Archive for the 'Discovery' Category

Adieu Chef

June 8, 2018

Anthony Bourdain, chef, author and raconteur has been found dead at age 61. Waves of tributes pouring in from around the world are broadcast on television and every social media channel. His uncompromising qualities are remembered with admiration: “Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have.” His network show “Parts Unknown” made us face the reality that we could all try a little harder to coexist. And while on location in France, Anthony Bourdain threw in the towel and took his own life.

Rest in Peace, sir.

There are no six degrees of separation here. Yes, I read Kitchen Confidential, Yes, yes, I consider food like the ultimate art form, a creative experience for all the senses, all ages, all cultures. Hell yes, I do binge-watch Bourdain on CNN, longing to travel more fearlessly, armed only with a spoon. And yes, this morning, I awoke to news of his suicide and didn’t notice until now that I spent the entire morning reading news stories. My response is to honor the memory of this storyteller and food evangelist whom I admired with the hope that others will raise a glass silently with me.

Adieu Chef. Thank you for the culinary diplomacy you championed worldwide. Your appetites for other people and learning will be sorely missed.

According to Eater.com, CNN will “be remembering our friend and colleague” with a special tribute, “Remembering Anthony Bourdain,” airing on June 8, at 10:00 pm (EST), and again at 10:00 pm (EST) on June 10.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/08/us/anthony-bourdain-obit/index.html

“If I am an advocate for anything, it is to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.”

https://www.eater.com/2018/6/8/17442384/cnn-anthony-bourdain-tribute

“Life is complicated. It’s filled with nuance. It’s unsatisfying… If I believe in anything, it is doubt. The root cause of all life’s problems is looking for a simple fucking answer.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/anthony-bourdain-cnn-tv-host-is-found-dead-1528458689?mod=hp_lead_pos5

“As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”

The Most Memorable Moments From Anthony Bourdain’s Shows

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/08/opinions/how-anthony-bourdain-changed-me-edward-lee-opinion/index.html?utm_source=twCNN&utm_medium=social&utm_content=2018-06-08T19%3A51%3A06&utm_term=link

“Basic cooking skills are a virtue… the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill. [It’s] as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one’s own ass, cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money.”

 

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Shifting the Reputation of Beans

March 17, 2018

https://www.wsj.com/articles/beans-the-superfood-you-ve-always-known-1521284401

In a balanced diet, a daily average of 5-6 servings of protein is recommended (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, see https://www.choosemyplate.gov/protein-foods). Beef industry marketing would prefer that you consume red meat daily – “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner.” However, in a healthy diet, red meat should make an appearance far less than the messaging would have you believe.

Those 5-6 daily servings of protein with only 2-3 servings of red meat per month leaves a lot of room to be creative.  And jumping in to fill this need is the bean — beans, peas and legumes offer an important source of protein in the choices for a nutrition-rich diet. The American Heart Association says eating beans as part of a heart-healthy diet can also improve blood cholesterol, a leading cause of heart disease. Wall Street Journal writer, Anne Marie Chaker, notes that thanks to the food manufacturers, “bean-based snacks are fighting their way out of the health-food aisles and into the mainstream.”

Bean Appetite!

Turning Things Around for International Women’s Day

March 8, 2018

Banish the pink!

http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/07/news/companies/mcdonalds-international-womens-day/index.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/mcdonalds-flips-arches-upside-down-2018-3

article by Kate Taylor in Business Insider

McDonald’s is flipping its iconic arches upside down in an unprecedented statement

People driving by a McDonald’s in Lynwood, California, might be baffled by an upside-down sign. The golden arches, typically standing as an M, have been flipped over to become a W.

But this isn’t a bizarre prank or a careless mistake. The upside-down arches are in “celebration of women everywhere,” a McDonald’s representative told Business Insider in an email.

Patricia Williams, the location’s franchisee, flipped her restaurant’s sign in honor of International Women’s Day on Thursday.

McDonald’s says it will turn its logo upside down on all its digital channels, such as Twitter and Instagram, on Thursday, while 100 restaurants will have special “packaging, crew shirts and hats, and bag stuffers” to celebrate.

