Meissl & Schadn.

Yet another fascinating post at Poemas del río Wang, Hotel Meissl & Schadn, begins with a description of an unusual mosaic running across the entire second floor of a building on the Kärntnerstraße in Vienna; perhaps its most unexpected feature is “a faravahar, the identity symbol of the Iranian Zoroastrians, an allegory of God with the extended wings.” After explaining that “As Encyclopaedia Iranica describes in detail, commercial and later diplomatic, military and cultural relations between Austria and Persia developed greatly during the 19th century,” Studiolum asks “What building could have been adorned with such magnificent mosaics?” As it turns out, it was once the Hotel & Restaurant Meissl & Schadn:

From Kärtnerstraße, one of Vienna’s most elegant hotels, whose guests are referenced in the mosaic of the façade made by Eduard Veith, the only element surviving from the building, which was bombed by the Americans and looted and set on fire by the Soviets. And from the Neuer Markt it was one of the best restaurants in the city, praised by contemporary authors as “Rindfleischparadies”.

In fact, the restaurant of Meissl & Schadn offered no less than twenty-four beef dishes with ten different garnishes, all following centuries-old Viennese recipes. It was a privilege to dine here that only Vienna’s elite could enjoy.

There follows an extended quote from Joseph Wechsberg, “whose recollection of Meissl & Schadn’s Tafelspitz is both an anthem to Viennese cuisine and to the disappeared old Vienna.” I urge you to read the whole delirious thing, which made me think of that delightful movie The Grand Budapest Hotel, but what brings it to LH is the following extended rhapsody on its variety of dishes:

The restaurant was Meissl & Schadn, an eating-place of international reputation, and the boiled beef specialties of the house were called Tafelspitz, Tafeldeckel, Rieddeckel, Beinfleisch, Rippenfleisch, Kavalierspitz, Kruspelspitz, Hieferschwanzl, Schulterschwanzl, Schulterscherzl, Mageres Meisel (or Mäuserl), Fettes Meisel, Zwerchried, Mittleres Kügerl, Dünnes Kügerl, Dickes Kügerl, Bröselfleisch, Ausgelöstes, Brustkern, Brustfleisch, Weisses Scherzl, Schwarzes Scherzl, Zapfen, and Ortschwanzl.

The terminology was bound to stump anybody who had not spent the first half of his adult life within the city limits of Vienna. It was concise and ambiguous at the same time; even Viennese patriarchs did not always agree exactly where the Weisses Scherzl ended and the Ortschwanzl began. Fellow Austrians from the dark, Alpine hinterlands of Salzburg and Tyrol rarely knew the fine points of distinction between, say, Tafelspitz, Schwarzes Scherzl and Hieferschwanzl – all referred to in America as brisket or plate of beef – or between the various Kügerls. Old-time Viennese butchers with the steady hand of distinguished brain surgeons were able to dissect the carcass of a steer into thirty-two different cuts, and four qualities, of meat. Among the first-quality cuts were not only tenderloin, porterhouse, sirloin, and prime rib of beef, as elsewhere, but also five cuts used exclusively for boiling: two Scherzls, two Schwanzls, and Tafelspitz. Unlike in present-day America, where a steer is cut up in a less complicated, altogether different manner, in Vienna only the very best beef was good enough to be boiled.

You had to be a butcher, a veterinarian, or a Meissl & Schadn habitué of long standing to know the exact characteristics of these Gustostückerln. Many Viennese had been born in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy’s provinces of Upper Austria, Serbia, Slovakia, South Tyrol, Bohemia, or Moravia. (Even today certain pages of the Vienna telephone directory contain as many Czech-sounding names as the Prague directory.) These ex-provincials were eager to obliterate their un-Viennese past; they tried to veneer their arrivisme; they wanted to be more Viennese than the people born and brought up there. One way to show one’s Bodenständigkeit was to display a scholarly knowledge of the technical terms for boiled beef. It was almost like the coded parlance of an exclusive club. In Vienna a person who couldn’t talk learnedly about at least a dozen different cuts of boiled beef, didn’t belong, no matter how much money he’d made, or whether the Kaiser had awarded him the title of Hofrat (court councilor) or Kommerzialrat.

The guests of Meissl & Schadn were thoroughly familiar with the physical build of a steer and knew the exact anatomical location of Kügerls, Scherzls, and Schwanzls. At Meissl & Schadn, precision was the keynote. You didn’t merely order “boiled beef” – you wouldn’t step into Tiffany’s and ask for “a stone” – but made it quite clear exactly what you wanted. If you happened to be a habitué of the house, you didn’t have to order, for they would know what you wanted. A Meissl & Schadn habitué never changed his favorite cut of boiled beef. […]

In Vienna, in those days, boiled beef was not a dish; it was a way of life. Citizens of the Danube capital, venturing into hostile, foreign lands where boiled beef was simply boiled beef, would take Viennese cookbooks along that contained the anatomical diagram of a steer, with numbered partitions and subdivisions indicating the Gustostückerln. This was a wise precaution. Even in German-speaking lands the technical expressions denoting various cuts of beef differ from land to land. Vienna’s Tafelspitz (brisket), for instance, is called Tafelstück by the Germans and Huft by the German-speaking Swiss. A Viennese Beinfleisch is called Zwerchried in Germany and plat-de-côte among the Swiss.

It ends with a splendid anecdote about “old, dignified Hofrat von B.” and “‘his’ Tafelspitz, the narrow part of that special cut which almost, but not quite, touches another first-quality Viennese cut, called Hieferschwanzl.” I can’t regret the loss of that world, but I look on it with awe and a sort of vicarious nostalgia.

Comments

  1. J.W. Brewer says

    It is a well-known (which doesn’t mean true …) anecdote that Kaiser Franz Josef, if left to his own devices, was perfectly happy to have Tafelspitz for lunch every day of the week w/o any variation (don’t know if he felt religiously constrained on Fridays). I guess he was not the ideal customer to whom this restaurant was trying to cater?

  2. Not the ideal, but I imagine they would have been honored to accommodate him.

  3. David Marjanović says

    in Vienna only the very best beef was good enough to be boiled

    That sounds like a misunderstanding. Boiling is the standard method to prepare beef.* Frying it is a category mistake that only beef of the very highest quality can sort of compensate; that’s what a steak is and why it’s so expensive (…outside of a French cafeteria where half of it is connective tissue).

    With pork it’s basically the other way around.

