Faves No. 194

favorite finds from the front lines of food

The Olive Oil Edition

 Olive oil tasting at  Long Meadow Ranch  in Napa, California

Olive oil tasting at Long Meadow Ranch in Napa, California

Right now, in the middle of summer, there is really no better time to enjoy "simple" suppers that refresh and help beat the heat...for example a perfect heirloom tomato with a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of good quality olive oil. Ahhh, so peaceful. So easy. Right? What? No....

Put simply, climate change is having a huge effect of olive production in the Mediterranean olive producing regions.  (New York Times)

In addition, the incredibly fast spreading disease, Xylella fastidiosa, I attacking olives, grapevines, citrus, almond, oak trees and more, across the region. According to the European Commission, "is one of the most dangerous plant bacteria worldwide, causing a variety of diseases, with huge economic impact for agriculture, public gardens and the environment."  

But you can't fight it is you can't see it. There has been a recent tech development which is giving some hope to farmers. A hyperspectral camera is being used to identify infected tress so they may be culled. The camera is flown 500m over the groves and each tree can be analyzed (250 bands of infrared light) to see how the trees are photosynthesizing.  Because there is no cure for this disease, it is vital that farmers be able to identify infected trees in order to cull them from the orchard.

Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterium, not a virus, and some farmers in Puglia are not happy with the practice of uprooting otherwise healthy trees to curb the spread of the infection. Some of the older farmers are looking to natural remedies such as fertilizing with cow manure, pruning and using copper and iron sulfates during the farming process. 

But not everyone agrees with this natural approach. Giovanni Martelli, a plant virologist at the University of Bari, who has conducted studies for the authorities and supports uprooting, said: “People who claim that Xylella can be treated with natural remedies are not right. There is no cure for Xylella. The immediate removal of infected trees and surrounding healthy trees is an indispensable measure to block the spread.”

So what to do?  from a recent article in the Guardian: 

“I am very encouraged by this new research,” said Richard Buggs, a plant health research leader at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the UK, and not involved in the new study. “Plant pests and pathogens are on the increase around the world, and we desperately need new tools.”

“Xylella can infect a very large number of plant species, including cherry trees, plum trees, lavender, and rosemary,” Buggs said. “When you buy a live plant for your home or garden, you should make sure you know where it has come from and avoid buying a plant that has not been grown [domestically].” (Guardian)

So folks, as you eat that tomato with the drizzle of oil, just remember the challenges that the farmers face to bring it to your table. Don't take any of it for granted.  That means, the oil, the tomato, the salt or the dining companion you might be sharing it with.  Enjoy all of it. Give thanks and eat with awareness and recognition because these are changing times.

Faves No.193

Favorite finds from the front lines of food.

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This brings meal planning to a whole other level! Recently visionary chef Dan Barber and his partners launched a new seed company, Row 7 Seeds.  Instead of ability to be transported, uniformity and yield, these plants are bred for flavor.  "The beginning isn't the farm," said Dan Barber. "The beginning is the seed, because that's the blueprint that sets the stage of what the farmer is able to do with good farming."  (Eater , New York Times )

Possibly the coolest thing you will see this week.....or longer! A WATER WHEEL POWERED SPIT!!!!

In other crazy news, LIDL is now selling a new product at their check out counters.....locally grown cannabis.  It's a good thing they have all kinds of deals on munchie-able snacks!  (Guardian)

Michelin Stars? James Beard? What is the difference? Well, here you go - a handy dandy guide to restaurant awards! (Eater)

Fresh? Frozen? Fresh Frozen? Most consumers don't go for items down the frozen aisle, but why? Is it time to become an arctic explorer? (NPR The Salt)

Faves No. 192

I am changing the Friday Faves to just Faves since there is really no reason to keep on a Friday schedule. So here we are. Enjoy!

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Globe warming? How about Global Hotting! The Guardian has a great story on how climate change is affecting an American icon.

From the article: A geologic oddity, Avery Island rises to 163ft above sea level, making it a towering giant amid the supine flatness of Louisiana’s coast. The 2,200-acre island – more accurately a hill of buried salt surrounded by bayou and marsh a couple of miles inland from Vermilion Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico – has long provided a sturdy home to Tabasco but now faces the danger of being marooned.

