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Another tipping question?

Really. If I tip 20% in the US, it's because it's standard practice in that country. If I tip 10% in Israel, it's because it's standard practice in that country. If I don't tip in Japan, it's because it's standard practice in that country. Trying to determine "standard practice" is factoring out a number of issues - part of which being "what is appropriate based on the money paid by their employer".

That's not about being cheap.

about 8 hours ago
cresyd in Not About Food

Bobby Flay and Wife to Split

Flay and his wife independently and as a couple chose to be public personalities which has come with significant financial gain. And part of that gain has come with a cost to their private lives.

You are free to find this kind of conversation/gossip/media coverage distasteful and avoid it. But based on what is considered part of the very fair celebrity media cycle, this is bread and butter acceptable coverage.

about 8 hours ago
cresyd in Food Media & News

Why delicious Indian food is surprisingly unpopular in the U.S.

I completely agree. There are many Italian places all across the US that are able to charge pretty steep prices for vegetarian pasta dishes with few ingredients - but those ingredients are of a high quality and the pasta making technique at a high level.

You can still get cacio de pepe or a pomodoro and numerous restaurants across the US cheaply, but in many cases there is a distinguishable quality difference between the cheaper plate and the pricey plate. It's not that there's no a value and enjoyment of the cheaper versions, but to completely dismiss having a higher priced version isn't great.

about 12 hours ago
cresyd in Food Media & News

Top Chef Season 13 Is Heading To...

I'm kind of surprised that Top Chef hasn't had a UK spin off, but that might be because of the Masterchef Professionals dynamic. That Top Chef perhaps just isn't different enough for the market.

about 14 hours ago
cresyd in Food Media & News

starving on Food Stamps / SNAP

Such a position just serves to punish children who have no choice in who their parents are.

The Horrors, Degradations & Ass-Kicking Triumphs of NYC's Female Chefs

That was depressing but not shocking.

about 17 hours ago
cresyd in Food Media & News

The ubiquitous burger

While the familiarity of the burger definitely helps in terms of comfort - I think the reduced price is a huge factor in its popularity particularly in the types of restaurants being mentioned.

I'm sure there are a number of people who order the burger where financially it's not a big deal to them - with the rise of celebrity chefs and overall increased trendiness of food, the number of people who are interested in these restaurants has increased to include those who aren't nearly as financially comfortable with the prices.

And 'celebrity food' chasers aside, I do think that for many diners there is an impulse to jump to the cheapest priced entrée. And a lot of these burgers sound pretty decadent. This has brought to mind for me Béarnaise Restaurant in DC. Their burger entrée is just this indulgent amazing sounding entre. The next cheapest entrée is a chicken breast (which I'm sure is lovely, but definitely doesn't have nearly the same number of "foodie" oo's and ah's in the menu language). After skipping that, the next cheapest entrees are $7 more - and the most expensive entrée is $27 more. And for a lot of people, I think those kinds of price leaps can be visually jarring.

about 18 hours ago
cresyd in Food Media & News

Gendering of Food

Whether it's skinny girl or crossfit/muscle bound guy - those standards of "desired beauty" are often far more policed in the sense of "women on women" and "men on men". None of that kind of pressure is particularly healthy .

about 19 hours ago
cresyd in General Topics
1

Gendering of Food

I think one big generalization about the gendering of food is that unfortunately the generalized impact that it can have on women's health and psyche are far more negative than on men. It's not to say that there aren't men who suffer from eating disorders, low self esteem related to their physical appearance, or body dysmorphia - but the impact on women is just more widespread and pervasive.

So anecdotally yogurt is for women and red meat is for men, but when a boy is told he's overweight and would benefit from a diet - it becomes a physical health issue. When a young girl is talked to about her weight, there's the balance of not only the weight be also the self esteem. So if an obese teen undergoes bariatric/lapband surgery - there's almost no worry about a male teen losing a lot of weight and then having a baby. However, for teenage girls in that situation there's the balance tied with their self esteem at their old weight and then what losing a lot of weight, then gaining male attention, and how that impacts their risk of teen pregnancy.

Stereotypes of this nature aren't great for anyone, but often these gender generalizations hit women's lives harder than men's on average.

Article on Tipping, with a focus on Dirt Candy

1 day ago
cresyd in Food Media & News

Top Chef Season 13 Is Heading To...

I think a lot of these decisions are honestly a lot more technical and mundane. Like doing a show in London would involve more in regards to getting visas for non-EU contestants, judges, necessary production staff. So it would probably make more sense to sell the Top Chef brand to a UK production company if there was the interest.

I recently listened to an interview with one of the production team of Naked and Afraid, a show that does film internationally and it's definitely a whole different level of challenges in terms of having the whole show based there.

2 days ago
cresyd in Food Media & News

Why delicious Indian food is surprisingly unpopular in the U.S.

