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Cuisine

Cuisine - Articles


Coffee, cheese, more coffee essential

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Coffee, cheese, more coffee essential For the love of all that’s holy, someone get me a cup of coffee. Nay, bring me a tankard – a thermos of joe. Just load me up with one of those one-gallon carafes and I’ll be on my way. My body is buzzing, and I can’t figure out why I’m coming unraveled. I’m supposed to be catching up on rest and relaxation now that the semester is over, but somehow it’s getting worse. My elbows ache, I blew out my bicep muscle and somehow I managed to crease my little toe yesterday at work to a point where it hurts to walk. What in Hades is happening to me? It’s almost as though this aging thing is real, but I refuse to accept that. It must be something else. I remember as a teenager telling my parents that I would never grow old, and they would laugh. My invincibility was a silly notion to them as they were once invincible in their own rights, although when they themselves were invincible, films were still in black and white and World War I was a thi...
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Beware of bombastic ‘Buckeye’ Zealots

Posted On: 5/12/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Beware of bombastic ‘Buckeye’ Zealots To clarify, she was rude to me first. Maybe she saw the Maryland tags, or perhaps it was the forlorn looks on our faces as we were obviously in the middle of a long road trip. Or in hindsight, had the cashier found herself victim to countless miserable drivers who had to pull off of the highway as torrential rains made it impossible to pass the mountain roads safely? Regardless of the reason why, she drew first blood. My kids and I were on our way to the Midwest and stopped at a Cracker Bucket (name changed to protect the innocent) to buy some oversized, Jumbo Smarties – one of my all-time favorites. As the ‘Barrel’ is the only place that I know to procure them, it was a fairly easy decision, especially considering that the ‘frog strangler’ in which we found ourselves made any forward movement treacherous at best. Before we even had a chance to get through the door, the cashier told my kids not to touch anything unless they wanted to buy it. I haven̵...
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Take your chances with unconquerable BBQ

Posted On: 5/5/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Take your chances with unconquerable BBQ There are times in a man’s life when he must face his biggest challenges head-on, or more to the point, incisors-on. Into the bargain, it is in these great times of conquest that he must prepare himself by having a hefty roll of paper towels at his side. Otherwise, all will be lost. I had such a moment in St. Louis last week as I faced off with a sandwich at Sugarfire that was not only cunningly christened bearing in mind the presence of 40,000 nerds, but would also be the impetus for my inner debate of great food v. health. I am getting old, after all. If you remember as far back as two years ago, I was in Kansas City and I wrote about five days of meat-sweats summoned by steaks and marrow at Anton’s, burgers and fries cooked in lard at Town Topic, and of course the burnt ends and ribs at Oklahoma Joe’s. Above all I’ve missed the Midwest BBQ joints, and as I have been in St. Louis for the past three years with our robotics team at championships, I should ha...
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Feasting on dinner of tasty sirloin filets

Posted On: 4/28/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Feasting on dinner of tasty sirloin filets (Reprinted from March 6, 2014 issue) I love my children so much that I decided to call a snow day on our youngest daughter’s 13th birthday. Not only was it a great snow day, but it was in March. I’ll do what I can to make my kids happy. I’m sure I’ll have to pay the big guy back some day for the snowstorm, but by any means possible… Unfortunately, her birthday also coincided with our annual ‘tax day’, the day on which we knock out a good amount of the dreaded deed of paying the Tax Man. This year, extenuating circumstances forced us to work things out on Gabbie’s birthday, but it was still a day off and that’s pretty amazing, I’d say. The next day, however, it was time to get back to business and end the day with what we believe could have very well been the first meal of 2014 at our own dining room table. It is hard to believe that we are in March already, and shame on us for stepping away from our evening ritual of meetin...
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Oklahoma brisket enough for small army

Posted On: 4/21/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Oklahoma brisket enough for small army It’s funny how writing has lent itself so therapeutically to me in my aging years. There have certainly been times during which I drone as I suffer from inescapable writer’s block, and there are a few occasions on which I’ve had to take a week or two off to gather my thoughts. But one thing has remained constant; my desire to put into words precisely what it is that I get out of food. Whether it’s an epiphany as to when I decided to a chef, or a fleeting moment in which I can literally smell and taste a dinner that I ate in Napa Valley nine years ago, food transports me much in the way that nature intended. I was in the kitchen last week and found myself staring at a beautiful, full brisket. Consciously, I wasn’t thinking about anything, but then I realized that I was reminiscing about a trip made to Kansas City a few years ago. The trip was five days of “meat sweats,” during which we ate steak, crispy duck, bone marrow, burgers cooked in duc...
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Thank Babaar, the elephant in the room

