Thirty-eight years ago David Letterman started his late-night show, Tylenol capsules laced with potassium cyanide killed 7 people and the first issue of USA Today was published. As an eight-year-old, all of that paled in comparison to the introduction of McDonald’s McRib sandwich. This first brush with BBQ left an indelible mark that would stick with me years later at Memphis in May and while slurping up every full slab I could find from Mississippi to Chicago. Today this sandwich king is available nationwide for the first time since 2012. I know what you’re thinking, with all the incredible BBQ available across this great country why would I opt for a frozen, pre-formed, visually faked rib sandwich? You could easily dismiss my love as nostalgia but it runs deeper than that. Anthony Bourdain made a point to champion all food through the lens of culture. He was also known for his penchant for some of the more, let’s call it, faster of food options from time to time. With that in mind, the McRib is that food for me. Its impact on me was just as culturally profound as David Letterman challenging Johnny Carson or USA Today taking on the New York Times. I’m not the only one who feels this connection. McRib fans across the country have had lunch planned since this announcement in October so a word of advice if you are going to give it a go, and you should, get the McD’s app and order early.
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I was drawn in by their packaging and hooked by Isabel Freed’s California vibes. I didn’t even need to taste the mustard selection but I’m glad I did. Horseradish has the tendency to blow out your mouth. Most of the condiments containing this potent root are strong enough to make your sandwich all spread, overshadowing everything else except maybe the bread. The difference with Wilder Horseradish Mustard is that it’s as mellow as a california drive up the coast. In food speak, that’s referred to as balanced. Which makes a huge difference when you want to taste all those carefully chosen layers of your Saturday afternoon hoagie. If the sting of horseradish isn’t your game they also produce a classic mustard and a honey jalapeño version. Both of of them complete with the same California vibes mixed through each jar.
We never thought of putting garam masala on cold greens either but a few nights ago we were treated to such a salad. A sprinkle of this quintessential Indian mixture onto crispy fresh fennel, juicy grapefruit supremes and the occasional candied ginger, worked better than I would have ever guessed in making our tastebuds dance. With a bit further investigation (Raiding our friend’s pantry) we discovered this triad of masalas from the late, great chef Floyd Cardoz in collaboration with Burlap and Barrel. Chef Cardoz passed from complications of COVID-19 in March 2020 but left a legacy through his compassion, teachings and artifacts, like these spices. Burlap and Barrel partners directly with small farmers to source spices that have never been available in the US before and help improve the livelihoods of their partner farmers. This collab was no exception. Working with Chef Cardoz’s wife and business partner Barkha Cardoz, as a memorial to his love for the cuisines of India and his passion for sharing them with the world, the three masalas are uniquely different but all Chef Cardoz. The garam masala is floral, sweet and aromatic. Second in the trifecta, the Goan masala has an earthy, pungent, gingery complexity flavor profile. Lastly, the Kashmiri masala brings the heat with a fennel, ginger and aromatic profile anchored by the Kashmiri chili. Aside from being great on your favorite greens, this trifector collection is a fantastic way to pay homage and connect with a chef who made a huge impact on the culinary world.
The first thing they placed on our cloud white, spotless, linen clade table at Per Se in NYC was a lidded porcelain bowl shaped like a flower. With dramatic flare, the cover was lifted to reveal six different salts. A second waiter began explaining the different flavors, regions and usages for the white gold as I fell into reverie about the efficiency of the container. My spice closet is incredibly organized and uniform but I often am hunting for all my finishing salts in order to decide which to use. The World Salt Tower both remedies this problem and reloads my stash of salts for all culinary occasions. Now I can decide between my volcanic black, Himalayan pink, Malden or French coast grey sea without freaking out that my halibut is getting cold and my guests are getting restless.
We couldn’t decide between the bread and butter beets and the Mostarda as our favorites. Preservation Society Members Club allows you to not have to choose. Unfortunately we don’t have a Montreal address so this club wasn’t an option for us. Luckily we have friends willing to pick up (and probably eat) our club benefits. What we love most, besides the quality, unique ingredients and perfectly ripened tastes, is that theirs not secrets or pretension to the small batch brand. Camilla Wynne ♥’s canning and wants to bring that knowledge to as many people as possible. This club is one way she does that. Workshops, events and a tell all book are three others. Talk about approachable. Of course our approach requires a JFK to YUL flight path.