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Budget Palate's Profile

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How/Why did you pick your screen name?

At the time I was trying to educate myself on how to eat well on a budget. The more i read about it, the more I realized that this is a common goal of both rich and poor. There seems to be something intrinsic in humanity that thinks that you can, and should, eat well and live well for not alot of money.

Also I thought Budget Palate had a catchy sound, internal rhyme or alliteration or whatever.

Now I regret the name because it does not reveal gender, and, at least for me, I like to know the gender of the other people posting, although you can usually tell. I also regret the name because I look up to the more mature posters on our site and they usually seem to include some portion of their real name. I wish I had just said JAKE-iS-Baked or something. Yeah, that would have been more mature....

Also, my first post was on "Asheville on a budget". At the time I thought, now this will make a great post that no-one thought of before. Turns out, every couple of months, someone writes in with the exact-same or very-similar post. And, every time, some of the same patient / helpful people write in with the budget suggestions, just like they did for me, making me feel welcome. That's one of the things I like about this site.

Well, i had a couple tonight and I think i may be on here typing too much, so it's good night,,,

Mar 30, 2009
Budget Palate in Site Talk

So what's the average Chowhound's age?

I love this little story about your mum.

To answer the original question: turned 33 last week.

Mar 30, 2009
Budget Palate in Site Talk

Favorite Fictional Bars and Restaurants ?

There are some really cool literary suggestions on this thread that make me want to get these books and read them. Especially the Nero Wolfe stuff, but all of it sounds good. I'm impressed by all these suggestions. I went through a Raymond Chandler phase and am pretty sure I read every one of his novels.

The thing I thought of is a bit less literary. In the movie Pulp Fiction, Vincent Vega takes Mia Wallace out on a date, and she suggests a place called Jackrabbit Slim's. Turns out to be a burger joint where they have a twist competition. One of my favorite scenes, beautifully shot and the dancing is great.

I love a fading 70's cocktail lounge, and love the one in Jackie Brown called the Cockatoo Inn. I've mentioned that movie on this site before.

Great topic for a thread.

Food Revolution

Thanks for the link. Murphy seems like a pretty interesting guy. And this article brings in the cultural context that ties in with all the discussion going here. Some people would be more willing to listen a former football player from the midwest.

"Iowans aren't vulnerable to the same charges of elitism as chefs in Berkeley or New York's Hudson Valley, and they have seen firsthand the consequences of factory farms."


"Food Democracy Now also could help deflect long-standing charges of elitism against the sustainable food movement, activists say. With Waters, a Berkeley chef with a 1960s counterculture pedigree, as the movement's most recognizable leader, it's been easy for opponents to portray food advocates as a bunch out-of-touch yuppies from the coastal 'latte belts.' "

Did you catch Alice Waters on 60 Minutes?

Thanks, but not so much that we're elquent but this thread in particular has made you have to think and write in a crisp way because it began to look like someone's character was being attacked unfairly.

Did you catch Alice Waters on 60 Minutes?

Brother. You can call me Budget Palate (my first post here was on "Asheville on a Budget"), BP, or by my real name, Jake.


Food Revolution

My bad. I had the wrong article. I will link this article here because it is also related to Waters and also out of the Times:

Anyway it is called "Alice Waters and Obama's Kitchen Cabinet". It's an interview with Waters. By now we're all pretty familiar with what she's going to say. But it's the contentious comments underneath that reminded me of some of ours here.Only, those who wanted to step in and question why Waters was being so attacked were given more freedom.

Did you catch Alice Waters on 60 Minutes?

Taking the first part of your statement, that Alice Waters never had to worry about money: while I don't know a whole lot about Waters personal finances, i do know that in the early years of Chez Panisse they almost lost the restaurant a few times and had to keep borrowing to keep it afloat, until it finally became financially viable. Without researching it in any detail, I do think it implies that at least at some point of her life she wasn't exactly flush with cash. Seems to be that some hard work, determination, luck, knowing the right people, and vision got that restaurant going. Probably by now, Waters is enjoying some success, but I don't know that I could say as confidently as you do that "she never had to worry about money, bottom line."

