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Boston Public Market is here

Many farmers markets now accept SNAP/EBT with or without the Bounty Bucks, but that doesn't mean those who use them can afford everything, you know?

I figure I'll visit once the novelty wears off because I do not do crowds very well. Will I buy anything? Probably not because I think it's ridiculous to spend a a lot of money on something I can easily get for less (and get more of it) if I go outside and around the corner. The $17 pastrami sandwich may sound amazing to some but there's no way I'd ever pay that much for a sandwich, no matter how good/local the meat is.

Where does Market Basket chicken come from?

I've never cared for buying meat at MB. There's just something about it which screams CHEAP to me as in "You get what you pay/don't pay for".

Beachcomber, Quincy

Yeah, I just read about it too. I think having a Marina Bay-type place would be a mistake, given the neighborhood and the general clam-shack-boardwalk kind of vibe Wolly Beach has always had. Definitely something moderately-priced, though? I can see that, and lord knows we need one in the area!

I don't remember a restaurant in that area burning down that many years ago, btw. Then again I was rather young at the time.

Portland diner owner under fire for yelling at toddler, Facebook posts

This has been exploding with my parent friends over on Facebook. My take? I wouldn't be surprised if it was initially a publicity stunt on the owner's part a la Amy's Baking Company. I could be wrong, but her over-the-top reaction, to me, wasn't simply a business owner being fed up. She HAD to have known her behavior would make the whole situation go viral.

One of the World's Best Bakers Is Turning to Robots to Go Big

This saddens me. I'm a baker by trade. I was taught by the last of the old-school scratch bakers. The industry has become more mechanized within those 20+ years not just because of consistency of product, but because "you need to bake a LOT of bread to make a little profit". Artisan baking doesn't lend itself to that. The general public, in turn, isn't going to pay $8 for a loaf of bread. I see proof of that at the little upscale grocery around the corner from me.

Baking, as a trade, is also dying. Fewer younger people are going into the business, no doubt because of the hours and actual physical labor. Seeing that, it makes sense for a manufacturer to fashion an "anybody can bake it" product for the retail market.

Jun 24, 2015
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

Coming to a Wendy's Near You

From my understanding it's very close to this: Why pay somebody "the big bucks" for what amounts to unskilled labor? Historically FF jobs were filled by those who weren't supporting families and/or didn't need company-sponsored health insurance, which typically meant either somebody still in school or a retiree who wants to keep busy. That, of course, went out the window thanks to the Great Recession, but many companies are now very reluctant to being forced to pay out "the big bucks" via raising the minimum wage. More labor payout = less profit unless they increase prices.

It's not just FF. Retail, too. I know of a couple of supermarket chains who cut their FT help from 40 to 30-35 hours so they don't have to pay out 40-hour salaries, which, in turn, means that they don't have to pay out as much in health insurance as they had been when everyone was at 40 hours.

Do you grill with aluminum foil (and no, it's not what you're thinking of)

Our housemates introduced us to this.

No grill marks but the absence of having to scrub down the grates afterward more than makes up for it.

bakery, patisserie in boston, seriously??

This is exactly it.

The other thing is that bakery profit margins, in genera, are almost always exceedingly thin. Flour, butter, eggs, etc., in and of themselves are cheap, relatively speaking, compared to other commodities. A loaf of French bread may cost under a dollar to make but if you add the labor which goes into making it...there you go.

I was trained as a pastry chef but I walked away from it because I cannot survive on what the average pastry chef makes in this area. I now make twice as much baking for a corporate entity which doesn't allow for much scratch baking because...well, they'd have to pay me more.

Top Chef Season 13 Is Heading To...

I've been slowly weaning myself from TC for the last couple of lackluster seasons. I was particularly excited about Boston because it's my hometown...ugh, I don't think I lasted more than 2-3 episodes before I gave up.

Everything has a shelf life. At this point TC, as well as a handful of other longtime reality shows, are gasping on life support.

Apr 22, 2015
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

However (Bourdain Continued)

THIS.

I caught it On Demand and two things struck me:

1. It's HIS personal story.

2. Now I truly understand how food saved him, even more so than after I read Kitchen Confidential.

That part of my my state has always been the down-and-out hardscrabble area. When the mills closed, that was it. Geography is also its hindrance -- it's in the mountains and simply too far away from any major metropolitan area to benefit. Like Tony said, it's similar to many other places. I think it's striking a nerve in my area because of the NIMBY syndrome.

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #2 - 10/22/14 (spoilers)

He did a few months ago IIRC.

