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Poor Man's Gravy

-----Original Message----- 
Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2013 7:47 PM
Subject: Poor mans gravy

Hello Graham,

There are several variations on this simple recipe. In place of the meat (pan) drippings, bacon fat, lard, or butter are sometimes used. Sometimes the milk is omitted and only water is used. An iron skillet is best.


Poor  Man's  Gravy

1/4 c. meat drippings
1/4 c. flour
2 c. water
1/2 c. milk
Salt & Pepper

Stir flour gradually into hot grease.  Brown flour.  Gradually add water, 
stirring constantly to avoid lumping.  Stir in milk. Salt & Pepper to taste. 

How to Tell When Cheese is Bad

From: Ray 
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2013 4:32 PM
Subject: Blue State, or State of the Blue?

Uncle Phaedrus:

Browsing in the fridge for things to see me through the long hours between lunch and dinner, I found a piece of blue cheese that 
had been there for over a month, partly eaten, but then put away and forgotten.  It was rampant with mold, but the mold appeared 
to be just more of what makes blue cheese what it is.  I have sliced off a piece and am snacking on it at the moment, thinking, 
"What a bold guy am I to eat this stuff, clearly much farther along the rot route than the blue cheese I usually eat."  Since 
cheese of this sort is deliberately infected with mold, I wonder if there are criteria beyond, "It looks awful," to decide 
"dine or discard" for cheeses like this?  I have friends who won't touch "stinky cheeses" even when supposedly just "fresh" 
from the market (the cheese, not the friends), but my taste for cheese has reached the point where I'll sample one even if it 
appears to be something others might think they should take out and bury.  Despite this, I'm still here.  And today's bite tastes 
about as it did a month ago--maybe a bit more sharp, and certainly more decorated with creeping blue mold.  Aside from cheese made 
ineptly at the start and toxic from the wrong fungal or bacterial infusion, when should daring become doubt?  Or is it really just 
"chacun à son goût" and cases of cheese poisoning from elderly cheese are never heard of?  Or hardly ever?


Hi Ray,

The Di Bruno Brothers' website at : DiBruno says: “Cheese doesn’t go bad, it just gets worse!”, and “Cheese is milk’s leap toward immortality”. Another site says that cheese making is “controlled spoilage of milk”.

Blue cheese is made by infusing the curds with a mold with the fitting name “Penicillium roqueforti”. “Penicillium” is fitting because it’s related to the mold from which we get penicillin, and “roqueforti” is fitting because it’s the same mold that’s used to make Roquefort cheese. There’s a great illustrated article on how to make your own blue cheese here: Blue Cheese That site is a great resource on cheese:Fankhauser

There are also illustrated instructions on how to tell if blue cheese has gone too far here: How to Tell When Blue Cheese is Bad

There is a nice FAQ which gives the estimated shelf life of various kinds of cheese here: DCI Cheese

My wife and I disagree a bit about when cheese is bad. She throws it out if she finds the slightest bit of mold on it. (She doesn’t knowingly eat moldy cheeses like blue cheese and Brie at all.) If it’s a blue or green mold, I cut off the moldy part and eat the rest.

The way to tell if a piece of cheese is too far gone is to “look, smell, and taste”.

Although some “bad” microorganisms can grow on cheese, most of the molds you see on it are harmless. If it’s green or blue-green or blue, then it’s penicillium and is ok. If it’s white and it’s Brie, then it’s ok. If it’s not Brie and it’s white, or if it’s that fuzzy or furry-looking white, then it’s best to toss it. Any other colors of mold are best tossed, as well. Any other sort of unusual discoloration is suspect. Drying out is a problem, too. If it gets hard and dry and discolored (and is not a normally hard and dry cheese), I toss it. It may not be harmful, but it’s not good.

Smell it. If it has a noticeable “off” smell, why take a chance?

Taste. If it still tastes okay, and it looks and smells ok, then I don’t worry about when I bought it. Sounds like your blue cheese is perfectly fine - just bluer and cheesier.


Allegheny County Texas Hots

I get lots of requests for hot dog chili sauce recipes, often for the sauces from particular restaurants. This recipe is not from a particular restaurant, but it's a typical Allegheny County, PA sauce from The Great American Hot Dog Book: Recipes and Side Dishes Form Across America By Becky Mercuri

Texas Hot Recipe

Texas Hot Sauce

1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and add onion. Sauté onion until
soft but not brown. Add ground beef and spices and mix well; add enough water to just
cover the mixture.

Simmer mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, until meat is cooked and sauce is
thickened, about 30 minutes.
Yield: about 3 cups.


Hot dogs, grilled (Tobin's First Prize brand recommended)
Hot dog buns, steamed
Texas Hot Sauce
Plain yellow mustard
Chopped onion

Place hot dogs in buns and top with Texas Hot Sauce, mustard, and onion. Serve immediately.

Cincinnati Hot Dog Chili

There are several recipes already on the site for Cincinnati Chili, but this one is especially for use on hot dogs.

Cincinnati Chili Hot Dog Sauce

2 lbs ground beef
5 bay leaves
40 whole allspice
2 large onions, chopped
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon red pepper
1/4 cup chili powder
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 quart water


1 Brown and drain the beef.
2 Place spices in a tea bag or tea ball.
3 Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours or cook in a pressure cooker 1 hour.
4 Serve over hot dogs with onions and cheddar cheese.

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