IN THE KITCHEN WITH AL



THINGS DON'T CHANGE



The World Is A Simple Place  —  The two things that are common but define nations, ethnic diversity and difference are food and music.  We all eat.  And we all have a love somewhat of music.   Yet to some the habits and customs of either the food or the music might not be so appealing.

In Greece, they mix ground beef or lamb with rice and herbs and wrap it in a blanket of grape leaves and tastefully drape it with a sauce made from lemons.  In Israel they mix ground beef with rice, herbs and spices, wrap it in a blanket of grape or cabbage leaves and cook it in a sauce made with a tomato base. Similar dishes are found in central Europe and the middle east.

In almost every other country that has beef and rice the story is similar including corn meal, beef and rice or chicken and rice served in a taco shell or soft burrito.   The answer is simple, the Greeks in volcanic soil grow a lot of lemons, the Israelis are big on hydroponic farming, actually world leaders with Tomatoes, the Mexicans know corn meal.

Same foods,  different condiments, bases or spices.  Common to all those countries is peppers which are grown world wide in varying strengths and potencies from mild to death threats.


When You Seek Recipes On The Web  —  Ten Thousand Variants — 

Here are recipes that I may of culled stock ideas from and modified from the web closest to how I cook.  I rarely use a cookbook, most chefs on TV never show you the stock recipes they cook from, adding a pinch here and a new flavor there.  And rarely show you the ten to twelve people backstage that make them look so good.

I rarely write things down. I am what they call taste motivated and you would not like some of the concoctions I have made since I thought they were terrible too.  Simple lousy taste on occasion, I missed, blundered and fortunately my fifth floor  condo has a garbage chute ( like a dumb waiter)  for simple, and fast removal of the evidence.  

Many processes came from my Mom, memory and family, since I am older now, a lot older than some of these TV chefs and I chuckle a bit since most of these common recipes have been around, some dating back centuries, some slightly different based on country of origin.  They all are like copyright hackers they  add teaspoon of something and claim it as their own.

The Cook-Off Answer And Fun  —  We are also a tourist town during the whole year and a Winter Wonderland for the snow birds before Covid or as we say the Southern Home of our Northern neighbors who are running from harsh winters, isolation, cars that don’t start, snowplows and other things.  Can’t blame them.  But global warming has put Florida into 92+ days with 75+ humidity.   Huricanes and thunderstorms, tornadoes etc.  Paradise lost --

When they get here most do a lot of eating out, creating traffic jams, a few car accidents, (the right turn from the left lane is a killer) and crowded restaurants.  Nevertheless its good for local economy and business, especially body shops, you just have to pick the right times to go out and wear your seatbelt and a helmet.


The Cooking Club  —  A Project After Covid Threat is Gone  —  And gathering with friends for a community cook together is not a new thing but I’m promoting, THE FOOD CLUB.  We have four couples I put together, they like food, we draw and themes are picked and we bring the dish or cook together at each others homes on a rotating basis with some great stuff on weekends with friends for fun.  

In other words you cook for the group every fourth month.  It’s your task. The next three months the other cook for you and the entire evening is spent in friendship, recipes, cooking and enjoyment.

Since It is on a rotating basis, the theme and the location changes each time.  The four course meal is Appetizers, Soup, Entree and Desert.  You feed the other couples, the course changes each week,  you cook once, and get three meals back… and that is your assignment for the next cook-off at the next host-house.   You can make up themes and have a drawing… create your own rules, as to budget limits, pepper heat,  and ethnic considerations.

One time I got my Mom involved and she taught me her fabulous recipe and technique for the Jewish version of stuffed cabbage in tomato sauce similar to the classic Greek version using grape leaves and lemon sauce called  Dolmathakia.

Thanks Mom — Tricks only a real cook would know like raisins and shredded carrot cooked in with the tomato sauce for a sweetness no one figured out, it was a hit and not a drop left on the plates or the oversize batch I made… and I printed the recipe as handouts… It was a hit…

We had done this before and the parties were fabulous, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two things.  First make sure your couples are compatible.  And keep it simple.  Do an allergy check and post ut to all players.  Same for religious beliefs or those who don’t eat meat or shellfish.

The quality of the dishes will improve with every party and people love new things.  Second, diversify, with the web even ethnic dishes are found quite easily and constructed.  

