The frugal gourmet. I understand he was accused of being naughty but he was never criminally charged, that his insurers settled and that pretty much ended things including his show. He died in his sleep of heart disease, so spare us the lectures of good vs bad cholesterol.
No chipped beef for you! The videos are all pathetic. Don't bother. This guy prattles aimlessly about the Stanley Cup
while his suffering wife stirs. They are all using prepared sliced sandwich beef either from tins, or jars, or vacuum packages, drowned in simple Béchamel sauce. You can do better. None consider nutmeg, customary for Béchamel, none consider chile powder or chile sauce, none even consider Worcestershire, an obvious addition. None consider onions nor garlic. Jeeze Louise. You can do this same thing with leftover steak, corn beef roast, or chicken, and all of that would be improvement. They serve it over toast, but any starch will work. Noodles an excellent substitution over toast, baked potato would be better, even left over baked potato, even microwaved potato. Riced mashed potato with a teaspoon of horseradish with chipped beef made of leftover steak would make a gourmet meal out of shit on shingles.
Screw frugality. Food is one of the few real pleasures in life, so go for it. That is not saying you should be profligate. You can do very well for yourself by sticking with basics. Turns out, by modern standards of eating, peasants of old ate very well. It has nothing to do with frugality, saving coupons and such so that you end up purchasing in bulk things you wouldn't purchase otherwise, then purchase storage cabinets to save things for decades taking over rooms and garages as your coupon obsession is exercised, and everything to do with mastering basics.
Gourmet Cooking for Dummies was one of the books given to me by Olga. Written by Charlie Trotter, a famous chef. I looked up "eggs," surely there would be a whole chapter, don't you think?
No. Just a mention of eggs on two pages. For dummies indeed.
Master eggs, the things that they do as glue, as thickener, as emulsion, their nutrition, their puffing ability, their sauce making ability, the variety of forms that they take, their wonders to behold, their general excellence, their utter simplicity, their beauty, and you go very far in mastering cooking generally, but they get only two mentions in Cooking for Dummies. In my humble opinion that makes the book nearly worthless. It is a seriously fatal lacuna.
But here is what I noticed about this video.
corn meal mush
They are all the same thing. They are a grains and kernels ground to powder and cooked in 3X-4X the amount of liquid; water, or some kind of broth, even tea or coffee.
In this case the rice is more liquid to form a gruel soup. The corn mush is chilled and allowed time to set to a solid (as all of them will). The grits are corn that is treated first with lye before milling to rid the outer corn kernel husk and making the kernel more easily digestible. The remnant lye leaving behind its own unique and attractive flavor. This is the same thing as masa harina, the powder used for tamales and to make corn tortillas.
This idea of milling a kernel to flour can be extended to any dried bean. Flavored in any way beans are flavored and left in its mush form, not diluted to soup or set and chilled to a solid. They can be all cooked to flavorful mush. It sounds not so great, and it looks a bit worse, but this has become one of my all-time favorite things to make quickly.
I want some right now.
I can make this flavorful bean mush breakfast with fried eggs as quickly and easily as people prepare morning coffee.
I keep all kinds of kernels and beans sealed tight in mason jars. It makes for a colorful collection. And it looks like I know what I'm doing, as cook, as artist, as kitchen set designer, as photographer. Eh.
I also keep all kind of flavor agents handy, my spice rack is an entire kitchen cabinet that includes dry onion and dehydrated garlic, various prepared curries, various chile powders, and the like.
A tiny spice rack that spins around makes me sad. It tells me the person does not know what they are doing.
I can randomly select any dry bean, chickpea, legume, any dry kernel, any rice variety or popcorn, and process it to powder using an electric coffee mill, then microwave in 3X+ water or available stock along with butter and dry herb, garlic, onion, what have you, and in minutes produce flavorful mush to spread on a plate as base for two eggs fried quickly in butter. Then slide the eggs onto the mush. The buttery pan available to press toast into. Cleans the pan and butters the toast simultaneously.
The bean, or kernel, or grain mush comes out differently each time because each time selections are random.
A mere 1/4 cup dry bean, kernel, or grain + 3/4 cup water + dry spices + butter.
No need to buy cornmeal in a box, grits in a box, chickpea flour. No need for any of that. The great thing about it is nothing is lost to oxidation, manufacturing processing, packaging, production, transportation and storage. The powder is milled freshly.
A tortilla is perfect for getting the last smear of flavorful mush mixed with egg off the plate. So you won't have to lick the plate like a dog, as I do, to get the last drop, it is that compellingly delicious. Toast works as well. Sourdough toast sends the dish right over the top. POW! Breakfast does not get better than this.
I wonder why Jeff Smith missed this connection between the elements of his presentation. Why did he fail at that grand final unifying field theory that would simplify his entire array, and make his presentation all so clear?
I do not understand why my understanding has failed to sweep the whole world.
I just don't.
Those Chinese mentioned have the whole world of grains available to them to do what they're already doing with their rice gruel and extend it beautifully with eggs and some kind of bread.
Those Southerners mentioned with their grits have the whole world of grains and dry beans available to them, why limit their focus to hominy?
That corn meal mush guy mentioned has the colors of the rainbow in beans and grains and more available that all do the exact same thing, if solidify and fry it they must. All the beans and kernels and grains do that. Why limit the focus to corn?
This failure to see and embrace what I've found is beyond my comprehension.
Also, why the slagging on bacon and eggs? That was the best of the lot. Jeff omitted toast and jam with coffee, a typical Denny's type breakfast. The problem occurs by having that same meal every single day for years on end onto decades. The problem with it arises from absence of variety. And that is what I am trying to convey.
My dad would have fried trout for breakfast just for a change.
Jeff Smith leaves off Mexican breakfast, desayuno, a variety of light meals
offered in the cool of a morning that promises a blazing hot day, with birds noisily chirping in nearby cages in the shade or outside. A concha with jam or a pastry roll, juice, coffee, milk, fruit, toast and tomato.
Japanese have miso for breakfast. There is a vast variety of miso
. A mug of miso soup is easy to prepare as instant coffee. It is controlled fermented smashed beans, so, partially digested by microscopic organisms, that aids in digestion by humans, in the form of thick sludge the consistency of peanut butter, mixed with hot water. That's it. Bang. Miso soup. It is delicious. By itself, or as base soup for tofu and vegetables, noodles and such. Faster than preparing fresh coffee. An extended breakfast will have rice, fish, egg, vegetable relishes
and the like in small portions.
The South River miso pictured is the best available in the United States.
Jeff Smith omits mentioning that college students have this idea of fast variety nailed. Leftover pizza is all this at once in an instant. No preparation required. Leftover pizza straight from the refrigerator is a perfect breakfast of carbs, protein and fat, that is, grain, sausage, flavorful sauce, cheese. Perfect.
Originally I searched Frugal Gourmet to show Jeff Smith's comfort with dead air time. I recalled his show somewhat relaxing. I recalled he did not have a need to prattle, jibber jabber all the way through. That is what I remember of his excellent show. It seemed to me quieter than modern cooking shows as exemplified by Rachel Rae, the greatest of all prattlers, Jeff's show was more relaxed more filled with quietude as he simply demonstrated. I wanted to use two videos to contrast with modern shows that insist the host keep talking, to keep blabbering about what and who and why and when and by what mechanisms they do what they do, extending even to family anecdotes uncles and great aunts the whole family tree, even pets, to keep the presentation interesting to an audience that demands constant stimulation and emotional connection. But then Jeff Smith prattles all the way through this video and there went that whole idea, completely blown. What a bummer.