Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Recent Reading

A new part to the blog: I'll post things I've read recently that I think are worth sharing. Since this is primarily a food entrepreneurial blog most of them will be related to commerce and eating. But not all.

1. How much money would your state earn by taxing sugared sodas at one cent per ounce? Try this calculator. (I checked Michigan's number against the 2011 budget. The tax would earn twice what the state spends on community colleges, five times what it spends on primary education.)

2. Harold McGee on how to make cold-brewed tea or coffee at home. Did you know cold brews contain less caffeine than hot brews? I didn't.

5. St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, a surprising book of short stories.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Surry, Virgina. July in eastern Virginia, it's 94 degrees, the atmosphere is nearly liquid. Inside Sam Edwards' smokehouse the air is perpetual hickory. The wood perfume leaks out of the concrete smoking chambers and drifts down the halls, entering every orifice of the building. The walls are bronzed by it, the pine ham racks, some decades old, are nearly black. Hours after my visit, hundreds of miles away, I still smell the dark scent on my skin. 

A few pictures from Sam Edwards' smokehouse.

 Sam Edwards III.
Numerical coincidence: he's also the third generation to run his family ham business.

Salted hams stacked on pallets.

They'll salt here for three to four weeks.

The salt makes the floor look like January in Michigan. Sam calls this the "winter room."

Mold is a sign of age. Customers used to request hams with mold still on. Today it's washed off.

Two full pine racks, side by side. Each is about four feet square, six and a half feet high. Once a ham is hung on the rack after salting it spend the rest of its life there—up to two years, sometimes a little more.

The toe end of hoof-on, bone-in Berkshires, aged for over two years. These are the hams I'm ordering for this fall.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Heirloom Pork George Foreman

Fancy Food Show summer 2011. Today La Quercia cooked thin slices of rolled pancetta on their George Foreman grill. Pancetta is similar to the cut we use for bacon in America, but it's cured with salt and herbs (rosemary and bay) not salt, sugar and smoke. It's rarely served as is and, in Italy, I'm guessing never  ever off the George Foreman. Too bad—it's tasty.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Horse Chocolates

Fancy Food Show 2011. Katrina at Vosges bought bound books of 1932 Argentinian newspapers. She served samples of her chocolate directly off them on a five hundred pound iron table she got from Buenos Aires. It was the most visually interesting space at the show.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It All Ends


A four foot tall framed portrait of Harry Potter, done in Jelly Belly. Either the looniest or awesomest thing I saw today at the Fancy Food Show in Washington D.C. Didn't check to see if they used Earwax flavor.

Friday, July 8, 2011



Toast a thick slice of farm bread. (Better yet, grill it). Rub a peeled clove of garlic on one side, then douse the bread in good olive oil. Mound up a pile of arugula leaves. Top with Portuguese sardines, spines removed. Season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, Marash red pepper flakes, another swig of olive oil and a generous squeeze of lemon.

I've also made this, variously, with salt preserved lemons, chopped onion, cilantro, fresh tomato, harissa, chopped hardboiled egg.. Whatever the ingredients a sardinewich tastes best when it waits on the counter for an hour.

For readers who noted past recipes were going too Virgo, I offer this, from a series of late night dishes I call Old Man Food.