A "New Cut of Beef"?

Steak

On my Twitter feed yesterday, Paul H. Ting passed along a link to a Gizmodo report, "Steak Specialists Discover a New Cut of Beef." My initial reaction was that someone used some Tetris skills to see a new way of slicing a cow so that they could pull out some kind of steak that no butcher before had seen. That's the kind of thinking that I like to see from butchers in the 21st Century. No letting previous generations dictate what makes a tasty steak, no! Go forth and think of things in new and exciting ways. That's the way to do it.

On reading the article, I was disappointed to see that they got patents on this method, which disappointed me. I mean, yay on doing new things and all, but really, a patent on a new way of slicing things? I expressed disappointment and moved along, but Ben Ostrowsky did some digging and found a meat-related patent from Tony Mata, the person mentioned in the article who, well, you can read it:

The Vegas Strip is the brainchild of Tony Mata, of industry group Mata & Associates, who approached Nelson and the FAPC for help developing the cut. "Initially, the cut was labeled as undervalued," Mata told the Drovers Cattle Network. "Whenever we can take a muscle and turn it into a steak rather than grinding it or selling it as a roast, we are adding value to the carcass."

I completely breezed over this the first time, but after seeing the patent, I re-read and wondered, "If it were just a special cut, why would you need the help of a University's agriculture department do 'develop the cut'?" The patent in question is for:

Improved restructured meat products are provided which exhibit enhanced texture, tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. The meat products are formed by mixing together brine-treated, essentially gristle free raw meat strips (e.g., beef, poultry, pork or mixtures thereof) in the form of strips and ground beef containing naturally-occurring fat, followed by forming the mixture into steak-like bodies.

In other words, it might not be a cut of beef that was found, it was assembled from bits and pieces here and there. Which, to me, is disappointing. I mean, yay to making full use of the animal and all, but we could have already ground up the meat if we just wanted to use it. All they've done is found a way to make more steak out of it which, in this day and age, is really just an engineering effort than something truly clever. If the steak had some new properties, such as tenderness of a fillet with flavor of a ribeye, then maybe. But for something which, reportedly "The taste, tenderness, and flavor are reportedly akin to a New York Strip or Flat Iron cut," then it's just some more of what we have.

It's not like there's a steak shortage in the country. If we wanted, and I know I'm going to be unpopular in some camps with this statement, but if we wanted to have more New York Strip steaks, then we could just cut smaller strip steaks. We don't always have to have the plate dominated by beef to enjoy our steak. Have, and please excuse the crazy talk, a small steak, and eat some veggies or pasta or something if you're still hungry. Maybe I'm a steak grinch, but seriously, do we need to reconstruct steaks now because we don't have enough steak?

The answer is clearly, "no". The real reason this is of interest is for people who want to raise the worth of a cow carcass by a few more dollars. More steaks equals more money, so let's find some more steaks. To me, that's the wrong reason to try these experiments on food. Make something excellent, and money will come. Make something profitable, and you get a nation of people who don't know how to regulate what they eat in a balanced and healthy manner.

Mind you, we don't know for sure that the cut of beef and the patent are related; maybe I was right the first time. I would love to hear more from the people involved. If I were a better reporter, I'd call people up and ask Particular Questions. Perhaps tomorrow. 

Olives as Ingredient

Olive tree

In the US, olives are often thought of as a snack food, to be eaten on their own. Of course, by most, olives in the US are thought to be either green with red centers or black, coming out of a can or a jar, mostly flavorless, and never having seen a pit. But even setting those aside, it's rare to see olives outside of a few dishes: a couple types of pasta sauce, the occasional bread, or a tapenade.

On Twitter, I recently said that, "Olives, good olives, should be a much more common component in cooking." Because every time I run across an olive in a dish, I'm always pleasantly surprised, and it doesn't happen all that often. There's a place a few blocks from me that makes really good empanadas, and the La Traditional has olives. Even with all the use of extra-virigin olive oil for cooking, people don't think, "Hey, let's just add some olives in for even more of that great flavor."

So, here are some guidelines:

  • Only good olives;
  • Don't overuse kalamata; they are very salty;
  • It works really well with meat. You can work it into any sort of ground meat preparation such as hamburgers, meatloaf, meatballs, sausage, whatever;
  • Olives give a huge savory boost. It is loaded with umami;
  • Pastas work well with olives; Puttanesca and Puttanesca Bianca are the prime examples;
  • Speaking of, Puttanesca Bianca is amazing. Try that some time;
  • Stews;
  • Mixing the 'stews' and 'meat' recommendation, I think olives judiciously applied to a Chili would be very, very good
  • Savory pies.

