Like most people, those of us in the publishing world were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether someone is a journalist covering hard news, a features writer, a copy editor, a managing editor or somewhere in between, we’ve all been affected and those of us who cover the food industry, well, it was rough. When restaurants and food products aren’t flourishing, their advertorial budget decreases (or disappears entirely) and without ads, magazines can’t make money. And without money, they can’t pay writers let alone go to publish. It’s a trickle-down effect—not to be confused with trickle-down economics, but you get the point.
Anyway, last year one of the national magazine’s I write for asked me to compose a little blurb about what I’ve been up to during the forced downtime. Admittedly, I hadn’t really been up to much but Eric and I were able to do a little food experimenting (read into that what you may) and while I can’t speak for all the other food writers and editors out there, I can at least speak for myself and tell you what I did while under stay-at-home orders … at least some of it (wink, wink). And seeing as how today is National Vodka Day, I thought I’d share the bit about the vodka taste test I may or may not have done once, or twice …
Does vodka made from corn (Smirnof, Titos) really taste different than one made from potato (Chopin), wheat (Absolute, Kettle One, Grey Goose, Three Olives) or grapes (Ciroc)?
Well, as it turns out, once you’ve tasted enough of it, it all kinda tastes the same. But. What about the gluten thing? If you visit here much you know I try not to eat gluten but I do drink vodka … and so, is all vodka gluten-free?
According to many industry experts, the distillation process removes the gluten from vodka and therefore, even vodka made from wheat is gluten free.
I’m not entirely convinced of this, but haven’t fully researched it yet either. Oh fun, something to Google tomorrow 😉 Well, anyway, since this isn’t a sponsored post I’m not going to tell you to try any particular kind of vodka but I will tell you I’ve found I prefer the ones made from wheat over corn or potatoes or even grapes. Oh, and as for my favorite martini, well, believe it or not it’s pretty much any martini made with vodka and made at home. Yea, he’s that good 😉
A few other things we tried during downtime …
- Made the same brownie recipe three different times: with coconut flour, almond flour and chickpea flour. Why? Why not? I had the time. Seriously though, I’ve transformed my diet to be pretty much entirely plant-based and in doing so I’ve taken gluten out, so experimenting with different flours is not only fun, but also necessary. And no, neither myself nor Gastro Gabe have a preference, yet … in all honesty I found them to all cook and taste pretty similar.
- Learned (finally) the difference between cacao and cocoa AND maca and matcha. What? You want me to tell you? Nah, Google it yourself. Gives you something to do. You’re welcome.
- Bought tofu and made a vegan-friendly, plant-based salad dressing. And ended up eating all of it in one day because it is that good—But hey, at least I got my veggies in. What? You didn’t think I drank it, did you. No silly. I dipped vegetables (and maybe a corn chip) into the tasty concoction.
- Taste tested a merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and a pinot noir all from the same label and same vintage. And to quote Miles from the film Sideways, “If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving, I am NOT drinking any x%#$@!!! Merlot!”
- Tried making a vegan queso dip with buckwheat flour for the rue (this was soooo Eric’s
brilliantidea). Not even going to tell you how that one turned out but I will tell you it’s one of those things “not to try at home.” You know, like on television commercials when they warn people not to try something at home—yes, it was that bad.
- Watched (for the second or third time) every episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, and not only found myself salivating for the exotic and hole-in-the-wall eateries all at once, but also found myself sympathizing with a man whose perceived loneliness brought him to an untimely, and sad end …
And, so not to end this on a somber note, let me just say this …. while social distancing is the new and necessary norm and probably will remain so for our near future, don’t let distancing become dissociation. Stay connected with people. Stay involved, the best you can, with friends, family, and co workers alike because social interaction is so important—even if it’s over facetime. Just don’t do it over a bowl of corn chips and buckwheat queso, trust me peeps, it’s not something to try at home.