Diary: June 28, 2018. The Canada-New England Detachment of the Eat Club Meets Again. I don’t know how it happened, but the New Orleans Eat Club managed to sign up over sixty people who want to join me for a cruise we’ve done four times in the past. There’s something about the idea of fall colors in New England that draws a strong interest for people who live in New Orleans, where we get very few autumn leaves.
Many of the people who will join us have connections with Brother Martin High School, and they know one another well. We are a group inside a group. A month ago or two we met with a lot of these people at the home of one of them. Today we had a bunch more of our will-be get together at another of their homes. To say it’s a lively bunch is putting it mildly.
The main subject involves the orchestration of one of the days during the cruise. In past cruises this way, we had a lot of fun traveling around Nova Scotia. We saw the lobster fishery in action, then we all ate a lobster dinner. Between courses, we visited some of the more exotic part of the seaward side of Nova Scotia–the ancient home of the Cajuns. We did all this in limousines, staffed by people who know their way around Nova Scotia. The last time we did this was a huge success, largely due to Mary Ann’s adept planning.
This time around, we figured we’d run the same routine over again. This was not to be. Since three years ago, the roadside eatery that cooked up the lobster dinner was forced out of the business by the state health office. We had to figure out another way to make the lobster dinner. From the beginning, our cruisers have made it clear that they want to have the lobster repast.
But I am not worried, because Mary Ann is on the scene, where she was last time. And everything went well. This time, we will have the lobsters and some chowder in a restaurant along our route.
It’s amazing how many tiny details go into the making of a cruise. We made a deal with the cruise line that our travelers would get almost all our cocktails, wine and beer for free. This, combined with another deal (free dinners in the ship’s specialty restaurants) had many of the Eat Clubbers puzzling out how this could be maximized. I’d say that the last thing anyone on this cruise will need will be more food or more drinks.
Or more passengers. People are still asking me whether they can still sign for this trip. That threshold has been crossed. Now I can shift my thinking over to the matter of the weather in Canada during mid-October.
Pork Loin a l’Orange
Inspired by the goodness of duck a l’orange and the late Chef Tom Cowman’s liver a l’orange, I’ve taken to making orange sauces for other meats. This one is a return to the old style of serving pork with sweet sauces–although this sauce isn’t as sweet as those from the 1950s. And the pepper level is higher.
The perfect side dish with this is sweet potatoes. The sauce will be terrific with those.
- 4 lb. boneless pork loin or four pork tenderloins
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 Tbs. soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp. marjoram
- Zest (grated peel) of one orange
- 1 cup orange juice, strained
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. Tabasco chilpotle pepper sauce
- 3 Tbs. butter
- Thin orange slices (even better: kumquat slices)
1. Place the pork loin in a plastic food storage bag. (Cut it in half if necessary to make it fit.) Add the marinade ingredients. Push most of the air out of the bag and seal it. Marinate in the refrigerator for three to five hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. About a half-hour before serving time, remove the pork loin from the marinade, letting most of the liquid drip off.
3. Heat the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until it bubbles. Brown the pork loin on all sides. (Don’t be concerned with cooking the interior just yet.)
4. When browned, turn the heat off and move the pork loins to a roasting pan. Roast in a 375 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees on a meat thermometer pushed into the center. (About 45 minutes.)
5. Pour the marinade ingredients into the pan in which you browned the pork, over medium heat. Whisk to dissolve the juices and browned bits in the pan. Reduce the marinade, stirring often, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
6. When the pork loin is cooked, allow it to rest for five minutes. Cut into slices about 1/3 inch thick. (If using tenderloin, cut it on the bias.) Divide the slices on plates and nap with the sauce. Garnish with orange or kumquat slices.
Serves six to eight.
July 4, 2017
The Fourth Of July
It’s National Cheeseburger Day. Although hot dogs, apple pie, meat loaf, and macaroni and cheese all possess high levels of Americanism, nothing tops the cheeseburger. It’s the most popular dish in this country. Even upscale and ethnic restaurants offer cheeseburgers, because they know that a percentage of the population is always hungry for a good burger. It’s in the running with rock and roll and Coca-Cola as the bit of American culture that has spread most widely over the earth.
Adding cheese to a hamburger is such a natural enhancement that significantly more cheeseburgers are sold than plain hamburgers. Who first came up with the idea is a matter of debate, but the breakthrough occurred in the 1920s. A restaurant in Denver registered the word “cheeseburger” as a service mark in 1935. It hardly matters now: cheeseburgers are universal.
To make a good cheeseburger, one must first make a good hamburger. There is no single perfect way to do this. Thin hamburgers seared on a very hot flat-top griddle can be as delicious as a thick, loose burger grilled over charcoal. Even the little square hamburgers with steamed onions made by White Castle and its ilk have a certain appeal.
The standard cheese used on a cheeseburger is–logically enough–American cheese. Grated cheddar is the minimum step up needed to make a cheeseburger stand out. The trend in recent times for other kinds of cheeses on burgers have resulted in some good ones (pepper jack cheeseburgers) and some bad (blue cheeseburgers).
