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3 hours ago, KenzSailing said:

 

Beav,

 

Nice to know I'm back in the good graces of my most enthusiastic reader (heck, it's nice to know someone is reading my meanderings.)

 

So I searched on Montecatini.  Definitely looks like one of those satisfying places you go when, if you're not in the mood for the Alfredo, you just have them hook you up to a red sauce IV.

 

BTW, when you search on it, the engine also helpfully suggests "Montecatini Eating Disorder Center."  Huh.

 

This Friday I plan to make one of my personal favorites: chicken parm.  It's not the classic prep, as I make it in an air fryer (you know, the healthy alternative to hot oil frying.) But boy, is it good. 

 

All this talk of red sauce reminded me of something I hadn't thought of in years.  I grew up in Omaha NE.  Omaha, as you might imagine, has a lot of steakhouses.  Back in the day, they were all family owned, and mostly by families of Italian-American descent. And no matter what you ordered, everyone of them would offer you a choice of two sides: spaghetti or mostaccioli.  I swear I was off to college before I realized you could go to a steakhouse and not hear the words "spaghetti or mostaccioli." 

 

OK, I give up. Why do Americans, and it is only Americans in my experience, insist on calling tomato sauce for pasta "red sauce"?????? Is "tomato" really that difficult to pronounce?? 😁😁😁

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11 hours ago, Roland4 said:

 

OK, I give up. Why do Americans, and it is only Americans in my experience, insist on calling tomato sauce for pasta "red sauce"?????? Is "tomato" really that difficult to pronounce?? 😁😁😁

 I wonder how much real tomato is in "red sauce".

 

Roy

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11 hours ago, Roland4 said:

 

OK, I give up. Why do Americans, and it is only Americans in my experience, insist on calling tomato sauce for pasta "red sauce"?????? Is "tomato" really that difficult to pronounce?? 😁😁😁


Have you met Americans?  😁. One of my former coworkers was musing her frustration the other day that in all these years we haven’t come up with a shorter nickname for “apps” yet.  🙄

 

(I expressed my frustration that we consolidated on the same nickname for applications and appetizers.)

 

Vince

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11 hours ago, Roland4 said:

 

OK, I give up. Why do Americans, and it is only Americans in my experience, insist on calling tomato sauce for pasta "red sauce"?????? Is "tomato" really that difficult to pronounce?? 😁😁😁

 

Like many things, it's regional. I've never heard anything but tomato sauce where I'm from. There's a whole list of words that vary from region to region. I believe the origin is before mass media when the majority of the population never traveled over 50 miles from where they were born.

 

Patty

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13 hours ago, Roland4 said:

 

OK, I give up. Why do Americans, and it is only Americans in my experience, insist on calling tomato sauce for pasta "red sauce"?????? Is "tomato" really that difficult to pronounce?? 😁😁😁

 

Well now, while I know your query is light hearted, I’ll do my best at a serious reply.

 

I think a lot of it has to do with the history of “Italian” restaurants here in the US.  In the decades after WW2 until say, the 80s, the Italian cuisine served here was mostly a more refined version of that which was associated with the chef named Boy-Ar-Dee.  That is to say, it was (yes) tomato based, red and gloppy.  Then things started to change.  A wave of chefs (not just cooks) made Americans aware of the cuisines of the north, south, east and west of Italy (I’m not expert enough to get into, say, Piedmont vs the Marche, let alone Napoli vs Roma.)   But as the awareness of all this bounty became evident to the public, a phrase was needed to identify the more basic (and now perceived as down scale) locales from their newer, more sophisticated (and expensive) cousins: the red sauce joint. The phrase started with our new wave of restaurant critics. A phrase that allowed them to look down their noses at those food writers who had come before them was like catnip to them.  

