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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: The food community loses a hero, laziness doesn’t exist, and mussels test positive for opioids

by | Jun 8, 2018

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week the food community loses a hero, laziness doesn’t exist, and mussels test positive for opioids.

Sorry this week is a little New York Times heavy. Personally I am happy to purchase subscriptions that support publications doing excellent work, and I encourage everyone who can afford it to do the same. It’s more important now than ever.

Next week’s Mindful Meal Challenge will start again on Monday. Sign up now to join us!

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: It’s OK to let your kids trick-or-treat, gut fungi are a thing, and how to reclaim your mornings

by | Oct 20, 2017

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

A heads up that this will be my final post for awhile as I’m going on maternity leave. Wish me luck! If you’d like to follow along on Instagram you can do so at @daryarose.

Next week’s Mindful Meal Challenge will start again on Monday. Sign up now to join us!

This week it’s OK to let your kids trick-or-treat, gut fungi are a thing, and how to reclaim your mornings.

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Read the rest of this story »

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The Loveliness of Raspberries

by | Aug 10, 2009

Raspberries

Raspberries

Today’s post is very special and a bit of a departure from the regular healthy eating tips of Summer Tomato.

Last week we had a discussion about truly special occasions and how they are defined. I mentioned that though special food moments can be characterized by remarkable food and talented chefs, they can also be deeply personal, reflecting moments and emotions from your past.

I’ve explained before and novels have been written about how moments like this can change your life.

Today my friend Austen Caldwell describes such a moment and reminds us just how special food can be.

Austen loves things.  Sometimes they are drawings, sometimes they are poems, and sometimes they are plates of perfectly manicured food.  At the end of the day, they all equal a well-satisfied sigh.  He hopes that everyone sighs today.

The Loveliness of Raspberries

A longtime fan of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, I’ve become accustomed to his theory that there are two sensory phenomena that evoke memories of childhood and are made the better for it:  music and food.  Perhaps he referred to the song that was playing when he had his first kiss; I know I remember mine.  Or perhaps it was the smell of his mother’s kitchen, the homemade stew no one could recreate, something welcoming and warm, that inspired this epiphany. The music I understood, but the moment of reconnection with the youthful memories of food?  For this moment, I was waiting.

Her name was Loretta.  She was a lovely woman, kind and always happy.  She was short, barely five feet from the ground, but lively and spectacular.  She was my grandmother’s sister: my Great Aunt.

I have a great love of raspberries.  For that matter, I love berries of every variety: lingonberries, strawberries, cranberries, boysenberries.  All are exquisitely delicious, but raspberries, raspberries have always been particularly partial to my palette.  I have had a jar of raspberry preserves in my home for every day that I can remember, but I’ve only recently realized why.

Summers with my grandmother in Brunswick, Ohio, we would take the twenty-six mile trip up to Cleveland to visit her sisters.  She had four.  The eldest, Loretta, lived in a beautiful brick home, the kind you don’t get in the West.  She had a modest yard and a modest garden, and curled up next to the side façade of that gorgeous house was a pair of unassuming, modest raspberry bushes.  Garden fence and everything.

As a child, I spent every summer visiting relatives, and one of my greatest joys was those trips to see Lala (which was my nickname for Aunt Loretta).  She had her own nickname for me.  It was Little Bit.  When my sister was born, I became Big Bit, but I remained a bit: a bit of my father, a bit of his mother, a bit of her sister.  And each summer, I was privileged to visit this lovely woman, a woman who lived to see her 100th birthday, and pick raspberries with her.

Nothing ever tasted so good to a young boy.  And, I suspect, nothing ever will, even if I live to see my 100th birthday.

I was seven years old, the first time I remember picking raspberries with Loretta.  She was strong for her age, but still fragile, making me feel as if I were doing something she couldn’t as I reached a berry, buried deep, close to the wall of her house.  Something elusive.  Something special.

