I just sent this email to a dear friend of mine from college:
How did I only now discover your wonderful blog? And only by reading about it on the “50 Best Food Blogs in the World” list from the Times Online?
Your bagel post has me excited, as there are 2 breakfast staples I miss here in the Dominican Republic: bagels and english muffins. I made some good english muffins a few weeks ago, but have been dying for bagels since then.
I have been thinking about adding a food section to my blog only because I am constantly forced to re-create our cravings from memory and from scratch because Dominican cooking is just so bad. It’s not that their cuisine is bad, it’s just how they make it. So many dishes have such potential, but like the Irish and the English, they only have 2 condiments in their repertoire: salt and salt.
So, thank you, Luisa. Happy to find your blog, happy to subscribe to the RSS feed, and happy to know that at least one person I know is doing something worthwhile with their love of food.
The blog is The Wednesday Chef, and my friend is Luisa Weiss.
While this blog has earned a reputation of being a Foreign Service blog, that was not my original intent or purpose. I had wanted this blog to be kind of a collection of all of my idiosyncrasies and passions: music, food, political discourse, drinkin’ and spittin’ and cussin’, and potty humor. Being included on the state.gov careers forums’ blog roll, however, has made me clean up my act considerably.
My top three passions are music, food, and inappropriate humor. My 350GB iTunes library, 25 extra pounds, and subscription to the RSS feed for Texts from Last Night speak volumes about me, and anyone who knows me can confirm this. My wife both loves and hates me for my constant efforts in the kitchen. I cook almost every night, running the gamut from simple comfort food to decidedly more gourmet endeavors.
My big problem in the D.R., as mentioned above, is the lack of any kind of flavor profile in their cooking. I also can’t stand that Indian food is non-existent, Chinese and Thai food both suck, and at times finding basic ingredients is like pulling teeth. There is also the problem of ingredients being a little “off”, for lack of a better word. Beef here is close, but just not the same, even when I spring for the “USDA Angus Select”. Pork is alright, but thick-cut chops are non-existent and the pork is decidedly leaner than in the States. Chicken is absolutely the same (is it really different anywhere in the world?), but the birds are kind of scrawny – the average roaster is 3-4 pounds. Local cheeses taste weird too. They have this really grassy flavor to them, i.e. I can taste what the cows eat when I drink their milk and eat their cheese. That’s good when I’m eating the cow’s flesh (grass-fed cattle makes some tasty steaks), but doesn’t really work the same magic for their milk.
I have used substitutes for a good number of things while here that are widely available in the U.S.: 1 cup whole milk plus 2 tbsp. lemon juice (buttermilk); 1/4 cup cornstarch plus 1 3/4 cups flour (cake flour); 1 cup white sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses and decrease the liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup (1 cup packed brown sugar). And food shopping is harder than it has to be. There are days where I can find almost any ingredient I could need, then when I *actually* need the ingredient, it’s gone (read: sage for Thanksgiving dinner).
So, basically, I’m going to try to write more about food. I’m going to share recipes from time to time of dishes I can’t find in restaurants here, but have managed to recreate in my kitchen. Some will be adapted from other cooks, some will be based on my memory of what things taste like.
Maybe I should change the name of the blog to Foreign Service Chef.