    * Isn’t it in Hungary? I can think of two Hungarian beef dishes, and they’re both boiled…

    whether the Kaiser had awarded him the title of Hofrat (court councilor)

    Oh, all these titles were and still are used inflationarily in Austria. My grandpa was a Wirklicher Hofrat, and he was born well after there even was a court; it probably came automatically as a consequence of being a Diplomingenieur (degree you get from studying engineering) for long enough.

    Kaiser Franz Josef, if left to his own devices, was perfectly happy to have Tafelspitz for lunch every day of the week w/o any variation

    It was definitely his favorite food.

    is called Tafelstück by the Germans

    Not in Berlin, where it’s sometimes sold as Tafelspitz in the supermarkets (astonishingly cheap, but of great quality).

  4. I don’t have much use for fine cuisine, but I share Franz Josef’s preference for having more or less the same thing for lunch (and breakfast) every day. I don’t want to waste my dwindling brain cells on inconsequential decisions. Although, to be honest, I was a conservative eater even when I had brain cells to spare.

  5. I am dying of suspense. Did the Hofrat ever return to the restaurant?

  6. David Marjanović says

    …oh, that was a quote from Wechsberg’s text, not from the world of Berlin supermarkets.

    a splendid anecdote

    “– for a while, at least –”

  7. That sounds like a misunderstanding. Boiling is the standard method to prepare beef.* Frying it is a category mistake that only beef of the very highest quality can sort of compensate

    You have forgotten the existence of roasting, which is in normal parts of the world the standard way to prepare beef.

  8. J.W. Brewer says

    BTW, the mention in the Rio Wang post of Richard Strauss having written a whipped-cream-themed ballet (while not going through with a planned tone-poem about boiled beef) sounds like an obvious joke about the Viennese, but there’s a wikipedia article seemingly confirming the existence of the ballet piece. OTOH, the more you look at the details of the wikipedia article, the more they seem consistent with an elaborate hoax of some sort. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlagobers

  9. Well, there’s a whole section on it here, beginning:

    Das zweite selbstständige Tanzwerk aus der Feder von Richard Strauss war das „heitere Wiener Ballett in zwei Aufzügen“ „Schlagobers“ – uraufgeführt 1924, also zehn Jahre nach der „Josephslegende“. Die Entstehungsgeschichte dieses Divertissements ist von zwei „Krisen“ im Schaffen von Strauss und einer glücklichen Begegnung geprägt.

    If Oper und Tanz is in on the hoax, it has deep roots indeed.

  10. Does “boiling” mean putting a whole raw cut in boiling water and leaving it there until it is cooked? That is an atrocity mentioned in Apocalypse Now but too awful for Coppola to show on screen. Perhaps rather some kind of stew is meant?

  11. Tafelspitz” is made by boiling tri-tip (beef) in water with root vegetables and spices until tender. It is a favorite dish of the Viennese kitchen and commonly served with applesauce-horseradish sauce (or Apfelkren) and fried potatoes, either as Bratkartoffeln or as Kartoffelschmarrn.

  12. J.W. Brewer says

    There is FWIW a restaurant of the same name currently in operation (and presenting itself as the legitimate continuation uzw.) but apparently in a different location, viz. Schubertring 10-12. https://meisslundschadn.at/en/

  13. J.W. Brewer says

    Also the “faravahar” in Vienna deviates enough from the specifics of its supposed Persian model that it looks rather like the (supposedly) pseudo-Egyptian thing on the gateway to Grove St. Cemetery in New Haven: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grove_Street_Cemetery#/media/File:Grove_Street_Cemetery_entrance.jpg

  14. I remember it well…

  15. When I was in Vienna, I had tafelspitz in a restaurant called Plachutta. I thought that this surname was related to the word Plaggenhütte but apparently it has a Croatian/Slovenian origin.

  16. Beef boiled with sufficient spices and flavoring elements, until it is tender but not falling apart, can be good. It works fine with many other kinds of meats as well, although you would probably want to change the seasoning accoutrements around to better complement your chicken, pork, or elk. One the other hand, I’ve had bad Austrian boiled beef, which was quite tender but rather tasteless, even when smeared with gray gravy.

  17. Beef boiled with sufficient spices and flavoring elements, until it is tender but not falling apart, can be good.

    It can indeed, but as a non-Austrian I find it a strange way to treat the best cuts.

  18. David Marjanović says

    You have forgotten the existence of roasting, which is in normal parts of the world the standard way to prepare beef.

    Not so much forgotten about it as been Sapir-Whorf-unaware of it, because German splits it between “frying” and “baking”. (The Wikipedia article “Roasting” links to Braten (Kochen), i.e. “frying (cooking/boiling)”.)

    Well, ever since the spit over an open fire fell out of fashion, roasting has been limited to the oven, unless you’re counting barbecuing (and more recently kebap). That’s great for chicken & turkey but not used for much else over here, meat-wise.

    “Tafelspitz” is made by boiling tri-tip (beef) in water with root vegetables and spices until tender.

    In other words, you make a soup of it (don’t forget the salt; hardly any spices necessary – black pepper and a laurel leaf or two; the vegetables should include parsley root and a little onion), then you take the meat out and eat it separately. If there’s enough fat in the meat, the soup will actually be a pretty good beef soup, even though Tafelspitz isn’t classic soup meat. Dinner obligatorily starts with a soup in Austria, so you’ve got that taken care of!

    If there’s not enough fat in the meat for that, the meat will still be good, but it makes more sense to boil the meat with kohlrabi and eat all of that as a single dish. (And another soup beforehand to respect the fundamental bipartition of dinner.) Savoy cabbage might also work.

    It’s a bit odd, BTW, to call such a specifically Viennese dish Austria’s national one. But the Viennese wouldn’t know the difference. 🙂

    There are ways to boil beef that don’t produce a soup. Pörkölt (“Gulasch”) comes to mind, though I can’t find the tastiest picture anymore. (It’s best eaten with fried polenta if you ask me.)

    Plachutta

    Famous indeed. My parents actually have a 700-page cookbook called Der goldene Plachutta, by Ewald and Mario Plachutta, with “over 1000 recipes” – but I’m not sure if they’ve ever actually cooked anything from there.

    It works fine with many other kinds of meats as well, although you would probably want to change the seasoning accoutrements around to better complement your chicken, pork, or elk.

