Details.com editor James Oliver Cury tackles controversial food-and-drink-themed etiquette issues every week.
May is filled with opportunities to feast, starting with Cinco De Mayo and ending with Memorial Day weekend, the semi-official start of grilling season. It should be a happy, face-stuffing time as we say hello once again to seasonal staples.
But with this upswing in communal eating often comes heated debates about culinary gaffes, as in: You’re doing it wrong!
Here are four food fights in the making - assuming there’s a food snob in the room.
1. Good Mexican Beer and Lime
A year ago at this time, I wrote about pairing Mexican beer with Mexican food and threw in a kicker about how the lime wedge is optional. Logical and innocuous as it seemed to me, the sentiment still offended some beer lovers.
They angrily communicated to me that while some lagers have been paired with lime in the past, this practice has largely been adopted to mask the flavor of cheaper suds. Better beers, the purists rightfully point out, do not benefit from lime. And it is an insult to add a foreign element to a great beer.
Point taken, though I still may throw a lime in certain beers on a hot day. I just won’t tell anyone.
2. Ketchup and Steak (or Even Hot Dogs)
It’s grilling season, and we can all agree that flame-kissed steak and hot dogs taste better than their boiled or broiled cousins. Slather a little ketchup on your protein, however, and you will inevitably incite the wrath of the meat mafia who forbid ketchup on anything other than burgers and fries.
Why? Some say it’s tradition. Others claim the sugar in the ketchup bastardizes the flavors of the beef. A few critics call ketchup “infantile” - a condiment for kiddie meals.
My philosophy: Take a bite of your food sans sauce at least once before dousing it in a coat of sugar-saline syrup. Who knows? Maybe you were applying ketchup when you didn’t really need it.
3. Sushi, Soy Sauce and Wasabi
There’s no doubt that raw fish tastes good with rice, seaweed, soy sauce, and wasabi. But dip your nigiri in a bath of soy sauce pre-mixed with wasabi? Shameful!
By drowning the delicate protein in your makeshift salty-spicy dipping soup, you have effectively communicated to the chef that his elegant flavor pairing needed help, and thrown off whatever delicate balance he or she intended. As the saying goes: Go easy on the sauce.
4. Single-Malt Scotch and Ice
A barrel of 16-year old Lagavulin will sit through four presidential elections before it has aged to perfection and is ready for bottling. Ask for a glass of the stuff on the rocks and you’ll see some Scotch aficionados visibly wince. You are diluting the elixir of the gods (or so they claim), and you’re numbing your taste buds at the same time.
The truth is, a little water opens up the spirit and if you like it cold - icy even - then you’re allowed to drink it that way. (A lime here would be very very wrong, though.)
Got an etiquette question Cury can address? Share it in the comments below.
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Can not think of a way to also raise money. Along the way, never without words, in fact, is nothing but a few minutes of the road, and soon went back to the factory building small because the clothes are serum Xu Meng, so do not delay one minute he stormed into the office of the bath room bath clothes . http://www.hboke.com/bbs/thread-24370-1-1.html
Many years ago, on a business trip to Aberdeen, Scotland, on the last evening of the trip,at a high-end Scottish Hotel, not having a liking for regular scotch available in the US at he time, I decided to try the "real thing" & solicited the advice of the bartender & an (obviously Scottish) elderly gentleman sitting next to me at the bar. Of which they recommended several different brands (all 20 years old, or more), all served "neat", with a water back (to clean your palate before trying the next one). As that guy & I were just starting on the first round, a bunch of tourists lined up at the bar, & one elderly American lady who had just ordered "your best scotch on the rocks, w/soda, Then she remarked to the Scot next to me: "I like Scotch, but don't you think it needs to have a little water added?" To which he replied: Madam, here in Scotland, we generally feel that there is enough water used in the making of our Scotch. He was a really funny guy, but disappeared after the 2nd or 3rd round.
Don't remember much more after that, other than I had a really great meal of "The Queen's Medallions of Venison" for dinner (I think). Thankfully, the hotel concierge poured me into a cab to the local airport, so I could get home.
I don't drink alcohol at all, so how to prepare scotch isn't relevant to me.
So then why bother commenting if it's not relevant to you?
My only 2 rules:
Do not shake straight spirits with ice-stir!
