Listen: a new podcast about science fiction and spectacular meals

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Writer/editor Scott Edelman is legendary in science fiction circles for organizing outings from conventions to spectacular, out-of-the-way restaurants where the food is cheap and mind-blowing (I've eaten some very memorable dim sum with him in Philly, for example). Read the rest

Perserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

I saw the sour plums on the cover of Preserving the Japanese Way calling out to me from the highest bookshelf at teeny-tiny Moon Palace Bookstore, Minneapolis. As the Master Food Preserver for my county, I’m a sucker for beautiful books on food preservation. Angela, the owner, clapped and oohed as I plunked it down. “I love this book. I can’t cook, but this book makes me want to eat!”

I’m authorized by the State of Wisconsin to teach the safest scientifically proven methods of food preservation. In my teaching, I’ve heard lovely stories of immigrant grandmothers and their favorite recipes and the joy keeping these traditions alive brings to people. This connectivity to our shared and adopted cultures is one of the most compelling aspects to Preserving the Japanese Way. Nancy Singleton Hachisu is a wonderfully opinionated ex-pat who embraced rural Japanese culture with her marriage to a Hokkaido farmer nearly thirty years ago. Her notes and recommendations are informed by her American “keep trying” attitude, coupled with the Japanese concept of perfecting a singular thing.

Hachisu follows her insatiable curiosity in discovering the old ways. Her vignettes of meetings with artisanal makers are entertaining and informative. Her explanations and definitions of very specific Japanese ingredients are profoundly useful; for the first time ever I understood the nuances of soy sauces. She also acknowledges that artisanally made food is expensive. She recognizes that not everyone has the monetary luxury of purchasing small-batch regional soy sauces and offers accessible and easily available substitutes. Read the rest

Bake: Cookie Monster bark

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Melt chocolate into slabs, coat with blue candy-melts, and stud with broken oreos and edible googly eyes and voila: it's as though you blenderized a thousand Cookie Monsters, rolled them flat, and baked them. Read the rest

How to slurp ramen

New York City's Ivan Ramen proprietor/chef Ivan Orkin gives pro tips on noodle slurping.

Read the rest

Chester Cheetah embraces furries spurned by Tony the Tiger

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On Twitter, Kelloggs mascot Tony the Tiger began blocking furries who made lustful remarks about the hunky cartoon feline, ultimately telling them to knock it off because cereal is "family-friendly."

Enter Cheetos mascot Chester Cheetah.

Let there be no doubt about what Chester is up for.

The world is a wonderful place. Read the rest

Ben and Jerry's Bernie Yearning flavor exists -- sorta

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Earlier this month, Ben "and Jerry's" Cohen spitballed with an MSNBC reporter about his idea for a Bernie Sanders ice-cream flavor: "Bernie's Yearning," a pint of mint with a disk of solid chocolate on the top, representing the fortunes of the 1%. Before you eat it, you use a spoon to smash the wealth and distribute it evenly through the pint. Read the rest

Starve: the best, meanest new graphic novel debut since Transmetropolitan

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The launch of Starve, the new comic from Brian Wood, creator of the landmark DMZ and artists Danijel Žeželj and Dave Stewart, was widely celebrated as a major new comic that started as strong as Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan.

Sriracha: now in individual sachets

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The convenience of carrying your favorite hot-sauce in individual sachets -- think "McDonald's ketchup pouches" -- can't be overstated. It's a particularly great format if you're a frequent traveller, as TSA screeners don't recognize the shape as a "liquid" on their X-rays, meaning you can just stash them in your bags and pockets and not worry about getting them all out when you reach a checkpoint. Read the rest

Menu at Toronto's "Azure" was a work of fictitious fine-dining fraud

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Azure is the posh restaurant Intercontinental Hotel Toronto Centre, where the menu boasts "BC salmon" (which turns out to mean "boned and cleaned" not "British Columbia"), "freshly squeezed" orange juice (comes out of a bottle that boasts that the oranges were freshly squeezed before bottling), and some out-and-out lies, like calling boxed Quaker Harvest Crunch granola "organic granola" and store-bought salad dressing "home made." Read the rest

Electrified fork makes food taste saltier

University of Tokyo food hacker Hiromi Nakamura is developing an electrified fork that zaps your taste buds with low current to make food taste saltier, without using so much salt. Sounds kinda like licking a battery, only not quite as bitter. (Munchies)

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Fantastic 1970 short film about a hyperkinetic short-order cook named Spider

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Look at Spider go! In this short movie from 1970, we see an energetic short order cook experiencing full-blown Csikszentmihalyi flow state as he prepares dishes for a late-night pre-hangover crowd at a small diner in New Hampshire. Spider's movements are unpredictably explosive and accompanied by bursts of discordant whistling. He reminds me of Tex Avery's cartoons and Raymond Scott's music.

