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Types of animal meat you've tried

Shark isn't weird at all if you grew up at the shore. That was another cheap thing we enjoyed, but it certainly is expensive now.

Mar 04, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

Types of animal meat you've tried

Hey, Porker! Since we ate it often when I was a kid, it hadn't dawned on me that, for many people, muskrat is an unusual meat. My father used to trap muskrats for the pelts, and we'd eat the meat after it had soaked in clean water for quite a while. I never did care for it, but we had to eat whatever was on our plate, or take a whipping. Same applied to the wild ducks my dad would shoot. Nothing like chipping your tooth on a hidden pellet in the duck!

Mar 04, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

The best sausage you ever had

Pork with sage seasoning is the king of breakfast! It is available commercially straight from the Kirby & Holloway plant in Harrisonville, DE. One would never guess that it wasn't homemade. I had a 10-pound case shipped to me, and it disappeared quickly. Their other products (ham, bacon, scrapple, etc.) are also delicious. Highly recommended.

Mar 02, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

Hoagies [split from Philly]

I've been told that the single most important ingredient in bread/rolls/etc. is the water- nothing else determines the flavor of the end product as significantly as H2O. I'm not a scientist, but I've been told this by bakers in various corners of the world. Supposedly, the secret to San Francisco's world-famous sourdough bread (as well as their croissants) is the local water. Boudin's (pronounced "bo - deen's) bakery will ship fresh sourdough to your door.

Tallarico's produces an excellent wet, ground, hot pepper item that can be spread on hoagies; sort of a relish-like quality to it. In fact, the name of the product (which is packaged in a jar) is "hoagie spread." I'm not aware of their regional availability, but if you can obtain their various products (including "steak sauce") I recommend that you try them.

As to cheesesteaks and Italian hoagies, I'm particular to a hole-in-the-wall joint in Millville, NJ named "Shannon's." (There is now a second shop not far away). Incredible flavor, quality ingredients, and bang for your buck. A thoroughly stuffed 2-foot cheesesteak is only $9 (as of autumn, 2011)! My wife and I can really scarf down some grub, but we can't finish the 2-footer between us!

Mar 02, 2012
inspector71 in Pennsylvania

Types of animal meat you've tried

While on an operation in the Middle East, I worked with a small group of Bedouin tribesmen. Long story short, I shared meals with them, some which consisted of a hearty, rustic stew dish. I noted that the meat was rather tough and stringy, and had a peculiar gamey taste. When I asked what type of meat the stew featured, I was informed that we were enjoying camel.

Mar 02, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

Looking for help recreating Granny's ham & milk gravy

I'm hoping that someone (likely from the South) knows what I'm referring to, and can help me reintroduce a long-lost family favorite. Granny prepared the entire dish in a frying pan. Beyond that, all I can recall is a delicious ham steak on my plate, smothered in a semi-thick white gravy. I don't know if she actually used milk, or simply called it "milk gravy" because it looked like milk (but, as I mentioned, of a thicker consistency). I'd be much obliged if someone is familiar with the process, and can enlighten me. Almost forgot: I think she incorporated the grease from the cast--iron pan into the gravy. (It wasn't health food!) Thanks!

Mar 02, 2012
inspector71 in Home Cooking

Strange Pairings that Taste Uncommonly Good

Most of you probably have heard this before, but I'll mention it for anyone who hasn't: if you save the brine from your jar of pickles, you can pour it into a spray bottle, and use it to "mist" your chicken on the grille. Many guests have remarked about the unique flavor and moistness of my bbq chicken, but can't quite discern what my "trick" is. When I tell them, they're always surprised. I continually spritz the bird almost the entire time it's working. It also provides a nice, tasty, crispy skin.

Mar 02, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

Strange Pairings that Taste Uncommonly Good

Working at Gino's in PA in 1973, I used to enjoy wrapping a bundle of piping hot fries with a slice of cold cheese, then dipping it into Gino's "gourmet sauce" (the goop that went on the Gino Giant - the same sandwich as the Big Mac at McD). Fat, calories, and sodium galore, but it sure tasted great.

Mar 02, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

Strange Pairings that Taste Uncommonly Good

A new friend turned me on to pb & baloney sandwiches. Regular OM brand meat with chunky pb is quite tasty.

Mar 02, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

Thanks, John!

