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  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:52 am on March 22, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bacon, Charcuterie, , , , Garde manger, , little Surgeon General, , Official, Salo, , , Ukrainian cuisine, unhealthy treif food   

    Ukraininian Sushi 

    Spyware and construction contractors are very bad for my health. For instance, recently, the contractor who renovated my apartment asked for my help with cleaning out yet another spyware infestation. To express his gratitude he gave me a present that his sister brought with her from her trip to Ukraine. A piece of genuine Ukrainian salo.

    Salo is an Eastern European staple that for some strange reason is virtually unknown in the West. Wikipedia describes it as salted slabs of pork underskin fat. It’s not really bacon – salo mostly consist of unrendered fat (bacon has more meat) and can be eaten raw.

    If you’ve never had salo, it’s most similar to the taste and texture of little pieces of fat found in some harder kielbasas. In its fried form salo resembles bacon and pork rinds, except it’s much tastier. Also, you really can’t make exceptional borscht or fried sunflower seeds without high quality salo.

    Here’s a piece (Ukr. “shmatok”) of salo on my official Jamie Oliver cutting board. I used my sashimi knife to cut it into thin slices – the best way to eat, in my opinion.

    It’s kind of hard to describe the taste and texture of Ukrainian salo. The texture of it is hard, yet it melts on your tongue. It’s salty, fatty, garlicky. Your caveman instincts make your brain fire “wow, inhale this right now” messages, yet the little Surgeon General in your head tells you “wow, this will clog up your arteries good.” They don’t call salo “Ukrainian cocaine” for nothing.

    The little Surgeon General in your head is wrong, though. Having come into possession of this authentic salo for the first time in years, I just had to kick it up a notch and make the _ultimate_ in unhealthy treif food. I had to make the legendary confection – “salo in chocolate”.

    This confection started as a joke playing on Ukrainians’ fondness of salo. Then some Russian and Ukrainian restaurants started making it as an exotic delicacy. Then someone started to make a candy bar of that name. The Wikipedia article has more on that.

    I tempered some good semi-bitter chocolate and dipped thin slices of salo into it.

    The flavor is outstanding. Chocolate goes well with salty, fatty salo. It tastes as good as it is unhealthy. Overall, though, the quantity that I made is probably no worse than a movie theater popcorn or the bun of death from the vending machine at work. In fact, probably healthier.

    If you are curious, you can find salo in most Russian food stores in New York. It will probably be lower quality Canadian salo, but it will give you a pretty good idea.

    You can find more of my gastronomic adventures here.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 5:07 am on January 23, 2003 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amazon's Target Store, , , Development, , favorite chemistry professor, favorite photographer, Flophouse, , , Homelessness in the United States, , Hussey, Official, , , , , Sperm Donner,   

    Whatcha Gonna Do? 

    Today I had lunch with lj user tonomo at a really cool Cuban cafeteria called “Margon Restaurant“. That place rocks! On our way back asked — where would I go if were to become homeless. Knowing me, I don’t think he was much surprised by the fact that I already gave this question much though.

    One thing for sure – I would not go to a shelter. You see, homeless people don’t go to shelters because those places are very dangerous. It’s very easy to get beaten, robbed and raped at the same time there.

    I guess I would try to raise some “capital” first. said that it would probably be a good strategy to try and look really miserable. But my approach would probably be to drag around some humorous sign. Something classic, like “Tell Me Off for $2” or “Official Sperm Donner – Fill My Cup and I Will Fill Yours”. I would definitely not beg for money in two places – trains and near places where people eat. I would try to pick places where people go for a walk – near Central Park of ferry terminals.

    Having enough money for a subway fare would allow me to ride around in subway cars. In winter it’s a sure way to keep warm at night. I would have to take a lot of cat naps, sleeping for long periods of time would be dangerous. I would try to switch to Uberman’s sleep schedule. I would also spend a lot of time sleeping and reading in libraries. Libraries also have bathrooms (as well as some of the better terminal subway stations).

    Keeping my personal hygiene at a semi-decent level would be hard, especially in winter. I suspect that there are some churches that have showers, which let homeless in. Dunno. That’s a tough one.

    Finding a place to stash my things would be tough.

    There used to be times when homeless could rent a small cubicle in special “hotels” for very small sums of money. There’s an amazing book by my favorite photographer, Harvey Wang, about such places. It’s called “Flophouse: Life on the Bowery“. Well, those places are now gone with gentrification and all.

    Another alternative would be to become one of the Mole People, but I am afraid that after that book came out, all the homeless were kicked out of the tunnels. My favorite chemistry professor, Dr. Hussey, told me once about homeless that lived in the tunnels under Brooklyn College. Those tunnels were secured as well, I believe.

    There is a “Homelessness For Dummies” type book called “Homeless Survival Guide“. The price is a bit steep at $18 though. To the wish list it goes.

    You know, “Clean Underwear from Amazon’s Target Store” is a good suggestion (as always). Not so “Ladybug Rain Boots” and “Helicopter Sleepwear Sets for Baby”.

    In any case, what’s your homelessness strategy?

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