Who knows why, but on Friday night my whole head blew up. Two days after a wee bit o' scratchiness, I suddenly had an fully inflamed mouth, throat and nose, making it incredibly difficult to breathe. And ta-daaaa! That's how Chris and I ended up in the ER on a Friday night! Because I couldn't talk, I wrote to Chris on my laptop. This is from the official transcript:
DONT EAt all the pork guys. CHRIS CHRIS HRIS H2O no bulbbeles thatnks it's too hurty on my throat :0 im so HUNGRY I want to EAT waaaaaaa just broth, not to hot plz. HUNGRY. WEHN I FEEL BETTER I Want;phud thai, and vietnamese bbq pork sandwich, BIG PLATTER AT AWASH ethiop. with goat... can I have a soft egg?
I am beginning to believe in this power of positive thinking stuff. I focused on getting well enough to load my face up with my favorite foods, and here I am, all better! I would maybe wax metaphysical about all this, but I'm busy putting away second breakfast. A Votre Sante!
I'd like to note the passing of two very important women in the food industry: Gretchen Mathers and Sharon Tyler Herbst. Both of these women had a significant influence on my career. Both of them died too soon, of cancer; Sharon suffered from ovarian cancer and Gretchen from breast cancer.
Gretchen Mathers was an icon of the Seattle food scene. She was one of the first female chefs to make a name for herself in what is still a very guy-dominated industry. Gretchen's Catering and Gretchen's Shoebox Express were big names while I was in school. She and a handful of other women like Chris Keff, Barbara Figueroa and Marcella Rosene were held up as examples of women's achievement.
Sharon Tyler Herbst wrote many books, but the most influential in my life was The Food Lover's Companion. I still use my well-thumbed 2nd edition, given to me as a going-away gift from my friends at Williams-Sonoma. I used to ask them to quiz me on everything from ebelskeevers to unagi, and I dreamed of one day using such exotic things myself. It's not an exaggeration to say that a copy of this book has been in every kitchen I've ever worked in.
Thank you both for your work and love. Thank you, also, for giving me something to dream about.
I turned on my heel and walked out several years ago when I attempted to buy a pound of lemons and discovered it would cost me more than my hourly wage. But that's me. I'd rather stop by our indy market on BeHi and have some money left for some beer and pork shoulder. As Anatole France said, "in a Democracy, both the rich and the poor are equally free to starve."
Last year's Michael Pollan-John Mackay slapdown was great reading for about a week, and then Whole Foods went back to their big business as usual. Before you could say capital-driven market system, Mackay announced his intention to acquire Wild Oats. The slapping of foreheads was heard around the world, but who was really surprised? The guy is a hardcore Libertarian, a union-busting, Wal-Mart emulating, Ayn Rand enthusiast. Oh, barf.
the task of pitting the cherries for this pie is an effort well
worth making. In the pastry kitchen, we liken this to the mind numbing
chore of shelling fava beans or de-veining shrimp. Commercial cherry
pitters will cut your prep time in half. Decent handheld pitters can be
picked up for less than $20.00. However, if you don't want to spend the
money for yet another gadget, don't let that discourage you from making
this pie. Grab a friend, a couple of paring knives and make it a team
effort. Like shelling fava beans, this is the perfect job to do sitting
on the porch, dishing with a pal. Just remember to wear your grubbies, cherry juice will splatter everywhere, including your clothes.
I don't think too much about the rituals of cold breakfast cereal. I'd grown up believing that it was a habit practiced since time immemorial-what did Java man's rice Krispies say to him? But the truth is that our modern tradition of "a bowlful at breakfast" is a turn of the century fad gone legit.
The cold-cereal pundits have familiar names, of course: Kellogg, Post, Graham. There were other folks too whose ideas were similarly radical. The diet that most Americans enjoyed (and which reflected America's growth as an Industrial Power) was white-flour, processed sugar, meat-and-dairy-centric. The diet advocated by these early health food pioneers was radically different. Most emphasized vegetarian, whole-grain foods with plenty of vegetables and fruit. Exercise was encouraged, as was taking in sun and regular bathing. Sounds pretty good, right? Sort of. Most of these folks also had a fundamentalist streak a mile wide, and advocated all kinds of practices that now sound just, well, weird.
When I was at Quillisascut Farm School, Laura Lee Misterly told us a very charming story about her family's illicit dairy business. Selling raw, unpasteurized milk was illegal back in the day. Yet it didn't stop her grandmother from schlepping the stuff up and down country roads, selling it to friends and neighbors without cows of their own. It's hard to imagine that a little lady with muck boots and a Radio Flyer full of milk pails was considered as dangerous as white lightning moonshiners, but there you have it. These days of course, the sauce is on the right side of the law. Raw dairy still isn't.
Until recently most Americans weren't interested in raw dairy products-then good cheese happened to us. The emergent trend of artisinal, hand-made foods in general has reintroduced the problem of government regulation and safety standards. The trend has greatly impacted small-operation dairies. Where raw dairy commerce was once a small enough affair that it was hardly worth interfering with, the demand for raw products is now huge... and a new "grey market" has emerged. The New York Times turned out an interesting article on the newest culinary crime wave: milk running.