1. And... we're back. You'll notice that all of your images are back as well, as are our beloved emoticons, including the infamous :foo: We have also worked with our server folks and developers to fix the issues that were slowing down the site.

    There is still work to be done - the images in existing sigs are not yet linked, for example, and we are working on a way to get the images to load faster - which will improve the performance of the site, especially on the pages with a ton of images, and we will continue to work diligently on that and keep you updated.

    Cheers,

    Fok on behalf of the entire Styleforum team
    Dismiss Notice

Home Entertaining

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by artdeco73, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

    Messages:
    20,605
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    greater chicago
    I don't think that you can make a large batch of risoto and have it come out good, myself (sorry, I guess I am not just picky about indian food, I am a little picky about italian, too).

    but my point was actually that I try to make this difficulty transparent to my guests, so that the time table of the meal is not dictated by rice, but by the nature of the conversation.
     
  2. artdeco73

    artdeco73 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Location:
    Washington, DC, USA
     
  3. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

    Messages:
    2,030
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
     
  4. artdeco73

    artdeco73 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Location:
    Washington, DC, USA
    Fabienne,

    I'm not sure if you're being facetious or serious. Regardless, you're right -- I should have been more precise and taken it on a case by case basis.

    American "parmesan," to me, is a different product than real Parmigiano-Reggiano, not just a different brand. Even so, it has its place -- I grate some American parmesan on my pasta on weeknights regularly. That, in turn, is different from the pre-grated "parmesan" that comes in green cans (that stuff isn't even cheese). But consider this -- say I have no time, energy or money to get real Parmigiano-Reggiano, and get some Grana Padano instead. That, too, actually, is a different product, not brand, but works very well in risotto. Yes, some people may be able to taste a slight difference. But is it inferior as an ingredient in this case? I don't think so. I should point out that when eating the cheese "straight" as it were, the difference is fairly pronounced, and many people would prefer Parmigiano-Reggiano, but as an ingredient in risotto, either one can be 100% effective.

    Chocolate is an even better example (and I have to apologize here -- I am NOT a chocolate expert). Ghiradelli vs. Droste -- don't know. Haven't tasted Ghiradelli in a long time. But Lindt vs. Droste? I challenge anyone to bake or cook something using both, and prove that one is superior to the other.

    Finally, wine -- one of globetrotter's examples -- is the most ridiculous. I will cook for free for a month for anyone who is able to taste the difference between risottos made with Pinot Grigios (say) from two different vineyards. I am not saying they wouldn't taste different when drunk -- in many cases they will, and one may well prefer one to another -- but as an ingredient in risotto?

    I think what this boils down to (pardon the pun) is as long as the basic level of quality (few would dispute that both Droste and Lindt make quality chocolate) and basic character (a Pinot Grigio is on some basic level always a Pinot Grigio) are there, the brand is irrelevant.

    Happy cooking,
    Tony
     
  5. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

    Messages:
    2,030
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    (Fabienne @ Feb. 08 2005,07:03) You must be joking, about the brands. Â It is most important, as you surely know. Â Try cooking with American parmesan cheese, and then taste your risotto... I mean, really, Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa and Droste, no difference to you?
    Fabienne, I'm not sure if you're being facetious or serious. Â Regardless, you're right -- I should have been more precise and taken it on a case by case basis. American "parmesan," to me, is a different product than real Parmigiano-Reggiano, not just a different brand. Even so, it has its place -- I grate some American parmesan on my pasta on weeknights regularly. Â That, in turn, is different from the pre-grated "parmesan" that comes in green cans (that stuff isn't even cheese). Â But consider this -- say I have no time, energy or money to get real Parmigiano-Reggiano, and get some Grana Padano instead. Â That, too, actually, is a different product, not brand, but works very well in risotto. Â Yes, some people may be able to taste a slight difference. Â But is it inferior as an ingredient in this case? Â I don't think so. Â I should point out that when eating the cheese "straight" as it were, the difference is fairly pronounced, and many people would prefer Parmigiano-Reggiano, but as an ingredient in risotto, either one can be 100% effective. Chocolate is an even better example (and I have to apologize here -- I am NOT a chocolate expert). Â Ghiradelli vs. Droste -- don't know. Â Haven't tasted Ghiradelli in a long time. Â But Lindt vs. Droste? Â I challenge anyone to bake or cook something using both, and prove that one is superior to the other. Finally, wine -- one of globetrotter's examples -- is the most ridiculous. Â I will cook for free for a month for anyone who is able to taste the difference between risottos made with Pinot Grigios (say) from two different vineyards. Â I am not saying they wouldn't taste different when drunk -- in many cases they will, and one may well prefer one to another -- but as an ingredient in risotto? I think what this boils down to (pardon the pun) is as long as the basic level of quality (few would dispute that both Droste and Lindt make quality chocolate) and basic character (a Pinot Grigio is on some basic level always a Pinot Grigio) are there, the brand is irrelevant. Happy cooking, Tony
    We pretty much agree. You can get Parmigiano-Reggiano at a reasonable price at Trader Joe's if you live near one. It's still nothing like the ones I have tasted in Italy. They are so hard, I can barely grate those. To me, Ghirardelli is not chocolate. Better than Hershey's though . [​IMG] Lindt can be very good, especially if bought in Europe, but I fear they alter the recipes for the products marketed in the US. I recently bought their white coconut "chocolate" and nearly spit it out: it was salty, with a metallic after taste. Pouah . I'm not a chocolate expert either, but I have Belgian friends who regularly spoil me by sending small offerings. I can't say much about the white wines I cook with, although I have definitely chosen the wrong wine a few times, so I'm not sure about your pinot gris assessment. But with the red variety, I can attest that the quality of the wine does influence the sauce. In that case, a merlot is not easily substituted by any other merlot. Just try The Charles Shaw Merlot awfullness at Trader Joe's and compare it to a Merlot with a little more body and a few more dollars. I don't believe you will disagree about this.
     
