cowboyardee's Profile

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Cold brew coffee - what device?

I've used the toddy system, and a DIY collander & filter setup. I'd wager that just about any reasonable system can get you good results, since cold brewing comes down to just a few easily controlled variables. The advantage of the toddy system is its ease of use. Minimal effort needed.

Probably the biggest downside of the toddy is the thinness of its carafe. This isn't necessarily a huge deal - the glassis about as thin as the glass on an average cheap auto drip carafe. I had no problems with the cork, except that I eventually lost the damn thing. So I whittled a wine cork into the correct shape, and that works fine - took maybe five minutes.

2 days ago
cowboyardee in Cookware

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

"Be that as it may, I find much of the third wave coffee I've had to be overly sour and undrinkable."
_________
I like acidic coffees - surely including some you would find too sour - and I understand that some people don't. But I find it weird that 3rd wave as a whole gets called 'too sour' since I don't really find that the average third wave coffee roast is really pushing the boundaries of sourness. In other words, while you won't easily find third wave dark roasts, (to me) it seems there are still at least as many if not more medium roasts available than really light ones. Is the nothing-but-light-roasts trend a west coast thing? Are my local markets just weird?

"For everyday drinking I want something decent, easy to find, and inexpensive."
______
Me too. OTOH, if the best wine I'd ever tasted was ~50 cents per glass to drink at home, I'd probably drink a whole lot more of it. FWIW, the most expensive coffees I've tried (kopi luwak and blue mountain) have not been among my personal favorites.

"The pretentiousness of some of the third wave I find rather off-putting as well. For some reason similar behavior with say wine, chocolate, tea, or even farm-to-table doesn't annoy me nearly as much."
______
Interesting. Any insight as to why? What about craft beer fanatics?

Sep 29, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

"I really see nothing new in the third wave other than under roasting, an unhealthy obsession with single estate coffees..."
________
These first two factors are very much related. The consistency and quality of the coffee beans makes a much bigger difference to the final drinkable coffee when it's lightly roasted than when it's dark roasted. Narrowing a coffee's origin down from a single country/region (as in 2nd wave coffee) to a single farm (3rd wave) isn't an obsession or eccentric quirk or even bragging rights - it's a method of quality control that's necessitated by the roasting method.

Sep 24, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

I understand the different usages of 'myth,' and I stand by my post above - even the definition you're using implies a degree of untruth. This is one reason why we differentiate between 'Greek mythology' and 'Greek history.'

I'm not interested in further semantic arguments with each of us running to different dictionaries for backup. So lets do this: lets pretend you never said these coffee origin stories were untrue... merely unverified. Sounds good. No less apt to be true than any other unverified claim (safe defect-free cars, honest charities, etc) - after all, you make no claim at all towards their truthiness, if I understand correctly.

So hows about instead of calling people names over unverified claims you and/or Ozersky actually, you know, look into them. As I pointed out a while ago, plenty of third wave producers list their suppliers right on the bag.

Sep 24, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

"Even the top price you've shown, $.62, is "well under a buck", at least the way I do math. Don't you think so?"
_______
You misunderstand me - I wasn't claiming that k cups cost a buck each. I wrote intelligentsia beans cost well under a buck per cup not to imply that was the price of k cups but because I was being lazy and didn't feel like actually quoting an exact price per cup of intelligentsia beans. I didn't mean to imply that k cups are as expensive as a buck per cup - only that in general they often cost more than most third wave coffee. And I stand by that statement.

I can see how my wording was confusing though.

FWIW, I think amazon.com pricing is a fair benchmark. Yeah, you can find cheaper if you look around enough. You can also find more expensive. And frankly, even paying 35 cents each for 10 gram cups is damn near $16 per pound. For coffee that's almost always roasted many moons ago. Your lowest prices for k cups aren't that low.

Sep 24, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

Read the post taster was responding to. I never used 'lie' as shorthand.

Sep 23, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

Your math is off.

K cups contain between 9 and 14 grams of coffee per cup.

The top 4 keurig k cup results on Amazon.com cost:
62.5 cents/cup
61 cents/cup
44 cents/cup
61 cents/cup

At that rate, a pound of top-selling keurig coffee costs at least $14.25 or at most $31.53 on amazon.com.

Intelligenstia beans compare just fine at those prices.

Sep 23, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

"You're mixing metaphors here, because there is no enduring, detailed myth about reused restaurant bread that prompts people to pay 300+% more for a fresh bread equivalent."
________
Point ceded... but I did give you around half a dozen other fairly apt examples.

