Top Chef: Criminal Intent

The NY Post today writes of a Top Chef-style cooking competition at the jail complex on Riker’s Island. Leaving aside that the post calls the 16–21-year-olds “girls,” the women quoted in the story say the culinary arts program, offered as part of the Island Academy school on the island, gave them valuable skills and taught teamwork and patience.

Between this and the prison dance craze, I’m starting to think—inmates! They’re just like us!



I love frolicking in food scraps.

Environmentalist Eric Lohela, talking to Serious Eats about his worthy-sounding Food Scrap Collection program in the city of Santa Barbara, California. It offers composting services to businesses. As an aside, I was at a luncheon (not just lunch! luncheon) earlier this week and one of the owners of Sweet Melissa said that NYC may soon be offering a similar program because so many businesses are asking for it. If there isn’t one in your community, make noise! —Snacktime

Food Stamps That Are Twice as Nice

Did you know you can’t use food stamps at most New York City farmer’s markets? I’m guessing that’s true of a lot of places. Too bad, because there is a great new project that could make farmer’s markets even more attractive to food stamp users. The Wholesome Wave Foundation, founded by Chef Michel Nissan and Gus Schumacher, a policy guy, has launched the Double Value Coupon program, which doubles the amount of food that can be purchased with the subsidy at farmer’s markets. Only the ones that accept the stamps in the first place, of course.

More Rave Reviews for the Double Down

It’s amusing that people are so outraged by how many calories the Double Down has, given that there are at least ten fattier drinks at Starbucks. responding to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine demands to keep the Double Down away from schools and add warning labels to their packaging.

While I find the Double Down grody, I find the (vegan) Physicians Committee ridiculous.  Tobacco-level warnings for this damn sandwich?  Really?

Who’s the Foodiest of Them All?

Bundle, which is an interesting site that studies how people spend money, just released their report, “The truth about food spending in America.” I haven’t gone through all of it yet, but it’s super interesting.

The data reflects, generally, what we already suspect about our own behavior: How much we spend on food — like how much we spend on anything — is most directly a result of how much money we have. People making $40,000 to $50,000 spent $5,560 on food in 2009. People making more than $125,000 spent $12,655 — more than double. Did they buy twice as much food? Not likely, says Hayden Stewart, an economist at the US Department of Agriculture: they buy more expensive food. “Better cuts of meat, more organic foods, more gourmet or prepared foods — they all cost more, and when people have the money, they’re often willing to pay.”

Thanks to the kitchn for finding this!

Paula Deen Gets the Butter Signal, Heads to the Gulf

Paula Deen

From the AP:

To help attract national attention, John Besh and Paula Deen, the queen of southern cooking and Food Network star, are teaming up during the festival to hype local seafood and raise money for the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.

The pair will put on a cooking demonstration and tasting of “Shrimp and Grits” on Saturday. Then they, and other chefs, will serve up Louisiana seafood at a $300-a-plate dinner at Besh’s flagship restaurant, August, that evening, with all proceeds going to the foundation.

We’re gonna need lots of pounds of butter, y’all.

(Full article here)

What Would Be In a Toobin Burger?


Mac attack!

(via myeviltwin)

Wait, WHAT? There was a Cheeseburger stabbing? I had to know more.

So I googled.

And I found this: Legal Aspects of the Toledo Cheeseburger Stabbing. Which includes this:

Even were the authorities disinclined towards leniency, though, the settled law is on his side. In 1973, writing for the majority in Momma v. Boy, Thurgood Marshall famously stated, “It is the Court’s considered opinion that these unfortunate events could have been mitigated or avoided entirely by Plaintiff through the simple expedient of the bitch bringing [Defendant] a damn burger.”

Somehow, my life is complete.

Shut Up Vegans

From a friend, who sent it to me with the comment “Sometimes I don’t miss Portland at all.”

No, really, that is ALL a discussion of whether requiring someone to be vegan to work at a vegan restaurant is discriminatory. My absolute favorite is “when there are plenty of vegans who would have their life enriched by working for an all-vegan business, why give the position to someone who simply needed a job?”

Be vegan, don’t be vegan, I support your diet choices, my friends, even if like me you eat honey-roasted peanuts and Pepsi for dinner. 

But this reminds me of my annoyance with most so-called “radical” spaces—they become ways for people to purify their lives and feel superior to/exclude others rather than to make actual change in the world.