Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Elias Krodman, z''l (1925-2014)
Eli, 1925-2014. Barukh dayan emet.

He’s gone now.

There is no person who has been a bigger part of my life. In addition to supplying half of my DNA - including at least 75% of my sense of humor - he has shared this planet with me for over sixty-one years. Longer than anyone else.

Alas, he is with us no more... but I shall always be Eli’s son.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Tiny bubbles
In the bread
Make me feel happy
Ah, they go to my head

Those tiny bubbles
Make me feel so nice
You know that I’m gonna
Love that butter conveyance device

So here’s to the golden crust
And here’s to the butter knife
And here’s some tasty toast
For me and my wife

When the tiny bubbles (tiny bubbles)
In the bread (in the bread)
They make me feel happy (make me feel happy)
They go to my head (go to my head)

Those tiny bubbles (tiny bubbles)
Make me warm all over (make me warm all over)
With a feeling that I’m gonna (with a feeling that I’m gonna)
Love that butter conveyance device (it’s so nice)

Tiny bubbles (oooh-a-licki)
In the bread (ik-a-may-li)
Make me feel happy (a-ka-oli)
Ah, they go to my head (ik-a-ba-al-he)

SpongeBread Squarepants
Naturally leavened bread dough completes its bulk fermentation. Lookit all them little tiny bubbles!

Breadly Breaderson
The final result. Mmmm, crusty!

Even Don Ho would approve.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


This evening’s Sommelier Guild event will be held at Murphy’s in Virginia Highland. It features Burgundies... specifically, Burgundies produced by Maison Louis Jadot in 2007 and 2009.

I’m more of a Bordeaux than a Burgundy guy, but that’s probably more due to laziness on my part than anything else: I tend to stick with what I like when buying or ordering wine. But some of the finest wines in the world come from Burgundy, so who am I to turn down a learning opportunity? Besides, what sort of Georgian would turn up his nose at wines made from the legendary “Peanut Noir” grape?

As far as the Foodly Accompaniments go, I do love a good coq au vin, especially when I don’t have to mess up my own kitchen making it. And salmon - a full-flavored fish - is one of my go-to dishes, one that I am happy to enjoy along with red wine. It will be interesting to see how it pairs up with three serious Burgundies.

Jadot Burgundies
The evening’s array of Winey Goodies. [Click to embiggen.]

Now, let’s take a look at tonight’s menu, shall we?

NV Collon Brut Grower Champagne**
Mini crab cakes

First Flight:
2004 Kistler Chardonnay
Mystery Wine (served blind)
2011 Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay***
Crispy flatbread with arugula and prosciutto

Second Flight: Beaune Premier Crus
2007 Jadot Theurons
2009 Jadot Theurons*
2007 Jadot Bressandes
Chef Ian’s Surprise Course - Lentil Soup with Black Truffles and Truffle Oil

Third Flight: Beaune Premier Crus
2009 Jadot Boucherottes**
2009 Jadot Clos des Coucheraux*
2009 Jadot Clos des Ursules***
Coq au vin with potatoes and pearl onions

Fourth Flight: Côte de Nuits Premier Crus and Côte de Beaune Grand Cru
2009 Jadot Les Boudots Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru
2009 Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin Estournelles-Saint-Jacques Premier Cru*
2007 Jadot Corton Pougets Côte de Beaune Grand Cru*
Grilled salmon with cheese grits and local cabbage slaw

2000 Henri Gouges Clos des Porrets Monopole, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru**
2009 Cénit - Viñas del Cénit, Zamora, Spain*

Some three decades ago, we were friendly with the executive chef at one of Atlanta’s fancy-pants dining establishments. Every so often, when he would clear out some of his wine inventory, I would be able to grab a few bottles of Jadot Burgundy at wholesale cost. Man, would I love to be able to do that today.

As usual, I’ll report back after the event with a summary of my preferences.

