Plus More Food Network Fail
I had a fine day of pizza-making at Trinity Church.
Today I decided to go Hawaiian. I made pizzas with pineapple, onions, ricotta, and ham. They were very good, but for some reason, Hawaiian toppings seem to work best on thin pizza. And the people at my church are addicted to pepperoni. I had a hard time getting rid of the Hawaiians, except for the few highly cultured people who knew the score. They were thrilled.
I also made pies with kalamatas, onions, green peppers, and ham. I am told a lot of people at Trinity have problems with ham, because it’s “slave food.” Arrggh. Where did this myth come from? Slaves ate pork. No doubt about it. So did their rich masters. In the South, pork is not considered poverty food. Everybody loves it. So giving someone pork to eat is not a sign of disrespect.
The crazy thing about the “slave food” idea is that Muslims like to push it. And who treats black people worse than Muslims? They were big in the slave trade. Still are! And Mohammed was a red-headed white man.
Whatever. I’m not going to quit putting pork on pizza. I wonder if people realize pepperoni is pork.
There is nothing like pork. No other readily available meat can begin to do what it does. Pork is magical. Pork means ribs, bacon, country ham, prosciutto, serrano ham, chicharrones, biscuits, cream gravy, redeye gravy, salt pork, lechon asado, and ham hocks. We’re talking about some of the finest eating available. I love a good prime steak, but other than that, beef isn’t in the same league.
I wish I hadn’t brought this up. I’m planning to start a fast soon. Ordinarily, I don’t like to talk about fasts with much specificity, because Jesus cautioned people about passing themselves off as hyper-righteous while fasting. But since I admit I’m fasting for purely selfish reasons, and because I don’t pretend to feel spiritual while I’m doing it, I have no problem mentioning this fast. I plan to whine pretty much continuously. That’s just how I roll.
I’m fasting because I want more power and freedom in my life. And I want God to help my dad and my sister. To me, it’s like taking a flea dip. It’s all about me and my needs. I got some good stuff when I fasted before, and I want more. How’s that for asceticism?
We still have no slicer at church, so I took my $10 Chinese cleaver. Don’t be foolish and buy a Shun or another high-end Japanese vegetable cleaver until you’ve tried the Chinese carbon-steel jobs. This thing has nice hard steel, it sharpens fast, and it will take an edge so fine you can hold a paper towel in front of you and wave the cleaver through it like a light saber. Okay, not quite like a light saber. But it will cut all the way through in one easy pass.
A lady volunteer thought it was a spatula, and she pried a slice of pizza off a pan. Later, when I realized this, I told her to watch out, because it was actually a razor-sharp knife. Then she showed me the cut on her hand. She was lucky; it was tiny. You could easily cut your self to the bone with this thing before you realized you had a problem.
It’s frustrating, having sharp kitchen knives around women. They never expect knives to be sharp, and it seems like whenever a woman picks up a sharp kitchen knife, the blood starts to flow. You have to watch them and hide the knives. I tried to keep mine to myself today, but she found it anyway.
My mother used to get mad at me for sharpening knives. Can you imagine?
The Chinese cleaver has mysterious powers. For some reason, you can mince with it, much faster and better than you could with a regular knife with an edge of the same length. You can load food on it and move it. You can cut food–even big food–in slices so thin they’re transparent. It’s sturdy enough to cut meat. It’s thin enough to cut potatoes and yuca without being dangerous. It adds iron to your food. And when you use it, you look like Bruce Lee.
I’m getting one for the church. But where will we store it to keep women from killing themselves while using it to flip pancakes? I’m also getting a smaller cleaver for myself. Six bucks. I mean COME ON. How can I not? You can find them at Wok Shop.
I have a Shun and a Tojiro. The Shun is worthless. Alton Brown is a fine person, but the Shun is still worthless, as is my Shun santoku, which chipped badly from the terrible stress of sitting in a dishwasher. The Shun cleaver is the wrong shape and size for anything you will want to do with it. I’ll bet I haven’t used mine in three years.
The Tojiro is a nice cleaver for big jobs, but it was very expensive, and I’m afraid to use it, and you can get a Chan Chee Ki for like $25.
The down side of Chinese cleavers is that they rust, IF you can’t figure out how to use a paper towel. However you don’t have to worry about big pieces falling out of them because the dishwasher is just too stressful for their dainty constitutions. Alton Brown hand-washes his Shuns, handling them as though they were booby-trapped hemophiliac burn victims with painful fractures that needed to be set.
No wonder. If you let one drop into your sink, you would find chunks of it on the bottom later.
The crazy thing about Brown and his washing technique is that he demonstrates it in a video intended to sell Shun knives. “Look what a pain it is to take care of these! And a set only costs three thousand dollars! Buy a bunch of them! Wait, come back!”
My Shun bird’s beak paring knife is also worthless. My $5 Forschner holds a better edge and sharpens faster, and it’s a more useful size and shape. And it’s tougher. I’m not quite sure what it is about the Shun that’s supposed to make it desirable.
If you like cool knives, buy Shuns. If you like to cook, buy Chinese.
No, don’t buy Shuns no matter what. They are the beige minivans of Japanese knives. There are far cooler knives available on the web. If you’re going to buy cuteness instead of functionality, do it right. Go to Japanesechefknife.com and look around. Check out the Mr. Itou knives. You’ll wonder why anyone ever bought a Shun.
I wonder why I did.
God is really something. Imagine a being who could give me something so wonderful after a fast that I would come to look forward to fasting. I am determined to move forward and build on what I have.
I better have some pie.
Turns out my Japanese bird’s beak knife is actually a Tojiro, not a Shun. Whatever it is, it does not hold an edge, and the rest of my comments still apply.Stumble it! Save This Page