Feb 28, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

Who remembers Fizzies? We loved them when we could get them, but in retrospect, boy howdy were those things nasty! The theory (for those who don't remember them) was you dropped a flavored tablet into a glass of water, and voila! You had soda! I think the stuff was essentially flavored Alka-Seltzer.

Feb 27, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

The saccharin-sweetened soda John E. mentioned reminded me of a chocolate diet soda (similar to Yoo-hoo) that was sold at the Mom&Pop corner store I worked at when I was 12. It was sweetened by a new product called "cyclamates" (I think that's how it was spelled). Not long after its appearance, there was a goverment-directed ban placed on cyclamates- they said it caused cancer. Stores selling any products with this chemical as an ingredient had to immediately stop selling it. We had cases upon cases of this cyclamate-sweetened chocolate drink, and the owner of the shop was really cheesed about being stuck with it (I guess the distributor wouldn't take it back), so, rather than let all this product go to waste (it was supposed to be destroyed), he simply gave it away. Can't sell it? Give it to the kids! We drank that stuff for months until it was all consumed. Cancer at age 12? Yeah, right! Pbffft! Hey, it was free soda!

Feb 27, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

Does anyone remember the name of a product that appeared mid-60s, and was an ersatz knock-off of Kool-Aid? I can only recall the name of the grape flavor: "Goofy Grape." I assume that it was less expensive than Kool-Aid. Of course, we were told "its just as good, so quit whining and drink it!" Most flavors were the same as KA, but I seem to recall a Root Beer flavor as well. I hope someone can remember this, as most folks give me the "you're nuts" look when I mention it.

Feb 27, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

This may sound incredible today, but trust me- we were poor. I grew up in southern NJ (the "Garden State"), right on a river near the bay, and not far from the ocean. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a South Jersey tomato, pole beans and other fresh produce knows how delicious the local food is. We grew our own vegetables, and hit the docks each day to procure fish that had been swimming just hours ago. We ate well on super-fresh seafood and equally fresh veggies. Odd as it may seem now, that was cheap eating locally in the 50s. How weird is it that such fine food was the steady diet of the "less fortunate?" I make a fair living today, but can't afford to eat like that now. As a typical kid, I had the attitude, "What? Flounder, clams, and vegetables AGAIN??!!!"

Feb 26, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

best national brand peanut butter?

Sorry, folks. I have no idea where/if Wampler's PB can be found outside of the Lancaster County area. In Lanco, its available at the Farmers Markets at Roots (Tuesday's, Manheim), and Green Dragon (Fridays, Ephrata). I haven't been there for a spell, but the market in downtown Lancaster MAY carry it. A good place to score Wampler's daily is at a natural/health food store in Lancaster called "Rhubarb's." I don't suggest flying cross-country for it, but if you're visiting or passing through PA Dutch country, be sure to try it (as well as their honey). Good stuff! Best wishes to all!

Feb 26, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics

Awesome farmers markets in PA?

The Dutchman referred to above runs the meat and cheese stand known as "King's." No finer product anywhere! He also operates at the Green Dragon market in Ephrata on Fridays. Everything he sells is top shelf, but the hickory-apple smoked bacon is out of this world. Very little shrinkage in the frying pan, and flavor to die for!

Feb 22, 2012
inspector71 in Pennsylvania

Awesome farmers markets in PA?

Alas, Funk's is gone, another casualty of "progress." The market and farm itself are victims of development. Its quite a shame.

Feb 22, 2012
inspector71 in Pennsylvania

best national brand peanut butter?

Greetings, everyone. I'm a newbie, so please be patient with me, but don't hesitate to advise me if I fall afoul of established protocols. Regarding the peanut butter question, I believe that Arrowhead Mills (out of Texas, I think) organic product is excellent. Its made with 100% roasted Valencia peanuts, and nothing else (unless you purchase the salted version, which is light on the sodium). I can no longer find it in the southeastern region of PA, so I obtain it via the Internet. Most of the Lancaster County farmer's markets (and there are several) carry Wampler's all-natural peanut butter, a fresh, locally produced product that is outstanding. The peanuts are roasted on-site, and the aroma defies any effort to pass by without purchasing a container of it. If you're a PB fanatic, and passing through PA Dutch country, I recommend acquiring a container to go.

Feb 22, 2012
inspector71 in General Topics