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  • Michael Krakovskiy 5:06 pm on July 26, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Chef, , Cutlery, Deba bōchō, , , , , , , , Puerto Rico, ,   

    Iron Chef Japanese Knife Set (5- Knives With Tulip Block) 

    Master Cutlery Iron Chef 5-Pc. Japanese Set with Tulip Block… replace your cutlery at a LOW PRICE! Crafted for precision, irresistibly priced… this is your perfect opportunity to upgrade your worn-down kitchen cutlery! And we’ll throw in an authentic bamboo Knife Rack to boot! While it includes all the tools you need to prepare flavorful Japanese cuisine, it’s versatile enough for everyday use! See how fast, easy and fun cooking can be when you’re using the tools of a professional! Time to upgrade: 5″ Deba Knife great for chopping hard vegetables and cutting fish; 5 5/16″ Utility Knife with hollow edge blade designed for easy slicing; 6″ Santuko Knife with hollow edge blade designed for paper-thin slicing and meat carving; 6 3/8″ Usuba Knife for precision cuts; 7″ Sushi / Chef Knife; 6 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 8 3/4″ Knife block. Get your new Kitchen Cutlery today! Order Today! WARNING: You must be 18 or older to purchase Cutlery. Cutlery cannot be shipped to D.C.; MA; Canada or Puerto Rico. Cutlery cannot be shipped Parcel Post. Please check your State, County and City laws for restrictions before ordering Cutlery. Iron Chef 5-Pc. Japanese Set with Tulip Block

  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:39 am on June 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Andy Kelp, Arnie Albright, Black Bellamy, Caper story, , Chef, , Daniel Defoe, , , , , football, getaway driver, , , John Dortmunder, , , Osmeridae, Pirates!, Roe, , Smelt, Stan Murch, The Pirates! in an Adventure with Napoleon, thuggery specialist   

    Bread and Circuses 3: Smelts and Westlake; Uni and Defoe 

    This is a third, and likely last article in which I pair up food with books. The previous two did not generate a single comment, but I still want to finish the series.

    My third favorite cuisine is Japanese. The best Japanese cooking is about the ingredients. Think about it: sashimi is basically sliced up raw fish. It’s an ingredient with the least preparation possible. Yet it’s one of the tastiest things ever, if the fish is good and the chef sliced it well. Simplicity and lightness, that’s what I like about Japanese food. I’ve picked two of my favorite dishes, a fried fish and sea cucumber roe, and paired it up with two simple light reading book series.

    My father grew up on Sakhalin island, a place where salmon and even sturgeon roe were dirt cheap and widely available. Kids would thumb their noses at their caviar and smoked fish, my dad said. But there was one fish still highly prized. A humble smelt. Easily caught, it was usually full of delicious roe. Fried – the tastiest thing ever. While fresh, interestingly enough, smelts smell like fresh cucumbers. I first tasted a fried smelt in a Japanese restaurant Yakitori East, one of the few places in New York that serves them. They are also available in Japanese and Korean supermarkets, I’ve bought and fried them at home many times.

    Fried smelts are just as addictive as books from the Dortmunder series by Donalde E. Westlake. These are masterpieces of a particular subset of subset of crime fiction genre: a comical caper story. You get too root for a band of bumbling crooks led by John Archibald Dortmunder, a very competent, but extremely unlucky master thief with a beer-inspired last name.

    You know how the two Alice stories have a chess game and a card game theme? Well, Dortmunder stories can be thought of as games of American football. The characters are highly specialized, just like football players, they face constant fumbles and setbacks, but from time to time they get to score. In fact, if I remember correctly, one of Dortmunder books even has chapters based on football: “First down”, and so on to more downs than there are in game rules.

    Dortmunder’s core crew includes an all-purpose crook Andy Kelp, a thuggery specialist Tiny Bulcher, a getaway driver obsessed with New York City traffic patterns Stan Murch. Kelp and Dortmunder can pick locks, but when the job calls for it experts are called in. So are extra drivers, computer experts, and other colorful characters. Everybody except Stan Murch has long time girlfriends who take part in criminal acts from time to time. Stan’s cab-driving Mom known as “Murch’s mom” is a frequent cast member.

