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Ask A Chef Anything
#76
Context: breakfast. Sushi.

Re: chow hall- Yuma is in the middle of the desert, please for the love of gob no seafood. Dessert, almost every chow hall has a soft serve machine, and there's usually a salad bar.
They come with fire,they come with axes...Destroyers&usurpers,curse them. GALL:I hope you get run over by a dumptruck full of babydicks CORVUS:yoss hates&knows everything BAN724:I like how buttmad ppl get about Yoss except if you lie still&listen he is trying to make us all better debaters
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#77
(08-21-2015, 07:11 PM)First Strike Deadly Wrote: My mom was a short-order cook for many years, so I for sure know what good food is.  But she also worked (and frankly, avoided her kids).  So there were certainly plenty of times that we were on our own for dinner.  The last few years of high school were among those times.  So when I went in to the Marines, honesty, it was more variety, and better food than I would often eat on my own.

I honestly remember some good food at the chow hall overall.  It's where I first got in to catfish and pecan pie.  Sure, it was your average mass produced stuff, but still tasted good.  And on lucky days, you got prime rib or fried chicken.  7th Marines chow hall had Mexican side bar Mondays, and (IIRC) Italian side bar Thursdays.  And hell, if none of the main menu items were appealing, you could always get a good burger or sandwich.  And on the weekends, I always tried to roll my ass out of bed early enough to get a good breakfast.

The first (and I think only time) I've ever had lobster was in 2003, and it was 1st Mar Div's birthday.  We got surf and turf.  I tore that lobster tail apart.
You come down here to Fort Lauderdale for New Years and I'll take you to experience a whole variety of awesome food.
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(05-06-2016, 02:33 PM)NSFgirl Wrote: You're a terrible person, wongtastic.
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#78
(08-21-2015, 07:11 PM)First Strike Deadly Wrote: My mom was a short-order cook for many years, so I for sure know what good food is.  But she also worked (and frankly, avoided her kids).  So there were certainly plenty of times that we were on our own for dinner.  The last few years of high school were among those times.  So when I went in to the Marines, honesty, it was more variety, and better food than I would often eat on my own.

I honestly remember some good food at the chow hall overall.  It's where I first got in to catfish and pecan pie.  Sure, it was your average mass produced stuff, but still tasted good.  And on lucky days, you got prime rib or fried chicken.  7th Marines chow hall had Mexican side bar Mondays, and (IIRC) Italian side bar Thursdays.  And hell, if none of the main menu items were appealing, you could always get a good burger or sandwich.  And on the weekends, I always tried to roll my ass out of bed early enough to get a good breakfast.

The first (and I think only time) I've ever had lobster was in 2003, and it was 1st Mar Div's birthday.  We got surf and turf.  I tore that lobster tail apart.

Birthday meals and special occasions like that are an excuse for the kitchen to show off. Smile I worked a chowhall-style environment for several years (a diamond mine in the Kimberley, the miners must be fed somehow...honestly quite a similar demographic to military personnel actually; overwhelmingly men under 25) and special occasions like a Christmas dinner or a visit from major shareholders looking to be impressed were an excuse to break from routine. Pig on a spit carved off for each plate etc, the things that never happen otherwise.

The overdose of cilantro I still maintain is a poor choice. They're guaranteed to have alienated at least 10% of their audience that taste the soap, regardless of what else is in the meal. They will always taste it and always hate it; no matter what it is, they'll refuse it because all they can taste is soap and it's wasted food. That does not include people who can't or won't eat any of the other ingredients, just the cilantro alone...once you DO start counting objections for other reasons that aren't cilantro, you might have up to a third of the audience for any given meal hating you. Too many, hm? Too much waste.

If you're cooking in bulk for a crowd, if you're working on the maximum-plates/minimum-complaints-minimum-waste equation, it's a risk you should know to avoid. Cilantro in one or two easily avoided things is fine, not in everything. Soapy-cilantro is too common and widespread a complaint (and one that can't be hidden through other means - hating cilantro is genetic, they can't help it and they'll ALWAYS find any trace of cilantro in a dish no matter how you try to cover it up) to use it so freely on a group whose preferences you don't already know, and the Yuma menus I was looking at (June to September, several months of the same things) had it heavily featured in both sides of the menu - not just the mains but the short order too, every day. If I wanted to avoid it (I don't, I love cilantro, but if I did) there are several days of the week, every week, where it honestly wouldn't be possible to do so because it was all over both sides.

And something other than cobbler. It doesn't matter what. You already have a soft serve machine in every chowhall, put out nuts and cookie crumbs and fruit and sauces beside it to let them customise their own - God knows, it would be less work than the cobbler! Granita slushies, they're already buying them from 7-11 so give them better. The occasional tray of brownie or bread-and-butter pudding (a good way to use up old bread instead of throwing it out). Varation of ANY kind would be an improvement over the exact same thing six days a week for months on end. Even when the rest of the menu changes, the cobbler doesn't, and that's frankly a bizarre decision.



