Nov 28, 2012

Striking a Balance

Do we live to eat or eat to live? Given a choice between obsession/preoccupation or thriving/surviving, common sense swings to the right. Any time we live exclusively for temporal things, we risk imbalance. Yet anticipating a good meal is exhilarating!  And who wants nutrition to be joyless? Can we strike a balance here?

The Food Network and Cooking Channel both spotlight experts who have made preoccupation an occupation! Recently, I watched Giada De Laurentiis sample her Grilled Chicken and Avocado Napoleons. Giada aired approving moans as she crunched into a double-decked, puff pastry sandwich layered with grilled chicken, avocado, fresh spinach, and cayenne mayonnaise. She was the master juggler of food and thought as she dabbed drips from her chin.

There is no way Giada and her comrades simply eat to live. They embrace mealtime as a celebration of texture, flavor, aroma, visual appeal, and good company.

The Bible lays a foundation for healthy eating: whole foods, consuming animals that graze, and avoiding all creatures classified as scavengers. The Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diets most resemble this guideline and their food is far from boring. 

Eating is so sensory and full of surprises. It's no wonder that some people get carried away with their passion for it. For instance...
Q: The New Yorker described you as someone who eats "slowly" in "small, tidy bites." What should we infer from that?
A: That I want my meals to last forever.
—Maureen Down interviewing Nora Ephron; New York Times, August 2009 
I worked my way through all the food on the platter, all the samosas, then finally, completely abandoning myself, licked the platter itself, and even that had a complex nutty flavor, the flakes of crust melting in my mouth.
—Daniyal Mueenuddin on returning to the family farm in Pakistan; in The New Yorker, December 3, 2012
Buon appetito!

Nov 25, 2012

Feast Your Ears!

Hopefully, you are not feeling as stuffed as Thursday's turkey. Since it was just Barry, Brock (12), and me up here on the mountain, our menu was modest and nontraditional. We were satisfied but definitely not stuffed.

I listened to my favorite food podcasts today. Much of my blogging inspiration is derived from this resource. Yet, I mention podcasts to others and often receive a blank look. Some acknowledge being familiar with sermon podcasts, but nothing beyond that.

pod·cast • /ˈpädˌkast/
Noun: A multimedia digital file made available on the Internet for downloading to a portable media player, computer, etc.

My most favorite podcasts had their beginnings on local radio. The hosts eventually made replays available via podcasts. Fans could then listen at their leisure and as many times as they wanted. Stitcher and iTunes are my preferred apps for listening, and many websites offer streaming and/or audio links.

I enjoy a variety of themes, particularly food. However, I am not just interested in recipes and restaurants. I love the culture and science of food. I am curious about chef's and their cooking philosophy; organic and local food; as well as sustainable agriculture. 

Evan's program is local to Los Angeles. Jonathan Gold's food reviews are focused on the LA and Orange counties. Good Food's website states: 
Your weekly treat from Evan Kleiman. By tuning in to Good Food, you can discover great restaurants that you've never heard of, the politics of consumption, explorations of cultures through their food customs, and some of the most interesting people who devote their lives to various elements of the food supply.
Lynne began, years ago, as an early morning talk show host on Minnesota Public Radio. Since then, she has received 2 James Beard Foundation awards and her broadcast is in syndication. Lynne's bio shares: 
The late Julia Child was a steadfast advocate of The Splendid Table and appeared on the program numerous times. Among the parade of outstanding guests are food activist Michael Pollan, author of such books as The Omnivore's Dilemma and Food Rules; film director and writer Nora Ephron; famed Spanish chef José Andrés; the late director Ismail Merchant; food writer Anthony Bourdain; chef Mario Batali; Franz Ferdinand lead singer Alex Kapranos, who is also a food critic; and classical violinist extraordinaire Joshua Bell, who enjoyed an in-home cooking lesson from Lynne.
Food reviewers Jane and Michael Stern "find the special, unique and idiosyncratic diners and eateries in cities and towns across America..."

This is one of my newer favorites. Once a month, Jessica leads listeners on a sojourn into the heart of food culture. She is articulate and the pitch of her voice is deep and resonating. Her website says this about her:
A culinary historian, Dr. Jessica B. Harris has lectured on African-American foodways at numerous institutions and colleges throughout the United States and Abroad and has written extensively about the culture of Africa in the Americas, particularly the foodways. An award winning journalist, Dr. Harris has also written in numerous publications ranging from Essence to Saveur to German Vogue.
There are additional podcasts on the Heritage Radio Network (located on the East Coast) — some more liberal than others. Be sure to check it out.

Bon appétit,