The Avery Island marshes are retreating by around 30ft a year as salt water seeps in, ushered in by canals dug by the oil and gas industry and the level of the land itself, which is gradually sinking by around a third of an inch a year. The salty brine kills off vegetation, loosens soils and accelerates erosion. 

Fierce storms clatter into what’s left of the marsh, which is also being slowly drowned by a warming ocean that’s rising faster than almost anywhere else in the world. A further sea level increase of 2ft, almost certain given the warming that’s already occurred, will leave only the lofty core of Avery Island dry, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“The marsh stands between us and Vermilion Bay, and we don’t want to be right on the bay,” Simmons said. “We have to be very aggressive about dealing with the land loss. We almost can’t work fast enough.” (Guardian)


NOT GIVING IT UP! A judge recently ruled that Coffee needs to come with a warning.....but hey the real warning should be about what could happen if I don't get my first cup in a timely fashion! (Refinery29)


Chef Rick Moonen is definitely on to something. For hard core food lovers this is not new news, but regardless we need to voice our support for tinned fish.  Her pin Madrid we are luck to have some amazing choices. Check out the images below to see what we are talking about. (Lonely Planet)

Sing Along Snacks: Special Thanksgiving Edition

It's never too early or too late for a snack so turn up the sound on your computer!

Special Thanksgiving Edition

Turkey - Mashed Potatoes - Gravy - Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie

 

OK, the lyrics are maybe not spot on when it comes to lauding the proper ingredients, but it will keep the kitchen crew bopping around with a good spring in your step while the table is being laid out!

 

Friday Faves No. 191

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

 All about this crazy clear pumpkin pie! Alinea team, you have indeed done it again! 

All about this crazy clear pumpkin pie! Alinea team, you have indeed done it again! 

It's turkey season but what about all the turkey tails? Where do they actually go and why don't we get to gnaw on them here? (Smithsonian Magazine)

Love food puns as much as I do? Well, you are in luck. NBC's comedy  The Good Place is chock full of background shops sporting names as food puns along the lines of: Beignet and the Jets, Lasagne Come out Tomorrow, The Pesto's Yet To Come and so on and so fourth. For a longer list check it out here. (Nerdist)

Looking for Christmas gift ideas for that favorite foodie? Check out the Inspect a Gadget product reviews to match up who gets the Doughnut Mug, the Penneli garlic peeler or the Bacon Express toaster. Important stuff here. (Guardian)

VINDICATED Rule 47 in Jon Bonné's New Rules of Wine says I can drink rosé any time of the year! This is THE book for the holiday season!  (NPR's The Salt)

I have to say I know people who just might wear these....No, no names. Check out the cheesy video. (FoodBeast

 

 

Sing Along Snack: There's No Tortillas

It's never too early or too late for a snack so turn up the sound on your computer

This is a special shout out to the California State University students who are abroad this Thanksgiving. 

I love tortillas / I love them dearly / You'll never know / Just how sincerely...

 

 

 

Sing Along Snacks: Volver en Vino (Return as Wine)

It's never to early or late for a snack so turn up the volume on your computer.

From Madrid we are sending out our thoughts and prayers to those affected by the fires in California, Spain and Portugal. It's a sad close to a lovely summer. Let us hope that new life sprouts from the ashes to return as wine. (English lyrics translation below)

Return as Wine

If wine comes, life comes: I come to your vineyard, beloved land.

I want to die singing under your ripe vine and to be buried at the dawn my grave watered of wine.

If wine comes, life comes: I come to your vineyard, beloved land.

I'd like to leave my bones under the Mendoza sky, for my blood and my ashes return in the wine way

How sad must be dying and never returning, but life is so beautiful, but the way is so stunning, that if I die someday bury me in Mendoza, in San Juan, there at La Rioja, in the beautiful Cayafate, that I'll return as wine!

And when the vines cry for the men to laugh, I'll be filling the glasses, and I'll be kissing the mouths of the old partners or maybe the one I love and couldn't love me.. and in a party night when you take the guitar if you see the wine crying let it cry its sorrow that a brown tear as never I'll be singing!

Life is a bitter wine, sweet in a shared jar: those who swim inside drown only in life.

