Penguicon 2015!

I’ve been sent my panel schedule for Penguicon 2015.

Building the “Great Beast of Malvern” – Saturday 5:00 pm

One of us needed a new computer. One of us kicked off the campaign to
fund it. One of us assembled the massive system. One of us installed the
software. We were never all in the same place at the same time. All of us
blogged about it, and had a great time with the whole folderol. Come hear
how Eric “esr” Raymond got his monster machine, with ‘a little help from
his friends’ scattered all over the Internet.

Dark Chocolate Around The World – Sunday 12:00 pm

What makes one chocolate different from others? It’s not just how much
cocoa or sugar it contains or how it’s processed. Different varieties of
are grown in different parts of the world, and sometimes it’s the type of
beans make for different flavor qualities. Join Cathy and Eric Raymond for
a tasting session designed to show you how to tell West African chocolate
from Ecuadorian.

Eric S. Raymond: Ask Me Anything – Sunday 3:00 pm

Ask ESR Anything. What’s he been working on? What’s he shooting?
What’s he thinking about? What’s he building in there?

We do also intend to run the annual “Friends of Armed & Dangerous” party, but don’t yet know if we’re in a party-floor room.

“Geeks With Guns” is already scheduled.

102 thoughts on “Penguicon 2015!

  1. Man, how I wish I could visit the States. As it is, I can only wish you and your attendees a good time.

    >Building the “Great Beast of Malvern”

    Any news on Tek Syndicate’s progress on their second Beast video?

    >with ‘a little help from his friends’

    Sorry, can’t resist: what do you see when you turn out the light? :o)

    >Dark Chocolate Around The World

    I knew about your nightly dose of cocoa, but I didn’t know you were a chocolate expert. You keep surprising me, Eric. But I’m not surprised in your wife’s case, given that she writes a blog on food. And now I know the “Cathy likes chocolate” example in “What is truth?” wasn’t random. =) It’s getting better all the time.

    >the annual “Friends of Armed & Dangerous” party

    May I inquire discreetly: what do those parties consist of? I’m unacquainted with conventional parties, and yours may be different altogether.

    • >Any news on Tek Syndicate’s progress on their second Beast video?

      Alas, no.

      >I didn’t know you were a chocolate expert.

      Hmmmph. In what universe is it plausible that I would not become an expert on anything I really enjoy? :-)

      >May I inquire discreetly: what do those parties consist of? I’m unacquainted with conventional parties, and yours may be different altogether.

      Mostly people talking. Booze level tends to be low because I don’t drink. But a friend did materialize some astonishingly good chocolate last year.

    • >Is a final, complete, parts-list for the Great Beast located in one place, anywhere?

      Yes, but I no longer know where :-) I’m looking for it.

  2. @Jorge Dugan –

    > Is a final, complete, parts-list for the Great Beast located in one place, anywhere?

    I think the (essentially) complete parts list is here.

    > >with ‘a little help from his friends’

    > Sorry, can’t resist: what do you see when you turn out the light? :o)

    :D I’m the instigator of this talk, which is going to be Eric, Wendell, and me sitting around narrating the events that you all saw in our blogs. Yes, I was thinking about that Beatles’ tune when I wrote the description.

    @ ALL_SHOOTERS –

    If you haven’t seen an email from guns@penguicon.org yet, please send me something to let me know you are interested in attending. Thanks!

  3. @ esr

    > Alas, no.

    That’s a shame, for I really wanted to see Zola in action. Sure, the “Beast” is cool; but the first video had already covered it.
    Say, your hardware page contains an outdated description of your home machine. And then there’s that undesirable “purpises”.
    Yes… for better or for worse, I’m rather obsessive. Is that normal within the hacker culture?

    >Hmmmph. In what universe is it plausible that I would not become an expert on anything I really enjoy :-)

    I don’t know. I’m only familiar with a negligible fraction of this universe.

    Now, seriously: I didn’t know you liked chocolate so much. I did know of your passion for cheesecakes, though. BTW, I don’t share your aversion to “silly embellishments like frosting or fruit sauce”. I don’t want to eat something with a single flavor; seems lame to me. But it takes all kinds of gustatory processing to make a world. ;-)

    Another question: will your Penguicon lectures be filmed and uploaded to YouTube?

    @ John D. Bell

    >>Is a final, complete, parts-list for the Great Beast located in one place, anywhere?
    >I think the (essentially) complete parts list is here.

    If I may correct you, that question was asked by Deep Lurker.

    >Yes, I was thinking about that Beatles’ tune when I wrote the description.

    I had little doubt about that. Are you a fellow Beatlemaniac? :-D

    • >Say, your hardware page contains an outdated description of your home machine.

      Thanks, now fixed.

      >Yes… for better or for worse, I’m rather obsessive. Is that normal within the hacker culture?

      That you have asked the question tells me you correctly anticipate the answer :-)

      >I don’t want to eat something with a single flavor; seems lame to me.

      Ah, but some “single flavors” are complex enough to reward exploring in depth. Only a poorly-made cheesecake needs sauce. To be fair to you, you have almost certainly never had what I would consider a first-rate cheesecake worthy to be eaten plain; the best are only produced by a handful of Jewish bakeries in New York City and are not all that easy to get even in the U.S. Outside the U.S. I would not bet on being able to find cheesecake anywhere near that good.

      >Another question: will your Penguicon lectures be filmed and uploaded to YouTube?

      I don’t know yet.

    • >Now, seriously: I didn’t know you liked chocolate so much.

      Since this is a thread in part about chocolate and my preferences, a further note: I have cultivated a taste for good chocolate the way some people cultivate a taste for good wine. I steer clear of the general run of bland, oversweetened milk chocolate and prefer gourmet-quality dark chocolate.

      The reason for this is that (1) there is a place in my life for tasty treats, food eaten for pure enjoyment, and (2) chocolate has the desirable property that while I enjoy it intensely I never want a lot of it. I am never tempted to gorge myself on chocolate. (I know what that temptation feels like, though, because top-grade meat does tempt me that way.)

      A wise man arranges his life so his temptations are few and manageable. There is a large class of unhealthy temptations I can head off with a few grams of excellent chocolate which, compared to its alternatives, is actually rather good for me (flavinoids, soluble fiber, benign fatty acids, lots of antioxidants, and various useful trace metals). So I train myself to appreciate chocolate more as a way to consume less healthy taste treats less often.

  4. >Thanks, now fixed.

    You’re welcome. Hmmm… the page still asserts you use Firefox. I suspected that you’d switched to some other browser, probably Chromium. I mean, there occurred the Brendan Eich incident and, more recently, you reported that “An incredibly shrinking Firefox faces endangered species status”.

    >That you have asked the question tells me you correctly anticipate the answer :-)

    Dude, you have a knack of making me feel better about myself. You may say it’s just your job as a tribal elder, but I see it as a sign of the understanding that’s been growing between us. (Sorry; in addition to being the obsessive type, I happen to be the sentimental type. :P Is that, too, common among hackers and para-hackers?)

    >To be fair to you, you have almost certainly never had what I would consider a first-rate cheesecake worthy to be eaten plain

    As a matter of fact, I think I’ve only eaten one piece of cheesecake in my life. I kid you not.

    > Outside the U.S. I would not bet on being able to find cheesecake anywhere near that good.

    This reminds me of something you once wrote: “Try finding fresh orange juice anyhere [sic] outside the U.S. and you’ll find out you…usually can’t.” Interestingly, my father has independently reached the same conclusion, minus the U.S. part. And he’s been complaining for decades about what’s marketed as ham (at least in our country).