 

If I may digress, the word “joint” in US English is multi-dimensional.  When I was a kid, beer could be served in a “joint” and be completely acceptable.  Now, to convey the same meaning, it must be served in a “dive bar.”   OTOH, American bar-be-que must always be served in a joint.  Say it with me now: “BBQ joint.”  And do not get us started on the subject of the best BBQ.  You think New Yorkers will argue about pizza?  That’s nothing compared to Kansas City BBQ vs Texas.  And let’s not leave out the Carolinians, who will even argue about east to west styles (ie, vinegar vs mustard.)  Yes, their states run north to south, but their BBQ runs east to west.  All of this doesn’t even touch on the nuclear option: “to sauce or not to sauce?”  Interestingly, an English fella tells me that’s originally a quote from a Danish prince.  Trust me on this.

 

So anyway, back to red sauce.  Well, “tomato” sauce doesn’t really cover it, does it?  There’s more in a red sauce than cooked down tomatoes.  There’s oregano, garlic, seven herbs and spices, two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun.  OK, I may have gotten a little carried away there.   But you take my point.

 

Hmmm, I started out writing a serious reply.   I seem to have ended somewhere else.  Ah well, it’s the journey, not the destination.

 

Anyway, thanks for asking.

 

As always, be safe and be well.

 

PS: with regard to pizza, there’s nothing special about NYC water.  Fuggedaboudit.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, KenzSailing said:

 

Well now, while I know your query is light hearted, I’ll do my best at a serious reply.

 

I think a lot of it has to do with the history of “Italian” restaurants here in the US.  In the decades after WW2 until say, the 80s, the Italian cuisine served here was mostly a more refined version of that which was associated with the chef named Boy-Ar-Dee.  That is to say, it was (yes) tomato based, red and gloppy.  Then things started to change.  A wave of chefs (not just cooks) made Americans aware of the cuisines of the north, south, east and west of Italy (I’m not expert enough to get into, say, Piedmont vs the Marche, let alone Napoli vs Roma.)   But as the awareness of all this bounty became evident to the public, a phrase was needed to identify the more basic (and now perceived as down scale) locales from their newer, more sophisticated (and expensive) cousins: the red sauce joint. The phrase started with our new wave of restaurant critics. A phrase that allowed them to look down their noses at those food writers who had come before them was like catnip to them.  

 

If I may digress, the word “joint” in US English is multi-dimensional.  When I was a kid, beer could be served in a “joint” and be completely acceptable.  Now, to convey the same meaning, it must be served in a “dive bar.”   OTOH, American bar-be-que must always be served in a joint.  Say it with me now: “BBQ joint.”  And do not get us started on the subject of the best BBQ.  You think New Yorkers will argue about pizza?  That’s nothing compared to Kansas City BBQ vs Texas.  And let’s not leave out the Carolinians, who will even argue about east to west styles (ie, vinegar vs mustard.)  Yes, their states run north to south, but their BBQ runs east to west.  All of this doesn’t even touch on the nuclear option: “to sauce or not to sauce?”  Interestingly, an English fella tells me that’s originally a quote from a Danish prince.  Trust me on this.

 

So anyway, back to red sauce.  Well, “tomato” sauce doesn’t really cover it, does it?  There’s more in a red sauce than cooked down tomatoes.  There’s oregano, garlic, seven herbs and spices, two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun.  OK, I may have gotten a little carried away there.   But you take my point.

 

Hmmm, I started out writing a serious reply.   I seem to have ended somewhere else.  Ah well, it’s the journey, not the destination.

 

Anyway, thanks for asking.

 

As always, be safe and be well.

 

PS: with regard to pizza, there’s nothing special about NYC water.  Fuggedaboudit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you noted, my post was intended in jest, but I do appreciate your most(ly) erudite response! And I am old enough to remember that Chef, and when "spaghetti" came out of a can coated in what could charitably be called a "red sauce"!! And thanks to shows like Guy Fieri's Triple D I know enough to stay far away from the BBQ debate! We only have a couple  of said "joints" here in Toronto, so it has not come anywhere close to the "cult" status it has in the US!

