I gotta level with you: not too long ago, I didn’t give a damn about pasta sauce in jars. “Who needs it?” I always thought. If you wanted fast tomato sauce for your pasta at 8:30 PM on a weeknight, all you had to do, I reasoned, was open a can of tomatoes, crush them in your hands, add them to a pan where some garlic was sizzling in olive oil, drop in a little basil, and you were good to go. And “good” was the kicker: the simple, from-scratch marinara yielded by this 30-minute process was better than any product you could possibly buy in a jar.
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The foie gras name game is designed to be as confusing as possible (the governing theory being that your confusion is cash in their bank). If you can solve this Gascon Rubik’s cube, however, you’ve got some serious chow in your near future…as well as all the info you need to make a good shopping choice. (Eat it on the way to your MENSA meeting!) Those who don’t have hours to untangle the web of mystery should know that I was always the kid who pulled the stickers off and matched up the colors in a flash. So, in the true spirit of gamesmanship, here’s the straight talk on all things foie gras, as you’ll see ‘em represented on labels in the stores.
The Salami Family
I am not generally thrilled by Italian-style salami in America. But it is the most famous type of salumi we have; it’s even a name that has passed into our vocabulary, even when we’re not talking about Italian products. “Salami” is actually the plural of “salame,” and the better producers of Italian-style meats in the U.S. usually use the word “salame.” No definition is needed, really; everyone knows what salami/salame is. But in the interests of completeness, a few things are worth pointing out.
There are many small decisions to be made when serving a cheese course; making the right choices adds immeasurably to your cheese enjoyment. It can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. One great cheese, all by its lonesome, can be a cheese course. Or, you can bring together multiple cheeses; some people find that three is the limit if they wish to focus on the cheeses, others are happy to taste five or more.