  6. artdeco73

    artdeco73 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Location:
    Washington, DC, USA
    Totally agreed. Charles Shaw Merlot is the wine equivalent of the pre-grated "parmesan" in green cans. I think I once had wine that came in a box that was better. Back when it was $1.99, someone nicknamed it "two-buck chuck" and it suck. This is a perfect example of the basic quality requirement not being satisfied. This is also an illustration of the age-old cooks' wisdom that one shouldn't cook with any wine that isn't good enough to drink, and two-buck chuck most certainly isn't.

    Regards,
    Tony
     
  7. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

    Messages:
    20,605
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    greater chicago
    (Fabienne @ Feb. 08 2005,08:36) case by case basis. I can't say much about the white wines I cook with, although I have definitely chosen the wrong wine a few times, so I'm not sure about your pinot gris assessment. But with the red variety, I can attest that the quality of the wine does influence the sauce. Â In that case, a merlot is not easily substituted by any other merlot. Â Just try The Charles Shaw Merlot awfullness at Trader Joe's and compare it to a Merlot with a little more body and a few more dollars. Â I don't believe you will disagree about this.
    Totally agreed. Â Charles Shaw Merlot is the wine equivalent of the pre-grated "parmesan" in green cans. Â I think I once had wine that came in a box that was better. Â Back when it was $1.99, someone nicknamed it "two-buck chuck" and it suck. Â This is a perfect example of the basic quality requirement not being satisfied. Â This is also an illustration of the age-old cooks' wisdom that one shouldn't cook with any wine that isn't good enough to drink, and two-buck chuck most certainly isn't. Regards, Tony
    I actualy use a boxed wine for cooking, something australian that isn't bad. I find that I hated cooking with the wine that I keep to drink, and sometimes I just need a cup, so having a box is a very good solution. might not be the best wine, but a lot of people actualy drink it.
     
  8. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

    Messages:
    2,030
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    A dear Italian friend from Florence cooked in my kitchen a few times. When presented with particular items, she sometimes lamented I didn't have "the right ingredients" (she was once very harsh on my French nutmeg, blaming it for her dish failing to meet her requirements). It was all very amusing to watch her. Her biggest failure at my place was some kind of clementine pudding. She was mortified.
     
  9. tiger02

    tiger02 Senior member

    Messages:
    3,799
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    That's because the real stuff is properly--and tastes astounding when--crumbled instead of grated.

    Celemtine pudding? Does that even work?

    Tom
     
  10. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

    Messages:
    13,141
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Personally I really like Ghiardelli (sp), although I do like Lindt, Droste, and Milka as well, I prefer a nice ghiardelli. I guess there's no accounting for taste.
     
  11. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

    Messages:
    2,030
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    I think Ghirardelli suits American palates. Some of my friends grew up on Hershey's chocolate, and that is what they prefer.
    When you start doing taste comparisons, I think the difference is fairly obvious. Ghirardelli is bland. You barely taste the cocoa.
     