For several decades I’ve eaten my one and only McDonald’s meal of the year on the Fourth of July. It’s usually a double cheeseburger. It will make me feel my American-ness vividly. I will not have iced tea with that.
steakburger, n.–1.) A hamburger, made with a cut of beef–most often sirloin–that’s more associated with steak than the usual cuts used for ground beef. 2. A hamburger made with a thicker meat patty than typical. 3. A hamburger made with both the qualities above. Depending on what part of the United States you’re in, the term steakburger may carry other connotations. In the Midwest, for instance, the widespread Steak and Shake hamburger chain calls its hamburgers steakburgers (for reason #1 above), and so people in that part of the country associate “steakburger” with the chain. (Which doesn’t sell steaks at all.) The same effect occurred in other places, when a particular restaurant became known for steakburgers. In New Orleans, that was Ruby Red’s, whose version was in category #3.
Today in 2010, South Carolina chef Tommy Moore and his crew made a single barbecue pulled pork sandwich that weighed 1337 pounds. And then he said to the customer, “Now you tell me you wanted cole slaw on it!”
Boeuf–French for “beef,” and therefore a common word in cookbooks and on menus–is in extreme south central Louisiana, out among the swamps, bayous, oil and gas fields, and Cajuns. It’s on Bayou Boeuf, an ancient route of the Mississippi River. The bayou is now entangled with the growing Atchafalaya River, which is destined to take over the flow of the Mississippi at some time in the future. Three generations of highways cross the bayou at Boeuf: the Southern Pacific (now BNSF) railroad, the old US 90, and the new US 90, destined to become I-49. Boeuf is much more industrial than residential; most people around there live in Amelia, across the bayou. The place to eat is Sandi’s Bar and Grill.
Deft Dining Rule #418
Never order a hamburger in a restaurant with tablecloths.
Food In The Sky
Today in 1054 was the birthday of the Crab Nebula–at least from our perspective. Chinese astronomers noted and recorded a supernova so bright that it easily could be seen in the daytime. It outshone everything but the moon at night. The exploding star dimmed slowly, and where it was in the sky you now see the glowing crab-shaped cloud of gas and dust (if you have a telescope, anyway).
World Food Records
Nathan’s Famous opened a hot dog stand at Coney Island today in 1916. They make a skinny but very good hot dog. To publicize it, they began a hot dog-eating contest that still goes on annually. Six-time winner Takeru Kobayashi was banned from the contest a couple of years ago, after he and Major League Eating could not arrive at a contract. (That sounds like a joke, but it’s actually true. Kobeyashi has since formed a competing contest.)
Annals Of Pizza Marketing
Today in 1993, the Pizza Hut blimp suffered a deflation and came down on the streets of New York. Safely; nobody was hurt. Parenthetically, I’m reminded that if you put a freshly-made, unbaked pizza crust on an open grill, it often will inflate like a blimp. It deflates when you turn it over to make a grilled pizza.
Annals Of Wine Marketing
Today in 2006, Georges duBoeuf–the king of Beaujolais Nouveau–was fined $30,000 for falsely labeling over a quarter-million bottles of wine. Grapes not allowed by law into the Beaujolais blend were used, the French court found.
Annals Of Spirits Marketing
Hiram Walker was born today in 1816. He was a grocer in Detroit who opened a liquor distillery across the river in Canada. His Hiram Walker’s Club Whiskey, made in a lighter style than Bourbon and other American whiskies, was so popular that American distillers demanded a law to have the country of origin on every bottle of whiskey. No problem for Walker: he changed the name to Canadian Club, and it still sells mightily. In Canada, whiskey can be aged in used oak barrels (they must all be new for Bourbon), hence its lighter flavor. Some drinkers like that, but I’m not one of them. For decades, a brilliant sign advertising Canadian Club was a landmark on Canal Street and Elk Place in downtown New Orleans.
NFL running back Emerson Boozer was born today in 1943. . . Joey Chestnut won the International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Nathan’s on Coney Island today in 2007 (see above). . . Singer and songwriter Michael Sweet gave forth his first lyrics today in 1963. . . American popular composer Irving Caesar was born today in 1895.
It’s the feast day of Blessed Patrick Salmon, who was martyred brutally in Dorchester, England in 1594.
Words To Eat By
“A man accustomed to American food and American domestic cookery would not starve to death suddenly in Europe, but I think he would gradually waste away, and eventually die.”–Mark Twain.
“If the melting pot exists, the cheeseburger may well be its most palpable product; to take a bite of it is to take a bite of history.”–Elizabeth Rozin, American food writer.
Join Tom Fitzmorris and Friends
While You Cruise Through Great Britain,
Ireland, and France Aboard the
Crown Princess, August 12-26, 2019
Package Includes Twelve Nights
Aboard the Crown Princess,
Port Charges & Departure Tax
and Numerous Emoluments
Some One-Person Prices:
Category Id (inside) $2864
Category Bd (balcony) $3544
Category Oc (Outside) $3814
Sailing from Southhampton London)
Dock in Guernsey(St Peter’s Port)
Cork(Cobb Blarney Castle), Ireland
Dublin, Ireland (Overnight visit)
Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland
Edinburgh (S. Queenberry), Scotland;
Onboard Credit For Early $100 Booking
(between June 18-23, 2018):
deposit $100 per person.
In addition, inside and outside cabins
receive $200 per person onboard credit
Balcony cabins get $500-per person onboard credit
Final payment due on/before May 27,2019
Call Debbie at DH Travel