No ketchup on a hot dog/steak!
How about you take it the way YOU like it and let everyone else take it the way they like it. Ketchup on steak is nothing compared to raw oysters or testicles.
You're right, because raw oysters are AWESOME. Not crazy about the rocky mtn variety, though.
Raw oysters are dangerous. Go forth and poison yourself.
I put ketchup on alot of things. Mostly to piss people off. But...i do genuinely like it on alot of stuff.
For my part, I feel like the answer to all of the above is "it depends." Except the ketchup on steak. That's just... I've never heard of such a thing. I like a good whisky neat, but sometimes it benefits from a drop of water to open the flavor. Likewise, I understand that well-made sushi requires no condiment. I usually get the cheap stuff. I don't do lime as a rule. I'll even do a little orange wedge with a Belgian ale though. Or not. Personally, I feel like inflexibility is the enemy of eating well
You are a man of discerning taste.
Like a fine cognac, brandy, Armagnac or aged tequila, single malt scotch is great in a snifter warmed, preferably by about three seconds in the nuker to volatize the esters.
Dont oversalt my food! Just put the salt on the table and Ill add it if the food needs it.
Fair point. I mean, who doesn't love crunching on bits of salty grit when they eat meat, veggies, and salads? That's much more appetizing than eating food that has been properly seasoned during the cooking process.
Agreed, a good cook will properly season your food rather than over-salting it.
Single-Malt Scotch – take it Neat in a frozen glass!!
Ice no way, frozen glass, not my thing, but a splash in it does open up the good stuff. Neat, eh not so much.
Ketchup on steak is a bridge too far, at least for me. However, I also believe judging someone for following their personal tastes is being ungracious as a host. Just one of those cases where you bite your tongue (and add a little ketchup, if that suits your taste).
As for the scotch? For those who prefer it chilled, I highly recommend getting some whiskey stones. They will chill the drink without slowly diluting it, so the last sip tastes the same as the first. And, I agree with the author that a few drops of (distilled, please) water does open up the spirit.
I sometimes put just one ice cube in for a minute or so, to chill and add a touch of water – then take it out.
I've tried whiskey stones and for some reason, they just don't seem to work for me. Plus they make the glass heavy.
Good Mexican Beer and Lime? No. Lime (or lemon) should only be used in very light beers which need some help in the flavor department.
Ketchup and Steak? Basically ketchup is nothing more than a steak sauce. If you really feel the steak needs either, OK, but I'd try it without first.
Sushi, Soy Sauce and Wasabi?
I was taught the ginger is to be used between bites to help clean the palate. Soy sauce and wasabi can be added, sparingly, but pre-mixing them into a dipping paste is a no-no.
Single-Malt Scotch and Ice?
Ice? Never. Cooling the scotch diminishes the flavor. For normal strength scotch, either neat or with a few drops of water. For cask strength, a splash of water is normal. The water should be room temperature, the same as the scotch.
You are correct about the pickled ginger being used to cleanse your palate. But specifically, it is intended to be used only when you switch to a different fish, not between every bite. Technically, you also should not take bites of sushi, you are supposed to put the whole piece in your mouth. Taking multiple bites is considered rude by Japanese.
This s**t is all we have to worry about?
In the '70s I was in Peurto Vallarta with my father and watched bartenders clean the rust from the caps off the necks using limes or bev naps. If they left the lime, my father would toss it since it. Besides, if your beer needs a lime, it's a lemon!
Ketchup?!? On steak?! Were these people raised by wolves? Probably not! Wolves know good meat when they find it. Perhaps they were raised by "Carnies"! Yep, being raised in a carnival makes more sense. Who wants to lather a High Fructose Corn Syrup concoction over a nice rib eye? I suppose if you ordered it well done, you'd have to mask the taste of shoe leather, but who would ruin a steak that way? Oh yeah, f-ing Carnies!
After living in Japan for a spell, I learned the proper ettiquette for eating sushi. Never mix the wasabi and soy. That is very gauche! Never cover the fish with the ginger. Ginger is meant to be a palette cleanser between one type of fish to another. It is fine to add more wasabi. It is also fine to use soy, but only if there is not a sauce prepared by the chef and never dip the rice side. You just want to add a hint to the fish. Have I done all of these things? Sure. Did I do them in Japan? I'm not a complete moron! Oh, to all of you that rub your chopsticks (Hashi in Japanese) together... you look like comple fools! Jerry Lewis did it with silverware in one of his movies in the 50s and it caught on in some circles. Most people don't know the origins. If there is a splinter, gently remove it with your fingers. Rubbing them causes more roughness, unless you plan to do so for a good long while. By that time you might have a fire going – Boy Scout style.