And so on. I will work to incorporate olives into more of my cooking. 

Hospital Food

Imagine scrambled eggs. Now imagine them in the shape of a hockey puck. As near as you can tell, they may be reconstituted, and they may be microwaved. They definitely did not have any fat or salt added to them for the cooking process. This is the image that I have of hospital food, because it was what I had to eat while recovering from surgery many years ago.

Hospital food, by and large, is terrible. In the US and Canada definitely, and I suspect in many other places as well. There's a video below about hospital food in Canada, and it goes into the whys and how that particular hospital is changing things. (Thanks Jodi for the link)

 

There is, I suspect, a deeper reason for the lack of attention (and money) paid to hospital food, and that's because there's a belief that, from a healing perspective, food is less important than medicine. Food, to many, is about avoiding bad things, and is about nutritional content and calorie count and the like. If you can keep those quantifiable things vaguely in line, then whatever you eat is just as good as anything else.

Personally, I don't believe that's the case. Aside from our inability to really understand what's happening with the interaction between food and our bodies except in the case of a few small factors (cholesterol, fat, vitamins, fiber, etc), we really don't know how food works. Even ignoring that, there's a bigger issue, which is how we feel.

When you're home and you get the flu, what do you want? Comfort food. Most likely, you want chicken soup, especially if you're raised in certain cultures. Maybe the details of the kind of food differ, but when you are feeling poorly, one of the things that makes you feel better is good food. It's not just fuel, it sets the tone for the day. It gives you motivation and energy. In cognitive terms, if you can use the sense memories around food to bring back memories of comforting times, then your brain will be primed more for comfort than for pain. You might, might, even heal faster. At the very least, you won't suffer as much while you are recovering.

If the best the food can offer is bringing up memories of either other trips to the hospital or maybe an airline trip in coach class, then neither of those associations are going to help.

Another issue, one that honestly I'm surprised to hear is a thing, is that hospitals aren't paying attention to food allergies. If someone is gluten intolerant, and you feed them something wheat-y, then we're not talking about psychological effects, but genuine physiological harm. That's beyond the realm of misguided and into the range of seriously negligent.

Incidentally, there are some hospitals, I'm told, that have really good food. Not just "Good for hospital food" food, but honest-to-goodness good food. Here is a short list of hospitals with good food that my Twitter followers sent me:

  • Candler Memorial Hospital in Savannah GA apparently had fantastic hamburgers (via Michael)
  • Hopital in York, ME (via Matt)
  • Hospitals, mostly in NYC, that have Bikur Cholim Services (via Sarah)

 

Let them eat cake

The story (mostly false) goes that Marie Antoinette, shortly before becoming a foot shorter, was talking with an advisor. The advisor told her that the peasants had no bread, and she responded, "Let them eat cake!" Ignoring the historical accuracy of the quote or the players, the language and its relation to food is what I'm interested in. (History? Pah!)

A more accurate quote is closer to, "The peasants don't have baguettes*," and, "So let them eat brioche!" The thing is, back when the phrase was popularly introduced in the English Language, there wasn't really an appreciation of the many kinds of french breads that exist as there are today. And, truth be told, I suspect a great many people still don't have a full enough appreciation of the different bread types, so it's not like a more accurate translation is going to work its way into the mainstream.

Still, a guy can dream.

*- Okay, okay. Baguette is a shape, and the actual type of bread is the lean bread known as "le pain." However, "pain" being a very distinct word in English that nobody uses for bread, it would completely confuse people. Frankly, I'm very close to banning this phrase in English or maybe altogether. There are just too many problems with it.

Breeding for convenience

When we changed from being strictly hunter/gatherers to becoming farmers, we decided that the natural world was not enough to support our needs, and we decided to focusing on making food more convenient for us. At first, it was probably mostly being more conveniently located, and ensuring that those items in the convenient location have the best chance for survival and growth. As time went on, though, we gained the skills and knowledge to modify what we grew to have different traits. Some of this was from selecting the seeds of various plants that we liked the best, and continuing to select seeds from later generations that more accurately matched our desires. In other cases, we would take a natural process of cross breeding, as happens with grasses, and diversify grains into things like corn and wheat. Both useful, both grasses, both very different.

