1 month ago

We waste about one third of all the food produced in the world. Bees are dying, monocultures are dominating agriculture, knowledge gets lost, many people eat alone and don’t know how to cook any more. Kids don’t see food growing any more. Our supply of phosphates - an essential ingredient for artificial fertilisers - is running out and without it we might not be able to feed the growing world population. Chicken in intensive farms get more antibiotics than needy children in developing countries. Oceans are damaged, fresh water supplies are getting short, oil is running out.

Fortunately we also see a big group of young people getting into action and trying to find different ways to change the food chain and to change our perception to food. I could even say that there might be a food revolution coming up. And we need one.

Cite Arrow Food is “the most important materialin the world” says Marije Vogelzang
1 month ago
"Smell this," the baker said, breaking open a dark loaf. "It’s a heavy bread, but rich." They smelled it, then he had them taste it. It had the taste of molasses and coarse grains. They listened to him. They ate what they could. They swallowed the dark bread. It was like daylight under the fluorescent trays of light. They talked on into the early morning, the high, pale cast of light in the windows, and they did not think of leaving.
By Raymond Carver, Cathedral

"Smell this," the baker said, breaking open a dark loaf. "It’s a heavy bread, but rich." They smelled it, then he had them taste it. It had the taste of molasses and coarse grains. They listened to him. They ate what they could. They swallowed the dark bread. It was like daylight under the fluorescent trays of light. They talked on into the early morning, the high, pale cast of light in the windows, and they did not think of leaving.

By Raymond Carver, Cathedral

2 months ago
Consommé Bleu - Steak was cubed, then pressed with a duck press. The blood was infused with nitrogen to keep it from oxidizing, then cooked at 54 degrees Celsius in a circulating water bath.
(Editor’s Note: Really great interactive article about Ferran Adrià and Nathan Myhrvold heralding the "End of Cuisine").

Consommé Bleu - Steak was cubed, then pressed with a duck press. The blood was infused with nitrogen to keep it from oxidizing, then cooked at 54 degrees Celsius in a circulating water bath.

(Editor’s Note: Really great interactive article about Ferran Adrià and Nathan Myhrvold heralding the "End of Cuisine").

2 months ago

Shake Shack Collaborate with Top Chefs To Celebrate 10th Anniversary (in order of appearance):

Daniel Boulud - The Piggie Shack. Shack beef-blend topped with DBGB’s BBQ pulled pork, jalepeño mayo, Boston lettuce and mustard-vinegar slaw.

David Chang - Momofuku Shrimp Stack. Shack beef-blend cheeseburger topped with smoked and griddled shrimp patty, Momofuku Hozon Sauce, Bibb lettuce, pickled onion and salted cucumber.

Andrew Zimmern - AZ Cabrito Butter Burger. Goat burger with herb butter topped with roasted tomato, charred onion and sweet pickle.

Daniel Humm - The Humm Burger. Shack beef-blend gruyere cheeseburger topped with all-natural applewood smoked bacon, celery relish, Bibb lettuce, truffle mayo and shaved fresh black truffle.

April Bloomfield - The Breslin Burger. Breslin beef-blend burger topped with all-natural applewood smoked bacon and Tickler English cheddar cheese sauce.

3 months ago

Food in the films of Wong Kar Wai

Nothing captures the particular flavour of Hong Kong coolness like the films of Wong Kar Wai. If you have ever wondered why someone would abandon North America for a life in Asia, watch Chungking Express and its pseudo-sequel Fallen Angels. Both of these films are early examples of the now formulaic structure of portraying the lives of several unconnected people whose paths cross in unexpected ways. Other examples of films that adopt this formula include Shortcuts by Robert Altman, Magnolia by Paul Thomas Anderson, Crash by Paul Haggis, and most recently, Babel by Allejendro Gonzalez Anarritu. Isn’t it interesting that all of these films are of the highest quality. Perhaps this formula is suited to capturing the ungrounded isolation of the individual in the post-modern city, and how this collective isolation has become the defining trait of contemporary culture.

