Controversial Culinary Comments

Put. Down. The. Chef. Knife.
I’ve given these ideas some thought, maybe you have other ideas as well.

  1. Corn on the cob is no better 12 minutes after it’s been harvested versus 12 hours later. Yeah, there’s a thrill to getting the water boiling before the corn has been picked, but any improvement in taste is placebo. That said, I love corn on the cob. If you haven’t grilled it, try soaking ears (unshucked) then grilling. Outer leaves may burn, but that’s ok.

  2. Charcuterie is vastly over-rated. It’s a current “thing” and I’ve tried it a few times. The thing is, I prefer lean meat. Cured meat with blobs of cured fat just doesn’t do it for me. Sorry.

  3. Tomato growers need to get their shit together. Every summer I get a few tasty tomatoes from friends and neighbors, but I don’t remember the last time I bought a great tomato from a grocery store. If I’m going to make gazpacho for dinner, I wanna use fantastic tomatoes.

  4. Oil is complicated. I have several different olive oils, corn oil, safflower, peanut, and coconut oil in the pantry. I know enough to grab the expensive olive oil to dress a salad, but beyond that I just grab one.

  5. Eggplant is under appreciated. I bought two nice eggplants from the farm market near us this morning. One I’m going to stuff, the other I’ll slice, salt, rinse, dry then grill. After grilling the rounds I use them, chilled, in salads. The owner of the market told me eggplant isn’t a big seller. What? They were a buck a piece for freaking beautiful eggplants.

Thought I had more rants.
Anyone care to share theirs?

Corn on the cob tastes like grass clippings smell.
Your $1200 chef knife wasn’t worth it other than for bragging.
Ice cream, across the board, is over rated. All of it. Even the stuff you hate.
American candy, taken in total, is no better or worse than the candy of any other nation, taken in total.
Quinoa is boring.

If you put pineapple on pizza, you hate America.

Yep, mass market tomatoes are just props that are meant to look like tomatoes in photos, but aren’t actually tomatoes.

Not everything is improved by smoking.

Bacon is just OK

It’s OK to buy it. Whatever *it *is, if it’s decent enough quality, it’s OK.

Picks up the chef’s knife again

That checks out. Mmmm, Hawaiian pizza.

I don’t mind flavorless tomatoes actually but I would say the same thing about mass market green peppers, strawberries, and blackberries.

I suppose that last one is not really that controversial…

How about this one?

We need a moratorium on french fries. Yeah, they’re crispy and salty and greasy, but they are just too overdone as an option. Can we please try using our collective imaginations and come up with some alternatives for general consumption? Maybe something that is a little healthier?

Onion rings. Or calamari, even?

A chef friend made some blue cheese ice cream that was amazing.

Oh, and quinoa being boring is a plus. It forces you to add things to it to create an exciting dish.

Let’s steer away from fried.

Coffee smells wonderful. Coffee looks really cool, particularly when cream is added. Coffee makes you feel all warm and woken up inside.

However, coffee is one of the most foul tasting substances on this planet.

You’ll get my santoku from my cold, dead hands. Or in the back, considering.

12 hours, no. 12 days, yes. In any case, corn on the cob is an over-rated mess, especially if you have facial hair. Just grab the chef’s knife and cut the kernels off, fer Ghu’s sake!

Charcuterie is garbage. Just fancy words for a cold cut platter, and a pretty lousy one at that.

Eggplant is wonderful, and versatile to boot.

Pineapple belongs on pizza. Period.

To quote a columnist I happen to agree with - “Every town these days has a brewpub or microbrewery. 95% of these are total garbage.”

As an extension of the above - “Artisan” doesn’t mean “better.” It means “more expensive.”

Charcuterie is Lunchables for (pretentious) adults.

The corn that was available decades ago would start to lose its sweetness as soon as it was picked. Newer varieties have been bred to be sweeter, and not to lose their sweetness so quickly. So, yes, there really isn’t much difference between 12 minute and 12 hour corn. There are people who think these new varieties have little flavor other than sweetness, but that’s a different issue.

