Recipe: Dave Arnold’s vegan clam chowder!  »

Oh, Eater; often you are ridiculous (and mean!), but very occasionally you have some great features. Like Ask Dave Arnold, in which the director of technology at the French Culinary Institute answers reader questions. For this installment, Dave explains how he would make a vegan clam chowder, and it is fascinating! Here’s his summary:

The flow:
Make kombu dashi.
If making New England, make nut/rice milk.
Sauté mushrooms and add to dashi with crumpled nori and smoke powder.
Make seitan and simmer in dashi for an hour or so.
Remove seitan and sautee (this should make it chewier and tastier).
Sauté onions, sweat some celery, add dashi and diced potatoes. Bring to boil.

For Manhattan: Add tomato juice, diced tomatoes, and sautéed seitan. Cook till potatoes are tender.

For New England: Cook till potatoes are tender, add seitan and nut/rice milk and reheat to just below the boil.

This comes after like eight explanatory paragraphs and a photo of some hidaka kombu. It sounds really, really tasty, almost makes me wish it weren’t the exact opposite of chowder weather. Maybe some vegans in the Southern Hemisphere want to make it? It’s winter in New Zealand!


Bored by everyday meats? Enjoy some dancing bear!  »

Or perhaps some delicious raccoon! It’s a delicacy?

Alternatively, Dave Arnold, the author of this essay extolling the joys of “wild game,” has a peculiarly grody habit! You see, the U.S. was once known—two centuries ago—as “the premiere place to eat strange animals.” So much meat from so many unconventional animals! Tragically, although we collectively eat ever more meat as the years pass by, our menu of animals has shrunk to a bland few.

Thank goodness for laws like those regulating fur trappers, who are “permitted to trap live animals for their fur, slaughter them at USDA approved facilities, and sell the meat,” like beaver! It tastes “woodsy”!

You can also score really fancy animals from big game dealers, who breed them to sell to circuses, zoos, and “exotic pet enthusiasts” (horrible people who deserve to be eaten by their “exotic pets”). Have you ever tried to put a monetary value on your self-respect? Buy some cuts of an animal who washed out of the circus for being too old and decrepit! Yes, circuses actually have standards for their “performing” animals. Open up for braised bear whose miserable life of pain ended in slaughter to be a rug in a Hollywood Upstairs Modeling Studio, and also your dinner!

Dave Arnold purports to explain why he or anyone else would go to the trouble of seeking out and acquiring “game meats,” but his essay reads more like an Intro to Fetishistic Carnism than anything else. Ten bucks says his next essay is an argument for farming “wild” animals—lions, tigers, bears, oh mys—or the deep, rich flavors evoked by cooking roadkill for 48 hours in an immersion circulator.

[photo by Dave Arnold via Popular Science]

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