Quote:At some point in time, I need to see an Argentinian woman cook a whole steer. That is all.

Bring unto me the fatted calf. I will work magic like you've never seen. You're not having the sweetbreads though, those are my fee.

(You'd actually very rarely see a woman do it; culturally for us it's a very male thing. The parrilla and the iron crucifix are the sacred masculine. My family grants me an exception, but only because I'm actually the legitimate expert on matters carnivore. If I had any other job on earth, I wouldn't be allowed within fifteen feet!)


Quote: Re: chow hall- Yuma is in the middle of the desert, please for the love of gob no seafood.


Yuma may be in the middle of the desert, but rumour has it that they actually have excellent local fishing. There are commercial fisheries and hatcheries dotted all along the Colorado River, overseen by the government of Arizona...if MCAS Yuma can have "popcorn shrimp" on offer (and they do), then they can potentially source fish from there, probably at a discount because it's a government contract. There is frozen fish too. If they're already getting frozen prawns for the popcorn shrimp and whatever it is they throw into their version of New England chowder (which they do, it's on the menu) then they can order other things from the same source to vary it more widely with literally no extra effort or cost expended. They would very likely get fewer complaints about dense whitefish (something mild) than they do about the shellfish they currently buy, as more people accept the former than the latter.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#79
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Quote:Bompas & Parr’s Alcoholic Architecture features a walk-in cloud of breathable cocktail as part of an installation that explodes drinks to the scale of architecture.

In this fully immersive alcohol environment  (the cloud is entirely composed of fine spirits and mixer at a ratio of 1:3 and made using powerful humidifiers to super-saturate the air) alcohol enters the bloodstream through primarily the lungs and the eyeballs.


Alcoholic Architecture sits next to the UK’s earliest gothic cathedral and on the site of an ancient monastery. This juxtaposition between ancient and modern is explored through a drinks lists entirely comprised of spirits and beers created by monks: potations such as Chartreuse, Benedictine, Trappist beer and Buckfast, a caffeinated fortified wine so savage that Scotland’s parliament is reportedly drafting legislation to stop the intoxicant from entering their country. All are featured in elegantly balanced, refined and luxurious conventionally served drinks that guests can take back into the cloud.

What a cool idea. I'm going to hope that the biohazard suit is optional.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#80
What are the most common ways that people in restaurants accidentally get poisoned? What are some of the more unusual examples of this you have seen or heard of? Whats the most severe?
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#81
Quote:29PalmsGruntWhat are the most common ways that people in restaurants accidentally get poisoned? What are some of the more unusual examples of this you have seen or heard of? Whats the most severe?

For the patrons? Food poisoning.

There are many possible sources of contamination, and it does vary by location (have you ever travelled somewhere and been told not to drink from the tap? You drink from the tap in your own kitchen all the time, but I bet when you were in Iraq you never, ever drank water that hadn't been boiled first, right?) but the most common sources are old food, undercooked meat, the ice in your drink (ice machines are rarely cleaned, so even if you're certain of the drink itself the ice cubes in it may be contaminated), cross-contamination between surfaces or the cook simply being one of those really disgusting people who doesn't wash his hands or cover his hair.

Old Food
Restaurants have very, very tight budgets; even very successful ones aren't usually making the big profits you might expect of them. They can't afford to waste food, so they'll sometimes skirt very close to the wind on matters like best-before dates. The food that's blatantly, obviously too old will go out with the rubbish as it should, but food that's slightly too old for comfort is sometimes either fed to the staff in the "family meal" along with the other scraps (the family meal is like a game, "how can I make these stale breadsticks, black bananas and fish heads into real food?"...even when they wouldn't inflict it on you they will potentially poison us!) or used in such a way that it can be really thoroughly cooked to destroy bacteria and minimise the risk. If the kitchen has old steaks to dispose of, they'll be very, very happy to see someone who likes theirs well-done, because a well-done steak is cooked so thoroughly and for so long that the customer may not be able to tell that the meat is old.

Undercooking
There is a concept called the "danger zone" in food safety, which refers to the range of temperatures where bacteria grows best. Anything under 5C/40F is cold enough that bacteria struggles to grow and food degenerates very slowly, which is why the thermostat in your fridge is generally set to lower than this temperature. Anything above roughly 55C-60C/130-140F is hot enough that any bacteria (and certain parasites as well, like the Trichinella spiralis worm found in some pork and wild game, which causes a disease called trichinosis) will slow its growing, and a few degrees above THAT to 165F or higher will make it die. Food that sits between those temperatures, or which is unevenly cooked so that some parts are above the threshold and some below, is like a bacterial Club Med.

