February 21, 2006
Food News Feed - February 21, 2006
Finally! A website/newsletter devoted to restaurant news and food gossip in San Francisco. Rather brilliant stuff I do say...(so go subscribe already!).
The best cassoulet, by Paula Wolfert, nominated by Fergus Henderson: "A cassoulet is one of the best dishes ever and it always hits the spot. Wolfert's a fantastic American goddess of food writing, and hers is the wisest and most fantastic of all the cassoulet recipes."
Now I'm hardly an expert on French farmers markets, but I've shopped at enough of them to know that alot of the vendors are really just retailers, not farmers. They pick up their produce from the same wholesalers as most grocery stores, only they sell it on the street in the guise of a marketplace. Not that they claim to be farmers mind you, and I'm still shopping there instead of heading off to the store, but when you see three market stands in a row that display the same mind-boggling array of fruits and vegetables, you can be certain that the people peddling the produce aren't the same ones who grew it.
Which brings us to Michèle de La Pradelle's new book titled Market Day in Provence (University Chicago Press/March 2006). Michele examines the Carpentras marketplace near Avignon which despite the appearance of being a small local market staffed by artisanal growers, it's really something else. "Despite the illusion they produce, the vast majority of market fruits and vegetables have therefore been grown almost industrially, using the most modern methods...The market’s brand image is the food; it’s where you find fresh, higher-quality produce.” In fact, as I was able to confirm in interviews, most of the fruits and vegetables available on the market, either at stallholders’ or in sedentary shops, were purchased from the MIN in Avignon, a major wholesale market featuring an extremely broad range of produce from a great variety of sources."
Anyways. Ho hum, I know, if you've never been to France, but rather interesting if it rearranges those quaint nostalgic farmers market memories of yours if you have.
A student slides a tray toward the cafeteria cash register with a healthy selection: a pint of milk, green beans, whipped sweet potatoes and chicken nuggets, baked, not fried. But then he adds a fudge brownie. When he punches in his code for the prepaid account his parents set up, a warning sounds: "This student has a food restriction." Back goes the brownie as the cashier reminds him that his parents have declared all desserts off-limits.
The traditional hearty meal led to the first ham-and-egg show in 1916 at what is now Fort Valley State University. The shows spread throughout the rural South, highlighting proper meat-curing techniques in the days before refrigeration and the importance of high-quality livestock. The tradition is being kept alive in southern Georgia's Lowndes County, which holds the 56th annual ham-and-egg show on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Britain's once fertile soil has been systematically stripped of its crucial minerals by industrial farming, leaving our fruit and vegetables tasteless and a nation in chronic ill health...Back at home, I grated a couple carrots into a salad and started munching on a forkful. It wasn't that the carrots tasted bland. Nothing so positive. There was no discernible taste of any kind. Not the merest hint of sweetness. I might as well have been chewing on wood shavings.
Posted by Bruce at February 21, 2006 09:27 PM