Next He’ll Want Us To Make Our Own GORP or Something

a hippie schoolbus

Run if you see them coming, or throw raisins at them.

Crazypants man Mark Bittman wants you to make your own granola bars! As someone who grew up in California in the 70s let me tell you: I know from hippies. And even hippies go to the health food store (ok, co-op) and buy their granola bars, as nature intended. Here’s another thing: You need to have a strong first line of defense for this stuff. When we first moved to CA in 1969, my mom found out our next-door-neighbor lady made her own yogurt and we almost moved again.


drawing of a person on a therapist couch with a seated therapist next to the couch

"Tell me about the lunch rush."

Do you in fact notice an anecdotal trend toward restaurants that are intellectually stimulating while being emotionally distant? As important, do you think it is correct to think of a restaurant’s food as art and of its dining room as the gallery showing that work, as Brian suggests? Or is the culture of restaurants really one in which the diner’s whole experience is the art? (That’s what your Uncle Sam believes.)

What the hell is he even talking about? Does Sam Sifton know that restaurants don’t have feelings?

Bloody Mary

I was going to type that three times as the headline but realized my inner Catholic attendee of slumber parties is still too afraid. Anyway: Gross! This lady made tomato jelly Virgin Marys.

Some things:

  • Meatball is going to be super-grossed out by this, because she hates Bloody Marys.
  • I don’t really hate them, I mean I would never drink one, but I don’t have a specific hate because they are subsumed into my hatred of brunch.
  • I find this to be an oxymoronic food because the story says they have alcohol in them which is the opposite of a Virgin Bloody Mary.
  • I know they are fucking aspic, to those who are itching to point that out.

I would be interested to see someone create St. Teresa of Avila or St. Claire of Assisi, my two favorite saints, in food form.

LiveBlogging from Greenbrier Foodwriters Symposium

Good Lord, not us. That’s a Huffington Post headline that encapsulates everything wrong about food culture and bloggings in just five words. Here are some compelling nuggets that were blogged! live!

OK! We’re back from a great lunch of 3 kinds of BBQ, and (get this) a milk shake bar – yum. Now we’re are enjoying a screening of Symposium attendee Roger Sherman’s film, The Restaurateur

“It’s really important for us as writers to encourage our readers to COOK!” Dorothy says, and Elissa notes that we can get people to go to the farmers market, but it doesn’t matter if they don’t know what to do with the 5 pounds of beets they bring home. Fer Crissakes Williams-Sonoma s selling home foamers to people who can’t roast a beet. [Ed:Can’t roast a beet! Fer Crissakes!!]

Elissa points out that sadly we can’t all live in Berkeley. How do people who don’t have the access that they have in the “People’s Republic of Berkeley” eat with seasons, locally and healthfully?

And we wrap for lunch here… more in an hour or two…..

I love that last bit. “How can we help the less fortunate? Let’s have lunch!” Also, it’s worth noting that while he noted each and every break for lunch, he neglected to indicate, oh, the passage of time or the fact that different panels happened on different days, leading the LIVEBLOG to present the vision of foodies in some kind of timeless orbit, eating lunch over and over again.

Our Friend, Scott Lawrence

Our friend Scott Lawrence has Stage 4 tongue cancer and his tongue will be removed in two days. Scott, among other things, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. (In one of the first emails he sent us, he mentioned the CIA and I thought he was a former spy for one glorious day.)He loves food. He has been so kind to us, and such a supporter of SUF and we are so so upset that this is happening.

It’s very typical of Scott and his generous nature that he has written this essay that is nominally about losing his tongue, but truly about memory, friendship, and community–and food. We are honored to publish it and also encourage you to go to Scott‘s site to learn more about our friend and some ways to help.

(ETA: Scott also has this posted on Anthony Bourdain’s site, as an entry in Bourdain’s essay contest. Please go vote for him!)

We may never fully understand them, but cooking well has implications that are both far reaching, long lasting, and may never fully be revealed.

Over the last few years, there has come about a shift in the way we look at food and, well, how we cook it. No longer satisfied with eating well, we’ve turned food into a game of one-upmanship. We seem to be locked in a race to see who can have the best this or the first that. Oh sure, I’ve been involved in this game. Thing is, I’ve never been able to afford to play. So, over the years since I’ve left home I’ve made a habit of feeding my friends and family what I could, when I could. Just about any given Sunday you could have stopped over for some form of “family meal”. I would put dinner on the table and open the door to my home. It sometimes upset me that I couldn’t get this ingredient, that pan, or whatever cooking technique was the style du jour. Blinded by my quest to cook “the best”, I never realized that I was cooking well.

Never, until I found out that I have tongue cancer and the best treatment to save my life is to remove my tongue. I got cancer, fair enough. But in my fucking tongue? The irony is not lost on me. I waited as long as I could to tell my friends, not sure of how they’d react. No one has been happy to hear the news, but something funny has happened. Along with their condolences, they’ve shared past food memories. Not of me being some demi-god in the kitchen, but of me cooking well. The first came from an ex-girlfriend- “I literally was talking about the chocolate cake you made me for my birthday yesterday with my friends.  It was awesome and I will never forget that!” We dated almost twenty years ago. The one that really got me came last night. “I haven’t seen Scott in probably 5 years, but I remember a wonderful dinner he once made for a group of us.” I came so close to crying, still might.

Tonight, two days before my glossectomy, I will share dinner with a few of my closest friends. Yes, cancer will take my tongue- but, it can’t take the memories of food cooked well and time spent enjoying it. I won’t taste for months, years, or maybe never again. It doesn’t matter much what we eat, however, as I will have the memory of one last, well cooked, real-food dinner shared with others. You see, in the end, it doesn’t matter much the provenance of your ingredients, the technique of your preparation, the pedigree of your education. What matters is that you did what you could with what you had, you cooked well. You put food on the table and invited others to share. And, at that moment, you became inextricably joined. A bond that will last forever!

Just Don’t Order a “Tall One”

frame from Lord of the Rings movie with hobbits

Or a “Halfling and Half,” when you belly up to the bar at Hobbit House, the world’s only–no wait there are two–hobbit themed bar, staffed entirely by what the website describes as “the smallest waiters in the world.”  Founded by a Peace Corps volunteer (I KNOW) in the ’70s (ALSO), there is one Hobbit House in Manila and one in Boracay, both decorated with “swords,lights,plant tables,paintings and decors that evoke Middle Earth.”

H0w many jokers do you think have walked in there with “NOT PENNY’S BOAT” written on their hand? I know I would.