    >I steer clear of the general run of bland, oversweetened milk chocolate and prefer gourmet-quality dark chocolate.

    Gourmet chocolate… that’s something I don’t think I’ve ever tried.

    • >(Sorry; in addition to being the obsessive type, I happen to be the sentimental type. :P Is that, too, common among hackers and para-hackers?)

      No. Probably more the opposite; we are often accused of being a bunch of emotionally stunted shadow-autists. While this is at best a major oversimplification, it’s not oversimplification in a completely wrong direction.

      >As a matter of fact, I think I’ve only eaten one piece of cheesecake in my life. I kid you not.

      I wouldn’t have assumed you were kidding. Cheesecake is a very American thing, one of those heritage foods every culture has that doesn’t necessarily export well.

      >I see it as a sign of the understanding that’s been growing between us

      Ah, now you have stepped on a politeness boundary. I am not offended, because I am less culture-bound than most Americans, but that is not a safe thing to say in English to any man you are not already very close with. Other than in private settings between close friends this language reads in English as florid, maudlin, even a bit effeminate.

      I think this helps put into focus an Anglo-vs.-Spanish difference I was struggling to get at earlier. American men are expected to be more emotionally reserved, stoical, and cautious with each other than their casual, formality-shunning manners make them look. If my reading of Spanish-speaking cultures is correct (and I have lived in Venezuela and visited Spain) formal Spanish manners is coupled with less emotional reserve.

  5. >>Say, your hardware page contains an outdated description of your home machine.
    > Thanks, now fixed.

    Where it is linked from?

    P.S. @esr, your sitemap is empty…

  6. “the best are only produced by a handful of Jewish bakeries in New York City”

    And now, the cheesecake lover’s version of EMACS vs. vi: Junior’s, or S&S?

    “because top-grade meat does tempt me that way”

    If you ever get to the Twin Cities, have I got a place for you.

  7. >Cheesecake is a very American thing

    Like apple pie, right? I do eat apple pie sometimes, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find the American version to be significantly different.

    >Ah, now you have stepped on a politeness boundary. I am not offended, because I am less culture-bound than most Americans, but that is not a safe thing to say in English to any man you are not already very close with.

    Gulp! My bad. Well, I’m glad I didn’t offend you; believe me, that’s the last thing I’d want to do. Thanks for the warning–I’ll keep it in mind. And don’t worry: I may sound like I suffer from the delusion that we’re already friends, but I don’t. Maybe friendship–if only over the Internet–between us is possible; but if it does come to be, it will take years. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
    In any case, we’re currently acquaintances-over-the-Internet who, by virtue of certain shared interests, get along rather well. That’s how I interpret it, anyway.

    >Other than in private settings between close friends this language reads in English as florid, maudlin, even a bit effeminate.

    Well… I am a bit effeminate. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that); but when I meet some dog or cat, I usually go all “Awww!”. Or is that childish rather than effeminate?

    >If my reading of Spanish-speaking cultures is correct … formal Spanish manners is coupled with less emotional reserve.

    I believe you’re right. Incidentally, I suspect the phenomenon is a bit more general; I mean, isn’t it also present in Italy, or at least its southern regions? Could it be, to some extent, a shared trait of Latin cultures? If I’m correct, this could be a research topic for the anthropologist in you. :-)

  8. >Another question: will your Penguicon lectures be filmed and uploaded to YouTube?

    I don’t know yet.

    If they were, it would not only be good for those unlucky souls who cannot reach Penguicon, but there is an infinitesimal chance that it might shame TekSyndicate to get their asses in gear.

  9. A couple of afterthoughts…

    @ Jakub Narebski

    Perhaps the empty map is a humorous allusion to The Hunting of the Snark?

    @ ESR

    I predict your country’s customs, and even its institutions, will change as it gets flooded with Latin Americans–thanks in large part to your demagogue-in-chief’s decision to pardon illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, Europe’s being Islamicized… but I digress.

    • >I predict your country’s customs, and even its institutions, will change as it gets flooded with Latin Americans

      This has been predicted before in conjunction with every large wave of non-Anglo-Saxon immigration – most notably the influxes of Eastern and Southern Europeans in the early 20th century. It has yet to materialize; immigrants seem to be easily able to broaden our range of nativized foods, but our core folkways have otherwise been quite remarkably stable.

      With respect to the kinds of manners we have been talking about (social roles and distances, expectations on the behavior of men) the U.S. is still very much an Anglo-Germanic country (with discernible bits of Celtic and Scandinavian flavor). Immigrants assimilate to those patterns rather than changing them.

  10. @Jorge Dujan
    >when I meet some dog or cat, I usually go all “Awww!”. Or is that childish rather than effeminate?

    If it’s spoken with a second vowel sound, with sharp upward pitch transition at the end (often written “awwa” in an attempt to capture this very distinction) then I’d say it’s quite effeminate. I literally have never heard a heterosexual man say the word that way, but it seems the nearly universal response from women when the cuteness level goes to 11.

  11. @ The Monster

    Hmmm… in those situations, I often utter the Spanish interjection “ay” rather than the English “aw” (I provided that one as an example because, IIUC, it is the standard one when it comes to cuteness). That would be two vocalic sounds, but not quite in the way you mention. So I don’t know.
    In any case, like I said, I’m sentimental. Cats and dogs melt my heart. ñ_ñ

    @ anyone

    BTW, I recently bought a (used) copy of Desmond Morris’ Catwatching. Would you say it was a wise purchase?

    @ ESR

    >It has yet to materialize

    Yes, but it could be different this time (remember Popper’s warnings against historicism). Maybe those Eastern and Southern Europeans possessed a mindset that was more compatible with the American spirit than the mindset of (most) present-day Hispanics is? Regardless, the aforementioned demagogic move by the Obama administration goes against the rule of law, and encourages a toxic sense of entitlement.
    I don’t purport myself to know more than you do, especially since you live in America and I’ve never even visited it. I just want to raise a caution. Besides, I do have first-hand experience with the mentality that predominates in Latin America. ;-)
    (To be fair, I hear Cuban immigrants are comparatively conservative–but that’s only natural since they’ve escaped from a collectivist regime which they recognize as tyrannical and impoverishing.)

    • >Regardless, the aforementioned demagogic move by the Obama administration goes against the rule of law, and encourages a toxic sense of entitlement.

      That is certainly true. But in the larger picture, successive waves of immigration have shifted our culture remarkably little – and if theat were going to happen it would more likely havre done so early, before it was adapted by practice to assimilating them.

  12. I never would have guessed that you were a chocolate connoisseur, but in retrospect, it makes sense to me – your description of how you cultivated your taste in chocolate sounds similar to how I will wax rhapsodic about varieties of honey.

    Also, Penguicon sounds awesome. I can’t go this year, but I’m going to have to see if I can make it out next year.

    • >I will wax rhapsodic about varieties of honey.

      There was once a kind of honey that made me wax rhapsodic. It was a Portuguese citrus honey. Very dark, complex flavor with a strong orangey tang – notes of wood-smoke and earth and berries; relatively low in sugar taste and lacking the sickly-sweet top edge I dislike in clover honey.

      Does this sound familiar? I only had the one port of it, acquired by my mother while touristing in Portugal. I would love to know where to find similar.

  13. >…in the larger picture, successive waves of immigration have shifted our culture remarkably little – and if theat were going to happen it would more likely havre done so early, before it was adapted by practice to assimilating them.

    I dearly hope you are right, for the sake of the West and its unique tradition of liberty and reason.

