Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Book Review Dr. BBQ's---

Barbecue All Year Long! Cookbook.

Ray lampe is Dr. BBQ. Truck Driver turned Author and BBQ afficianado from the Northern Illinois area. My only experience of ever rubbing elbows with the stars would have to be Ray Lampe. I have met him a few times and he is the best ambassador for BBQ that the hobby could have.

On to the book. Well for starters it is a good read. I've said it before that even a cook book should be a good read. This one does not dissapoint on that level. It is filled with stories and tidbits of information that are fun to read.

The concept of the book, Barbecue All Year Long!, breaks down the book into seasons. It then further breaks down the seasons into holidays and events. Each holiday or event has a list of recipes. The recipes covered are far from just grilling or BBQ recipes for meat. There are lots of sides and desserts to go along with them. There is even an occasional cocktail thrown in for good measure. I have tried many of the recipes and have yet to be dissapointed by any of them.

After all those "seasons", Ray talks a little about the tools and gear that he finds useful. He then gives up a bunch of seasoning and marinade recipes to finish it off.

What really rounds out the book in my opinion is the photos. They are taken from all around the country at various competitions and such. I even recognise a few people in there. I saw Jim Minion twice with a hat that I had made and sent to him. Chris Lilly whom I have not met, but lots of fellow BBQ-brethren have, several faces that I have met at various competitions around the area, and oh, that's me on page 297 standing behind Phil Rizzardi when we cooked against Ray in Long Island. So there we have it, my 15 minutes of fame.

Get the book you won't regret it. You can order this one or his others, here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

More Fun Food Facts (again)

Boiling the cork for a few minutes makes it easier to place it back into a wine bottle.

The flavor we think of as bubblegum is a combination of wintergreen, vanilla and cassia, a form of cinnamon.

Almost without exception, cows are milked from the right side. The reason is because most farmers have been right-handed since the start of the dairy business and it's easier for a right-handed milker to work from the right side.

The Aztecs of Mexico roasted and ground up the cacao bean, mixed it with water, added peppers and other spices, stirred it up to a froth and drank the pungent mixture they called "chocolatl."

The banana is the most prolific of all food plants with as many as 300 bananas growing on the same stalk.

Cheese closes the stomach and should always be served at the end of a meal.

The above all comes from Mindlesscrap.com

The tomato: One of the strangest things about the history of the tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is the fact that, although it is of American origin, it was unknown as food in this country until long after it was commonly eaten in Europe. Until hardly more than a hundred years ago it was generally thought to be poisonous in the United States. Long before it was considered here as fit to eat, it was grown only as an ornamental garden plant, sometimes called "love apple."
The mistaken idea that tomatoes were poisonous probably arose because the plant belongs to the Nightshade family, of which some species are truly poisonous. The strong, unpleasant odor of the leaves and stems also contributed to the idea that the fruits were unfit for food.
Our word "tomato" is but a slight modification of tomati, the word used by the Indians of Mexico, who have grown the plant for food since prehistoric times. Other names reported by early European explorers were tomatl, tumatle, and tomatas, probably variants of Indian words.

The above comes from here and has much more info on the tomato.

This one is for Mom and Dad and comes from this website. I'll just include one paragraph, but it is an interesting read and only takes a couple of minutes. For whatever reason we were discussing margarine at the Easter dinner table and I stumbled upon this today. The laws that were passed in regards to it's sale is quite interesting to say the least and they weren't all repealed until 1996.

Although it has been around for over a century, margarine was not always the preferred tablespread in the U.S. In 1930, per capita consumption of margarine was only 2.6 pounds (vs. 17.6 pounds of butter). Times have changed for the better, though. Today, per capita consumption of margarine in the U.S. is 8.3 pounds (including vegetable oil spreads) whereas butter consumption is down to about 4.2 pounds. Research studies have shown that the shift within populations around the world - from the highly saturated fat content of butter to vegetable oil-based margarines - have contributed significantly to the reduced risk of heart disease. Check out the timeline below to learn more about the history or margarine.