I’m fortunate to live in an area where I can get good tomatoes in local stores. Two local produce markets sell dry-farmed Early Girls, which have an intense tomato flavor. They tend to be small, and their skins are tough, but they taste like tomatoes. This is doubly important to me because the weather at my house is too cool to grow really good tomatoes.

My contributions to culinary heresy:

In most applications, one salt is as good as another. Once it’s in the dish, you can’t taste a difference. All the fancy salts on the market (sea salt, pink salt, black salt, etc.) are a waste of money.

Most olive oils are pretty bad. The ones that are really good are also expensive.

Steak frites is just steak with French fries. Why has it become chic?

Bacon tastes good, but it doesn’t belong in everything. Why are there chocolate bars with bacon bits in them?

Pork belly (from which American bacon is made) can be good, but it’s a fad. Does it have to show up everywhere?

Greek-style yogurt isn’t as good as regular yogurt. It loses most of its lactic acid when they drain off the whey, so it’s not as tart. But then, most regular yogurt sold in the U.S. isn’t very good, either, since they rely on thickeners for texture rather than letting fermentation do its work.

Most bottled BBQ sauce is horrible. If you read the ingredient lists, you’ll see that many of them are little more than ketchup with added sweeteners and smoke flavoring. You’re better off making your own.

The meat on BBQed ribs should not fall off the bone. Ribs should be a little bit chewy. I recently watched a video in which a proud chef showed how he could pull the bone out of one of his ribs while leaving the meat undisturbed. To me, that’s a disqualifier.

I hope I never see (or smell) truffle oil again.

^ Here, here!

I think grocery store tomatoes are raised to be good-looking and easy to transport, without losing that good-looking quality. Tomato flavor is a very distant afterthought.

My contribution: IPA. Does every micro-brew have to be IPA? It’s like a race to the bottom in bitterness. Whenever I see IPA on the menu I search for something else, nearly ANYTHING else. And all the hipster dufuses seem to rave-on about IPA. There are many other kinds of brew that taste better (to me). It reminds me of the old joke: You know how they make IPA? You need a bucket of regular beer, a thirsty horse, and an empty bucket.

Sourdough bread was for peasants because it tastes like crap. Long generations went into developing sweeter, more pleasant-tasting yeasts. Use them!

Salted butter makes everything taste better. Irish butter is worth the extra price.

Canned tomatoes are delicious in almost everything.

Green peas are better frozen than bought fresh. Unless you are getting them straight from the garden minutes after picking, you want them frozen before all the sugars break down.

1): Yes it is. Unless you are growing that tasteless grey-white crap known as "Sweet"or “Silver Queen.” That stuff is good only for drying, powdering, and turning into buttercream frosting. Get yourself some yummy, yellow, large-kerneled corn with actual flavor and nutrition in it.

4): When in doubt, use safflower. It has a nice high smoke point, adds little to no flavor, but carries other flavors very well. It also has a light non-greasy mouth feel and is very good for you.

If you want the oil to add flavor, then use olive. Use the greenest one you can for the intended cooking temperature with out smoking up the kitchen.

Soybean oil makes everything taste like grass clippings.

If you are using any rice other than basmati, then quinoa tastes far better, is better for you, and can serve the same purpose. There is no replacement for a good Zebra or Basmati though.

If the pizza were actually Hawaiian, then it would have grilled spam on it. Pineapple on pizza would be fine if they didn’t also add marinara sauce; the combination is an abomination.

Add cantaloupes to that list please. If it’s been trucked over a thousand miles, it’s the kind that handles long transport without spoiling. It looks pretty when cut up, but tastes like plastic. Local fresh ones can be fantastic though.

Agreed. Truffle oil is vile. Real truffles, however…

You can’t indulge, you have to over-indulge. A nice al dente fettuccine, light cream sauce, and enough shaved white truffle to cover the pasta. Heaven on a plate.

If a burger has so much crap on it that you have to unhinge your jaw to eat it, it’s a lousy burger and you are overpaying for it.

Restaurants that charge high prices but serve very small portions are outright cheating everyone who eats there. Everyone knows this but some are embarrassed to say so.

Fish is awful smelling, even if it’s “fresh.” It reeks, and the taste isn’t much better.

Cottage cheese gets a bad rap.

A properly crafted, “non-fad” like IPA can be quite delicious.