    Going back to your gastronomic preferences:

    1. Do you like mayonnaise? (I don’t. Yuck.)
    2. Do you like choucroute garnie? (I’ve eaten it only once, and liked it.)
    3. Jugdging by what I’ve seen at her culinary blog, I reckon your wife is particularly keen on making different kinds of stew. Has she treated you to some Asturian fabada, or have you otherwise tried it? (That’s another dish I’ve tried and liked. Pork and beans! Yum!)

    • >1. Do you like mayonnaise? (I don’t. Yuck.)

      Not usually. It has some good uses in conjunction with roast beef, however.

      >2. Do you like choucroute garnie? (I’ve eaten it only once, and liked it.)

      I’ll eat it but am not a huge fan. I hat to look it up; it’s not known under that name in the U.S. but is part of the folk cuisine in the many parts of the U.S. that were settled mainly by Germans.

      >3. Jugdging by what I’ve seen at her culinary blog, I reckon your wife is particularly keen on making different kinds of stew.

      That’s right.

      >Has she treated you to some Asturian fabada, or have you otherwise tried it?

      That I would like. Very similar dishes, generally just known as “pork & beans”, are still important in American folk cuisine, and used to be more important before beef became relatively inexpensive after WWII.

  14. Our American culture is stable because foreign ideas get compared with what we already have. They rarely work as well. After all, if those other cultures were so great, why didn’t their adherents stay where they were?

    None of my grandparents ever expressed a longing for “the old country”.

  15. “Do you like choucroute garnie? (I’ve eaten it only once, and liked it.)”

    I’ve never seen that in a US restaurant as such. A typical German place will have sauerkraut and sausages, often with hot potato salad, but the full dish as expounded in the Wikipedia entry is unknown. Shame. I’d like to try it. But then, I like sauerkraut, cold or hot.

  16. > Does this sound familiar?

    Afraid not. Which is a shame because it sounds excellent.

    It’s not hard to get orange blossom honey, but it lacks the more subtle flavors you’re describing. I’m guessing what you had was some kind of wildflower (“polyfloral” if you want to sound fancy) honey that happened to be dense in orange blossoms.

    • >I’m guessing what you had was some kind of wildflower (“polyfloral” if you want to sound fancy) honey that happened to be dense in orange blossoms.

      This was my guess as well. I did some on-line searches and they hint that at least broadly similar honies are cultivated in the region of the Algarve.

  17. Probably more the opposite; we are often accused of being a bunch of emotionally stunted shadow-autists. While this is at best a major oversimplification, it’s not oversimplification in a completely wrong direction.

    Note that the usual description of lack of emotion in autistic individuals is more an issue of projection on the part of the researchers, and that more recent investigations are finding (entirely plausibly) that emotional reactions are stronger in autistics, it’s just not apparent to NTs who assume that everyone communicates just like they do.

  18. >emotional reactions are stronger in autistics

    Results probably depend on definition of ‘strength’.

  19. Re chocolate:

    Does anyone find significant variation of chocolate texture with latitude? I hear that in warmer climates, chocolate and ice cream have less pleasant textures as a good texture requires a lower melting point than is feasable in tropical/subtropical areas.

    I once tried some ice cream that I had to put in the microwave just to test whether it actually had a melting point.

  20. Results probably depend on definition of ‘strength’.

    Immediate neurophysical reaction based on markers such as brain activation and physiological metrics such as heart rate and blood hormone levels.

  21. @LS

    > After all, if those other cultures were so great, why didn’t their adherents stay where they were?

    Are you serious? Since I consider you intelligent, this almost sounds like trolling. Folk culture has almost no relationship to emigration pressures like fucked up government or economics, overpopulation relative to natural resources etc. only in cases of national independence and strict democracy is there some sort of a relationship but still the part of culture that determines who people vote for is a fairly distant part from the culture that determines how people cook or make drinks or suchlike. If anything, the relationship is inverse, the most functional places on Earth tend to be rather boring, puritanical, bland, and having something like “work, work, then work some more” for a value system, while the places that produce the globally most popular food or drink (or other enjoyments) tend towards corrupted statism in politics and lazy chaos at work. A good cooking tradition requires a tyranny more or less, as it is usually the cooks employed by sultans, moghuls, emperors, sun kings who tend to come up with the most interesting recipes.

  22. @ ESR

    >[Choucroute garnie]’s not known under that name in the U.S.

    What do you call it?

    @ Jay Maynard

    >I’d like to try it. But then, I like sauerkraut, cold or hot.

    From this and other comments you’ve made, I’m under the impression your tastes are remarkably similar to mine. Perhaps we’ve been raised in regions with similar cuisines? Let’s see… you’re from the American Midwest, right? I shall look its cuisine up.

    @ Shenpen

    >A good cooking tradition requires a tyranny more or less, as it is usually the cooks employed by sultans, moghuls, emperors, sun kings who tend to come up with the most interesting recipes.

    Interesting. As much as I hate tyranny, your thesis provides food for thought (no pun intended XD).
    Likewise, I’m intrigued by David Landes’ view on protectionism (see this Wikipedia article and look for the bullet point that starts with “Many of the theories of Adam Smith…”).
    And then there’s Robert Wright’s Nonzero, which reportedly expounds alleged “benefits of barbarian hordes and … feudalism”. But that’s probably going too far.

    • >What do you call [Choucroute garnie]?

      It isn’t a named thing in the U.S. Rather, there is a relatively narrow range of meat dishes traditionally combined with sauerkraut, and some of the most popular combinations strongly resemble variants of choucroute garnie. Though they are usually less elaborately seasoned.

      My own guess, now that I’ve seen a description of choucroute garnie, is that it shares common ancestry with these American dishes in the folk cuisine of Germany from the time of the first German in-migrations in the late 1600s. But choucroute garnie has been influenced by later French haute cuisine in ways its American cousins have not.

      >Perhaps we’ve been raised in regions with similar cuisines? Let’s see… you’re from the American Midwest, right?

      For the record, Americans hailing (like me) from the coastal metroplexes generally think Midwestern cooking is, um, unimaginative. They do staple meals pretty well (and are particularly good at breakfast food) but their idea of high-style cooking is generally pretty laughable by coastal standards.

      Jay is actually from Texas, which has a much more interesting folk cuisine than the Midwest. Chili and barbeque easily beat hell out of bratwurst and potato salad.

  23. >…choucroute garnie has been influenced by later French haute cuisine in ways its American cousins have not.

    I hear you. BTW, we Argies use the French word “choucrout” over “sauerkraut” in general, not just when discussing choucrout garnie (even at the German restaurant where I tried that stuff). I dunno why; maybe sauerkraut was introduced to this country by French-speaking Alsatians. Or maybe it’s just a French-haute-cuisine kinda thang. In any case, “choucrout” is shorter and I appreciate that. :-P

    >For the record, Americans hailing (like me) from the coastal metroplexes generally think Midwestern cooking is, um, unimaginative.

    I wouldn’t mind, as long as the flavors were to my liking. And I suspect they are–the relevant Wikipedia article shows some enticing pictures. I wish I could try Chicago-style pizza and/or the Reuben sandwich. :'(

    >Jay is actually from Texas

    Oops! Well, in my defense, I was confused–don’t take this as reproach–by something you wrote elsewhere: “Jay, like many other Mid-Westerners and Southerners…”. Since you mentioned the Midwest before the South, I thought…
    Speaking of which: your wife doesn’t happen to be Southern, does she? ‘Cause I like their accent. In fact, part of my motivation for asking if your talks would be uploaded was that I’d like to know her voice, now that I know yours thanks to the Beast video. Just sayin’. :-)

    >Chili and barbeque easily beat hell out of bratwurst and potato salad.

