Friday, February 19, 2010

Overused! or, a note from the imperfect pantry

A local Houston food blog called Eating Our Words had an interesting list: The Top 5 Most Over Used Spices, including condiments too. I may be guilty of some of their indicated excesses. So here's the list with my own comments -- if you want to see theirs, click on the link:
  1. Garlic -- I may be guilty when it comes to fresh garlic. The pizza I have in the oven at this very moment is probably way too garlic-heavy. However, I can ignore the bloggers' comment: "Despite what you may think, adding tons of garlic powder doesn't give your dish lots of garlicky flavor." I hate garlic powder or garlic salt. Never have them on hand. I think they taste terrible and in fact not even like fresh garlic.
  2. Lemon Pepper -- I have never used it. But I completely agree with them: if you want the taste of lemon, use lemon! I think I've eaten dishes where someone was guilty.
  3. Sriracha Hot Sauce -- I just bought my first bottle of this last summer. And I'm on my second bottle. Maybe I better pay attention! I have noticed how often it's on the tables at small diner-type restaurants. Maybe it's a fad.
  4. Soy Sauce -- guilty. It's so easy to pour it on. It works in non-Chinese food. It's salty but you can pretend you aren't salting.
  5. Salt -- I try to behave myself with the salt shaker -- see point 4. And I hate anything to be oversalted, which lots of restaurants do. I think I'd put this one at number 1.
I would rather have food be a bit more spicy than bland. That corresponds to several of the commenters over at the Houston blog, who say you can't have too much sriracha or too much garlic, though one lists chili powder as a candidate for overused.

Besides this nice starter list, I think my excesses include herbs de Provence (also in my currently baking pizza) and maybe parsley flakes (ditto). I know I have to keep refilling my jars with these two. Also I might put onions on the list. I put them in everything, and can't help myself. It's an interesting exercise.

After Dinner Update

My pizza actually came out delicious. Not a bit too much garlic. I used 2 chopped garlic cloves, lightly browned in olive oil. Then I simmered it with an 8-oz can of tomato sauce with lots of herbs de Provence, but not too much. And topped the crust, which had been rising, with a few black olives and a few slices of cheese. Last time we ordered delivery pizza we had meatballs so I decided to use some Trader Joe's turkey meatballs as well. It was quite successful.

Odd photographic note: my automatic camera signaled that one of the meatballs was a face.


Jens Zorn said...

"My automatic camera signaled that one of the meatballs was a face"

Mae, I think you have the nugget of an entirely new approach for those who want to leaven technology with a bit of art criticism. (or perhaps to geek-up the lives of the critics).

What if we were to photograph a series of 20th century paintings to see which contain a computer-reconizable face? Doing this with some works of Wyeth, for example, would just show that the system was working ---- but one could then go to Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon to see whether the computer algorithms have any resonance with modernist sensibilities. PhD theses may then ensue!

Mae Travels said...

Great Idea,Jens. It would also work with the iPhoto and other "faces" recognition software, which has uncanny ability to identify an individual's face in subsequent photos. So do Picasso's works REALLY look like his subjects? Or is that just something they make you think in the art museum?