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15 hours ago, Roland4 said:

 

OK, I give up. Why do Americans, and it is only Americans in my experience, insist on calling tomato sauce for pasta "red sauce"?????? Is "tomato" really that difficult to pronounce?? 😁😁😁

YES - because we never know if it is TOE-MAY-TOE, or TAH-MAH-TOE.  I far as I know there is only one way to pronounce RED.

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4 minutes ago, jjs217 said:

YES - because we never know if it is TOE-MAY-TOE, or TAH-MAH-TOE.  I far as I know there is only one way to pronounce RED.

 

Don’t forget TAH-MATER...... 😱

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1 hour ago, KenzSailing said:

I think a lot of it has to do with the history of “Italian” restaurants here in the US.  In the decades after WW2 until say, the 80s, the Italian cuisine served here was mostly a more refined version of that which was associated with the chef named Boy-Ar-Dee.  That is to say, it was (yes) tomato based, red and gloppy.  Then things started to change.  A wave of chefs (not just cooks) made Americans aware of the cuisines of the north, south, east and west of Italy (I’m not expert enough to get into, say, Piedmont vs the Marche, let alone Napoli vs Roma.)

 

Since I love accepting the challenge of taking the off-topic thread off-topic, do you feel that sentiment is sort of universally applicable to most (all?) ethnic cuisines in the US?  There are plenty of dated food trends that I do miss (and I'll shamelessly admit to them), but overall when it comes to ethnic foods I can't remember the last time I thought, "wow, if only I could get [insert cuisine name here] like we had in the '70's!"

 

Being Italian-American I definitely have the same read on Italian food here, but I can think something really similar about other cuisines too.  Some of my earliest food memories date back to one of Montgomery County's only Japanese restaurants in the '70's, Sakura Palace in downtown Silver Spring.  Within a few years they started popping up all over the county, and became increasingly authentic.  I can still remember what I think was Phyllis Richman's first review of a Vietnamese restaurant while I was in high school, where she pondered how to review a cuisine that was new to her right in the article.

 

Is there an ethnic cuisine that anyone thinks has devolved in the US?

 

Vince

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Another Italian/American food terminology which I find strange is the term "gravy" used I think when referring to what I assume is ragu or meat sauce. I first heard it being used in the Sopranos years ago. Is that still a thing?

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1 hour ago, ClefsDor said:

Another Italian/American food terminology which I find strange is the term "gravy" used I think when referring to what I assume is ragu or meat sauce. I first heard it being used in the Sopranos years ago. Is that still a thing?

 

It serves MANY purposes here in the USA!.........

206E6220-E879-41FE-881F-F067E4EFC0A8.jpeg

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2 hours ago, ClefsDor said:

Another Italian/American food terminology which I find strange is the term "gravy" used I think when referring to what I assume is ragu or meat sauce. I first heard it being used in the Sopranos years ago. Is that still a thing?

 

Ahem...

 

So, yes, Hoisin is gravy.  And don’t start down the “it’s a sauce” path.  Sauce is gravy, gravy is sauce.  Many an Italian grandmother has labored for hours over something she calls “Sunday Gravy” that the rest of us think of as Bolognese.  You going to argue with an Italian grandmother?  Didn’t think so.

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On 12/7/2020 at 1:36 PM, KenzSailing said:

This Friday I plan to make one of my personal favorites: chicken parm.  It's not the classic prep, as I make it in an air fryer (you know, the healthy alternative to hot oil frying.) But boy, is it good.

 

Kenz, what air fryer do you have?  We're in the market so I'm researching brands/models.  I've read a ton of reviews by experts and homecooks which has left me decidedly undecided on what to buy.  I'd welcome any tips.

