction of Haiti, where, in case you were wondering, things are still really messed up. It's tonight, at the G2 Lounge at Gaslight, 14th and 9th, starting at 6pm. Details here. And! An auction for a baseball signed by Willie Randolph, who occupies the rarefied category of Yankees it's hard for the Cod to stay mad at.
*Among which is Rick of Rick's Picks, who will be dropping the debut batch of Pikliz, a traditional Haitian condiment tonight.
**That suggested donation is a floor, not a ceiling, folks. and if you can't make it to the MePa, Partners in Health will be happy to see your donation, too. You could pop some toast in the toaster, break off a donation, and be finished doing something you can feel good about by the time your toast is ready.
A pair of items spotted at local supermarkets are featured below. Risotto chips (New York Style!) and Pumpkin* Apple Spice Vinaigrette. What's striking is not so much the distasteful nature of the contents, as the criminal cheerful indifference to the notion that the words on the label might refer to some concept that has an a priori existence beyond the label. This is the little crutch that allows language to hobble along -- without some sort of referent that people more or less agree upon, language, as Harry Frankfurt will tell you, becomes bullshit.
...what the hell rhymes with "commissary"? Anyway, late to the party on this, but this menu, via Max Silvestri via Juvonen, seems like the perfect spot for lunch on what is most definitely shaping up to be just another Guiteau Monday.
Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Last week's nseasonable snow and cold led to a few days of, um, hearty meals (French onion soup soup, with this stock and homemade Reubens) which led to an inclination for something healthier. Not sure how it happened, but it went down like this:
Sushi rice in rice cooker.
Rinse and chop big bunch of mustard greens.
Mustard greens in big skillet with a little bit of peanut oil.
Peel and slice three carrots on the diagonal, about 3/8" thick.
Cube a thing of extra firm tofu.
2/3 cup of gochujang in a bowl + a splash of sesame oil, thinned with ginger ale to a thick, but pourable consistency. About 50/50.
When the mustard greens are knocked down, pour in most of the gochujang mixture. Add tofu and cook until tofu is heated through. Add carrots and just barely cook. What's in the skillet should be pretty soupy.
Serve over rice.
I was happy with how this worked out, and realized only as I served it that it was a rare vegan dish. If you are in the giving up frame of mind these days, you could do worse than this for a Friday dinner.
Anchower, I know. The Cod's corporeal host looks forward to feeling like a high-functioning human being some time in the future, but that day is not here yet. But! Been meaning to post post Oscar noms. To my dismay, but not my surprise, Streep got a nomination for her aforementioned grotesque caricature of one of the heroines of American cooking.* With better command of telekinesis, I'd go Carrie on the whole shebang, but failing that, the Cod is firing up another Facebook campaign -- you remember how well that went last time -- in an effort to forestall doddering Academy voters from voting for a name brand and thus giving further encouragement to this vulgar philistinism, the Cod is starting a new Facebook group "If Meryl Streep wins the best actress Oscar for Julie & Julia...." The Cod has promised to crash an Oscars afterparty and set himself on fire. What will you threaten to do to get Oscar voters to see the light?
*Not to mention that on a personal level, watching the inexplicably revered Streep get prop after prop for taking a giant whizz on a significant figure of my childhood is a bummer.
A young friend we can call Mr. Sunshine, at least for the present, asked for suggestions for what to do with the quart of goose fat that remains from his observation of Valentines Day. (He cooked a goose, pervs.) Thoughts from Codland on how best to beguile Ithaca cabin fever with a quart of goose fat?
Strange things afoot in the parking lots of chain casual dining restaurants in the greater Atlanta area. Yesterday a Green Olive Media twittered thus: "if you own a restaurant in atlanta, click this link - might impact reservations on valentines day: http://bit.ly/cV3f2"
The link went to what appeared to be a reservation scalping site, but just for Feb 14. But the sad thing is, while there were a few spots like Abbatoir, the spots on offer were primarily at Ruth's Chris's and Legal Seafood type places. Call me a romantic, but a Valentine's dinner at either spot seems like it would go over like a lead panty rose. Curiouser still, the site is down, with a placeholder from GoDaddy -- the folks with the marketing plan built around not showing you Danica Patrick's bosoms. I would welcome any explanation that is available.
*Commonly available at filling stations, the panty rose is an example of a gift that is likely to provoke a difference of opinion between giver and givee as to the level of romance it conjures.