Update: I had had such high expectations coming into this event, but Burgundy will not be replacing Bordeaux as my favorite French appellation anytime soon - at least, not on the strength of this evening’s showing.  Except for the third flight, which combined a reasonable rendition of coq au vin (chicken stewed in wine) with several pleasant enough wines, most of the evening was, alas, not up to the usual standards. The wines were, for the most part, thin and uninspiring. The salmon was bland, and the Chef’s Surprise - a bowl of lentil soup with the captivating aroma of black truffle - was salty to the point of inedibility. Ouch. (On the other hand, the crab cake was a little gem, perfectly prepared and with no detectable filler.)

Oh, well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Not every dinner can be a winner. [Insert your favorite cliché here.]

Bonus Question:

Beaune Clos-des-Ursules 1971

Let’s see how much of a Wine Geek you are. Take a look at the bottle above. What’s wrong with it?

[El Capitan knew the answer. If you think you do, leave a comment!]

Attendees at this month’s Guild event - 24 of ’em - were asked this question upon arriving at the restaurant. Only three got it right... including Yours Truly. No, we did not win any valuable prizes.

Friday, March 21, 2014


The Pen-guin sits up-on the shore
And loves the lit-tle fish to bore;
He has one en-er-vat-ing joke
That would a very Saint provoke:
“The Pen-guin's might-i-er than the sword-fish”;
He tells this dai-ly to the bored fish,
Un-til they are so weak, they float
With-out re-sis-tance down his throat.

- Oliver Herford

Well, I don’t know much about penguins - aside from the fact that the insidious little bastards are plotting to take over the world, that is - but I do know something about pens.

I’ve used all manner of pens over the years. Aside from the ubiquitous ballpoint, my list of Writing Implements includes fountain pens ranging from the humble Sheaffer to the more rarefied Parker and Montblanc. In my engineering student years, I used Staedtler-Mars and Rapidograph engineering pens, pens capable of drawing lines of an exact thickness, useful for engineering diagrams but also for cartooning. Lookee:

Princeton Tiger Magazine, Sep 1972

Princeton Tiger Magazine, September 1972. Cover drawing done entirely with Staedtler-Mars engineering pens.

Among my vast collection of pens you can find all manner of calligraphy pens (I used to take class notes with a chisel-tip Osmiroid. A stupid affectation? You bet), Speedball lettering pens, and even a few Hunt Crow Quills. Nothing like a Hunt Crow Quill for detail work.

No, a Crow Quill is a metal pen nib. It’s not something yanked from a bird’s ass, although I have used that type of quill to write with as well.

Speaking of quills, there’s a completely different type of quill I have been enjoying lately: the Quill Cocktail.

The Quill is a variation on the Negroni theme. Simply put, it’s a Negroni with a little bit of absinthe thrown in to give it a bit of an anise flavor note.

Quill Cocktail
Quill Cocktail. For sure, mightier than a swordfish.

You want your own Quill? Here’s how:

Quill Cocktail

1 ounce gin (I used Hendrick’s)
1 ounce sweet vermouth (I used Punt e Mes. Carpano Antica works well, too)
1 ounce Campari
¼ ounce absinthe

Combine in a cocktail shaker with ice. Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist. Enjoy!

Monday, March 17, 2014


What better way to observe Saint Padraig’s Day than by baking up an eight-pack of shamrock green bagels?

Saint Padraig's Bagel
“Kiss me, I’m Irish.” “Eat me, I’m Jewish.”

One of the Missus’s colleagues has a permanent standing order for my green Saint Padraig’s bagels.  There was still enough high-gluten flour in the pantry left over from an earlier bagel-baking session, so I was happy to oblige. After mixing and kneading the dough yesterday afternoon, I was up at 5:30 this morning to finish them off with a quick boil and bake.

These babies are coated with the traditional blend of Irish toppings: white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, wasabi sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and Montreal steak seasoning. And the wasabi sesame seeds are green - an added bonus.