As far as what matters in the real world -- issues of where you get your food, how you get your food, I can't see these as anything but real world issues

Did you catch Alice Waters on 60 Minutes?

How "goofy" is this "whole frigging thing" really? You eloquently mention these great American food traditions that we've had in our country for hundreds of years. Wouldn't you agree, though, that in some portions of our country, some communities, these traditions have been lost? And wouldn't it be a fine thing indeed if some of those communities restored some of those traditions? Not so sure that it would be goofy.

Did you catch Alice Waters on 60 Minutes?

Funny thing is, if you agree with Pollan -- eat like your grandmother did -- you might find yourself agreeing with many of Waters' practices as well.

Not sure how correct it is to say that Waters thinks this is new and different. I'd have to hear her say that or see it implied in her attitude to see it. Waters may well be aware that these things aren't new and different, may well be aware that these are traditions from the past. She may be aware that the industrial revolution and the advent of Big Food has erased these traditions in many communities. Probably, she just sees a need to publicly let people know -- people who may not have been exposed to it - that we can return to these ways of eating that have sustained humanity for thousands of years. i realize that there are places all over America where people are still carrying on these traditions, "putting food by" etc, but there are places all over America where those traditions have been lost. Perhaps it towards that second group that Waters feels the need to bring her message.

Did you catch Alice Waters on 60 Minutes?

In this post -- at the end of which you accuse another poster of jumping to Alice Waters defense "blindly" -- you get into the macroeconomics of feeding large populations. I have a very simple idea that might work for everyone. How about the Big Food corporations continue to do their work, and Alice Waters continues to do her work, and we view them both as part of what is going on right now, and we see the pros and cons of both... without having to diminish Waters work. Is the premise here that Waters should just give in and pack it up because Big Food is trying to take over the world? Is the premise that local communities growing their own food is not viable? Is this going so far to suggest that we may as well acknowledge that large agribusiness is taking care of the needs of everybody, so don't even bother to plant that spring vegetable garden...

Did you catch Alice Waters on 60 Minutes?

In this post, after you tell another poster that they are living on Planet Alice, you go on to say that Alice Waters is "profoundly unfulfilled", and later, you say that she is a joyless woman. Maybe, should you be willing to take a few extra minutes to flesh this out, perhaps you could use a little armchair psychology and let us know how you arrive at these conclusions, and what significance they have,

Food Revolution

Interestingly enough, if you scroll down and read the reader comments underneath this NYT article, the posters there echo much of what was said in our recent Waters thread here, only the comments on the NYT website are perhaps moderated with a lighter hand than they are here.

Did you catch Alice Waters on 60 Minutes?

You provide some pretty interesting information on these different programs.

However, my point was that Waters work has been valuable, has been a contribution. It does not have to be the first. You seem to want to apply an extra standard -- that her work be the first of its kind -- in order for someone to appreciate it. You imply that Waters has not noticed or does not wish to notice the work of others. I would need to see more concrete evidence of this. Unless Waters herself, or someone in this thread, has claimed that Waters was the first in her work, then your statements about it are irrelevant.

What was the worst food you HAD to eat as a kid?

Funny I was just posting on an Alice Waters-related thread and thinking of the contrast between kids growing and eating their own food as part of a school program, and the horrific and bizarre foodstuffs of my own elementary school cafeteria...

Mar 16, 2009
Budget Palate in General Topics

Cilantro - Love it or Hate it?

Always disliked it and think it tastes like soap

Mar 16, 2009
Budget Palate in General Topics

Did you catch Alice Waters on 60 Minutes?

I was also a little surprised by some of the responses, which I wouldn't have expected on a food-devoted website. She is idealist, maybe even extremist, but it's still good that there's an Alice Waters out there making an impact. You can disagree with some of what she says, or think she is condescending etc, and still appreciate what she has done, what she is trying to do. This is a woman who put kids to work growing and eating their own food. I think she gets respect for that alone.

Social Delimma # xxxxx

No way you should have said anything about that. And from what I gather, you didn't.

