Sunday, September 05, 2010

Some thoughts on food and beer

I've been thinking lately that the secret of serving good, even great meals is not as much in the cooking as it is in the menu planning. "Pairing" foods is more important, to me, than pairing wines. I remember years ago attending a luncheon at a women's club where they served sliced barbecue and tomato aspic. I laughed at the time but am still a bit appalled. But that's why the dinner I fixed last night worked, basic though it was--hot dogs, beans, and potato salad. Those things go together. I try to keep that idea in mind even in more sophisticated menus--like egg salad sandwiches go with smoked salmon--so stick a slice in  your next sandwich. It's really good. Or caviar and hard boiled eggs go together, or steak, salad, and a baked potato. Chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes with cream gravy. Salmon croquettes and stewed tomatoes (okay, that's a favorite from my childhod.) It's all in the pairing.
I'm a bit over my lazy spell of yesterday and dove (dived?) headfirst into beer this morning (not literally). But I boned up on Texas beer. Since its beginning, Texas has been a state of microbreweries, none of which succeeded. First, the British brought a top-fermenting beer that didn't need aging; after the Civil War German immigrants wanted lager, a bottom-fermeneting beer that must age. The only three Texas beers that have made any kind of mark on the beer-drinking world are Lone Star (not always praised for its quality), Pearl, and Shiner. I guess Brandon and Colin have me brainwashed, but I thought Shiner had a bigger market share than it does, and I thought out-of-staters longed for a good Shiner the way we Texans used to long for Coors when you could only get it in Colorado. Apparently not so. More research required, but since I'm not a beer drinker, it won't be that kind of research.
One website suggests that Pearl, now made and distributed by Miller, is as much a victim of the Big Boys as all those microbreweries that have gone out of business. Chastising Texans to buy local, the critci points out that the big three--Annheuser Busch, Miller, and Adolph Coors--can out-spend and out-produce the small breweries, forcing them out of business. In Fort Worth we hear a lot about locally brewed Rahr beer, and there is a restaurant/brewery near me where you can watch the brewmaster at work. I'm sure those folks want you to buy local, and I know my boys would be most unhappy if Shiner ever went out of business, which its not lkely to do.
I've seen several postings on Facebook, including one from son Jamie, about Camp Rock, but of course I had no idea what it was. Tonight Jacob came in and made me repeat after him Camp Rock: The Final Jam. He is glued to the TV, watching it, and I have the TV muted in my office, so I can watch and really know when it's over. He pitched a fit when I suggested muting it to read a book, so I'm watchful.

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