Peanuts and bombs

(by Michael Ruhlman, guest blogger)

I’m 43 today and while I say this with neither joy nor sadness, more just a general sigh at the nature of time, or rather of the way we perceive it–an acceleration, a rush, like falling, rather than a metronomic procession of days–the day occasioned an unexpected delivery from Hudson Valley Foie Gras. Not a fresh foie gras, but rather two excellent cuts from the bird that gives us the foie gras and are every bit as excellent. Wonderful duck legs and duck breasts, called magret, from the moulard duck–it’s not just about the foie gras. The card inside read happy birthday, from my mom. Is that a great mom, or what? I’ll confit the legs and save them for fall; I’ll dry cure two of the duck breasts with salt and thyme for duck prosciutto, and grill the other two (they’re as fat and rich as strip steak and even more flavorful).

–In another package, also from my saintly mum, a can of Whitely’s Peanuts. These peanuts I tell anyone who will listen are arguably the best in the United States. They’re large, very crunchy, and the driest fried peanuts I’ve encountered. One of the company’s owners told me why: they soak the peanuts in water before cooking them; when they’re fried by hand in 130 pound batches, the steam they release apparently prevents them from absorbing tons of oil. They’re fantastic.

–A final more somber note. Bourdain has written a complete account of his Lebanon trip at You may have to watch a quick ad for the travel channel for the whole story, but the commercial is brief. I emailed Tony to ask if writing it had been cathartic. He replied “I wish that were true.” And this is a guy who is not easily rattled.

13 thoughts on “Peanuts and bombs

  1. And where are you going for dinner to night? Always looking for a new place to each when we’re in Cleveland.

  2. Happy Birthday to Cleveland’s Favorite Son;
    My birthday present–a lifesize statue of Ruhlman– in the social realist style, depicted in heroic combat with the Chicago city Council, is unfortunately not yet complete. I’ve been slowly, painstakingly crafting it from collected nail-trimmings and tin foil. A lot of work, believe me. But it’s worth it. It’s almost done…..

  3. You should be using nail trimmings, tin foil, and foie gras fat. Cleveland is pretty cold. It ought not to attract flies.

  4. Happy birthday! And the peanut resource is helpful too. Sorrowfully, the Bourdain dispatch reveals in words the site of so much tension and sadness in the midst of a city’s ongoing rebirth.

  5. I have to challenge a taste off here… have you ever tried Hubbs Peanuts? ( I would argue they are the best peanuts… crunchy and fresh tasting even though they are fried, most excellent sprinkled on vanilla ice cream.
    BTW happy birthday. I just met Meg at Blogher 06 so I decided to check out her site. Fun stuff Meg!

  6. haven’t tried hubbs, but will!
    and many thanks for all the kind wishes. it helps ease the annoyances of failing eyesight and incontinence…

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