New York state of mind

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASTE - Graeme Phillips

IT’S a bit of a worry when a seem­ingly in­tel­li­gent, well- ed­u­cated Amer­i­can con­fuses devils with Drac­ula and thinks Tas­ma­nia is Tran­syl­va­nia.

A worry, too, for me at least, to see the in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity in Tas­ma­nia of US- styled ‘‘ pulled’’ or ‘‘ hacked’’ beef and pork – meats that are slow cooked to fall- apart ten­der­ness and then, in the US, shred­ded and filled into long, split baguettes.

They’re known var­i­ously in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try as po’boys, subs, heroes, ho­gies, tor­pe­does, grinders or, in one case, mixed with soft cheese and called a phillis­teak sand­wich, a big hit in ru­ral up­state New York.

Like pop­corn chicken, cur­rently be­ing pop­u­larised at Jack Greene’s in Sala­manca, such pulled, hacked, shred­ded meat dishes fail to im­prove any in their trans- Pa­cific mi­gra­tion.

And it is to be hoped that pop­corn it­self re­mains con­fined to movie the­atres and doesn’t be­come, as is not un­com­mon here, an alternative en­tree or main course ac­com­pa­ni­ment to potato crisps or French fries.

On one oc­ca­sion we had a unique ex­pe­ri­ence of ob­serv­ing a fam­ily at the next ta­ble for whom burg­ers, fries, pop­corn and gal­lons of Coke all- round con­sti­tuted an ideal meal. And what’s more, or­der a serve of pop­corn with your burger and, like the ma­chine- dis­pensed fizzy drinks avail­able in ev­ery diner, you can get as many free re­fills as you like from the pop­corn ma­chine in the cor­ner.

One use­ful ad­di­tion to the nor­mal Aus­tralian steak de­scrip­tions of rare, medium, well done and so on is the US term ‘‘ Chicago’’, mean­ing a steak sear- charred on the out­side and done ‘‘ to your lik­ing’’ on the in­side.

This is prefer­ably achieved over the hottest part or flame of the grill, not, as on one oc­ca­sion here, in a turbo- charged oven which blasted the steak at 1000C or, I swear, at an­other where the sur­face was thickly car­bonised with a blow­torch.

It’s not too un­fair a gen­er­al­i­sa­tion to say Amer­i­cans are cook­ing less and less at home, with apart­ments in many cities now be­ing built with­out full kitchens.

By way of com­pen­sa­tion, serves at din­ers and restau­rants are so large it is com­mon prac­tice for pa­trons to leave car­ry­ing their spe­cially wrapped leftovers for a sub­se­quent meal at home.

The ben­e­fi­cial flip­side is the num­ber of ex­cel­lent delis with ready- pre­pared food, the num­ber of eat­ing es­tab­lish­ments, even up­mar­ket ones, that of­fer home de­liv­ery and won­der­ful places like Essen in New York.

In an enor­mous space on Madi­son Ave, more than 40 chefs start tak­ing de­liv­er­ies daily at 4am to pre­pare count­less va­ri­eties of hot meats, hot dishes, sal­ads, cold cuts, breads and pas­tries – not to men­tion fresh fruits and desserts – to be sold at var­i­ous sta­tions through­out the shop, con­tin­u­ally fresh­ened and topped up through­out the day for you to put your own lunch or din­ner to­gether. They’re served to go, paid for by the weight.

So it’s not all bad and, as good as Liveat, the Wursthaus and the like are, it strikes me that such a com­plete con­cept as Essen could prove a very healthy, fresh and at­trac­tive alternative to Aus­tralia’s Cat and Fid­dle- style food courts.

STA­PLE DIET: The US is the home of the su­per­sized junk food meal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.