“In celebration of women everywhere, and for the first time in our brand history, we flipped our iconic arches for International Women’s Day in honor of the extraordinary accomplishments of women everywhere and especially in our restaurants,” McDonald’s global chief diversity officer, Wendy Lewis, said in a statement.

Lewis continued: “From restaurant crew and management to our C-suite of senior leadership, women play invaluable roles at all levels, and together with our independent franchise owners, we’re committed to their success.”

Several brands, including Old Navy and Barbie, have debuted products to honor International Women’s Day. Meanwhile, some companies — such as BrewDog, which rolled out what it said was a satirical “beer for girls” called Pink IPA— have been criticized for using the day to advertise to women in what some consider a reductive manner.

 

“Merry Munchie” Marketing

December 28, 2017

The “Merry Munchie Meal,” will be available at three Jack in the Box locations for $4.20 features two tacos, french fries, onion rings, five mini churros, three chicken strips and a small drink, a meal aimed at cannabis enthusiasts.

5601 Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90804

3032 Palo Verde Ave, Long Beach, CA 90808

652 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802

The limited-time offer will only be available from January 18 to 25, 2018.

Why Long Beach? Rapper Snoop Dogg’s digital media company has partnered with the fast-food chain to launch this offer to capitalize on the January 1 start of legal recreational pot in California — Long Beach is his home town. “420” is buzzword for weed or cannabis.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-22/jack-in-the-box-tests-munchie-meals-for-california-pot-smokers

“While marijuana’s connection to fast food is well-established, Jack in the Box will become the first national chain to explicitly embrace the drug.” (The stoner version is the only Munchie Meal not to incorporate cheese into its offerings, despite the dairy product’s status as catnip for the bud-afflicted.)

“We are about welcoming all of our guests, no matter what they’re craving or
why they’re craving it,” said Iwona Alter, the chain’s chief marketing officer.

https://www.eater.com/2017/12/22/16810548/jack-in-the-box-munchie-meal-california-marijuana-merry-jane

 

If your kids don’t want broccoli, maybe they’ll want Disney broccoli

October 20, 2016

The magical quality of vegetables or fruit was never made clear to me as a child. They were something we ate as a matter of what we were told to do. Not having sugared cereals in the house as a rule made us less susceptible to the kid-targeted messaging of my youth. Now if Disney had been hawking broccoli to me as a child, I might have grown up vegetarian.

By Abha Bhattarai

The Washington Post October 19, 2016
(featured in Los Angeles Times October 20, 2016)

It’s come to this, America: Disney-branded fruits and vegetables.
Dole Food Co. said Friday it is partnering with Walt Disney Co. to market fresh produce to children nationwide. Characters from Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar films will now help hawk blueberries, bananas and broccoli.
“Disney and Dole have a shared mission of providing high quality produce to help families lead healthier lives,” Josh Silverman, executive vice president of global licensing at Disney, said in a statement.
The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal, nor did they say whether Disney-branded produce will be priced higher than nonbranded fruits and vegetables when they hit grocery shelves next month.

Last year, Burbank-based Disney partnered with Sage Fruit Co. for a similar campaign to promote the movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Darth Vader helped market bags of apples; Yoda hawked green grapes.
Using well-known characters to sell nutrition is nothing new. Popeye famously persuaded children to eat spinach, and generations have grown up chewing Flintstones vitamins. In the 1990s, hundreds of dairy-mustached celebrities helped revive milk’s popularity with the “Got Milk?” advertising campaign.

“It’s not difficult to slap a character on a food and get kids to love it,” said Rob Frankel, a Los Angeles-based branding expert. “But these days, anybody who tries to sell anything to kids also has to appeal to the parents. This is a way for Disney to prove to Mom and Dad: ‘See? We care about the health of your kids.’”

That’s different from the way items were marketed in the 1970s and ’80s, Frankel said. Back then, advertisers were focused squarely on appealing to children. General Mills, for example, marketed its popular line of sugar-laden cereals with characters such as Franken Berry and Count Chocula, while Pillsbury used cartoon figures Goofy Grape, Lefty Lemonade and Freckle-Faced Strawberry to promote its line of Funny Face powdered drinks.

“It was all about the nag factor,” Frankel said. “If companies sold the kids on it, eventually they’d whine and beg enough that Mom and Dad would buy it.”

