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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Not worth the work

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:28 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:There's a whole subcategory of "not worth the work" items--the things that almost everyone buys commercially-made and almost nobody makes at home. Things like ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce.

I bet ketchup is easy to make. I think the other two require fermentation so that instantly makes them more involved.

French puff pastry probably belongs in this category, too.

Absolutely.

This leads into the whole area of vegetable carving, which the Chinese and Thai have elevated to a fine art form. I've seen some carved vegetable presentations that are so beautiful that you feel guilty about eating them. I'm way too much of a klutz to attempt that sort of thing.

Some primitive vegetable carving is easy enough -- just use the right tool to cut. I have a mushroom channeling knife that is very easy to use, for example. Jacques Pepin video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55dQioKUS2o

But it has to be a special event before I even consider e.g. carving a watermelon into a swan.
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Bill Spohn

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Re: Not worth the work

by Bill Spohn » Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:10 pm

Jacques was very good at that and his "La Technique' has directions for doing it (you can use a regular paring knife, and don't need to buy a special fluting knife), but whenever I am doing a special dinner that would warrant such measures, I am just too darned busy to spend time with decorations - to that degree, anyway. The only thing that I have done in recent years in that vein is makingpastry cut out to apply to the surface of pate en croute and such.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Not worth the work

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:23 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:(you can use a regular paring knife, and don't need to buy a special fluting knife),

Somewhere along the way I bought a vegetable decorating kit. It came with a half-dozen tools and a book. I have used them from time to time but their greatest value may lie in making me feel like I know something. :wink:
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Re: Not worth the work

by Bill Spohn » Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:32 pm

Is that like our parents' generation when they bought things like VCRs, only to have them sit there flashing "12:00....12:00....." because they didn't know how to set them....;-)

Or for that matter, exercise machines. I read somewhere that around 40-50% of them are never used after the first week after they have been delivered and unpacked....
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Larry Greenly

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Re: Not worth the work

by Larry Greenly » Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:50 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:I bet ketchup is easy to make. I think the other two require fermentation so that instantly makes them more involved.


I made ketchup once just to say I made it. But the number of tomatoes and the amount of time to boil everything down convinced me to buy it. There's no way to compete price wise, either.
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Re: Not worth the work

by Jenise » Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:04 am

I've never seen Rachel Ray brand foods up here. How interesting that hers (or the company that pays her royalties, to be exact) would be so good. My favorite was Progresso, until it disappeared. Now I buy a low-sodium supermarket brand. And all I can say is, it's serviceable. Most low-sodiums are just the regular version watered down, or so one would judge by the taste. Not Progresso.

Paul, re Thai art with food and vegetables--I stayed at the Mandarin in Bangkok back in the 80's. The fruit plate I ordered for breakfast was the most stunning fruit plate I had ever seen, and nothing since has even come close.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Not worth the work

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:12 am

Jenise wrote:I've never seen Rachel Ray brand foods up here. How interesting that hers (or the company that pays her royalties, to be exact) would be so good.

After hunting around, I think Colavita makes the broths/stocks for Rachael Ray.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Not worth the work

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:17 am

Jeff Grossman wrote:
Bill Spohn wrote:(you can use a regular paring knife, and don't need to buy a special fluting knife),

Somewhere along the way I bought a vegetable decorating kit. It came with a half-dozen tools and a book. I have used them from time to time but their greatest value may lie in making me feel like I know something. :wink:

I happened to be in that drawer, anyway, so I grabbed a shot of the decorating tools:
decorating tools.jpg
decorating tools.jpg (29.04 KiB) Viewed 2573 times

Going from left to right... The first is just a wavy knife but it's amazing how much atmosphere it can add to a plate. The second is one I've never used; it's for twisting into fleshy vegetables to make long spirals. The third is for making those fancy potatoes that are always served with chateaubriand. The last is useful as a corer but also for making 'pinked' edges on fruit.
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Re: Not worth the work

by Larry Greenly » Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:58 am

Jeff, you and I have the same set, and I don't even remember where it came from.
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Bill Spohn

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Re: Not worth the work

by Bill Spohn » Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:02 am

That looks like the Marquis de Sade's travel kit......
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