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5 hours ago, BWIVince said:

 There are plenty of dated food trends that I do miss (and I'll shamelessly admit to them), but overall when it comes to ethnic foods I can't remember the last time I thought, "wow, if only I could get [insert cuisine name here] like we had in the '70’s”

 

I was reared in California’s heavily Hispanic San Joaquin Valley in the 60’s and 70’s and miss the “down n dirty” Mexican food I grew up on. The part of the Bay Area I live now is pretty, stylish, foo foo “Californiaized” stuff they try to pass off as Mexican. A place where you can substitute tofu for chorizo and add sour cream ain’t Mexican. Rule of thumb: Don’t try to put a sombrero on a Metrosexual ... doesn’t work. 

 

Thankfully, I can travel 45 minutes to SF’s Mission District and get more of the stuff that resembles what I grew up on. Or drive 3 hours to Fresno if I’m really feeling adventurous. 

 

So like Patty said a few posts up, it’s a regional thing when it comes to the getting the real deal. 

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2 hours ago, MightyQuinn said:

 

Kenz, what air fryer do you have?  We're in the market so I'm researching brands/models.  I've read a ton of reviews by experts and homecooks which has left me decidedly undecided on what to buy.  I'd welcome any tips.

 

MQ,

 

We have the Philips air fryer, and love it.

 

The models can be a little confusing at first, but you really only have  two decisions to make:

 

Analog controls or digital

 

Size: they come in three; papa, mama, baby

 

I would recommend springing for the digital controls.  Size is a function of how many folks you cook for.  Since it's the two of us, I use the baby digital model, so can't vouch for anything larger.

 

I make a lovely chicken parm, a spicy fried chicken sandwich,  very nice roast chicken breasts, roast asparagus (really any veggie) and, of course, french fries (or any sliced spud.)

 

Not that you asked, but here's how I go about deciding whether or not to acquire another appliance: I buy a cookbook specializing in using said appliance.  I figure if nothing appeals, I wasted less money on the book than on the appliance.  I really like the stuff the America's Test Kitchen folks turn out.  Their book "Air Fryer Perfection" sold me on purchasing the gizmo.  (Additional tip: get it thru one of the 3rd parties on Amazon that will charge you a few bucks more for a spiral bound edition.  Much easier in the kitchen if you're like me and can never remember is some ingredient was supposed to be a half or quarter teaspoon.)  

 

Hope this helps.  Happy cooking!

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2 hours ago, BEAV said:

 

 Rule of thumb: Don’t try to put a sombrero on a Metrosexual ... doesn’t work.

 

So like Patty said a few posts up, it’s a regional thing when it comes to the getting the real deal. 

 

Beav,

 

As to your first point, never thought about it, but strikes me as good advice.

 

As to the second, I'm not so sure.  I've been turning over a lot of thoughts on this since Vince posted his query about the possible devolution of ethnic cuisines in the US earlier today. I think your post intersects his, but it's a big, multi-faceted subject.  Must get some sleep before I bore everyone with my overly verbose thoughts.

 

Hey, beats talking about the virus or refunds. 

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1 hour ago, KenzSailing said:

As to the second, I'm not so sure.  I've been turning over a lot of thoughts on this since Vince posted his query about the possible devolution of ethnic cuisines in the US earlier today. I think your post intersects his, but it's a big, multi-faceted subject.  Must get some sleep before I bore everyone with my overly verbose thoughts.

 

Truth be told, one could even argue if Mexican food be classified as ethnic here in the USA (let alone in the spirit of Vince’s question) ???

 

But I don’t want to take his off-topic query on an off-topic thread off-topic....

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On 12/8/2020 at 10:54 PM, KenzSailing said:

 

Ahem...

 

So, yes, Hoisin is gravy.  And don’t start down the “it’s a sauce” path.  Sauce is gravy, gravy is sauce.  Many an Italian grandmother has labored for hours over something she calls “Sunday Gravy” that the rest of us think of as Bolognese.  You going to argue with an Italian grandmother?  Didn’t think so.

I have never heard any Italian naming “gravy”  to a sauce 🤔 I will try to pay attention and ask my Italian friends.

Ivi

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2 minutes ago, travelberlin said:

I have never heard any Italian naming “gravy”  to a sauce 🤔 I will try to pay attention and ask my Italian friends.

