I’m back after an extended hiatus that included Hurricane Sandy, followed by the house guests it generated, followed by the holidays, and classes stopping and starting. Lots happened but I need to get back to writing on a regular schedule. So we’ll see if I can post to this on a more often.
I think one of my issues has been that I need to learn how to write shorter blog posts. It seems I can’t write about a great egg recipe with out having to solve the age old “which came first” argument and give a history of the evolution of the chicken.
To that end heres a couple of short topics that have been running through my head for a while:
PLU Labels – Know What’s Stuck to Your Fruits & Vegetables
Have you ever bit into a sandwich, felt something odd in your mouth, and realized that you forgot to peal that little label off your tomato or onion? Well besides being annoying those little stickers actually mean something and, if you know how, they’re pretty easy to decipher.
They’re call PLU Labels or Produce Look Up Labels and besides letting the cashier know how to ring up your purchases they have a deeper meaning. Next time you’re at the market take a close look at your produce. If it has a:
- Four digit code starting with a 3 or a 4:
It’s a Conventionally grown fruit or vegetable.
- Five digit code starting with a 9:
It’s an Organically grown fruit or vegetable.
- Five digit code starting with a 8:
It’s a genetically modified fruit or vegetable.
That’s worth knowing! A lot of people are really concerned about both organically grown produce and genetically modified foods. I’m still looking into both issues. Given unlimited resources I’d only be eating organic non genetically modified foods. It think most people would. However the truth is that it’s expensive and if we had to rely solely on organic and non genetically modified farming most of the world would starve. However that being said the Monsanto Corporation still sucks.
I’ll write more about those issues at a latter date. It won’t be a short article.
Have you ever cooked a steak, chop, or even a piece of chicken and found it cooked, maybe even overcooked, on the outside and raw on the inside? Even if you followed the recipe? The number one reason this happens is that the food is too cold when you put it into the pan. The outside quickly cooks but the center of the meat is uncooked. A lot of sources will tell you to take it out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature. That’s the right idea but leaving raw meat sitting out isn’t a good plan. There are all sorts of horrible airborne deseases and viruses that can latch themselves to your supper and they’re just lying in wait for you to slip up.
So try this. Put the meat into a ziplock plastic bag, force the air out, zip it closed, and submerge it into a bowl of warm water. Let it sit in there while you get other things done. The water should be warm but not hot. You’re not trying to cook the meat here just warm it up. If it’s a really large piece you might replace the water a couple of times. This warms up and relaxes the meat without exposure to nastiness floating around in the air. The meat will cook more evenly through. Give it a try! It’s an easy step that makes a big difference. You can even throw some spices or a marinade in the bag before you give it a bath.
TMWASJ Moaning & Complaining:
Top Two Supermarket Complaints
I try not to be whiney in this blog and focus on bringing you information about great things but sometimes it’s hard not to complain about some of the behavior I observe at the market. I’ve boiled my complaints down to two major ones. If you fall into either of these categories so be it.
- Complaint Number One: Treat Your Shopping Cart Like a Car – Pull Over!
If you park your cart sideways across an aisle you are an idiot. How did you manage to drive yourself to the store? You shouldn’t just stop your cart anywhere you like and just leave it. Look around. See all those other people? You are not alone in the world and believe it or not you’re not the most important person that there is. The shopping cart is a solid object that people can not go over, under, or through. Have some consideration for others.
- Complaint Number Two: I am Not Invisible – Don’t Pretend I Am!
In fact I am large and opaque. If I am looking a shelf don’t just insert yourself between me and the shelf and just stand there. It’s rude. Additionally I am behind you trying to decide exactly how much force I would need to exert to ram my car keys through the back of your skull and if I could get away with it. To date I’ve always decided to do nothing. That could change. Why risk it?
TMWASJ Coming Attractions
Well that’s it for this week! I’ll be back soon with some new markets to visit, changes at some of my favorite places, great recipes, and insights into the best the season has to offer.
If you like the blog tell your friends and let me know. I need all of the positive reinforcement I can get!