We ate well this week. Starting with fresh turkey eggs and the rich cardoons of Andalusia, we got the stories behind, and recipes for, Greek bitter herbs. Ari Weinzweig told us about Spain's [yet more addictive] answer to bruschetta, and Jarrett Wrisley went far afield to find the chemistry of a great sandwich. We welcomed spring with fresh ramps [an acquired taste! and one I'll never acquire, though no one could tempt me more than Sally] .
We drank as well, in celebration of the birthday of the cocktail. Clay Risen brought us the best-kept secret in domestic whiskey, finally available in the U.S. after way too long. Heather Sperling filed a report from London on gin you inhale--though it requires some odd clothing. We explored the rich history of wine, learning a bit of Egyptian hieroglyphics in the process.
Jerry Baldwin taught us how to get the most out of coffee with proper storage. We discovered the strange, and strangely frequent, intersection between ice cream scoopers and punk rock stars. We explored the troubled relationship between vegans and vegetarians and the difference between good food and trendy food.
And, of course, we celebrated the James Beard Awards. Corby reported from the scene on his grateful surprise at winning, the cured meats that were the star of a spontaneous afterparty [people did stay up all night--this was at lunch the next day], and the touching and stirring speech by official Best Chef Dan Barber.
We also expanded our recipe library with six new additions: pasta with ramps; lentil soup with hyacinth bulbs, garlic, and mint; cardoons with almond sauce; and the latest in our growing list of vegetarian options, carrot-thyme coleslaw, BBQ tempeh sandwich, and little potato and sweet potato pancakes.
And this from Marion Nestle's post this morning on food miles especially struck me, because it so succinctly summarize where I always end up when thinking about the carbon footprint, imported and seasonal foods, and what I should let myself buy and eat:
I've always thought that the real benefits of local food production were in building and preserving communities. I like having farms within easy access of where I live and I like knowing the people who produce my food. If local food doesn't make climate change worse and maybe even helps a bit, that's just icing on the cake.
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