The Austin Chronicle’s 2011 Restaurant Poll is out. Apparently they’ve shanghaid the art director from Cooking Lite or some other such publication as the cover art is pure milquetoast.

I’ve taken the trouble of synthesizing the Austin Chronicle’s Restaurant Poll down to it’s most important elements.

Here’s the best part of the whole shebang. In the Reader’s Poll Threadgill’s wins “Best Comfort Food.” On page 21 of the slick paper guide that falls out of this week’s Chronicle, Mick Vann reviews Threadgill’s: The Cookbook [written by Eddie Wilson,
the owner of Threadgill’s]

Quoting Mr. Vann; “When Wilson discusses why he uses canned vegetables for some items, you realize that his family put away 500 jars of vegetables each summer to get them through the winter.”

Which begs the question? What in the world does that have to do with serving #10 cans of factory farmed vegetables to the eating public?

There’s a world of difference between “canning”, what little old granny women still do the world over and serving institutional canned food from a giant food purveyor.

When a country woman or man for that matter “cans” they take vegetables plucked from their garden at the peak of ripeness and par cook them, then place them in a mason jar which is placed in a canner. This might be a pressure cooker or a large canning vessel that one can bring water to a boil in. The jar is heated til the lid “pops”, the vegetables within are then safe and can be place in the root cellar til they’re needed over the Winter Months.

I grew up on a farm in Eastern Kentucky where canning was a late summer ritual that my mom, grandma and aunts all participated in.

A 6 month old mason jar of sweet corn, canned properly, tastes like it was harvested 20 minutes before it hit the table. It is in no way, shape or form comparable to a giant metal can of vegetable product that you buy from US Foods, Sysco or PFG.

At the end of the day it matters not that Threadgill’s serves canned vegetables.

Lots of restaurants around town do the exact same thing. Not every restaurateur in Austin has the farm to table philosophy of a Bryce Gilmore or James Holmes.

Just please spare us the meaningless rhetoric of growing up eating fresh, canned vegetables raised on your family farm and somehow using that to justify serving canned vegetable products to your patrons.

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