But that began to change in the 1990s, he said, as baby boomers took a more hands-on approach to parenting. “All these helicopter parents needed to be told, ‘Mom and Dad, here’s the best thing for your kid,'” Frankel said.

As a result, companies shifted their marketing tactics to appeal to parents. They began adding phrases such as “all natural” and “no sugar” to their labels, and emphasized health-related benefits. Disney’s partnership with Dole — based in Westlake Village — is a step even further in that direction, Frankel said.

“Now they can get you from both sides,” Frankel said. “The kid is happy because it’s got a Disney princess on it, and Mom feels good because she’s buying a vegetable.”

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-disney-dole-20161019-snap-story.html

Slap that Base

January 28, 2016

I’ve never had a practical vegetable soup base recipe in my arsenal of recipes. Not sure why. According to Marisa at Food in Jars, “Now before you start praising me and calling me a genius, I must tell you, the idea behind this soup base is not the work of my personal brilliance. I’ve seen it in many places over the years.”

Disclosure: this recipe is adapted from Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks, who in turn adapted it from Pam Corbin in The River Cottage Preserves Handbook.

Having both parsley and cilantro appeals to me more than having to chose favorites.

Bon Appetit!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 large carrots (a pound or a little more)
  • 4 celery stalks (include leaves if they look good)
  • 8 ounces sea salt
  • 1 large leek (remove the tough green tops)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 large bundle cilantro or parsley (include the stems)
  • 4 ounces dried tomatoes (I use my homemade ones, but store bought sun-dried tomatoes work well too)
  • 5-6 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Fit a food processor with an S-shaped chopping blade.
  2. Chop all the vegetables into relatively small chunks (if you have a smallish food processor, you might want to divide the veg into two batches so as not to overtax your processor).
  3. Start with the carrots (densest vegetables first!). Put them into food processor container and pulse until they’re broken down into small bits.
  4. Add the celery and process.
  5. Now add about one-quarter of the salt and process.
  6. Add leeks and onions and process.
  7. Add another quarter of the salt and process.
  8. Add cilantro or parsley and process.
  9. More salt, and process. You may also need to scrape the sides of the processor bowl down at this point.
  10. Finally, add the tomatoes, garlic cloves, and black peppercorns and process.
  11. Then add the rest of the salt and process until it is fully integrated.
  12. The finished base should be relatively uniform in consistency and color.
  13. Pack into jars and refrigerate for up to four months. For longer storage, freeze for up to a year.

Notes

To reconstitute the soup base, use approximately 1 teaspoon per cup of water.

Yield: 7-8 cups

Homemade Vegetable Soup Base

[rede]Sign of the Times

February 27, 2014

Accessing nutrition information has always been a bit of a challenge. Even Burkey Belser who designed the original nutrition label has spoken about the complexity of presenting data which is part scientific and part public policy: “As soon as you make an item on the nutrition label bold, you are venturing into public policy, which was the challenge of the design initially.” (http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Regulation/Nutrition-label-update-A-tweak-or-an-overhaul?utm_source=copyright&utm_medium=OnSite&utm_campaign=copyright)

Today’s New York Times reports that the time is right for re-design and the public will certainly take notice. With daily media reports on how fat we are as a nation, the use of graphic design to change our behaviors sounds downright propaganda-like. The content of the nutrition label will remain the same, part science and part public policy. But through the magic of typography, the communication about a food’s “value” to the body (consuming the food) will change in very noticeable ways.

Cheers!

Nutrition-Label-RedesignNew F.D.A. Nutrition Labels Would Make ‘Serving Sizes’ Reflect Actual Servings

By SABRINA TAVERNISE FEB. 27, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration for the first time in two decades will propose major changes to nutrition labels on food packages, putting calorie counts in large type and adjusting portion sizes to reflect how much Americans actually eat.

It would be the first significant redrawing of the nutrition information on food labels since the federal government started requiring them in the early 1990s. Those labels were based on eating habits and nutrition data from the 1970s and ’80s, before portion sizes expanded significantly, and federal health officials argued that the changes were needed to bring labels into step with the reality of the modern American diet.

“It’s an amazing transformation,” said Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of the F.D.A. “Things like the size of a muffin have changed so dramatically. It is important that the information on the nutrition fact labels reflect the realities in the world today.”

