Karl S's Profile

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Would Someone Please Explain Why Cream Costs SO Much More than Half-N-Half And Butter?

Actually, most American whole milk is down to the 3.25% minimum fat these days. They skim it more than they used to. That's why it's not quite as good as it used to be when 4% was standard.

1 day ago
Karl S in General Topics

Boston-ey Restaurants

Well, the real old Boston restaurants that are not tourist traps are ... dead. Cause of death: real estate prices. So scratch "real Boston-ey".

Recs for ICOB & Neptune are solid. Just not old Boston.

FWIW, lobster rolls, chowder and fried clams are, when done right, downscale, not upscale. Best experienced in shacks in Essex, Ipswich or Rowley MA. Or places like Belle Isle in East Boston/Winthrop, and Regal Roast Beef in Orient Heights, East Boston.
For that matter, one of the better classic clam chowders around is at ... Kelly's Roast Beef (not the thick goup that tourists get fooled into thinking is classic chowder - 't'ain't).

Veal . Your thoughts ?

FWIW, mY statement about veal being a byproduct of dairying was specifically about "back in the day" - the era before our meat production became fully industrialized.

2 days ago
Karl S in General Topics

Veal . Your thoughts ?

Veal used to be a byproduct of dairy production back in the day. It was cheaper than poultry. My father remembers Thanksgiving rations in the Army in WW2 consisted of several slices of veal topped with a slice of turkey breast.

Oct 19, 2014
Karl S in General Topics

When did coconut oil become OK to use, and how and why?

And butter's lipid profile can differ between grass fed vs grain fed cows.

Oct 13, 2014
Karl S in General Topics

USA heavy cream vs UK double cream

It probably depended on whether you were on a dairy farm or not, and what you were selling versus keeping. Buttermilk, the ur food of Ireland, was the leavings from churning butter, so the family that churned had more access to it. My grandmother certainly grew up drinking it, at least in the warmer grazing months (butter, of course, is a way to preserve milk...).

Oct 05, 2014
Karl S in General Topics

USA heavy cream vs UK double cream

Well, don't forget the considerable numbers of Irish (who are not British, of course...). My Irish grandmother grew up on a dairy farm in the wastes of northern Leitrim in the late 19th century. She had a nose for quality of milk, butter and cream.

Oct 05, 2014
Karl S in General Topics

USA heavy cream vs UK double cream

My speculation: summer (peak grazing season, peak dairy season before industrialization) in most of the USA is far longer and hotter than the British Isles (even northern New England regularly reaches well into the 90sF in the summer). Cream production that was natural to the climate of the British Isles is much less so in much of the USA. At the time home refrigeration became more common in the US, the industrial exigencies of the mid-20th century probably meant that industry was uninterested in creating demand for such a product.

Oct 05, 2014
Karl S in General Topics

Party Early Birds

The rigorist read would be yours, but my read was an avoidance of the gerundive "I have absolutely hated guests' showing up early", because that kind of usage is fading from popular usage. Yours is not an unreasonable read of a potentially equivocal formulation, but I would venture it's a *less* reasonable read of what was likely intended.

Oct 04, 2014
Karl S in Not About Food
1

Does your city have an International District/Chinatown?

Boston has a historic Chinatown that has actually grown in the past generation. And Greater Boston's east Asian population boom has spurred satellite clusters in places like Quincy (south of Boston) and Malden (north of Boston), and a more mixed melting pot in Waltham (west of Boston). Port communities along the southeastern New England coast (arcing from Gloucester, MA to East Providence, RI) have significant Lusophone communities from the Azores, Cabo Verde, and Brazil. Our Latin American population seems to be mostly from Central America and also some from Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, plus the Antilles (in other words, not very Mexican), and places like East Boston and Chelsea show the heavy presence from those communities. South Asian immigrants are dispersed. Little Armenia, our historic Armenian-Levantine communities, is located in Watertown. South Boston, usually associated only with Irish, was also home base for a notable Albanian community and a Lithuanian-Polish community. (Boston is relatively bereft of significant gentile communities from Central Europe.)

