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Saturday, February 15, 2014

HP Sauce is bottled angel tears

I'm not a picky eater, but when I like something, I like the shit out of it to a point some people would refer to as manic or obsessive. I prefer to think of it as a romantic devotion that lasts a lifetime.

I have truly never got sick of a food that I can think of, to the point that I won't eat it again, or even avoid it slightly. HP Sauce is an excellent example of this. When I was about 6 or 7 years old my Grandpa Cliff took two pieces of white bread, toasted them, and instead of putting butter or jam on them, he spread both slices thickly with HP sauce, cold from the fridge, and handed one to me. That was it, I was hooked.

For the uninitiated, HP Sauce is a brown English condiment that is perfect on anything, but especially steak, potatoes, vegetables, shepard's pie, anything that needs a little potent flavour shot comprised of malt vinegar, tomato, dates, tamarind extract, sweetener and spices. It was invented and developed by a British grocer named Frederick Gibson Garton in 1895, and so named because he had heard that an exclusive restaurant in the Houses of Parliment served it. Hence, HP.

Hello, lover:


The truth is probably half rumour and half good marketing: there is a picture of the House of Commons on the bottle, which gives it a classy touch. Consumers took the bait, and bit, hard. Today it is the most popular brown sauce in all of the UK, a place that loves it some brown sauce. It's especially great in cold weather and a little mixed into a Caesar will kick it up a notch. Dipping crispy bacon into it is like touching the face of God.

If you ask an American about HP they might not understand what you're saying, they have ketchup on the table where HP would be in the UK. And as we are caught in the crosshairs of two cultures here in Canada, we oftentimes have both. Another reason it's great to be a Canadian.

An odd bit of trivia: HP and Heinz Ketchup are siblings, made by the same company. I feel like HP is definitely the dark horse of these two sisters, who studied really hard and got a scholarship while Ketchup was dating the captain of the football team. I'm sure family reunions and Christmases are tense in the Heinz house.

Anyway, get some if you don't know what I'm talking about. It's fantastic. You're welcome. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Crass Cuisine's prediction for the It Food of 2014

Hello friends, sorry for my obscenely long absence, I got a little distracted writing for other folks, and forgetting my roots like the spoiled asshole that I am. Also, I have legit had a lot of shit to do. Things have been good and bad and quite eventful and not at all what I expected. And through this all I have forgotten that I have a place in which to write my ramblings, edit free, and with the use of "fuck" as many times as I want. I won't forget it again.

So, food.

We had the whole kale thing in 2013 when we put kale in everything and ate it raw because articles told us to and got super bad gas but did it again the next day anyway. Whenever we went out to eat we got kale in place of other greens and learned to love it. Like quinoa (and you know how I feel about quinoa) we got on the trend bus and honked the horn and decided that a life without kale was no life at all and started coming up with new ways to consume it. Such the wheel of trend goes on.

Thus, we're sick of it now. Ditto for sundried tomatoes, edamame, yam fries, and those two poached stems of asparagus that we draped over a piece of salmon on an oversize white plate from 1993-1996. Too much of a good thing will do that to a person. So the question really isn't what will be the new It food, but what food will we be entirely sick of in 2015? It's a tricky question.

Many people who are much better cooks than me have predicted that 2014 is the year of the cauliflower. I beg to differ. I think we will see lots of fried cauliflower "steaks" and some such offerings for sure, but I think this will pale in comparison to the green tide that will be seaweed.

Oh yes, seaweed. It's gonna be the It Thang. And it won't just end with the year, it'll start with a slow burn and come into full-blown insanity by 2015. You're gonna start to see seaweed mayo, kelp sprinklings on potatoes, nori shavings on meat, and glossy strands in salads. You're gonna hear the words "umami", "saline" and "brine" a lot in food writing. And you yourself might try your hand at seaweed hot sauce.

I think what catapults a major food trend, particularly on the West Coast where I live, is it's healthful properties. If it's somewhat palatable and will prolong your life, we're gonna eat it. How else can you explain the rise of quinoa and kale? These are not delicious. These feel good to eat, and are palatable, but their consumption is more utilitarian than delightful. We like things that have multi-purpose; cure cancer, taste great and be trendy at the same time? I'll take it. It's unfashionable to say you aren't trying to live as long and be as thin as possible.This is why fat consumption without a diet purpose will never be trendy (bacon consumption is a-okay by paleo standards, which is why it's popular). We're never gonna see the headline "2014: the year of fois gras". Because the rule of "everything in moderation" is the toughest rule to follow, and the one we fight the hardest against. Myself absolutely, ridiculously included.

All dietary bitterness aside, watch for seaweed. It is very good for you, iron, vit b and d and a few more in there for good measure. It is delicious and it gives good face:


Seriously a plate of wilted kale looks like what you scrape off your fish tank compared to this. And hey, if you don't like it you can wrap your face in it and look younger for work tomorrow. Win!