cheese makers, FDA, raw milk, raw milk cheese aging rule, saving raw milk cheeses

Quieting the Curd

A promising update on the worrisome murmur that the FDA may change, or extend, the current 60-day aging rule for raw milk cheeses.

From The Atlantic:

Now it appears that the fears were exaggerated. Earlier this month a delegation from the Cheese Society met in Washington, D.C., to discuss possible changes. According Nora Weiser, the society’s executive director, her group was assured that “the FDA is not currently considering any rules that would change aging requirements.” Rather, the agency is trying to develop a science-based risk approach to cheese making. The results of their inquiries will be published and opened to public comment later this year.

I know this was a concern to many turophiles and cheese makers and all I have to say is thank fucking God.

british candy review, british sweets, candies of the world, freeport maine, weird foods

Bag of Limey Treats pt.1

Kippers. HP Sauce. Jammie Dodgers. Weetabix. Being a reader of Olive and Good Food magazines, I find myself marveling at odd British food things as much as I do odd Asian goods like shrimp crackers, musk mellon candy and durian flavored anything. In Portland there are at least five Asian Markets for me to stand in the aisles for hours, trying to figure out what exactly is in the plastic package. Sadly, though, I have to travel to Freeport to find the closest British goods store in the area.

Located on upper Main Street, just past ‘The Boot,’ sits Bridgham and Cook, Ltd. Far from the loud chain outlets that line the main and side streets it, right down to the smell of tea and splattering of plaid, reminded me of my paternal grandparents house in NY. The fiddle and pipe music coming out of the speakers was a nice, quiet contrast to the eurohouse shite we were met with at The Gap–but, that’s the beauty, and point, of this store as it is unlike everything else sitting on that stretch of Freeport. It feels like walking into a completely different, and welcomed, world.

One noticeable difference between my grandparents house and this shop, outside of the retail area being one singular, smallish sized room, was that my grandmother NEVER had an entire wall dedicated to candy. They do. While we went there to pick up some pickled onions–a recommendation from an older British woman I know–we left with a bag full of nothing but candy.

Familiar names like Cadbury and Nestle was scrawled across nearly every box on their shelves. It was only the varietals that were unfamiliar to me. Tiffin? A Chocolate bar NOT for women? The bar that was at the root of the insanity that is deep fried candy? Well, let’s start with the Tiffin, shall we?

Generally a slang word for ‘a light meal’ or, as I know it better the general term for one of those fantastic lunch tins they use in Indian, the Tiffin bar tasted exactly how one would imagine a milk chocolate bar, with raisins and crunchy cereal(biscuit) nuggets, would. Only, because this isn’t a bar produced by Hershey–and isn’t part of the Kraft takeoverit does taste a wee bit different than the Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar that I’m more use to.

The most noticeable difference is the lack of cloying sweetness that I normally associate Cadbury products with. And, I am a hater of the Cabdury Creme Egg, btw. The chocolate itself seemed of, if only a smidge, a higher quality base, too. The texutre of the bar slightly whipped or aerated though the only filling seemed to be the previously mentioned cereal bits. I think, between the pieces the Missus and I split, there were two raisins in the entire bar. Cheap British bastards.

Overall, it was a nice snack and a nice break from the bags of Easter candy that are already filtering into the apartment. And, with British candies apparently going through a renaissance of sorts, it seems fitting to start this mini-review series.

Next… the misogynistic chocolate bar.

container garden, growing veggies, happiness is an aphid free garden, spring, starting seedlings

Springing Sprouts

I was chomping at the bit to start this years garden. With a long snowy winter, the house fell into a depressive state. It wasn’t until the snow, it seems, finally stopped and the sunlight jumped later into the day that everyone started waking up from our hibernation mode. It was, just as daylight savings time and the official first day of spring came upon us, time to start this years garden. For the first time, in the past two years that I’ve been experimenting with vegetable growing, that I would start everything from seed–though there will probably be transplants bought from local farms of other tomatoes and herbs. Some will be moved onto the deck in containers, others will make their way over to a friends community garden plot for some liberated growing.

It’s refreshing to see such life starting in our south facing windows. Luckily, Sophie–our overweight, sprout eating cat–hasn’t caught on to the fact that there are green things growing within her reach. Hopefully, she never does.

This years crop will be:

Red Cored Chantenay Carrots
Purly Chives
Matt’s Wild Cherry Tomatoes
Cylindra Beets

Sugar Snap Peas

Lemon Cucumbers

freeport maine, haunted restaurants, the jameson tavern

The Jameson Tavern

A restaurant doesn’t need an unusual dish, signature cocktail or an impressive cheese list to get my attention. Sometimes it just needs a good story, especially one of a supernatural nature, to entice me to it’s door. That was the case with The Jameson Tavern when we took a day trip to Freeport this past week.