    In my limited experience, boiling pork doesn’t work a lot better than frying/roasting beef. For pörkölt you can mix beef and pork, but pure beef is better. Pork soup is not a good idea, unless the pork has been fried first, which is indeed what is done in what little I’ve experienced of East Asian dishes that involve boiled pork.

  19. I have ho contribution to make to this culinary discussion, but Kozma Prutkov does. From Historical writings of Fedot Kuzmich Prutkov (grand-père), number 6

    The best remedy for such a case.
    Once marshal de Bassompierre, wishing to offer a meal on the next Thursday to the closest relatives of his [the original parodies the style of the courtly prose of 18c, which I am wholy incapable to reproduce and leave a few infelicities for comical effect], the cook of this nobleman came to no small disturbance of mind, humbly to the gentleman reporting that they have only one bull. “That’s a lot,” objected the marshal, “and how many parts does that bull have?” – “Eight,” replied this man. – “Not at all! – interjected the marshal, “the bull has eleven; and for this purpose it can be made into eleven dishes!” – So much knowledge in every rank can come in handy.

    6
    Лучшее средство в таком случае
    Некогда маршал де Басомпьер, задумав угостить в будущий четверток ближайших сродников своих, кухарь сего вельможи пришел от того в немалую мыслей расстройку, униженно господину докладывая, что у них всего один бык имеется. «Изрядно, – возразил маршал, – а сколько у того быка частей?» – «Осемъ», – ответствовал сей. – «Отнюдь! – перехватил маршал, – одиннадцать у быка; а для сего и можно оный на одиннадцать блюд изготовить!» – Так многие знания во всяком звании пригодиться могут.

  20. Giacomo Ponzetto says

    As Marcel Detienne notes in Dionysos mis à mort:

    En effet, entre le rôti et le bouilli qui sont l’un et l’autre des modalités du cuit, il y a le même écart qu’entre le cru et le cuit. De même que le cuit distingue l’homme de l’animal qui mange cru, le bouilli sépare le vrai civilisé du rustre condamné aux grillades.

    Surely the Herr Hofrat would have agreed, although I dare say that braising beef in wine is also quite civilized.

  21. Some typical methods of roasting here try to replicate the hydrology of boiling. For instance my brisket recipe inherited from my inlaws involves slathering the beef with a wet tomato/applesauce mix. Otherwise it dries out.

  22. J.W. Brewer says

    I certainly would not suggest that the denizens of the valley of the Delaware are superior to those of the valley of the Danube in all fields of human endeavor, yet this discussion led me to decide to get myself a cheesesteak for dinner. And I consequently feel some pity for Franz Josef who, despite his worldly power, was not aware of the full range of beef-preparation options devised across the full range of human societies in space and time.

  23. Beef boiled with sufficient spices and flavoring elements, until it is tender but not falling apart, can be good.

    Well, proper zhizhig galnash ‘beef/mutton/chicken with thick noodles (sometimes with mashed potatoes)’ uses meat that is boiled in water with only salt added, as can be seen here.

  24. I have been fortunate enough to have experienced both the Philly cheesesteak at Pat’s and Tafelspitz at Plachutta. I think I have to give a slight edge to the Tafelspitz. Not just based on flavor, but also on how my digestive system felt an hour later.

    Cheesesteaks, much like poutine, are one of those foods that do not travel well. Every version I have tried outside of its homeland has been a failure. Probably the same would be true of Tafelspitz, but no one seems to attempt it.

  25. It is a well-known (which doesn’t mean true …) anecdote that Kaiser Franz Josef, if left to his own devices, was perfectly happy to have Tafelspitz for lunch every day of the week w/o any variation (don’t know if he felt religiously constrained on Fridays). I guess he was not the ideal customer to whom this restaurant was trying to cater?
    Actually, he would have been an ideal customer; if you believe Wechsberg, the prized regulars would always order the same dish from the same cut, and the Hofrat leaves because his favourite cut is not available.

  26. What about stewing? It’s neither frying nor boiling nor roasting. When I have a prime cut, I try frying it. If it’s b-grade, I stew it in whatever is at hand – wine, beer, juice, sour cream, vinegar, sometimes adding tomato paste, mustard, rye bread… If my prime cut turns out too tough after a quick fry, the fix is also to stew it. When I’ve got some beef on a bone, I have to boil it for the rich broth – with an onion, a carrot or two and some celery, plus black pepper (not ground) and a laurel leaf later on. If my cut has a high volume to surface ratio and I’m feeling lazy, I may just roast it in the oven.

    However, boiling a good cut is something that only the Viennese can do without ruining it. I’ve been to Plachutta twice – it’s very touristy but very good all the same. But then, even the best meat from cows that spend winters locked up can’t match meat from year-round grazers. Austrian beef isn’t that good for steaks.

  27. David Marjanović says

    I can’t judge cheesesteak because I find cheese disgusting. Yes, any and all of it, and basically all other fermented dairy products as well.

    …and while German does have the word rösten, it means “fry to a crisp in a pan”… another subset of braten.

    De même que le cuit distingue l’homme de l’animal qui mange cru, le bouilli sépare le vrai civilisé du rustre condamné aux grillades.

    Aw. That may be true for beef, but not for other meats.

    Probably the same would be true of Tafelspitz, but no one seems to attempt it.

    As alluded to above, I have, repeatedly, and it worked. But I’ve never needed to share… and I’ve never been to the Plachutta.

    However, boiling a good cut is something that only the Viennese can do without ruining it.

    Oh, I should have mentioned that the humble pressure cooker is a basic household item over here, apparently quite unlike the US. That makes a lot of things a lot easier.

  28. J.W. Brewer says

    I’ve had adequate poutine in the Cayman Islands. (Perhaps because of some “Commonwealth” angle that makes it easy to get visas and work permits, Canadian ex-pats turn up all over the Anglophone parts of the West Indies.)

    About 20 years ago there was a vogue (now faded) for high-end Austrian restaurants in Manhattan, I believe started by David Bouley’s place named Danube (opened 1999 closed 2007, sez the internet) which then attracted imitators/competitors. The tafelspitz at Bouley’s place, at least, seemed pretty good.

    Finding a competently-done cheesesteak in the NYC area can be challenging but not impossible. Snapper soup, by contrast, is the Delaware Valley dish that no one around NYC even tries to offer.