If you're worried, a meat thermometer is a good thing to have when you cook at home. Do you have one?

[Image: quick-read-meat-thermometer.jpg]

If you have never used one, you find the thickest part of the meat (thick areas are the slowest to cook, and there can be as much as a 10C difference between surface temperature and internal temperature in them) insert the skewer and read the dial/display to find out what the inside is like. In a whole chicken or turkey you would use the bulk of the thigh; in a rack of lamb or a beef roast from the shoulder you only need to find somewhere thick that's not so close to any bone or gristle. If possible, you check internal temperature at more than one place to be certain it's consistent throughout A really experienced cook may have other methods (I can tell reasonably well by touch, some can tell by smell or sound...if you cook enough, you learn what properly cooked food is like), but a $15 probe is a help anyway. Some things require extra care, above and beyond the usual - chicken is notoriously easy to contaminate, and should ALWAYS be well done. Be certain.

Note that this also applies to food that isn't meat. Mayonnaise is mostly egg-based, and must be kept cool. Fruit and vegetables are less risky, but can still harbour something unfortunate if it's been cut or peeled and left out. Defrosting something from frozen is safest done in the fridge itself; doing it in the fridge is slower than leaving it on the benchtop or hitting a few buttons on the microwave...but if you do it in the fridge you're certain of the temperature, and so have control. Any perishable can make you sick if you don't control or stop bacterial growth.

Cross-Contamination
This is very common. If you've made yourself ill before, this is very likely how you did it. Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria from something transfer to something else; if you used the same fork to beat a bowlful of egg yolks and then to eat a salad, something from the raw eggs may travel to the salad and make you sick, you see? If you went hunting and killed a deer, while you were cleaning the carcass the same thing might happen; germs from the outside of the meat may reach the main body cavity when you throw water over it, or vice versa. Going to the toilet, washing your hands, closing the toilet door behind you and returning to the kitchen may contaminate the kitchen unless you wash your hands again before you return to the food.

The easiest way to avoid this is to be aware of where things have been, and to be very aware of how microbes might get from Point A to Point B. There is, for example something of a routine to storing things in the refrigerator; meat (raw meat especially) drips juices, so it should be well sealed and kept on the lower shelves with nothing below it to drip onto. Chopping boards and other tools are vectors too. In a working kitchen there are separate chopping boards for almost everything, and if they're doing it correctly then those boards will never be used for or touch anything else but their appointed category. There is a fairly universal colour coding system to make it simple.

Red = raw meat
Blue = raw fish and seafood
Yellow = either raw poultry or cooked meat. Poultry may or may not have its own board
Green = raw fruit and salads
Brown = either cooked meat (if yellow is in the system already as poultry) or vegetables meant for further cooking
Black = either vegetables (if they're not coded to brown) or rarely bakery. Black may not be used.
White = dairy and bakery (if not separate on black)

At the very least, raw protein should be handled separately to everything else. Boards should also be well cared for; scratched boards are disgusting under a microscope, and you can never, ever get into the scratches to clean. Well tended wood boards have anti-microbial properties and can be resealed after every use, but need time to care for; good quality plastic or rubber composite mats like Sani-tuff resist scratching and are quick to tend, but if you buy plastics do NOT buy the cheap ones.

Hair and Hands
By law, hair HAS to be covered. Even very short fuzz (like you with your shaved head) has to be covered if someone will be handling food, and long hair like many women have must be safely fastened up out of the way; I cut my hair shorter specifically so I wouldn't have to braid it and pin it up any more! This is universal almost all over the world, and though the tall toque with the pleats is less common now than it once was (I personally hate traditional toques) the average chef has a huge collection of skullcaps, baseball caps, bandanas etc to take its place. The possible exception to this is the executive chef, the boss, who only rarely handles food directly and whose role is at least in part to be the more polished example for the customers of what they think we should be. Marco Pierre White has a mess of wild black curls, they go everywhere...but when we see him on TV, that doesn't matter, because his role then is not to handle food but to be Marco with his wild hair and his spotless white coat and his big knives, Marco the genius. If he wasn't being watched, and keeping his hair as part of the image he projects, he would tie it back and cover up.

Hands are the other thing to be anal about. The norm is short nails with no polish (polish flakes away) no ragged edges (hangnails bleed, ragged bitten nails break) and with every cut and scrape and burn and scab bandaged in bright blue. Almost no food is naturally blue, have you ever noticed this? If we lose a band-aid, we want to be able to find it before someone in the dining room does! Hand-washing takes at least forty seconds of constant scrubbing with the soap to raise a lather, forty more with a nail brush to get under your nails and loosen dead skin between the fingertips and the elbow joint, and another thirty to get the lather off...all this under running water as hot as you can bear to have it without hurting yourself or hurrying. You touch NOTHING once your hands are clean, and you have your hands raised so any water runs away from the hands towards the elbows; even to turn the tap off (you touched it with your dirty hands to turn it on, and there would be no point washing if you picked up precisely those germs again a minute later turning it off) you use a paper towel between your fingers and it, then throw that one away and dry your hands with fresh ones. The process is not entirely unlike the surgeon's scrub that doctors learn.

