New York has the best apples in the world. I say this grudgingly, since I am not a native New Yorker and prefer to argue about claims to New York’s superiority rather than accept them. But after four years of living in this ridiculous city, the facts are the facts: Washington may grow many more apples each year; Minnesota may have the best apple laboratories; and apples (well, besides crab-apples) may not even be native to this continent; but in terms of flavor and variety, I’ll hold up New York’s apples against anywhere in the world. That said, you’re probably buying the wrong ones.
I won’t even bother to [...]
Trends and memes may be on the side of fall and winter squash—I dare you to find a single vendor without some variety of pumpkin foodstuff between September and December—but I rue the transition from light, delicate, and fresh summer squash, like zucchini, to heavy, sugary, and starchy winter squash, like acorn, pumpkin, delicata, butternut, and, of course, pumpkin. The most common way to eat winter squash, the one I see at potlucks and on restaurant menus alike, is actually the worst: a simple PC&R (peel, cube, and roast).
This is a very good way to cook almost any vegetable, but a bad way to cook winter squash. [...]
Here’s a controversial opinion: Grapes are very good. The grape vines in places that suffer through winter are still pumping out the last of the season’s fruits, which means two things: First, your standard-variety supermarket table grapes are very cheap. Second, and more importantly, you can get locally grown varieties, which have way more flavor—sweet and tart and floral and bitter all at once, with that very particular pop that only comes from a grape whose skin is less attached to its flesh than your typical supermarket grape—at the farmers market. And they’re pretty cheap.
The most common way to eat grapes is as follows: Eat a grape. That’s [...]
The most outrageous area of the grocery store is not the frozen section, nor the canned section, nor even the gross pre-made foods section. I am happy to partake of certain kinds of frozen or canned produce in the wintertime (they are usually better than fresh, when out of season), and I have been known to buy whole rotisserie chickens, theoretically to turn the carcass into stock, but really to gorge on heavily salted flesh for two days straight. No, the most frustrating and worthless aisle, the one from which no self-respecting adult should ever purchase anything, under absolutely any circumstances, is the salad dressing aisle.
There is no [...]
The cuisine of the Ashkenazic Jews is kind of awful. This is not the fault of my people; they tried their best, they really did. But the climate, socioeconomic struggles, and raw materials they had to work with left them with some pretty rough dishes. Worst, in my mind, is that there are a few big Jewish feasts in the late summer and early fall—the best time of year for produce—and Ashkenazic Jewish food doesn’t take advantage of that. So I would like to propose a way to make the feasts of early fall—Rosh Hashanah and the breaking of the fast after Yom Kippur—a little more vegetable-friendly: We must [...]
“Pesto is the quiche of the eighties.” Haha, that’s a line from a movie I just saw for the first time. The pesto of this decade is…other kinds of pesto.
Pesto originally comes from Genoa, in northern Italy, where the specific ingredients and preparation were codified sometime in the sixteenth century. That kind of pesto—made with basil leaves, garlic cloves, pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino sardo, along with a fair amount of olive oil—is still by far the most popular, though its proper name now, in a world of many types of pesto, would be pesto alla genovese.
Most Italian dishes have, like, four ingredients max, but [...]
Before eating many fruits and some vegetables, some people—bad, or perhaps ignorant people—do something which renders the produce less tasty, less colorful, less texturally interesting, and much less nutritious. The worst of these offenses involves one of my favorite fruits: the kiwi.
California grows the vast majority of domestic kiwi, and California’s kiwi growing season starts in October, which is mere weeks away. This is exciting, because the kiwi is a spectacular fruit: its color is otherworldly; it leans wonderfully to the tart side of the sweet/tart scale; and it has more vitamin C than an orange. But an awful lot of people don’t buy them, because they are [...]
It’s easy, and not wholly unwarranted, to roll one’s eyes at the aisles of exotic, imported “superfoods” in your local yuppie grocery store. These superfoodstuffs are often flavorless, or even outright unpleasant. (Goji berries: worthless, shriveled, lame-tasting superfruits.) Sometimes their packaging claims holistic or magical properties like cancer prevention or weight loss, which is very clearly superbullshit. But seeds, even some of the trendy, irritating ones, like quinoa, are healthful and flexible and typically totally delicious. You should not ignore them just because they have misleading or silly packaging or because Jared Leto once said in an interview that he loves them in his morning smoothie with reclaimed grass [...]
