Welcome back to the third installment of my food rules. The song remains the same, these are my opinions, so they are in fact, fact. I believe every one of these rules with every fiber of my being and will argue to the death to prove that I am right, even if I am wrong. Enjoy them and take from them what you can, and always remember, great food makes a great life possible. Now onto the list...
Rule #1 This one is tough. Has anyone seen David Changs' new cookbook? Part of it extolls the virtues of the microwave for the home cook. He has obviously smoked better pot than I because there is no way one of these should be allowed in any cooks home or restaurant kitchen for anything besides a few pastry applications, such as melting (clarifying) butter, melting chocolate or softening up some old ass- dried up brown sugar.
Like I said, this is a tough one as David Chang is a Culinary hero of mine, and I know there are only 3-4 recipes that actually uses the microwave, but that is 3-4 too many in my opinion. Before this severe error of culinary judgement, David Chang could do no wrong in my eyes, he is my hetero-chef-crush for sure. I have all his cook books, plus he was smart enough to recognize the talent and hire Pastry Chef Christina Tosi. I have also read his memoir and I listen to his podcast. The Mind of a Chef Season One is probably some of the best food TV done to date, like I said I am a huge fan. And yet, this idea, even for him, is one bong hit too far.
Microwave radiation was used in the fucking Manhattan Project FFS you know, to develop the nuclear bomb, now you're using the same technology to "bake" your potato? Time to leave this hunk of junk where it belongs, in the 70's.
Rule #2 Why are boneless chicken wings a thing? Because the dumbing down of America continues, that's why. Could you imagine some asshole whose job it is to bone out chicken wings? Do you think they actually do that? I have news for you, "they" don't. They take chicken tenders, or whatever left over part of the chicken is left on the slaughter house floor mix in some chemicals and preservatives and turn it into pink slime. Depending on the brand and how much you are spending they mold it into the desired shape needed, weather au-natural or dinosaur, and then sell it to the mouth breathing masses. There is no such thing as a boneless wing and the food marketers are making you look foolish, so please, stop this madness. They are unhealthy AF anyways.
Rule #3 Trader Joes sucks ass and is not good for you. It's like a cult up in there. Really think about it for a second; when you walk in, it's bright and cheery and you are greeted by an employee wearing a Hawaiian shirt who is wishing you a nice day. And then you start shopping. The first thing you see is their produce, have you seen their produce? Ain't nothing nice about it. Brown and nasty and not well displayed. Most of it is wrapped in plastic. Their meat is about to turn too, have you taken a look at that lately? Before you go in there please take off your TJ colored glasses and look at the not-so- fresh product rotting on the shelves. Less cheer and more fresh product rotation please. That should be their cult's new mantra.
Some of the things I hear from the TJ faithful is that "their frozen and prepared food sections are amazing, you got to check it out!" Thanks for your input Dale, I will. I have, and was only mildly impressed.
I will admit that I do like a certain Beef and Ale Frozen Pie, maybe a gourmet flatbread, and their snacks do beckon one to consume all at once. But next time you're there, closely read the packaging. See what is in your food, or better and even scarier yet, try and find the country of origin on some of those delicious chicken (maybe it's chicken, maybe it's something else) dumplings. Never say I didn't warn you. Tastes like third world-slave labor to me.
Rule #4 Ranch Dressing is one of the most versatile items in your refrigerator. It is so versatile, I would like to reclassify it; instead of a salad dressing I would like to categorize it as a condiment. Just as ketchup is one of the least versatile condiments, although perfect for fries and meatloaf, Ranch is a dipping sauce for wings AND crudité, a versatile marinade for almost any type of protein, a salad dressing, a sauce for chicken or fish, some people have even put it in on their pizza (I have never tried this, but I am not 100% against it.)
Rule #5 Almond, Cashew, Macadamia "milk" or any Nut juice of your choice really. Just like Beyond Beef is terrible for our society and our environment, nut juice is terrible for our ecosystem. First, I would say thank you assholes for making the price of almonds skyrocket. Second, bees love almond flowers and trees and the pesticides that they use to keep their almond trees producing record numbers of nuts for your juice is literally killing our bees in the process. Don't believe me? Well, read this.
I would rather have bees than almonds any day. Suck it.