Oct 03, 2014
Karl S in General Topics

Leaving half doughnuts behind

FWIW, being a calorie counter but who had observed how people like to fool themselves into thinking they are eating less than they really are or do things in a way to reduce food judgement, I suspect this is more a denial/evasive device than calorie counting.

Oct 03, 2014
Karl S in Not About Food

Info on Market Basket new locations?

It was announced this week that the Revere location is scheduled to open November 1. (Wegmans in Burlington opens the Sunday before that.)

Oct 02, 2014
Karl S in Greater Boston Area

Thanksgiving and Christmas in the US

And it got that way about 100 years ago.

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/ho...

Oct 02, 2014
Karl S in General Topics

Thanksgiving and Christmas in the US

In the US, Thanksgiving at omnivore usually features turkey as the centerpiece, most typically roasted (but grilled or deep-fried are also popular variations); that said, at many tables the real centerpiece is the stuffing or dressing (dressing being a fussier term for stuffing that is not actually stuffed into the bird). Side dishes often feature New World vegetables/fruits: corn (maize), beans, squashes, et cet. Thanksgiving has been a fairly stable thing in the post-World War II era but in the past handful of years has been threatened by the creep of the dreadful "Black Friday" commercial hoo-ha into the evening of Thanksgiving Day itself (fortunately, I live in a state that forbids stores from doing that).

As for when Christmas decor "goes up" and "taken down", it's highly variable by regional and denominational subculture, plus family traditions. Where I grew up in the '60s and '70s in suburban NYC, decorations didn't generally go up until a couple of weekends before Xmas, and remained up through Epiphany at least (and, in families from southern Germany or Austria, might remain up well into January - even February 2nd for the really old timers who celebrated a cultural tradition of 40 days of Christmas rather than merely 12*). In suburban Boston, however, I was stunned to see home decor going up right after Thanksgiving (and often taken down by New Years, a custom I previously associated more with the American South.) Folks who spent Christmas week on holiday often took decor down before doing so, such the pity.

* I remember in the 1980s when the Macy's department store chain started advertising the 12 days of Christmas as the 12 days *before* Christmas - the mind reeled - worse still, there are lots of people now who labor under that reversal of the tradition.

Oct 02, 2014
Karl S in General Topics

Sending a healthy (ish) gift basket or snacks to hospital staff?

I would suggest that a fruit basket is not so great idea in practice, because different fruits are optimal under widely varying conditions, and so the lowest common denominator of the basket is that a lot of the fruit ends up being in subpar condition, so that most people know this subconsciously and just don't bother sampling, hence a lot of food is simply wasted.

Granola bars may seem "healthier" but basically they are candy bars under another name. However, they allow people to eat a candy without the guilt of eating one openly. So perfect for the socio-politics of a hospital...

Oct 01, 2014
Karl S in Greater Boston Area

Reheating roasted chicken?

Poor man's sous vide: put in a sealable plastic bag, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing, then seal and put in a bowl; run hot tap water over it. If your hot tap water is around 125-130F, it won't really re-cook the meat, just warm it through. Goal with lean flesh like breast is to warm, but avoid re-cooking. Dark meat is much more forgiving.

Sep 29, 2014
Karl S in Home Cooking
1

Salt free Popcorn - where can I buy it?

Salt enhances preservation for a product that is stored on marked shelves. Since it's so easy to make popcorn at home without salt, I don't see sufficient market demand for a salt-free prepopped shelf-stable product.

Sep 28, 2014
Karl S in General Topics

Good vs. Bad Pizza: Is there such a huge difference?

Well, for someone from an Asian culture, the same might be said "Why rice?" There are liminal associations with staple foods. For most cultures derived from European cultures, that staple food is most commonly bread. And pizza is a bread, dressed up. But it's fundamentally a form of bread. And just as many people in our culture finely grade quality notches in the bread continuum, so too they can do with pizza. Much as people from Asian cultures will do with rice, as people from MesoAmerican cultures could do with maize, et cet.

Staple foods are known intimately and thus in fine detail. So we will have a greater definition of quality differences across the spectrum.

I thought bolognese had milk in the recipe. Should I be adding milk?

After testing classic recipes, where there are three slow reductions in sequence, I side with the "milk reduction before adding acidic ingredients (wine/tomato)" sequence. Why? The meat seems to retain greater succulence with that sequence in my experience.