Re what LindaWhit said upthread -- he's kind of a joke about town now and yes, he spends more time pimping himself than actually cooking.

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #2 - 10/22/14 (spoilers)

I can't decide if I like this judging transparency on-the-fly as opposed to the usual Judges Table elimination discussion. For the chefs it's probably a good thing in that there might be time for them to edit what isn't working. OTOH I think it loses something in translation. The Judges Table is supposed to be "Ooh, scary!" That element is lost, and therefore you don't see the cheftestants quaking in their shoes, so to speak.

Food Arts magazine is shutting down

In a way, unfortunately, I'm not surprised. Many of us read FA back in culinary school. I subscribed to both and Pastry Arts & Design (I think they're sister publications) only because I had the student discount. I don't remember the subscription price without the discount, I remember thinking "Wow, most people aren't going to be able to afford that!" I certainly couldn't once I lost the discount.

If your focus, as a magazine, is narrow, you're not going to get the advertising dollars you need to survive in this day and age. FA is a victim of the times. That's unfortunate because I really enjoyed reading it back in the day.

Sep 15, 2014
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

Market Basket

OP, I do a monthly-or-so pantry run at the Brockton MB (I don't live in the immediate area so I consider it a short road trip too!) It's not as huge as the Chelsea one but plenty big enough. It's one of the newer stores, so even if there's a pallet in the aisle you can still get around it fairly easily, depending on how many people may be in front or back of you. Hint: Go mid-week in the early afternoon if you can. Little to no crowds :)

"No Strollers — No High Chairs — No Booster Chairs"

We have friends who have a toddler. They eat out frequently. They investigate all the restaurants in the area first, either by asking about it here (they're both chowhounds!) or going on Yelp or Zagat or getting friends' recommendations.

Their toddler acts up on occasion, of course, but by and large she's very well behaved. Our friends bring a "goody bag" for her with toys, paper/pens, books, whatever. They get a booth and put their daughter on the inside so she can't escape :D Most of the time she's perfectly happy scribbling while watching everybody. She's only thrown one tantrum in all the times we've joined them, and her dad quickly nipped it in the bud.

I don't like saying this, but it'd probably be a different scenario if 1) she didn't have the parents she has, 2) she had siblings, and/or 3) economic circumstances made eating out a rarity.

Aug 11, 2014
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

Get Ready For More Feces In Your Chicken!

That's exactly it :nodding: I'd love to eat safer, more humanely-raised meat, but I think it's only cost-effective depending on where you live. I don't like in an agricultural state, so the cost of, say, CSA shares (no matter the CSA) are prohibitive for someone with my budget. I looked into a couple of CSA meat shares last year and nearly collapsed at the price for a quarter share.

I'm willing to bet that our prices at farmers' markets are also more expensive than in other areas of the country.

Aug 04, 2014
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

A better idea for Dunkin Donuts

You're not the only one, JT. I'll only drink Starbucks coffee if I'm desperate. It's too acrid and bitter for my taste. I'll take DD regular coffee/iced coffee any time. Plus their coolattas are THE summer drink in these parts.

As for the rest of their offerings...eh. I've had better baked goods, but they're passable for a FF outfit.

Jul 27, 2014
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

Top Chef Restaurant Wars

Crap, I just saw the announcement over on FB and sent in my email. No response. I suspect they've already picked everyone by now :/

Is the traditional German bakery finished?

Yep :nodding: I've worked with several decorators who had had their own shops and/or home businesses, and all of them came to work for us at various times. The problem now -- as with almost all retail corporations -- is getting enough hours to qualify for the benefits. Not many of them hire FT anymore, and if they do, it's almost always for management.

For several years I worked overnight shifts. I wasn't crazy about them, but I took them because I was guaranteed I'd never lose my position. Nowadays I can only think of a couple of places which might still have overnight bakers. If they don't, they probably go in around 4AM like I do.

It makes me wonder what's going to happen down the line...

Jun 05, 2014
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

Is the traditional German bakery finished?

I know. However, my official position is still listed as "baker". One still does need some finesse to shape dough into salable product :)

The other thing is, even as dumbed down everything has become, there are very few takers for any open position. It's not just with my chain -- it's everywhere.

Jun 04, 2014
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

Is the traditional German bakery finished?

Years ago I worked in one of the few supermarket chains in my area which still had a mostly scratch bakery. I learned the craft from two older men who taught me everything they knew -- not just bread, but also pastries, decorating cakes, you name it. One took early retirement when the chain was bought out by a bigger chain with a semi-national presence because, as he said, "That's the end of the line as far as actual baking is concerned and I refuse to go that route."