Admittedly, we know nothing of Freeport–I recently made my first trip to LL Bean this past July–so, we relied heavily on the ‘Experience Freeport‘ website for run down on a place to visit for lunch while we were there. It was when the Missus came upon The Jameson Tavern website, and their ghost story, that I was reminded of a recent Press Herald article on haunted restaurants where their name was mentioned.

Supposedly, in the restaurant, there are voices–one of a little girl–shadows and eerie feelings. Pretty cool (for a paranormal geek like me), right? After walking through the threshold of the door, which then gives you the choice of a bar to the left of you or a dining room to the right, you could see right away where a bit of the creepiness comes from. Just down the hall, between the entrance and the bar are two gravestone rubbings: One of Dr. John Anglier Hyde and Cpt. Samuel Jameson, both former owners of the space.

It’s a bit of an ominous welcome to a restaurant and the feeling, walking up the narrow and stunted hall, ushers you up to the bar. Again, it’s easy to see where stories of specters come from as the bar, which was extremely dimly lit, lends itself to dark corners and shadows.But, alas, there would be no disembodied voices or shadow play during our lunch, just a few plates of very filling fare.

Now, just about every pub I’ve been to has ‘award winning’ in front of their menu listings for their chowder and it’s usually a 50/50 crap shoot as to whether or not it is actually a good cup of chowder and worthy of that distinction. The JT definitely served up a a hearty cup of it, which served as starter for both the Missus and I. The base, which seemed to have a generous amount of clam broth in it, laid way to an abundance of chopped clams, celery, potatoes(but not too many of them), cream and thyme. Though we did add a bit of salt and pepper, each spoon full held a wonderfully sweet clammy pool of chowder goodness and, I will say, some of the best I’ve had in my seven years of living in Maine.

Also, it was a nice little treat to have a slice of bread and butter served alongside the oyster crackers, perfect for getting up those last bits of chowder from the cup.

But, while the chowder was great, we were kind of mixed on the rest of the meal. The Missus ordered their Grilled Angus burger($9.99) and was kind of bummed to find it more towards the medium well side, instead of her ordered medium. It had a too charred crust and was pretty damn dry, but she loved the potato roll it was served on and the french fries that were served with it. And, well, we all know that ketchup will fix just about any burger mishap.

I had the complete opposite problem with my meal. The Fish and Chips ($18.99) had fantastic chunks of battered and deep fried North Atlantic Haddock, and an equally tasty (in house?) tartar for both dunking of said chunks and fries. Honestly, I hated the fries. They were sandy textured on the inside and were slightly soggy on the outside. If not for that tartar sauce, they would have remained, relatively untouched, much like the unseasoned and wet coleslaw. For the cost vs. the quality of my meal, I do feel it was $3-4 overpriced. But, when you’re eating lunch in a tourism driven city, you’re always going to pay more for middle of the road food.

Overall, it wasn’t consistent food and the seats, with their torn and paper thin bench pillows, were noticeably uncomfortable. And, while the chowder and fish was good, I’m not sure it’s enough to have us darkening their door again. Ghosts or not.

Jameson Tavern on Urbanspoon

Bresca, james beard awards, maine chefs

Bresca up for a JBA

Krista Kern Desjarlais, owner/chef of Bresca, was announced as a finalist for the James Beard FoundationsBest Chef: Northeast.’

Other nominees in this category are:
Tim Cushman
Gerry Hayden
Matt Jennings
Tony Maws
Eric Warnsted

Many, many congratulations to Chef Kern Desjarlais and her small, but solid family at Bresca. Best of luck to her when the awards are handed out May 9th, in NYC.

charitable giving, donations, for japan with love

For Japan With Love

In the past week I spent:

  • $21 on take out coffee drinks.
  • $20 on cigarettes
  • $8 on Muscat grapes
  • $5 on organic 1/2 and 1/2
  • $7 on imported German Chocolate
  • $23 on dinner Wednesday(3/16) night
  • $12 on eggs
  • $8 on a reusable water bottle

Tomorrow, I am going silent for the day and sending a donation to Shelter Box USA. I know, that if I have money to spend on such frivolous things, I have money to donate to something with actual purpose. Let’s be honest here,with all that has gone on, and continues to happen in Japan right now, me bitching about a bad meal seems more than just a bit trivial.

I am asking you to please consider donating money to one of the many charitable organizations that are trying to get food, medical aid, clothing and other humanitarian aid to those affected by last weeks events in Japan.

Thanks to Fore Front Fashion for getting the word out there.