YouTube is full of videos of turkey frying disasters, but these days most of them seem to be from volunteer fire departments demonstrating the worst case turkey frying scenario.
As a former volunteer firemen, I know how much these guys love burning things in training. Cars, piles of wood, houses — so igniting vats of oil to educate the public is a no brainer.
While I enjoy seeing those huge orange fireballs erupt from the turkey oil, there is no substitute for the real thing. Searching YouTube I found that there are fewer turkey inferno videos than in the past — this despite the proliferation of phones that shoot great video and the popularity of turkey frying.
Could it be that people are finally getting the point? Well. not entirely.
So, do be careful if you’re doing any turky frying. And for God’s sake, please keep a camera ready just in case.
We can all agree on Thanksgiving.
Your religion — or lack thereof — doesn’t matter. Politics? Card carrying member of the John Birch Society or national health care lovin’ socialist, who cares? Yankees fan, Red Socks fan — you’re both insufferable, but on Thanksgiving we can all sit down at the same table.
And if you’re lucky, someone will have made Albany Eye Sweet Potato Crunch.
I’ve been sharing this recipe since 2006, so it’s become a tradition of sorts, to the point of sounding like Sam I Am, except evangelizing for sweet potatoes rather than green eggs and ham.
You do not like them. SO you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may I say.
One important note: never, never, never use canned sweet potatoes. If you do, that might be the one thing that could come between us on this most American of holidays.
We had a lively discussion at home recently over Subway calling their counter people Sandwich Artists.
My son contends that they are artists. The best of them, he argued, assemble sandwiches in a way that expresses great skill and creativity — and the really good Sandwich Artists bring transcendent quality to their work. There are, of course, also some hacks.
I take the position that the Sandwich Artists might more accurately be described as sandwich technicians or sandwich engineers. After all, they are making the sandwich based on my set of specifications. I’m the one who decides that cucumbers and jalapenos would go well on my oven roasted chicken sub. It’s in Choosing these combinations of ingredients is the art, therefore I am the Sandwich Artist, not them.
If they were artists they’d decide what to do independently. You’d walk into Subway and instead of ordering, just say, “Make me a sandwich!” The sandwich artist would then follow his muse and present me with something new and original, like in this funny piece from McSweeney’s.
So who is the artist? It’s well-known that Andy Warhol used assistants to create his art. These crews followed his instructions to churn out work that sells today for millions of dollars — and you’ll never see their name on it. It was his creative vision, not theirs. They were sandwich makers, not Sandwich Artists.
As always, thanks for visiting. And don’t spend too much time reading stuff like this at work, or you too could find yourself a Sandwich Artist.
Do you ever look at things and wonder how dirty they are? You shouldn’t, because it will make you nuts, but just for the heck of it, let’s talk about the supermarket checkout conveyor belt.
Everything goes on there — from leaky chicken to God knows what. Maybe that’s not such a big deal until you notice your bread peeking out from the end of its paper sleeve.
If you love a crusty baguette, there’s nothing better than the heel, which has more crust than any other slice. But when you see your heel rubbing shoulders with the filthy conveyor belt, it loses some of its delicious appeal. Ack!
So why can’t they make sure the bread isn’t longer than the bag? My theory is that they do it on purpose to give the illusion that you’re getting extra bread — or it may simply be for the eye appeal of your loaf jutting out of the bag. Either way, the unintended consequence is that I want to cut off the end and throw it outside for the crows.
So, local supermarkets, with apologies to Abe Lincoln, how long should these bags be? Long enough to reach the end of the bread.
Australians are a lot like Americans, right? That’s what I thought until I read about them trying to block the Golden Arches from going up in the town of Tecoma, a suburb of Melbourne. Recently, town residents brought their beef (Ha!) to McDonald’s headquarters in Chicago. Americans would never try to stop a McDonald’s from being built.
And this brought to mind my most shameful travel experience.