If wine comes, life comes:

 

 

 

Friday Faves No. 190

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

"You put so much oil in this, the US wanted to invade the f**king plate!" - so beautiful that it brings a tear to the eye. John Legend & Chef Ramsay duet for the new album: 'Gordon' "...OK It's not new but I love it just the same!  (The Nightly Show)

Speaking of food-based insults....food coming in and out of the UK could come to a screeching halt if there is no Brexit deal. Ummm...duh! (BBC)

Sebastien Bras, third-generation chef based in Laguiole, France, has just renounced the coveted three Michelin star ranking. He will continue to cook, but "without wondering whether my creations will appeal to Michelin's inspectors." According to the Munchies article he is not the first to do so. In previous years Olivier Roellinger and Alain Senderens (who passed in June) gave theirs back over a decade again. And let us not forget the amazing Marco Pierre White who said, "I was being judged by people who had less knowledge than me, so what was it truly worth? I gave Michelin inspectors too much respect, and I belittled myself.  I had three options: I could be a prisoner of my world and continue to work six days a week, I could live a lie and charge high prices and not be behind the stove, or I could give my stars back, spend time with my children and reinvent myself." (Munchies)

Here is a nice autumn read - Fasting and Feasting by Adam Lederman.  This biography of the "almost forgotten culinary star", Patience Gray.  She did Slow Food, off the grid living and self sufficiency before it was a "thing". A must read. (Guardian)

Sing Along Snacks: Ojala que llueva café

With new digs in Madrid, Sing Along Snacks are now being enjoyed in Spanish as well. It's good to have a varied snack menu!

This is an incredibly charming song by Juan Luis Guerra. Check out the translated lyrics below (original and translated) and I dare you all to not start swaying around the kitchen with this playing on repeat.

Ojalá que llueva café en el campo
que caiga un aguacero de yuca y té
del cielo una jarina de queso blanco
y al sur una montaña
de berro y miel
oh, oh, oh-oh-oh,
ojalá que llueva café. 
If only it would rain coffee in the fields,
and a shower of yucca and tea would fall,
from the sky a sprinkling of white cheese,
and in the south a mountain
of cress and honey.
oh, oh, oh-oh-oh...
If only it would rain coffee.

 

Ojalá que llueva café en el campo
peinar un alto cerro (d)e trigo y mapuey
bajar por la colina de arroz graneado
y continuar el arado con tu querer.
oh, oh, oh-oh-oh...
If only it would rain coffee in the fields,
combing a high hill of wheat and mapuey,
descending the slope of grained rice
and continuing to plough with all your love..
oh, oh, oh-oh-oh..
.

Ojalá el otoño en vez de hojas secas
vista mi cosecha de pitisalé
sembrar una llanura
de batata y fresas
ojalá que llueva café.
If only autumn would clothe my harvest
with pitisalé instead of dry leaves, 
sowing a plain with
sweet potato and strawberries,
If only it would rain coffee.

Pa'que en el conuco
no se sufra tanto, ay ombe
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
pa que en Villa Vásquez
oigan este canto
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
ojalá que llueva,
ojalá que llueva, ay ombe
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
ojalá que llueva café.
oh, oh, oh-oh-oh...

So that on the small farms
they won't suffer so much, oh man.
If only it would rain coffee in the fields
so that in Villa Vásquez
they will hear this chant.
If only it would rain coffee in the fields,
If only it would rain, 
If only it would rain, Ay, man,
If only it would rain coffee in the fields.
If only it would rain coffee. 
oh, oh, oh-oh-oh... 

Ojalá que llueva café en el campo
sembrar un alto cerro de trigo y mapuey
bajar por la colina de arroz graneado
y continuar el arado con tu querer.
oh, oh, oh-oh-oh...
If only it would rain coffee in the fields,
sowing a high hill of wheat and mapuey, 
decending from the hill of grained rice,
and continuing to plough with all your love.
oh, oh, oh, oh

Ojalá el otoño en vez de hojas secas
vista mi cosecha de pitisalé
sembrar una llanura
de batata y fresas
ojalá que llueva café.
If only autumn would clothe my harvest
with pitisalé instead of dry leaves, 
sowing a plain
with sweet potatoes and strawberries.
If only it would rain coffee.