Themes rotate and may also may also be on the basis of a draw.  Labeled Poker Chips,  One time Tex-Mex Burritoville, Americana Traditional, Chinese - Japanese Night, Ocean Seafood (Fish Night), Middle east, India, Micronesian, Ethnic call, House Specialty, and once done, removed from the other chips. You can start over later.

I will tell you now, with a good crew, the food will just absolutely skyrocket week after week as the players look to improve on their diversity and skills, great competition and you get three meals back for each one you do.   


The Dean And Duchess Of French Cooking  — 

Have fun in the kitchen, just like the Dean and Duchess of French cooking, Julia Childs and Jacque Pepin used to say. "Bon Appetite”!  French cooking would not be as popular if it wasn’t for these two people.  But there is a small problem…  Between her (Julia’s) scratchy voice, Jacque’s blurred French accent attempting English, and my hearing ruined by years of headphones and airplane engines… I couldn’t understand either of them. 

I called it “ Cooking by Pictures".  I couldn’t understand a word and my ears pained and strained to understand what he was saying.  Thats why his daughter who speaks perfect Engleeeesh…was on his newest series of shows.  On the reruns on the Food Network, I turn on music instead and hit the TV mute button because even on the reruns I still can't understand a word he says, some things are timeless and I like good music.  I just look at the pictures and get the drift.


VOILA!  Brilliant… I think they listened to me.   They made a book,  several books.  One in particular, They have a fantastic book out available on Amazon and thats an easy read and a way into American French Cooking.  The product number is B00009WO95 and it's called Julia-Jacques-Cooking-At-Home.  In English, you can read it, you do not need an interpreter nor muffled earphones.


Recipe’s Are Just Guides  —  Feel free to alter, change, modify, correct, substitute, and let your taste buds lead the way.... These recipes are endless and passed down through the generations, once in a while a burnt hair smolders in my kitchen reminding me of the real chefs a long time ago who scratch cooked things and wrote them down...on cave walls, the beginning of the recipe.

After my Mom passed on I realized when I cleared out her belongings for charity, I never found a cookbook, no notes, it was all in her head, passed down from her mother. 


The Hole In The Head Vs. The Hole In The Bagel  —  Sliced Bagel Taxation  — 

ALBANY NY    The financially distraught State of NY has been enforcing a bizarre tax law which requires delicatessens and food peddlers to impose a tax on sliced bagels. Not, may I mind you, on unsliced bagels.  Thats correct, there is no tax when the bagel is sold whole.  What meshuganas!

Many in NY are calling this the "circumcised bagel law". "If the bagel had  a snip, you get taxed for the tip". Bagel aficionados are up in arms.

HOLLYWOOD JUMPS INTO IT     "This is war", said Charlton Heston who said, "I will never pay tax on my bagel, and if they want my bagel, they'll have to take it from my arthritically cold dead hands".  

So carry a knife or better "The Brooklyn Bagel Slicer", your own favorite Philadelphia cream cheese, regular or "whipped lite" and make it happen outside the store. 

No slicing tax. Say a short prayer and cut.  Disclaimer: Please be careful, habitual bagel cutting can be dangerous to your waistline and health, with or without cream cheese, not to mention your fingers!

What's the tax on a bagel? It depends how you slice it—or in the case of New York, if you slice it. The extremely brilliant State tax officials, under orders from the anti-bagel league in Albany have begun to enforce "taxation without representation", on one of the most crucial dietary creations in the world. 

In New York, the sale of whole bagels isn't subject to sales tax. But the tax does apply to "sliced or prepared bagels (with cream cheese or other toppings)," according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance. And if the bagel is eaten in the store, even if it's never been touched by a knife, it's also taxed.  

Many bagel lovers, were caught off guard, they were not aware of the law.  One New York bagel-store owner, when confronted by the "Bagel Police", the BP found out he was out of compliance with the policy this summer when the state audited his company and threatened to jail him if he didn't come up with the "dough". He thought they were from BP and had a check for him from the oil spill.


The Insider Solution  —  The solution is the Brooklyn Bagel Slicer. It fits in a purse, a briefcase, or a bowling ball bag. You bring it to work with you. Lets be honest, more fingers have been lost to bagels than any other types of bread even the feared English Muffin. 

The Brooklyn Bagel Slicer was co-invented by a father and son team, Dr. Dennis S. Moss of Rochester NY, formerly Brooklyn and  Michael D. Moss.  Michael currently lives in Brooklyn, NY which claims to be the home of the first Bagels.