When the advent of high-speed trucking, shipping, and freight-hauling hit its peak, food growers realized that they could expand their market by selecting some traits, such as ability to withstand damage, over others, such as flavor. The big example in this case is the tomato, which went from a delicious fruit/vegetable thing to becoming a tasteless bit of watery ornamentation that goes on top of a sandwich. When convenience is chosen over flavor, the food suffers.

This is not to say that convenience and flavor are mutually exclusive, or that with enough work, we can't create a series of tomatoes that can survive shipping *and* have all sorts of different, and good, flavors. However, each additional variable adds a lot of extra complexity, and it becomes less profitable to bundle it all into one. This is why year-long, grocery store tomatoes are not likely to be as good as locally-grown, farm fresh tomatoes without being much more expensive. Worse, that's likely to remain the case for many, many years, if it ever changes at all.

I also think of this whenever I eat a fresh concord grape. They are packed with all the flavor in the world, but their seeds and skin leave a little to be desired. Seedless grapes, on the other hand, are really easy to eat, but have a flavor best described as, "insipid".

So be cautious of the compromise you make when choosing your food. Putting forth a little extra effort, or waiting until the right time, will almost always give you significantly better flavor than choosing the convenience route. Which is not to say that you can never choose convenience, just know what you are giving up.

Vanilla Beans

I have recently purchased a large quantity of vanilla beans from Vanilla Products USA. They have insanely low prices for bulk vanilla beans, and I knew the time was coming when I would need to do crazy things with lots of vanilla, so I took the plunge and ordered.

Of course, when you can buy two vanilla beans in a test tube for $10 at the local grocery store, when you announce that you're buying 1 lb. of grade b vanilla beans for $25 and you're getting 1/4 lb. of grade A Tahitian beans for free because that's what kind of a site you're ordering from, suddenly everyone is interested in what you're buying. So I promised I'd report on my findings.

First findings are that shipping and order processing are lightning fast. I ordered over the weekend, and the product was out the door first thing on Monday to arrive on Wednesday with 2-day shipping. And then I got sick for a few weeks, so everyone had to wait on my findings. To top it off, there are two major limitations to my current findings: 1) I've only used the B grade stuff so far for the preliminary part of infusion recipes; 2) It's been so long since I've used a whole vanilla bean, I can't entirely remember the experience for comparison.

The beans come vacupacked, and the seller recommends triple-bagging in plastic when it arrives. I did that. When the time came and I opened the sealed beans, I did not get a big vanilla smell out of the beans. It was definitely more subtle. It honestly smelled a lot like tobacco. Not nasty cigarette tobacco, but lovely fresh pipe tobacco. Ironically, it didn't smell very much like vanilla-scented pipe tobacco, just a good, fresh Virginia variety.

Aroma aside, the beans I split open, and I split open about 35 of the Grade B Bourbon beans, had plenty of beany goodness inside. They seemed juicy enough, and they started infusing very quickly. I feel confident that I am going to get my $30 worth (including priority shipping), and unless I'm terribly disappointed with the flavor when I start making custards and other baked goods, I expect to buy many more beans from this seller.

If you try them out and have better comparisons with other sellers, please let me know in the comments. It would be great to have a big discussion on the best place to get vanilla beans here.

Instructable Wednesday: Space Invader Cookies

invader_cookies.png

These little gems are labelled as Christmas Invaders, perhaps because of the many Doctor Who Christmas Specials (London is really a bad place to be at Christmastime), but the application is many and variable. You could use more than just two colors without too much trouble, and anything that can be turned into an icon could be made into a cookie with a handy template. Just zoom into the image of the icon until you can see the pixels clearly, and you, too, can make just about anything into a cookie.

The Many Faces of Yeast

iStock_000009215645XSmall.jpg

Bread makers, brewers, lovers of alcohol everywhere are indebted to the generally single-celled bit of fungus known as yeast. Because the purpose of culinary yeast is to eat sugars and release alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. The alcohol is generally used for drinking and various types of flavor extraction and enhancing. The carbon dioxide is for lift.

One of the cool things about yeast is that it's alive. So many of the good things related to cooking are, by the time they reach the kitchen, some combination of mechanical or chemical. The Maillard Reactions, as wonderful as they are, are just some protein recombination at favorable conditions. A soufflé rises or falls due to a combination of the strength of protein bonds and the expansion of gasses when temperature rises while pressure remains constant. All great stuff, but there's nothing quite like life.