    Well, bratwurst looks good. As for potato salad, I only know the Russian version–or the Argentine version of the Russian version. And as for chili, I have faint memories of trying it at Wendy’s as a child–not enough to say I’m acquainted with that dish. I’d like to try a home-made version; but nowadays I can’t even have the fast-food one, for Wendy’s left the country long ago. Sigh…

    @ anyone

    Please take a look at this picture and tell me how you call the kind of bread depicted there in English. FWIW, we Argies call it roseta.

    • >Please take a look at this picture and tell me how you call the kind of bread depicted there in English. FWIW, we Argies call it roseta.

      In American English, “Kaiser roll”. I don’t know if Brotish English has a distinct name for it.

  24. I live in rural southern Minnesota, but as Eric says, I’m from Houston originally. My tastes are definitely Texan, with a pronounced liking for Tex-Mex and barbecue. (Only yankees put a Q in barbecue.) And I’m a bit particular about my barbecue, too: beef brisket or pork ribs, with a tomato-based sauce with both fire and flavor to it.

    “As dull as Swedish cooking” is a Midwestern saying with a real basis to it. Borrrrrringggg… Then again, any culture that can come up with lutefisk…<shudder>

    Don’t knock bratwurst too hard, though. Beats the hell out of a hot dog. You can also get them up here made with all sorts of stuff, from green onions to wild rice to jalapeño and cheddar. Brats and kraut are a yummy replacement for the traditional hot dog.

    The rest, though…

  25. @Jorge: As a native Minnesotan, I’d say ESR is completely correct. Midwestern food is pretty bland. Unless you go to some of the more niche ethnic foods like Lutefisk, you’re really going to get a pretty middle of the road, meat and potatos kind of experience.

    I will suggest trying a “Jucy Lucy”, though.

  26. Cathy’s accent is definitely not Southern. If you ever hear someone refer to a “teeth-clenched Main Line Philadelphia” accent, that’s Cathy. (Although Eric says it’s learned behavior for her and she reverts to her original at times, I don’t recall having heard it.)

    Mine, OTOH…well, it only takes about five words or so for any listener to immediately identify me as a Texan.

    Wendy’s chili? Bleh. I can post my mother’s chili recipe; not fancy, but a good basic eating chili. Not sure you can get the ingredients there, though.

    • >Cathy’s accent is definitely not Southern. If you ever hear someone refer to a “teeth-clenched Main Line Philadelphia” accent, that’s Cathy. (Although Eric says it’s learned behavior for her and she reverts to her original at times, I don’t recall having heard it.)

      Actually, it’s been years since I’ve heard it myself – she reverts only rarely and then under extreme fatigue. You might not be able to tell the difference from her usual accent, anyway, as it’s still Eastern Pennsylvania but hardcrabble working-class rather than educated.

  27. @Jay: I am convinced Lutefisk is a prime reason why the Vikings raided France: They were HUNGRY!

  28. @ James D. Noyes

    >Unless you go to some of the more niche ethnic foods like Lutefisk…

    I’ve never eaten Lutefisk and, frankly, I probably would hate it: I don’t like fish at all, except for hake that’s been breaded and fried (and I’m willing to try other fried fish dishes, but I haven’t so far).

    >…you’re really going to get a pretty middle of the road, meat and potatos kind of experience.

    What’s wrong with that? I’m not very sophisticated, really. Meat and potatoes will do. :-) And I’d accompany that with Coke–like our host, I dislike alcohol; but, unlike him, I routinely consume soft drinks.

    >I will suggest trying a “Jucy Lucy”, though.

    I just looked that up and am not sure I’d like it: I’m generally averse to cheese and only accept certain kinds in certain contexts.
    Sorry if I sounded like a jerk. It’s just that fish and cheese… but I appreciate your advice nonetheless and thank you. Alas, I won’t be visiting America anytime soon. :'(

    @ Jay Maynard

    >…a tomato-based sauce with both fire and flavor to it.

    Not sure what that means, but I do like barbecue sauce, ketchup, and the simple tomate sauce that goes with pasta.

    >Don’t knock bratwurst too hard, though. Beats the hell out of a hot dog. You can also get them up here made with all sorts of stuff, from green onions to wild rice to jalapeño and cheddar.

    Sounds good :), with the possible exception of wild rice. I’ve never eaten that.

    >If you ever hear someone refer to a “teeth-clenched Main Line Philadelphia” accent, that’s Cathy.

    Teeth-clenched? Like Peter Sellers’ character in The Party (putting aside the Indian accent)?

    >Wendy’s chili? Bleh. I can post my mother’s chili recipe; not fancy, but a good basic eating chili.

    That would be nice, but I’m afraid I don’t cook. Eating is more up my alley. Nevertheless, others might find the recipe useful, and I could bookmark it just in case I ever start cooking.

    >Not sure you can get the ingredients there, though.

    I could always try. The real obstacles are my inability and unwillingness to cook. :$

    @ ESR

    >In American English, “Kaiser roll”.

    Thanks.

    >I don’t know if Brotish English has a distinct name for it.

    Is that a pun on “brot”, German for “bread”? Even if it was actually a typo, it was adequate. :-)

  29. “I will suggest trying a “Jucy Lucy”, though.”

    And now for the Twin Cities version of EMACS vs. vi:

    “Jucy Lucy” or “Juicy Lucy”?

    And, James, I’m sure you’ll second my plan to drag Eric to Lindey’s if he ever gets to the Cities…

  30. > Not sure what that means, but I do like barbecue sauce, ketchup, and the simple tomate sauce that goes with pasta.

    “Barbecue sauce” is a huge cultural category (many, but not all, are tomato based), and the stuff you’ll find for dipping chicken nuggets in at fast food restaurants is… not the best example.

  31. @Jay: Sadly, I never got out to Lindey’s while I was there, but all of my friends raved about it. Now I’m in Baltimore, so it’s unlikely that I’ll make it out there. As for the holy war over the spelling of Juicy/Jucy, I would have gone with “Juicy”. But “Jucy” is what showed up on the final arbiter of all truth that is googlepedia.

    @Jorge:
    1 – You would hate Lutefisk. Everyone should hate it. It’s codfish soaked in Lye until just before sapponification (yes…SOAP!). It’s awful!!

    2 – Don’t mistake me: there’s nothing wrong with midwestern food. But if you’re looking for something “edgy” or culinarily adventurous, look elsewhere. (I have a “spice blend” from the Wayzata Bay Spice company called “Ole and Lena”. It’s salt and pepper.)

    3 – As for the Juicy Lucy, It’s essentially a beef cheeseburger with the cheese inside the patty (which is about as wild and crazy as a Minnesotan is going to get). It’s especially flavorful with ground bison or elk meat if you can get it.

  32. James: Oh, man, did you miss out. I live in Fairmont, 150 miles southwest of there, and I’ve been known to drive up to the Cities for the sole purpose of having dinner at Lindey’s. If you ever get back there, make a point of going.

    I’ve never had lutefisk myself. I’m told it’s an acquired taste, and one not worth acquiring. I do have a button that says LEGALIZE LUTEFISK, though.

    I do want to try a Ju(i)cy Lucy at some point. Haven’t been adventurous enough to make one myself, and I do regularly patty my own hamburgers. The comments I’ve seen are that you have to be sure to seal the top and bottom patties around their complete circumference to make sure the cheese remains inside.