I'm not sure if the word bland is terribly descriptive in this case. Standard American fair doesn't involve a lot of chili or a lot of aromatic spices - but stand aside for the salt that's coming.

Now if your definition of "flavorful" is spicy - sure that's not many American favorite - but you can also add Levantine and a lot of European food. If you prefer aromatic and spiced food, that does include Levantine food - and other examples abound. American food may not be a lot of things, but there is no way to describe American restaurant cuisine as not being heavily salted except in very few comparisons.

Apr 15, 2015
cresyd in Food Media & News
1

What is the worst wedding reception dinner you've ever had?

Yeah...this wasn't any kind of religious perspective either. The bride and groom weren't really dancers and opted to save money by having an afternoon wedding and cut any expenses on a band/dancefloor/emcee. The money they did spend on the food/venue definitely was high quality, but the result unfortunately just wasn't that festive. I don't think it helped that the extended family of the groom was from one country, the bride's from another, and the wedding held in English with everyone's English overlap at various levels.

It wasn't a bad wedding necessarily, but very sedate. So when I hear complaints about bad music/dancing - I'm just always reminded of what no music/dancing is like.

Apr 15, 2015
cresyd in Not About Food

Top Chef Season 13 Is Heading To...

If talent isn't the issue, then I'd see financial incentives as being a huge part. Both Texas and New Orleans basically paid to have Top Chef filmed there.

Apr 15, 2015
cresyd in Food Media & News

What is the worst wedding reception dinner you've ever had?

While I sympathize with only one kind of music/dancing happening - I once went to a wedding (with great food) that had no dancing. There was some light background music (somewhere in between string quartet and muzak), but absolutely no dancing and no speeches. The whole area felt deathly quiet and while there was alcohol, it was more along the lines of "quietly drinking to endure".

Food was great, drinks were delightful, but it was the atmosphere of a funeral - very awkward.

Apr 15, 2015
cresyd in Not About Food

Top Chef Season 13 Is Heading To...

I would imagine that the greater problem is recruiting guest chefs, presenters, etc. They can fly in the contestants from anywhere - but if they feel the "talent" for challenges and guest judges isn't high enough, that's more of an issue.

Apr 15, 2015
cresyd in Food Media & News

Washington DC and VA burbs "ethnic" restaurants

So very very very jealous....I just went through the process and ultimately regretted not bringing snacks.

The Taxonomy of the Sandwich

If we cast aside the silliness of the process and pretend this is serious......

I don't think enough thought was put into the exclusion of the hamburger or the hot dog. While a standard burger or hotdog may seem straight forward enough - where do lines go around a sausage and pepper hoagie/sub or a patty melt? And if those do count as sandwiches, why do they belong to the taxonomy and not the hamburger/hot dog taxonomy?

I also find the notion of lumping in gyro/shwarma without taking into context whether it's served in a pita or a laffa/lavash? Is the meat itself problematic in sandwich circles? Also, why specifically the emphasis on the meat without discussing falafel? If I put falafel or shwarma meat between two pieces of white bread, are we talking about something different?

I would argue that based on the rules - they would be best served ruling out tacos, burritos, and laffa/lavash sandwiches as it's one "wrapped" starch vs the layering between two slices of bread. To me, you have to include the hamburger/hotdog and then create large subcategories. And then the gyro/shwarma/falafel debate should focus on whether a pita is included as a soft bun or not. If it's not a soft bun, then that excludes sandwich participation. But the fillings may still be incorporated into the greater sandwich family (in the Middle East a number of falafel/shwarma places have the option of in a pita, on a sub roll, or in a laffa - and I accept the assertion that only one of those is a sandwich).

And now I'm embarrassed for taking this that seriously.....

Do I have to let food cool off before I cover it

Thanks - this about answers my questions.

Apr 14, 2015
cresyd in General Topics

Do I have to let food cool off before I cover it

This is very helpful. So if I plan to refrigerate something where texture is more important - then cooling on the counter (or having a container of food sit in an ice bath) helps in that regard. However, if texture/continued steaming is not as critical then there's no other major reason not to (provided that whatever changes in temperature that happen to the fridge are not of concern)?

Apr 14, 2015
cresyd in General Topics

Do I have to let food cool off before I cover it

Another question - if I cover hot food right away and put it in the fridge vs. letting it sit on the counter cooling off - why would the food necessarily be cooking more in the covered/fridge situation vs the hot and steaming on the counter?

Additionally, while a breaded item may be more sensitive - if we're talking about a stew, curry, or something with a brothier consistency does it matter less? And this is in regards to immediately covering the container and putting it directly into the fridge vs letting it cool on the counter and then putting it in the fridge?

