Tuesday, August 29, 2006

five things to eat before you die,

the food bloggers' guide to the globe:

2006 picture photograph of a lamb chop from prather ranch

1) gnaw on a lamb rack or chop, cooked medium rare
Fat, meat everything, pick the lamb chop up in your fingers and nibble, gnaw, suck, lick your lips, lick your fingers, chew and nibble some more. Diet be damned, be sure not to miss out on my favourite part, the crispy, delicious fatty bits. When the fat glues itself between the ribs, or hides in a boney corner, tear it out and devour it with delight. As an extra treat serve up some fatty lamb chops with a plateful of chips [fries]. This was the first meaty meal I purposely chose to eat after ten years as a vegetarian. It was the thing I craved most during my wilderness years. If that's not a good enough reason for it to top my list of five things for you to eat before you die, I don't know what is. Just thinking about it induced a craving that was only satisfied by a lamb chop for lunch today.

2) eat Cornish clotted cream in Cornwall, England
You may think you have eaten Clotted Cream, but until you have eaten it fresh, in Cornwall, you haven't experienced it at its best. Throw your Californian sensibilities or healthy caution to the wind and book your air fare to Blighty right now. Cornwall, the county that forms the most South Western tip of Great Britain is surrounded by sea, is wild, beautiful and craggy on its North coast, sheltered and more serene to the South. Spectacular cliffs give way to miles of sandy beaches with waves fit for some pretty good surfing. It's a great place to visit on vacation. Foodwise, Cornwall is famous for its fish & chips, Rick Stein, Cornish pasties and, of course, clotted cream teas. Clotted cream is rich and yellow with a minimum 55% fat content. The surface is covered in thick buttery, knobbly clots. It's amazing stuff. Make sure to try it fresh one day, preferably in Cornwall.

3) ferment your own soda and drink it
When I was a teen I made a non-alcholic elderflow 'champagne' using, as far as I recall, elderflowers, sugar, water and lemon juice and a recipe from the hand-written notes of an elderly aunt. [Oh, how I wish I had those same notes today.] The mixture feremented, as if by magic, in the bottles and turned out to be a sparkling, refreshing, floral drink. I kind of amazed myself at the time because I'd always assumed until that point that fizz was something that a factory put in a can. This past Saturday, by strange chance, I got talking to a fellow customer at the farmers market who told me she had started experimenting with making her own naturally fermented sodas too. The conversation awakened this memory for me and I can feel the start of a future project taking shape. ["How To" found here.]

4) eat a fish you caught yourself
One county North of Cornwall lies Devon, which also has its fair share of coastline. When I was twelve years old, I spent a week there, at Exmouth Camp with my school. As far as my 28-year old memory of that holiday can afford me, I recall it was a week packed with fun. Not only did I learn to snorkle, water ski and sail, I also went line fishing, out at sea, for mackerel. Our boat came in with a record catch of 33 fish and we ate what we'd netted for supper. At that age I didn't even particularly care much for fish, but since not much tastes so good as an animal you have caught yourself [unless you are in Fiji where they overcook their fish], I'll never forget that simple but memorable meal.

5) eat your favourite results of a taste test
You'll learn to love your food more if you get to know it better. You would never simply specify "Get me a car, get me a camera or get me a computer" if you'd asked someone else to do your shopping for you. You would know exactly which car, which make of camera or which brand of computer that you wanted. And if you didn't, you would do some research to find out which best suits your needs. Food deserves the same attention to detail. Perform regular taste tests to get to really know your food. Simply grabbing the first avocado could become a thing of the past, when you start demanding a Hess, a Gwen or a Bacon variety instead. On Becks & Posh we've only shared taste tests for sparkling wines and garlic so far, but hope to make this self education more of a feature of our lives in future as we get to know our food better and better each day.

2006 picture the foodbloggers' guide to the globe

I am sharing this list with you today because I was tagged by two of my favourite bloggers, Bea and Helen for an event called The Food Bloggers' Guide to the Globe started by Melissa at The Traveler's Lunchbox. [Oh, how it pains me to spell traveller with only one l.] Melissa was inspired by this fairly extremely pedestrian list she found on a BBC website. It's not exactly challenging as you can tell by the fact that little old me has eaten 46/50 of the items listed, which is why, I think, that Melissa wanted to illustrate that us bloggers can come up with a much better list than that.

