Making Junk-Drink Junkies

Somehow, you suspected this all along. There’s a special pit in hell for those who pushed tobacco and garbage food, especially on children.

I saw the change happen. When I was in Jr. High, soft drinks were not served anywhere in the school and the clear word was that they were bad for you. (But who could miss how many kids zipped across the street to the convenience store to buy a hit of bubbles?)

By the time I was a High School Senior, in 1970, Park High was getting a nice yearly check from Pepsi to have a soda dispensary right in the hall next to the cafeteria.

Aaargh.

Ultimate Korean Pear Appears

This is for folks in Boston area (or anybody who can find this brand) — the largest, most delicious and easily eaten Singo Korean Pear (sometimes spelled Shingo) has suddenly appeared on the markets here. We found it in an Asian supermarket in Union Square and then, more exciting, at Russo’s in Watertown.

This is the one you want to get. Easy serving for two or even three people. No hint of odd bitterness or uneven texture. Yummy.

Screw You, Old Dad Winter, We Give Thanks with White Breath

Despite 15 degrees and a stiff breeze that made the smoke swirl into my face, I opened the Big Green Egg and we grilled:

16″ rack of ribs

4 chicken breasts

a whole pheasant

16 Market Basket sausages

foil packages of sweet potatoes and regular spuds from farm stands

sliced red peppers and zucchini for everybody

And as always, I swear the BGE has some sort of supernatural intelligence that allows a frantic like me to cook a heap of food with minimal attention and still wind up just a half-hour late with Duke Ellington’s 70th Birthday Concert playing behind the perfect procescco.

A Sauce Condiment I Won’t Buy Again, But Really Glad I Bought Once

Because it taught me a general lesson about condiment sauces.

The scoop: This is part of a new line of sauces that Whole Foods is introducing. the others did nothing for me, but this sounded intriguing — “White Pumpkin and Almond Murabba.”

Now the last is a name I’ve never heard of. And the description (and rather low calorie count of a Tbsp: 20) sold me on it:

“This preserve is used for celebrations in Central Asia and Middle East. Versatile enough to be used as a treat at any time — pair it with buttery toast, crepes, game or pork. On puff pastry with feta for an exotic twist to palmiers. Drizzle over vanilla ice cream with wine-poached pears or roasted figs.”

(D had a telling response when she saw the jar at home: “Wine-poached pears? WTF??”)

But of course I stupidly missed the most important part of the label: the second listed ingredient is sugar, so although we got this cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, mace … it’s essentially a kind of savory jam or jelly. Quite too sweet for me.

The lesson is that if a condiment/preserve goes well with just about anything, it’s some sort of jam or jelly thing. Which I don’t like.

Indeed, “murabba” is translated as “jam.”

 

Where To Eat in Harvard Square This Summer

(Before the students mob the place and make it impossible to get in.)

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

The “small” sized combo plates will be plenty for most folks. Be sure to put your soft-boiled egg into the ramen (delicious enrichment!). The crispy, deep-fried chicken will sate all your memories of what this should taste like. [Edit] Lightest, least-gooey gyoza wraps ever — also, stuffing not mush, has meat texture. [Edit Edit] Website reference to families is spot-on. We saw lots of children enjoying the food as much as their parents and relatives.

Act before the first moving van arrives.