Thursday, December 19, 2019

Jewish moms try each other's brisket

Brisket is a slab of meat from the lower chest of beef. The muscles include pectorals that support 60% of the weight of cattle and the muscles have a significant amount of connective tissue and all that means the meat is tough and flavorful. The opposite of tenderloin. It must be cooked slow and low for a long period of time to tenderize and to gelatinize the collagen fibers and to melt the fat. Water is needed so it doesn't dry out and to combine the elements as cooking changes them.

Covered and cooked slowly. Braised.

The question becomes what flavors the cook adds to the already flavorful cut of beef. Smoke, usually, and BBQ. Various sweeteners. Flavors that contribute to the already flavorful beef without competing or conflicting.

I never cooked brisket but off the top of my head pineapple seems like it would be good.

Leeks, potato, carrots, celery, the usual things added later.

I'm big on Napa cabbage in place of the usual green cabbage. It cooks very fast. It's almost like lettuce. Even the thick white part is tender and filled with water. When you eat the thick white stem part water explodes in your mouth. It cooks in seconds. A barely cooked Napa cabbage sliced on the side would be refreshing while an overcooked Napa cabbage would be dreary.

A brisket is already dreary. I'm thinking of things that would brighten it up. Things to lift up its heaviness. Like fruit. If cooked, then only barely.

Some of my best photographs of meat are tenderloin beef and pork slices surrounded by fresh fruit and berries. It just looks super appealing. And when your fork goes down the first thing it jabs is a blueberry or a strawberry or a chunk of pineapple.

The scale is 1-10 but I cannot get past the plastic service-ware. That's just flat wrong. Everyone starts out at minus-zero because beef and plastic knife and fork do not go together.

Come on, Princesses! Demand proper service ware.



I like watching women. 

They're mean. 

Contrary to that, I watched a Jewish woman compete with a cook and she was open and receptive and in a frame of mind to learn by comparing and trying new things. She was so sweet. She was interested in interrogating the cook to discover new ways for improvement. About a traditional dish. I think it was chicken soup and matzo ball.  She surprised me delightfully.


They're all unconcerned about the crust. None made a crust top. Each is based on the pumpkin pie principle. The only one who tried something new, alcohol, was shot down by the others.

They're all sticking to a fairly strict expectation of what sweet potato pie is supposed to be.

That means they would all hate the pie that I made.

If I submitted it as a sweet potato pie.

And I really liked my pie.

I put all kind of weird crap in my pie so that each bite would be different. Each forkful will bring up a different combination of fruit flavors. Sweet potato is only one of the flavors. It has both bottom and top crust. It's profile is not anything customary. It will not meet anyone's expectation.

My pie would fail so badly because it doesn't match anything they're judging against. They're judging against some vague personal ideal that they got from their own families.  The spices they name are all ordinary holiday pie spices; cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice. Nobody mentioned cardamon or clove, or even mace. Nobody mentioned ginger. I don't think anyone mentioned lemon. There are a ton of really great flavors that these women do not want in their sweet potato pie.

Why not pecans? Why not orange peel? Why not a brandy? Why not another fruit besides the root vegetable sweet potato?

These women convinced me I must not call my pie "sweet potato pie."

No. That will not do.

Because it will not match anyone's expectation and that will cause disappointment. Because they'll be looking for what they know and not see it or taste it.

Therefore I must call it something else, like, "Bizarre pie with sweet potato in it along with a bunch of other crap like raisins and dried cherries." 

8 comments:

Rabel said...

These women convinced me I must not call my pie "sweet potato pie."

I wasn't going to say anything, but, it's good to see you coming around.

Also, a pie with raisins in it is a raisin pie. Whatever else you put in, it's still full of raisins.

Also, a confession - I was well into adulthood before I made the connection between raisins and grapes. Very well.

Chip Ahoy said...