Scotch! That Lagavoulin... It deserves respect. Water is fine for that blended swill. The Cutty Sarks and Dewers of the whiskey world, but a single malt... That should be tasted as it is. I like mine a bit colder than it comes off the shelf, I add one ice cube. No more than that! EVER! Scotch is NOT a shot! It is meant to be savored with good conversation and perhaps a nice medium rare dry aged rib eye that was liberally rubbed with salt and pepper. I'd say that is just good 'man food', but that would be a statement right out of Mad Men and besides, my last girlfriend appreciated those same things. Speaking off... Where is her damn phone number? .......
You are, personally, the reason this article was written.
To me food snobs are like the cigar snobs who can detect hints of rosemary and nutmeg in a cigar that when lit smells like burning dog poo BUT here's my take for what it's worth:
1. Lime in the first one but not too much thereafter
2.I once was tempted to strangle the dope I saw douse a chateaubriand in ketchup
3. Living in the Heartland I've not acquired a taste for sushi.
4. With fine scotch ( or bourbon) I take water on the side.
I like sushi but as far as I'm concerned the pickled ginger is the best part.
I don't drink scotch, so I don't take it in any particular way.
The only right way to cook meat on a grill is to make argentinean asado. Wood+fire+real grill wait until the fire is very low, spread the ashes evenly under la the grill, keeping the rest on a side and adding it slowly so the heat is kept even during all the process. To prepare a real asado just put salt (not the table salt but the one that is no so refined, here in Argentina is called Sal gruesa (thick)) + salads.
Any post that begins with the words "the only way" immediately loses all credibility
So what if someone puts ketchup on a steak? If that's how they enjoy their steak, then what's it to you? If you're offended because a guest puts ketchup on steak you just grilled, then get over yourself. You presumably invited your guests to your home so as to enjoy their company, not to lecture them on how you think food ought to be eaten. Grow up. Everyone has different tastes. You may think you're God's gift to grilling, but maybe your guest thinks your grilling sucks. And no, I don't put ketchup or anything else on my steak.
Guests are free to do as they please. But if I spend $25/pound on a beautiful dry-aged ribeye and my guest douses it with ketchup, they are not going to be invited over the next time I cook steak!
And i'm sure they would be heart broken. :eyes rolling:
Lemme guess: medium-well or well-done steak for you?
I'd be more worried about trying to enjoy a steak with the creepy host leering over my shoulder analyzing every bite I take
Ketchup should never go on a hot dog or a brat. Mustard is the only acceptable condiment for a sausage if you are over 12.
That's according to YOU. ME I like catsup, mustard and kimchee on my dogs and brats. Sometimes I'll cook up some sauerkraut and onions and put it on my dogs or brats. When I do that a little bit of spicy brown mustard is all that I use.
Well, watch your step coming off that horse you've got there . I'm pickier about the hot dog anyway. The best mustard in the world on a pale dog is literally paint on a pig. My dogs have to be cooked well and preferably a little char. But that's me. My buddy puts Lays chips AND mustard on his hot dogs. Not for me but that's his thing. You mustard "purists", imported beer, Grey Goose only folks give foodies a bad name.
I have no idea how mustard tastes, I'm allergic to it. People telling me I can't put ketchup on hot dogs get side eyed hard. It's silly. Put what you want on things.
We're talking about a HOT DOG – do you even think about what goes into those things? It's not fine food no matter what you add to it. Just do what you like.
Sometimes I'll use mustard and relish, sometimes mustard and sauerkraut, and rarely, ketchup, relish and good ol' American cheese. Depends on what I'm in the mood for.
However, it does have to be a decent quality hot dog, like a Hebrew National – not one of those 99-cent a package spongy things.
All of the problems in the world and this is what we're worried about...
Uh, JJ? This page is "Eatocracy." I don't know what you're thinking, but your comment is in the wrong area, Sir. If you care about the world, stop reading food-related sections. Big DUH to you, Sir!
