[Sca-cooks] Cooking steaks was Re: lethal drinks

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Wed Jul 23 09:20:57 PDT 2008

On Jul 23, 2008, at 10:55 AM, S CLEMENGER wrote:

> So is most of the white rice served in restaurants I've been in....
> I can only think of one or two restaurants in town that serve  
> something
> besides genericblandboringtasteless white rice.  One is a Thai place  
> and the
> other, Vietnamese.

We tend not to get anything very special in the way of rice for home  
use; generally it's just Carolina, but it gets transferred from the  
bag to a two-gallon glass jar when we get it home, and even when raw  
there's a sweet, rich, grainy whiff when the jar is opened. When we  
steam it for Chinese-type use, there are distinct aromas of starch,  
semi-converted sugars, and the toasted grain at the bottom of the pot,  
the aroma of which is imbued throughout -- unfortunately, if you burn  
it, that is imbued throughout, too. Electric rice cookers in some  
restaurants seem to do something of a disservice to the quality of the  
finished product on the aroma and flavor front.

A bowl of absolutely unadorned white rice isn't everybody's thing, but  
there's almost always something served with it, and if it's not more  
than adequate without adding soy sauce to the rice, it probably means  
that accompanying dish hasn't been done right. I think most serious  
rice consumers are looking for the contrast between the rich sweetness  
of the rice and the more piquant, powerful flavors of the accompanying  

Of course,  around here, sometimes that accompanying dish is as simple  
as the steamed contents of a can of fried dace with fermented black  
beans, and/or Chinese sauages, or soup poured over it. She Who Must be  
Obeyed is fond of fu ngoy/fu yi, which is a condiment made from bean  
curd cubes fermented in brine to a rather tangy, cheeselike state,  
with the brown, toasty crusts of rice from the bottom of the pot, and  
when nobody's looking I like at least one or two mouthfuls of my  
steamed rice rolled into a ball, for its firm texture. Besides, it  
makes me feel like I'm in a Kurosawa movie ;-).

I remember being told, fairly recently, back when we found ourselves  
in temporary semi-custody of a SCAdian who had gotten off a plane at  
one of the New York airports on a snowy holiday weekend, only to find  
that all her carefully-laid plans for where she was staying had been  
systematically destroyed by a friend who had travelled on ahead, who  
was supposed to be an integral part of the plans, but who had excused  
herself without notice. After a morning and afternoon of panicky phone  
calls and e-mails to and from various people, she arrived here, and I  
was informed later that she had walked through the door, and the first  
significant sensation that hit her was an unidentifiably homey,  
comforting aroma -- which was odd because we had frantically removed  
the dead mule lying in the middle of the living room floor only  
minutes before she arrived, and we hadn't started cooking dinner yet,  
except, of course, for a pot of rice.

She had apparently smelled that while still out in the hallway,  
outside our apartment door.


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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