May 2009

Three Strange Foods

Given the right amount of thought, just about anything we people consume can sound strange. But there are some dishes that are just downright weird. Whether it's made out of unusual ingredients or the process of preparation is, um, unorthodox, there's just something odd (and traditionally unappealing) about the following delicacies.


The Century Egg

Oh Nose! Stinking Bishop officially Britain's smelliest cheese

What is it that attracts us to the further reaches of the olfactory spectrum? Why do we chase the ripest of bries, the strongest of cheddars, or the goat cheeses that smell most strongly of the barnyard? Is it part of a search for the new, for the next thing in the line, for something a little bit more than the last thing we tasted? Or is it just that for some of us, our taste buds are only sufficiently stimulated by only the most pungent of flavors?

Please forgive m e this momentary flight of fancy. I don’t have the answers to these questions, which is why they are of interest. On May 27th, the results for Britain’s Smelliest Cheese competition were announced, following a competition held during the Royal Bath and West Show which featured over a thousand different cheeses from around the British Isles. The judging panel was made up of a small group of professional tasters and five children, supposedly chosen for the sensitivity of their noses.

Salumi in Seattle

In downtown Seattle, there are two restaurants that routinely have a long line of people waiting to get in. One is Sky City, the restaurant located at the top of the iconic Space Needle and a veritable magnet for tourists. The other is a little meat shop in Pioneer Square called Salumi, a popular fixture for locals who know where to get the best sandwich in town.

Armandino Batali, father of world-famous chef Mario Batali and grandson of Seattle's first Italian grocer, opened Salumi with his wife Marilyn after retiring from a long career at Boeing. He brings his home-grown experience of curing meats to the most stunning, tiny deli in the entire city.

Review: The Chex Mix Candy Bars

Perhaps no category of brand-name foods is the subject of more constant change and experimentation than candy. Whether it's the big players in the sweets section testing a new twist on an old favorite or a bold freshman effort from an outsider, every month has something different to offer. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, but most of the time it's a resounding "meh". General Mills, a company best known for its cavalcade of popular breakfast cereals, has decided to elbow into the candy bar business with one of its old standards, Chex. Or, more accurately, Chex Mix. They've come out with two varieties of the treat in bar form- Chocolate Chunk and the always welcome Turtle.

Chocolate Chunk

Wasabi Bistro, Seattle's Premiere Sushi Restaurant

Like every major city on the West Coast, Seattle has no shortage of Asian influence in its local flavor. Like burger chains dot the Midwest, teriyaki shops and noodle stands are ubiquitous in the Emerald City. For fans of sushi, this presents something of a problem. There's nothing in the world like good sushi, but nothing quite as terrible as bad sushi. So, how can visitors and locals find their go-to sushi spot in Seattle? Well, they can ask around, or they can just cut out the exploration and head to Wasabi Bistro in Belltown.

At 2311 Second Avenue, the heart of downtown just south of the iconic Space Needle and Seattle Center, Wasabi Bistro is a gem nestled in a colorful neighborhood. It sports lively, modern interiors and a relaxing atmosphere good for a romantic outing, a dinner with friends, or an indulgent work-week lunch.

That taste so sweet (or, an evening with the miracle fruit)

What if there were a fruit that, when you eat it, changes the way you experience tastes. If makes lemons as sweet as an orange, and just as easy to eat. Well there is such a thing. And I have tried it. For you! Well, more accurately, I was at a party on Saturday night, and the host had bought a bag of Miracle Fruit. Whilst this might be a rather prosaic name, it does have the advantage of being accurate. The miracle fruit is a small red berry about the size of a fresh coffee bean, and is native to West Africa. It doesn’t actually taste of much itself, but contains protein molecules called miraculin (no, that doesn’t sound real to me, either, but there we go) that alter the way your taste buds react to sourness. You pop it in your mouth and hold it there for a few minutes (careful not to swallow the seed!), and then, well, the tasting begins!

Here are things we tried:


We tried fresh sliced lemons. Almost all of the sourness is removed, and the lemon tastes a little like a really fresh sorbet, except more juicy than icy.


Mother's Day Breakfast Challenge!

Thinking about making Mother's Day special with a homemade breakfast? Sure you are! So why not combine it with a personal "are you a (wo)man, or are a (wo)mouse?" sort of challenge, just for kicks! Test your abilities and push the threshold of your skill set by trying to make her some of those oh! so elegant, ever so European morning emblems of simplicity and grace- the delicate crêpe! Crêpes are the epitome of elegant breakfast foods. They are delicate, lacey, uncomplicated and...dare I say, feminine? Voila! Your kitchen becomes an expansive (but, not necessarily expensive!) coquette's wardrobe, for you can dress up a crêpe with virtually anything! This is a dish of extreme versatility. You can start with the standby classic and my favorite- fresh lemon juice and sugar followed by a half fold and then a quarter fold to get that little triangle and from there, look into all of your other options with vegetables or fruits and don't forget the herbs!