    But NYC is nothing like the Cheesesteak-Urheimat approx 100 miles to the southwest, where the years-long epic quest (a midlife crisis transformed into a project for the betterment of humankind) of a guy I went to high school with to sample and rate cheesesteaks from as many different source-restaurants as possible has just hit the thousandth-cheesesteak milestone. https://philly.eater.com/2022/1/12/22879349/jim-pappas-philadelphia-cheesesteak-adventure-1000

  29. Chicago Italian beef is something like boiled beef, except with cooler water and much longer cooking times. This recipe calls for 18 hours.:
    Italian beef

  30. I’ve had adequate poutine in the Cayman Islands. (Perhaps because of some “Commonwealth” angle that makes it easy to get visas and work permits, Canadian ex-pats turn up all over the Anglophone parts of the West Indies.)

    Anglophone Canadians generally have no clue how to make poutine. It is a Québécois dish after all, and the fromage en crottes is essential (Sorry David M.) Having worked in Toronto in the early 2000s, when poutine was routinely disparaged as vulgar Quebecer fast food, as déclassé as Catholic lawn ornaments or a nuque longue, it has been kind of amusing to watch Anglophones suddenly claim it as a national dish.

  31. I must second Vanya: having spent many years in (different parts of) anglophone Canada, I can attest that most specimens here of what is called “poutine” fall flat of the real thing, most notably because they indeed lack genuine “fromage en crottes”. As for its being claimed as a “Canadian” national dish, I hope that this will be unequivocally condemned as another instance as Anglo-Canadian cultural appropriation of specifically French-Canadian/Québécois items -the name “Canada”, the maple leaf as a symbol and indeed maple syrup as a national staple (amusingly, it is a wholly imported food item in a majority of Canadian provinces outside Québec) are all other instances of this.

  32. @David Marjanović: “I should have mentioned that the humble pressure cooker is a basic household item over here, apparently quite unlike the US.”

    Stovetop pressure cookers (скороварки) were common in late-Soviet kitchens: they scared little me when they let out steam. Monsters. By now, they’ve been largely replaced by electric multipurpose cookers (мультиварки). I wonder if electric kettles remain relatively unpopular in the US.

  33. Lars Mathiesen says

    I read a story by someone from an Indian background who had ignored his father’s advice that kidney beans needed four “whistles” In the pressure cooker and used a slow cooker instead (not wanting to disturb the whole neighborhood with the whistle) — and getting severely ill from the undercooked beans.

    That isn’t how any pressure cooker I’ve known has worked. It almost sounds like it doesn’t have a regulator but only a safety valve. The nice IKEA one I have has a settable spring valve and is perfect for making stews, and it never whistles.

  34. Complaining that nobody knows how to make a proper Tafelspitz any more these days seems to be a venerable tradition — here is Joseph Roth’s Bezirkshauptmann Trotta:

    »Sehn Sie, meine Gnädige, es genügt nicht, beim Fleischer ein zartes Stück zu verlangen. Man muss darauf achten, in welcher Art es geschnitten ist. Ich meine, Querschnitt oder Längsschnitt. Die Fleischer verstehen heutzutage ihr Handwerk nicht mehr. Das feinste Fleisch ist verdorben, nur durch einen falschen Schnitt. Sehen Sie her, Gnädigste! Ich kann es kaum noch retten. Es zerfällt in Fasern, es zerflattert geradezu. Als Ganzes kann man’s wohl >mürbe< nennen. Aber die einzelnen Stückchen werden zäh sein, wie Sie bald sehen werden. Was aber die Beilagen, wie es die Reichsdeutschen nennen, betrifft, so wünsche ich ein anderes Mal den Kren, genannt Meerrettich, etwas trockener. Er darf die Würze nicht in der Milch verlieren. Auch muss er, knapp bevor er zum Tisch kommt, angerichtet werden. Zu lange nass gewesen. Ein Fehler!«

  35. Giacomo Ponzetto says

    On the other hand, collecting Viennese cuts of meat is a living tradition, and wikimeat.at will provide any provincial arriviste with a handy diagram locating the Rieddeckel, Ortsschwanzel (under Schale), Zapfen (under Nuss), Tafelspitz, Hüferschwanzel, Weißes Scherzel, Beinfleisch, Mittleres und Dünnes Kügerl, Schulterscherzel, Kavalierspitz, Kruspelspitz, Fettes Meisel, and Mageres Meisel; as well as information about the Dickes Kügerl, Dünnes Kügerl, Mittleres Küger and Brustkern, albeit all primitively under Brust. That’s a remarkable 18 out of 24 cuts listed by Wechsberg under what seem to me the very same names up to spelling differences.

  36. David Marjanović says

    That’s Wechsberg’s warning about how to cut which parts of the Tafelspitz, just in more detail, and with an added warning to prepare the horseradish just before serving (as if that’d make horseradish less disgusting).

    I wonder if electric kettles remain relatively unpopular in the US.

    For boiling water for tea? Yes. They all seem to have kettles that have to be put on the stove. But that has nothing to do with pressure cookers.

  37. David Eddyshaw says

    They all seem to have kettles that have to be put on the stove

    I Did Not Know That.
    Americans are even more alien than I had supposed.

  38. Electric kettles have been inexpensive and readily available in America for decades, yet hardly anybody seems to buy them. I don’t drink hot beverages regularly, so I have an excuse for not wanting one; however, I admit that, entirely apart from my lack of need, the electric kettle seems like a weird device to me—although not for any good reason that I can pin down. Moreover, my Anglophile spouse, who does drink more tea, just uses the microwave whenever she wants a single serving of boiling water.

  39. David Marjanović says

    Americans are even more alien than I had supposed.

    Americans are more alien than you can suppose !!

    although not for any good reason that I can pin down.

    I wonder if the use of only 120 V, as opposed to the 230 V of Europe, has something to do with that. Stoves use higher voltage (400 V in Europe).

  40. That’s Wechsberg’s warning about how to cut which parts of the Tafelspitz, just in more detail

    Right, but about two generations earlier. If the butchers had already “forgotten” how to cut the beef properly in Franz Joseph’s day, the idea of the glorious past of Tafelspitz seems like something of a myth. (Of course, Roth was writing in 1932, so we can’t be sure he wasn’t projecting backwards from typical table talk of his own time.)
    I was also interested in the comment about “Beilagen”. Is that still seen in Austria as a stereotypically “Reichsdeutsch” word?

  41. my house has two electrochayniks, plus a rice cooker. but we are (a) in new york city, (b) a household that frequently includes immigrant & 1st-generation folks, (c) sensible and well-traveled people who have learned from visiting civilized countries.

    and DM is absolutely right.