Quietly kick yourself for not stopping at the store, and then show up and enjoy a meal with your friend, green can and all.

Then, come to this website and vent to like-minded people, if you must.

Which is exactly what you did.

Of course the real cheese is better. But, I have to admit, the green can ain't all that bad.

Mar 06, 2009
Budget Palate in Not About Food

Top Chef Finale Part 1(spoilers)

I can jump in there and defend Stefan too. The general impression from this thread is... Fabio we like, Stefan is overconfident.

I see it exactly the other way around. I interpret "overconfident" as being more confident than the skills you really have. Stefan is confident but, at least from what we can see, he can really cook. Fabio is overconfident, thinking, it would appear, that he can cook much better than he actually can. Maybe it was just the pressures of the competition. Of course his personality, humor, and drive to succeed will take him very far. But aside from some cool olives in the beginning and a perfect roast chicken at the end, his cooking never raised to the level of his repeated claims about it. Maybe he will surprise us in the future. I actually don't think it's a good thing that he might be getting his own show. Our media is saturated with great "tv personalities" who aren't really bringing the cooking chops. Maybe he will be different, we'll see.

Fried Chicken & Waffles

Yes, it's just a quick joke in there. Great flick by the way.

I think messing around with a waffle iron might be a fun hobby to get into. Thanks for the suggestion.

And here's to chowhounds mixing fine cuisine and fast food, and what is perceived as "high" culture with "low" culture, and everything in between, with reckless abandon!

Feb 20, 2009
Budget Palate in General Topics

Fried Chicken & Waffles

I think I may have first heard of it from the movie "Jackie Brown", when the gangster (Samuel L Jackson) lures his victim out of his apartment with promises of Roscoe's Chicken N Waffles, then kills him.

Then I think I saw a tv show where Snoop Dogg brings David Beckham to Roscoe's to let him sample the food.

So my media-saturated brain has always wanted to try this stuff. The idea of it being sweet, with (corn) syrup, does not appeal, but the idea of the texture of waffles with the texture of fried chicken does appeal.

So I tried it at home, with store-bought Eggos and the fried chicken from Bojangles. (I am not into deep-frying at home and prefer to leave that to professionals.) Not surprisingly, it wasn't all that good with the Eggos. Actually, it was a little bit better with the blueberry waffles than it was with the plain waffles, so maybe a little sweetness does help after all. Point of all this being, I wish I had a Roscoe's nearby so I could really try it.

Feb 18, 2009
Budget Palate in General Topics

Giorgio Armani's Opinion of Italian Food in USA

One day, I came to the conclusion that you cannot reproduce Italian food in America. This was quite a relief. The approach to food is so location-specific, so ingredient-driven, so opinionated, so Italian. I would put money on the fact that we will never, ever have very many real Italians coming here to America and pronouncing their satisfaction with our version of their food.

So, if you are operating a restaurant in New York that is claiming to produce authentic Italian food, the pressure's on. You will have a Signore Armani coming in and the pasta is overcooked and oversauced and you will have to deal with that. But for the rest of us, we can breathe easy. We can learn from the great cuisine, but choose to tweak it whenever we wish. And everything is going to be just fine. For instance, I definately don't like my pasta overcooked, but I do like a little more sauce on my pasta. I guess it's just the American in me. I can't control myself. But when in Rome, I would gladly eat it as the Romans do.

Top Chef-Last Meal (Spoiler)

Nice post

Ultimate Top Chef

season 1 - Tiffany, Dave

season 2 - Ilan

season 3 - Casey, Dale

season 4 - Stephanie

season 5 - want to see it all before deciding

I based it on whose food I might go out of my way to try, which for me involves notions of "cooking from the soul" and a "culinary point-of-view". Tiffani would be the head of the pack, still the one to beat of any season, combining skill, creativity, intensity, and a clear point-of-view. I don't see any reason not to trust the judges on Ilan, that he really was a good cook and that he cooked the best in the finals. Seasons 1 and 3 had the best talent pools, and hence more "ultimate top chefs" from those seasons.