Apr 14, 2015
cresyd in General Topics

Gendering of Food

Your comment also has me thinking that while men suffering from various eating disorders is on the rise - a huge gendered reality about food, at least in the US, is that for women a lot of these issues can hinge on issues as big as serious eating disorders to issues of self-esteem that can be tied to a number of mental health issues. So talking to girls about food and weight is just a far more fraught subject than with boys.

Apr 13, 2015
cresyd in General Topics

Gendering of Food

Ha - my worst photo for any ID ever made it look like I had no teeth (thank you Cincinnati DMV). This one at least I'm just pulling a face.

Apr 13, 2015
cresyd in General Topics

Gendering of Food

I never assume that it's a voluntary thing or where it's come from. Just more so a sad commentary on many issues that many women (and a growing number of men) face due to assorted societal and internal pressures that can lead to serious diseases.

I've also never said anything about it and normally it's just a moment of the evening that I kind of zone out with her and just go on autopilot polite responses. I have my own food idiosyncrasies where I'm not looking for a peanut gallery response. But I recently just went on a long weekend trip with her that involved far more meals together in a shorter period of time than I normally have to process.

Apr 13, 2015
cresyd in General Topics

Gendering of Food

Yup. I mean - we're both single and I'm not remotely pretending that I'm not victim to "women's projection issues". But when I have moments of bemoaning my appearance (just had a new driver's license photo taken - anyone want to hear my thoughts on my appearance in it? No?....), she's quick to pick up on it being an unhealthy behavior. I'm comfortable in my hypocritical moments, and don't feel that picking on her food narratives will ultimately be productive but it's sad. And hard to not just wish that she'd order an entrée or appetizer and just say "wow, that sounds tasty".

Gendering of Food

Beyond dating, I suspect that this kind of dialogue is even equally strong among women. With age, I have gotten far better about not feeling so much internal pressure in what I should order - and I have one friend where I just wish it wasn't such an issue. At restaurants she is pretty reliable for a continuing a strong dialogue about how her order relates to either her need for protein or vegetables. She'll often order fairly small appetizers for an entrée, but when she does order larger meals - such as a burger it will come with a long dialogue about replacing fries for a salad and how she's been protein deficient.

I'm all for people ordering what they want, but getting a narrative report on how her order directly relates to overall dietary maintenance is fatiguing. Overall she's a great friend, but her various dietary speeches have gone from endlessly annoying me to me kind of feeling bad for her. It just feels like she's fighting so much "this is how ladies eat" pressure all around her that it's produced this predictable justification soundtrack of whatever she's eating.

Apr 13, 2015
cresyd in General Topics

Live Below the Line

The parameters of the challenge request that not be done.

Apr 13, 2015
cresyd in Food Media & News

Jerusalem: best hotel breakfast, best vegetarian /dairy meals

Do you have a kashrut level that needs to be factored in?

I'm not fantastic in teasing out what is/isn't a child friendly place - but I've seen larger groups at the Ticho House and they're very accommodating of larger groups (would work for lunch or dinner) and largely fit the bill as a dairy restaurant with a number of vegetarian options. I also a huge fan of Timol Shilshom (dairy café with a really fun mix of lunch/casual dinner options - excellent soups), but it might be worth calling and determining how appropriate it'd be for that group size.

Village Green is a true vegetarian option - that has some high notes and definitely would be accommodating regarding your size/children. For the food and for Jerusalem though, I've always found it a bit pricey. But if you're craving an amazing salad and good spelt bread, it does meat that need.

Depending on your kashrut needs, I'd recommend Bebo's Falafel for hummus. They have a backyard patio that's great for a larger group and kids and is not nearly as squished as most hummus/falafel places.

All of these recommendations are in the Jerusalem city center.

Apr 13, 2015
cresyd in Middle East & Africa

Live Below the Line

I completely get that - and that's definitely part of the challenge. To demonstrate to the Western world not just what it's like to cook that way, but also the luxury of what three meals a day is.

However, I don't think the notion of this challenge is to entirely adopt that lifestyle. So if someone chooses to eat the same thing 3 times a day and measure out portions during the entire time - so be it. One of my coworkers doing this has been talking to me about how she's trying to figure out how to get her necessary caffeine within the confines of the challenge - and while to me that wouldn't be how I'd allocate my funds, to her that's crucial.

Apr 13, 2015
cresyd in Food Media & News

Live Below the Line

If the SNAP challenge isn't for you, there's now Live Below the Line - the idea being to live on $1.50 a day for five days (so $7.50 total), reflecting the average amount that those in extreme global poverty live off of. https://www.livebelowtheline.com/

A number of people in my office are doing this, and kudos to them. I've thought about what I would make, and the reality of food fatigue basically eating the same thing for essentially 3 meals a day for 5 days combined with the likely hunger that would set in.

Apr 13, 2015
cresyd in Food Media & News