  42. Lars Mathiesen says

    US 120V circuits (split rail/neutral) are often on 20A fuses/breakers, I’m told, against 10A in Europe, so you can still have a 2kW kettle. But the house feed is 3x240V (for 400V between phases) and that’s what stoves get — those are usually on 16A/phase fuses here and a typical stove pulls 10-12A on each phase if you turn on everything. (I know because I had to diagram one out to find if there was a phase with spare capacity).

  43. Moreover, my Anglophile spouse, who does drink more tea, just uses the microwave whenever she wants a single serving of boiling water.
    Please don’t tell me she puts the tea bag into the water.

  44. Was aber die Beilagen, wie es die Reichsdeutschen nennen

    I also found this curious. Beilage seems to be the everyday word in Vienna these days.

    That’s Wechsberg’s warning about how to cut which parts of the Tafelspitz, just in more detail

    Wechsberg was writing about the devastated, impoverished, occupied Austria of 1945-53. No doubt a low point in recent history as far as decent beef was concerned. The butchers and meat only got better from there. (Although, cattle is no longer raised in sugar beet refineries – in any case, there are only two sugar factories left in the entire country, and one is at risk of being closed).

    as if that’d make horseradish less disgusting
    Really? I consider fresh horseradish one of the highlights of Austrian cuisine.

  45. DM has idiosyncratic tastes (cf. “I find cheese disgusting”).

  46. J.W. Brewer says

    Any well-functioning gas stove with a sufficiently powerful burner will IMHO boil a small amount of water for tea (or whatever) in a kettle as quickly as you would need and certainly quicker than a microwave does. If you need to devote countertop space to an electric gizmo with no function other than boiling water, that suggests you don’t have a very well-performing stove. Referring to your stove’s “voltage” may suggest why.

  47. @Hans: Is their some other way of making tea than by putting the dry tea (or bagged or loose, depending) in with the boiling water? Or is their some ritualized “correct” order in which things are “supposed” to be done, to which you are alluding?

  48. I think Hans was hoping an anglophile wouldn’t use a tea bag.

  49. Beilage seems to be the everyday word in Vienna these days.
    In that case, I suspect this might have already been true in Roth’s time, and that the remark was meant to be a period detail. (Like “Reichsdeutschen” itself, I suppose — nobody would have called them that in 1932, right?)

  50. I condone using tea bags – sometimes you just want a single mug, and it’s too much of a hassle or even a waste of good tea to brew a pot that you don’t have time to finish. But you absolutely should pour the hot water on the tea, not put the tea (leaves or bag) into the water. The latter is a barbaric custom, unfortunately all too frequently perpetrated in many cafés around the world…

  51. Thank goodness I’m doing it right, then! (I pour the hot water on the tea bag.)

  52. Like “Reichsdeutschen” itself, I suppose — nobody would have called them that in 1932, right?

    Good question. I would guess it was still current in 1932. German speakers in Austria, Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, etc. still considered themselves just as culturally “Deutsch” as the German speakers in the Reich. Some historians argue there was no real “Austrian” identity until the Reichsdeutsche showed up in 1938 and managed to make themselves unpopular fairly quickly.

  53. David Marjanović says

    I was also interested in the comment about “Beilagen”. Is that still seen in Austria as a stereotypically “Reichsdeutsch” word?

    No. I’ve actually heard Zuspeise, but only in dialect.

    Like “Reichsdeutschen” itself, I suppose — nobody would have called them that in 1932, right?

    I would not actually be surprised. Most Austrians continued to consider themselves ethnically/nationally German until around 1938*, and the Weimar republic continued to call everything Reichs- that would be “federal” or “national” in other times & places.

    * The Austrofascists did actually try to create an Austrian identity after they seized power in 1934, and the postwar schoolbooks built on that. But at the time it was intended as nested inside a larger German identity; Austria was supposed to be “Germany done right”, because the Nazis were doing fascism wrong. And of course they can’t have had much of an impact in just four years.

    and DM is absolutely right.

    About what? Beef? Cheese? Voltage? Horseradish? Americans (“there is New York, and there is America”) being more alien than we can suppose? 🙂

    (I agree on pouring the water on or at least around the teabags. If you first pour the water in the teapot or mug and then put the bags in – the traditional method between England and Russia, it seems –, the water might not be boiling anymore, and anyway the tea will sink straight from the bag to the bottom of the mug, stay there, and mix with the rest of the water way too slowly.)

    If you need to devote countertop space to an electric gizmo with no function other than boiling water, that suggests you don’t have a very well-performing stove.

    The power of electric stoves in Europe seems to vary pretty widely, and what little experience I have with gas stoves (my grandma had one for decades) doesn’t at all suggest they’re outside that range. But boiling a liter of water for a whole pot of tea does seem to be fastest in an electric kettle.

    If you have so little countertop space you can’t afford to put one there, that suggests you need to move 🙂

    (Most kitchens are too small anyway.)

  54. . But boiling a liter of water for a whole pot of tea does seem to be fastest in an electric kettle.
    Boiling a certain amount of water in a pot on an electric stove definitely takes longer than doing it in an electric kettle, not only on German stoves, but also in all the countries from Brunei to Canada where I had both an electric stove*) and an electric kettle. My brother, who is a fantastic home cook, frequently even boils water in a kettle and pours it in the pot if he needs water for boiling a dish and doesn’t have much time.
    *) Gas stoves are different, they can compete on boiling speed with electrical kettles.

  55. Lars Mathiesen says

    Microwaved water is good for instant coffee only, dodgy as that is. And we don’t have gas in, so electric kettle it is for tea. (The stove has “hotplate burners,” those take a while to get to 100C. The stovetop kettle is in storage).

    EDIT: What Hans said. I do the kettle into saucepan thing as well.

  56. the water might not be boiling anymore,

    But that’s the point. Boiling water scalds the leaves and ruins the tea. Best temperature is 80C. Or so they say. I prefer coffee personally.

  57. David Marjanović says

    That’s for green tea. For black tea the advice is always to use roiling boiling water.

    And herbal teas even come with odd warnings these days: “always use boiling water, that’s the only way it’s safe”…

  58. Black tea needs boiling water or it will taste like dishwater, however strong you make it.

  59. J.W. Brewer says

    Important breaking news flash! I recently left my home office for a moment and went into the kitchen, where my wife was boiling water (in a kettle, on a gas-fired stove) for tea. I asked her what had happened to that electric water-boiling thingie we used to have on the counter to the right of the primary sink. Did it break? No, we still have it in a cupboard somewhere but after living with it for a while she found it less suitable for her needs than the kettle-on-a-stove approach.