In a few days, grills will be ceremonially set ablaze for Labor Day (“it’s the end of summer,” we’ll say, even though the first three weeks of September are still summer, technically and temperamentally). Many of those grills will be piled high with vegetables. Good: Direct heat and smoke can do lovely things to plant matter. But the most common technique for grilling vegetables, the kebab, is performed incorrectly by the vast majority of American grillmasters of the universe—even though most other countries mastered the technique sometime around the time it was discovered that fire hurts when you touch it.
Stabbing things with a skewer and putting them over open [...]
Most summer produce has a cult of worship; there are those who wait all year for the few weeks of tomato season, those who will serve fresh corn with every meal, those who will gorge on peaches until the sweet-tart juice carves furrows into their faces like Grand Canyon erosion writ small. But there is one item which rarely if ever inspires devotion. I’m speaking here of the noble eggplant.
Many people do not like eggplant. Common complaints are that it is spongy, or bitter, or mushy. All of these are symptoms of improper cooking. Because, friends, when eggplant is cooked properly it can achieve something few other fruits [...]
The whole day had been hot and sticky, in the high 70s and low 80s, one of the first truly gross New York summer days of the year, and yet Laurel and Devyn, two finalists on this season of The Challenge (formerly Real World/Road Rules Challenge) smelled fantastic. My friend wouldn’t stop talking about it. I couldn’t think of more than two questions to ask them, so eventually we asked Devyn what perfume she’s wearing. “Marc Jacobs Daisy!” she said, briefly looking up from her phone, where she was live-tweeting the finale.
This was the 25th season of The Challenge, which has been pitting former cast members of The [...]
When someone says salad, your first thought is probably a bunch of leaves, like lettuce or spinach or kale, plus some other stuff, and a dressing. Here’s the thing about the word “salad”: it means nothing. It doesn’t mean something cold; it doesn’t mean something raw; it doesn’t mean something with lots of different ingredients; it doesn’t mean something vegetable-based; and it CERTAINLY doesn’t mean a pile of leaves.
Leaves, even the stronger-tasting ones, are filler. No one has ever once thought, “Dang, this salad is good, but it’d be more good with more lettuce in it.” This idea of a leafy salad is perpetuated by make-your-own-salad joints that [...]
This here is Pickles, whom noted animal blog the Daily Mail says is three feet long and weights 21 pounds. "Everyone's obviously first reaction is like wow that cat is huge," said Pickles' new owner. You can find many more pictures of this large cat over here.
There is literally nothing on the internet that interests me today; the only thing I found interesting enough to read fully was this three-sentence description of Canadian primates on Wikipedia:
The only primates that live in Canada are human beings. They are only distantly related to the New World monkeys of Central and South America, and the species originated in east Africa. Humans first arrived in large numbers to Canada around 15,000 years ago from North Asia, and surged in migration starting 400 years ago from around the world, especially from Europe.
Which is pretty funny but not really enough for a post, you know? So I'm just going [...]
Here you will find a video of two Russians breaking into the Shanghai Tower, which when completed will be over 2,000 feet tall (the Empire State Building is 1,250 feet tall, for comparison), and climbing it all the way to the top of the scaffolding. The first two minutes are just the pair climbing stairs, and, like, the stairs don't have handrails but it's not all that dangerous otherwise so you can just skip to 1:55 or so to see them climb above the smog and mist of Shanghai and crawl up the scaffolding, which seems VERY dangerous and scary.
Eeeeeee the great Montreal band The Unicorns, which recorded one perfect, perfectly weird album (2003's Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?), are mulling a reunion.
Penner told the Kreative Kontrol podcast that the band recently acquired back the master rights to their 2003 full-length Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? and might reissue it. Penner said the band discussed the idea of remastering the album and "including some other recordings that never made it out."
But, Penner added, "the important thing right now is that we might play some shows and maybe even record some new material while we’re at it. These are all maybes, [...]
"Horse Lives in House Like a Normal Person," reads a Huffington Post headline. This headline is followed by several pictures of a horse in a house. The story is not bylined, somehow, but I would like whichever intern or spambot or dog owned by Arianna Huffington who wrote it to know: this is a perfect headline for a perfect story. A+++++ would read again.
The new Hemingway App site yells at you for using long words, adverbs, long sentences, complex structures, and passive voice. I ran a post I wrote about "The Real World" through it, because I always thought ol' Ernie would really enjoy gabbing at length about a show that is seriously not even good, and here's what I got:
7 of 44 sentences are hard to read. 16 of 44 sentences are very hard to read. 14 adverbs. Aim for 3 or less. 11 words or phrases can be simpler. 11 uses of passive voice. Aim for 9 or less.
It's kind of a dickish website but, like, so was Hemingway.