The proposed changes include what experts say will be a particularly controversial item: a separate line for sugars that are manufactured and added to food, substances that many public health experts say have contributed substantially to the obesity problem in this country. The food industry has argued against similar suggestions in the past.

“The changes put added sugars clearly in the cross hairs,” said Dr. David A. Kessler, who was commissioner during the original push for labels in the 1990s. “America has the sweetest diet in the world. You can’t get to be as big as we’ve gotten without added sweeteners.” Millions of Americans pay attention to food labels, and the changes are meant to make them easier to understand — a critical step in an era when more than one-third of adults are obese, public health experts say. The epidemic has caused rates of diabetes to soar, and has increased risks for cancer, heart disease and stroke.

The proposal will be open to public comment for 90 days, and it will take months before any change is made final. In a special concession to industry, the agency is allowing companies two years to put the changes into effect.

The Obama administration will promote the measure in an anniversary event at the White House on Thursday for Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, which aims to reduce obesity in the United States. Dr. Hamburg and Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary, are expected to be among the participants.

It was not clear how the food industry would react to the proposed changes, which Michael R. Taylor, the agency’s deputy commissioner for foods, estimated would cost about $2 billion to carry out. (He also said the health benefits could eventually be as much as $30 billion.) The Grocery Manufacturers’ Association, an industry group, said, “We look forward to working with the F.D.A. and other stakeholders.” It added, “It is critical that any changes are based on the most current and reliable science.”

Public health experts applauded the proposed changes, which they said were long overdue.

“I really like them. I’m kind of stunned actually,” said Marion Nestle, a professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. The proposal “emphasizes calories; it’s got added sugars; it fixed the portion-size problem.”

She added, “My prediction is that this will be wildly controversial.”

In all, the agency has proposed changing the serving size in about 17 percent of the approximately 150 categories of packaged food, Dr. Hamburg said. It would also add labels to some foods that were not mainstream in the early 1990s, such as pot stickers, won ton wrappers and sun-dried tomatoes.

Twenty-ounce bottles of soda would be counted as one serving, rather than the 2.5 servings often listed now. And the serving size listed on cartons of ice cream, currently a half-cup, would be increased to one cup.

Continue reading the main story

“Half a cup of ice cream is absurd,” Professor Nestle said. “Unless you go to a really fancy restaurant, you’re lucky to come out under two cups.”

The American Beverage Association said that its members already counted 20-ounce bottles of soda as one serving on the label, a commitment they made several years ago as part of Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. Tracey A. Halliday, a spokeswoman, said that members also show calorie counts on the front of bottles. An F.D.A. spokeswoman said that the one serving count was not a federal requirement and was practiced by some producers, but not all.

Getting nutrition labels on food packages was a major battle. Dr. Kessler, the F.D.A. commissioner at the time, said the fight went all the way to the Oval Office, where President George Bush sided with the agency in what was considered a major victory for public health. More recent efforts have stalled, he said, including a push to get restaurants and movie theaters to put calorie counts on menus and efforts to put codes on the front of food packages to signal how healthy or harmful a food is.

He called the proposed changes “one of the most important public health upgrades in this decade.”

Other public health officials were skeptical, arguing that too few Americans use nutrition labels for the changes to make much of a difference. Others argued that restaurants, which are a major source of calories for Americans and have increased portion sizes substantially, are the biggest offenders.

“This is a false victory,” said Barry M. Popkin, a health researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, whose project to map what Americans eat has found that the average American consumes 300 calories of added sugars per day. “It will affect just a small segment of consumers who carefully study nutrition fact panels.”

Dr. Hamburg said that the changes were meant to improve “people’s awareness of how much and what they are eating” but could also have a helpful side effect. Detailing calories and portion sizes can be a strong market incentive for food companies to adjust what they put in food, she said. For example, when the agency last tinkered with labels, adding a category for trans fats in 2006, companies soon reduced the amount they added to food.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/health/new-fda-nutrition-labels-would-make-serving-sizes-reflect-actual-servings.html?hp&_r=0