  60. Yep, gas stove is fine. It also has the advantage that the heat adjusts immediately when you regulate it.

  61. David Marjanović says

    Yes, plates on electric stoves (except induction stoves, I suppose – I’ve never used one) stay hot for a long time after you turn them off. Dealing with that requires some practice (and naturally no two stoves are the same). Now that I think about it, maybe that’s why American electric stoves don’t have plates, just starkly exposed coils that quickly gain an irregular but permanent coating of charcoal…

    But gas stoves depend on fracking on one side of the Pond, on Putin and Firtash on the other, and then there’s the climate. Never mind the carbon dioxide even. Methane leaks are deeply horrifying in a world that’s already above 410 ppm CO₂.

  62. I once put an electric kettle (with a plastic exterior) on the gas stove and almost turned the burner on, but something didn’t look right.

  63. J.W. Brewer says

    @David M.: I take it the major electricity sources may be otherwise where you live, but where I live three new gas-fired generating plants have recently come online to make up for the generating capacity lost by the decommissioning of the one nuclear plant in the general vicinity of NYC. There are still some virtuous proposals being floated to restrict the ability of new residential construction to be designed for gas-fired heat (and appliances), but as I understand it one such proposal in NYC had an explicit loophole to permit hookups for gas-fired stoves in newly constructed commercial kitchens intended for restaurants, further confirming that everyone knows that electric stoves are not well-suited for cooking on once you reach a certain level of seriousness about cooking.

  64. Kren

    I wondered at this, since I have heard the word with a more guttural initial. Fortunately, WikiP:Horseradish has an informative summary paragraph:

    The word horseradish is attested in English from the 1590s. It combines the word horse (formerly used in a figurative sense to mean strong or coarse) and the word radish.

    In Central and Eastern Europe, horseradish is called khren, hren and ren (in various spellings like kren) in many Slavic languages, in Austria, in parts of Germany (where the other German name Meerrettich is not used), in North-East Italy, and in Yiddish (כריין transliterated as khreyn). It is common in Ukraine (under the name of хрін, khrin), in Belarus (under the name of хрэн, chren), in Poland (under the name of chrzan), in the Czech Republic (křen), in Slovakia (chren), in Russia (хрен, khren), in Hungary (torma), in Romania (hrean), in Lithuania (krienai), and in Bulgaria (under the name of хрян).

  65. I recall some passage from Sholom Aleichem’s, in Motl I think, where two folks are arguing about whether Germans call horseradish khreyn or khroyn; unable to resolve the issue, they ask a German (Jew, presumably), who tells them that it’s neither of those, but Meerrettich. They conclude that Germans don’t know anything.

  66. Giacomo Ponzetto says

    @ J.W. Brewer

    one such proposal in NYC had an explicit loophole to permit hookups for gas-fired stoves in newly constructed commercial kitchens intended for restaurants, further confirming that everyone knows that electric stoves are not well-suited for cooking on once you reach a certain level of seriousness about cooking.

    The conclusion may well be true. My own mother swears by gas, and occasionally swears at my electric range — my landlord’s fault, not mine!

    However, the conclusion doesn’t really follow from the premise. The overwhelming majority of restaurants aren’t the prestige projects of moody chefs who cannot turn out their culinary masterpieces without an open flame. They’re businesses with their eyes fixed on the bottom line. As a consequence, they use not only gas ranges, but also, e.g., gas fryers. Do they fry any better? I’m skeptical. But they have a considerable cost advantage.

    A gas-powered 50-lb commercial fryer is rated 85,000 BTU. The spot price of natural gas in NYC today is $15.14 per million BTU, yielding a cost of $1.29 per hour of full-power operation. Its electric twin is rated 17 kW. The spot price of electricity in NYC today is $160.42 per MWh, yielding a cost of $2.73 per hour of full-power operation.

    The engineers here can correct me, but that cost advantage seems built-in. Electricity is essentially priced by gas-fired plants, which are the marginal producers. They must have a positive “spark spread,” defined as the difference between the price of the electricity they generate and the cost of the gas they burn.

    I can imagine that a power plant is more efficient than a kitchen appliance, but so much more efficient that it’s cheaper to burn gas there, convert the heat to electricity, cover the spark spread, deliver the electricity to the kitchen, and finally turn it back into heat?

    That already makes it unclear that an electric kitchen is greener than a gas kitchen. Chances are it isn’t in the short run, when increased electricity demand is met by operating gas-fired plants more intensively. In the long run, the outlook is rosier because most new generating capacity in the U.S. is solar and wind rather than natural gas.

    In any case, unless you get your electricity from your own solar panels, natural gas is the cheaper way of heating absent a carbon tax that I’m pretty sure isn’t on the U.S political horizon. I’ll own up to my professional bias as an economist, but I’m going to stick to the view that the average restaurant (which might be an Olive Garden anyway) cares more about that than about the fine details of cooking-range performance.

  67. I can confirm that cooking by gas is easier than on an electric range; unfortunately, we can’t get connected to a gas line on our street.

  68. David Marjanović says

    Kren is borrowed from generic Slavic /xren/, the trick being that German can’t deal with word-initial /x/. Thanks to Hebrew (and Slavic), Yiddish has lost that constraint.

    Meerrettich, BTW, is neither mehr Rettich “more radish” nor *Mährrettich “mare radish” (i.e. horseradish literally); it’s maior radix borrowed directly.

    Natural gas has just been declared “green enough” by the EU to serve as a transitory solution as coal-fired power plants are shut down (referring in particular to Germany’s “coal exit” by 2038). Austria has lots of hydro power. France exports lots of nuclear…

    electric stoves are not well-suited for cooking on once you reach a certain level of seriousness about cooking

    I still can’t imagine what advantage gas stoves could have other than speed of reaction and therefore speed of learning when to turn the heat up or down to get what you want. Never heard my grandma complaining about the change either.

  69. Meerrettich, BTW, is neither mehr Rettich “more radish” nor *Mährrettich “mare radish”

    And here I was assuming it was ‘sea radish’!

