November 5, 2007

The Company James Cayne Keeps

Maury Povich and Jimmy Cayne, the CEO of Wall Street I-Bank Bear Stearns I-Bank, are two peas in a pod.

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June 5, 2007

I am so smart, S-M-R-T. I mean S-M-A-R-T.

The Guardian has an article regarding a new study by the University of Wales, which backs up my rant on Soilgate ’07; Nixon had nothing on these people. According to University of Wales researchers found that only 2 percent of the environmental impact of food comes from farm-to-store transit, the majority of, “its ecological footprint comes from food processing, storage, packaging and growing conditions.”

The real kicker, has to do with the label of organic itself. Speaking on local produce, Ruth Fairchild at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff stated,

"I'm a bit worried about the food miles [debate] because it is educating the consumer in the wrong way. It is such an insignificant point…Those [foods] could have been produced using pesticides that have travelled all the way around the world. If you just take food miles, it is the tiny bit on the end."

Sooooooo…can I say I told you so yet? Don't worry, I'll say something exceedingly dumb later on to wipe the slate clean.

Thanks to Chow’s the Grinder for the tip.

June 4, 2007

No Organic Veggies makes Jack a Dull Boy

Chow’s The Grinder covers an issue which puzzles even my immense brain (known to move mountains and take out the trash with just my mind); it appears that our brethren across the pond in the UK are considering a ban on air freighted organic produce. Here is the Telegraph’s coverage of the subject, mind numbing on a number of levels.

The logic behind the potential ban is that air freighted organic vegetables are responsible for 11% of the UK’s carbon emissions produced by British food transport. Members of the Soil Association (which licenses 85 per cent of Britain's organic produce) have stated that, "Government research has shown that the environmental benefits of organic food outweigh the costs if it is transported by road or sea."

Sure, I’m not much of an environmentalist (little known fact: burning hundreds of tires does not help rebuild the ozone despite my original hypothesis) but last I checked organic referred to how crops/meat were raised, nothing else. Organic is food raised in a particular (non-chemical) manner; that’s it. The classification assures consumers of how food was raised and that they would not be digesting chemicals with every bite, a comforting thought that many people (myself included) like. While it’s likely that the long distance the crops have to travel do put strain on the environment that in no way influences the organic nature of the product itself.

So why am I so upset about this?

I am a big supporter of buying products from local vendors and markets thus supporting local agriculture, businesses and traditions. However, there are many items which are unavailable certain times of year, or in certain parts of the world, making global sourcing something of a necessity. Having an organic certification, guarantees how the food was raised, assuring a certain degree of quality, irregardless of the food’s birthplace.

I’m bothered whenever healthy eating is threatened by stupid political thinking. This ban would undermine the current inroads made to healthy and organic farming/eating and could potentially damage the entire organic movement. More importantly though I see this as an isolationist view, never good for a global economy.

I can only hope that common sense prevails; I’m already pissed off at the rising number of items I’m not allowed to purchase because they’re supposedly not good for me; I don't need inane politics getting in the way of enjoying a decent batch of blueberries.

May 31, 2007

Pop Rocks Have Nothing on This.

A great trick from Indestructibles to make ‘fizzy fruit’. While the fruit loses its fizz quickly (after 15 minutes), I’m thinking some great desserts and drinks can be made from super fizzed out fruit.

Fizzy fruit salad perhaps?

May 30, 2007

I'm Freaking Out Man!

The 92nd Street Y had a panel discussion with some heavy hitters of the food world participating: Gael Greene, Jacques Pepin, Michael Whiteman, Arthur Schwartz and Mike Colameco chairing. I unfortunately was not in attendance.

Grub Street thankfully covered the event so that lazy bloggers like myself are not left in the dark. Remember, secondhand knowledge of an event is just as good as firsthand knowledge if I pretend like I was there and dodge any specific questions. “What was Gael Greene wearing?” “Ummmmm, wait what’s that in the sky!!??” My motto is avoid, avoid, avoid.

It appears that the question of the day was, “Is the New York dining scene better than ever?” With sides drawn definitively in the sand, some pulled the “In my day things were better” logic, while others proclaimed this to be the most revolutionary time in recent culinary history. So what’s the real answer? Of course I have a theory as well.

Today we’ve seen an explosion of interest in cooking and the delights a kitchen can offer. The Food Network offers unparalleled access to food porn, blogs allow immediate analysis of new information and cooking has become a national if not international phenomena. Things are moving along quite nicely.

Yet the same problems that have always existed remain, just as they did years ago. Cutting edge dishes are bastardized and standardized as crappy chefs emulate the best trying to cash in on the flavor of the month while fad items are overused and prices have skyrocketed. Pretentious eaters spouting off at the restaurant of the moment? They were around back then, and were just as obnoxious. Apparently their kids are now too.

As with most things in life, I’d have to say the answer lay somewhere in the middle. The only real difference between the 80’s and early 90’s and today is that information moves at an insanely faster pace. This means every change is picked up immediately and broadcast to a wide audience on an hourly basis. Molecular gastronomy is just as radical as the changes made to French cooking seen back then, just at a faster and more obscure pace. Flavors from around the world are available at a rate never seen before. Things are just faster, but so is the rest of society.

Cooking and food, just like everything else in life (see the financial markets), follows a circular pattern and is just a summary of what society looks like at a particular moment in time. I’ll leave it to the heavy hitters to try and prove one side over the other; I’ll be too busy standing on line for a couple hours trying to get a Shake Shack burger.


Sure that was a bad Fergie pun, but I have a hard time imagining a good Fergie pun. The New York Times in its weekly food insert (read: crack for foodies) has an article by Kim Severson about the 175 days set aside for food and beverage “days”.

After reading this I wanted to create the most obscure food holiday ever, but both Serious Eats and I noticed that we were both late to the game. Some crazy (If do it, eccentric, anyone else does it, insane) Pennsylvania couple specialize in creating wacky little holidays. A few examples:

Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor’s Porch Night (Aug. 8), National Eat What You Want Day (May 11), Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day (Nov. 8) and everyone’s favorite Yell Fudge at the Cobras in North America Day on June 2.

And I thought National Frickle Day was going to be wild and crazy. Now “Cannibal Day”, that’s something way ahead of its time.

May 21, 2007

The Chewbacca Defense

Bob Morris at the New York Times is insane; there is no other word for it. What else could explain this article? The premise of Morris’ story: the reason people drink Diet Coke isn’t for the calorie cutting attributes, but because, “people who drink it like to think they’re bad.”


Dating a biker? Bad. Getting a tattoo or multiple piercings? Bad. Eating 60 McDonald’s chicken nuggets or trying to stuff an entire double Big Mac into your mouth? Dumb and bad; I know that from personal experience. Diet Coke? About as bad as a puppy convention (No, I couldn’t think of anything better).

Is the world really that desperate to feel bad, but too lame to do anything about it that people use Diet Coke as their outlet? No, because quite frankly I don’t believe Morris when he says they do. That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. When have you ever met anyone who drinks Diet Coke to feel bad; Ask around and see what answers people really give you.

The usual responses are that people are sick of drinking water (fine) and that Diet Coke has less calories than Coke, thus healthier (drink water if you want healthy, but whatever). Never in my entire life have I heard anyone ever give this, “it makes me feel bad” logic.

I really can’t offer more than questions here, because why would the NY Times even print this article? Sure it’s interesting, but it’s also blatantly stupid. Isn't there a yet green market that he could be writing about instead?

Thanks to Megnut for the article.....and for having an absurd name