The Doc’s Quick and Dirty Observations

I’m gonna shift gears a little here today, and instead of one of my normal ‘epics”, I’m just going to do a few quick and dirty observations – Let’s go.

Photo courtesy of marni @ thefreshloaf.com

*  Sourdough 1,2,3 Bread
I’m working on the research phase of a future post on something called, “Sourdough 1,2,3 Bread” – Here’s a discussion of it on The Fresh Loaf, one of the better bread baking forums on the web.  As you may know, if you bake sourdough breads, you maintain a starter – essentially the yeast that raises the bread.  Well, this is a very easy loaf that supposedly keeps one from throwing away perfectly good starter when refreshing it – you take a small amount of starter, add a double amount of water, and a triple amount of flour, and voila!  you have a nice loaf of bread – and the best part is that you made this bread with starter that you almost threw away!

Sounds good, but I think that premise is hogwash.  For those of us who keep a sourdough starter around – alive and well – we either bake something with it, or we pitch it.  If you’re going to force yourself to bake something every time you refresh your starter, you’ll soon have a kitchen full of bread!  Most of it stale!  I already bake a lot more bread than I really should.

No guys – I’ll agree this is a neat, easy, and efficient way to bake a quick loaf of bread, but, No, it doesn’t save us any otherwise wasted starter.  We bake when we need to bake, and at all other times, we don’t bake.

I’m heavy into some research on how to make this fast and easy process even more so – when I’m comfortable with that, I’ll post and share it with all.

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Photo courtesy of foodcartsportland.com

* Portland Food Carts
I love street food!  And I’ve eaten tons of it – most not even in the U.S., ’cause we in the U.S. are only just now easing up on health regulations that have for years kept street food vendors off the streets.  In yet another thing, we trail behind the rest of the known world – and we call ourselves a “developed” nation!  But as I travel around, I notice that more and more cities are allowing street food vendors to function as never before – Wow!  What the hell took so long?

Photo courtesy of purpleroofs.com

I think I know why most U.S. cities frown on food carts – and it’s not so much a heath issue, it’s an economic issue – the truth is that brick and mortar restaurants pay far more in taxes and fees than do food carts, and a food cart will always be able to offer a better deal than will the restaurant.  So cities have essentially protected the restaurants from competition.

Photo courtesy of frostingandfroth.com

But I’m noticing that my favorite local food city, Portland, has not only opened the door to street carts, but has assisted in marketing and advertising the project in the City.  The food cart movement in Portland no doubt owes much to the well established Saturday Markets – one food based, and one crafts based – and their long success and popularity.  The public has always loved them, and apparently has badgered their politicos for more.  All these things add to the street fair atmosphere Portland assumes in the summer – if you haven’t visited in awhile, do yourself a favor and have some fun in Portland.

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* Scripps Creates a New Cooking Channel
I just read that Scripps Networks and The Food Network is creating a sister channel called The Cooking Channel.  Supposedly, it’ll be for more serious “foodies”, and will feature more instructional programming.  I’m encouraged by that – but only slightly, because I don’t trust the folks at Scripps – As far as I’m concerned, they ruined The Food Network, and no matter what they’re saying now, they’ll probably ruin this one too.

They promise a "Baking Secrets Sharing" program (photo courtesy of The Cooking Channel)

Way, way back long ago, I remember that the only reason I ever got cable in the first place was because I was excited about The Food Network – and I loved it then.  Almost every program on it was instructional – and then there was Alton Brown’s, “Good Eats”!  That program was, and still is, a superbly excellent program in every way – and given its popularity, I’m amazed that The Food Network has never built on that basic concept – all they’ve managed to do is to shrink it annually until it doesn’t seem to be even made any longer.  I guess they couldn’t figure out how to make it into a competition.

Perhaps I’m a bit unique, but from my perspective, where The Food Network went wrong was in gearing ALL their programming to the “20 somethings” – as soon as they did that, their approach switched from educational to entertainment.  I for one was not willing to give up instruction in favor of Reality TV and 12 hours a day of “competition” programming.  I’m not saying that this approach failed, if they wanted to draw a young audience, they did fine.  But they lost me!

Now what we hear from Scripps is that they still want to appeal to the 20 somethings, but specifically, those among that group who may be more interested in cooking itself.  I think this is a recipe for failure guys – Personally, I think Scripps had it right when they assumed that for 20 somethings, food was a tool for socializing and entertainment – who that age has time enough to actually cook?

Something for everyone's kitchen! (photo courtesy of The Cooking Channel)

What would I like to see on The Cooking Channel?  Frankly, I’d love to see just what they suggest they’re going to program, but I’d like to see that programming geared to cooks who maybe had a stronger interest in the kitchen, and had the time to actually cook there – like older folks.

This whole thing may be a self-correcting problem, once the ratings begin to show – that’s my suspicion anyway.  If I’m wrong, I’ll apologize.  But I don’t think I’ll have to.

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About drfugawe

I'm a guy with enough time to do as I please, and that my resources allow. The problem(s) are: I have 100s of interests; I have a short attention span; I have instant expectations; I'm lazy; and I'm broke. But I'm OK with all that, 'cause otherwise I'd be so busy, I'd be dead in a year.
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2 Responses to The Doc’s Quick and Dirty Observations

  1. Mimi says:

    I read this post earlier today, clicked on the fresh loaf link, got offerred a lunch out to a Vietnamese restaurant became ADD and then never came back to comment.

    The bread is interesting. This may have to be my next loaf. I made Susan’s Semolina with currant, pine nuts and fennel seeds this week. Man, she is an awesome baker!!

    I wish we had more food carts here. We mostly have what is affectionately termed “roach coaches” here. Most of them are taco trucks now, which is an upgrade. They used to sell hamburgers and hot dogs. We now have one called the burger bus. They are selling grass fed beef burgers, homemade fries and onion rings and falafel made from scratch. They are putting the rent savings back into the ingredients and selling the food for the same price as a regular restaurant. I wanted to love the food but it seemed greasier than I prefer. It’s such a good idea though. They converted an old school bus for their kitchen and burn biodiesel.

    Instructional shows can still be found on food network, but I don’t always like the personalities who host the shows. Maybe we should both start defecting to PBS. I think they still have cooking shows.

  2. drfugawe says:

    Hey Mimi,
    Re. PBS, I think it depends a lot on your local PBS – ours in out of Portland and they tend to do a certain show for sev months, and then it disappears! ????

    I really am learning a lot while playing with that 1,2,3 Bread – with my starter waste, I make exactly one loaf at a time – and it gives me the chance to change just one small thing between bakings – but it still gives me way too much bread!
    But it’s fun and I’m still learning.

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