This is how the event works: Every food blogger who has been tagged or who is simply interested in taking part should detail "five things to eat before you die" in a blog post, before passing a tag on to to five more food bloggers. In this way Melissa hopes to have a large round up of world-wide foods everyone should try at least once in their lives. Hopefully it will be far more interesting than the list that started the event in the first place. Melissa is updating the list of participants in her original announcement post which is where you should also go if you want more details about entering guidelines.

At random - I am tagging the following five food bloggers to share, if they wish, their own five ideas for Melissa's mega-list:

Alaska Cooks
Squirrel Squad Squeeks
Something in Season
Gourmet Mango
The Culinary Chase

If you are a reader without a blog, you are encouraged to leave your own list, right here in my comments, I'd love to see everyone else's ideas. Thank you.

PS If you like this kind of thing you should also check out this post from Owen at Tomatilla which a while back rounded up food bloggers responses to a far more discerning impossible list published originally in The Observer.

2004: Chaya Review | 2005: Rachael Ray around the world on $40

five things to eat before you die,


  • At 29/8/06 21:08, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh, I did see that BBC list...

    How about:

    English peas fresh from the vine and minimally cooked

    Scottish langoustines caught same day and steamed or grilled

    Tarte flambe made in a wood burning oven

  • At 29/8/06 22:00, Blogger Delphine said…

    Sweet! your list is full of great ideas!

    Another five thing to eat before you die:

    -little wild strawberries in the garden (the only fruit I know varieties is strawberries), but a good "remontante du Perigord" would do the trick, too.
    -your ricotta with strawberry and rhubarb preserve (I can die tomorrow)
    -ripe pineapple with old fashioned "creme legere" (I wish I had the recipe)
    -la baguette de la boulangerie de la rue des fosses Saint Jacques a Paris (it's a long way to my favourite bread)
    -My husband Boeuf Carotte (He will kill me if I don't quote it, hee hee)

  • At 29/8/06 22:47, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks so much for your comment! Glad you like the redesign!

  • At 30/8/06 00:00, Blogger neil said…

    Isn't it funny how connected we all are? New season spring lamb is now in the butchers here (with a new season price!) and is absolutely fabulous. Bought my first bottle of English elderflower in ages and that is nearly gone in a few days. Love the sound of the clotted cream, to hell with the waistline, maybe that's the reason we have health insurance ;-)

  • At 30/8/06 02:43, Blogger Jeanne said…

    Hi Sam

    Love the redesign! You just HAD to find a way to give that Mutant Killer Tomato some more exposure ;-) And a great list too! I would LOVE to let you taste some Karoo lamb. Imagine lamb that is not flavoured with herbs but naturally infused with a rosemary-like taste because of the animal's diet. And yes - the fattier the better! I swear I married Nick because he is the only man I know who gets the fat on lamb chops properly crisp on the barbecue. Also wish I could take you to Arbutus here in London for the lamb carpaccio. Heavenly. And don't get me started on clotted cream!

    The more lists I read, the more things I want to add!! Artichokes (just because of the "who woulda thought?" factor), pistachio ice cream from a shop in Granada across the way from the cathedral (because that is how all pistachio ice creams should taste) and fresh broad beans that you've podded yourself, sitting in your garden.

  • At 30/8/06 05:32, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I couldn't agree with you more about Cornish clotted cream. Years ago I dated a Cornish guy and went with him to visit his family. His gran held a proper tea for me. It was one of the most amazing things this Yank has ever experienced (she made me some pasties too...Which I still crave). Thanks for reminding me of that wonderful memory Sam!

  • At 30/8/06 05:39, Blogger Alanna Kellogg said…

    THAT's why I spell traveller with two Ls! It's one I always have to look up!

    Great list BTW.

  • At 30/8/06 06:46, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love your list Sam, and would'nt agree more on the fish and fatty meat part. Gives me tons of ideas. Funny you should mention sparkling drinks as I have a story to share about limonade, and had the same belief as you, thought it came like this in the bottle. Never had Cornish Clotted Cream, don't even know what it would like look so it makes me curious! A big thank to you!