As for the challenges I would want to see: I have often wished that they would have a season where all they do is let the chefs loose. That is, every single challenge is the same: "here is your budget, here is your timeframe, shop anywhere you want and blow our minds with your meal." And just repeat that over and over until you have the top chef. But I don't think they'll ever do that.

Top Chef-Last Meal (Spoiler)

Leah's departure goes to show that the judges reserve the option to send them home on the basis of the whole body of work, and not just the dish at hand, at any time. Every now and then you see them invoke this option.

I thought Leah was gracious and cool in her departure. I still think that this particular group is maintaining a higher level than past groups; certainly not a higher level of cooking, but just a better personal level or something.

I am biased to Italian cooking and have found Fabio to be a medicocre disappointment the whole season. I wanted more than anything to see the Italian chef smoke 'em, but Fabio hasn't exactly been bringing it. So when the roast chicken came up, for Lydia Bastianich no less, I knew it was make him or break him. I'm glad he pulled it out. And his jokes and wisecracks were on point this episode.

I love that Carla made fresh peas and that these received special mention from all the judges. Vegetables made right are sublime.

I love that they are going to New Orleans.

I guess that's it.

Gluttony or Chow?

True, true, what you wrote. I can see what you mean by "bitter" when I read it. Not sure how or why it crept in. I guess if I were going to "eat my way fat", I can think of a glorious glut of things to enjoy, but these things looked nauseating. I didn't even pick up on the humor. But you're right.... the fun easygoing nature of these boards -- such a refreshing change from much of the internet -- is a big part of why we post. Cheers.

Best food city in North America.

I realize this thread originated a couple years ago, but I am grateful to however brought it back up. I read through it all with great curiosity, planning potential food trips in my head. It actually took me two sessions on two different days to read through the whole thing.

I tend to look at Mexican cuisine as North America's original, continuous, sophisticated cuisine. What other cuisine grew up here on North American soil and is so vast. It's roots are more ancient than the local charms of New Orleans or Charleston cuisine.

That being said, if someone put a plane ticket and some money in my hand, and said, "Go eat," I'm pretty sure that plane would be heading for New York...

Feb 11, 2009
Budget Palate in General Topics

Gluttony or Chow?

Neither gluttony nor chow. An insult to both. Gluttony on occasion is a beautiful thing.

If "this is why you're fat", then you didn't have a whole lot of fun getting fat.

Broccoli vs. Cauliflower

I also thought of an Indian preparation of cauliflower, in a creamy fragrant sauce.

I like broccoli but am pretty opinionated about it. For one thing, raw broccoli needs to be put to a stop. For example, you see it tossed raw into salads by a careless and/or naive cook. To my knowledge we are the only country tossing raw broccoli around like this. Broccoli needs to be at least lightly cooked, for flavor and texture. Also, if healthfulness is a concern, its digestibilty and release of nutrients is enhanced by a little cooking.

Quick way to do broccoli
broccoli with garlic, lemon and hot red pepper

1. Boil it in water -- don't forget the stems they're the best part -- until it reaches the texture you like. I like al dente.
2. Shock it in ice water to keep the color if you want. I usually skip this step. But you could do it, for instance, if you wanted to put the broccoli aside and do something else.
3. Heat up some olive oil and cook your garlic a little, or bring it all the way to toasted if you want, but don't burn it
4. Toss in broccoli and get it all coated with the garlicky oil.
5. Salt it and add hot red pepper flakes and lemon juice. Toss around a little more.

A standard preparation I know but I thought I'd throw it in here.

Feb 11, 2009
Budget Palate in General Topics

Top Chef: Le Bernardin - Spoilers

I agree, AMFM. This is the least whiny and backstabbing bunch of them all. Normally I am a little embarassed for my entire generation, but not this time. Exception: Leah.

Additional random thought on Jamie: Tom's blog this week is blah, but Gail's is pretty interesting, and in it she mentions that Jamie's restaurant has a quite a following. I am not surprised.

Additional random thought on Ripert: I was using a cookbook a few years back, A Return to Cooking. It was one of these oversized impractical cookbooks that I usually avoid, but this one was very good. It was Ripert's. At the time I didn't know who he was.