  33. >Kaiser roll

    Interesting, an accurate translation of the original Austrian name. They were named so because they were the first succesful experiment using sweet fermented, non-sourdough beer yeast , made for the 1867 Paris Expo, and were considered a very high-class roll. I was unaware of significant Austrian immigration to the USA, for example calling wieners weiners is a bit of an evidence to the contrary. Another evidence is that the Plundergebäck went accross the ocean in a roundabout way, as “Danish pastry”. Apparently not many viennoiseries were ever opened in the US by Austrians or else it would have retained its original name or an appropriate English translation. German-speaking culture in the US seems fairly northern in origin, apfelstrudel and all that, at least this is how it is projected back. Or maybe e.g. Alps food exists in the US, just under a different name? E.g. http://www.rocketandsquash.com/ogr-tiroler-grostl/

    >roseta

    Rosetta is what Kaisersemmels were called in Lombardy, Italy, when they were imported from Vienna during the Habsburg rule. It is fairly well known that Argentine had significant Italian immigration, but why would Lombards emigrate? I thought the world Italian diaspora is largely about Southerners escaping the disastrous risorgimento that turned Naples from a top tourist destination to its later and current third-worldish state. It is also interesting that Wiener Schnitzels are called milanesa in Argentine, i.e. Milan(o) schnitzels, it is indeed true that they were imported to Austria during the Lombardy campaign, but I thought most of the world has forgotten this. Also, they were changed. Originally the breading contained grated cheese.

    • >I was unaware of significant Austrian immigration to the USA

      There may not have been a lot, but Kaiser rolls are everywhere in the U.S. – I mean really thoroughly naturalized.

      So are Austrian bagels, though any you find more than 50 miles from a coast are likely to be pretty bad by European standards. In the U.S. they’re marked as a Jewish food, but also favored by gentile urbanites like myself. Pretty much anyone who’s lived in a white middle-class-or-up neighborhood in the Boswash metroplex has probably eaten bagel halves spread with cream cheese, then piled with smoked salmon and capers and red onion. That almost qualifies as heritage food even for non-Jews these days, at least if you live within driving range of New York City.

    • >[Kaisers] were considered a very high-class roll

      They’ve completely lost that connotation in the U.S. If you ask an American to point at “high-class” bread he’ll pick Italian or French artisan breads, the kind you probably eat dipped in olive oil and cracked pepper. That’s not yet a common custom here, but it’s spreading.

    • Meant to respond to this earlier….

      >German-speaking culture in the US seems fairly northern in origin, apfelstrudel and all that, at least this is how it is projected back.

      I think that is true. It’s hard to find detailed breakdowns but a quick skim of related Wikipedia articles suggest that Alsace and the northern Rhineland in general produced many of our immigrants. I’m of Alsatian-German ancestry myself on one side, though our family used a French name and lived on the French side of the river.

  34. “You might not be able to tell the difference from her usual accent, anyway, as it’s still Eastern Pennsylvania but hardcrabble working-class rather than educated.”

    I’m having a hard time imagining this, actually. I have a few mental models of the accent you’re talking about (for the uninitiated, think Sylvester Stallone in Rocky), but none of them are female.

    • >I have a few mental models of the accent you’re talking about (for the uninitiated, think Sylvester Stallone in Rocky), but none of them are female.

      Yeah. So, if you can, imagine a much softened female version of that, and without the heavy South Philly Italian coloration Stallone’s has. I understand this may be a stretch.

  35. >Jorge, there is almost no hope that you will understand this. Do not be concerned, I would doubtless find the regional humor in your country equally impenetrable.

    Heh. Even after reading this, I did try to watch it – just out of curiosity. But I quickly bailed out because of the “music”. I’m sure you don’t like it either, but enjoy the video merely because you focus on the images and the lyrics. BTW, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions not about your gastronomic preferences, but about your musical ones. Would that be going too far?
    And another thing: judging by your tone, I assume you’re not angry because of my remark on your wife and Hrundi V. Bakshi. I’m relieved, for – as usual – I didn’t intend it as mockery or anything of the sort, but became worried that it might come off as such after I posted it. I’d decided to become less uptight, but I don’t really know how to do that without becoming downright impudent. Therefore, I probably should revert to being overly deferential or, at the very least, not discussing Mrs. Raymond at all… before I really screw up. But I will say this: you two are incredible, and deserve each other. ;-) And on the off-chance she read the comment, I want to assure her and everybody else that it’s not in my blood to intentionally hurt a good person’s feelings, let alone in the case of someone I admire.

    • >I’m sure you don’t like it either, but enjoy the video merely because you focus on the images and the lyrics.

      The music is a parody of Korean pop. The video is pretty funny if you know the jokes Americans (including Midwesterners themselves) tell about Midwesterners. This is not knowledge Americans would expect a foreigner to have.

      >BTW, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions not about your gastronomic preferences, but about your musical ones. Would that be going too far?

      No, it would not. You worry too much.

      >Therefore, I probably should revert to being overly deferential or, at the very least, not discussing Mrs. Raymond at all

      See above :-)

  36. >No, it would not. You worry too much.

    Thanks. Here we go:
    1. Do you like Jethro Tull? If so, has Ian Anderson influenced your flute playing?
    2. You’ve spoken favorably of jazz fusion. I don’t think I’ve heard any other than Frank Zappa’s “Peaches en Regalia”, but that instrumental happens to be one of my favorite pieces of music. What’s your take on it?
    That’s all I can think of right now. :-P

    >See above :-)

    Phew. OK, I’ll keep trying to be less uptight. After all, if you ever feel I’ve crossed the line, you surely won’t hesitate to let me know. ;o)

    • >1. Do you like Jethro Tull? If so, has Ian Anderson influenced your flute playing?

      I do, and he did.

      >2. You’ve spoken favorably of jazz fusion. I don’t think I’ve heard any other than Frank Zappa’s “Peaches en Regalia”, but that instrumental happens to be one of my favorite pieces of music. What’s your take on it?

      Ah, the whole Hot Rats album was brilliant. Groundbreaking. Zappa’s players went on to become frontmen for several fusion ensembles I liked very much.

      >After all, if you ever feel I’ve crossed the line, you surely won’t hesitate to let me know. ;o)

      No, I won’t.

  37. >…a tomato-based sauce with both fire and flavor to it.

    Not sure what that means, but I do like barbecue sauce, ketchup, and the simple tomato sauce that goes with pasta.

    “Fire” typically means heat, as in capsaicin content. A good sauce contains plenty of chili powder and black pepper.

    In general, Texans like spicy food – chili simply isn’t chili without plenty of peppers in it (jalapeno, poblano, habenero, etc.) – although to be fair, you wouldn’t normally put these in barbecue sauce, or even the rub.

    “Flavor” is where your essential oils come in (cumin), along with a bit of sugar (only a bit – too much, and yes, Dorothy, you ARE in Kansas anymore), mustard, tomato, vinegar… but in my considered opinion, the real flavor comes from the smoke, and the meat itself.

    Dunno how Jay feels about this, but as a native of Elgin, near Austin (Rudy Mikeska country), proper barbecue doesn’t really need sauce, and if it needs sauce, you need a different barbecue. Good barbecued meat is brisket, smoked over mesquite and infused with a layer of its own fat, literally all day, until it’s so tender you can cut it with a fork. In the same breath, I will say that good sauce is nice to have, if the meat is properly done. It’s just not necessary.

    I went into a sort of brisket hibernation when I moved out to Maryland for work reasons. Brisket simply didn’t exist around here. Famous Dave’s, the chain here (Jay may even have met the founder), serves a brisket that absolutely needs sauce. I swear it’s designed for it. I struggle to say anything good about it – it’s fine if you’re hungry, I suppose. Red Hot & Blue is another chain here, but it’s known for its pulled pork (which is indeed quite nice), not its brisket).