Yeast, though. Yeast grows. Yeast multiplies. Yeast survives, if all is well. And that gives yeast a certain amount of magic above and beyond chemical bonds and pv = nrt.

There are a few different categories of yeast. Brewers have their own yeasts, designed to not taste funny in high-alcohol environments. Bakers use commercial yeasts and wild yeasts. You can learn a bit about wild yeasts from this question I answered for Donna at my Fine Cooking Blog. From a baker's perspective, most of your commercial yeast is going to be much like the rest. There are three main types that you might be likely to run into.

  1. Fresh Yeast - comes in a big block, and is really useful for people who make lots and lots of bread and other yeast-leavened products. It doesn't live long, but it's the most alive, so it's the quickest to breed and turn your water, flour, and salt into bread.
  2. Active Dry Yeast - this is shelf-stable yeast, so it's easy to store in a pantry. Active dry yeast has been put into suspended animation by drying the yeast and sealing them into airtight containers. Often your packets of yeast are this type. Although not completely necessary, it's wise to bloom the active dry yeast in warm water before mixing into the dough. The active dry yeast needs to wake up to work, and although it can be done after mixing in with the rest of the ingredients, it's not as sure to work.
  3. Instant Yeast - My yeast of choice. Stores nicely refrigerated, lasts a long time when properly stored, and doesn't need blooming. Just pour it in with the dry ingredients and, when the time comes, it'll start eating sugars and expelling gases and liquids in their effort to demonstrate what a viable life form they are.

No matter which kind you have, if your yeast is past its expiration date, go ahead and bloom it in some warm water, maybe with a little sugar mixed in just to keep the critters happy. If you see them making bubbles after a minute or two, you know the yeast is still alive and ready to help with the bread making. If not, it's probably time to get some new yeast. You want the water to be barely warm. Around 100°F would be great, but between 80 and 115°F should work just fine. 120°F will kill them, so aim low.

With active dry and instant yeast, contact with salt while dry won't hurt anything. When they get wet, you don't want the bulk of your yeast touching salt, so I will mix up my dry ingredients well before adding water. With fresh yeast, it's best to be a bit more careful with the salt.

Treat your yeast well, and the wonders of bread can be yours. Treat yeast poorly or with neglect, and the yeast will not help you in your quest for leavening and flavor. It doesn't take much love, but yeast does still need love.

Cider

I'm visiting Michigan right now, and there's a decent selection of apples in this portion of the state. Consequently, we've had the opportunity to do a couple of tastings from local apple cider producers. Tandem cider is a small producer with an enthusiastic brewer. Is "brewer" the right word? In any case, Tandem makes an English-style cider, which allows most of the sugar to be turned into alcohol. This makes for a complex and often subtle product. Two of their ciders are effectively without any noticable carbonation. It's not at all what one would expect if one has only had, for example, Woodchuck as their only cider experience. Indeed, before a tasting, they are sure to ask if you've had apple cider before, to gauge how shocked you'll be when you taste. If you go to Leelanau, please do go by. Just look for the building with the Tandem bicycle as a sign.

Acquiring tastes

Beer_and_Chocolate.jpg Everone of a certain age enjoys a few foods, drinks, and other orally-injested substances that, when first tried, were simply unpalatable. Coffee is a good example of this, though maybe not the best example. More on that later. In any case, this class of substances is known as "acquired tastes." Most acquired tastes are bitter substances. We don't like bitter things because poisons are traditionally bitter. Poisons such as caffeine. After all, a tiny but of caffeine will easily kill a person. It's also one of the most addictive substances we know of. And yet, we love the stuff. What's wrong with us? The thing we know best about caffeine is that it provides us with some handy if imperfect benefits, like giving us something of a wakefulness boost. Conditioning being what it is, if we taste something that disagrees with us, followed by a pleasant sensation, then eventually we'll come to like what we tasted. I mentioned that coffee was not a perfect example of this, because coffee only tastes bad when it's prepared improperly. There us so much great flavor in coffee that the bitter should just be an underlying note. Which is, incidentally, another way that tastes are acquired. You taste something terrible, but sense another taste underneath that is really good. Conditioning happens again, until you not only look forward to the underlying taste, but the bitter taste as well. The photo accompanying this article is of a beer float, which combines a bitter stout beer from the Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, NC with a stout beer ice cream from the Ultimate Ice Cream Company. Depending on how you combine the ingredients, you'll often start with a bitter hit, then have that mellowed out by the ice cream. As you go on, you appreciate the dish more and more. It's a very quick way to acquire a taste.