Posted On: 4/14/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

If I had to guess, I was 8 years old, and at the time my father was one of the lead engineers at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. As such, we would find ourselves receiving tickets to a random quartet in the West Wing, or passes to a special event on the Mall or on the occasion in question, a reading of “Babaar the Elephant” at the Kennedy Center. I was excited to hear our weatherman from WTTG read one of my favorite childhood books; I awaited the reading in rapturous anticipation. Alas, I realized that I had to go to the bathroom and that my time of imagination would have to wait. I begged my father to let me go alone, and he acquiesced, believing that I surely wouldn’t be able to get that wrong since it was right down the hallway. Mayhap he was a little too confident in my navigational abilities at the ripe age of 8. I asked the usher, a nice old man, where I would find the restroom, and he pointed and said “Down the hall to the left; by the elevator....
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‘T-Wrecks,’ lobster, both look good on roll

Posted On: 4/7/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

‘T-Wrecks,’ lobster, both look good on roll A ragtag group of us parents are mentors for Titanium Wrecks, the NASA robotics team for Worcester County. You may know that our kids have been incredibly successful in our three-year history. And now, as a result of doing well again at two district events, our students will be in College Park starting today for district championships. These kids just keep pushing, and while a third trip to the world championships in St. Louis is not in the bag, I can see it happening for one reason alone; we’re broke. On top of being up to my eyeballs in robots and their accompanying financial strain, my spring semester is always heavy. Ergo, it’s not unusual for me to run on about four hours of sleep and copious amounts of coffee and water. Truth be told, this is the time of year that I look forward to teaching my night classes because they give me nonrobotics things to worry about, and these two in particular are near and dear to my heart: foods of the Americas, and French cuisine. I u...
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‘Comfort food to end all comfort foods’

Posted On: 3/31/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

‘Comfort food to end all comfort foods’ Newton saw the events of our everyday world as being strange and novel. He didn’t simply look at an apple falling to the ground as an incident unremarkable. He observed that there was something drawing the apple to the earth, much in the same way that we are held to our chairs as we type, or pressed into our Chuck Taylors as we tweet while we walk down a busy sidewalk. Truly these are enigmatic times in which we live, and one can scant envision what Newton would think were he to travel in time and witness the manners in which we live our lives. Cell phones, tablets, you name it: we are in a drastically different era of discovery. While I would in no way compare the study of food to the study of physics – although you can’t have the latter without the former – I do sit on my couch on occasion and wonder what it was like 300 or so years ago. And then I ponder the nonsense that we chefs play around with these days: molecular gastronomy such as spherification, foa...
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Just say yes to life, bacon mac ‘n cheese

Posted On: 3/24/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Just say yes to life, bacon mac ‘n cheese Between work, travel, logistics and the excitement of extra-curricular competitions, it’s more than my old bones can bear. I can still work a 15-hour day, but it definitely takes its toll on me and my spirit, as evidenced by the difficulty with which I wake up this morning. My aching bones, rusty joints and creaking back remind me that I am no longer a spring chicken. In fact, I have not been a spring chicken for a very, very long time. As I constantly try to convince myself that I still am as I once was, tokens pop up that instill in me the need to slow down a tad and to walk a little slower. Mayhap that is the joy of growing up; working smarter and not harder, or becoming more productive in the work day. When I was studying modern management techniques for my MBA, I was pleased to learn that servant leadership is a term that is used readily and proudly. In this style of management, we come to understand that our employees are more important than are we in the business model. ...
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Best-laid plans often don’t go as planned

Posted On: 3/10/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Best-laid plans often don’t go as planned I love it when a plan comes together, and sometimes it’s even enjoyable when the plan does not in fact go – well – as planned. In the words of the early chef Antonin Careme, “The recipe that I am going to sketch for you here is quick and simple: my life has not gone quite as planned.” Profound words from a man who would pass at the relatively young age of 48; but he would part ways with mother earth as a man who would change the landscape of Western cooking forever. In his few years on this earth, Careme managed to cook for kings, queens and czars, all while being able to codify an antiquated and disorganized system of professional and guild cooking. And to think that he did it all without once falling on his own sword. While my short tale is certainly not as dramatic or intriguing as Careme’s, it does go to show you that the best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew, or so sayeth Careme’s Scottish ...
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