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September 15, 2019

Food Thread: Corks And Bunnies

cork v screwtop1.jpg

Corks are great, and have worked reasonably well for a very, very long time. But there is nothing magical about them, in spite of being "natural." They don't really breathe, so the idea that corks allow wine to age gracefully is mostly a fiction. And besides, the amount of air that can pass through the cork and then permeate the wine is vanishingly small. What really ages the wine is time, which allows the wine's components (sugars and acids and all sorts of aromatic compounds) to play together and hopefully improve.

And there are big downsides to cork: it is a natural product and can vary tremendously, and it is also associated with the tainting of wine with a chemical called TCA (trichloroanisole), which can impart an unpleasant taste and aroma that I perceive as wet cardboard. That's not a flavor I vigorously pursue in my booze, and I doubt many people enjoy it much.

So why use cork at all? Tradition and snobbery is pretty much the only answer I can come up with. The cost of metal closures is on par with cork, and they don't impart any flavors at all.

When I go shopping for wine, in particular everyday drinking wine, I give bonus points to wines with screw-tops. It's more convenient, the bottles fit in the refrigerator more easily, and even ignoring the risk of TCA contamination, there is much less risk of failure. Everyone has seen crumbly corks and corks that broke off halfway out of the bottle, and that just doesn't happen with screw-tops.

The Aussies use screw-tops a lot, and I am seeing it more and more on American wines, and even Froggy and Spanish wines! I haven't seen any on Portuguese wines, mostly because I rarely drink them and have very little experience. But Portugal's greatest wines are Ports, and it can be a huge problem pulling the corks on old bottles. I wonder whether they will finally figure out that screw-tops are the way to go? I doubt it will happen any time soon, because Port drinkers love the ritual and pomp and circumstance of opening a 50 or 60-year-old bottle, and the breathless anticipation of whether the cork is total crap adds to the experience.

Personally I think that is dumb, because the bottles are expensive and rare, and why risk anything when the whole point is the pleasure of drinking what's inside?

By the way, the bottle on the left is a five-year-old Aussie Shiraz, and it was quite good. The bottle on the right is 29-years-old, and waiting patiently for a crisp autumn weekend and a meal of braised short ribs. I just hope the cork has survived!


Anyone like rabbit? I sure do, especially grilled with a mustard glaze. I wonder whether the rabbits that live in my yard are tasty?

Don't worry, I probably won't trap one and grill it.


My local poultry farm also carries rabbit, so I will try them before I resort to suburban trapping. As I have mentioned before, the only rabbit I ever saw when I was a kid was stuff from a biological products company called "Pel Freez." Yeah, rabbits figured prominently in their manufacturing, but I really, really hope that the food rabbits and the bio rabbits were separate.


[Hat Tip JT, who asks whether this could be Bluebell in retirement in 30 or 40 years...]

This is market economics in action. An invasive species that government can't eradicate, but the market has an instant solution. Eat the damned things!


Aaron Franklin is a bit of a loon, but he is exactly the kind of nut-job who makes the world a better place. These three videos will take you through the entire process of smoking brisket, and you will be a better person after you watch them. Cooking shouldn't be mystical and special and reserved for the elites....And this guy is happy to share his secrets with you.

The Brisket

The Cook

The Payoff

Fun stuff, and his other videos are great as well.

I wonder whether he will approve of my plans to sous vide a brisket?


This looks good. Breakfast Casserole In The 18th Century? - Egg And Bacon Pie

Wow. An appliance designed to cook food. Who would have thought that it was appropriate to use know...cook food? I replaced my oven with a waffle maker, and you should too. Okay, but can you branch out a bit and suggest things that aren't waffles? Because I can imagine cooking a bunch of other foods without any problems. I'll start with chicken pounded thin and dredged in a light batter. Crunch the waffle maker down hard, and the texture will be fun.
[Hat Tips: Curmudgeon]

There are too many food and cooking sites, because far too many of them produce dreck like this. besides listing all of the bagels in the world, they don't actually rank them, they just blather on about how good each flavor is. Besides, cinnamon-raisin is not a real bagel flavor. That's a sop to wimps who can't handle real bagels.

What's next...pumpkin-spice bagels?

All the Best Bagel Flavors, Ranked


I keep telling you people; any food can be improved with the addition of fat. If you don't like chickpeas but seem to think that you should eat them because they are healthful or some other virtue-signalling crap, then fry 'em up and serve them as a side. Or just fry them up and serve them on the side because they taste good when they are crispy.

crisped chickpeas with herbs and garlic yogurt

I might hold the yogurt and use sour cream or creme fraiche instead. Or even better...use the chickpeas as a garnish for grilled pork chops. Or toss them into a stir-fry.



Speaking of fat. Fried crab and avocado can't possibly be bad. Avocado Crab Bomb sounds like something I would absolutely order in a restaurant, but maybe not ever try to make it at home. It seems like too much work, when the deconstructed dish would probably be even better. Crab on an avocado with some crispy fries? That sounds good to me.

But if you want to make this and invite me over, I will happily come, and bring booze too.

[Hat Tip: artisanal'ette]


Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren't square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is's in the Bible!

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posted by CBD at 04:00 PM

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