"The difference between the organic bananas and the 3rd wave coffee dudes... is that the story itself-- the myth-- is such a huge part of how they sell the coffee, and how people who drink the coffee talk about it, and feel about themselves for having bought it."
_________
No. Really - no. You are badly mis-characterizing those who drink or even those who sell third wave coffee. And based on what? You apparently don't drink it. So what do you know about those who do? The people in this thread who drink it have told you they do so because they enjoy the taste. We pay $18 per pound for it not because the seller tells us a pretty lie about its origins but because it tastes better than anything we can find for $10 per pound.

Pop quiz: without looking, guess how many times the Blue Bottle video that set Ozersky off (and presumably you as well) in the first place mentions fair trade, direct trade, social or economic justice, or supporting farmers?

The answer: Not a single freakin time. Not once.

Sep 23, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

"You've made a huge, circuitous leap here."
________
No, I haven't. Using the word 'myth' (as opposed to, say, 'claim,' 'story,' or even 'legend') implies that the basis of the story has little or no truth to it.

Sep 23, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

"I missed the bluster and posturing"
_________
There were talking about coffee in the article you read... right? Or did you miss that too?

Sep 23, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

Calling it a 'myth' implies that it's a lie more often than not. What convinces you of this? Do you genuinely believe that growers aren't generally making out better with third wave coffee? Why is ethically sourced coffee a myth and not responsibly made cars or honest charities? All three are similarly tough to verify. Ozersky certainly never presented any evidence to back up his intimations. Many third wave coffee producers go so far as to list the exact farm that makes the beans you're buying... while that's admittedly not a guaranty of economic justice, it's a lot more than Ozersky has offered in the way of evidence and accountability.

"But whether people would be willing to pay $5 a cup for "coffee without a story" strikes at what I believe to be the real issue. My theory is that the myth is what convinced people coffee was no longer worth $1.50."
______
People were already willing to pay $3 or $4 for coffee without a story at Starbucks. I'll happily pay a dollar more just for coffee that tastes much better to me (and at any rate, when I make a cup from my favorite Intelligentsia beans at home, it still costs me well under a buck - stale-ass keurig K-cups cost more).

Sep 22, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

"But he calls her out on that, by saying "what if they lie." To that, she has no answer."
_______
She did have an answer. And in doing so points out the central problem with both your and Ozersky's arguments here. Her answer was admittedly a bit sardonic, but it was also right on the money:

"My grandmother gave me strong advice: Life is hard; people will lie to you."

I'll translate: Why are you holding third wave coffee to different standards than you would ANYTHING else? Do you know for a fact that your apples are 100% organic? That your wine is grown and made exactly the way the bottle states it is? That your meat has been fed or raised or killed the way you'd prefer? That the bread you were served in a restaurant hasn't been recycled from another table? That your car has no defects known to the manufacturer or dealer? That the charity you contribute to doesn't skim off the top? Some people lie, especially when it helps open up your wallet. So... what's that have to do with third wave coffee any more than it does with anything else under the sun?

People drink third wave coffee for various reasons. Many (myself included) because it tastes good. You've said you dislike it, which is totally fine... as long as you realize that your personal preference has no bearing at all on anyone else. How do I know if it's worth the money? If it tastes reaaally good to me. Easy.

Others may buy third wave coffee to better support coffee growers. Are some of these people being lied to? Probably. Are they also more likely to be ensuring that coffee producers are paid fairly than someone who buys coffee without respect to economic/trade claims? Well, yeah, they are.

So what's your point?

Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists

"As for why we are inundated with type-2 zombies nowadays, horror movies go on periodic kicks when one idea is successful. You had a ton of devil posession films after the Exorcist, for example, etc. etc."
_______
Of course Hollywood will happily make the same movie over and over again as long as it's profitable. That's a given. The question with respect to zombies is why they're still profitable. Why they still capture the public imagination and sell tickets, despite being arguably the go-to monster for about 15 years now. Regardless of the business tendencies of Hollywood, there's probably a reason why Walking Dead is at the top of TV ratings, World War Z is both a bestseller and blockbuster (with sequels in the works), the Resident Evil franchise has been selling millions of videogames since '96... all while demonic possession rarely makes an appearance nowadays even though The Exorcist is still widely considered one of the best and most influential horror pics of all time.

It's not that chow-related, but neither is the original post, frankly. My point is that there's something about zombies that resonates with people now in a way that it didn't quite 30, 40, 50 years ago. Does society have more general fear of the dead now than it used to? I think it's other aspects of zombies that makes them popular - the mindless masses aspect, the cannibalism, the apocalyptic aspect, etc.

Sep 22, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

Narrowly averted checkout line scam?

IF it was a scam, it was probably motivated by the dude's desire to jump line and get the hell out of the store. If you're going to bother trying to scam free food, you might as well try to score a free steak.

