Josh Ozersky has written on his carnivorous exploits for Time, Esquire and now Food & Wine; he has authored several books, including The Hamburger: A History; and he is the founder of the Meatopia food festival. Follow him on Twitter @OzerskyTV.
Fat is what matters in your food. That’s the key thing to remember about fat. The lean mean tastes like whatever; you couldn’t tell a thin slice of chicken breast from a carpaccio if your life depended on it. No, “The fat is the meat, and the meat is the vegetable,” as the saying goes, and this is especially true of real fat, the kind that comes from animals.
I should clarify here - so to speak - that I am not talking about the revolting white fat that sits congealing on the plate when they slice open the prime rib. No, I mean hot fat, crispy fat and most of all liquid fat, the kind you can roast or sauté things in. Most herbs and spices, as volatile organic compounds, are fat-soluble, so it’s not hard to give the fat you use deep flavor - deeper than you ever get by just seasoning the food. I use Aleppo pepper, rosemary, chiles, sage and whatever else I can think of to put into it.
But are all fats created equal? I don’t think they are. I think there is a eternal hierarchy of Seven Great Greases, as I have come to think of them. They are as follows.
Chefs are not, for the most part, happy people. Let's get that out of the way. They work long hours, they have hardly any home lives to speak of and they spend their whole day being mad at people who hate them right back.
It's a rough job. But it doesn't make it any easier when diners (in their minds, anyway) go out of their way to make them miserable. And while there are many ways diners can make chefs hate them, these five are surely near the top of the list.
Like every other man of spirit, I love steak houses. Even the cheesiest New Jersey ones, like Arthur’s, in Hoboken, or the Library III, in Egg Harbor Township, the kind with Reader’s Digest Condensed Books on the walls and a “Queen’s Cut” filet mignon, make me happy. Happier, in fact, than their more upscale rivals.
The contemporary high-end steak house promises an Hermès experience but often delivers a Men’s Wearhouse feeding. The reasons range from incompetence to immorality, but it’s the damage to body, spirit and bank that matter, not the motivations. Even a hard-bitten meathead like myself only gets to go to a steakhouse every few months. The calories are indefensible, the check averages sky-high. It’s not asking too much for the meal to live up to the hype. When it doesn’t, one or more of the following swindles is to blame.
Eatocracy managing editor Kat Kinsman and Time's Josh Ozersky watched the debut of Top Chef: Masters last night and exchanged their thoughts via IM. It was late but there was much to discuss.
joshuaozersky: That had to be the worst Top Chef episode of all time.
katkinsmancnn: I violently disagree, with you, but then again – semi-par for the course. Explain.
joshuaozersky: I mean, "Your cupcake was just too safe"? Seriously? This might be the lamest show since the Golden Girls finale.
katkinsmancnn: I will give you that the judges seem highly benign in this instance, but we've just come off a reunion show that's still giving me the shpilkis. I'll take it. I don't like when mommy and daddy fight.
[Spoilers after the break. Beware!]
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