Predicting the rise in bread: is it that easy?

Monika Bartyzel on Slashfood did an interesting article recently on altering the amount of yeast that you use for cold-fermenting bread. The idea behind cold-fermentation is that that you keep the dough cold so that the yeast aren't particularly active. This allows the various enzymatic activities with the dough to happen on their own over time, increasing the flavor of the bread. That works especially well with non-enriched breads. There was a post that Monkia refers to that discusses a specific recipe someone is developing for a cinnamon bread that slow rises. In the comments of that post, someone suggests the baker's formula:
Original Amount of Yeast * Original Fermentation Time
New Fermentation Time
Now, the commenter didn't say explicitly that this formula was for cold-fermenting breads. Also, I have to say that I'm a little suspicious of the simplicity of the formula. It could be that everything just works out fine with it, because there are a lot of close-enoughs that make it work out. But yeast don't reproduce in a linear fashion, they reproduce exponentially. Under ideal conditions, yeast will double in size every generation. So instead of starting with 2 yeast, then having 4 the next generation, the 6 the next, then 8, 10, 12, and 14, we start with 2, then 4,8,16,32,64,128,256. After a while, the yeast by-products, alcohol in particular, will kill off the yeast, so they can only go so far before they all die off. However, given their exponential growth beforehand, you can see that the amount of time that passes should eventually have a much greater effect on yeast reproduction than the amount that you reduce the initial batch by. So if I started with 30 yeasts instead of 60 yeasts, according to the formula I would be able to double the amount of time that it takes the bread to rise. But let's assume our target is 6000 yeasts, With the 30 yeasts it would take: 30, 60, 120, 240, 480, 960, 1920, 3840, and over 6000 the next generation, or about 9 generations. With the 60 yeasts, it would take: 60, 120, 240, 480, 960, 1920, 3840, and over 6000 the next generation, or about 8 generations. That's not a huge time difference, and it gets smaller the longer you let it go (to a point). Of course, there are other factors. There's the amount of food available (the sugars and the potential sugars), the temperature of the environment, and if there are any wild yeasts ready to jump on the bandwagon. With the cold-storage method, you control the temperature and the ability for wild yeasts to interfere, so that may help settle things down into what is, for all intents and purposes, a linear scale. So, while I'm not saying that the formula is wrong, I am saying that it looks suspicious. A little too easy. Quiet… too quiet. I've got a bad feeling about this. I do not think it means what you think it means. It's probably a good starting point, but I will do some experimentation in my own kitchen before I decide that I can put this dough in my fridge for almost exactly 16 hours and be ready to have perfect bread in time for my dinner party that night.

Yeast Bread and schedule balancing

Bread was one of those things that my mother refused to make without the aid of a bread machine. But hand making bread was right out. And although I do not fear the bread, I tend to think of it as being harder than it really is. Part of the reason I don't fear bread baking is because I have studied up on the techniques and understand the basics of the physical chemistry of bread. Gluten and I are good friends, and we pal around on the weekends and go on fishing trips together. We invite yeast along*, occasionally with some sugar and butter or similar, and a good time is had by all. Perhaps a bigger part of why I don't fear baking bread is because I have a stand mixer with a dough hook, and consequently don't have to knead by hand. Those of you who are hand-kneaders may scoff at me (I see you back there), but it removes a decent amount of the work and active time to the baking process. I think the reason that I do have a little trepidation for making bread is because I'm never really convinced that rising and proofing are attention-free on my part. There's always a bit of me that has to check up on it from time to time to see if it's achieved the proper amount of lift, and I tend to be on its timetable rather than it being on mine. Some of this is because I'm a project manager, and so am duty-bound to keep an eye on the progress of others. Still, I am making bread. Ideally, I will work it into my daily routine, along with my day job, writing for my various blogs and publications, exercise, housework, and spending time with my lovely wife. Most of that's easy, but the day job makes it trickier, because it's this big 8 or so hour chunk of time in the day where it will take 30 minutes of driving if I want to make adjustments to the bread. The King Arthur Cookbook suggests that I can learn to play with the amount of yeast in my bread recipes, which will fine-tune rising time. Perhaps that will be my secret. Perhaps I will manage something with sponges, or refrigerating dough overnight, or similar. So I ask you, my readers: How do you juggle a full-time job and regular bread baking? *- Yeast, incidentally, constantly makes flatulence jokes and giggles. It's not my thing, but he brings the booze as well, so what can ya do?