  • At 30/8/06 06:53, Blogger Deb Schiff said…

    The redesign is fantastic! Great look. Your posts are as entertaining and educational as ever.

    I confess, I'm completely clotted cream clueless. What does clotted cream taste like? Is it tart like sour cream or sweet like fresh butter? Or something entirely different? What's the best food to eat it on/with? What happens if you heat it?

    Where would one obtain it in (gasp!) New Jersey?

    Any info would be great! Thanks.

  • At 30/8/06 06:59, Blogger wheresmymind said…

    If I ate a fish I caught around my house I'd get mecury poisoning!! eep!

  • At 30/8/06 07:35, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love your choices. 2 & 4 especially.Oh... clotted cream IN Cornwall (on a hot scone on a rainy day)

  • At 30/8/06 09:50, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Tag, I'm it! Okay, I'll play. Now, if I could only find my thinking cap . . .

  • At 30/8/06 09:57, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Super ideas, Sam! I have to agree with you on the crispy, fatty meat and the self-caught fish and clotted cream (though I've admittedly never been to Cornwall...); too bad we're at it head-to-head over pizza.

    That doesn't stop me from loving your redesign, however! :)

  • At 30/8/06 10:26, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sam: Thanks for including us aliens (the non-bloggers). Here are some foods I thought of this morning -- and I do believe that each day/season/weather might inspire a different list....1.Bacon cooked over a campfire after sleeping in the woods. 2. Mussels cooked on the beach after gathering them from their stones.Dip up the herby, winey sauce with the empty shells. 3. Osetra and blini with icy vodka -- but no egg, only lemon juice and the tiniest bit of sour cream. 4. Pit barbecue in Georgia where the sauce is vinegary, with no tomato or molasses. 5. An Elberta peach -- almost extinct -- so large it can be held in both hands, warm from the sun. You have to pull its very fuzzy skin off before eating. Best eaten standing in a creek (ditto: a mango, eaten while standing in the ocean).

  • At 30/8/06 10:32, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    elderberry champagne sounds fantastic! living in los angeles what can i substitute that with?
    as for one of my favorites - smoked mackrel from saluhallen in goteborg...heaven.

  • At 30/8/06 11:22, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sam, thanks for the tag. Time to put on my thinking cap. I couldn't agree more about the fish...

  • At 30/8/06 12:08, Blogger AC Investor Blog said…

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  • At 30/8/06 14:27, Blogger Bron said…

    Wonderful list Sam!!

    Love your description of a crispy, fatty lamb chop and it's now a must buy from my butcher this weekend!
    With you on clotted cream too, unfortunately have never been to Cornwall, so only ever had homemade.
    Also adore my own caught fish, (salmon/trout) preferably cooked within minutes on the same river bank via campfire or smoked.
    And your own fermented soda or gingerbeer in my case.
    Mmmm yes, fantastic list and a great new look too!!

  • At 30/8/06 18:41, Blogger cookiecrumb said…


  • At 30/8/06 19:48, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great idea! My list is...

    1. Creamy artichoke heart and garlic linguine

    2. Hand-made samosas from the Hare Krishnas at the Cairns farmers Market

    3. My grandma's home-made sausage rolls

    4. A hot dahl with basmati rice and spinach

  • At 30/8/06 20:10, Blogger Owen said…

    Hi Sam, thanks for the remembrance of my old 50 things collection.

    For the clotted cream questioner in NJ - you may be out of luck. It can be hard to find. You can sometimes find tiny jars of inferior quality in very expensive grocery stores.

    And clotted cream is kind of like heavy whipping cream cubed - so thick it is almost lumpy yet not whipped at all.

    Taste is essence of cream.

  • At 30/8/06 20:12, Blogger Andrew said…

    Of course Clotted Cream! How could I forget that one (he says as he licks the lamb chop juices from his fingers! tiz true!)

  • At 30/8/06 20:13, Blogger Papa Squirrel said…

    Thanks for the tag Sam. You have me absolutely craving lamb now. At best I'll get mutton curry for lunch tomorrow. Well, ok, that's not so bad.

    Here is our list.

  • At 30/8/06 22:35, Blogger football freak said…

    How about a Chipotle burrito...I have an addiction.

  • At 30/8/06 23:14, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love your ideas!!

