Thursday, November 14, 2013

Capital Region in Aspic. It Belongs in a Museum!

So, I have pretty much covered the whole "Upstate NY" indigenous food thing, I've done sausage/charcuterie making to death, and I honestly believe people would rather not here me blabber on about restaurants and fast food any more than I already have... So what is a mid-thirties, hack-blogging, overgrown man-child to post about these days on his little-viewed corner of the internet?...

Hot dogs suspended in beer-gelatin, that's what. My blog-title does have the words "ridiculous" and "food" in it. So I have decided to go full ridiculous with this post... As exemplified by my recent meatloafery, a personal interest in food products as objets d'art seems to be increasing. Someone also took the dangerous step of putting the concept of Jell-O molded foods into my head the other day on the tweeters. This is what happens when you put ideas into my low-functioning (I am using a lot of hyphens today. I am in a hyphen-y mood...) mind. 

Anyhow, here it is. My working title was "Albany in Aspic" but it occurred to me that the products used belong more to the Capital Region at large. So I am calling this "Capital Region in Aspic."

I needed to empty my can of v1.0 Stewart's Mountain Brew Ice so I could keep the can (a work of art in its own right) for posterity. I added a bit of water to the brew for clarity.

Then I took some gelatin and geltanized up that there Brew of the Mountains as per the gelatinizing instructions on the wee packages.

Then I took a single Hot Dog Charlie's dinky dog with the works (previously frozen)...

 ... and used the dark, meat-y, unspeakable magic of the true meat-warlock to suspend that little bad boy in the beer-gel!

Then I proceeded to take many, many pictures. Because it is beautiful. This was one of the rare times I wished that I hadn't committed to only utilizing my cellphone camera to take pictures for this hacky blog. This masterpiece deserves better. But we work with what we have.

I gingerly sliced my mold in half as to partake of the beauteous cross section.

The power, the glory.

I think I am going to use the photoshops to blank out the wall and hand and stuff and make t-shirts out of this image...

Anyhow, there you have it. I know I will have some people shaking heads as they become stupefied by this nonsense. But no matter! I believe in the beauty and wonder of a true Capital Region style mini-dog suspended in the most mountainy of brews.

What exemplifies us Capital Regioners more than one of our hot dogs suspended in one of the down and dirtiest of our beers! The products, the idea, the concept... This is us on a plate. I am in love with my own creation. I need to stop now.

I will leave you alone with this. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

To Mayor Jerry Jennings, A True Prince of Albany, I Offer a Tribute! I Have Immortalized You in Loaf! I Give You - Loafy Jennings.

As you may or may not know, I fancy myself something of a Meatloafartiste. That is to say, I take great pride in turning meatloaf and instant mashed potatoes into what I think are veritable works of art. Here are my past creations should you be interested --

Meatloafy the Whale
Meat Romney
Meatloafy Puss
Grumpy Loaf

Onto the matter at hand...

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings has been synonymous in my mind with the city at large for the past 20 years. Alas, as all things eventually do, his run as the leader of the city in which I was born has come to an end. One of the dominate traits of my personality is that I do not handle change very well and that I am prone to fits of nostalgia. I am already nostalgic for the Jennings era and it hasn't even come to a close yet. So I was thinking of how, in my own small way, I might offer tribute to the man... Maybe even immortalize him!

Of course it didn't take too long to decided on a tribute in loaf form! And on what better day then Election Day to create what I believe is my truest meatloaf masterpiece to date.

I won't get too deep into the methodology of the meatloaf arts as you can read through the past posts for that. 

Needless to say, you start with meat.

You form it into loafs.

You make a big batch of instant mashed potatoes and in this case add two mashed sweet potatoes to add the wonderful tan hue of Albany Mayor Gerald Jenning's storied skin tone.

You sketch out some stencils to use on the loaf.

You trim those loafs down. I have said it before but I will say it again -- meatloaf trimmings are the best part of being a meatloaf artist.

Apply a thick layer of your mashed potatoes and there you have it! A blank canvas. The old masters worked in fresco, I work in taters!

Then you simply bring life to the loaf with the tools at your disposal. In this case a squirt bottle full of my homemade mushroom ketchup, some black pepper for shading, some mozzarella string cheese to imply Mayor Jenning's glorious hair, some sumac for a nice red tie, and a fresh fall flower to grace his honorable lapel.

There you have it. An honest (yes I know meatloaf portraiture may seem ridiculous, but I really do mean it honestly...) tribute a man who is passing into the long, long history of the fair City of Albany.

Again, this might smack of lampooning or making fun but I am really not going for that. Although I don't live in Albany anymore (I live in Delmar which is really pretty close if you think about it) it is where I was born and spent my childhood. I take the city's constants seriously and for the past 20 years Mayor Jennings certainly has been a constant.

I don't have much access to the city at large outside of this blog... So I offer this small homage to the Honorable Gerald Jennings. I wish him well in all of his future endeavors.
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