As to whether it was a scam in the first place... I don't know. Handing over some groceries to an absentminded cashier before my turn is (sadly) very much the kind of thing I could see myself doing while daydreaming in the line. OTOH, I wasn't there and rice pad's assessment is surely better than mine.

Sep 22, 2014
cowboyardee in Not About Food

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

Also, here is a more recent article where Ozersky interviews a barista who calmly (and repeatedly) diffuses all his bluster and posturing:
http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for...

Sep 22, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

The Perils of Coffee Snobbery

Wait... what exactly are the perils of coffee snobbery? Anything aside from occasionally being called names over your choice of beverage?

The best part of the article was the comments section, where everyone calls Ozersky on his bullshit.

Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists

In fairness, I'd wager that maybe half the people called 'trolls' during the course of an internet argument aren't actually trolls but just people who disagree with whoever labelled them as such.

But yeah, the other half is disturbing.

Barely related tangent:

I dig horror movies. It has been pointed out many times that horror villains/monsters often reflect the biggest societal anxieties of the time - in the 50s mad scientists or alien races would show the dangers of unbridled scientific progress (the nuclear bomb) or take over our minds (the spread of communism); before that, vampires (the old scary kind, not the new sexy kind) represented dangerous foreigners; popularization of the notion of serial killers coincided with the rise of slasher films. Etc.

Anyway, I've read a few explanations for the enduring popularity of zombies in the last 15 years or so, ranging from the anxieties caused by sensationalized TV news to failures of our government to disgust with rampant consumerism to anxieties about our education system.

My personal pet theory is this:

Zombies are popular and have stayed popular because of internet comments. Back in the day, sure, you knew there were stupid, ignorant, careless, shallow, and/or mean-natured people out there. But there wasn't an entire form of mass-media given to granting these people anonymity and encouraging them to speak up. And those same stupid, ignorant people you see posting stupid ignorant things... they see your opposing viewpoints as evidence that people are stupid and ignorant and shallow and careless. It works both ways. Everyone now fears the unfeeling mindlessness of the rest of society, because everyone now encounters it first hand and in large scale. So... we get zombie movies.

Is clad overkill for stockpot or sauce pan?

For a stockpot, go disk bottom. In fact, if you intend to use it for nothing more than stock-making or boiling water for pasta, even a disc bottom isn't necessary - you'd boil a bit quicker without a thick bottom on the pan and save money.

As for a saucepan: I don't doubt that others notice and enjoy the difference that a clad pan makes, but I've never run across a sauce so delicate that I couldn't make it in a disc bottom pan, and I make a lot of sauces. Clad is fine and nice anf had some advantages if you want to fork out for it, but don't let the posts here convince you that it's a necessity.

Sep 20, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware

Absolute Tomatoey-est Tasting Tomato Sauce You Will EVER Eat

Your recipe is clearly amazing and unique, somehow adhering to only the strictest tenets of Nonna-ism while still playing fast and loose with its herbal management.

You should document it in a brand new thread so maybe someone who has neither experience with nor insight into your sauce could come along and ridicule you based on some completely unrelated recipe.

Absolute Tomatoey-est Tasting Tomato Sauce You Will EVER Eat

The basic mechanics here should work, but i would probably change a few things if I were to make a soup using this as a framework.

Offhand:
- I would probably blend the soup to a more even consistency
- There's too much basil in the recipe above for a soup
- I'd thin it out more, adding water or cream. I think cream would work, but I'd have to taste it to say for sure, since it could theoretically dull some of the brightness of this sauce.

Sep 18, 2014
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

Absolute Tomatoey-est Tasting Tomato Sauce You Will EVER Eat

You're adding the basil too early
;p

Sep 18, 2014
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

Absolute Tomatoey-est Tasting Tomato Sauce You Will EVER Eat

"What was your inspiration for this sauce Cowboyardee? You have to do a few iterations before you got it perfect?"
_______
There were many iterations. I don't fully remember how I developed this one. Most dishes I make change over time, and on the rare occasions I write down my process (like on CH), I'm often surprised looking back a year or two later at how many changes I've made even in that time.

I do remember that years ago I had been making tomato sauce by slowly roasting fresh tomatoes at low temp in the oven and then simply blending them up, adding a little water if needed to thin out the sauce, per some recipe I read. The tomato vine addition probably came from reading either Heston Blumenthal or Harold McGee. Using the gel came from trying not to waste it after discarding the seeds.

Hope your client enjoys it.

Sep 16, 2014
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

food safety & murdering pathogens

That's certainly one reason you trim the exterior.

In honesty, I don't know whether the microbes on the surface of traditionally dry aged meat are safe to eat or not. I'm fairly sure the surface of the meat is indeed colonized during the aging process, but it's entirely possible that those microbes are harmless if ingested and the meat is trimmed only to improve the texture.

