cowboyardee's Profile

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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."
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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).

about 7 hours ago
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."
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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."
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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.

about 8 hours ago
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.

about 19 hours ago
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...

about 21 hours ago
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?"
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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

The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner  

In fairness, American parents are also scared of literally being reported to DHS for allowing their child to skip a meal out of stubbornness.

It's the same basic phenomenon that explains why kids are no longer allowed to play outside unsupervised. Sure, some parents are terrified of all the scary things that can happen to unsupervised children outdoors and convinced that it's any more dangerous out there than it ever was; but plenty of others would happily usher their kids out the door if they weren't worried the police would be called.

Sep 12, 2014
cowboyardee in Food Media & News
1

Cast iron skillet still sticks

I had the same problems you did after an initial seasoning with flax seed oil. I wrote up my experiments with seasoning in this (kinda long) thread:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/785489

A quick summary: After initial disappointment with a few layers of flax seasoning, I experimented with a way to apply many thin layers of flax seasoning quickly (on the stove top). This achieved a highly non-stick surface, but I slowly found that flax seasoning appears to be intolerant of high heat and prone to flaking. Various comments around the internet seem to back this complaint up. I stripped the pan again and experimented with other oils, finding that other oils had more difficulty achieving a super non-stick surface initially, but also appeared more stable. Eventually I gave up the experiments and settled for creating a stable base layer that wasn't especially non-stick and slowly built on that via usage in cooking. My pan is now performing quite well and is durable, but I wound up going the traditional slow route (more or less).

Sep 12, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware

Need Help identifiying Noodle/Pasta making techique

Just FYI, those are normally called either 'pulled' or 'hand-pulled' noodles. In case you want to look up more on the technique.

Sep 11, 2014
cowboyardee in Home Cooking

Best Chef's Knife?

It just seemed like you were
A) Conflating all Japanese knives with sushi knives
B) Conflating all Japanese knives with damascus knives
and...
C) Assuming that the only supposed virtue of Japanese knives is their steel

I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, but that was the impression I get from your posts. None of the above are even nearly true.

I agree fully that few people really need sushi knives - they're expensive knives made for professional sushi chefs. The OP certainly doesn't need one. But there are other Japanese knives that compete very well in terms of bang for your buck and performance with any Western knives on the market. Just depends on what you're looking for and what you're comparing em to.

Sep 11, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware

Best Chef's Knife?

"sashimi knives do not fit into the needs of most professional chefs or home cooks."
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Certainly.

'I have no clue how or if their cutting edge is "tuned up,"'
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Frequent waterstone sharpening, usually.

"kitchen knives that promote a VERY old forging method of layer upon layer of heated-hand hammered-tempered layers of different steels that produces the much cherished moire pattern visible on the faces of the blade."
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Not so much. Most damascus knives on the market are really just laminated blades with damascus or faux-damascus cladding. It's for aesthetics. The business end of the knife - the edge - is not damascus steel. There are indeed a few custom makers (often American) producing knives that are entirely composed of genuine folded steel damascus, and these are again made for aesthetics. In any case, there are a number of reasons to consider Japanese knives that have nothing at all to do with damascus, and many, many Japanese knives that are neither pattern welded nor damascus clad.

"But the FACT is that modern "stamped" steel knives with highly researched and formulated steel compounds can and do perform better"
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What's better? Better how? How do you know when you haven't tried any of these knives to compare?

Modern stamped steels can perform great. But some steels forged in other ways also perform great. And steel is only one ingredient in what makes a good knife.

Sep 11, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware

Great pieces of inexpensive equipment?

Kiwi knives, Victorinox knives, f dick knives, etc all offer great value - though its still very worthwhile to put a little money into sharpening.

Cheap disc bottom stainless pans work great. IKEA makes some very inexpensive ones.

A well seasoned cast iron pan doesn't cost much less than Teflon initially, but it will last way longer.

Sheet pans are dirt cheap and get usedfor all sorts of things in my kitchen.

There's nothing wrong with spoiling yourself if you like and have the money. But any of the above will let you achieve professional level results if you know what you're doing.

Sep 11, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware
1

Best Chef's Knife?

"But it still wouldn't cut any better than the knives I have now!"
_________
Sushi knives are all about how the fish releases from the blade. Thin slices of fish get squashed and mangled if they stick to a blade while cutting. Sushi knives are designed so that these slices peel away more easily and with less deformity. A Sabatier doesn't mimic this effect.

Sharpness is a function of sharpening, steel, and edge angles. Given that your knife is made of good steel, it can be made more or less as sharp as you are willing to bother making it, though it likely will not have comparable edge retention at low angles compared to most sushi knives. Many knives, Western or Japanese, can be made extraordinarily sharp. Sushi chefs use sushi knives because they are designed for the specific cuts involved in sushi and to maximize efficiency when cutting fish specifically.

Sep 10, 2014
cowboyardee in Cookware

The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner  

Huh? How does that apply to my post?

My point was only that there will never be a personal chef affordable enough for the working poor. Or even most of the middle class, to be honest.

The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner  

"Maybe we should start an affordable personal chef service for those who hate to cook or just don't want to."
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At least in the US, ain't no such thing. What would you ask to be paid to give up your dinner time and spend an hour cooking, perhaps an hour driving, and likely another hour shopping? Bearing in mind that such a job would limit you to a few hours worked per day and make it difficult to find an additional job whose schedule works for you. If you wanted to hire me to do that, you'd have to pay through the nose.

It's cheaper to just go to a restaurant. Personal chefs are for rich people.

The whole reason home cooking is important is because it is the only/most affordable way to reliably eat healthy food for many people. If you can easily afford to feed your family good nutritious food and also spend time with them, it' not especially important that you make said food yourself. Just another one of the many benefits of having money.

What is "real food"?

I wasn't disagreeing with you so much as disagreeing with the pat distinctions made in this thread in general.

Your distinction is fine, semantically speaking. But is it useful in the context of the basic question the OP is asking: what should we eat? Should we be eating deadly nightshade (calories) while avoiding water (no calories)?

Sep 10, 2014
cowboyardee in General Topics