    Then, a few years ago, a feller from South Carolina by the name of Kloby opened a spot so close to my home in Columbia – it’s just off US 29 between Baltimore and DC, at the 216 exit to JHUAPL (James Noyes: take note), serving brisket that finally meets my tastes. He also serves fried okra, which apparently didn’t exist this far north either. The only thing served there that I avoid is the sausage (did I mention I grew up in Elgin?). Other than that, if I could afford it, I’d eat there every single week.

    • >Dunno how Jay feels about this, but as a native of Elgin, near Austin (Rudy Mikeska country), proper barbecue doesn’t really need sauce, and if it needs sauce, you need a different barbecue. Good barbecued meat is brisket, smoked over mesquite and infused with a layer of its own fat, literally all day, until it’s so tender you can cut it with a fork. In the same breath, I will say that good sauce is nice to have, if the meat is properly done. It’s just not necessary.

      I’m with you on all of this. I find that heavy sauces (especially sugared ones) interfere with the taste of the meat too much. What I really like is a Memphis-style dry rub. Jorge, there are variations on this but a very common combination is: oregano, garlic, paprika, chili powder. It’s brushed onto the meat at the end of cooking.

      Also note that there are hundreds of regional variations of barbecue; aficionados have great fun comparing notes and arguing the relative merits of different styles. Regional patriotism can be involved, though usually not for a Yankee like me born well outside the good-barbecue region.

      I spoke of heritage foods earlier; this is a really major one in the U.S. Barbecue is entangled with our image of American authenticity in deep and complicated ways.

  38. No, bagels are indeed Jewish and Polish, there is not much Austrian about them. I mean literally, going to the website of the 4-5 biggest Austrian bakery chains, like stroeck.at and could not find anything similar.

    I think the confusion is coming from a different Austrian product having a similar name, the Beugel, which is typically filled with poppy seed or ground nuts, quite sweet and would not match savory toppings: http://images.ichkoche.at/data/image/variations/496×384/4/mohnbeugel-img-31085.jpg the etymology is related, both describe a thing made via “bending”, just the product not.

    • >No, bagels are indeed Jewish and Polish, there is not much Austrian about them.

      Oh, that’s interesting. One of my sources specifically attributed the naturalization of bagels in NYC to Austrian bakeries; this seemed plausible because we absorbed a lot of Jews from Galicia early in the last century. But perhaps, as you say, there was confusion with the beugel.

  39. >Hmmmph. In what universe is it plausible that I would not become an expert on anything I really enjoy :-)

    Counter: Sausage.

    • >Counter: Sausage.

      I’m not actually a big fan. There are a couple of specific varieties I sometimes enjoy, but most sausage strikes me as excessively fatty and bland.

  40. I spoke of heritage foods earlier; this is a really major one in the U.S. Barbecue is entangled with our image of American authenticity in deep and complicated ways.

    Indeed. If you want to have some fun, Jorge, find a group of Americans, particularly lower- and middle-class men, especially if they’re not all from the same area, and casually toss in an opinion about good barbecue. (Note: being from Argentina, you should usually be recognized as having a valid one.)

    Then watch the action. The US has several distinct nodes of barbecue tradition. The most well known: Texas, Kansas City, Memphis, North Carolina. In rare cases, someone transplanted from the Caribbean may even weigh in, and in rarer cases, the Hawaiian contingent can be found (they seldom make it this far east). Their opinions will fly like heresies hurled in a holy war, and it can have only one proper ending – someone will be challenged to produce a repast for the rest.

  41. >Does this sound familiar? I only had the one port of it, acquired by my mother while
    >touristing in Portugal. I would love to know where to find similar.

    Ask Ms. Hoyt.

  42. Once we went to TGI Fridays which the closest you get to American food in a typical European city, at least if you are lazy and don’t go to the at least half dozen far more authentic indie restaurants, managed by expats. But for a quick bite before going to a movie chains like TGI are easier. Anyway we thought a burger with barbecue sauce would be a good idea, as we assumed the term means the same things we would find logical to rub on meat before grilling: hot mustard, pepper, other hot sauces, tabasco or srirocha, garlic, that kind of stuff. We were totally surprised it was actually a sweet, sugary sauce, tasting caramellized.

    The combination of sweet and savory taste is one of those things cultures can get very binary about. Either they get explored, and you get things like salty feta cheese with sweet plums, or they are “forbidden”. I think Mitteleuropa has banished the sweet taste strictly into desserts domain and nowhere else. Even French style sweet breakfasts were a kind of a surprise to me at first, like starting the day with a dessert.

    BTW in our family the closest equivalent to to garden grilling or barbecue is heating up the disc from a harrow to very high temperature, makes an excellent pan with high thermal mass, and fast roasting (on butter) roast pork shoulder blade meat marinated in hot mustard, garlic, and pepper. This originates in Transsylvania and is usually called Flecken or flekken, litereally patches, as the meat must be cut small so that it roasts really, really fast, I think less than a minute. This keeps the taste fresh. The logic is similar to that of wok roasting… I just assumed barbecue sauce must mean something like that…

  43. > … French artisan breads, the kind you probably eat dipped in olive oil and cracked
    > pepper. That’s not yet a common custom here, but it’s spreading.

    I’ve usually seen oil and balsamic vinegar, which is tasty as.

  44. “proper barbecue doesn’t really need sauce, and if it needs sauce, you need a different barbecue”

    I say this about steak, but it applies to barbecue as well: only truly lousy barbecue needs sauce, but only truly outstanding barbecue is not enhanced by it. That goes for any barbecue, be it brisket, pulled pork, sausage, or even turkey. Yeah, there’s gotta be good smoke in the meat, but the sauce adds its own counterpoints.

    Dammit. It should tell you everything you need to know about how bad my visit to Houston was over the holidays that I never got out to eat good barbecue, good Tex-Mex, or a good chicken fried steak while I was there. None of those are available in Minnesota, and the facsimiles that you can get here are …lacking.

    /me sighs…
    What I wouldn’t give right now for a nice Texas enchilada dinner: cheese enchiladas (made with corn tortillas, of course), smothered with chili con carne, topped with a mound of shredded cheese and onions, with rice and beans on the side…

    Or a three-meat barbecue plate, sliced beef brisket, ham, and jalapeño sausage, with potato salad, beans, and jalapeño cornbread. Preferably from Goode Company Barbecue on the Katy Freeway, though I’ll settle for Rudy’s in a pinch.

    The best chicken fried steak is from a place in D’Hanis, about 10 miles west of Hondo (about 50 west of San Antonio out US 90). Make sure you only order the half size version. The full size version hangs over the edge of a very large dinner platter on all sides.

    And don’t get me started on James Coney Island chili dogs, or Pappadeaux Cajun food, or…

    Argh. Now I’m feeling hungry for stuff I can’t have.

  45. > >Counter: Sausage.
    > I’m not actually a big fan. There are a couple of specific varieties I sometimes enjoy,
    > but most sausage strikes me as excessively fatty and bland.

    Sorry, shouldn’t have been so vague.

    I was referencing the notion that if you like sausage you don’t want to watch it being made. Meaning sometimes if you really like something becoming an expert in it might ruin the experience.

    There are also lots of different kids of sausage (technically things like pepperoni, salami and such are sausages. European sausages tend to have more variety in terms of flavor.)