You'd be expected to wash and dry your hands a lot. The law is extremely strict for hygiene violations and penalties can be very harsh, so doing it frequently and properly is one of the first things you're taught. There's no excuse. There are the obvious times, before you begin cooking and after a bathroom stop, but also all of these:

- coughing/sneezing
- any contact with your hair, face or mouth. ANY contact. If your ear itches and you scratch, you wash again
- changing from one food to another. If you're working with meat and then you touch fruit, you scrub first
- touching anything that isn't food, no matter how briefly. A smoke break? A pause to wipe the benchtop or adjust your apron? Tying your shoes? Touching a doorknob or a handle? WASH YOUR HANDS before you touch food again
- before putting on gloves. If a cook wears gloves for any reason (handling hot chilli, for example, or to cover an injury on his hand that already has a bandage on it but needs more protection) he puts the gloves on already clean hands, and will go through several boxes a day (not several pairs, several BOXES each with 30-50 pairs) if he uses them consistently and changes them as often as he should. Of course, most aren't as conscientious about gloves as they are with their bare skin, because it's harder to know when you need to.
-  after taking off gloves, to remove the residue

If you do it as often and as well as we're meant to, you'll very nearly scrub your skin raw. It's not uncommon to see us raiding the pantry for olive oil because we're trying to protect ourselves and it's the closest we can come to a lotion; even with particular routines every day, even with expensive aquaphor or pawpaw or beeswax ointments and suchlike things, we all still have hands that look like hell. I haven't had good skin on my hands or arms since I was in my mid-teens Sad

(TV chefs always fail at the hand-washing. I've never seen a single one do it properly on air)




The matter of the hands leads to the other poison, which never happens to customers but may happen to the staff in the kitchen - sepsis. Blood poisoning.

We cut ourselves every day. We burn ourselves every day. On any given day, I have about twenty injuries on my hands and arms in varying stages of healing. Those injuries are covered as quickly and as well as they can be, but "as quickly as they can be" isn't instantaneous. If you cut your hand on a splintered shard of bone, in raw meat...that injury is going to get infected, yes? There are some revolting surprises lurking on raw and splintered bones before cooking kills everything. I have seen people with raging infections from incidents exactly like that, with the offending hand swollen to two or three times what it should have been and turning some frankly bizarre colours!

Chapped and broken skin is practically begging for something on raw meat or fish, raw eggs, certain unpasteurised cheeses to enter the bloodstream. Sometimes it happens. It would be fine to eat and break down in the stomach, but by passing that step and going directly to the blood with the bacteria intact it creates a problem.

Unfortunately both sepsis and bad food poisoning are capable of killing someone.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#82
Thanks for being so thorough. That was awesome. Most of us have seen guys get sick from eating the local Afghan or Iraqi food, and Im sure it has been caused by most of the different things you mentioned at different times. Its a horrible place to get that sick, but most guys bounce back within a couple days. I didnt have an issue with it the first time around but it hit me pretty hard the second.

Strangely, it seems like it only hits a couple times if the local food is still eaten afterwards and an immunity of sorts is built, but then guys get sick again after returning home because of the fluctuation of bacteria in the environment.

Besides bacteria or parasites, what other kinds of contaminants that are easy to miss but make people really sick or kill them? I think I remember reading about some food being exposed to an actual poison in powder form and hurting some people on several occasions. You might have even been the one that told me about it.
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#83
(09-14-2015, 05:56 PM)29PalmsGrunt Wrote: Thanks for being so thorough. That was awesome. Most of us have seen guys get sick from eating the local Afghan or Iraqi food, and Im sure it has been caused by most of the different things you mentioned at different times. Its a horrible place to get that sick, but most guys bounce back within a couple days. I didnt have an issue with it the first time around but it hit me pretty hard the second.

Strangely, it seems like it only hits a couple times if the local food is still eaten afterwards and an immunity of sorts is built, but then guys get sick again after returning home because of the fluctuation of bacteria in the environment.

Besides bacteria or parasites, what other kinds of contaminants that are easy to miss but make people really sick or kill them? I think I remember reading about some food being exposed to an actual poison in powder form and hurting some people on several occasions. You might have even been the one that told me about it.