The best way to eat these? Perhaps a gentle schmear of Kerrygold Irish butter... perhaps a slice of smoked salmon... or decorated with a chunk of Dubliner cheddar. Decisions, decisions!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014



Harry’s Delicatessen was the hot spot in Boulder, Colorado for Jewish cooking.

Harry piled his pastrami sandwiches high with silken, garlic-spiked meat. His matzoh balls were clouds floating in a chickeny firmament. Nova Scotia salmon, sable, belly lox were all of the highest quality.

No matter how stuffed his customers were, they would always save room for dessert. The rugelach and chocolate babka could make strong men weep with pleasure.

It was after recreational marijuana was legalized when Harry’s business really took off. Other delis sold hamantaschen, but Harry’s ganja-filled rastamantaschen had customers lined up out the door for blocks.

[Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to Josh - the redoubtable son of Houston Steve - for the inspiration and artwork for this story.]

Monday, March 10, 2014


Kurt Vonneduck’s Timequack is the story of Ludwig von Drake, an inventor who builds a time machine that transports him to a Duckburg of the Far Future (802,701 anno mallardi), an almost unrecognizable world in which ducks have divided into two separate species.

As Von Drake explores this strange Future Duckburg, he sees that the Muscoveloi live pleasant lives on the surface of the duckpond, their needs provided by the underwater-dwelling Mallardlocks. It is only after days of observation and speculation (interspersed with several harrowing adventures) that he realizes that, to the Mallardlocks, the Muscoveloi are naught but farm animals!

[Inspired by a typo. The book, of course, is Timequake.]

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Lord Grantham and Carson

His Lordship the Earl of Grantham was in the study at Downton Abbey when Carson, the butler, approached and coughed discreetly. “May I ask a question, my lord?”

“Go ahead, Carson,” said His Lordship.

“I am doing the crossword in ‘The Times’ and I have found a word about which I am not too clear.”

“What word is that?” asked His Lordship.

“The word is ‘aplomb,’ my lord.”

“That is a difficult word to explain. I would say it means ‘self-assurance’ or ‘complete composure.’”

“Thank you, my lord, but I’m still a little confused.”

“Then, let me give you an example to make it clearer. Do you remember a few months ago the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived to spend a weekend with us?”

“Of course, my lord, I remember the occasion very well. It gave the staff and me much pleasure to look after them.”

“Also,” continued Grantham, “do you remember that William plucked a rose for Kate from the garden?”

“I was indeed present on that occasion, my lord.”

“And while plucking the rose, a thorn embedded itself very deeply in his thumb?”

“Yes,” replied Carson. “I witnessed the incident, my lord, and saw the Duchess herself remove the thorn and bandage his thumb with her own dainty handkerchief.”

“And that evening, the prick on his thumb was so sore that Kate had to cut up his venison for him, even though - being from our own estate - it was extremely tender.”

“Yes, my lord, I saw and heard what transpired.”

“Then the next morning, while you were pouring coffee for Her Ladyship, Kate enquired of William in a loud voice, ‘Darling is your prick still throbbing this morning?’”

“And you, Carson, did not spill one drop of coffee. That was aplomb!”

[Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to Houston Steve for passing this little gem - what the Downton folks might call a Richard-Jest - along.]

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Yet more stuff that should be in the dictionary but isn’t.

Long-time readers of my previous site may recall the Blog d’Elisson Dictionary, installments of which may be found in that site’s Archives. For other entries in the Cheese Aisle Dictionary, simply click on the sidebar link for Cheese-Dic.

And now, the Word of the Day:

spittoongria [spi-toon-gree-a] (n) - The contents of the dump bucket after a wine tasting.

“Just got back from the North Coast Wine Industry Expo in Sonoma... Honest to Gawd, I think they had enough spittoongria in those buckets to fill three fifty-five gallon drums by the time everyone cleared out!”