I know people who describe themselves as "bread obsessives" or "pizza fanatics" -- often they're talented in the kitchen and have latched onto one aspect of food or food culture and learned everything they can about it. There's something really satisfying about hearing these self-styled experts hold forth on the subjects they love, which is the whole idea behind CHOW's series of videos entitled, appropriately enough, Obsessives.
Let's start with a soda obsessive, a man named John Nese. He runs Galco's Soda Pop Stop in Los Angeles, and if you've never stopped in for a visit, do yourself a favor and go. He's got hundreds and hundreds of varieties of soda, many of which are historically accurate reproductions of antique sodas. My favorite: cucumber soda.
A devoted barista talks about the differences between drip and french press, how to make great espresso, and why you should never, never freeze coffee beans.
Joel is a writer-turned-knifemaker. Watch him make a knife while dispensing valuable advice, like try not to get blood in the grinder belt. Easier said than done.
Spend a few minutes listening to one of America's tea gurus.
It's very simple: alcohol, wormwood, and some anise characteristics. But not simple at all: The carefully calibrated mix of aromatics and herbs that goes into the absinthe made by Lance Winters of St. George Spirits took extensive testing to get just right.
This fascinating and opinionated pizzamaker talks about why his restaurant only serves four kinds of pizza, and how hard it is to get a good pie in America.