    The now-canceled Firefly tv series is definitely inspired by the Dortmunder stories: as a nod, Joss Whedon named one of the big Alliance ships IAV Dortmunder.

    There’s something amazingly likable about a competent, but unlucky master thief with a hang-dog look about him. I, for some reason deeply identify with Dortmunder. On the other hand, in real life I’m probably more of Arnie Albright, the friendless and obnoxious (and aware of it) fence. Arnie’s so obnoxious that nobody willingly deals with him (unless they have to). Dortmunder would much prefer dealing with another fence, Stoon who’s unreliable and pays much less.

    I’ve read every single Dortmunder book there is. Westlake is currently working on the next installment in which the gang participates in a reality show.


    Uni is a simple dish. Well, it’s not much of a dish. It’s sea urchin’s roe. You just dunk it in soy sauce and eat it. Uni had amazing taste: creamy, briny,sweet, custardy. If you watched Iron Chef at all, you probably spent hours listening to the judges rave about uni.

    What would go great with uni? Gideon Defoe’s Pirates! books. What are they about? Well, they are about oh, only the most important things in the world. Ham. Piracy. Marine mammals. Science, Philosophy, Love. Sea shanties. Ham.

    The nameless Pirate Captain leads a large group of child-like pirates and Cutlass Liz through most amazing adventures. His evil rival Black Bellamy constantly defeats an humiliates him and his crew, but the Pirate Captain does not like to dwell on that.

    If I were to trust what I’ve read on the Internet, Pirates! was written to impress a girl to leave her boyfriend (which she didn’t). Defoe also is somehow related to Daniel Defoe.

    There are three books out:

    [amazon cover 0375423214]
    [amazon title 0375423214]

    [amazon cover 0375423850]
    [amazon title 0375423850]

    [amazon cover 0375423974]
    [amazon title 0375423974]

    According to Gideon’s livejournal, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Napoleon is already out. Also he’s working with Aardman on a Pirates! cartoon.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 2:23 am on March 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , car builders, Chef, Cook, , , , , , food runners, Julia Child, Linus Torvalds, , , , , ,   

    Developer Life, Yo 

    These days there are a lot of documentary shows on TV about various professions. I am somewhat addicted to them – I watched whole seasons of shows about hairdressers, crab fishermen, lobster fishermen, tattoo artists in Florida, tattoo artists in Nevada (but not the one about tattoo artists in LA), restaurateurs ice road truck drivers, custom motorcycle builders, custom car builderscorrectional officers and inmates, and the Philadelphia meter maids.

    My own profession is mostly untelevisable. Mostly. Well, maybe some TV network might make a show out of Aardvark’d: 12 Weeks With Geeks. I also think that there could be a tiny market for a heavily edited “looking over the shoulder” video on the code writing habits of colorful  alpha geeks like Linus Torvalds, Donald Knuth, Brad Fitzpatrick, Dries Buytaert, and maybe even  JWZ. I’d buy that for a dollar.

    I found that there are two occupations that are unexpectedly similar to that of a software developer: prison inmate and line cook. Both of these are heavily male dominated, involve a disproportionate amount of minorities and are very stressful.

    I recognized offices in which I worked all my life in prison layouts.  The common criminals usually live in a common area in the center of the prison. This is exactly like a common area of an office, except with bunk beds instead of desks. Some actually have semi-private cubicles. Inmates organize into gangs, just like departments. Gang leaders are usually placed into single or double cells that line the perimeter of the common area to cut down on the communication between them and their reports.  Even there you have to be a manager to score an office.

    Restaurants are a lot like developer shops. You have your front of the house: waiters (sales people),  hosts and managers, food runners (analysts). And then you have your back of the house: chefs (architects and lead developers), line cooks (developers) and  prep cooks (producers). There’s no good equivalent for dishwashers in a typical developer shop.

    People often assume that a chef primarily cooks and a lead developer primarily codes. Do you know the title of Julia Child’s awesome show? Well, she was neither French nor a chef. Chefs do surprisingly little cooking, they are more like conductors in  orchestras. They create menus,  divvy up the tasks, check quality, train and supervise cooks.  Best chefs, just like the best lead developers do find time to cook, but still spend more time organizing, tasting and researching.

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