All the dried things are plumped back up to fruit and berry-hood. But not entirely so they're intensified. The re-plumped cherries are especially good. And they contribute interesting texture to dully pasty pumpkin-type custardy goop. Also pecans. And some people are against encountering nuts in things like brownies.

I also like all those things in oatmeal.

So that oatmeal is more like trail mix.

edutcher said...

I like watching women.
They're mean.


Back in the days when we were being bombarded with Tales of the Feminist Sisterhood, I'd always remember what my mom said, "Men like other men better than women like other women".

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I like experimentation too--but some people are PURISTS.

To be fair--I feel that way about pizza. I do not like experimental pizzas because often they have deviated so far as not to be pizza anymore. So while I don't necessarily hate the experiment--I get hung up on the name.

MamaM said...

Expectation and Experiemention. Yes.

Was the hostess who assigned a side dish of sweet potatoes to the guest she invited to her Thanksgiving dinner expecting him to bring a never before made or served conglomeration of sweet potatoes and fruit (with every bite producing a different flavor experience), baked into a pie with a showy crust that left her to decide if it was intended to accompany the meal as the side dish requested, be served afterward as a pie dessert, or function as a party novelty to be admired, tasted and talked about?

Maybe she knew the guest well enough to expect something unusual and outside of the traditional fare.

MamaM said...

Using the definitions of mean listed below, men seem to me to be as capable and inclined to behave in that manner as women. Why someone would enjoy watching women be mean to each other is another matter.

1. BRITISH unwilling to give or share things, especially money; not generous.
"she felt mean not giving a tip"
Similar:
miserly
niggardly
close-fisted
parsimonious
penny-pinching
cheeseparing
ungenerous
penurious
illiberal
close
grasping
greedy
avaricious
acquisitive
Scroogelike
miserable
tightfisted
stingy
tight
mingy
money-grubbing
skinflinty
cheap
grabby
hungry
near
niggard
vulgar slangtight-ass
tight-assed
tight as a duck's arse
Opposite:
generous
extravagant
munificent
2.
unkind, spiteful, or unfair.
"it was very mean of me"
Similar:
unkind
nasty
spiteful
foul
malicious
malevolent
despicable
contemptible
obnoxious
vile
odious
loathsome
disagreeable
unpleasant
unfriendly
uncharitable
shabby
unfair
callous
cruel
vicious
base
low
horrible
horrid
hateful
rotten
lowdown
beastly
bitchy
catty
vulgar slangshitty
Opposite:
kind
NORTH AMERICAN
vicious or aggressive in behavior.
"the dogs were considered mean"unwilling to give or share things, especially money; not generous.
"she felt mean not giving a tip"
Similar:
miserly
niggardly
close-fisted
parsimonious
penny-pinching
cheeseparing
ungenerous
penurious
illiberal
close
grasping
greedy
avaricious
acquisitive
Scroogelike
miserable
tightfisted
stingy
tight
mingy
money-grubbing
skinflinty
cheap
grabby
hungry
near
niggard
vulgar slangtight-ass
tight-assed
tight as a duck's arse
Opposite:
generous
extravagant
munificent
2. unkind, spiteful, or unfair.
"it was very mean of me"
Similar:
unkind
nasty
spiteful
foul
malicious
malevolent
despicable
contemptible
obnoxious
vile
odious
loathsome
disagreeable
unpleasant
unfriendly
uncharitable
shabby
unfair
callous
cruel
vicious
base
low
horrible
horrid
hateful
rotten
lowdown
beastly
bitchy
catty
vulgar slangshitty
Opposite:
kind
NORTH AMERICAN
vicious or aggressive in behavior.
"the dogs were considered mean"

ricpic said...

Well, you have to admit, MamaM, that women often stare other women up and down in a terrifyingly (to a man) cold way that men rarely do regarding other men. As in vicious-mean.

Dad Bones said...

Whether it's a man or a woman being mean it isn't always bad, and has been going on as long as I've been watching.

Jerry Lee Lewis

Wanda Jackson