Sep 26, 2014
Karl S in Home Cooking
1

The Twelve Weeks of Christmas

Retail started Christmas in the late summer over a century ago, btw.

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/ho...

Anyway, fwiw, Christmas Day is the *first* day of Christmas for most of the Christian world (Catholics, Orthodox, and Oriental Christian churches, at least). And Christmastide lasts anywhere from 12 to 40 days depending on the cultural tradition (What we know as Groundhog Day occurs on the 40th day after Xmas, a Xmas-related feast day in those churches mentioned above).

Sep 26, 2014
Karl S in General Topics
1

Alert: artificial sweeteners

Well, the goal appears to get these covered in the daily medical-neuralgia news items on the morning TV/radio news. It's an interesting cycle: diet-oriented "news" that prompt people to be anxious about what they are eating/drinking, and then the same news shows feature copious ads for comfort foods.

I kid you not. It's amazing to me how people almost conspire not to notice this pattern.

Sep 25, 2014
Karl S in Food Media & News
1

Wheat/Dairy Free Wedding Guest Ettiquette

I'll confirm this in part. My peer data would be 40 years ago (1968 for First Communions, 1973 for Confirmations, 1974 for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs). There were families that had huge parties for these things, catered out or in, as it were. At the higher end were the Bar Mitzvahs (never, IIRC, Bat Mitzvahs) where the parents rented out an entire hotel for the weekend (I remember the tales of what my peers said they did in the bedrooms while their parents got trashed and/or high in the function rooms...those were the days....kids were either getting high or getting it on...). That said, there were families like mine who had modest celebrations: in my case for the sacraments, it was simply dinner out with the immediate family, where I got to choose where from a list of choices. A Bible, a rosary, and a Cross pen or some such. That was it. My parents, being from Connecticut and not fond of the consumerist mores of Long Island, were adamant about keeping our expectations modest, cough, cough. Most families ranged in between.

What I do think has changed is that the costs associated with the event planning industry's desiderata have grown faster than inflation, shall we say. An interesting comparison for the early post-WW2 era would be this Bette Davis film: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cate...

It's mostly gotten worse, except that there are more people willing to opt out of the event industry treadmill these days.

Sep 23, 2014
Karl S in Not About Food

I think I saw a mouse in frying pan....throw out or clean it?

The mind reels at the thought that you'd have to discard the pan because of a mouse. Hey, even if a dog pooped in it, it's just as usable, so long as you clean it. You may not like to realize that dust in many American homes is simply . . . dead human skin plus mites that are eating it (as opposed to fine dirt blown in through the windows and walls the way it used to do).

Sep 22, 2014
Karl S in Not About Food

Beer of the Month Clubs delivered to Massachusetts

No luck. Wine shipments will finally be allowed come January 1, 2015, but not beer or distilled spirits, IIRC.

Sep 21, 2014
Karl S in Greater Boston Area

Wheat/Dairy Free Wedding Guest Ettiquette

FWIW, the diamond engagement ring as a widespread cultural practice dates more to the 1920s. When middle class women needed something to demonstrate bona fides in order to permit sex before actual marriage (not that all women who got the ring necessarily indulged, but it was one of those things that became much more common). It's a most interesting cultural marker of a shift in sexual mores.

Sep 19, 2014
Karl S in Not About Food

Wheat/Dairy Free Wedding Guest Ettiquette

That would be an insult to the insane.

Alert: artificial sweeteners

But he didn't say using artificial sweeteners were GOOD for you. The import of his remarks it that people have assumed they were LESS BAD than ingesting sugar. An important distinction.

Party Early Birds

This.

You can also put this on a note pasted to the doors, which you can take down when you are ready to open the doors.

Market Basket, Thoughts

Yes, a doctor acquaintance of mine tapped me on the shoulder at the Reading store this morning, and confessed this was her first MB experience. The drama acted as advertising to people who had avoided MBs based on outdated reputations....

Sep 13, 2014
Karl S in Greater Boston Area

Why oh why did you not use my host(ess) gift at your dinner party?

This.

Sep 13, 2014
Karl S in Not About Food