Standard Pages (they don't change often)

Monday, November 28, 2011

The food that tastes you back

Tongue usually counts as one of those exotic organ meats people automatically develop some pyschological aversion to. Maybe it is the strange texture: after all, the tongue is unique among skeletal muscles. Most of the muscle eaten as meat are attached to bone and under voluntary control; all the muscle fibers are oriented in the same direction as the original muscle only needs to move in one axis. Thus, there are optimum ways of carving meat like a skirt steak, to cut through the fibers and make it easier to eat.

The tongue, however, moves omnidirectionally, thus, the muscle fibers there run in all sorts of directions. There really isn't an optimum cut, and the whole thing needs to be cooked until tender. On the other hand, there's no bone to contend with.

 Here in Houston, (beef) tongue is often encountered as lengua in tortas and tacos, but that tongue meat has been shredded into unrecognizable bits. Tongue can also be found sliced thinly in delis for sandwiches. 
In Mexico, I encountered right proper Mexican lengua stew. The tongue is stewed in tomatoes and spices, and then cut into generous half inch slices. It was delicious with freshly baked telera bread. Now that's the way to enjoy this unique cut of the cow. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Guess the product

I spotted this in a market in Jalisco, Mexico. Care to guess what little brown particles in the bag are? Hint: it's not coffee. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Legislating Tomatoes

Tomato carpaccio
The distaste Americans have for vegetables extends into adulthood - to make it easier to conform to the letter of the mandate to get children to eat more vegetables, Congress is passing a bill that effectively allows a slice of pizza to be counted as a serving of vegetables. The justification? That the small amount of tomato paste on the pizza suffices as vegetables.


Because, of course, a tomato is really a fruit.

Or is it? Enter another piece of legislation: in 1893, the US Supreme Court declared it a vegetable. What is with all this legislation trumping science and common sense anyway?

Fact is, we are skirting around the true mission: to expand the nutritional and culinary repertoire of our youth. Unfortunately, a lot of money is riding on profiting from keeping things monotonous - makes for a dependence on easily industrialized food systems. Our school systems waste good food as it stands - these arcane regulations only open the avenue for gaming by lobbyists who don't have the health of children in mind.

And I'll bet that pizza was prefrozen and tastes like cardboard.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Savory Starch redux

Here in Houston, one of my favorite bakeries (well, there aren't really that many) makes a rice pudding empanada. But who's to say that the starch in starch combination is unique to Houston?

A popular street food item in Japan is yakisoba pan. Yakisoba are basically stir fried noodles. These are in turn stuffed into a long roll, and behold - a noodle sandwich. It's actually quite good when done right, and I should the perfect portable carboloading bullet for your marathon run.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Yes we have bananas

You've heard the stories, right? About how the banana is doomed for extinction. Because all bananas are clones of each other, and because of the Panama fungal blight, the monoculture cannot evolve resistance. Well, truth is, that's only for the Cavendish banana, which turns out to the most imported fruit into USA.  There are many varieties of bananas, although and infrastructure that matches the processing, shipping, and cultural acceptance of the Cavendish will take a while to redevelop in the aftermath. 

So, what do some of these other banana varieties look like? 

The "saba" - a cooking banana. 

The thinner skinned latundan.

The lakatan. 
The lakatan has a distinctive yellow flesh, and a floral aroma. 

By the way, the "seedlessness" is the consequence of triploidy. But you knew that already. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Best kind of flattery

Something looks really familiar about them.

I spotted a Colombian chocolate milk drink in the supermarket last night. Something about it seems awfully familiar.