Do you DIY condiments?

You may be noticing that I have something of a love-meh relationship with the New York Times and their approach to food. There was my indignation over Mark Bittman’s hatred of pie, and my lust to improve their cucumber kimchi. Most of the time, I kind of just ignore them, until someone else brings them to my attention.

Today, my attention was drawn by a post over at The Kitchn, discussing the recommendation that we should stop buying condiments and start making all our own. And you can guess how I feel about any recommendation that we make more things at home! (in case you can’t: I am for it, enthusiastically.)

Up there in the photo you can see the two condiments we make most often here at Chez Grumpy Pie – pickled jalapenos and kimchi. It doesn’t seem fair to call either of them a condiment, though, considering that we pretty much just eat them straight from the jar more often than we put them on another food item.

I have to admit, we don’t keep mayonnaise in the house (nobody here likes it, why bother?), and it’s one that I happily make as we need it (maybe once a year), but I’ve never considered making my own mustard or steak sauce. I thought about making barbecue sauce once, but decided that it wasn’t worth the time investment.

What about you? Do you make condiments? Why not? (also, I love the article directly below the condiments question. It entirely explains my feelings about both sandwiches and salads!)


Being easy ain’t easy

Tuesday, hello!

I know we’re having a bit of a resurgence of summer (is there a meteorological term for “Indian Summer?” because we don’t say that anymore, do we?), so you may be surprised to hear this: It’s fall! Best time for pie! Or at least, tied for first, with summer and spring and winter.

There’s never a bad time for pie, is there?

This morning, my attention was drawn to the article in NY Times Magazine, wherein Mark Bittman suggests that we shouldn’t bother making pie. Because he doesn’t like crust.

Pause with me for a moment, will you? There are plenty of foods of which I am not a fan, primarily red enchiladas and soggy bitter green bell peppers cooked into everything. And papaya. Actually, that may be the whole list. There is one food that I always forget that I don’t like until it’s already coming from the restaurant kitchen. (oh well)

But I’m not going to run out and tell you not to put peppers in your soup, or to stop feeding your family red enchiladas (seriously, though: green is the way to go). And that is the difference between me and Mark Bittman.

I think perhaps the most glaringly annoying part of this whole “don’t bother with pie” thing is how he suggests that making pie is just “baking fruit in a crust.”


Sure, you can do that, but certainly he knows better than to imagine that that’s all there is to making pie? Why all the hate, Bittman?

On the other hand, many of the dishes he suggests as alternatives look to me like they’re calling out for a little structure and crunch, don’t you think? Clafoutis is a fine dish that can stand on its own, but those gratins? The poor things look like they’re naked. Also, cornstarch, sad.

I say DO bother with making pie. It has endured for a reason. Despite the cliche, there are plenty of easier ways to bring fruit to the dessert table, but few of them perform the same kind of alchemic magic that a really good crust and a really good fruit do. It’s worth doing.