I love Indian food almost as much as Italian food. The difference in cooking them couldn’t be further from each other. Italian cooking usually includes three main ingredients cooked together for a short period of time. Indian cooking is the exact opposite. The husband and wife team behind Masala Mama Simmer Sauce decided to jar up their Calcutta food education to combat this very problem. Creating Indian sauces from scratch takes a long time. Many times, two full days. They have successfully captured three of the most popular sauces of India. Vindaloo, Tikka Masala and Goan Curry. That’s three quarters of the cooking. The taste passed my mother-in-law test to round out this A+ recommendation. Now you can have butter chicken on Tuesday. Uhh, and probably lunch on Wednesday too.
More Food Stuff
Speaking of that Maine trip, we also discovered Pemberton’s Puttanesca, another Maine business with a great origin story. Ever heard of Death by Chocolate. Yep. That’s right. Pemberton’s. That first product quickly went from local favorite to legendary status. How did they get to a jar of sauce? Simple really, they are about small batch, traditional classics, handcrafted with care. That allows them to explore a lot of different products from sweet to savory. As you know, we’re usually a discerning crowd when it comes to jarred red sauce but this puttanesca delighted our tongues and makes for a quick fix when we’re two tired (read busy) to start from scratch.
They make these RED hot dogs in Maine. Locally they are called red snappers and are what everyone from Kittery to Caswell uses in their summer backyard BBQ’s. We picked up a pack of Rice’s (one of two OG competing makers) before we left the state to try the red dye, natural casing snap for ourselves. There are two bits of folklore important in this maker story. One, sometime in the late 18th century, the red dye was added as a marketing gimmick to have their dogs standout amongst the 30 other competing butchers. Two, after World War II, Rice headed down to NYC where he heard a few German sausage makers, turned soldiers, turned POW’s were being held. He interviewed them and hired one to create his hot dog spice mixture. Kidder & Rice, the companies original name, was sold to a few larger industrial meat purveyors over the years until W.A. Bean and Sons, Rice’s original competitor in 1898, bought the Rice name back from Tyson Foods. Today W.A. Bean and Sons pump out 500,000 pounds a year of Rice’s original recipe. With all that history we were intrigued what a naturally cased, steamed Red #40 food dye, pork and beef dog would taste like. The snap lived up to the legend. The taste was on par with the Nathan’s of the world but the marketing trick was what hit the home run for me. The contrast of the red dog, yellow mustard and green relish just makes it stand out and create conversation. Just like when you repeat this story to your pals when you try one. What’s still confusing is W.A. Bean and Sons also makes a red snapper. How they both “stood out” with the same marketing trick is unclear as is who was first. Regardless W.A. Bean and Sons now make both recipes so I suppose that origins moment is moot.
Ahh, the paleo diet. It’s an admirable regimen incorporating the simple foods the cavemen and women who went before us decided to place between their ancient incisors: fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, meat, eggs, and…crackers? Yep, peeps, you heard correctly – the cracker for the modern-day caveperson is finally here. The homo sapiens at Snackin Free have come up with Paleo Crackers for when you want your neolithic diet with the crunch and convenience of modern, packaged snack food. With only 16 grams of carbs, eight different varieties including Cinnamon Graham, Toasted Onion, and Cheddar N’ Chives, and tasty ingredients like tapioca flour, jalapeno powder, and Himalayan pink salt, there’s something for everyone to love – Neanderthal wannabes and otherwise.
I have an unnatural penchant for simple, straightforward things. Design is one of them. When I was a kid I loved the no-frills aisle in my supermarket. To this day, simple food packaging gets me jazzed. Public Goods is the latest in the short line of cleanly designed packaging available. The trick to these companies is that the food needs to be equally as good as the package design. Yeah, we eat with our eyes but only until it touches our tongues. So when my first box arrived I admired the unboxing but then tore right into a pack of ramen. Slurping down the last little bits of noodles was the acknowledgment of quality and validation of the small membership fee that allows these inexpensive, yet quality, items to show up on my doorstep. They jumped off as a Kickstarter and now are in full swing with stock across personal care, household, grocery, vitamins and supplements, and pet supplies. We heavied up on the grocery department but threw in some dental floss for good measure. Pro tip 😉 Oral hygiene is key when you are always eating. If you’re fast, you might still be able to catch the sale they were running on membership this month.