Sunday, March 27, 2005

There's no party that man won't poop.

After I completed my entry for this list-meme about books, I saw that ACD took time to pontificate at length against the mere idea of "desert island" lists. I find that ironic, since I've often thought that if I could banish a single blogger to a desert island, ACD would be the one! And he'd have nothing at all with him, having long since dismissed the very idea of such a list. Why, it would almost be like that Twilight Zone installment where some guy is locked forever in a library -- and then he breaks his glasses. Heh!

Actually, all kidding aside, I meant to link this ACD post a while back, and I forgot about it -- it's a very carefully detailed algorithm that, executed with proper input, will result in the creation of a (we are told) ideal bagel-and-smoked-salmon sandwich. I haven't made one of these yet, although I most definitely plan to (omitting, sadly, the tissue-thin slices of red onion, on the basis that I don't like red onion very much, and the cigarette at the end because I reject the notion that smoking enhances much of anything at all). What caught my eye in ACD's formula for a bagel-and-lox sandwich, actually, is this bit of instruction on the placement of the salmon on the sandwich:

Plop the lox onto the onion. Do not lay down the lox in flat slices. Plopped lox contains lots of air spaces among the folds which work wonderfully to intensify the flavor of the lox. (To get an idea of what plopped lox looks like, pick up a slice of temperature-correct lox, and hold between your thumb and first two fingers. Raise the lox slice about a foot above the cutting board, and let the lox drop. What you see on the cutting board is properly plopped lox.)

For those of you who regularly make sandwiches for consumption in your brown-bag lunches, take careful note of this advice, for it doesn't merely apply to smoked salmon on a bagel. If you make a simple ham-on-rye sandwich (with good deli ham -- there's nothing, frankly, that would save an Oscar Mayer ham sandwich) and your usual procedure is to simply stack, say, three slices of ham flat on the bread, you'll be astonished at the improvement of flavor a light folding and shingling of the ham slices will yield on your sandwich, with nothing more than the same ingredients. And if you do the same with your thinly-sliced cheese, and alternate the cheese slices with the ham, so the air pockets within the sandwich fill with the aromas of the cheese and the ham -- whoa!

(This procedure, also, reveals why you want your cold cuts to be on the thinly sliced side -- not so thin that you can't even separate the mass of meat into coherent slices, but no so thick that the folds provide a telescope-like view through to the other side of the sandwich. You want closure here, within the sandwich.)

These are the tiny cooking details that are often omitted in cookbooks, and why I miss watching cooking shows on the Food Network.

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