Pa que en el conuco
no se sufra tanto, oye
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
pa que en Los Montones
oigan este canto
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
ojalá que llueva, ojalá que llueva, 
ay ombe
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
ojalá que llueva café.
So that on the small farms
they won't suffer so much.
If only it would rain coffee in the fields
so that in Los Montones
they would hear this chant.
If only it would rain coffee in the fields,
If only it would rain, if only it would rain,
Ay, man,
If only it would rain coffee in the fields,
If only it would rain coffee

Pa que to(dos) los niños
canten en el campo
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
pa que en La Romana
oigan este canto
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
ay, ojalá que llueva,
ojalá que llueva, ay ombe
ojalá que llueva café en el campo
ojalá que llueva café...
So that all the children
will sing in the fields,
If only it would rain coffee in the fields,
so that in La Romana
they will hear this chant.
If only it would rain coffee in the fields,
Ay, if only it would rain
If only it would rain, man,
If only it would rain coffee in the fields,
If only it would rain.

Friday Faves No. 189

favorite finds from the front lines of food

Looking for disruptive dining? Just go to some dinner theater. No, that's not a cheeky suggestion, it's truly a thing. New productions such as Beauty and the Feast, put on by The Vaults, are offering a fun on three-course delightfully eccentric theatrical culinary performance where the audience participates in the Beauty's journey through the initially bleak foodscape. These are much more than your ol' murder mystery dinner productions!

  We kindly request to amuse your bouche with some fine art feasting.    It is with the most sincere pride and overwhelming pleasure that eloquent designers Darling & Edge invite you to be their guest for a palatable pantomime.   Your Godmother, Fairy Liquid, has invited you to attend the Beast’s palace to help break the spell. Fairy Liquid is tired of regal dancing, mute dinners and the same old conversations; she needs you to help get the party started. This re-telling sees you follow in the footsteps of Belle, arriving at the Beast’s grey palace where the serving staff, desperate to satisfy, transport you into this modern fairytale. You’re invited through to dinner, where the Beast, and the Feast, awaits. As the booze flows and dinner goes, you are more and more integral to the breaking of this romantic curse. Except, you should expect, this is not a fairytale task. Should you manage to break the spell, the celebration will go on late into the night. The thigh slapping will begin, disco balls will spin and the chandeliers will swing. Forget sipping on soup, abandon regal dances and leave your manners at the door. Come as a beauty, leave as a beast. (Suitable for ages 16+)     official description of the production - The Vaults

We kindly request to amuse your bouche with some fine art feasting.

It is with the most sincere pride and overwhelming pleasure that eloquent designers Darling & Edge invite you to be their guest for a palatable pantomime.   Your Godmother, Fairy Liquid, has invited you to attend the Beast’s palace to help break the spell. Fairy Liquid is tired of regal dancing, mute dinners and the same old conversations; she needs you to help get the party started. This re-telling sees you follow in the footsteps of Belle, arriving at the Beast’s grey palace where the serving staff, desperate to satisfy, transport you into this modern fairytale. You’re invited through to dinner, where the Beast, and the Feast, awaits. As the booze flows and dinner goes, you are more and more integral to the breaking of this romantic curse. Except, you should expect, this is not a fairytale task. Should you manage to break the spell, the celebration will go on late into the night. The thigh slapping will begin, disco balls will spin and the chandeliers will swing. Forget sipping on soup, abandon regal dances and leave your manners at the door. Come as a beauty, leave as a beast. (Suitable for ages 16+)

official description of the production - The Vaults

Network, a performance put on by the National Theater, based in London, has a ballot system where winning participants will actually dine onstage during the performance (the audience gets to eat too). This production, which stars Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad fame, even has a name for this on-stage restaurant, it's call Foodwork.  Diners will be directed through a secret passage and enter the scene as if entering into an actual restaurant.  You can enter here.

Gingerline is producing the Chambers of Flavors v2.0, where the audience experiences five parallel realities and each is a different course. 


In other food news, Costco is expanding into China through the Alibaba subsidiary Tmall.  While Costco in China is not new per se, this deal almost doubles the number of SKUs. This includes wine and food products as well as furniture, electronics, huge teddy bears and the like. Another aspect to this new arrangement, it now means that Costco is licensed in China and can now set up brick and mortar locations throughout the country.

Interesting note, Costco set a Guinness World Record for selling 7,238 tons of mixed nuts during singles day in 2015.  (Alizila)


The sky is falling! The sky is falling! 

Well, yeah, kinda. We have seen all kinds of disasters these past few weeks, including natural, man-made and political. (the salt - NPR)

Hurricane Irma ruins crops

Smoke from wild fires in the PNW could damage this years vintage

French fishermen who catch 70%+ of their fish in British waters are scared of Brexit

Sing Along Snacks: Man No Sober

It's never too early or too late for a snack so crank up that volume on your computer.