Kenneth S. "Spider" Osgood died in 2012. Here's his obituary.

In his youth, Mr. Osgood was a Golden Glove boxer. He was an amazing short order cook who got his nickname of "Spider" from his ability to multi-task while working at the Shore Diner and Paul's Diner. He was an antique clock repairman for several years and was owner of Osgood's Clock Repair.

[via] Read the rest

Why all scientific diet research turns out to be bullshit

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The gold standard for researching the effects of diet on health is the self-reported food-diary, which is prone to lots of error, underreporting of "bad" food, and changes in diet that result from simply keeping track of what you're eating. The standard tool for correcting these errors comparisons with more self-reported tests. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders' Ben and Jerry's flavor: top 10% is chocolate you smash and mix with the 90% below

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MSNBC caught up with Ben "and Jerry's" Cohen outside a rally for Donald Trump in Burlington, VT, home state to Ben and Jerry's and headquarters for the Bernie Sanders campaign. Read the rest

Review: Crio Bru brewable drinkable roasted cocoa beans

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I love coffee. I love chocolate. I shop a lot on Amazon for coffee accessories and for good quality cacao (I dig making chocolate). When I saw Crio Bru show up in my recommendations, I lost my impulse control, and ordered a large $24 bag of these roasted and ground cocoa beans. It's marketed as an alternative to coffee beans.

Verdict: Hell yeah. I love it and will be ordering more. Additionally, I will be evangelizing this newly discovered warm chocolatey beverage to my friends, whether they want to hear about it or not, and I will be unable to shut up about it for at least a few weeks. Yes, this shit is just that real.

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How my daughter and I make Adventure Breakfast

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A hot, filling breakfast is important to get my kid's school day off to a good start! I'm a disorganized mess of a dad who frequently wakes up late. Luckily, we've come up with Adventure Breakfast, a method that leaves us with piping hot oatmeal ready to be eaten anywhere we want.

I learned this method years ago. Bob's Red Mill shares it in a few places but this post is best.

What I am doing is simply this: take a 25oz Stanely Vacuum Bottle and fill it up with a cup or two of boiling hot water. I then wait 5 minutes for the thermos to heat up. I use the hot water from the thermos to clean something in the kitchen sink, and then I put 1 CUP of Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oatmeal in the bottle. I add 2 cups of boiling water and a pinch of salt, close the Stanley, and shake it a bit.

When we wake up in the morning we've got steaming hot oatmeal waiting for us!

We usually take some bowls, brown sugar and raisins (or whatever fixings my kid decides on that day) with us in the car. We stop someplace with a fantastic view along the route to school, and enjoy what has become known as Adventure Breakfast.

This recipe makes enough oatmeal for us to have a friend along too, but we can generally finish it between the two of us. You can use smaller and larger thermos, and adjust the volume of oatmeal/water to match. Read the rest

A Jew and his sandwich

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What did you think about on New Year’s day? I sat in my home in Washington, DC, and dreamed the dream of a middle-aged Jew.

Not of wealth.

Not of fame.

Not of my wife and daughter or other assorted family members and friends.

Not of travel to a foreign land.

And not even of my grandmother’s chicken soup. As a person she was a monster, but boy she made good chicken soup.

NO! I was dreaming of a pastrami sandwich.

I was craving a pastrami sandwich.

Every store was closed here, of course, being New Year’s Day, but it wouldn’t matter—there’s no pastrami worth a damn in this town.

At that moment my body needed to be magically transported to New York City or Los Angeles, the only two places I’ve ever had a really a fabulous pastrami sandwich. (Maybe there’s one in Chicago, who knows?)

In New York, I go to the 2nd Ave. Deli; in LA, I go to Art’s on Ventura Blvd. The 2nd Ave Deli has a long history, and plenty of tragedy (the original owner was robbed and shot to death bringing the day’s cash to the bank in 1996). Then the landlord got greedy and forced them out. His nephews reopened the restaurant on 33rd Street just west of Third Ave. They did a good job: tiled floor, pressed tin ceiling, “A” rating from the Health Department. And the aroma is what I want to smell in heaven when I die. Your tush hasn’t been in the chair for five seconds before Health Salad and sour pickles are on the table. Read the rest

$10 "bean to bar" chocolates were made from melted down Valrhona

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The Mast Brothers, a pair of bearded chocolatiers in Brooklyn, have built an empire on beautifully packaged "artisanal" chocolates that run $10/bar, billed as "bean to bar" confections. Read the rest

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