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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Hot Dog or Legs? Plus: How to Train a Baby to Shake a Martini

Ice Cream Toilet

The Internet is a black hole for strange, weird and wonderful things—especially when it comes to food. Rather than dive in yourself, let F&W do it for you. Here, five of the most absurd food items we saw this week.

Ice Cream Toilet Dish: Taiwan may have a chain of toilet-themed restaurants, but Japan is home to the toilet ice cream dish. It’s called Ku-Sofuto, which is a play on the Japanese words for soft serve ice cream (sofuto) and s&*@ (kuso). Just in case that wasn’t unappetizing enough, you can get it with little paper bugs sticking out of it.

Martini Glass Rattle: As long as babies are going to shake things, why not put them to work shaking mommy's martini? It’s that kind of Mad Men-inspired thinking that led to the Martini Time Baby Rattle. It’s a mini martini glass with a plastic pimento-stuffed olive that rattles around when baby shakes his glass, demanding your attention—presumably to request more olives because who orders a martini with one olive?

Hot Dog Legs: In just a week, this Tumblr has taken the Internet by storm by posing the question: Is this a picture of legs or hot dogs? If you look through enough of the images, everything blurs. There are no hot dogs. There are no legs. There are only hot dog legs.

Spaghetti Burger: Philadelphia’s answer to New York’s ramen burger is the spaghetti burger. Available at the burger joint PYT, the creation consists of a mozzarella-stuffed meatball patty topped with tomato sauce and sandwiched between two crispy disks of garlic butter-soaked, very al dente spaghetti.

Belgian Frites Vending Machine: The Belgians love their frites (we won’t call them french fries out of respect). Here’s proof: A new vending machine in Brussels takes just 90 seconds to turn out beef fat-fried frites with ketchup or mayo (both plain and harissa-flavored). Fingers crossed for our very own AFM (Automated Fry Machine) in Times Square.

Related: Fantastic Martini Recipes
America's Best Hot Dogs
Incredible Fries

Supermarket Sleuth

Blond Can Be More Fun!

F&W food editors apply their incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.

You may have recently begun to see caramelized white chocolate listed on dessert menus, in sauces and glazes, in puddings, and in truffles and other bonbons. On its own, it is rich and creamy, with toasty hints of caramel, dulce de leche and browned butter. We’ve made it a few times in our Test Kitchen; it takes a long time to get the chocolate just right, and it needs to be watched carefully at the very end. Thankfully, for home bakers and pastry chefs alike, Valrhona has done the work for us with its new signature version called Dulcey. They’ve named the category “blond chocolate” and it’s available in 3-ounce bars and baking pastilles. The chocolate is delicious on its own, but it makes amazing barks, truffles, sauces, puddings, and ganache fillings and frostings. The other night I chopped some and added it to blondie batter for a creamy hit of caramel flavor, then sprinkled the rest over the top of the hot blondies for an awesome instant glaze.

Related Links: Chocolate Desserts
Best Chocolate in the U.S.
Delicious Chocolate Cookies

Chefs Make Change

Lady Chefs Fight Cancer at an Awesome Food Event

On September 23, twenty-four of New York’s top women chefs will cook at an event benefitting SHARE, a non-profit offering free support to women with breast or ovarian cancer. This is the 10 anniversary of the event, called A Second Helping of Life. Participating powerhouses include Annisa's Anita Lo (one of the original masterminds), Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter, Alex Raij of La Vara, Porchetta queen Sara Jenkins and Prune's Gabrielle Hamilton. While the chefs’ dishes have not yet been announced, we do know one that will be there for sure: Rebecca Charles of Pearl Oyster Bar will be serving her signature lobster roll, which she’s been making for the event every year. Tickets for the event, which is being held at Chelsea Piers, start at $300 and can be purchased here.

Related: Chefs Make Change
America's Best Lobster Rolls
Chef Superstars

Drink This Now

Mead: Not Just for Renaissance Fairs

Distilled NY's Mead Americano

Mead may call to mind Friar Tuck in that Kevin Costner version of Robin Hood, or something sipped only by Renaissance fair–goers for the sake of historical accuracy. But the honey wine is worth drinking even when smoked turkey legs and jousts aren’t involved. Ranging from dry to sweet, floral to earthy, mead can pair with anything from buttery desserts to spicy Sichuan. At Distilled NY, a Tribeca tavern inspired by the American public houses of yore, bartender Benjamin Wood features four meads and one mead-based cocktail. “Mead is the grandfather of all fermented beverages,” he says. “It’s the OG.”

 

Here, a mead primer from this honey wine lover:

What is Mead?
“Mead is fermented honey and water,” Wood says. “It can be sparkling, still, sweet, semisweet, dry, flavored with spices, and served like a mulled wine during the winter: warmed with cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and clove. The variations are limitless.” In terms of body, Wood compares it to a Riesling but heavier. “Expect it to have a more viscous texture than a typical dry white wine,” he says.

Historical Significance
“Mead predates cultivated soil,” Wood says. “From what I understand, that began around 2000 BC. Some historians have used it as a marker to indicate the change in humanity from nature to culture.” Mead also is connected to the origination of the term honeymoon: “It is derived from a historical tradition where newlyweds were given honey wine (mead) to drink every day for one full moon after their wedding to enhance fertility,” Wood says. “Mead is considered a natural aphrodisiac.”

How to Serve Mead
“It’s made from honey, so there are particles that could coagulate when mead gets too cold, so a lot of people recommend serving it at room temperature,” Wood says. “But the response from the public is that they want it cooler, so we chill it. It’s just a matter of finding the right temperature so that it’s not cold enough to coagulate but chilled enough that it’s pleasing to a palate.”

4 Meads to Try
All of Distilled NY’s meads are still and come from New York: two from Earle Estates—the traditional, which is sweeter due to more residual sugar, and the semisweet contemporary. Rounding out the selection is a traditional, floral style from Carroll’s Mead, and one from Mystic Mead, which is made with a blend of wildflower honeys to achieve a “more herbaceous, earthy quality.”

How to Make a Mead Cocktail
At the bar, Wood uses Carroll’s Mead in the Mead Americano, his take on the classic bittersweet cocktail made with Campari, vermouth and club soda. “It’s a spirit-on-spirit, all-booze cocktail,” he says. He mixes Aperol with juniper-heavy Spring 44 gin and the lightly sweet mead, and then carbonates the drink in-house for fizz. It’s served on the rocks with a dash of grapefruit bitters and grapefruit oil.

Related: Reinvented Classic Cocktails
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America's Most Wanted

Gooey Sticky Buns at Flour Bakery

Joanne Chang's Sticky Buns

You can’t leave Joanne Chang’s incredible Flour Bakery + Café in Boston without trying one of her famously over-the-top sticky buns. Here's why they're so popular: “We start out with a brioche dough, then we sprinkle the inside with a little brown and white sugar, a touch of cinnamon and toasted chopped pecans,” Chang says. “Then we bake the whole thing in goo, which is water, honey, heavy cream, brown sugar and butter, until it becomes really sticky and thick. The other nice thing is, they are definitely sweet, but they’re not crazily, sickeningly sweet. The pecans help cut through the sugar, and the brioche is unsweetened.”

Related: Chef Superstars
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