Both Chungking Express and Fallen Angels are masterpieces of late 20th century film. They are that rare species of film that can be watched over and over with new details and layers of meaning emerging with each viewing: The portraits of Hong Kong streets, buildings and interiors; the collection of subcultures and archetypes; the terse wit of the dialogue; the mix of languages; the costumes that drift into sexual fetish; the use of numerology; the soundtracks; and the groundbreaking cinematography of Christopher Doyle. One could write a thesis on any of these aspects of these two films. It is no surprise then, that even after repeated viewings, I failed to realize the thematic presence of food in both Chungking Express and Fallen Angels.

Much of Chungking Express takes place in a diner with a great segment of dialogue focusing on the boss convincing Tony Leung, playing a policeman, to buy both a club sandwich and a chef’s salad for his girlfriend. He uses the reasoning that perhaps she would like the choice of something different. Leung later returns to the restaurant after being dumped by the girl in question, he notes that perhaps she really did like the choice of something different. Another two scenes have Faye Wong, playing a worker in the restaurant, interrupting Leung while eating his roadside lunch of charsui barbecued pork to help her carry a big basket of vegetables to the restaurant. She later breaks into his apartment and switches the labels on his canned food. Takeshi Kaneshiro plays a love-lorn detective that goes on a bizarre eating binge of canned pineapple, based solely on the expiry date of the cans. In each case, food is somehow connected to desire and loss. 

Fallen Angels is even more focused on food. Scenes include Leon Lai (Li Ming), playing a hit man, eating a burger and fries in an empty 24hr McDonald’s as Karen Mok, playing a half crazed woman with a blond wig, comes over, sits down and proceeds to pick him up. Not a word is spoken through the whole scene. This is by far the best advertisement for McDonald’s ever made. Another scene has Michelle Reis eating noodles in a semi-stupor as a full out brawl goes on behind her. By far the most interesting and hilarious food scenes involve Takeshi Kaneshiro, as a mute petty thief, hassling people and amusing himself in a traditional market after closing time. Kaneshiro’s silent slapstick recalls the comedic greatness of Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. One scene has him giving a full massage to a pig carcass, in another he tries to force the sale of vegetables on an unsuspecting woman. He thrusts a skinny eggplant at the woman, and she evades the purchase by saying “I’m single, what would people think?” he then produces a massive melon instead. Later, he breaks into an ice-cream truck, kidnaps a man and forces him and his family to eat ice-cream as he happily drives around the city. We later find out that his mother was killed when she was hit by an ice-cream truck. This scene is neither sad nor maudlin, it is presented simply as part of the inexplicable course of events that make up our lives. In one of the final scenes, Leon Lai walks into a Japanese barbecue joint where Kaneshiro is now working. Kaneshiro’s comedic genius shines again as he manages to make the act of cooking meat on a stick ridiculously funny. 

Why the persistent references to food? As with the other aspects of life that Wong delightfully and poetically records, food is a reflection of culture. Food is as much a reflection of who we are as the buildings around us or the clothes we wear. And just as Wong’s characters are romantic archetypes of film and culture: the policeman, the waitress, the hit man, the stewardess, the restaurant owner, the petty thief. So are the items of food that are depicted: the club sandwich, the chef’s salad, barbecued pork, burger and fries, ice-cream. These are not so much specific items as food, as they are archetypes of food. Like Wong himself, they are ultimately romantic. (via The Hungry Donkeys)

5 months ago
Credibility and ethnicity

mrgan: Andy Ricker of Pok Pok, Portland’s best restaurant, gives an interview to Restaurant Girl and answers two questions that are on my mind a lot lately when it comes to food:

You were kind of thrust into the position of poster child for a current spate of white chefs cooking Asian cuisine.  Why do you think this became such a hot button topic for people?
I don’t know, really.  Probably lots of reasons.  I notice though that there’s not a lot of criticism of American chefs cooking Italian or Spanish food despite what their ethnic background is (Irish guy making some of the best Italian food in the city, anyone?)

You were more recently involved in a bit of an imbroglio about the fact that you charge for rice.  Is this indicative of New York’s perception of Asian cuisine overall, that it should automatically come with free rice, or is this a larger, nationwide expectation?
It’s a larger issue than just rice.  We seem to think that Asian food should be cheap and plentiful no matter what effort or ingredients go into it or what rent or wage is paid to produce it.

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