Fine Cooking Thursdays: Reducing Complexity

Another article is up on Fine Cooking's web site, this time from @megpasz about the temperature at which sauces reduce. I answered the question in my usual overachieving manner. Because, I ask you, how many other columnists will tell you what temperature really is?* Also, it should be noted that no kittens were harmed in the making of this week's metaphor. steamy-pot.jpg *- Probably only 3. Maybe 4, depending on the day.

Contest: Cupcake v. Muffin, Round 1: Toppings

After doing an informal survey of my readers and twitter friends, it appears that there is still life in the controversy of "Which is better? Cupakes or Muffins?" Therefore, I propose a series of challenges, with each round getting a prize. Cupcakes have been in the public eye for a while. Perhaps too long, as there are those who believe that they are passé. I say good food is never passé, but I also say that muffins are clearly superior to cupcakes. So, let's find out the which is better the semi-scientific way. Round 1: Toppings. This should be an advantage to the cupcake, because cupcakes are generally synonymous with toppings, but who can say? The challenge is to come up with a recipe for a cupcake or a muffin that is topped. You'll want to consider the flavor and texture balance with the muffin or cupcake itself, how much topping, and so on. A topping is anything that sits on top of the confection and is added after the confection is baked. There should not have to be extraordinary measures taken to ensure that the topping stays. If the judge can't walk across the room without the topping falling off, then it's not really a topping. The prize for Round 1 is a copy of Shirley Corriher's Bakewise. If the winner already has Bakewise, we can determine a suitable replacement prize. Okay, get to it. Rules are below. muffins.jpg

Rules:

  1. Create or find a cupcake or muffin recipe that will best fit the challenge of the current round. Submit that recipe as a comment on the rounds' announcement post. You must have claimed your comments with a valid disqus account, so I will be able to contact you if you win.
  2. For any given recipe, it can only be entered once throughout the entire competition. The first person to enter the recipe based on the order that it appears in the comment feed is the person who gets to claim that recipe. Slight variations will not be counted. The judging panel will determine if a recipe is too similar to an older recipe.
  3. A muffin is defined as any hand-held confection assembled primarily via the muffin method: combine dry ingredients, combine wet ingredients, mix together briefly, and bake.
  4. A cupcake is defined as any hand-held confection assembled primarily via any non-muffin cake method, such as the creaming method.
  5. A recipe can be submitted as a link or in the body of a comment. If the recipe is a link, and it changes at some point, the recipe that the judges happened to get is the one that will be judged. If a modification is submitted to a recipe, the modification will only be used if the entry has not been judged up to this point.
  6. Judging will be a panel of entrants lead by Brian J. Geiger (The Food Geek). In the case of a tie, The Food Geek gets an extra vote or two as necessary. Judges may not enter the round that they are judging. The judging panel can change from round to round. Bear in mind that the judges have to make these concoctions, so if it is a particularly complicated or difficult recipe, and we do it poorly, then the results will be judged based on what is made, not what is intended. Needing special equipment aside from a standard-sized muffin tin will be frowned upon.
  7. Each round will be given a certain number of points, based on the importance of the challenge to the overall question of Confection Superiority. Once points are totaled, the winner will be declared. In the case of a tie, muffins win, as The Food Geek prefers muffins.
  8. Friends or family of The Food Geek or the judging panel are welcome to enter, but don't expect special treatment. If I don't get a birthday gift this year because you had a bad recipe, the you should be ashamed of yourself.
  9. Judging will take as long as it takes. I make no promises as to how quickly we can get through the entries.
  10. If there is not enough interest in the contest, I will declare an end to it before judging any particular round. The winner will be based on points up to that round.
  11. If problems are found with the rules, they will be amended in the round during which the problem is found. If that affects a recipe, then the judges will be called upon to make a ruling as to if the recipe gets by under the old rules or has to follow the new.
Updated at 8:30 AM on Monday, February 16 to clarify the challenge for this round.

Craft's How to Make Vinegar

Although text is great, sometimes you just want to see what it takes to make something. In this case, I think it's handy to be able to watch the process of putting together your own vinegar. As the source article suggests, one can order red wine vinegar mother online, or if you have a local brewery supply store, you can likely get it there. LocalHarvest also has a malt vinegar mother if you're more interested in making your vinegar out of beer instead. This is especially handy if you had a party and have a bunch of beer left over in a keg. If you have the space for it, you could make quite the batch. via Craft.