  12. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

    Messages:
    2,030
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    (Fabienne @ Feb. 08 2005,17:36) We pretty much agree. Â You can get Parmigiano-Reggiano at a reasonable price at Trader Joe's if you live near one. Â It's still nothing like the ones I have tasted in Italy. Â They are so hard, I can barely grate those.
    That's because the real stuff is properly--and tastes astounding when--crumbled instead of grated. Â Celemtine pudding? Â Does that even work? Tom
    Well, apparently not Anna: she had me grate the parmesan she brought me from Sicily with no respect for the ends of my fingers... I know you can use the ends (crust) of this type of parmesan to flavor your tomato sauce. I have no idea how the Clementine conconction was supposed to taste. She blamed the citrus. Then my corn starch. She kept shaking her head, saying: "Such a shame, it is so refreshing in the summer."
     
  13. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

    Messages:
    13,141
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I was referring primarily to milk chocolate. I enjoy the occasional 70% Lindt as well, but I'm primarily a milk chocolate fan. I dislike Hershey's with a passion though, I like swiss Nestle though (not the stuff sold in the US)
     
  14. tiger02

    tiger02 Senior member

    Messages:
    3,799
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    LOL. I can completely picture this. I'm sure it tasted just fine to you, if not superlative. I can, however, empathize with something just...not...working. It can be hard to get your exact taste across without the right ingredients. Which in Germany, means almost always... I'm a milk chocolate guy too. Damn that Hersheys... Tom
     
  15. ViroBono

    ViroBono Senior member

    Messages:
    259
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    I never had any problems getting any ingredients in Germany, but then I did live in Dusseldorf, with some amazing shops. I rarely bought food in either the NAAFI or PX; both full of processed crap.
     
  16. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

    Messages:
    13,141
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    During my 6 months or so in Vienna, it was extraordinarily easy to get good food products in a city full of premium supermarkets and open air markets. Great place to get meat at nice butcher shops (although not steaks, its damn near impossible to get a good one in Europe)
     
  17. tiger02

    tiger02 Senior member

    Messages:
    3,799
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    Ingredients available in IO, Germany, especially this time of year:

    OK sausage
    bad sausage

    OK onions
    bad onions

    bad fish
    fish you wouldn't...well, you know.

    There may be some great gemstones here, but you still can't get a good steak/lemon/orange/tomato. I will give credit for consistently fresh basil and flat-leaf parsley, which is hard to find back home.

    Tom
     
  18. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

    Messages:
    20,605
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    greater chicago
    when does the white asparagus start? isn't it just about now?

    I liked the breads/baked goods, cured meats, cheeses that were available in germany. the game meats available in stores, of course the beer, there were, in Dusseldorf at the time, some great ethnic stores (although actually that was just japanese and what they liked to eat).

    the funny thing is, though, that you get used to something in just a certain way. Hummus is about the simplest food in the world, it includes chickpeas, olive oil and seasonings. but getting it "right" is very difficult. we used to eat hummus from one specific place, and we looked for a while to find good hummus after moving to the states. not that their aren't hundreds of perfectly good humuses out there, just we wanted to find one jsut like we like it.
     
  19. PHV

    PHV Senior member

    Messages:
    686
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    If you're into mass produced chocolate, give Cote D'or a try. It's Belgium's Hershey's. Not bad.

    Last time when I was in Liege, I spent a lot of time going to different chocolatiers. Over here in Canada a truffle of comparable quality will cost you $10-$15. There it is a lot more common.
     
  20. Horace

    Horace Senior member

    Messages:
    1,447
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    (kabert @ Feb. 03 2005,09:34) Excepting things like bread/biscuits, the ONLY meals during the year that we have platters/bowls of food that are passed around the table are Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter dinner. Â If there are alot of people or kids involved, sometimes we do a buffet, but all 1-3 couple dinners (other than casual pizza/take-out of course) involve my wife putting together nice plates for everyone. Â That's just the way we've always done things. Â BTW, my wife is definitely in the foodie category.
    I hesitate to prepare plates for people, as I feel I may be imposing amounts and choices. I guess I learned a new term. Â Foodie. Â I don't think that's me, though. Â I cook as I breathe, it's integrated into our lives, I don't make a big deal of it. Â I could cook with my eyes closed, or make something out of whatever is left in the refrigerator. Â That's not being a foodie, is it?
    The term foodie is one that I hear more and more and like less and less.
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by