Not That Kind

I’ve seen crap like this so often in the past that it just causes me a MEGO* nowadays:

This particular article, however, was accompanied by this pic:

…and I felt better about my chances immediately.

You see, I think the “sausages” to which they refer are the processed (“hot dog” or pork) kind such as made by Oscar Meyer, Ball Park, Armour et al., full of chemicals and preservatives and such.

My daily breakfast of a piece of boerewors doesn’t fall into this category at all.  Made by a butcher, it contains nothing but actual meats (exact point of origin, so to speak, anonymous), and no additional chemicals at all.  It’s a 6″-long piece of this stuff:

…plus a boiled egg, and that’s it.  (Maybe a couple of cheese curds, when we have them, for a little additional flavor.)

I actually can’t stomach processed sausages because after eating boerewors, they taste like nothing more than pulped sorta-meat.  Anyway, according to similar “studies” in the past, I should have croaked thirty years ago, as I eat a piece of boerewors almost every day;  and yet here I am.

Remember:  if you want to roll your own, there’s a Boerewors Prep link down the right-hand side of the page.  I accept no responsibility for any sudden addiction thereto.


*MEGO:  my eyes glaze over;  a sudden and acute attack of boredom.

Irresistible

I must confess that I’ve never understood the Brit obsession with “chip butties” (a.k.a. “chip baps”), which are simply whitebread-and-butter sandwiches with french fries inside them.  (A “bap” is a sandwich, either sliced bread or a bread roll — don’t ask, I don’t get it either.)

Carbohydrates squared.

There’s no reason why you couldn’t put fries into a sandwich, I guess, although I’ve always considered fries to be an accompaniment to a sandwich rather than its filling.  Put it down to Weird Shit That Brits Do.

However, there’s been this development:  the 1,000-calorie deep-fried chip butty, and apparently the Brits can’t get enough of it.  (No pics because… yikes.)

Even better, the deep-fried chip butty can be served with a side order of… fries.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all… although I have to tell you that I wouldn’t mind trying one, just out of academic interest.


Postscript:  In Scotland you can get deep-fried Mars Bars, but that’s just the Scots being Scottish.  And they taste just about as you’d think they’d taste:  bloody awful.

Oh Noes

More from the world of dietary science:

Regular meat-eaters are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions than those who shun or ration animal products, a study from the University of Oxford has found.
The research found a meat-lover who eats 70 grams of meat — processed or unprocessed — more than a peer is at 15 per cent higher risk of heart disease, 30 per cent more likely to get diabetes and almost a third (31 per cent) more likely to develop pneumonia in the future.

I did the work so you don’t have to:  70 grams is about 2.5 oz…

Whatever.  According to this lot, I should have died about 15 years ago, given that my daily breakfast contains inter alia  a large piece of boerewors.

And yet, here we are.

Breakfast Gin

From Longtime Friend & Reader Colly Wobble (his real name) comes a letter:

A friend is partial to gin & tonic drinks (my attempts at indoctrinating him into the benefits of Macallan, Glenmorangie et al. have failed miserably) and I’d like to offer:

  1. A good gin; I know enough “gin” to begin at Bombay Sapphire and work up from there, but I don’t know the increments, nor do I want to go broke appeasing this guy’s palate – he’s a friend, not a boss, neighbor or benefactor.
  2. A proper addition to the drink; “gin & tonic” implies a decent tonic water (Canada Dry is readily available and seems acceptable, but I’m open to suggestions) but seems bland and uninteresting to me (which may be the Macallan talking….). Plus, a bit more effort at “adding a bit of spice” to the drink is something a reasonable host should strive for.

Edumakate me, please.

With pleasure, Colly.

I’m going to say at the outset that I’m not as knowledgeable about gin as I am about Scotch, but I know enough, I think, to turn what is quite an ordinary spirit into something fairly unusual.

And as always, please feel free to add your favorite gin drink in Comments.  If you hate gin, feel free not to express your alternatives.  This discussion is about gin.

First off, let’s look at the simple things about gin.  In the main, the minute you add a strong mixer like tonic or similar, there’s no point in spending a lot of money on some premium brand of the lovely stuff (vodka is the same, by the way).  Gin is and always has been a working man’s drink, so don’t let the trendies start with their silliness:  keep to the program, which is “the simpler, the better”.

That said:  you have to be careful about gin, especially in countries outside the Anglosphere, because in those places there often aren’t controls on its manufacture.  Gin, in fact, can be made simply by taking any tasteless clear spirit — distilled from grain, sugar cane, potatoes, whatever — and adding a tiny amount of diesel fuel (!!) to the vat.  (I was told this by a very knowledgeable man from Gilbeys, and it was confirmed by a totally separate source.)  So don’t get super-cheap (budget) gin because there is always that risk:  stick to the known brands.  (That’s true of almost every kind of booze, by the way:  vodka, for example, can be made simply by taking the cheap distilled liquor as above and filtering it through activated charcoal a few times until a vodka flavor emerges.)

Basically, if you’re trying to save pennies I think you’re safe with the usual suspects (Gordon’s, Gilbey’s, Beefeater and so on) but I have to warn you that as you become accustomed to the taste of gin, as with Scotch, you’ll start moving up the food chain, so to speak, and that’s when you’ll start to prefer brands like Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire.  (I should also point out that a couple years ago I failed a blind taste test, preferring Gordon’s to Tanq, so there you go.)