Sep 16, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics

food safety & murdering pathogens

I'm not a butcher, so I could be wrong. But we could be getting caught up over the use of words like 'rotten' and 'spoil.' I believe the temperature and humidity controls used in the dry aging process tend to select for certain kinds of microbes on the surface of the meat, and those microbes suppress the growth of other microbes. 'Spoil' is probably not the best word for this, so sorry for any confusion.

AFAIK, it's more common to trim away the exterior of dry aged meat before preparing. But if the microbes selected by the dry aging process are safe to ingest, then it might not be strictly necessary from a safety standpoint.

Sep 16, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics

food safety & murdering pathogens

That's what I was getting at in my post above.

Dry-aged beef works by controlling the spoilage process and then trimming away the outside of the meat after aging, using the still-sterile center. But the problem here is that even dry-aged beef is aged with fairly tight controls on temperature and humidity. The OP's un-controlled spoilage might have penetrated a good ways into the meat by now. Or it might have cultivated more dangerous bacteria than normal dry-aging. Finally, the uncontrolled spoilage might cause the interior of the meat to taste bad, even if it winds up being safe.

Sep 16, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics

food safety & murdering pathogens

No. There are various things that aren't killed or denatured at 160 degrees. Staph toxin, botulism toxin or the bacteria itself, and likely a host of other bacteria, molds and toxins, given how long it was unrefrigerated.

If anything were to make the meat safe, it would be cutting off and discarding the entire surface of the meat before cooking, on the general theory that the interior of muscles is usually sterile to start off with and maybe the contamination/spoilage hadn't progressed much below the surface. Personally, I still wouldn't chance it though.

Sep 16, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics
1

How The Coffee Shop Has Ruined Customer Service

You can still go to a diner and get that. Or a dunkin donuts. Or a mcdonalds.

Or you can go to a coffee shop and get coffee that's waaaaaaay better than anything you could find 15 years ago. 3rd wave coffee is a great thing.

If you want me to read more, you'll have to cut and paste it here.

Great pieces of inexpensive equipment?

Molybdenum and vanadium are two steel additives, not really a specific kind of steel. In general, both form carbides, while molybdenum tends increase toughness (resistance to chipping at a given hardness) and vanadium tends to make a steel more wear resistant and finer-grained. In practice, these steels are often easy to sharpen, but not always. Some (but not all) vanadium-containing knives can be a minor pain in the ass to sharpen due to their wear resistance, for example. At any rate, knowing that a steel has vanadium and molybdenum as additives really doesn't tell you a whole lot about its quality. If nothing else, it's an assurance that they're not using 420j, which is kind of the default cheap, crappy blade steel.

As far as IKEA knives go, I don't have any experience with their cheaper blades. They might be decent. Or not. Couldn't tell you. I also don't have much experience with their mid-priced blades, but I do remember briefly checking out one of their damascus clad knives. Probably this one or one like it:
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/pro...
And I wasn't impressed. At that price point (~ $50), it's competing against knives that not only have good steel but also good grinds. And at a quick assessment, I wasn't impressed with the grind. Very thick behind its edge, and a little unevenly ground as well IIRC.

Sep 14, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware

The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner  

My father works for DHS. Removing children from abusive situations. Over 35 years on the job. Philadelphia. Of course, skipping a meal doesn't rate on the scale of the things he sees every day. It doesn't rate on the scale of things I've seen in my job. But lets not pretend that bureaucracies are always sensible in their priorities or consistent in how they treat different infractions on a case by case basis. Or that said bureaucracy has to progress to the point of seriously considering removing a child from their parents' custody to create a major headache for parents.

Lets put that aside for a minute though...

I'm not really talking about DHS. I'm talking about the willingness of mandated reporters (doctors, RNs, teachers, etc) or random laypersons to report things that no one would have considered reporting 30 years ago. The US has been (and still is) in the grips of two moral panics. One relates to child molestation. The other relates child abuse in general. Because of the former, people increasingly view unsupervised play as a form of criminal neglect; and also even men who are inclined to step up in child-rearing have to be very wary of appearances, interactions with other peoples' kids, etc. As Naco said, the effect is chilling. Meanwhile, because of the latter, many people no longer make a distinction between a calm measured spanking for disciplinary reasons and beating the shit out of a kid because you're mad at him. And also people are more and more likely to report anything that appears even potentially abusive. And once again, there is a chilling effect.

I understand that this is in many ways better than letting real, dangerous child abuse go unreported. But there are, as in anything, unintended consequences. Condescending lectures from an older generation that didn't have to deal with the current culture (and apparently don't understand or acknowledge it) get annoying quick.

Sep 13, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News

The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner  

Sep 12, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News