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Showing posts from May, 2012

Into the Schwarzwald

Today we look at Black Forest ham and its application in a sandwich setting. Growing up, I ate a lot of Black Forest ham. My mom liked to buy that and baby Swiss cheese for sandwiches, which in retrospect, seems extravagant for an elementary school lunch. But I appreciate the exposure to these more nuanced deli items — they probably broadened my palate more than your standard Oscar Meyer and Kraft fare. To tell the truth, I can't explain what differentiates Black Forest ham from your average ham, except that I like it better. It seems a little spicier and more, I don't know, hammy. Its wiki page says Black Forest ham is seasoned with "garlic, coriander, pepper, juniper berries and other spices," cured, then smoked at exactly 77°F with "fir brush and sawdust" from the Black Forest. Although very little of that sounds appetizing, Black Forest ham's black, crusty rind tastes great. I guess the fine people of the Schwarzwald know what they're doing.

Kewpie Mayonnaise: Disturbing but delicious

After years of waffling , I finally took the dive and purchased a bottle of Kewpie mayo. Kewpie mayo's premium price and disturbing packaging had previously prevented me from buying it, but Grub Street blogger Ian Knauer's Flavor Ammo post about it convinced me to give the baby-themed mayo a chance. For the unfamiliar, Kewpie is a popular Japanese brand of mayonnaise that's often found in gourmet specialty stores, such as Eastern District in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It's also currently available for 10 bucks on Amazon . The package features a standing baby that could easily serve as a homicidal doll in a horror story. Adding to the unease brought about by the package, the mayonnaise comes in a bag. I can't be alone in my belief that a bag is a completely inappropriate container for mayonnaise. Because of these setbacks, Kewpie mayo takes some getting used to. Now that I've come to terms with the unsettling packaging, I've probably topp