    Because of texture/mental issues I was not very adventurous food wise until I made a conscious effort. As an example I would not eat eggs as a child. I can tell you the *exact* dates I have eaten scrambled eggs as an adult. 5 Aug. 1985 and 12 April 2015. The 4 August was the day I went to boot camp–it was the only food in the hotel in the morning. It took almost 30 years for me to face scambled eggs again. It wasn’t until I was in Baghdad with the DoD (2009) that I forced myself to eat hard boiled eggs–mostly for the nutritional content. I still try to eat 2 a day, but I have to force myself.

  46. @ Random832

    >“Barbecue sauce” is a huge cultural category (many, but not all, are tomato based), and the stuff you’ll find for dipping chicken nuggets in at fast food restaurants is… not the best example.

    Thanks, didn’t know this. And sorry for the delay; to borrow a phrase by our host, I “meant to respond to this earlier” but forgot about it.

    @ Shenpen

    I often eat either milanesa or escalope (in fact, just had an escalope with fries for lunch). Dunno which one resembles Wiener Schnitzel more closely, though. BTW, do you know the style of milanesa called “milanesa napolitana”? Sounds like an oxymoron. XD But it tastes good (IMHO), if made properly.

    @ ESR

    You’ve strengthened my desire to get Hot Rats. =)

    >I spoke of heritage foods earlier; this is a really major one in the U.S. Barbecue is entangled with our image of American authenticity in deep and complicated ways.

    Well, we have asado =P. I don’t often attend such social events (or any other kind of social event), though. And similar things appear to exist in other cultures; Korean barbecue, for instance.

    @ both Shenpen and ESR

    I thought apfelstrudel (which I like) was Austrian? That’s what Wikipedia says, anyway. But then again, Wikipedia is subject to vandalism.

    @ Paul Brinkley

    Thanks for clarifying the fire-and-flavor thing.

    >…casually toss in an opinion about good barbecue. (Note: being from Argentina, you should usually be recognized as having a valid one.)

    I don’t. I’m an atypical Argentinean. As a general rule, you shouldn’t take any of my views, preferences, or personality traits as representative of Argentina. (This also means my awkward behavior is probably due to personal insecurity, rather than to the formality Eric has attributed to Spanish-speaking cultures.)

  47. Indeed. If you want to have some fun, Jorge, find a group of Americans, particularly lower- and middle-class men, especially if they’re not all from the same area, and casually toss in an opinion about good barbecue. (Note: being from Argentina, you should usually be recognized as having a valid one.)

    Then watch the action. The US has several distinct nodes of barbecue tradition. The most well known: Texas, Kansas City, Memphis, North Carolina. In rare cases, someone transplanted from the Caribbean may even weigh in, and in rarer cases, the Hawaiian contingent can be found (they seldom make it this far east). Their opinions will fly like heresies hurled in a holy war, and it can have only one proper ending – someone will be challenged to produce a repast for the rest.

    If you’re gonna troll, might as well troll in a manner that ends with everyone well fed. :)

    I’ve made my own barbecue, pulled pork and ribs, though I’m not sure which regional style it would have been closest to. I like to imagine it was good (I enjoyed eating it, anyway), but I suppose I should get confirmation from a Texan friend of mine.

    @Jay I’m mildly curious if you’ve taken to preparing your own barbecue for lack of good barbecue in the Midwest. Now that I think about it, if that were a common thing for those moving from regions with good barbecue, and there were sufficient migration to the Midwest by such persons, what might prevent another node of barbecue tradition from eventually forming there?

  48. @ESR

    >It has yet to materialize

    What completely baffles me about contemporary American culture is that by all accounts the teenagers should already be speaking a slang that is 10% Spanish, because, although Hispanic immigrants are lower status, they are lower status in their _parents_ world, therefore, in their anti-parent rebel world they could very easily fill the role of romantic, highly masculine, anti-bourgeois rebels/criminals/contrarians.

    In the videogame Grand Theft Auto San Andreas we saw an example of how Spanglish can be romantically macho, “Hi ese, que honda? Who is this pendejo, ese?” and although my sample of American teenager slang is only Reddit, this did not happen, yet my logic predicts this should have happened, this is precisely what teenagers around the world do, to incorporate the language of romantic, masculine outsiders, potential rebels and criminals, who serve as a focus of anti-parent rebellion. This is why half of Hungarian teenage slang is Gypsy/Roma, this is why half of German teenage slang is Turkish (and, precisely as my logic would predict it, the most popular Turkish world in German teenage slang means “big boss alpha male man” precisely because immigrant cultures are more “alpha”, more masculine than native ones: http://www.thelocal.de/20131125/turkish-for-boss-is-best-german-youth-slang-2013) and yet somehow it completely evades American teenagers. Does anyone have an explanation?

  49. > what might prevent another node of barbecue tradition from eventually forming there?

    The obvious answer would be too much disagreement between the various “transplanted” traditions for them to reconcile into a single one, so each is dominated by a desire to be an authentic version of its originating style.

  50. > Does anyone have an explanation?

    Because both the white middle class kids and the Latinos are buying into hip-hop.

  51. I’m a long-time lurker but I felt compelled to speak up in defense of Midwestern food. As a Wisconsin native of Polish descent I wanted to remind you that we’re talking about a cold climate food culture. The cuisine the German, Polish & Scandinavian immigrants brought over & mingled together is based on foods that could be reliably grown in a shorter growing season and preserved over the long cold winters – potatoes, cabbage, beets, turnips, etc, (tomatoes, peppers & the like take a lot more effort to grow & need optimum growing conditions). Pork was king in the old country since beef was a rich man’s food – the dairy farmers I grew up with all raised pigs for meat while only cows past their milking days got the chop.

    Which brings us to sausage. I’m not surprised Eric doesn’t like sausage because thanks to the govt food police it’s almost impossible to find anything like decent sausage. My grandfather knew all the small-time butchers from Milwaukee to Wausau who knew how to make great sausage but the FDA & state sanitary rules shut them all down starting in the 60’s. The only non-mass produced sausage I see now is the occasional deer sausage (best with a little pork added in) from a hunter relative. When I see all these suburban deer roaming around I can’t help but think of all that sausage on the hoof just going to waste.

  52. For anyone who’s coming to Balticon: there’s a fellow in the area by the name of Binkert who probably provides the essential German sausage experience there. (Circle around 695 to the NE side of Baltimore.)

    Alternately, there’s the German hot sausage I buy whenever I’m in Elgin. It’s what they’re known for. I still have a batch in my freezer, in fact.

  53. @Paul Brinkley:
    >proper barbecue doesn’t really need sauce, and if it needs sauce, you need a different barbecue.

    My rule of thumb, barbecue or not, is that if the last noise the meat made at the butcher shop was “moo”, it can be eaten in its own. Otherwise, it’s generally best enjoyed as a vehicle for some sort of sauce.

  54. @ Jay Maynard and ESR

    Shameful confession: I haven’t watched Rocky. It’s one of those movies everybody but me has watched. So I’d like to know if The Party‘s Bakshi serves as an approximation or not; I brought that up because, IIRC, he speaks with his teeth clenched at times.

  55. Shenpen> No, bagels are indeed Jewish and Polish, there is not much Austrian about them.

    esr> Oh, that’s interesting. One of my sources specifically attributed the naturalization of bagels in NYC to Austrian bakeries;

    Actually, that’s not mutually exclusive. Remember that before 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire contained a good chunk of ethnically Polish and Ukrainian territory. Jewish immigrants from this chunk may well have started up the bakeries that brought the bagel to New York City.

