What I Learned This Week: #234

Monday, March 21 – Sunday, March 27, 2022

The Week in Bagels: I’m as much of a bagel snob as a Midwesterner can be. I like a chewy crust, covering a dense, doughy inside. Much of what passes for bagels around here are just big ole buns, often over-flavored, with a hole in the middle (I’m talking to you, Panera). I don’t mind flavored bagels, but I don’t want them to taste fake. I’ve eaten some blueberry bagels that taste like they’d been dipped into a test tube of blueberry flavor. That being said, my go-to Cincinnati bagel place is Marx Bagels in Blue Ash. They are a traditional, kosher New York Style bagel shop that has been in business for years. True to snob form, I rarely eat bagels other than Marx unless they are forced upon me.

By “forced upon me” I mean I’m at a work function or some official event where there is a full spread of donuts and over in the corner, a couple of crappy bagels and cream cheese for the “healthy eaters.” Often the bagels are cinnamon or blueberry (inescapable) and not one bit healthy. Still, I tend to choose the bagel. It’s the breakfast of regret.

But, I digress. Last week I made recipe that called for 1/2 a brick of cream cheese. Now, what the heck was I supposed to do with 1/2 a brick of cream cheese? Bagels, of course. But Blue Ash is a 20 minute car ride away. And, that’s when I remembered the Bagelry in OTR. I’d had, and enjoyed their bagel sandwiches, but hadn’t eaten a “naked” bagel. This week I bought three rosemary bagels (I wanted “everything” bagels, but those are tough to eat at a work desk). The bagels were most pleasant. The flavoring tasted real, and did not overpower the bagel. And, I have a new bagel spot.

The Week in Pacing: On one of my walks home from work I fell into walking pace with a random dude and, it seemed to me, he was eager to have a conversation. Side note: I tend to think almost everyone I meet is at least *interested* in having a conversation. LOL! Anyway, he had walked downtown from Clifton after his engineering class at UC, a walk he takes regularly. It’s a long walk, and he was just about to hit the hard part, the uphill climb back home, when we met up for two blocks of chatting. He was kind of complaining about carrying his umbrella because though rain was predicted, it was sunny. We parted ways, and just a few minutes later, the skies opened up. I didn’t even get a chance to tell him how smart he was.

The Week (Again) in Pozole: My Pozole jag continued this week on an enthusiastic note when I prepared a bag of Rancho Gordo pozole with the intention of cooking half and freezing half. I cooked 1/2 in a recipe I found on Milk Street, that was fine, not great, but I ate it couple times and froze some. I’m not linking because the recipe is behind the pay wall. My enthusiasm was riding high when I ordered Pozole from Mazunte Centro for lunch. Their green chicken pozole is ridiculous. Chock full of chicken and hominy in a rich broth I was psyched to pull my hominy from the freezer.

Except…I forgot to put the hominy in the freezer and by the time I realized it, the batch had gone sour. I believe the pozole gods are telling me to cool it!

The Week in Books: This week I finished re-reading the 1989 novel Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, a novel I originally read near the time of its release when I was in my twenties. I liked the love story then, as I like it now, and I liked the main character Tita quite a bit both times through, too. The biggest difference is that now that I cook and have decades of cooking experience, the symbolism of food and the rituals of creating favorite recipes struck me much more deeply. I’ve kept this novel with my cookbooks always thinking I’d move it over into the “reading” books part of the shelves. After spending time with it again, it’s going right back to the cookbook section. It reminds me that the best “ingredient” is to cook with love.

The Week in Baseball, Behind the Scenes: For years, I’ve wanted to work concessions at the Reds stadium. The job looks fun. I like fun! Plus, I’m in a bit of a rut with how I schedule my time and working 50 or so home games will shake that up. This Saturday morning I had my first “shift,” a check-in/paperwork session. Most of the training takes place online, but we did get to walk around the stadium a bit, which is neat! While we were doing administrative stuff, they told us what the dress code was, gave us a brief look at a register, and promised that one we started we would “pick it up pretty quickly.” LOL! Now I know why Opening Day is so chaotic…no one knows what they’re doing!

The Week in Baseball, Symbolism: In a town that’s had major league baseball for over 100 years, newer traditions are tough to find. But recently the local breweries have done their best. Each spring, two of the biggest local breweries release very limited, very delicious, baseball themed beers. I know it’s spring and baseball is just around the corner when I see either Rhinegeist’s Hustle or Madtree’s Rounding Third at a bar. When I left my concessions training, I walked to the newly opened Madtree Alcove, and, as if the baseball gods knew I was coming (and had consorted with the posole gods to give me a break), Rounding Third was on tap. And delicious. So ready for the first pitch.

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