Thursday, February 14, 2013

Don't Mind If I Do...

First of all, let me be the first to welcome the newest member of THATJ into the fold. You've done proud by your people. The elders in your tribe have told me to tell you may now proceed on your journey towards manhood. Your vision quest awaits you. Talk to me about the acquisition of black lights and black light accessories, you'll need them now more than ever, and I know a guy. Now, let's make an awkward transition to what I'm sure we can all agree is a far juicier subject. Sauce.

Look, I understand that over saucing is a problem. However, I am of the firm belief that you have miscast the blame for this phenomenon. Hipsters of all sorts (San Franciscans, Chicagoans, the homeless, etc.) do love sauce, this is a fact, however hipsters enjoy sauce in moderation. Hipsters enjoy fancy sauces with locally sourced ingredients that, unless you are a hipster, you may have never heard of. Hipster sauces enhance the taste, the aroma, and the quality of the food that we consume. Assholes have given sauce a bad name. Assholes can have their Cracker Barrel slop. Hipster aren't assholes, we're simply not interested enough to be. So let's place the blame where blame is due. I'm looking at you!

A brief poem:
Sauces Are - Anon
Spicy, savory, and charmingly sweet.
Sour and salty and totally neat.

It's true because it rhymes. If you'd like to try attempt to refute one of the most prolific sayer of sayings in the history of the world when he/she says something in rhyme form, well, then by my guest and best of luck.

Entire cultural identities are defined by the sauces that they create. In America we have nacho cheese and ranch for literally everything, Canadians have their gravy for poutine, the Swiss dip everything in chocolate, Italians and their tomatoes, the French and their delightful and precociously pretentious velouté and béchamel, the Japanese have "spicy" and eel, the Chinese with their sweet and sour and whatever General Tso's comes with. I mean, would there even be a Mexico without mole? Let's just say I have my doubts. And if there wasn't a Mexico, where would stuff like this, or this, or even this happen? I love Mexico and I would be sad if it didn't exist. Being the resident representative of hipsterdom, I'm sad enough as it is, it's in my DNA, it courses through my blood stream (powered by fair trade coffee of course). Do you really want to see a hipster hopped up on sad? Would you be able to live with that burden on your conscience? I don't think so. I really and truly don't.

Think about it. Let's say you're sitting at on a park bench, minding your own business. You're kidnapped by a band if midnight marauders and whisked away to some undisclosed location. You have no idea where you are. You are blindfolded, you haven't slept in days, you can barely form a coherent sentence, you are confused and you are afraid. Then one day your captors bring you some food. You notice a cumin scented pomegranate sauce, even in your confused state, because thankfully, they were liberal with the application of said sauce. The next day a psychic's aura enters your brain (your parents hired a psychic to help find you because the police were positively useless!). You communicate to the psychic that, well, maybe, just maybe, you are somewhere in Morocco, based only on the sauce! Four days later, 12 Academi trained mercenaries storm your bunker and set you free. You WERE in Morocco after all, and, well, the sauce, the sauce saved the day. Seriously, think about it.

So do I want this? No thank you. But do I want this? Abso-fucking-lutely. So, give me sauce, or give me death.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Super Sauce Me
Sauce or Soup?
A delectable piece of meat is unparalleled in its deliciousness.  There is nothing better.  A little salt, a little pepper and some oil is really all that's required.  Pork, beef, veal, duck, chicken (okay maybe not chicken) it doesn't really matter what the meat is, a well prepared hunk of mammal is always the star of the meal.  All too often in today's American cuisine that's forgotten.  It's taken to such an extent that today's culinary "elite" (hipsters in cooks clothing) refer to the meat simply as the "protein" of the meal.  They are robbing the meat of it's uniqueness.  They are making it seem less relevant, less important. Delicious meat, you see, can be prepared by one and all.  So in order to downplay it's importance they call it a protein and make their sauces the star of your plates.  This is vanity at it's worst.  These "chefs" are taking the taste out of my mouth in order to line their pocket books and raise their celebrity profiles.  It's a culinary disgrace if you ask me.  Whose to blame in all of this you ask?  The French of course, them and their elitist American disciples...hipster foodies.

They come from gritty neighborhoods in Portland, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Chicago and Seattle and they have spread forth through our country and onto our television sets in a blitzkrieg fashion.  They have waged an unparalled PR campaign and convinced us that pomegranates are more important than pigs, that compotes should be the leading man and carne the character actor.  I've had enough.  My palate is confused and overwhelmed.  It doesn't want new it wants delicious.  The taste of a big beautiful cut of beef doesn't need to be hidden beneath a potpourri of fruits and vegetables.  It needs to be bathed in it's own fats and dropped on a plate.  If you want to put a little something on the side to add a little kick, that's okay, but we don't need to slather it in a bunch of crap.  I have long assumed that ketchup and mustard were invented to cover the poor taste of low quality sausages.  I long ago removed those crutches from life.  Today we have wonderful hot dogs and sausages that need nothing.  If you want to put some toppings on there to make your dog even more delicious I understand, but hiding it's taste is no longer necessary.  Our high end meats, like our hot dogs, have improved, as has our access to them, so why are we moving in the wrong direction with this?  I refuse to cover my rib eye in anything that would make it taste less like a rib eye.

My Culinary Heroes
The internet and high end food stores have given me access to anything my stomach desires.  Chefs were becoming obsolete and they changed their game.  They started dressing different and getting tattoos and piercings and going on TV in order to convince me that I needed to come to their restaurants.  They became more flash and dash than dollop and dash.  Their recipes became things that were too complex for me to make at home and as soon as I do figure them out they start using new even more foreign and difficult to find ingredients and cooking devices.  But I'm on to them.  I see what you're doing celebrity hipster chefs and I'm not buying it.  I'm going to Ruth Chris's and I'm going to have a nameless Mexican cook me a delectable steak and it will be the best thing I've ever eaten.