Ivi

 

Thinking this might be another case of "regional" usage. It might depend on what part of Italy or Sicily the person's relatives came from.

 

Patty

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So Vince raises a very interesting question about the devolution of ethnic cuisines in the US (nobody does macro like Vince. This is a compliment.)

 

And then Beav came in with a very valid question: is Mexican food even “ethnic” anymore in the US? 

 

I have thoughts.

 

(Disclaimer:  in this year 2020 discussing “ethnic” food is a fraught subject.  Indeed Beav’s point could be expanded to “is there such a thing as ethnic food?”  Great question and in addressing it, I will get things wrong.  Apologies in advance.)

 

As to Vince’s question, no I can’t think of any ethnic cuisines that have devolved, at least in the US.

Two forces drive all cuisine: evolution and fragmentation.  Evolution affects all cuisine and is obvious: tastes change.  French went thru nouvelle, then retreated, and landed somewhere in between.  (Today, the one to two star bistro reigns supreme in Paris.)

 

Fragmentation is a little different, and affects ethnic cuisines a little more heavily.  This is what I was getting at when I wrote the post about US diners being introduced to multiple styles of Italian cuisine.  It’s really a matter of diversification.  For example, the local food writers love to be the first ones to publish an article that could be titled: “DC finally gets a restaurant featuring the cuisine of northern Mongolia (I mean, I was so over the southern stuff.”)  In other words, any wrinkle on a cuisine that is relatively new to the general public is treated as a seismic event.  So I think this is what happens with “ethnic” cuisines in the US: they don’t devolve so much as diversify.

 

Until, until, a cuisine attains critical mass (I believe this is Beav’s point.)  It becomes so ubiquitous that everyone knows what we’re talking about (or we think we do.)  As Beav points out, Mexican cuisine in the US is probably the best example.  It is now so universally understood that the most common question you’ll get about the latest “Mexican” restaurant is “are we talking Mexican, or are we talking Tex-Mex?”  It’s the Mexican cuisine version of northern Italian vs southern Italian.  Congrats, you’ve gone mainstream (that’s not a criticism.) 

 

I have more thoughts, but I’ve droned on long enough for one post.

 

As always, be safe and be well.

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2 hours ago, travelberlin said:

I have never heard any Italian naming “gravy”  to a sauce 🤔 I will try to pay attention and ask my Italian friends.

Ivi

 

2 hours ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

Thinking this might be another case of "regional" usage. It might depend on what part of Italy or Sicily the person's relatives came from.

 

Patty

 

There are definitely pockets of Italian-American culture where it's not used, but gravy is still a thing...  I've heard other Italians say it, but my father's grandparents were from Sicily and Puglia (all via NY), and neither side of that family every referred to gravy...  It was just sawwce.  🙂

 

28 minutes ago, KenzSailing said:

Until, until, a cuisine attains critical mass (I believe this is Beav’s point.)  It becomes so ubiquitous that everyone knows what we’re talking about (or we think we do.)  As Beav points out, Mexican cuisine in the US is probably the best example.  It is now so universally understood that the most common question you’ll get about the latest “Mexican” restaurant is “are we talking Mexican, or are we talking Tex-Mex?”  It’s the Mexican cuisine version of northern Italian vs southern Italian.  Congrats, you’ve gone mainstream (that’s not a criticism.) 

 

 

Great analysis Ken, as always!  As I was reading it, I couldn't help but visualize the sushi flow chart as a visualization.  (It may have been more that I was just visualizing sushi, since it's almost lunch time and I'm hungry, but that's another issue...)

 

It looked something like:

 

No sushi --> Scarce sushi --> Abundant sushi...  Then a split happens when you reach a critical mass and you get two additional tracks at two different levels of fidelity.  One path leads you to Kaiseki-esque sushi, and the other leads you to Gas Station sushi when it gets prolific enough.

 

Is that kind of similar to what you're thinking?

 

Vince

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