I now work for another chain and it's true, we don't do any scratch baking. Frozen dough is brought in, thawed overnight, and I shape it into different loaves come morning. Muffin batter is already frozen pre-deposited into paper cups that must be thawed before baking. All of our "artisan" bread is par-baked.

From a corporate standpoint it makes sense, and I get that. OTOH it sometimes leaves me wondering if I still am truly a baker.

Jun 04, 2014
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

Grumpy White's...what's going on?

That's weird. Last time we went to Grumpy's there was a bit of a wait because the dining room was full (it was a Saturday night), but we expected that. Nothing overly long, though.

Where Have All the Greek Restaurants Gone?

:nodding: My maternal grandparents ran one of those diners/takeout places when they first established themselves here. 17-18 hours/day, 6 days a week. The only time the family got together was for Sunday dinner at home. I remember my mother telling me the menu was hybrid -- half Greek for their fellow immigrants, but they also offered a lot of "regular" type meals for the Irish folk, which basically translated to "bland".

What I always found interesting was that neither of my grandparents wanted to continue the old world traditions once they landed here. My grandmother, in particular, wanted to assimilate so badly that she convinced my grandfather to pay for her to take elocution lessons so she's lose her accent. My grandfather eventually did the same. Neither of them spoke Greek at home and didn't force my mother and her brothers to attend Greek school. By the time my mother graduated from high school -- this was right before WWII, BTW -- the only remnant of her heritage she had besides "the store" was her surname and my grandmother's Sunday dinners.

Thankfully she passed down a lot of recipes to my mother, who in turn passed them down to me. My grandmother was illiterate, so my mother had to transcribe how my grandmother made something by following her around with a notebook and pen!

5 reasons your partner doesn't go to the farmers market with you..

I rarely go to farmers markets not because I don't like them (because I do), but because the ones around my way all operate during my work hours. The very few I've managed to catch with-husband-in-tow are in no way the kind depicted in the article. My town's market, for instance, has maybe 6-8 vendors at most and if you want to chat, great. If you don't want to, they won't hassle you. Same time with the next closest market.

Mar 22, 2014
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

Church Suppers

A few churches around my way (I'm in suburban Boston, btw) used to hold dinners a couple of times a year when I was growing up. I honestly can't remember a recent one, so I'm presuming they've discontinued them either because of a lack of time among would-be participants and/or the labor involved would outweigh the profit.

Top Chef: The People's Couch

Reminds me of a show I once caught where Martha Stewart's daughter and her friend watched an episode of MS Living and snarked all the way through it. It wasn't funny or snarky in the least, IMO. I turned it off thinking, "Please tell me Martha didn't OK this."

I don't know if it's still on and frankly, I don't care. Besides, if people are going to talk about a show, I'd rather read it than hear it...unless, of course, I'm one of the ones talking :p

Feb 15, 2014
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

Wahlburgers

We ate at Wahlburgers a few months ago. Nothing special, IMO. I've had tastier burgers elsewhere.

Top Chef NOLA - Ep. #14 - 01/15/14 (Spoilers)

I'll only order it if there's nothing else on the menu which tickles my fancy.

Jan 16, 2014
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

Top Chef NOLA - Ep. #14 - 01/15/14 (Spoilers)

I've switched to thighs, too, if I'm cooking chicken. My feeling is that chicken is too "pedestrian" for most chefs...?

Jan 16, 2014
xo_kizzy_xo in Food Media & News

"Mix" cakes vs. scratch cakes

There's less margin for error in using a boxed mix. I have a couple of friends who are licensed home bakers, and they both use doctored mixes for this very reason. When you're baking in bulk, it's a necessity to simplify things as much as possible. They both make their icings from scratch, however.

There's also the consistency issue, in which a boxed mix will almost always win out over scratch. One thing that those chemicals in boxed mixes do is stabilize the rest of the ingredients. For example, you wouldn't want to make a from-scratch angel cake on a damp day because the humidity in the air would affect the egg whites you'd be using. That issue is moot if you use a mix.

I'm all for doctoring a mix. I've got my own little tips and tricks for doing it, as do the bakers I just mentioned above.

I have nothing against scratch cakes, but I find them to be much drier than boxed mixes, doctored or otherwise. I don't know about anybody else, but I'm not a dry cake fan. If I make or eat cake, I automatically expect it to be moist AND yummy.