Smile! Cupcake Photo-Op on Friday August 1 at The Grove

July 26, 2013

Meet me at 3rd and Fairfax! The Grove (in the shadow of the Original Farmer’s Market) is introducing the world’s first cupcake photo booth at The Park on Friday, August 2 from 12 – 2pm. “Moments later, you will walk away with a cupcake adorned with your face on it!”
A word about parking: Grove parking IS NOT Farmer’s Market parking. Be sure you know which you need to be validated for. After my cupcake paparazzi moment, I’m looking forward to spending a moment reconnecting with all the great stalls/shops in the Farmer’s Market. Lunch might be waiting for me there!
http://www.thegrovela.com/event_promo.php?id_promo=1046

Quart Crockpot Chicken Mole

May 9, 2013
Quart Crockpot Chicken Mole serves 2
1 bottle IBC Root Beer

2 Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless)

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

dried parsley*

2-3 Tbs Cholula Chili Lime Hot Sauce

Use Quart-sized Crockpot

Add root beer

Stir in tomato paste

Sprinkle parsley* to taste (or cilantro option)

Stir in hot sauce

Stir well

place chicken breasts in pot, submerge under sauce as much as possible.

High setting for 10-11 hours

Serve with choice of side dish, e.g., rice, quinoa, pasta, warm corn tortillas, chilled avocado tomato salad, roasted corn salad.

Frozen or semi-frozen chicken breasts will fall apart less in cooking. I throw this together before going to work and enjoy a savory meal when I come home.

Looking for Aloo Paratha?

April 9, 2013

Salomi Restaurant http://www.salomiindian.com

5225 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood (across from the television academy)

818-506-0130

Indian and Bangladesh restaurant serving delicious traditional favorites – tandoori, korma, masala, biryani, vindaloo, naan, plus more – with a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Open for lunch and dinner in the heart of No Ho, I was surprised to learn that Salomi had been serving since 1979. Portions are very generous and so flavorful. The attentive staff never hovers yet your glass is always quickly refilled and special requests are easily answered. Prices are very reasonable for table service menu this robust. A hidden gem, in plain sight on Lankershim.

On a Friday night after a long week of deadlines I was looking forward to seeing a friend in a production at the Actor’s Workout Studio. Grabbing a sandwich or burrito by myself after work didn’t interest me so I launched Open Table to find someplace nearby to eat. To my delight, Salomi didn’t have any reviews posted on Open Table, so the thrill of discovery whetted my appetite as much as as the promise of good Indian food.

As I walked into a lovely yet empty restaurant, greeted by several smiling faces, it looked promising. Looking over the lengthy menu, I knew I had found a new favorite. Names of dishes came rattling off my tongue – chicken korma, saag paneer, vegetable biryani, and of course aloo paratha. Iced Tea please. Did they open recently? How did they find the neighborhood?

Turns out, according to the chatty head waiter that Salomi had been open since 1979. He was oh so proud of their Yelp status, “Do write a review and you will see.” I explained that I found them on Open Table. His professed claim of how popular Salomi was simply wasn’t evidenced by butts in the seats. Where were all the loyal fans?

From my window table I could see the tall walls of the Television Academy screening rooms across the street, nestled in its driveway courtyard. Down the street was the latest Laemmle Cinema. With lunch specials this place must be a real hit in the arts community. Why was it empty?

Ordering beloved dishes that I had ordered from India’s Oven, Angara, Addi’s Tandoor, I had a good point of comparison. Would this food measure up? The spinach was not creamed but well-cooked in the saag paneer and lightly-spiced to bring out the flavors. I melted at the chicken korma! So “nummy” in taste and texture with a vibrant saffron yellow hue. The biryani tasted really, really good, a personality among rice dishes yet way too many peas or is it that I just plain don’t like them and will hand flick them out of any plate served to me…Salomi was a hit! (And the play to follow was too!)

A family arrived, kissed and hugged the staff nearest the door and sat in what sounded like their usual spot. Other people entered and were seated as my meal was enjoyed. (Upon leaving I think I even saw Hawk Koch, President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences enjoying a conversation and meal.) So much for my thought that this place was unknown. Yet with food this good and reasonably priced, Salomi on a Friday night should be hopping!

When favorite restaurants shutter their doors in Los Angeles, which happens too frequently, it is easy to forget that neighborhood gems are still out there to be found. When word-of-mouth and local publicity don’t bring in the patrons, services like Open Table can help non-franchise dining thrive.