Watched Meat Expert Guesses Cheap vs Expensive Deli Meats | Price Points from Epicurious | YouTube
In this episode of 'Price Points', Epicurious challenged meat expert Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions to guess which one of two deli meats was more expensive. Cairo breaks down cuts of salami, ham, bologna, mortadella, hot dogs, sausages, and prosciutto. For each round of deli meats, Cairo visually scans, smells, and taste tests each meat before guessing which deli meat costs more. Once the prices were revealed, Cairo explains why a specific deli meat costs more and dives into specifics on what to look for in a deli meat.
I just love food pieces like this that are less aspirational than most Food Network content, but are more informative.
Watched How To Eat Sushi The Right Way from VICE | YouTube

Coming to you straight from the sushi chef's mouth, MUNCHIES presents the dos and don'ts of eating sushi, as taught by Tokyo's Naomichi Yasuda. Be warned: You've been doing it wrong. Just remember: It's okay to use your fingers to eat cut sushi rolls. Don't combine ginger and sushi, or ginger and soy sauce. Ginger is a palate cleanser in between bites. When dipping sushi into soy sauce, dip fish-side down. Never shake soy sauce off of sushi. That's like shaking your wanker in public.

I thought there might be some more subtlety here, but generally I’ve apparently been doing alright.

The importance of bread in society: the etymology of Lord

In listening to The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition by Seth Lerer (Lecture 8), I came across an interesting word etymology which foodies and particularly bread fans will appreciate.

Dr. Lerer was talking about the compression of syllables at the border of Old English and Middle English circa 1100 which occurred in such terms as hlaf weard, the warden (or guardian) of the loaf.

Who is the guardian of the loaf? The hlfaf weard << The hlaweard << the laweard << the lord. This is the etymology of the word 'lord'. Lord is the guardian of the bread, the mete-er out of bread in a cereal society.

An interesting linguistic change that tells us a lot about power, structure, religion, and society surrounding bread of the time. I suppose one could also look at Christian traditions of the time which looked at the transubstantiation of the symbolic bread of the Last Supper which is ritually turned into the body of Christ–Christ, our lord.

One can’t help noting the slang use of the word “bread” to mean “money”. Perhaps it’s time to go back and re-visit Jeremy Cherfas’ excellent podcast series Our Daily Bread?

Featured image: Bread flickr photo by adactio shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Watched How a Ceramics Master Makes Plates for Michelin-Starred Restaurants from Handmade by Eater | YouTube

On this episode of Handmade, ceramicist Jono Pandolfi shows us how his team makes 300 handcrafted plates, mugs, cups, and other dinnerware for some of America’s best restaurants. You can read more about Pandolfi here: https://bit.ly/2N3x9KR

Watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone from Amazon Prime

Harry Potter movie poster Directed by Chris Columbus. With Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith. An orphaned boy enrolls in a school of wizardry, where he learns the truth about himself, his family and the terrible evil that haunts the magical world.

[contemplating Every Flavor Beans]
Dumbledore: I was most unfortunate in my youth to come across a vomit-flavored one, and since then I’m afraid I’ve lost my liking for them. But, I think I could be safe with a nice toffee.
[eats it]
Dumbledore: Mm, alas, earwax.

The real question one must ask, is how exactly would Dumbledore know it was earwax flavor unless he’d gone around testing earwax to have prior experience to know what that flavor was?!

Read Kouign Amann: The buttery French pastry from Brittany by David Lebovitz (David Lebovitz)
[Note: This recipe was first published on this site in 2005, when few people had heard of this pastry. I’ve reworked it substantially to make individual pastries (shown above), and that recipe is in my book, L’appart.] Is there anything more fabulous than something created through the wonder and miracle of caramelization?
Read Allegedly The Birthplace of Kouign Amann by David Lebovitz (David Lebovitz)
Anyone who uses iPhoto probably remembers your first thrill of plugging in your digital camera and magically, with no effort at all, having your photos automatically downloaded for you. Then they're neatly filed on your computer so you can view, cut, or paste your memories until your heart's content. It's great for the first few times, but once you've hit a certain number of photos,
Listened to Moxie Bread, Louisville, CO by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast

Turkey red wheat seedsAndy Clark left Massachusetts in 1994 and wormed his way into one of the iconic bakeries of Boulder, Colorado. After that, he spent 15 years running bakeries for Whole Foods Market. All the while, he was squirreling away ideas and thinking of his own place, where he could focus on 30 great loaves a day, instead of 30,000 for The Man. The result is Moxie Bread Co in Louisville, Colorado, as warm and welcoming a place as I have ever had the pleasure to visit. We talked about bread, and grain, and about creating a welcoming experience. Oh, and perhaps the most decadent pastry I have ever tasted.

kouign amann pastry

That pastry is the kouign amann, an impossibly delicious amalgam of yeasted dough, butter and sugar that comes originally from Brittany in northern France. All the write-ups of Moxie agreed that their kouign amann was out of the world, and I was somewhat miffed that I had never heard of the things.

Now that I have …

Notes

  1. Huge thanks to Andrew Calabrese for making the introductions and the arrangements. What a great day.
  2. Also to our family and friends in Colorado for their friendship and hospitality.
  3. Moxie Bread Co is, of course, online.
  4. To learn more about kouign amann, I turned first to David Lebovitz, for a recipe and some alleged history.
  5. Eater turned to David Lebovitz too, for its informative piece about The Obscure French Pastry Making it Big in America.
  6. There’s apparently even a National Kouign Amann Day, on 20 June. If I can find one, I’ll be eating it.
Ah! The kouign amann! I hadn’t heard of it myself until the last year or so when it turned up on an episode of the British Baking Show, but even there it was featured as a specialty and rare dish (in a technical challenge if I recall, which makes things harder if you’ve never seen or eaten one). I’ve yet to see any in pastry shops here in the LA area, but I have pulled off a few myself at home and they are quite lovely. Sadly most home bakers are unlikely to work with heavily laminated dough much yet a yeasted version.

For the lost, here’s a short segment from BBS with a quick introduction:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S179EYnsGwM

Listened to Food and diversity in Laos by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast

Today’s guest, Michael Victor, has spent the past 16 years living in Laos and getting to know its farming systems and its food. To some extent, that’s become a personal interest. But it is also a professional interest that grew out of his work with farmers and development agencies in Laos. Most recently, he’s been working with The Agro-biodiversity Initiative, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The idea is to make use of agricultural biodiversity in a sustainable way to reduce poverty and improve the livelihoods of people in upland regions. One thing the project has done is to collect all the information it can about agricultural biodiversity and make it available online. When Michael visited Rome recently, I grabbed the chance to find out more about Lao food and diversity.

Notes

  1. The Pha Khao Lao website is available in English and Lao.
  2. think that the restaurant Michael mentioned is Thip Khao in Washington DC. Duly noted for next time. Any reports gladly received.
  3. I seem to be way behind the times on riverweed. A couple of years ago even BBC Good Food had tried it. (Scroll down.)
  4. Banner photograph by Periodismo Itinerante from Flickr
Some interesting tidbits here, particularly about a society seemingly on the cusp of coming and greater industrialization. I can’t help but thinking about Lynne Kelly’s thesis about indigenous peoples and cultural memory. I suspect that Laotians aren’t practicing memory techniques, but because of technological and cultural changes they are loosing a lot of collective memories about their lifeways, food, and surrounding culture that have built up over thousands (or more) generations.