Reposting a video that came my way via Carlos Yescas: a rather pointed reminder of who's cooking in the kitchen.
Not only are Mexican immigrants supplying raw labor in restaurants in California—and around the country—but they're applying their skills to the dishes as master craftsmen. I'm reminded of Anthony Bourdain's typically unvarnished praise from Kitchen Confidential:
For those of you who missed my foolishness on Cutting the Curd last June, I'm on the air again, this time on public radio, the dream of every little boy growing up in Boston.
I just finished a segment on Insight from Sacramento's Capital Public Radio, talking about cheese with Tim Pedrozo of Pedrozo Dairy from up in Orland and Ed Roehr of Magpie Cafe in Sacramento. I haven't had the courage to listen to the segment yet—live appearances give me the willies something awful—but it was fun, too.
I love cocktail party food.
It's not a dignified admission for a man to make, but it's true. I harbor untoward desires for pickled fish on a cracker, or dates broiled with bacon, or any other small salty thing that crosses my path. The feelings are especially strong when there's a drink in my hand (Tanqueray martini, two olives). It's a compulsion, and with the approach of the Fancy Food Show this weekend, one that could do some serious harm.
For those who've never attended, Fancy Food is a massive gathering of specialty food producers, a trade show closed to the public with free samples of everything from cheese to olives to jelly beans and more. Attending what's essentially a 10,000-person, 3-day cocktail party when you're at the mercy of your snacking demon is a prescription for the vapors.
The journal Nature recently published a fascinating study from Northeastern University on the prevalence of similar taste compounds in cuisines around the world. The researchers began by making a massive database of foods and the chemicals known to affect the flavor of those foods. They then made a map connecting those foods to one another based on how many of the same flavor compounds those foods shared, essentially creating a "cuisine genome" of interrelated flavors.
My whole life, I drank eggnog not even considering what the heck it was. I always assumed the 'egg' in eggnog was the 'egg' in eggcream—no egg at all, and probably no nog either.
I did like it though; Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years (and sometimes Chanukah, too) Mom would truck down to Wilson's Farm out in Lexington and bring back a carton or two. Give it a sprinkle of nutmeg, and later on, a shot of whiskey or Southern Comfort, and I was happy. It was sweet, it was rich, what more could I ask for?
Wasn't until my mid-20's that the possibility of actually creating eggnog even crossed my mind. And the tip wasn't eggnog at all, but it's odd and excellent Southern cousin. It was a New Year's party, with a Texas hostess with Tennessee roots. When I slipped into the kitchen for a drink, she was tending a bubbling kettle of froth.
Can't say it isn't a thrill when my hometown paper gives my magazine some precious column inches...
There are magazines devoted to beer and wine, periodicals about baking and vegetable gardening, how-to monthlies on keeping backyard chickens and raising beef cattle. Stephanie Skinner decided to do a magazine on cheese and cheesemaking.
She was having dinner with friends a few years back when the idea occurred to her. “Stephanie started pounding her fist on the table and saying, ‘I don’t understand why there’s no cheese magazine,’ ’’ recalls Elaine Khosrova, editor in chief of Culture, the cheese-centric magazine that Skinner published to fill the void...
It began with this tweet:
@CurdNerd 47 different specialties using Meiji Hokkaido Tokachi Cheese.
It lead to a strangely beautiful site from Japanese cheese manufacturer Meji. I have no idea what's going on, or what I'm supposed to do, but clicking around the map seems to pull up regional dishes prepared with Meji's products.
Honestly, I get a very "Everything goes better with Jell-o 1965" vibe from the site: here we have some clear soup, spiked with tiny white cheese cubes. Here it's pieces of fish and pickles interleaved with cheese. Pretty, but sometimes dubious combos, put out by a company trying hard to find new niches for their product.
Well, it finally happened. Perhaps the most infamous cheese in the world has arrived in the US: Ornella Trattoria in New York has apparently imported the cheese, and Bradley Hawks has the story at his blog, Amuse Bouche.
Update: Original tipster Matt Spiegler notes: "I called the restaurant, and the person on the phone (I think it was the owner) was very clear about the fact that they DO NOT sell it, but rather offer it as a tasting treat for customers."