From the May 2007 Saveur…

capn_crunch.gifFrom the May 2007 Saveur comes this great tidbit: the full name of Cap’n Crunch! His proper name is Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch. The Horatio makes him sound British, which makes sense since his outfit looks like an English Navy get up (or something Naploean would have worn). And the Magellan gives him an air of exploration. The Crunch is straight out of Dickens. He may be Capt. H.M. Crunch aboard ship, but he’ll always be Cap’n of breakfast to me.

"Tartiflette has the tang and…

"Tartiflette has the tang and satisfaction of macaroni and cheese baked until it forms a chewy crust, the pure pleasure derived from a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes and a flavor that could only come from 500 years spent perfecting cheesemaking." A traditional dish of France's Haute-Savoie region, it can be tricky to find a version that's delicious and not just served up for tourists. Mmmm…tartiflette.

I’d completely forgotten that…

Individual bread pudding
I’d completely forgotten that Broadway Panhandler (a cooking store here in New York) had moved closer to my neighborhood, so when I happened to walk by it yesterday, I stopped in. I was quite excited to see there’ll be a Bread Pudding Recipe Exchange Week Taste Off! on Wednesday, May 2nd at 2 PM. “You be the judge of our selection of bread puddings, baked by our highly competitive (and dessert obsessed) staff.” Recipes will be shared and there’ll be a trial of the Zojirushi Rizo Rice Cooker, though I don’t know what a rice cooker has to do with bread pudding, unless there’s some mistake and it’s a rice pudding contest. Regardless, sounds like fun for a New York City-based bread pudding fan. And guess who’s a New York City-based bread pudding fan?!

The Washington Post examines the…

The Washington Post examines the possible change in the chocolate standard with Chocolate Purists Alarmed by Proposal To Fudge Standards. (I couldn't resist that title!) While the proposed change isn't limited to chocolate (it's more general than I'd realized, basically allowing for the substitution of vegetable fats), it certainly will impact chocolate if it's approved. [thanks Kayhan!]

A new market for New York

Somehow I just stumbled upon this: New Amsterdam Public. "It is time to build upon the Greenmarket’s success by establishing a permanent, indoor public market consisting of artisan purveyors committed to selling food produced sustainably and humanely in our region." They hope to transform the Fulton Fish Market building near South Street Seaport into a year-round market for New York City. It sounds like a fabulous idea to me. I emailed one of the folks involved in the project, Robert LaValva, about where things currently stand. His response:

Right now, we are working on a proposal to the City of New York to let us begin holding seasonal, sustainable food events in one of the empty Fulton Market buildings. The events will allow New Yorkers to envision a permanent, year-round market and help build momentum and support for that to happen.

Sounds like the market dream is still a ways off, but I'm hopeful it will happen. For more information, check out this essay about the philosophy behind the market.

Rhode Island is the birthplace…

Rhode Island is the birthplace of the diner, and the New York Times takes a look at some its oldest historic diners. I'm a huge diner fan, especially of the authentic railcar diners. I wish there were more here in Manhattan, but two I like to frequent are The Square, in TriBeCa, and the Cheyenne, on Ninth Ave near 34th Street. I just wish there were a great one close to my house. Boston has some good ones, especially in Somerville and Cambridge, that I used to go to all the time when I lived there. Mmmm…diner breakfast would be good right now.

More thoughts on foie gras production

Yesterday I wrote about producers changing their approach to foie gras production and I wondered, "By changing their approach to product, aren't producers acknowledging that force-feeding is inhumane?" Some folks wrote in with some thoughts about my question.

Berry:

I would say, not necessarily. Producers could merely be acknowledging that if they don't change their production methods, shrill activists may get their product banned altogether, so they're attempting to compromise.

Kevin:

Obviously the producers have to speak for themselves.

But in my view efforts to find a way other than gavage to create foie gras is simply an acknowledgment that some people object to force-feeding (whether the arguments are correct or not), are passing laws against it, and the producers want to stay in business.

Lisa:

I don't think the only or strongest conclusion is that force-feeding in foie gras production is inhumane, nor do I think that producers exploring alternatives is inconsistent with their statements that the animals don't suffer during the process. An alternative view is that the producers are aware of the power of public opinion–informed or not, scientifically correct or not–and are considering other approaches that may yield the same product but avoid the public condemnation. Trying to find the happy medium, as it were.

All three of you raise valid points, and it's quite possible that the production changes are motivated by a simple desire to stay in business. Still though, I can't help but feel like this is one of those logic problems you see on tests. If force-feeding is inhumane, you change your method. If it's not, you don't. Of course, I never took logic in college, so I'm sure I could be guilty of some kind of logical fallacy here. Thanks for writing folks, it reminds me I should turn on comments again!

Eating on a budget

It's about the half way mark of the Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge, where participants limit themselves to eating local on the budget of an average American. The idea is to counter claims that eating local is too expensive. For one person, that means spending $68 on food for a week. Here's a list of participants, there are more than fifty people taking part and writing about their experiences.

Related: The governor of Oregon is living off a food stamp budget for a week. If you think $68 as your weekly grocery budget isn't much, imagine $21 for a week. That's what one person gets in food stamps for a week in Oregon. The governor isn't eating local though. One article I read said he was pretty much forced to buy junk food.