Monday, September 24, 2007


Anthony Bourdain has an overrated menu up on Radar Magazine, which includes ...
Pea soup topped with truffle oil: Truffle oil is the lazy chef's way to add value, by which I mean charge more.

Chocolate martini: Both chocolate and liquor are good in bars, but ordering them together announces that you don't like or appreciate either. Anyone who requests this drink should also get a T-shirt that says "I am an asshole, please take my money."
To make this menu even more overrated, may I suggest biodegradable plastic products? I know it's all the rage among the environmentally-inclined to use biodegradable plastic spoons and forks and such as the green alternative. The corn-based, or whatever, products will allow us to consume one-use items with a clear conscience, or so the hype goes.

Well, I have included two biodegradable plastic items in my compost pile in the past two years, and today, that plastic water bottle (that I carried all the way from Colorado, I might add) and that flimsy plastic bag still look as pristine and as structurally intact as the day they were made. They have not degraded one bit. Not even a little hole anywhere to indicate some kind of plastic collapse. And that's deep in my hot, damp, worm-ridden compost pile, which can make pizza boxes disappear in a matter of weeks. What would happen to them in the dry, cold landfill? They'd sit there, for years, that's what would happen to them.

And so, I'm officially taking the position that biodegradable plastic is overrated. It irritated Foodgoat to see the couple on TV smugly proclaiming their wedding "green" because of their use of biodegradable spoons and forks - sure, it soothes the guilty consumerist soul, but we're pretty sure that in reality, all they really do is create more landfill trash.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fish ... in Sandwiches?

Not so long ago, I had run of eating fish sandwiches. All were variations of breaded fish fillets (it's tilapia in the photo), topped with cheese and mayo and tomatoes and lettuce in some kind of bun.

It sounds so ordinary, doesn't it? Yet fish sandwiches still seem sort of new and weird to me. Where I grew up, my family ate a lot of fish, but not in sandwiches. Nor was fish breaded, or even filleted, for that matter. I don't even think we ate a lot of canned tuna.

No, the fish on the table usually looked not too far from the way the Good God made them - whole, heads on, bones in. And served with a big plate of rice. Just like the Good God intended.

And so, breaded fish sandwich, you'll forgive me if I still look at you askance because you look nothing like a fish. It's not your fault you've been breaded beyond recognition. You still taste good.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Nicely Named Wines

When people ask me if things are different since being married early this summer, I look back on the nearly four months of wedded bliss, and I realize that yes, things have changed. Foodgoat drinks a lot more.

He claims the visit to California and, especially, the Rosenblum winery, inspired a interest in wine, but I have my suspicions because my mamma always warned me this might happen. Or maybe that was just a bad country song.

Anyway, we've been sampling lots of wine over the past few months. The Norman Vineyards Zinfadel "The Monster" is one of the few to receive multiple tastings, and makes us happy every time. I think of it as a big red wine, although I can't really articulate what I mean by that. Suffice it to say that the Monster is a great everyday wine to sip while cooking dinner (albeit a $22 one) or a nice one to bring over to someone's house, because it tastes lovely with a variety of dishes or just by itself.

I'm not saying that the only reason I wanted to try Kilikanoon Lackey Shiraz was because it was called the Lackey. Or because the label had a nice drawing of boots. But it helped.

No, the reason I wanted to try it was because the Warehouse Beverage, our excellent neighborhood beer and wine store, had a little handwritten sign, noting that it was one of the best in its price range. Over the years, we've found that their little handwritten signs are never wrong.

The Lackey ($13.99) was warm and red and just a little spicy and delicious with Foodgoat's pasta sauce, made from four different types of tomatoes and three different types of peppers in our garden.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Thanks to our garden defense system, we have collected far more tomatoes from our little vegetable past on any given day than we were able to salvage from entire past seasons. Over two days, we collected seven (7!) pounds of organic, fresh, tomato goodness. And more is coming.

At the beginning of the season, when we were still a little unsure about whether the motion-activated sprinkler would truly deter the poachers from the ripest tomatoes, we picked the tomatoes when they were still a bit under-ripe. But a few days in a closed paper bag in the cool, dark basement, and they came out beautifully red and ripe for pasta sauce or BLTs.

Now we know we can actually let them ripen on the vine. Each afternoon, we pick a few red ones, and leave on the windowsill for the next meal. Meanwhile, the kitchen smells of harvest.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cost Benefit Analysis on Canned Tuna

We did a double take at the price tag of Ecofish Solid White Albacore Tuna. Our mothers would have a fit if they found out that we paid $7 for one can of tuna. It wasn't even on sale.

But curiosity got the best of us: how much better could the outrageously priced canned be?

So what might justify the high price of Ecofish over your $0.89 variety? Sashimi grade, solid white meat tuna, hand filleted and packed. Independently tested for mercury and PCB’s. Sustainably produced.

We ended up using it for tuna melt sandwiches. Between the tuna and the fancy imported cheddar, they were the most expensive tuna melt sandwiches we ever had.

But it came out to be a delicious tuna melt sandwich. Yes, it was pricy. But it had really good tuna. Delicious tuna, that tasted just like a real tuna steak. It was noticeably different (and better) than the other canned tuna we usually get.

Hmm, which leaves me with a dilemma. That was really good canned tuna. But I can't deny that $7 is kind of pushing it.