09 December 2006

Texas Crispers

So Texas Crispers are probably my favorite processed food. They're steak fries made by Ore-Ida, coated in a crispy, spicy... well, coating. I dunno, as far as a high effort-reward ratio for cooking something from scratch at home, I think the homemade french fry rivals homebaked bread. It's not that both of these can't be sublime when made at home, but that they both benefit from scale. Having a professional fryolator or a steam-injected oven allows you to perfect these simple, textural treats. My views on homebaked bread, though, might be changing.

This is especially important with breakfast food. It's very rare for me to have leftover potatoes on Sunday morning, and I've just found that throwing a dozen Texas Crispers on a cookie sheet for the 14 minutes it takes me to whip up some chorizo and eggs is a far more pleasurable way to start a weekend morning than peeling potatoes.

Of course, since moving to Manhattan, I've largely given up what I call "American breakfast" in favor of "New York breakfast". The bagel place directly downstairs is just awesome. The standard with me and M is a pumpernickel, a sesame, and a little tub of cream cheese. I find that if we let them do the cream cheese, it's overwhelming and not very healthy. Sometimes I'll throw on a quarter pound of their unbelievable, buttery lox, but at $36 a pound, that's an occasional treat.

We also use Tal Bagels as a resource when we entertain. Fresh baked bagel wedges, cream cheese and smoked salmon are a very good way to start a meal. I'll often wait there until a batch comes right out of the oven (which is right there, visible from the counter) and take that home. There are few more sublime pleasures than a bagel hot enough to melt the cream cheese.

Bagel places, as well, are a good example of how scaling helps certain foods. Can you think of anything else that applies here? The high-throughput environment of a popular bagel place (or a sushi place, for that matter) contributes to its quality. So success begets more success. It's an interesting thing.

I suppose Texas Crispers and processed foods don't really fall into this same category, since those are all about shelf (or freezer) life and bakeries and sushi places are all about freshness.

1 comment:

Darcy said...

I can't speak to foods that benefit from a mass scale right now because I'm blinded with jealousy (of you and your proximity to good food) and seething hatred (for the small Midwestern city I live in).

There is not a single bagel place here.

We are the fourth biggest city in the state and the only (sort of) fresh bagels are at a Dunkin Donuts in a gas station out on a county road near the highway.