Of course you all recovered fairly quickly. You were all military personnel, and a particular subtype of military personnel who are ALWAYS young - you're a self-selected group of people who are all in their 20s (skewing to early 20s, at that!) all well-nourished and all in relatively good health to begin with, young and strong almost by definition. Even at your most vulnerable, exhausted and filthy, you're relatively well placed to cope with disease. Food poisoning usually has the hardest impact on the very young, the very old and people with some underlying issue that leaves them with either temporarily or permanently weakened defences. There are thousands of deaths by food-poisoning in the United States every year, but very few of them would have been people who could pass for active-duty Marines.

It's entirely possible to kill someone with bad food practices , and if I do (even by accident) then I'm going to jail, because I of all people should know better.

You're right about building up a resistance, incidentally. You did exactly that. It's gradual, but the bacteria in your gut (the ones that break down your food) change depending on what you eat - this is also why they have those fermented milk drinks and the "probiotic yogurt" and suchlike things, as conscious attempts to change the population of your internal landscape and keep you in good health. If you stay in a place for long enough, your first meal might make you sick but over time you adjust to eat as the locals do; you shrug off minor things that once would have had you feeling awful, and you cope better with more major incidents...but then when you come home, you have the same problem in reverse, where your stomach has changed too much to handle once-familiar foods so now that makes you sick. If you feel sick after eating, it's almost always because your gut is struggling, and often because it's trying to get rid of whatever it is that's difficult; OH GOD WHAT HAVE I EATEN? AM I DYING? I THINK I'M DYING marathons on the bathroom floor are your body trying very hard to hit the eject button and flush the system clean.


Other contaminants...yes, this can happen. It's a little more common in processed food (like the powdered milk from China of a few years ago) as an increased number of steps in the production process increases the chance for something to go wrong, but it can happen to any food. Mercury levels in some large predatory fish (like tuna) can be very high just because of what they eat; if a small fish contains negligible trace amounts of mercury, and a big fish eats thousands of small fish in his lifetime, the big fish will have their cumulative mercury content in him because he's absorbed everything they were. Likewise, the meat from slaughtered animals may carry traces of their previous diet, which over time accumulate in you as you eat a lot of them and may affect your health. Chemical contamination might also come about because of pesticides being used on fruit or vegetables that then weren't washed thoroughly enough, formaldehyde or something else being added as a preservative or additive in a processed food, traces of bleach left over from cleaning, fuel contaminating food in transit, insects falling into the machines and leaving essence of spider in your Snickers bar...

If handled correctly throughout, you should only get tiny, tiny doses of something like this in any finished product, and you're safe. You can open as many tins of tuna as you like! However, if something does go wrong in production and you get a larger than normal concentration all at once it can make a lot of people very sick. In the Chinese case I mentioned earlier, problems arose in a factory that made powdered milk and baby formula; they had been diluting several of the component ingredients to save money, which then lowered the protein content by volume, as a gallon of milk-and-water has less protein than a gallon of milk alone. To get around this protein deficit, they added a chemical compound called "melamine" (a kind of plastic), which didn't add more protein in any way but did make it LOOK like it contained more protein when tested. The melamine in their formula made nearly 300,000 babies and toddlers very, very ill, including organ failure.

As it applies to people like me, the greatest external risks are incorrect cleaning (using bleach on the chopping boards to disinfect them and then failing to get the bleach completely off, coming to my station with soap still in the creases around my fingernails, not washing fruit and vegetables properly) or of having something I'm wearing enter the food like hair, loose threads on my clothes, residue from disposable gloves etc. We are never allowed to wear nail varnish, make up is rare (I don't wear it to work, nor would I allow anyone under me to wear it) as it wears away over time and would come away with sweat, jewellery is taken off, certain parts of the classic uniform are designed specifically to soak up sweat before it drips so it never reaches the food. The kitchen may or may not enforce grooming standards that involve mandatory shaving for men, as it's faster and easier to shave your face clean every day than it is to carefully trim and tend a beard to the appropriate standards; if they allow facial hair at all they'll usually make the bearded ones put a beard-net over it, like a hairnet upside down...yes, it looks ridiculous!


The other big one is allergies. We hate allergies. We'll move heaven and earth to get around them if we know about them, but it's a huge amount of extra work to keep your special meal completely separate from everything that might send you crashing into an anaphylactic shock. If you're severely intolerant to something, there can be none of it anywhere near your food; an entirely separate station, separate dishes, separate cutlery when the time comes to send it out, separate tools, a cook who hasn't so much as touched the offending article that day, often a separate cooking surface (we can't use the same oven or stovetop in very severe cases). An allergy flag requires a lot of extra effort, and even then there is a chance that something was overlooked and we may accidentally have sent someone to the emergency room.