    I still can’t imagine what advantage gas stoves could have other than speed of reaction

    That’s a pretty big advantage; in a restaurant where every second counts (“Table 13 is still waiting for their entree!”) you don’t want to have to sit there tapping your fingers while the burner heats to the right temperature.

  70. David Marjanović says

    (I mean, I would guess the True Professional knows how many seconds after receiving the order to turn up the heat to whichever step on that particular stove to get the desired result on time. But that falls under the speed of learning I mentioned.)

  71. PlasticPaddy says

    @dm, hat
    It may be that the true professional never has to dial up/down scheduled serving time of an item that is already cooking, e.g., to ensure main courses are served together. Dialing down can of course be accomplished by removing the item temporarily from the heat (although if you switch the electric burner off, you may have the same problem as when dialling up). Dialling up depends on the electric cooker response time.

  72. I would guess the True Professional knows how many seconds after receiving the order to turn up the heat to whichever step on that particular stove to get the desired result on time.

    You seem to be picturing a professional kitchen as a sort of laboratory. They really don’t sit around waiting for the proper moment to arrive; they are always behind schedule and every saved second is precious.

  73. David Marjanović says

    I should have mentioned that Mähre doesn’t mean “mare”, it’s just the cognate. It’s one of at least three pejoratives for “horse” (though the only grammatically female one). “Mare” is Stute.

    …and I have no idea about the geographic distribution of any of these, or e.g. Hengst “stallion”, in any dialects.

  74. Lars Mathiesen says

    Even a ceramic stovetop has less thermal inertia than the old “hotplates” (if that is the actual technical word). But they need cookware that is very flat on the bottom, so an old-fashioned tea kettle with a thin bottom that buckles will quickly need replacement. And if you have to use something with a thick aluminum bottom, where’s the charm gone? (And it won’t heat as quickly as the thin bottomed one on gas). Induction might work better for saucepans, but the old kettle will be too thin to get heated much.

    And I’m not lugging canisters of gas (methane) up to the fifth floor just to be persnickety. (This building never had city gas, and besides they stopped producing it because carbon oxide. Some places still get fossil gas in the pipes, though).

    As to what GP said, my closest pizza place uses a forno a legna because the firewood they need costs less than the electricity they’d need for a metal oven. Isolation and heat retention might play a role too, I don’t know if it’s solely the cost per joule that’s less. It also gives the place some atmosphere, it might help sales. (The equation might change if they have to install a particle filter because of new air quality regulations, but even the electric places already have to use quite tall chimneys so maybe it’s only the old sooty fireplaces in private homes that will be banned).

  75. Giacomo Ponzetto says

    @ David Marjanović:

    I still can’t imagine what advantage gas stoves could have other than speed of reaction and therefore speed of learning when to turn the heat up or down to get what you want.

    I suspect that’s a misunderstanding of what people mean by speed of reaction.

    Gas burners have a lot more power than electric hot plates. Home gas ranges have a largest burner rated 12 – 18,000 BTU (US) = 3.5 – 5 kW (EU). Professional gas burners are 20 – 30,000 BTU = 6 – 9 kW. For electric hot plates, home ranges top out at 2 – 2.5 kW, and the versions for professional use I can see online seem stuck there too.

    Admittedly, an electric stove is more efficient because the heating element is in direct contact with the pot and doesn’t waste energy heating air and fumes. I find reports of 75% efficiency for electric and 40% for gas. That still leaves my mother’s 5 kW burner delivering 21% more heat to the pan than my 2.2 kW hot plate. In practice, the difference is readily noticeable to both of us.

    The greater power of a gas range lets you heat more food faster after adding it to your pan. That’s important because fast heating is the key to any kind of frying. If you’re deep frying, you can just use more oil — again, though, that raises costs. But if you’re stir-frying, pan-frying, searing a steak, or anything of the sort, the only effective adjustment is to cook smaller batches. For a restaurant, many small batches may well be fancier than fewer large batches. But for a family they can be a huge annoyance!

    So long as your batch is small enough that all you need is the maximum power of an electric burner, the alleged flexibility advantage seems a secondary issue fairly easily solved by technique. To change the heat rapidly on an electric range you need to move your pan from one plate to another. Again, it’s wasteful to do this on the way up — you need to preheat an empty hot plate — but cost aside it isn’t annoying.

    In fact, that’s more or less how a French top works — up to the added fanciness of enabling continuous rather than discrete changes in heat as you move your pot across the top — and I believe that’s moving from professional kitchens into the homes of over-enthusiastic amateur cooks.

    Come to think of it, the English country-house set is characterized by a baffling worship of AGA cookers, which are traditionally designed to keep various hot plates and various ovens on at different temperatures at all times so you move your food from one to another as necessary. Chances are they still work that mind-boggling way, since their owners are mostly both conservative and Conservative and accordingly more attached to tradition than to low emissions. But I defer to our residents Britons for a more accurate assessment.

  76. at least three pejoratives for “horse”

    In what sense exactly? An unenthusiastic workhorse? A slow riding horse? An old horse?

  77. Giacomo Ponzetto says

    @ Lars Mathiesen

    my closest pizza place uses a forno a legna because the firewood they need costs less than the electricity they’d need for a metal oven. Isolation and heat retention might play a role too, I don’t know if it’s solely the cost per joule that’s less. It also gives the place some atmosphere, it might help sales. (The equation might change if they have to install a particle filter because of new air quality regulations, but even the electric places already have to use quite tall chimneys so maybe it’s only the old sooty fireplaces in private homes that will be banned).

    Italians have borderline religious beliefs about the intrinsic superiority of wood-fired pizza ovens. My understanding is that everyone agrees masonry ovens are better than metal ones. Instead, it seems unproven that any fuel fires a masonry oven better than another. Nonetheless, I’ve heard four plausible arguments for wood.

    The first and most obviously correct is yours: wood is more romantic. Atmosphere is a key component of a meal.

    Second, and I think also important: cooking is an apprenticeship business. You learn how to make good pizza in a wood-fired oven from an existing pizzaiolo who already knows. Even if it’s possible to make exactly as good a pizza in a gas-fired or electric oven, some adjustment is necessary, and who will teach you that?

    Third and related: wood burning probably acts as a signal of skill and commitment to quality. Why would you bother to have, fire up, run and clean a wood-burning oven, if you aren’t making at least decent pizza?

    Fourth and most speculative: while a pizza surely spends way too little time in the oven to be smoked, I cannot rule out it might get a fine dusting of ash that Italians have come to expect and enjoy on our pizzas.