Sweet, ripe, juicy.  These are the words we use to describe fresh fruit.  Of course they were these things.  But they were also the start of something new, something unexpected.  They were the start of a love affair.  Years after the fact, they resonate.  The raspberries of these bright, amazing days remain the reason that particular fruit has always struck a chord with me, no matter what other flavors I may encounter.  The reason that these, these texturally magnificent, teasingly tart, and subtlety sweet fruits mean so much is not merely their excellence, but that reminder of something else beautiful.  To me, raspberries are not solely the flavor and texture, but they are also Loretta’s well-worn, infinitely kind voice, the way she stutter-stepped before she reached up to wrap her arms around me, the blink she always made when she smiled.

I can track that sensation to the first bite of fresh-picked berries with my Aunt Loretta, but it continues.  It continues through raspberry preserves and peanut butter in middle school.  It continues with raspberries as an afternoon snack in high school, when I was ‘concerned about my weight’.  It continues through convincing my friend to make for me custom raspberry smoothies at her juice stand which I frequented my freshman year at university.  It continues, and I am just finding out why.

I hope I understand now what Bourdain meant: that those transcendent moments of our youth stay with us, if not through memory, but something else.  Our memories of the people and places important to us remain in a different form.  They become a different kind of memory, and those memories, of something sensory, something sweet, something savory, will always remain

something special.

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Do you have a food that changed or deeply affected your life? What do these foods mean to you and how have they influenced your relationship with food in general?

Thanks again to Austen for this beautiful story.

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Anthony Bourdain Takes A Shot At Alice Waters

by | Jan 23, 2009

On Monday, January 19, the dcist printed an interview with celebrity chef and star of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain. When asked if he had any advice about food, Bourdain took the opportunity to point out that Alice Waters “annoys the living s***” out of him.

Really? Thanks, Tony, great advice.

Here is the excerpt (here is the link):

Any advice about food?

I’ll tell you. Alice Waters annoys the living s*** out of me. We’re all in the middle of a recession, like we’re all going to start buying expensive organic food and running to the green market. There’s something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic. I mean I’m not crazy about our obsession with corn or ethanol and all that, but I’m a little uncomfortable with legislating good eating habits. I’m suspicious of orthodoxy, the kind of orthodoxy when it comes to what you put in your mouth. I’m a little reluctant to admit that maybe Americans are too stupid to figure out that the food we’re eating is killing us. But I don’t know if it’s time to send out special squads to close all the McDonald’s. My libertarian side is at odds with my revulsion at what we as a country have done to ourselves physically with what we’ve chosen to eat and our fast food culture. I’m really divided on that issue. It’d be great if he [Obama] served better food at the White House than what I suspect the Bushies were serving. It’s gotta be better than Nixon. He liked starting up a roaring fire, turning up the air conditioning, and eating a bowl of cottage cheese with ketchup. Anything above that is a good thing. He’s from Chicago, so he knows what good food is.

I’m not sure where to start.

Clearly Bourdain understands neither the goals nor the motives of Waters’ political activities. No one is trying to legislate good eating habits. Well, maybe someone is, but it isn’t Alice.

Waters is one of a growing number of activists that recognize the government already has too big a hand in governing what we eat, specifically through controlling what is available. Currently the federal government (i.e. tax payers) subsidize the mass production of food and products known to cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

Decentralizing our food supply means putting our food production back into the hands of people who grow real food rather than high-fructose corn syrup and trans fat. Why this is “unrealistic” is beyond me.

His economic argument–as if Bourdain knows anything about being poor–is equally infuriating:

“We’re all in the middle of a recession, like we’re all going to start buying expensive organic food and running to the green market.”

It is a common misconception that eating fresh, seasonal food is prohibitively expensive. This is simply not true. Sure the produce at Whole Foods is pricey (you pay for what you get), but their dry goods are inexpensive and of high quality.

You know what’s expensive? Brasserie Les Halles.

Farmers markets are becoming more prevalent every year and local, seasonal produce is some of the highest value food you can buy. Cooking at home is far more cost effective (in price, long-term health and often time) than eating out.

Once again, thanks for the advice Tony.

Does Alice Waters annoy the s*** out of you too?

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