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Showing posts from November, 2008

Carcasses and Cranberries

Childhood memories are largely first impressions of a place and time, a new smell, taste, or sound. We have larger tolerances for new things in youth than we might later in life having not yet formed much in the way of opinions; the world is still mostly new.

It must surely be in these formative years that most Americans develop a taste for turkey and all its companion dishes for Thanksgiving. Stuffing, mashed potatoes (and the million variants of it), cranberry sauce (occasionally still in the shape of the can in which it was held), gravy, yams, and on the dark side, Jell-O molds, and the ultimate assault on what never to use as an ingredient - pumpkin pie.

At no other time of year (save for Christmas) do we subject ourselves to the surprisingly-incapable protein of this giant chicken. Yes, the flavor is slightly different, but when would you ever choose to cook and consume 26-pounds of chicken? Do we want that much chicken? Do we want to be stuck with extra chicken when it's ove…

Strategy for The Menu

Sometimes, it's a slam-dunk, and only a quick-parse of the menu is all that's needed for me to make a decision. It might be a dish for which the restaurant is famous, standing out like a sore Zagat guide-flipping-thumb or an ingredient combination so classic, simple, and austere, it beckons like the softness of your own bed after a long business trip.

And then there's the other 98% of the time.

Those other times it takes me several parsings of the menu to even begin to think about what I might want. I mean, we're talking here about the fundamental fuel of life and choosing the substance which will, in a short time, actually "become you" isn't a decision to be made lightly. Your options are handed to you mere moments from a bustling city, often at the end of a work day that confounds (and often annoys) you. You're still a bit rattled from the rattles eminated during the high-speed cab ride, a bit disoriented, and now must quickly transition into “food mo…