I’m not going to go into serious detail about how gin is made, because other people have done it already, and much better than I ever could, so go there for background.

What I am going to go into is my favorites among this wonderful type of booze.  As with all my preferences, they have come after an inordinate amount of testing (oy) and over time I’ve come to settle on the following:

Sipping (i.e. drunk neat, mostly without ice, but preferably chilled in the fridge for a few hours beforehand):  Sipsmiths, Hendricks.  The latter is sometimes called “cucumber gin” for its strong cucumber flavor, and I find it quite refreshing, in very small doses.  I’ve ranted about Sipsmiths before, and it’s seriously wonderful stuff.

Many people find Plymouth Gin a better sipping gin, but I think it’s a little flat-tasting (but still good — just watch out, though;  the “Navy Strength” variety will kick you on your ass).

Mixed:  I’ll drink any of the following brands with Angostura bitters and 7-Up/Sprite (my thirst-quencher of choice) or with tonic, but in this order of preference:  Tanqueray (green bottle), Bombay Sapphire, Gordon’s and Beefeater — mostly, whichever’s on sale at the time.

Before I go onto other mixer choices, let me make a quick detour.

I want to talk about tonic water for a moment, because while the right stuff can turn your G&T into a sublime experience, the wrong stuff will make your head ache and your taste buds disintegrate.

I have found that I prefer Schweppes over just about all other brands, with the exception of Fentiman’s, which will turn your G&T into something of a sublime experience as referenced above.  The only problem with Fentiman’s is that it’s super-expensive and not easily found.  Most other brands e.g. Canada Dry are somewhat watery for my taste and should be avoided.  There are quite a few exotic tonic waters out there — Fever-Tree Indian comes to mind, and it’s lovely but overpriced — so be my guest.

What few people understand is that tonic water, even when stored in the fridge, has a very short shelf life — something like three to four months refrigerated, less on the shelf — so when you buy it, check the sell-by date carefully because nothing will screw up a G&T quicker and put you in a worse mood than stale tonic.  Ugh.  Just the thought of it as I write makes my mouth screw up like I’ve been offered a quickie with Madonna.

Other mixers you can consider with gin — as per Mr. Wobble’s request above — are ginger beer* (which I love) and ginger ale (here, Canada Dry actually is the best;  walk away from all others, even  Schweppes).   Just stay away from all “light” or “sugar-free” mixers, and we can still be friends.

There are any number of gin cocktails (other than martinis, of course — stirred, not shaken because Ian Fleming didn’t know shit about martinis, or guns for that matter).

I’m particularly fond of gin & blood-orange soda, and gin & lemon (with just a dash of water or on the rocks, with just the tiniest dash of sugar because pure lemon makes my mouth screw up, as above).

 

*Ginger beer, inexplicably, is not a popular drink in these United States but it should be.  It’s a fantastic drink by itself — unlike tonic water, ugh — but there are only about three that I’ve found which make me want to drink lots:  Fentiman’s (UK), Bundaberg (Australia) and Reed’s (Jamaica).

I don’t have any ginger beer on hand at the moment, but just writing about it has caused a powerful thirst for the lovely stuff, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Total Wine.

Might as well get some gin too, while I’m there.  It’s gonna be a long four years…

Near-Calamity

On one of the days this past weekend, I wanted to serve Whisky Macs to my guests because a) it’s a warm, festive drink and b) why should I be the only one to suffer the next day?

For the uninitiated, one makes a Whisky Mac (back story is here) with these two ingredients:

Of course, the Scotch was no problem, but the Stone’s Ginger Wine…?

Nowhere to be found.  Some bastard must have crept into my house unnoticed and drunk it without my noticing him.  I had to resort to serving the usual (gin, single malt, wine, etc.) but I was mightily embarrassed, I can tell you.

Which is bad enough, but the thought of New Year’s Eve without a Whisky Mac… [shudder]

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the range — and then the liquor store.

Insufferable

As I’ve often warned:  because our governing elites are in thrall to things that Europeans do — just off the top of my head, socialism, government-run medical systems, Corona cops and Scandinavian-level tax rates — what happens Over There often repeats itself Over Here.

Hence my bile directed at this latest little bit of Nannyism from Britishland:

Supermarket promotions of unhealthy food will be curbed as part of the Government’s war on obesity.
‘Buy one get one free’ deals on fizzy drinks, crisps and fatty foods will be banned in medium and large stores, as well as on websites, from April 2022.
And free refills of sugary soft drinks will be prohibited in restaurants and fast food outlets.

I know that we’ve seen examples of this before — once again off the top of my head, Malignant Dwarf  I mean  Mayor “Mike” Bloomberg’s ban on Big Gulps in NYFC a few years ago — but make no mistake, there is no part of your life that Bug Gummint isn’t interested in sticking its fat, snot-dripping wart-infested nose into.


By the way, I was in the restaurant business many years ago, and the “no free refills” is easily bypassed by asking customers if they think they’ll need refills, then adding a 1-cent surcharge onto the bill, making refills no longer “free”.  The cost of trying to police such practices makes the game not worth the candle, even for Gummint.

And as a one-time supermarket guy, let me assure you that any restriction on BOGO offers (or BOGOF, as they call it elsewhere) is just as easily circumvented in the scanning system — and that’s impossible for Gummint to monitor.