Strange and Unusual Food Products: Part 3

IMG_7407 A visit to Kalustyans is always an adventure.  I’m making homemade Corned Beef and one of the ingredient is Salt Peter, which is sodium nitrate to keep the meat pink, Kakustyans is the only place I could find that sold it so off I went.

Who knew? Drumsticks to me are always chicken related, not a vegetable. IMG_7398 This just struck me as funny, Purple Condiment? In part it’s a translation thing.  It is also called French Violet Mustard.   Not sure why they don’t call it Grape Mustard?  But whatever you call it, sounds delicious and vaguely reminiscent of Concord Grape Ketchup. And at $37.60 it sure better last a long time!IMG_7401 IMG_7400 As the name might imply simple syrups are really easy to make: sugar, water and what ever flavoring you might want.  I’m not sure why you would want fenugreek simple syrup, cocktails maybe? But it is nice to know that Royal Rose has you covered for all your simple syrup needs.  Organic and made in Maine, so if you can’t be bothered to make it yourself this is probably your best betIMG_7403 Used in the middle ages for Bubonic Plague. Don’t think it worked so well 😉  Made from Thistle flowers now people use blessed thistle as a tea and used for: loss of appetite and indigestion; and to treat coldscough, fever, bacterial infections, and diarrhea. It is also used as a diuretic for increasing urine output, and for promoting the flow of breast milk in new mothers.IMG_7405 Something about these sounded kind of ominous to me: Bladderwrack?  Can’t be good 😉 Turns out it’s a kind of seaweed that  cure, well pretty much everything: Bladderwrack is used for thyroid disorders including underactive thyroid (myxedema), over-sized thyroid gland (goiter), and iodine deficiency. It is also used for obesityarthritisjoint pain, “hardening of the arteries” (arteriosclerosis), digestive disordersheartburn, “blood cleansing,” constipationbronchitisemphysema, urinary tract disorders, and anxiety. Other uses include boosting the immune system and increasing energy.

Kalustyans is so much more than a food store!IMG_7402 OK so I thought this was for making chewing gum…wrong!  It is for cocktails and used to be common then were slowly replaced by simple syrups ,which are easier and cheaper to make.  Small Hand Foods  has brought back this artisanal syrup are simple syrup with gum arabic to add viscosity. IMG_7406White nuts?  Turns out this is another name for Ginkgo Nuts.

I it when going shopping can be so educational!


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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