Strange and Unusual Products of the Week

This is going to be a regular column.  How regular we shall see, I was going to say weekly, but I think I should hedge my bets on this one.

It’s not like every week in my adventures in food shopping I don’t see many strange and unusual things: I do.  I just don’t always take pictures of them or sometimes I do and don’t think they are worthy of a blog post.  Increasingly though I think a lot of these products are a jumping off point for conversation.  Take for instance, this:IMG_5927Can someone explain to me the point of bee free honey?  It’s made from apple juice and is Vegan, is it a Vegan thing not eat honey because….why?  As far as I can tell honey bees are not hurt in the process, honey is a naturally occurring product.  I’m miffed. Or at least I was miffed until I asked Mr. Google and found this.  Which I have to admit left even more miffed.

The second product I found is less mysterious and more exotic.IMG_5854I understand in middle eastern food culture rose petals are used in cooking, both in sweet and savory dishes.  I actually have a package of dried roses in my spice cupboard:IMG_5934Which now that I see the label afresh I can’t imagine why I haven’t used these rose petals for any number of reasons.  My original reason for getting them was to make Panfried sea bass with harissa & rose from Ottolenghi’s cookbook Jerusalem.  I bought them over a year ago to make this recipe and never have used them because well, dried roses just seem like something you’d find in potpourri and I have a conceptual leap that I seem to have a hard time making.  Evening though I have made the first step by buying the rose petals.

Those those are your 2 strange and unusual products of the week.  Anyone out there ever cook with rose petals or eat Honee pleasr tell us about it in the comments.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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4 Responses to Strange and Unusual Products of the Week

  1. cbcreates says:

    I bought rose water for some recipe that I forgot to make. I put it in a lemony wine cooler/punch last summer. Very nice. We should play around more with rose flavors. I ran across a rose sugar recipe in an old cookbook–cover petals with white sugar for a few days then use the sugar on desserts or tea.

  2. pam says:

    personally, i avoid all rose or rosewater flavored/scented foods- i find it to be like eating prefume. not good., not good at all. but very common/popular in middle eaterns and Indian desserts

    • urbanfoodguy says:

      Totally I feel the same way about lavender – odd my rose petal that I bought to cook with smell more like earl grey tea? Certainly rose water is something for toiletries not the kitchen 🙂

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