Sunday, March 26, 2006

Chowder and lobster

My wife Shelly and I arrived at The Blue Point Oyster bar prepared to eat quality seafood. The Blue Point in Wayzata is one of the most well known seafood restaurants in the Twin Cities. We always order simple, and expect quality.

I was slightly ornery.... I am always slightly ornery. Crummy gray weather, and snow in late March. So I ordered the staple comfort food of every seafood bistro - new England Clam Chowder. I said "this better be good" or I will have their heads! Well, it was. Creamy, clam flavored and filled with the signature ingredient of a chowder - potatoes. Yes folks, if it is creamy and has pototoes, it is a chowder. It was a sweet buttery clam broth with a hint of spice, but only a few clams..... but that is not why one orders a chowder. It is Potatoes! (Served with those little salty round crackers).

Needless to say the Blue Point did seafood right, at your usual substantial price. Shelly had (live) lobster and I had broiled scallops with garlic mashed potatoes. It was teriific, and it brought to mind a few of my favorite food facts. I have many more.

1. Blue cheese is from cows milk, roquefort is from goats milk. God knows, I love them both.
2. Drawn butter and clarified butter have milk solids removed. Melted butter is melted butter.
3. The oldest grain domesticated is barley, and has been the food of the common man for thousands of years.
4. Potatoes and tomatoes - new world fare. How did Russians make Vodka before this time?
Pizza, don't even think about it.
5. Pasta was invented by someone. Chinese, Italian, or Middle Eastern? Whomever, we all thank you.

Finally this bit on Catsup from The Science of Cooking Web Site:
In the 1600s, traders brought a condiment idea back from China, the affluent classes there commonly served dishes with the rich brines from pickled walnuts and mushrooms and fish. Eventually, the Brits began bottling these succulent condiments, calling them catsup.

Colonial Americans borrowed and tinkered with British catsup recipes, trying different vegetables and spices. At first, these catsups were usually tart, and also made with mushrooms and walnuts—in contrast to the sweetened tomato varieties available today at your local supermarket. But around the mid-nineteenth century, entrepreneurs exploited the American taste for sweet foods and sold catsup made with tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. The growing popularity and availability of tomato catsup took off in the 1870s when the young Heinz company added a sweet tomato ketchup to its condiment line.


Post a Comment

<< Home