So, what could be so awful it haunts me to this day? Desecrating a holy site? Insulting the locals? Paying peasants to carry me around on their shoulders? No. I ate at the Budapest McDonald’s.
Yes, there we were on a once in a lifetime trip to one of the world’s greatest cities, and like the stereotypical American tourists, we go to Mickey D’s.
Granted, we were in a huge hurry and very hungry (no pun intended) — and if we didn’t eat fast we’d miss our scenic boat tour on the Danube. You want to miss that?!
But if only we’d been a bit more patient we could probably have found a loaf of bread and some cheese, and maybe a sausage — then we’d imagine that we were eating like locals and not like the Amerikai. And we’d have a wonderful story to tell about our amazingly authentic experience.
Instead, we gulped down our food and did what every American does overseas when feeling uncomfortable: we pretended to be Canadians.
We had a nice dinner over the weekend, trying out a recipe for wild mushroom goulash from Food and Wine. The author told of gathering wild mushrooms in the Hungarian countryside for the dish, but we just bought mushrooms from the supermarket. Why? Because wild mushrooms can f**king kill you, that’s why!
Sure. Go ahead and eat it. What’s the worst that could happen?
In 2012, NBC reported “a scary surge in mushroom poisonings” in areas experiencing unusually rainy weather. Scary, indeed. The most common form of mushroom poisoning presents itself with extreme vomiting and explosive diarrhea. The good news is that it goes away. The bad news is the next thing you experience is liver failure. Just to clarify for you Phish fans, no, you don’t hallucinate to death with a big smile on your face.
The mushroom responsible for most poisonings worldwide is the aptly named death cap. Other dangerous shrooms have names like destroying angel; you can read about its excruciating effects in this first person account of mushroom poisoning.
The takeaway here is this: don’t eat wild mushrooms. Like cutting your own hair, picking mushrooms is something best left to an expert.
What’s the point of having a blog if you don’t complain about things you find mildly irritating? Like people who pronounce mozzarella mozzrell, dropping the ‘a’ at the end.
I had thought this was largely done by Italian Americans who wish to emsphasize their street cred: mozzarell, manicott, biscott, prosciutt, and so on. The vowel at the end is dropped — but is this affectation or authenticity? Turns out, it’s complicated. This from a 2004 New York Times story:
In some parts of Italy, the dropping of final vowels is common. Restaurantgoers and food shoppers in the United States ended up imitating southern and northern dialects, where speakers often do not speak their endings.
So, like many things, it depends on your neighborhood — but dropping the ending is not universally more Italian than pronouncing it.
Me? I’ll never do it, simply because when I say the words that way I feel like an idiot.
The old back ain’t what it used to be.
I can only spend so long bent over picking strawberries, but this season at Samascott Orchards it was incredibly easy. The plants were so crammed with plump, ripe berries that you’d fill a basket in no time — and from the looks of it, they’ll continue yielding fruit for weeks to come.
While we amateurs squatted and stooped in the heat, the laborers who do this for a living had technology on their side. They climbed aboard a motorized platform that crept slowly down the rows of fruit. Lying on their bellies on a padded surface, the workers reached down and plucked the choicest fruit. I tried to imagine what it would be like to do that all day long.
Driving home we passed another field where workers were harvesting strawberries. These folks were doing it the old fashioned way, moving on foot up and down the rows. I wanted to stop and tell them about the other farm and its modern picking contraption.
Eating dinner that night I thought about the physical labor involved in producing the food we eat — and in some cases the lack of respect we show for the people who help provide it. Next time you’re having a tough day, think about picking strawberries all day. That will make your petty office politics BS seem fairly insignificant.
It’s maple season, and lots of syrup producers are holding events where you can eat pancakes and watch them boil sap. That’s my idea of a good time.
These little bottles at the Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Rupert, Vermont contained syrup samples taken at different times during production, and they seemed very beautiful as well as delicious.