    Knawing a well cooked wrack of lamb has gotten my mouth watering!

  • At 31/8/06 04:34, Blogger Honeybee said…

    I loved the way you describe eating the lamb. About the clotted cream: I guess I really have to venture further south to have in Devonshire, it seems that Liberty's was not the real thing!

  • At 31/8/06 06:56, Blogger Deb Schiff said…

    Thanks, Owen. Most helpful of you.

  • At 31/8/06 11:15, Blogger Sam said…

    Hi Joan - could the peas be eaten raw? I would love to eat a just-picked corn - that is one of my own ambitions. Scottish langoustines sound good too. I love langoustines. mmm,

    del - i am glad you like the ricotta. I used to have wild strawberries in england.

    aoife - my pleasure.

    neil - well you guys have King Island cream right? I love that too.

    jeanne - you husband sounds like quite some guy. and the lamb sounds incredible. i think someone else actually put artichokes on their list - i almost considered it for mine, but there is just too much to consider!

    ann - glad you had the chance to experience my number 2 in such authentic style!

    AK - one l in the us, to in britain.
    I have an L of a job remembering which is which ;)

    Bea - if you click on the cornish clotted cream links in my post you will see some mouth watering pictures.

    here and there 123

    - clotted cream is a rich yellow (jersey) colour, it is a cream so thick you can almost cut it with a knife, it can't be poured, no siree. On the top surface buttery clotted crunchy crytals form a crust. It is extremely hig fat and very tasty.

    the sad part is you cant buy the proper stuff in the US. You can get a pastuerized version in a jar online or in speciality food shops (even wholefoods sells it sometimes). see here but it is nowhwere near as good as the fresh stuff, but it will suffice in times of need.

    the best way to eat it is with an [english-style] scone and jam. I also like it on icecream, which hardens it. yum.
    it's not the kind of cream you would want to waste by heating it. It is already perfect in its current state.

    wmm - ha - good thing to remember lest we let too many romantic notions get in our way!

    jyotsna - mmm - so glad to hear you have managed to try number 2, especially. I am not going to wish for rain just so I can do it your way though, I like it equally as much on a sunny day!

    brendon - found that cap yet?

    melissa - i am so pleased you like the new design - you really must head to cornwall one day - its a bit like scotland yet different.

    kudzu - great ideas - now where do I get one of those peaches?

    petra - i wish i knew - i dont think you can get elderflowers here. I am wondering myself - i will do some research and get back to this question, but i t might take quite some time.

    Jared - you looking for a thinking cap too - brendon mislaid his as well.

    AC - thank you for your words.

    Bron - I am curious to know which method you used to make your clotted cream since i have read a few different versions online. the reason i have never tried it here in the US myself is because I just don't think the milk is up to snuff. Maybe I'll give it a go sometime anyway.

    cookie shibby back at ya

    anon - ooh - great suggestions - i am particularly partial to sausage roolls myself, and a nice bowl of dahl too.

    owen - how could i ever forget that list?

    andrew - it's ok cos you did mr whippy instead.

    papa squirrel - woo hoo - thanks for taking part!

    football freak - where do you get those from? or do you make them yourself? I need more details!

    pam-the-lamb-fan - i am so glad there are so many lamb fans out there who think the way I do too.

    honeybee - my rec is that you should go even deeper than devon and hit cornwall for the best examples of cream tea. The devonites would probably argue with that, but I just have a greater affinity with cornwall, that's all.

    I added some more details for you - sorry for the delay - it takes a little while to reply to so many well-though comments.


  • At 31/8/06 12:39, Blogger Deb Schiff said…


    Thanks a bunch for answering my questions. Guess John and I will just have to go to England then. :)


  • At 31/8/06 19:49, Blogger Ana said…

    you're one cool kid! making your own soda, wow... thanks for visiting my blog!

  • At 31/8/06 20:08, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love clotted cream. Unfortunately, I discovered it on the plane back to the States after living in England for nine months and haven't been able to find it where I live (Santa Cruz, CA). I may just have to go back to the UK to get some -- or, for a closer and less expensive option, just search the shops up in San Francisco.

    P.S. What a droolworthy photo!

  • At 2/9/06 01:12, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, I definitely checked one off last weekend (see picture).


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