Here's a reminder from a past post here, a fast, easy way to cook corn and deal with all that mess from husking and watching the corn silk float about the room. You find silk strands in your kitchen for days, don't you? Or, if you shuck outside, you walk back into the house trailing silk. Who wants to shuck corn outside and then strip before reentering. My God, you'd think this was preventing the spread of ebola virus!
Instead, don't shuck. Put your whole ears of corn in the microwave, cook for 4 minutes an ear, remove the ears, and just cut off the bottom ends. Then you simply pick up each ear by the tassel end and the cooked corn slips right out of the husk. Okay, a vigorous shake or two may be needed, but that silk stays together while the corn lovingly slips away. No floating silk.
Suzen and I do this all the time now. Is there flavor impact? No. The corn is essentially steamed the same way it is when you grill corn with the husk on. There is no textural impact. The kernels are perfectly steamed, tender and show no hint of the "rubberiness" that happens when you microwave bread.
No silk, no way.
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/30th second at ISO‑1250
Last week Suzen and I were visiting my daughter Kelly in Seattle. We took a day trip to Portland to, ostensibly, visit my mother, but I will admit to an additional motive: it’s been four years since I had my last Roakes hot dog.
For those of you who don’t know, there has been great dialog here about Roakes, about it’s chili sauce dating from the 1930′s or 40′s. I had my first Roakes 61 years ago and had the fortune to live just a half mile from the place. It was on my way to school, to junior high, to senior high, to college. Sadly, I now live in New York City. I cannot have my daily hot dog — I’m serious, I did 4 or 5 a week.
After four years, what can I say? The exploding image above is all too true. There is, I sadly say, a problem at Roakes. Or a problem with me, perhaps, but even Suzen noticed there was difference.
Or differences. The famed sauce color was slightly duller. The flavor less biting. It’s still very good, it’s quite similar to what it was, but it is not the same. Yes, I asked for the recipe. No, I was refused.
The chili sauce is made twice a week, in a separate room by one person in secret. What can be going on? Well, what is the likelihood that a recipe can survive unchanged for decades. I’ve thought about it, and I think that there is far more likelihood of change, than constancy. This is a meat based sauce. What’s the chance that the — surely economy — beef being use has the same characteristics as 60 years ago. Just think how pork has changed in our lifetime. Are the spices the same? Are the same spice manufacturers even around? What if onions are used and there was a shift from red to white or some other presumably harmless adjustment?
No, I think there are many avenues for change here and some evolution in the sauce is likely, if not inevitably. Can I live with that. Hell, no.
I have a path that may provide a solution. Look for tomorrow’s Cookbook Review of Haute Dogs by Russell Van Kraayenburg. He has a page devoted to classic chili sauce with a variety of regional options. To be continued.
And, if anyone out there can comment on this, I would appreciate input. I don’t think I am wrong, and I would be very disappointed to be confirmed as right.