🎧 Air-cured sausages | Eat This Podcast

Listened to Air-cured sausages from Eat This Podcast
Among the more miraculous edible transformations is the one that turns raw meat, salt and a few basic spices into some of the most delicious foods around.

Time was when curing meat, especially stuffed into a casing to make a sausage, was the only way both to use every part of an animal and to help make it last longer than raw meat. Done right, a sausage would stay good to the next slaughtering season and beyond.

The process relied on the skill of the sausage-maker, the help of beneficial bacteria and moulds, the right conditions, a great deal of patience, and sometimes luck. Luck is less of a factor now, because to keep up with demand the vast majority of cured meats are produced in artificial conditions of controlled precision. Here and there, though, the old ways survive. Jan Davison spent months touring the sausage high-spots of Europe looking for the genuine article, and shared some of her favourites at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cooking last year.

This tempts me greatly to consider decommissioning an incubator from science related use to food related use…

🎧 Bog Butter | Eat This Podcast

Listened to Bog Butter from Eat This Podcast, March 4, 2013
Peat diggers in Ireland and elsewhere have occasionally unearthed objects, usually made of wood, that contained some kind of greasy, fatty material with a “distinctive, pungent and slightly offensive smell”. Butter. Centuries-old butter.

Who buried it, and why, remain mysteries that motivated Ben Reade, an experimental chef at the Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen, to make some himself. He brought some of his modern-day bog butter, still nestled in moss and wrapped in its birch-bark barrel, to share with the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery last year.

Notes:
Ben mentioned two plants that have been found around bog butter, hypnum moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) and bog cotton (Eriophorum angustifolium).
The Nordic Food Lab research blog details all of their astonishing edible experiments.
I found Seamus Heaney reading his poem Bogland at The Internet Poetry Archive.
Caroline Earwood (1997) Bog Butter: A Two Thousand Year History, The Journal of Irish Archaeology, 8: 25-42 is available at JStor, which has a new scheme allowing you to read up to three items at a time online for free.
Music by Dan-O at DanoSongs.com.

An awesome little podcast I found recently, so I’m going back to the beginning to catch up on all the past episodes. Science, food, heaps of technical expertise, great interviews, and spectacular production quality. Highly recommend it to everyone.

📕 Finished reading The Science of the Oven by Hervé This

📕 Finished reading The Science of the Oven by Hervé This

I don’t think he mentioned an oven even once….

Trump’s inaugural cake was commissioned to look exactly like Obama’s, baker says | The Washington Post

Read Trump’s inaugural cake was commissioned to look exactly like Obama’s, baker says by Amy B. Wang and Tim Carman (Washington Post)
Food Network star and celebrity baker Duff Goldman posted a side-by-side comparison of the strikingly similar cakes on Twitter.
President Trump, left, and Vice President Pence are helped by Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Babot as they cut a cake at the Armed Services Ball. (David J. Phillip/AP)

Amid the glitz of President Trump’s inaugural festivities, one item stood out in particular late Friday night: a spectacular nine-tier cake that the new president and Vice President Pence cut into with a sword.
Continue reading “Trump’s inaugural cake was commissioned to look exactly like Obama’s, baker says | The Washington Post”

🎧 A deep dive into cucurbit names | Eat This Podcast

Listened to A deep dive into cucurbit names from Eat This Podcast
Continuing the short season of bits and pieces that didn't quite fit in the year's episodes by getting to grips with the origin of "gherkin" and other names we give cucurbits.

🎧 Long live the Carolina African Runner | Eat This Podcast

Listened to Long live the Carolina African Runner from Eat This Podcast
Is the Carolina Runner No.4 peanut "the first peanut cultivated in North America" and does it matter anyway?

🎧 India’s bread landscape and my plans here | Eat This Podcast

Listened to India’s bread landscape and my plans here from Eat This Podcast
I’ve hinted before that I’d like to do more constructed shows here, where I speak to a few different people about a topic to try and get a broader sense of the subject. They’re harder to do, but more rewarding, and they consistently get more listeners. The problem is that as a one-man band, I don’t have the time I need to do that kind of show very often. As an experiment, I’m going to try chunking episodes into seasons, with a break between seasons when I’ll be working on those more complex shows. I’m not sure yet how long either the seasons or the breaks will be.

📺 Watched Cast Iron Staples S17 | E1

Watched Cast Iron Staples S17 | E1 from America's Test Kitchen
Hosts Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster debunk cast iron myths and share the basics for cast iron care. Then, Julia shows Bridget how to make the ultimate Cast Iron Steak. Next, equipment expert Adam Ried reviews paper towel holders in the Equipment Corner. And finally, test cook Dan Souza uncovers the secrets to Crisp Roast Butterflied Chicken with Rosemary and Garlic.

📖 On page 157 of 206 of The Science of the Oven by Hervé This

📖 On page 157 of 206 of The Science of the Oven by Hervé This

… an odor in the kitchen is a symptom of odorant molecule loss (logically, kitchens should not smell good, because then we would be sure that the pleasing odors remained in the pots.)

–Hervé This, on page 154

Book cover for The Science of the Oven

📖 On page 127 of 206 of The Science of the Oven by Hervé This

📖 On page 127 of 206 of The Science of the Oven by Hervé This

Chapter 5 has had some of the most useful bits for the experimenting chef.

Book cover for The Science of the Oven

Early Christmas Tamales

Someone stood in a line early this morning at La Azteca in East LA for a horde of Christmas tamales. Since they’re warm, I couldn’t resist having some a day early for breakfast.

📖 On page 95 of 206 of The Science of the Oven by Hervé This

📖 On page 95 of 206 of The Science of the Oven by Hervé This

Oh, if only more of my cookbooks had fantastic sentences like this one:

Now the flow of a liquid in a canal varies as the fourth power of the diameter.

Then there’s this lovely statement, which is as applicable to jellies and consommés as it is to our political leaders:

Today, as heirs to the (political) ancien regime, we all want jellies, like bouillons and consommés, to be transparent.

I’ll note that chapter 4 has some interesting recipes as well as one or two long-term experiments which may be interesting to try.

Book cover for The Science of the Oven

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López

Wished for The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science (amazon.com)
The New York Times bestselling winner of the 2016 James Beard Award for General Cooking and the IACP Cookbook of the Year Award. A grand tour of the science of cooking explored through popular American dishes, illustrated in full color. Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that's perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac 'n' cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!)―and use a foolproof method that works every time? As Serious Eats's culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new―but simple―techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.