This is in honor of our resident Plaza San Miguel drunkard, wino, whatever you want to call him. We have been living in Madrid for a month now and have gotten to "know", or rather become recognized by, our local beggars and drunks. What that means is that we are no longer solicited for our spare change. Instead we get a snear and they just move on....and I'm O.K. with that.

 

Woooh! Man no sober
The drunkard he staggers around
The alleys of cities and towns
His sorrows he tries to drown
Solution to his problems
Can never be found
Booze is what he choose
Like a gipsy he's tipsy
He drinks too much whiskey
Like a gipsy he's tipsy
He drinks too much
A Mr Winehead stagger deh
Booze is what he choose
Watch him how topples over

Man no sober

In and out of discotheques
In and out of wine bars
Burnt out shell looks a wreck
Got to help him somehow oh
Greets bartenders drink firewater
Dance bossanova he topples over

Sing Along Snacks: Anotha (BBQ)

Yo...what!? We are in the second half of another August which means we better get in another BBQ before summer is over and we all go back to the daily grind. Who can help? PUTS, that's who.

You bring the beef and I bring the brew
Oh shit anotha barbecue
You bring the links and I bring the brew
Oh shit anotha barbecue
You bring the wings and I bring the brew
Oh shit anotha barbecue
You bring the ladies and I bring the brew
Oh shit anotha barbecue

 

 

Friday Faves No. 188

favorite finds from the front lines of food

 

"Live your life as if everything you were going to do could be put on a cake." - Kat Thek, Troll Bakery & Detective Agency

No, it's not a light summer read, the Troll Bakery & Detective Agency really exists.  Baker/Detective Kat Thek makes internet trolls eat their words literally by turning posts into actual cakes and sending it to the troll in question through the mail.  Kat has a great little piece of advice on her site: "See something? Cake something." (Cnn Money - video-, NPR, Troll Cakes)

CHEERS! Well at least I think that is the saying du jour chez Clooney.  George and his partners just sold their boutique tequila brand Casamigos to Diageo for beaucoup de dinero.  Word of caution-  enough of this tequila and you start mixing up words and languages.  (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

Big news this past week about the possible Amazon-Whole Foods acquisition, but those in the supermarket industry are now asking all sorts of questions and taking a hard look at their business model. One thing we are looking at is how Gen Z will react. Will they purchase groceries online? (Supermarket News)

Here is a good news story from Morro Bay.  We have been aware of this effort since the beginning but it is great to see some national coverage. These fishermen are working together and that is encouraging. (Marketplace)

 

 

 

Friday Faves No. 187

favorite finds from the front lines of food

Its been a very busy spring and this just shows how busy we are feeling lately! 


Happy Mother's Day weekend folks!  Find you mom, a friend's mom or just a girlfriend and head out for brunch and/or cocktails! Seriously...it will be better than this Mother's Day gift from the Colonel.  That's right, KFC has done it again. We have seen and documented the "Extra Crispy Sunscreen", the fried chicken room candle and now its the publication of "Tender Wings of Desire", a Colonel Sanders romance novel. Just in case you thought we were joking....here is what the cover looks like. (AdWeek



We knew it! Cheese is not bad for you and we have the science to prove it! 

The findings, from an international team of experts, contradict the view that dairy products can be harmful because of their high saturated fat content. The experts dismiss that fear as “a misconception [and] mistaken belief”. (Guardian)

So if a daily dose of cheese and exercises is the order of the day, one can always try their hand at Stilton Cheese rolling. That's right, cheese rolling. Every year, in May, people congregate in the village of Stilton to watch teams made up of 4 persons roll a whole stilton down the street. Each team member must "roll" the cheese during the course. You know what, just watch the video! (BBC)


Earlier this past April, the Aquarium of the Pacific came out with a short film about perspectives on the state of California Aquaculture. It features prominent scientists and experts on the topic of marine aquaculture in California and the U.S. In this film the experts discuss marine aquaculture’s role in the global food supply and as a conservation tool, the state of domestic marine aquaculture, and the future of marine aquaculture in the U.S. and California. Experts featured are:


And last but not least, don't become an avocado statistic! Stay safe out there folks. (Munchies)