Right, Ken. Sometimes it's nice to step away from the harsh realities of the world once in a while and read something entertaining.
Ketchup belongs with onion rings, fries, as an ingredient of BBQ sauce, and sometimes burgers. Ginger is a palate cleanser for sushi. Lime in a trashy beer works. Try whisky rocks if you like it cold (though I do like Bourbon with a bit of ice). Ice in Red Wine makes my head hurt.
I prefer A1 on my steak.
Funny story (at least I think so). When my wife and I got married, the steak was prepared with a mushroom cream sauce. When my nephew asked why the sauce was white, my brother-in-law tried to convince him that's because it was "A100!"
Here's an idea....eat food the way you like it. Someone else doesn't like it that way? Why should you care?
Well, if I bother to buy an expensive piece of meat, take the time to prepare it, etc...and then my guest douses it with ketchup...I guess that's fine, but it tells me I clearly wasted my money and time and should have just grabbed McDonalds. It's not so much that it's rude, it's that it shows a complete last of appreciation for good food.
Or maybe a complete lack of knowledge about your guest.
Sounds like your guests need a new friend.
Or maybe, your cooking really sucks and your guests are trying to down the swill you think is so great.
Exactly. At one time in my life we had some friends whose BBQ/grilling was so bad I actually pretended to be a vegetarian to avoid the invitations. And isn't it interesting-why is it always the terrible cooks who just LOVE to entertain! lol!
my bad wrong place
If you have to add any form of sauce to a steak, then it has been ruined. Period. Ketchup is for both hotdogs and hamburgers. French fries I eat with bbq or with mayo/ketchup mix...really good. I don't care for mexican beer, so it doesn't bother me how people drink it. I was introduced to drinking scotch with a little bit of water mixed in, not too bad and haven't bothered trying it any other way.
What about steak and barbecue sauce?
If you have to put lime in your beer then you are drinking the wrong beer. If forced to drink pee beer I don't blame you but if there is a choice of another quality beer and you prefer lime and crap beer then you are a loser. Ginger isn't to be eaten with your sushi but in between plates. Wasabi and soy sauce will kill the flavor of the fish and go back to the crap beer and lime point.
My step dad said all the time it's sunk beer. He was talking about corona beer. He was born in Mexico and lived there till the 40's when he came up. Yes he was an illegal. People in this country went nuts over the beer that is close to Brew 101. You have to remember the 50's-early 70's. Joked about it in LA. Was made in downtown LA. Pabst Blue Ribbon was a lot better.
Gari, or pickled ginger, is not a condiment. It is a palette cleanser. Have a bit of it between different kinds of fish. Adding it to the sushi drowns out all other flavors.
YOU EFIN ROCK Jdizzle McHammerpants!!!
Limes are used in Mexican beer (read Corona) because the beer has gone skunky and the lime masks that smell. Open a bottle an take a whif – it smells. That's because UV light damages beer and makes it go skunky – which is why beer is typically bottled in dark brown bottles. So, drink up Mexcian beer from a dar k bottle (read Pacifico) and no lime required – but hey, if that's what you like, go ahead – it's summer and we're all jsut supposed to be enjoyin' time with friends...
Thank you !00% right
One amazing way to drink an old, single malt scotch, is mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of ketchup. It may sound strange, but you should try it. It's an amazing combination; for an extra kick, add some mustard.
Hay, man... Wasabi?
The lime at the top of a bottle of beer is there to keep the flies out.
Would someone please take my computer away from me.
Ketchup is a potential ingredient to barbecue sauce. Period. Ok, maybe it's ok for fries.
bbq sauce also does not belong on a steak, you fiend! ;)
Right if a stake is cooked right you need nothing but to enjoy it.
MMMMMMMM, I love stake.
Although it has a tendency to be a bit "woody" if cooked improperly...
Steak should only have salt and pepper and maybe a dry seasoning before it is grilled, nothing else. If the steak needs anything else it was either a bad cut of meat or it was grilled wrong. I most commonly see people add steak sauces to steaks made well done. Well yes, at that point you need liquid and flavoring to mask the fact you are eating a burnt, dried out piece of char. Why they don't get it medium or medium-well is beyond me. Let's destroy something intentionally and then put a sauce on it so you are tasting the sauce instead of the meat. Why not just save time and money and just drink the sauce?