If it's genuine, we'll do our best. We don't want to be liable for you dying in our dining room. We'll try as hard as we can to make it safe for you to be here, but if you say "I'm allergic to..." when you REALLY mean "I don't like..." as some people have taken to doing, then I reserve the right to set you on fire...and picky vegans can fuck themselves with a cleaver.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#84
Wombitch, do you happen to read behind closed ovens?

http://kitchenette.jezebel.com/tag/behind-closed-ovens
[Image: dpo8auk.gif]

(05-06-2016, 02:33 PM)NSFgirl Wrote: You're a terrible person, wongtastic.
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#85
(09-14-2015, 08:56 PM)Wongtastic Wrote: Wombitch, do you happen to read behind closed ovens?

http://kitchenette.jezebel.com/tag/behind-closed-ovens

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I love this. It seems more heavily weighted to front of house than back of house stories, but I love it.  Everything is so true. "Grilled chicken without grill marks"....HA
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#86
Oooh... New page to bookmark.
Waiter? Waiter? Ah, when will I remember- Order desert first, THEN kill everyone in the restaurant.
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#87
Wooden cutting board care? I don't have anything super elaborate. A store bought bamboo and a handmade hardwood board.

I saw a program recently and the chef salted her board at close. Rationale?

Also, oils for wood boards. Food grade mineral oil I assume? Just a tablespoon or two and work it in with a cloth?
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#88
(09-15-2015, 06:18 PM)Bldg. 621 Wrote: Wooden cutting board care?  I don't have anything super elaborate.  A store bought  bamboo and a handmade hardwood board.

I saw a program recently and the chef salted her board at close.  Rationale?

Also, oils for wood boards.  Food grade mineral oil I assume?  Just a tablespoon or two and work it in with a cloth?

Bamboo and wood boards are very similar, so the same care will work for both. However, there ARE a few variables that can sometimes affect care. Are your boards laminate boards, or a single unbroken slab? Which way does the grain of the timber face - is it an end grain board like this

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that looks a little like a chessboard? Or an edge-grain like this?

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The difference between the two lies in which direction the natural grain of the timber runs, and they can sometimes need a certain awareness of what you have to care for it well.

An end grain board, for instance, is built with all the grain running through up and down through the thickness of the board, like straws that you drink from; this was, in fact, what the grain was doing in the living tree, being a series of straws to move water and nutrients up and down. Now that the timber is in a chopping board, these straws are still there, and are prone to absorbing water  or other liquid from the surface you're using and sucking it down into the heart of the wood. If you have an end grain board, you have to dry it very carefully and see to it that the surface is well-sealed to stop any liquid like this from getting in; ideally, an end grain board should have little feet on the underside to keep the bottom dry. However, end grain boards do have certain advantages - they are, to an extent, self-healing (hold a fistful of straws vertical in your hand the way you would hold a cup, try to cut directly down into them...what happens to the straws when the knife is removed? They close around the cut place and you can hardly see where the cut was) and are possibly the single kindest thing you can use with your knives.

An edge grain board has the grain running along the longer length of the board. They absorb water less easily (their straws are facing the wrong way to suck it in) and are less prone to warping because of it; they can be flipped over to use both sides and do not need feet on them. They are usually cheaper, as there's considerably more edge-grain suitable wood per plank than there is on the very ends that end-gain timber uses. However, the grain facing this way does not self-heal, so any scarring or wear on the working surface of an edge grain board is there to stay.


[Image: edge.jpg]

Edge


[Image: end.jpg]


End

You see how it is?

The question about laminate vs single slab boards is only asked because you'll need to be aware of the condition of any glue. Bleach solutions and particularly harsh soap can weaken wood glue over time, and you should replace a laminated board immediately if you notice this happening. Note also that not all wood-glues are food safe; on a chopping board of all things, they ought to be, but try to avoid formaldehyde glues when the time comes to replace.

***

My every-use routine with a wooden board is like this

- Scrape it clean.
- Hot water and gentle soap. Don't soak the board; the longer the board is exposed to water, the more likely it is that it will warp. Better to use a wet cloth or a spray bottle to apply water than to soak it.
- Weak chlorine bleach solution (no more than a teaspoon of bleach per litre of water) applied to both sides in turn. After applying the bleach to one side, a few minutes for the board to sit is good, then rinse the bleached surface clean before you turn it over and do the other side.
- Another rinse under hot water again (with no soap this time) to wash the bleach away, and dry thoroughly with a paper towel.

That's every day, every use. Once a week, I complete those steps and then go on to do a more thorough treatment

- Lemon juice (fresh if you have it, though from a bottle is fine too) and a scattering of coarse salt. Lemon juice is a natural disinfectant, and the salt will draw up moisture from within the board, which is what your TV example was trying to do. Scour the board properly with the salt, and leave it to sit for a while in the sun. If you don't have salt, you may want to try baking soda. This step is especially important for end grain boards.
- Scrape the salt away and wipe it clean with a clean damp (not wet) cloth, then dry. If you want to do the other side as well, turn it over and do the previous step again, then wipe and dry that side too. If not, proceed to...
- White vinegar solution, in the same proportions as the bleach, sprayed on to remove smells and another layer of natural disinfectant. Wipe this away after a few minutes, and repeat on the other side. If I have to skip a step, I skip this one, but do it if you can.
- Oil and beeswax. Four parts oil to one part beeswax all melted together will make a sort of soft paste, which you can apply to the surface of the board to seal it. Hand-buff this with a soft, clean rag. Extra care should be taken with the seal on end-grain wood.

