I think it started with my trying to mcgyver Asian style noodles in what was an aggressively Minnesotan culinary landscape. With out any real concept of what those noodles might actually entail or that they even really existed (because this was early internet and Bemidji had just gotten a Chinese restaurant in, like, 1997…) I started eating what could be considered disgusting quantities of Ramen with white vinegar, brown sugar and black pepper. To this day I still have a sort of Proustian memory of those noodles.
Now I realize that this craving for tangy and sweet is pretty wide spread through many culinary traditions. But as a teenager, putting brown sugar and vinegar on tuna noodle casserole while my mother looked on perplexed, I was sort of convinced that I had some sort of nutritional deficiency and that I was a few short steps away from becoming one of those people who eats potting soil or laundry detergent.
The years have passed and my interest in food has grown unchecked and some might say, invasively. I’ve since found any number of new ways to get vinegar into my diet at nearly each and every turn. For example:
1. Gastrique. Most notably the apple cider variety we have at The Scenic but I’m open to other options.
2. Shrubs. I made my first shrub from some mangy looking strawberries a few week ago and now I’m hooked. Good in cocktails but best in sparkling water from my beloved Soda Stream.
3. Quick Pickles. And slow pickles for that matter. And pickled beets and watermelon rind and any other of their strangely sweetly spiced brethren.
My newest aspiration is to start making the vinegar itself, and yesterday I ordered a vinegar mother online. I’m really excited. I think it will be like having sea monkeys…but more delicious? C