For hot dogs, put anything you want on it. A hot dog is basically a sausage and most sausages are enjoyed mixed with other things.
I worked as a waitress at a steak place during college and the only people who requested steak sauce were those that order it well done. You wouldn't need that if you order a nice medium rare. Really sacrilege when they ordered the expensive filet.... well done.
Good steak with just salt and pepper, seared in real butter. Sushi with Wasabi and soy sauce mixed. Hotdog with Ketchup, mustard and onions (or the Chicago style with Ketchup, I know some of you think that is absurd). Then again, I eat my french fries with Mayonnaise (french fries sauce) so, my taste seems a bit off from others due to my heritage.
I like scotch to stay in the bottle. Hot dogs should always have mustard but never touched with kechup. steak can have a steak sauce not plain ketchup. And lime should always be used with lite beers because without it there is no flavor. Sushi, I leave open to anyone's personal taste. No one has bad taste just poor decisions.
Not a big scotch drinker,so can't weigh in on that one. Agree 100% with the hot dog/mustard thing (every now and then like to put some diced onion and cheese on mine,but otherwise,I'm good),the steak...if it's even a halfway decent cut of meat,all you need is a good rub or marinate in red wine/seasoned balsalmic oil;if not a good cut,I wouldn't object to some A-1. Sushi...tried it,not really to my tastes though. To each his own,right?
Food snobs act that way because they are usually both masking a massive inferiority complex, and liberal. (While I know that is redundant. Libs cannot live and let live, so they expect the world to conform to their ways. Conservatives support freedom and liberty, while the party of hate is all about conformity. And not to your ways, but only to theirs. That is why it is impossible to take the left seriously.
Why did you turn this into a political disagreement? I imagine you are an annoying dinner guest.
I didn't realize that foodie was a subset of liberal. I better tell my foodie conservative friends that they're being hateful, oppressive, and, worst of all, liberal.
Can there ever be a topic discussion that doesn't degrade into bashing political parties?!? This is about food, for god's sake. Take your childish rants somewhere else.
You realize that the corollary is the stereotype that conservatives are ignorant, redneck bumpkins whose idea of good eating consists of pork rinds and Cheetos, washed down with whatever swill is on sale at the Quikee Mart today. Or rich people who only eat true Beluga caviar flown fresh from Russia on a chartered plane. It's a class issue. Rich people grow up eating expensive food; poor people grow up eating whatever their parents could afford.
Putting Catsup on meat is a travesty . It is the ultimate flavor masker and a literal FU to the chef.
Try your steak this way, pre seasoned and wonderfully charred. Even those of you who crave sugary garbage sauces will likely prefer this. http://easydudefood.blogspot.com/2013/05/filet-mignon-is-lucy-lui-of-meats.html
Ketchup on steak? Unacceptable! If you have to mask the flavor of the meat, maybe you're not a meat eater to begin with. Kinda reminds me of people who slather gallons of mayo on tuna salad because it's 'fishy'
That or it's simply a lousy steak.
Master Chef Jdizzle can turn a lousy steak into filet mignon.
Come Memorial Day, I am going to Jdizzle's house
Hogwash. Try all foods all the "traditional" or "foodie" way, but eat the foods you like the way you like them. Someone who likes to argue about the "right way" to eat a hotdog or drink scotch has a screw loose if you ask me.
I'm with sally. I eat my food however the hell I want to. Which includes putting ice in my red wine. Others who don't like it can kiss my ass.
Ice with red wine? You must be tired of it being served warm instead of "room temp." Room temp is cellar temp, not 80 degree f. Red wine should be served at 50-65 °F or 10-18 °C
Drink it the way you like it.
dude, aka historysmith–I will drink my merlot any way I see fit thank you very much.
Sally – that's what I was saying. Restaurants serve it too warm. Ice is OK.
oops, my bad! :-)
There's a cheap boxed wine called "chillable red." Yep, it's chillable, all right – – just not drinkable!
I've tried that! It's from a maker called "Vella" right? It was too sweet so I used it for sangria. (didn't need to add sugar)
Apparently, when I was 2, if I didn't get wasabi I was crying about it.
Radishes make my burps taste like a landfill. But I love em anyway.
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