    To be clear, some Italians extend their religious fervor to believing the fifth argument that wood has somehow better heat producing properties. But I’m heretical enough to doubt those could be relevant for making pizza, and yet for no other use of an oven.

  78. David Marjanović says

    I see. And yes, I’ve had problems with buckling frying pans.

    In what sense exactly?

    How about all of them, or just “horse I don’t like”? Wiktionary says “bad (degraded, useless) horse”. For Klepper m. it says “low-value, overused horse”, and Gaul m. “low-value horse”, in some places just “horse” without pejorative connotations. It also led me to discovering Zosse(n), m. or f. (presumably by geography), meaning “(old) horse” and coming (through Rotwelsch and West Yiddish) from Hebrew sus “horse”.

  79. Huh. How did the initial /s/ of sus end up as /ts/ in Zosse? How did the /u/ become /o/?

  80. David Marjanović says

    The vowel is probably etymological nativization from one dialect to another. The /ts/ probably happened in a Central German dialect that has initial [z] and initial [ts] but no initial [s], and so ended up borrowing initial [s] as [ts] to keep it voiceless.

  81. Lars Mathiesen says

    Actually the pizza guy has an Albanian name, so Italian religious views may be less important than fuel costs and romantic connotations. (He also sells “pizza” with pineapple on it).

    There is a bona fide (no pineapple) Italian family place near here too where the cook is Italian and educated in Italy, but he does his cooking in a proper kitchen where rubes like me have no access and I don’t know what kind of oven he uses.

    I think the AGA concept made more sense in its native Sweden where cooking heat was traditionally often a by-product of house heating. Old Danish houses could have a huge central stone-built oven as well where you’d fire the thing up at dinner time and then bake bread by residual heat, and keep the house warm overnight. Up north you’d need to keep the fire burning 24/7, though.

  82. >I’ve had problems with buckling frying pans.

    We have a convex-bottomed skillet (ie, it was designed with a dome rising in the center) that annoys me no end because oil or butter collects where it’s not needed. I looked into why and discovered the convex shape is intended to allow it to expand and flatten when heated.

    Maybe I’m not heating it hot enough, but we only have a gas range. Not a blast furnace.

    The idea of a buckling frying pan sounds dangerous. It gives me an image of the sudden appearance of a hump or crease, sending oil splashing out everywhere. How does the buckle actually take place? A gradually more apparent loss of integrity over several uses?

  83. Lars Mathiesen says

    The cookware used on gas stoves was often quite thin and could get dented by careless handling, which didn’t matter on such stoves. But if the deformation was caused by uneven heating, I think it did happen gradually and it was more a kind of warping than buckling. I never had a gas stove to use regularly, so I don’t know for sure.

    Maybe the point was that people would have lots of old dented cookware that had to be discarded when going from gas to electric, and not that the gas stove made it uneven.

  84. J.W. Brewer says

    Wood-schmood: here’s a great wikipedia sentence for you — “The growing popularity of coal-fired pizza in the 2010s was identified as a major market for anthracite coal suppliers, most of whom are in Pennsylvania’s Coal Region, who generally see a declining market due to alternate industrial and home heating fuel sources.” That said, there’s a pizzeria I like one town over from my house with a wood-fired oven that is a supposed competitive advantage because no newly-constructed place could have a comparable oven (because of violation of all sorts of environmental regulations I believe), but it has had the same oven for 90+ years and is grandfathered. I think there are various pizza joints in NYC that similarly have vintage ovens (many coal-fired) that are exempt from more recent regulatory restrictions.

  85. Yes indeed; every few years I read a story about such a place that has been snapped up by some eager pizza maestro.

  86. I remember drying cigarettes that were a bit on the moist side on a hotplate of an electric stove, a distinct advantage over a gas stove.

  87. Lars Mathiesen says

    I remember my grandma having some round asbestos thing to put over a burner on her gas stove when heating things that direct flame were not indicated for. Maybe it would have worked for cigarettes too, but her five-packs of cheroots never lasted long enough to get damp.

  88. David Marjanović says

    How does the buckle actually take place?

    Ah, I just copied the word, but it’s misleading at least in my case. The flat bottom simply expands in the heat, becomes convex toward the hotplate, and then stays that way after it cools off, so it doesn’t contact enough of the hotplate at the same time. No integrity is lost, but cooking takes longer and/or requires moving the pan around so all parts are heated. To some extent such pans can be repaired by pressing them against an edge (of a hotplate for example) and bending the bottom back that way… but obviously that’s not very precise.

    That doesn’t happen with the pan that has a thick aluminum bottom, but its enormous thermal inertia has disadvantages in addition to the advertized advantages.

  89. Lars Mathiesen says

    So maybe that’s another thing that skilled cooks like about gas stoves: You can use pans with thin bottoms which react even faster when you turn the heat up or down. Probably copper or cast iron because your mom doesn’t have those and we’re leet and have an immigrant worker to clean it so we don’t need those quality-of-life things like stainless steel or heat-distributing aluminum layers. And it looks great in magazines.

  90. David Marjanović says

    And here I was assuming it was ‘sea radish’!

    Sure, except apparently nobody has managed to concoct a story about how it could be connected with the sea… at least Meerkatzen (guenons, not meerkats) come from overseas, like Meerschweinchen (guinea pigs)…

    So maybe that’s another thing that skilled cooks like about gas stoves: You can use pans with thin bottoms which react even faster when you turn the heat up or down.

    Yes.

    your mom doesn’t have those

    Cast-iron skillets seem to be pretty widespread in US homes. I’ve seen people brag about how they methodically made an apparently traditional coal layer on them (by overheating oil for hours and hours) to imitate the effect of teflon, while insisting that teflon or any other newfangled coating is in every way inferior…

    (…well, it’s way, way less carcinogenic…)

  91. Stu Clayton says

    That doesn’t happen with the pan that has a thick aluminum bottom, but its enormous thermal inertia has disadvantages in addition to the advertized advantages.

    “Thermal inertia” is a fancy way of saying that the desired temperature, once reached, holds. That’s exactly what I want when I’m roasting chiles for salsa taquera, or heating up lots of tortillas. In my new comal.

    I couldn’t find a thick aluminum one at short notice that had no “non-stick surface”.

  92. John Cowan says

    You could cover the bottom with non-(non-stick) aluminum foil.

  93. Stu Clayton says

    Foiled again ? I bought the griddle to avoid that.

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