It’s time once again for ManBQue to take your tenderloins of ignorance, expose them to the purifying fire of our expertise, and return them to you with a side of tomatillo salsa … of … justice? Metaphor got away from us at the end there.
Your week’s lineup:
Death Toll Scholl
The Other Woman
To your questions!
I’m a 16-year-old boy from the UK, and a picky eater. What do you suggest I should try to expand my palette?
– Will Rolfe
The Godfather: “This fall, from executive producers, Gordon Ramsay & Chris Hansen: To Catch a Culinary Predator.”
JB Mays: I’m not sure how much of a secret this is, but I grew up as the world’s pickest eater. I went at least a decade surviving mostly on mashed potatoes, breakfast cereal, and plain hamburgers. I didn’t even find a pasta dish I enjoyed until I was 22 years old. This is why if you ask my mother about the cookbook project, she’ll laugh her ass off and shake her head bemusedly.
I actually still remember – it was puerco pibil, which was/is basically a Yucatecan version of pulled pork. It looked good on television, so instead of opening the Cookie Crisp box, I decided to try making it for myself instead. I had no idea what the hell I was doing, so I slavishly followed the recipe so as not to screw it up. It turned out well (it was a good recipe), and I’d seen every step of the process for myself. There was nothing to be unfamiliar with or surprised by, so it became the start of the looooong process of learning how to cook and expand my tastes.
So the TL,DR here is find something new that doesn’t seem off putting, work it out for yourself, and see what it teaches you about your tastes. From there, take a little bigger step on the next project. Then a little bigger. Soon, you’ll not only be eating beef heart, but writing about it for a mass audience.
Death Toll Scholl: I suggest starting simple. If you like plain burgers – start putting quality condiments on it. Try something new each week – don’t be put off if you don’t like it. That’s the fun part of eating – you’re not going to like every type of food.
I grew up in meat & potatoes country where the craziest food option was a crappy Mexican place. Guacamole scared the shit out of me. But I started trying different dishes and eventually found some that I liked. Mustard is a different story – it wasn’t until I was of drinking age and grabbing cheap polish sausages slathered in mustard at 4am that I fell in love with the condiment. Now, I have no less of 4 varieties in my refrigerator at any time.
Egon: If you’re a picky eater in the UK, you have every right to be so. UK food is basically rubbish. You’ll be fine. [editor’s note: BOOOOOOO]
The Other Woman: If you live in the UK, the answer is obvious; Indian take-away and falafel.
Tomax: If I could go back in time and tell 16 year old me anything I would say stop screwing around and go chase some women, but that’s me not you. Not knowing what you’ve eaten in the past maybe one of these ideas will help.
1. Put a fried egg and bacon on a burger.
2. Try sushi.
3. Find a Vietnamese joint and eat pho.
4. Eat tilapia tacos with mango salsa.
5. Great Peking duck can change your life forever.
Good luck and take a girl with you to try new food. The food might suck and you might hate it but odds are you won’t regret the experience.
Sooo I’ve got more of a sauce question but i am pretty sure you’ll know the answer. My father has this flame teriyaki sauce recipe but the final end result is more liquid than a thick sauce. I know you can thicken it up with like a corn starch but that still doesn’t leave it with the BBQ sauce consitency i need to put it on things.
– Marcus Savina
The Godfather: It really depends on the sum of all of the ingredients as to why your sauce isn’t thick enough. You’re probably already using honey since it’s teriyaki sauce so if that’s not leaving it thick enough I would recommend arrowroot; arrowroot has twice the thickening power of flour, won’t cloud up your sauce and it’s flavorless so you won’t get that starchy flavor of cornstarch. You can also try reducing the sauce. The longer the sauce boils, the thicker the sauce will get. As the sauce reduces the flavor intensifies so make sure not to season the sauce until you have reduced your sauce to the desired consistency.
JB Mays: If your baseline comparison is the bottled teriyaki sauces and marinades on store shelves, then it’s probably going to be a bit thinner than you’re used to. The thickeners used in industrial sauce production – modified starches or non-starch polysaccharides – aren’t kicking around most people’s home pantries. And, taking a look around the internet, most recipes don’t call for thick corn syrup as a base.
For a real-world example, consider the housemade sauces you find at the barbecue restaurants in the South. They’re almost uniformly thinner than any bottle of sauce you buy at the supermarket. There’s a completely different set of rules when you’re making hundreds of pallets of a shelf-stable sauce. Worry about flavor first when making sauce at home, then, like Jesse said, you can master the texture.
Tomax: The thing here is that if you don’t want to change the taste of your dad’s flame Teriyaki sauce you might want to just reduce it down on medium-low and stir it every few minutes to prevent it from burning. It will make the sauce stronger. You can try cornstarch or flour but again it could change the flavor.
What’s your guilty pleasure song? Like, the one that your friends rag on you for putting on the grilling playlist?
– Jeff Redmond
Egon: Guilty pleasures, music, and Dave Hanley go together like skirt steak, chopped onions, and cilantro. I am that guy who has 100.3 Lite FM as my second preset in my car and am damn proud of it. I find the guiltiest pleasures are the ones that somehow bring you the most joy. In my most humble opinion the easiest way for a straight 30 year old man to decide if the artist you are listening to is a guilty pleasure is to ask yourself: If I mention this artist’s first name will people know who I am talking about right away? For Example: Whitney, Rod, Lionel. All completely acceptable guilty pleasures in my book, but guilty nonetheless.
Then you have the Heavy Metal/Rock and Roll guilty pleasures that still apply to my rule: Glenn, Dio, Ozzy … any solo project by famous front-men from the 70s or 80s is a guilty pleasure. Music is like food – guilty or not, its what you enjoy but shouldn’t. I love Funyuns and hot dogs (sometimes with ketchup). I may only eat them in the privacy of my own home. On my couch. Under a blanket. In the dark. With the windows drawn. At 4 am. Bbut that does not mean I enjoy them any less. Be yourself and give yourself an opportunity for a little pleasure. Just keep your hands above the equator while doing it.
Death Toll Scholl: “Good Riddance” by Green Day. But seriously, I love you guys.
JB Mays: Reading Rainbow theme song. It stoked my passion for the written word. But don’t take my word for it …
The Other Woman: There are no such things as guilty pleasures when it comes to music. If you like it, you like it, and if you’re embarrassed about what your friends think about your playlist that’s on you and the middle school you still go to in your head. That being said, the only proven antidote for “bad taste” is to continuously expose yourself to new (or at least new-to-you) music, and let your brain come up with a weeding system on its own. Think of it as a palette-expanding exercise–a sonic equivalent to that kid in the first question overcoming his picky eating.
The Godfather: Guilty pleasure SONG? Hell, I have a huge playlist on Spotify labeled, “Only God Can Judge Me” that consists of songs that would probably seep into the category of “Guilty Pleasures.” Power ballads used to dominate the list but it has evolved to include the likes of Huey Lewis, Skrillex and Dolly Parton.
Tomax: Ratatat’s Wildcat song. Not only is the song amazing but the music video I found for it (which I am almost positive isn’t official) is truly amazing.