The choice of oil is up to you, but as a rule it's best to use a non-organically derived oil that will be relatively stable once applied. Do NOT use olive oil, that turns rancid far too quickly. If you have your heart set on a natural oil, boiled linseed oil or tung oil are okay (though avoid tung if someone you cook for is sensitive to nuts, as it can set off allergies!) but food-grade mineral oil is cheaper and easier to find than either. Ask at your local pharmacy, they should have it for a few dollars.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#89
Grand Final munchies. Go. We're waiting. Cool
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a lot of bitching.<br /><br />- The Tao of Wombat
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#90
*whip crack*
Just a dumb grunt.
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#91
(10-01-2015, 04:02 AM)Handicap Wrote: *whip crack*

[Image: Chains_c40f38_2499998.jpeg]

You've not seen the ten foot whip he keeps in his shed, have you?


Fortunately, I do have a few things planned. I know perfectly well that Casa del Wombat is essentially going to turn into a better pub for the duration. I've barely, barely resisted the urge to be silly and buy these

[Image: 1441851772199.jpg]
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#92
For a 24 to 28 person BBQ, how much baked potatoes and broccoli/other stuff would you suggest getting? The meat is planned out already.
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#93
(10-01-2015, 03:48 PM)Wrecker Wrote: For a 24 to 28 person BBQ, how much baked potatoes and broccoli/other stuff would you suggest getting? The meat is planned out already.

Are the people all adults or near-adults? Children are entirely capable of eating from the same menu as the adults, but generally eat about half- to three-quarter portions...what are the demographics of the group you're feeding?

How long are they going to be there? If this is an all-day or most of the day event, then they're going to get hungry and thirsty more than once. The longer people stay, the more they will eat, and they'll be grazing on and off all day if they can. If it's a "come for lunch" sort of arrangement, one clearly defined meal, then obviously there will be less grazing and you need less total food.

What IS the menu? Take me through. It's an important question, because the per-head allotment of food can differ markedly depending on what it is.

For example, if you're serving steaks then you're allowing roughly 400-500g of meat per adult (the heavy eaters will go over this, but there will be some who go under...450g is a good working average per head for steak cuts) but if you're serving something like pulled meat sandwiches or a burger that comes with the added bulk of bread built into it then the meat allowance will be noticeably less (about 200-300g of meat each, enough for two respectable burgers) because bread has a tendency to fill people up and they simply won't finish if you feed them the same amount. Are you thinking light green salads for cold sides, or have you favoured something heavier like pasta salad (like bread, this fills people up) or coleslaw? Lighter salads can pair fairly easily and generously with heavy starchy sides like potatoes, and people will pile a green one on their plates to pretend they're being healthy without it making any great difference to how full they feel...but a heavier option like potato salad or pasta salad will usually be taken in smaller quantities, and will fill them up much faster.

As a rule, plan for one middling sized or two small potatoes per person in a major meal. Again, some will eat more than this, but it will be compensated by the ones who eat less, who leave early or who don't feel like potatoes today. A ten pound bag would cover you fairly generously, I think. You may even be able to do it with five pounds if there are children or if you have less than 25 there, but it would be a stretch for 25 or more and frankly overcatering is better than undercatering because when all else fails you can eat the leftovers yourself. Toppings for baked potatoes...wide variety, small quantities of each. It's not hard to grate more cheese if you need it.

An ear of corn will feed at least two people as a side option (cut it in half, or even in thirds), so if you want grilled corn then 20-25 ears would be enough.

For broccoli, beans etc...five or six pounds total would do it, in any combination. Again, this depends on the scope of variety available; if you have lots of different options, people will want to try a little of everything, and you cook more dishes but less of each individual dish. If all you have is the meat, baked potatoes, broccoli and beans, then people will load their plates with those and you'll need a lot more of the base ingredients - one pound of broccoli is enough for a varied menu where it's one of many things (the other four to five pounds could be literally anything else), but you need three times that when it's a major component.

Are you providing drinks? Aim for one or two eight ounce drinks per person per hour (a standard tumbler...a wine glass is half this), but remember that not all of this needs to be alcoholic. I would assume that a lot of it WOULD be alcohol, but a slab of beer and a slab of mixed soft drinks both count, as does having a jug of iced water or a pot of coffee on standby. It depends very much on the group.

