Thursday, April 24, 2008
Posted by tmp00 at 7:24 PM
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Posted by tmp00 at 6:41 PM
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Roll me over in the Clover
I don't know how many of you have heard of the big new gadget in professional coffee makers- the Clover. Now, having first heard about the price and the fact that it was basically a drip coffee maker I thought "$11000 for a Mr. Coffee? A la guillotine!" But of course being a reasonable chap (quiet, you!) I thought I would try before I judged. I went to the coffee shop in my area that had one of the machines, only to run accross a note reading that they didn't have one anymore because of problems with it. But yesterday I met friends at a place in Silverlake called LA Mill that does indeed feature not one but two of the machines. The first thing that struck me was the size of the things. At first I thought that the hammered-copper covered behemoths the size of a small Datsun had to be the fabulous Clover. I was wrong. The Clovers, side by side were drab rust colored things, about the size of a breadbox. I know, you're thinking "size queen" right about now. Well, you are right, but still. I was waiting for my friends and perused the coffee menu. Choosing one of the less expensive brews I awaited this transportive cuppa. What I got was.. a nice cup of joe. Not the be-all-and-end-all of the coffee experience. Not coffee as I had never tasted coffee before. Frankly, not even something that was that much better than the coffee I'd head earlier in the week that my friend Sue served me. Perhaps my unsophisticated plebian palate was not up to the task of discerning the fine gradients of why this cup was the penulitmate cup of coffee, the Apollonian ideal of brewed divinity. Perhaps if I had not been a cheap bastard and chosen the more expensive beans- the ones that Juan Valdez hand-carried down from the mountain and personally roasted individually in his hand-fired roasting pit I would understand the miracle that a coffee machine that costs more than my last automobile had wrought. As it is I thought it was nice, but needed the splosh of cream and a touch of sugar.
The main thing I thought is not even that this particular emperor is running around nekkid- it was a nice cup of coffee and certainly Starbucks wouldn't go to the trouble of buying the whole company if there wasn't something to the thing that I perhaps was not necessarily seeing in my $3.50 cup of coffee. No, the thing that struck me is that I am sure that there are some homeowners here with more money than sense who will buy one of these things for their homes: the kind of people who have kitchens with Cluny 1400's, a Miele dishwasher and a Sub-Zero the size of a motor home but still really exists on Hot Pockets and Starbucks.
Which I suppose means in my heart of heats that I am clover-green with envy...
Image: University of Wyoming
Posted by tmp00 at 9:01 AM
Monday, April 14, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
The downturn of the Food Network.
Posted by tmp00 at 9:50 PM
Thursday, April 03, 2008
The Original 30-Minute Meals
Am I the last person on earth that didn't know that "The French Chef" was out on DVD? I am delving into the first set of DVD's; disc one, which I watched last night was a trip. You are literally watching Julia single-handedly (with one camera and a push-button controlled electric range top that must have made her cringe) create modern food television as we know it. The first episode is about potatoes, and has the infamous moment where her attempt to flip a dish gets more of it on the rangetop than in the pan. Unflappable, she merrily scoops it back into the pan, telling us in her plummy tones "no one will ever know!"
The funny thing is that these are both time-capsules and yet not. Some of the episodes are so old they seem like kinescopes- complete with almost-round frame. Hardly a fresh herb is in sight; Julia suggest growing ones own herbs with the timidity that one would usually reserve for suggesting one perform one's own appendectomy. The cooking equipment is shockingly rudimentary and the ingredient lists tiny and rather narrow in this age of Williams Sonoma and heirloom tomatoes being available everywhere and everyone knowing about the joys of EVOO and "Essence". There is the aforementioned push-button range, and Julia introduces us to a wire whisk and knife-sharpening and onion-slicing and boullabaisse with whole cooked fish and god help us eel. Which in 1962 must have seemed as foreign and suspect and strange as if this Tuesday Rachael Ray chirped out a 30-minute meal using peacock brains served with snake-venom foam and edible flowers. But it's not dated in it's foundation in good French cooking and basic skills being taught. After the 28 minutes of watching Julia glow her way (she mops her brow a few times over that electric range's visible heat signature, which makes an Apollo Rocket lift-off look like a sno-cone) through the explanation of those of those potato dishes and how and why you choose the different potatoes for the different ones I felt like I had learned something. Certainly if Julia can make something that looks that magnificent out of spuds, cream, pepper, cheese and diced ham on a range that seems to only have two settings (Incinerate and Off) using a cheese grater and a fork, the rest of us should be able to give it a whirl.
A feeling I never get from Bobby Flay and his $25000 patio grill overlooking lower Manhattan..
Posted by tmp00 at 2:39 PM