By Henry Gould – Jan 18th, 2019
You might be wondering if the title of this blog was generated by a computer algorithm that just got water spilled on it. Thankfully not! Today I wanted to switch it up, offering a bit of a “low attention span” post with 3 interesting items to take you into the weekend. Sound good? Greeeeeeeat.
STOCK A SMARTER PANTRY
“Tidying up with Marie Kondo” has taken Netflix by storm, offering viewers the opportunity to see what real de-cluttering looks like while at the same time angering academics and writers who are being told they shouldn’t own more than 30 books.
Keeping a cleaner and more efficient kitchen can be a huge motivator to cooking more at home. When the kitchen is dirty and you have 30 stale spice jars in a drawer, you’re never going to want to make Natalie Cumberbirch’s Grain Bowl from earlier this week.
The solution? THROW EVERYTHING OUT, START OVER.
Go through your cupboards, drawers, fridge, and get rid of anything expired, gross looking, or that you know you realistically won’t eat. Then, go to the grocery store and stock up on the following.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- In my opinion, EVOO should be your go-to lipid of choice. Years of cooking shows scared people into thinking EVOO would burn and catch fire the second it hit your pan. Relax. Unless your pot is glowing hot, it’s fine to use EVOO for searing and frying. It’s also incredibly healthy, tastes great, and can be use in raw applications as well as cooked.
- I’m partial to Italian oils, but there is fantastic EVOO available from Spain, Greece, Chile, Croatia, and Lebanon.
- Extra Virgin refers to the first pressing of olives which contain more of the flavor compounds. This is what you want.
- EVOO is like wine; if you spend over $20 on a bottle, chances are it’s going to be good. Bosa Foods has a great selection.
- Sea Salt
- Iodized salt tastes like chemicals, and almost always leads to over salting of food.
- Good quality sea salt from Italy is cheap (~$2 a box), tastes natural, and is perfect for any cooking application.
- Again, Bosa Foods has a great selection.
- Buy spices whole, in small quantities, and store in your cupboard in jars with tight lids.
- Toast whole spices in a pan before grinding them. This helps release the oils and enhance the flavors.
- Grind spices in an electric coffee grinder, or a mortar and pestle.
- Cooking with whole spices is great too (Cinnamon, Cardamom, All Spice) just make sure to remove them before eating
- Give someone a bowl of plain boiled chickpeas and they’ll struggle to eat more than a few bites. Dress the same chickpeas with vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil and the bowl will be gone before you know it.
- Getting comfortable with acidity in cooking can make a massive difference. As well, because vinegar is a fermented product there tends to be more umami flavor than you would get from citrus fruit like lemons or limes.
- Red Wine Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar, Sherry Vinegar, Balsamic, Rice Wine…. all excellent.
- Learning to season and balance food with acid is a huge step in cooking better.
- Salt Fat Acid Heat is a great show on Netflix that explores each of these flavors in more depth.
- I’m a bit of a mustard freak; never less than 4 jars or tubes on the go at all times.
- Dijon Mustard is essential (I prefer Maille brand) as is a good German mustard like Thomy
- Keen’s or Coleman’s English Mustard powder is great for rubs, or for mixing plain with water and having on ham or roast beef.
- Dressings, dips, sauces and stews can usually all benefit from a spoon of mustard to add richness and umami.
SOBER JANUARY PART 2
I’ve been told the only thing worse than sober January is hearing people talk about sober January. Probably true! However, it seems the benefits of abstaining from alcohol for a month have positive impacts beyond saving money and a hangover.
Apparently taking a month off the booze can do much needed repair to the liver, so says this recent article from British GQ.
HOCKEY PLAYERS CAN’T FIND PANTS CUZ THEIR BUTTS ARE TOO BIG
As Yard Athletics founder and trainer Ilan Cumberbirch can attest, years of hockey and hours in the gym lead to an extremely strong lower half. The flip-side? Tricky to find pants!
This latest piece in Men’s Health asked a bunch of NHL Players about their struggles to find pants, and it seems the problem is wide spread (pun intended). I’m sure this is an issue across most professional athletes, but particularly amusing with hockey players given some have comically large legs.
To hear more about the jean journeys of Taylor Hall, Jonathan Toews, and Max Domi, read here.