Does that help? If I knew what you had planned, I could get into much more detail.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#94
What in the world is that blue/purple snausage in your post? Boudin noir or some derivative of???? They all appear more deep brown/black from what I have seen.
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#95
(10-01-2015, 06:32 PM)Bldg. 621 Wrote: What in the world is that blue/purple snausage in your post?  Boudin noir or some derivative of????  They all appear more deep brown/black from what I have seen.

They're nothing particularly unusual. It's possible to add colour to sausage casings, and a butcher in Perth has done so as something of a gimmick in time for a fairly major sporting event that's happening tomorrow afternoon; imagine something a LITTLE like the Superbowl and you'll see the idea, which is why my best-beloved is being such a pest about the catering because all his cronies have chosen our house instead of the pub! Blue and gold like that are associated with one of the (local, incidentally) teams competing. As a proud Western Australian, apparently the butcher felt it was necessary to show his colours.

[Image: 1280px-West_Coast_Eagles_logo.svg.png]

It's only food dye. Smile

(It's quite funny. I don't particularly like the game in question except as a casual thing, but when I came to Australia as a child I HAD to choose a team to follow if I wanted to fit in. So I chose this team, with the blue and gold just like that, for no other reason than because the colours were the same as those used by a team and a game I really DID care about...so now, my team is in the Grand Final [something Mick would kill to have for his team] and I don't actually care very much Tongue)
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#96
16oz (450g) Ribeyes for mostly everyone, and the few people will eat another type of meat I am undecided on; possibly just chicken. All adults. I was thinking of having salad, baked potatoes, corn and broccoli; maybe a desert or bread rolls. The drinks will be just soda as this can't have alcohol. This will be just a few hours and some sporting type activities for those who care.
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#97
So, in that case.... Go West Coast Eagles!

Thanks for the clarification and best of luck with your soiree (I don't know how to add that fancy French tag on the E and I'm too lazy to find out how to).
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#98
(10-01-2015, 07:32 PM)Wrecker Wrote: 16oz (450g) Ribeyes for mostly everyone, and the few people will eat another type of meat I am undecided on; possibly just chicken. All adults. I was thinking of having salad, baked potatoes, corn and broccoli; maybe a desert or bread rolls. The drinks will be just soda as this can't have alcohol. This will be just a few hours and some sporting type activities for those who care.

Ribeyes at that weight are a perfect portion size. For the chicken, about 250g per head if it's boneless, or 400 if it has bones (bones are heavy!) would be a reasonable assumption, but you may want to overcater the chicken a little; you would be surprised how many people will want chicken AND steak if they can get away with it.

For salad, I would keep it light and green. No heavy creamy dressing, no great bulk. You have enough bulk in meat and potatoes, and corn can be quite filling too. A head of lettuce, a large tomato (or a punnet of cherry tomatoes), a good-sized bell pepper, half a red onion, a carrot and a cucumber will feed about five people a cup each in a tossed salad, so you can scale it up accordingly...but bear in mind you're going to need about a litre of your preferred salad dressing once you have! Olive oil and balsamic or a basic vinaigrette would be good, on standby so that each person can add it as they like.

Potatoes as stated, corn as stated. One or two per head, and half an ear, plus butter, cheese, sour cream etc for personalising it. One or two rolls per person, depending on the size of the rolls.

One or two drinks per hour per person, as stated. Two to three slabs (a slab has 24) of mixed soft-drinks should cover you fairly well, but keep cold water on hand as well on top of this; if people are being active then they may need more than the allowance depending on the weather, and they're not always going to want to grab a soda every time.

The easiest dessert would be to do something like cookies or brownies, where you could simply have four or five dozen made and say "take two". That way there's no risk of accidentally cutting the first slices of cake too big and shortchanging latecomers, or of having to scrape the very base of an ice cream tub to avoid wasting half a new one that you opened but don't have enough people remaining to finish.

Do you think you can do that? Smile

(10-01-2015, 07:36 PM)Bldg. 621 Wrote: So, in that case.... Go West Coast Eagles!

Thanks for the clarification and best of luck with your soiree (I don't know how to add that fancy French tag on the E and I'm too lazy to find out how to).

My house is going to be the pub for an afternoon. I think I'm okay with this; they don't need much except beer and Twisties.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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#99
Thanks for the information. This helped me quite a bit.
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(10-02-2015, 06:46 AM)Wrecker Wrote: Thanks for the information. This helped me quite a bit.

De nada. Getting the scale right genuinely IS the hardest thing about cooking for a large group if you're not practiced at it, but if you have the right numbers in your head then after that it becomes nothing but maths.  You will be fine.
A penis lives a terrible life. His hair is a mess, his family are nuts, his neighbour is an asshole, his best friend is a pussy, someone keeps beating him...

Poor thing.
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