Sunday, 11 July 2010

July shout-outs: stuff proposed by friends

Two from Squeaky Bill this month.

It is this that Squeaky has to say on pre-grated packets of Parmigiano-Reggiano. They are better than whole chunks of the stuff because they are grated to perfection and also save on gruelling manpower. Despite pre-grated being more expensive to buy per gram, Squeakalicious argues that it is actually cheaper - the whole block leads to spillage and big chunks flaking off during self-grating, and you are left with the inedible outer crust at the end.

The game of Boule is great fun, but a three-way game does not work so well as one-on-one or two-on-two games, much like in pool or snooker. But rather than have one person sit out an entire first-to-13 game, Squeaks suggests applying the winner-stays-on rule after each end yet at the same time keeping an accumulative score and playing first to 13. That way no one has to sit out for more than one end. Looking forward to trying that out soon.


Stu said...

toms opinion to me is a poor one. i am dismayed that you would give it a shout out.

the first thing to consider whenever we talk about food is taste and if there is anyone who says that factory grated parmesan tastes as good as freshly grated then, to be honest, they're not even worth debating with.

so, no.1) the packaged cheese is grated to perfection.
to me, it is like sawdust. go to an italian restaurant and they will have a grater with the parmesan that grates the cheese into what the italians think it should be like. if it takes gruelling manpower to grate cheese then.. i don't need to finish this point.

2) spillage: this is ridiculous. spillage? get it on the plate! its not a pneumatic drill! you just grate over the plate!

to me the only advantages of the packaged stuff is the price and it lasts longer in the fridge and i do rarely buy it (a block of parmesan can be 3-4 euros and can go off quicker) but i would never say it is superior to a block of cheese.

the whole thing smacks of laziness and slopiness and has all the hallmarks of of a post joint opinion.

this was the worst shout out you've posted so far.

El Gran Padano said...

I think you've shown a distinct lack of knowledge about both the product and Italians there, Stu.

First of all, we're not talking about the factory-grated, stale powder they pass off as parmesan in Tesco. It says, 'frisch gerieben' on the package and, in terms of taste, I would not consider it inferior to the pre-packaged blocks they sell in Kaisers/Lidl/Aldi, etc. If you find out they've been using factory dregs you could probably sue them on the Trade Descriptions Act. If you're comparing this cheese to blocks of Parmesan such as the 1 kg beauty brother blaze C-mac brought back from Italy, then that's a different Wasserkocher altogether. Like trying to scramble the change together for a Sterni but only being able to afford a Pilsator, as the person in front goes for a crate of Tegernseer.

I don't care much for Italians, even less so when they're in restaurants. Even so, I have a little Italian in me (uh), and I like 'em small baby (oh).

As for the 'spillage', that should really have read 'wastage' I was more referring to the 20-30 g wasted as crust and the cheese 'wasted' by grating unnecessarily large chunks onto your pasta when smaller gratings would be far more efficient regarding taste and parmesan usage.

Never has a shout-out been so vehemently challenged with such animosity. There must be a reason for this Stu, I think you should have a long look in the mirror.

MarkieMark said...

I am also shocked by the atavism of the parmesan shout out. I strongly agree with Stu and would recommend Gran Padano to meditate his position.

I think Stu's comments cover the issue of taste very well. I wanna add that food should be bought in the least processed form possible. This is logical as the firm which grates the parmesan for me (and expects a premium price for this service) is not aiming for the best product possible but for highest profit.

Anyone who has ever bought a piece of parmesan and has seen it age over time has to agree with this position.

As with pepper, salami, etc. it is also preferable to leave the grinding, cutting to the last moment possible. This enhances structure and taste.

I could go on and on about this and get really excited...

Grana Padano for Weltherrschaft said...

Apparently squeaky touched on a sensitive issue here and understandably emotions are running high.
Being an avid fan of pre-grated grana padano myself, I cannot help but getting involved here.
I ventured to the supermarket today to buy a packet of the nice flaky shit and had a closer look at the price tags. Contrary to the blatant inaccuracies published by this blog the high-quality pre-grated grana padano turned out to be 11 cents cheaper per 100 grams than the chunky parmesan. count in the fact that you haven't got any waste in the form of spillage and crust, the price comes down even more.

And I've seen parmesan age over time..., just to go off and being chucked away. In general it is easier to keep the pre-grated cheese fresh in the properly closed plastic bag. With the chunks you always have to try and wrap it in the ripped packaging or put it in an extra plastic box.

Finally, pre-grated cheese not only saves on manpower during grating but also in the washing-up after.
As there is no notable difference in taste or quality between the two, the grana padano pre-grated variety emerges as the winner, being more economical and convenient whilst maintaining the high standards expected by any food connoisseur.

Käsetorte said...

I feel I should add something to this debate but must stress that, as the creator, I use the shout-outs to give a voice to suggestions from friends and that those suggestions are then intepreted by myself and do not represent the exact wording or opinion of the suggestor.

I feel that for Stu to suggest that Squeaky's opinion is the result of being high is unfair. Firstly, people can have good ideas when stoned and secondly, you should not challenge someone on their right to an opinion based on the fact that you know said person regularly smokes weed.

Stu is, however, entitled to slam me for anything that appears in this blog; that is partly what the comment section is for.

Of course pre-grating cheese will affect its taste, but I think the effect will only be minimal, given that the cheese is sealed immediately with only a small amount of air in the bag to influence its genetic make-up.

I also think that investing in a 3-4 euro block of cheese is too much, expecially given my current financial situation. I usually only use parmesan for spag-bol and normally make it for more than one person. As such, a 100g packet is much more practical for me. I recall at least three occasions when a block has begun to go mouldy.

Yes, the block will taste better and allows you the option to grate larger shavings and even whole slices for salads etc., but I think it is unfair for Squeaky's shout-out to be rubbished so strongly because pre-grated clearly has some advantages.

Without wanting to sit on the fence too much, you all make strong arguments for both camps. I just ask that the debate remains gentlemanly and in good spirit, which, for the most part this blog - and its comments - has always done.