The father and son combined their skills of Radiology, Medical Management, Media, Design and Innovation for over twelve years and produced the Brooklyn Bagel Slicer. The idea is now an award winning product garnering national attention, and has won numerous awards. 

The Brooklyn Bagel Slicer is saving fingers and limbs throughout the nation. The Classic Knife™ from Brooklyn Bagel Slicer® allows users to slice bagels and rolls without the worry of cutting yourself on an exposed blade. 

The Brooklyn Bagel Slicer is the ONLY Bagel Slicer that will not schmoosh or crush hot, fresh bagels! Hands down (or up!) Brooklyn Bagel Slicer is the best bagel slicer!  http://ezbagel.com/brooklyn-bagel-slicer-classic-knife.html

So we are going to put the Brooklyn Bagel Slicer to the ultimate test as soon as we have a sample for testing and can find a Sushi Samurai Warrior and see if he can do a better job using a $125.00 Santoku or Sashimi knife made in Seki Japan on a fresh made Brooklyn Bagel. My bet is with the Moss boys.  They use their noodles, they just don't hang on trees!

Granted, English Muffins and Scones are no easy task either and present other problems like slicing your palm open, bleeding, stitches and worse walking away hungry after eating one. Bagels are more "fur-filling".

Approved By The NBA —  The device shown gets a five out of five approval rating by the NBA, "the National Bagel Association".  Actual studies of strictly Jewish bagel addicted people, those used to eating two a day, after trying it out, voted six out of four. 

Four Jewish critics can have six opinions.  Noted also was a comment based on the movie, "Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye" who kept saying, "on the other hand", thats because he cut his hand so often he switched and got two more cut. Now we all know what he meant.

The rate is estimated at about eight cents a bagel based on the average cut bagel cost of a dollar, so far the jury is out on a cream cheese tax or worse, they'll go after the LOX!  Oy Gevalt!

A noted bagel chain shop owner added: "the extra charge, filled his customers with boiling rage. It was hotter than Momma's chicken soup".  "They felt we were nickel-and-diming them, charging them to slice a bagel," he said.

Noted Historian —  Mr. Gorgan Zola commented, "this is a travesty"! "The bagel is a symbol down through the ages and doesn't deserve this tariff. Whats next, Matzo balls?  How do you tax a matzoh ball? The size of the balls, how much schmaltz was in the soup you used, whether the balls were kneaded longer than others"?  That will need Solomon.

Our bagel is well represented in Jewish History:  Moses had all the Pharaoh's chariot wheels secretly replaced with hand molded Bagel dough replicas. When they hit the Red Sea the bagel dough got wet and soggy and the Egyptians were trapped in the mud. You know the rest of the story.

There's even a statue by Mikel (pronounced Me-kell) De'Angelo, called the Bagel Thrower.  A classic in Greek History, it survived the ages and it went on to become the bagel throw (looks like a disc) in modern Olympics. 

And the inspiration for the bagel came in 1610 from Galileo Goldstone who turned his telescope to the heavens and was astonished to observe a bright star with rings. 

What Galileo had discovered was a strange new world, a planet with rings. He turned to his Jewish housekeeper and said "look".  Two days later the bagel was born, sliced to replicate the two rings, with a Matzoh ball stuffed in the middle. Great Idea but somehow it didn't sell. He canned the ball and used cream cheese. A star was born. Quite the satisfying discovery.

“Give Me Bagels, Or Give Me Nothing”  —  Was the battle cry of Patrick Horowitz during the revolutionary war and when desperate for ammunition for his cannons, he took stale bagels and loaded them to the muzzle. 

When fired the bagels flew further than the steel balls inflicting heavy casualties on the British who found out tea is not as good as coffee with a bagel. They suffered horribly from eating non-nutritional "scones".  I use the scones for targets at our skeet range when we run out of clay pigeons. 

It Could Not Get Stupider  —  One source of confusion is that the rule isn't spelled out in the tax code. And while sliced bagels are subject to sales tax, a sliced loaf of bread at a bakery isn't, according to tax officials.

A spokesman for the tax department said the state  “ will provide additional guidance via our Web site and publications in the near future." Guidance? What guidance? Over slicing, cooking bagels, famous bagel jokes, bagel abuse protection, such as serving with pizza sauce and cheese, or bagels in beef gravy....or are they just getting into something they don't belong in? 

It’s not what is the state is getting involved in cooking but I want know what the hell are they smoking?

Let them stick to sliced bread, more their speed… and butter with salt...


LETS BEGIN

10/21/2021   aljacobsladder.com