  56. @Shenpen
    where did you get that half of German teenage slang is Turkic? Because in my experience this is not so at all. Yes there is imitation of the Turkic accent, but it’s more like playing a role than it being part of the identity. I admit that my experience of German teenage culture is not that representative, but I didn’t think that I’m that out of touch.

  57. @ ESR

    1. Do those “good uses [of mayonnaise] in conjunction with roast beef” involve sandwiches? If so, what else do you put in those sandwiches?
    2. Concerning Jewish bakeries: the ones in Buenos Aires generally sell these tasty sandwiches. What about the ones in the U.S.?

  58. “Concerning Jewish bakeries: the ones in Buenos Aires generally sell these tasty sandwiches. What about the ones in the U.S.?”

    NO….(at least in the New York metropolitan area). Looks like our loss.

  59. @Jorge weird, it seems I was wrong as the Wiki article sounds consistent. Revised hypothesis: a later cultural drift happened, apfelstrudel moved north, more complicated Italian style sweets moved in. I am still surprised… my go-to model of cuisine is people taking whatever form of agriculture yields the most calories, and figure out how to make it tasty. Vienna isn’t exactly apple-belt… I may need to revise that model.

    @Emanuel “babo” in the link is a good example, if you don’t hear it often, you don’t mix with lower-class teens (which, as a participant of this forum, is likely, I don’t either, nor do most people here I guess) other examples: “lan” as a filler “man! listen!”, “valla” (really, truly, frankly) heard it from many sources, none of them really scholarly, closest is (at least it vaguely mentions research being done) http://www.nationalturk.com/en/integration-gone-awry-german-teens-use-turkish-slang-16713

  60. @Thomas

    >Actually, that’s not mutually exclusive.

    That’s because the term “Austrian” is one of the most fluid, least pinned down ethno-national terms throughout history. Sometimes it meant whole of the empire, sometimes the parts not under the Hungarian crown, in 1918 the first national unit that resembled at least the current borders was called “Republic of German Austrians” signifying a yet unclear identity, but even in 1936 when Hungarian Count Zsigmond Széchenyi went hunting moose and Kodiak bear to Alaska, he was regularly referred as “Austrian nobleman” in the press. This was a bit of a mess. It is the similar kind of mess as how in Eastern Europe the whole of the UK is casually referred to as England / Anglia…

    But when discussing cuisine or other cultural elements, I think “Austrian” can be pinned down fairly accurately as that subset of South German culture that spent a long time under Habsburg rule. Significantly similar to the Bavarian one accross the border, actually. The true cultural border is not the national one, more like the “red sausage – white sausage” line.

  61. @badgerwx

    Are you saying migrants tend to drift to the parts of their new homeland which has the most familiar climate for them?

    This I find fascinating and weird. As a Budapester, now living in Vienna, if I could change our climate to a North Italian one, without changing any other variable, I would. More sunshine, less restrictive thick winter clothes. If I was to migrate long distance, I would got to a warmer place, all other things being equal.

    Of course I should factor in that I don’t make a living from agriculture. Maybe farmers want familiarity, and the predictable functioning of familiar farming methods after all.

    But still… more sun means higher yields, usually. Would you choose a lower-yield familiar one over a higher-yield unusual one?

    • >Are you saying migrants tend to drift to the parts of their new homeland which has the most familiar climate for them?

      In the U.S. that was a very consistent pattern before about 1900. I think I know why; most immigrants were farmers or stockemen, and they instinctively sought regions for which their skills were well matched.

      Because most plants are sensitive to the way length-of-day varies during the year, food crops don’t tend to flourish well outside the latitude band in which they evolved. (This simple fact has had a huge influence on world history, as Jared Diamond described well in Guns, Germs, and Steel).

      >But still… more sun means higher yields, usually. Would you choose a lower-yield familiar one over a higher-yield unusual one?

      In general, yes, that’s exactly what people did choose until mechanized agriculture and scientific agronomy loosened their constraints in the early 20th. To do otherwise would have been very risky before then, abandoning culturally transmitted skillsets on which their lives depended.

  62. @badgerwx

    >Which brings us to sausage. I’m not surprised Eric doesn’t like sausage because thanks to the govt food police it’s almost impossible to find anything like decent sausage. My grandfather knew all the small-time butchers from Milwaukee to Wausau who knew how to make great sausage but the FDA & state sanitary rules shut them all down starting in the 60’s.

    I think there are similar Polish traditions of homemade pig killing and sausage making as here in Hungary. They didn’t survive transplantation to the US? I am assuming, optimistically, if you make it for your extended family and no cash changes hands, it is fairly easy to keep regulation officers out of it and basically you can do whatever you want to. The usual process is stunning, knifing, blood let out into a vessel, burning off the hair, cutting up, the pigs gut washed carefully, meat and other ingredients grinded down, filled in the gut with a fairly simple device, then usually smoked in something curiously similar to an outhouse. A little smokehouse. Not too difficult as a hobby thing, usually the whole pig is processed during one day, a long one, men waking up at 03:00 drinking shots :) Done in the winter, for natural refrigeration.

  63. > To be fair to you, you have almost certainly never had what I would consider a first-rate cheesecake worthy to be eaten plain; the best are only produced by a handful of Jewish bakeries in New York City

    It’s been years since I’ve been to Roxy’s Diner near Time Square but my mouth started watering when I read this.

  64. > But still… more sun means higher yields, usually.
    Around here (Belgium), farmers start to worry when we hit a dry spell of more than 2 weeks in summer. There crops need water, and the farmers rely on rain to provide it.

    So
    a/ there’s more to it than sunshine and temperature
    b/ farmers already depend on factors beyond their control (eg the weather). Gambling by adding even more unknowns and where their experience may lead to bad conclusions– e.g. moving to an area with different wheather patterns, or different crops, or different farming methods — is something most of them will propably tend to avoid.
    The farmers I know tend to stick to what they know.

  65. @Paul Brinkley: “Then, a few years ago, a feller from South Carolina by the name of Kloby opened a spot so close to my home in Columbia – it’s just off US 29 between Baltimore and DC, at the 216 exit to JHUAPL (James Noyes: take note), serving brisket that finally meets my tastes.”

    I live in Columbia. Small world! I’ll check it out ASAP. I’m down at that exit a lot. Thank you!

  66. Dammit – now I want to go to Penguicon, despite it being only a week away, and expensive to get to.

    Eric – what is your opinion of Colombian chocolate? I find it’s rather hard to get in the U.S. (and not much easier in Colombia – they drink most of their crop), but what I’ve served for friends at chocolate-tasting parties has been pretty well-received.

    Incidentally, Trader Joe’s has an 85% cocoa Colombian chocolate which is excellent, and very inexpensive – $1.50/100g. The fact that I can eat it straight at that strength is a sign of very good flavor.

    • >Eric – what is your opinion of Colombian chocolate?

      I don’t think I’ve had any.

      >Incidentally, Trader Joe’s has an 85% cocoa Colombian chocolate which is excellent, and very inexpensive – $1.50/100g. The fact that I can eat it straight at that strength is a sign of very good flavor.

      There’s a Trader Joe’s near us. I shall investigate.

  67. @ Shenpen
    Re: GTA: San Andreas and the strudel controversy

    All we had to do was follow the food’s trail, Shenpen!

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist. :P)

  68. It’s strange: some hours ago, I posted a comment and it didn’t show up in the thread – not even a local version with the caption, “Your comment is awaiting moderation”. And whenever I retry to post it, I get a “Duplicate comment” error message, as if it had been successfully added to the thread. What could be causing this?

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