My Seventies Kitchen Episode 6: Big macs

Typically, on the rare occasions that I enjoy this glorious treat, it is consumed behind the wheel of my parked car. This is because it’s the one fast-food sandwich that presents significant issues to thrash while driving. I mean, you can, but you’ll be finding shredded lettuce for months, in everything from the cup holder to the cigarette lighter. Plus, there is an absolute satisfaction to gripping the Big Mac with two hands, preferably in a relaxed fashion rather than navigating through traffic while using your knees to manipulate the wheel.

Most people’s first assumption would be that I have plans to augment the Big Mac ingredients to show that I can do it better when I use grass-fed beef, aged cheddar, bibb lettuce, etc. The primary concern I have with that method is that it would involve fixing something that isn’t broken, which is a colossal waste of time every time. I call it the “Green bean casserole syndrome.”

No, I’m going straight to Shaw’s Supermarket to procure my ingredients because nothing is supposed to be “farm-fresh” about a Big Mac. I momentarily consider adding fries to the menu. Still, the thought of cleaning out the fucking fryolator puts that idea to rest. Seriously, EVERY time I use the home fryer, it sits on the counter for weeks, taking up space, until I finally decide to go through the awkward and messy process of dealing with its contents. Plus, to be honest, you’re not going to achieve the same flavor of McDonald’s fries at home; it just won’t happen. Even if you re-incorporate the beef tallow that was corrupting oblivious would-be vegetarians for decades, you won’t be able to get it exactly right.

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My Seventies Kitchen Episode 5: Kimchi Stew

When it comes to food, I don’t love the word “authentic.” Not only

do I find it condescending, but it also implies a rigidity to cooking

that is entirely unnecessary. This stew takes elements from different

Korean dishes with the goal of creating something delicious. There

are endless adaptations, which I will discuss in the notes, but as long

as you end up with a pleasing, umami-laden combination of spicy,

pungent, and salty, you’re on the right track.

We will begin by addressing the significant elements of the stew.

The Broth

While I have opted chicken stock here, there is really no broth that

will not work— vegetable stock would be equally delicious, and even

just water would get the job done. The amount of broth added can

also help adjust the heat if it ends up being a bit much.

The Tofu

I often utilize silken tofu for this stew—the texture is a delightful

contrast to the kimchi. In this case, I used the firm variety to

highlight Heiwa tofu, an excellent product made locally in Camden.

Anytime someone tells me that they do not care for tofu, this is what

I serve them to change their mind, as it actually has its own great

flavor rather than just the flavors of whatever it is cooked in.

The Kimchi

Again, any kimchi will work here, but I have opted for Gracie’s

Garden, which is made in Standish. I personally think it’s so good

that I often find myself just eating it straight out of the jar as a

snack—and it goes exceptionally well with a ton of cold beer and

karaoke.

Variations

This stew can easily be made vegan by adjusting the broth and

omitting the eggs and can just as easily go the other direction with

shredded beef and veal stock. You can add rice, star-shaped pasta,

or a tube of crushed Ritz crackers. There is no wrong way to do it.

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