Rule #6 When you buy organic produce the only thing you are buying is piece of mind. The organic label is as misleading as a politician. Think about it, why on Earth would you by an organic banana, orange or avocado? What happens to the skin that they spray that poison on? Do you eat it? No, dummy, you throw it away. Both the skin and the poisons go in the garbage, you ingest nothing but the fruit inside the poisonous shell. And while we are on the flavor of said "organic" produce, if it tastes better than non-organic I certainly would consider purchasing, especially in a restaurant setting. But all too often the taste is the same, so why not just give the money to me instead of wasting it on organic produce? It makes more sense to get to know your local farmers than to buy organic, but unfortunately most of us don't have that option.
Rule #7 When buying a kitchen appliance for your house, make sure you buy the exact piece of equipment you want. Don't go cheap, you'll just end up spending more later and give yourself another reason to self-loathe. Take me for example, I bought and broke three blenders before my wife, who is clearly the brains of our operation, asked me what kind of blender I wanted. I told her I wanted a Vita-Mix but it is $500. She told me I have already spent that much in garbage and to buy the one I want. Now, finally, I am the proud owner of a beautiful blender that I have used for years and will continue to use for many more. The motor on that thing is so powerful it will propel a small child in a boat across Puget Sound/Lake Michigan depending on my locale. Thank you honey.
Here is something to keep you up at night. Did you know that artificial raspberry and vanilla flavorings comes from the anal gland of the beaver? Well now you do. My question is, whenever I think about this, how the fuck did they figure out that beaver ass tastes like raspberries?
Before I go too off course...
Rule #8 Pomegranate seeds are stupid. Yes, they are pretty and the juice is delicious but who wants to eat a seed? Dig if you will, a picture....... of you and a date at a fancy schmancy restaurant paying $100 per person and your salad is garnished with these beautiful ruby red pearls with seeds in the middle. You eat them and suck the delicious nectar and are left with a flavorless bitter seed in you mouth. What do you do? Spit or swallow, the never-ending debate continues. Either way, your the sucker with a gut full of seeds or the eyes of the entire restaurant on you as you spit the seeds out all over the floor. There really is no winning with Pomegranate seeds.
Rule #9 Have you every wondered what the difference is between stock and bone broth? Well I am here to tell you, about $1.50 at Safeway. For all intents and purposes, its the same thing. Both are flavorful broths/stocks made from bones, both are used as a base for soups, sauces and braises. One is just more expensive than the other. But wait, I have a better suggestion to all of you, make your own. It's stupid simple and will require you to buy nothing extra than what you already have in your kitchen.
You know those delicious pre cooked chickens you buy at Costco for $4.99? Save those bones, because if you are throwing them away, you are throwing away flavor.
So, when you are done eating your chicken over the sink like a savage, put the carcass in a Ziploc bag in your freezer, and when you have saved up 4-5, make your stock. I like to start the stock with a base of some organic stock my wife has laying around (in our cupboard in a shelf stable container, that alone is another food rule entirely) throw in some mirepoix (onion, carrot and celery and aromatics (garlic, peppercorn, bay leaf, fresh thyme)and cold water to cover and simmer for four hours then strain and cool. Voila, bone broth/ chicken stock, cheaper, more flavorful and healthier, you're welcome.
Rule #10 This one really gives me pause. And I do have a touch of a moral dilemma over this, but, truth be told; I miss veal. There I said it. I miss osso bucco with risotto milenesese. I miss a delicious veal chop with morel mushrooms. I miss veal short ribs. I know, I know, its baby cow. I know full well how they are raised. I know that in some cases their feet never touch the ground and are kept in hammocks (because really, what's the point of free range veal) to make their meat milky white, tender and oh so flavorful.
This protein has all but disappeared from your local market and even most butchers shops. These days you have to special order it, I know the evil empire (Amazon) carries beautiful veal bones as I have ordered them.
Congrats PETA you won this round, now please leave baseball alone. Who the fuck has heard of an arm barn anyway? Get a life. Get a hobby. Just stop with the ridiculous "Bull Pen" witch hunt. It's not mean to bulls in any way.
Rule #11 Macaroni and cheese has jumped the shark. I don't care what you put in it, it belongs at home, in a box, made by Kraft, Annie's or Velveeta. Chefs, please keep your lobster, crab, truffles where they belong, which is anywhere but in mac and cheese. I see the questions all the time, who has the best mac and cheese in town? I am not sure the answer to this question, but one thing I do know is that the answer will not be found in any self respecting bistro or tavern.
There you have it, my latest batch of food rules. Until next time, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.