• Wednesday, July 18, 2007


    Just when you thought it was time for bed, you check your email. Here's John Mariani's newsletter with a beautiful piece on a SoHo restaurant, Provence.

    In case you haven't gotten to my other blog yet, I'm writing this week about wonderful flavors of Provence. He mentions a new (to me) green called Puntarelle greens which are in the recipe in today's New York Times, which I also noted in my piece on Smoky Provencal Bluefish.
    Lavender is said to be good for sleep, so maybe I'll go take a whiff...see you at the Dewey Square Market - I'll be the ones with the bags under my eyes...

    Labels: , ,

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Aaargh! I'lll Thank You for No Booty from China, Matey!

    Bad Chinese Booty

    I'm speaking of Veggie Booty of course, get your mind outta that gutter! Even a trusted vendor such as Robert's "American" Gourmet seems to have been selling us less than the genuine "American" article. As we now are learning, more and more of our toxin-tainted food is traced back to this model of safe and ethical practices, CHINA.

    While we award this monument to human rights suppression and environmental destruction with something as grandiose as status as Olympic hosts, we turn a blind eye to the tainted products churning out of this trade behemoth. It's not enough that pets are dying, people are sick from toothpaste with antifreeeze components, we now have a "healthy snack alternative" touted as "American" that comes with a healthy side of salmonella. Yum.

    People have got to demand better transparancy, closer scrutiny and begin buying from more local and trustworthy sources. Or not.

    Something Stinky in Gilroy

    I was stunned to learn that Gilroy Garlic sauce makers use cheap Chinese garlic, even while complaining about how lack of trade protection hurts them. I'm sorry but this stinking rose stinks to high heaven!

    You lose credibility when you raise the spectre of tainted Chinese products as means to support tariffs against competitors' product, but then you use it in your own "Gilroy" sauces.

    The garlic trade's lawyer artfully infers all types of safety issues, economic calamity and more with a subtle turn of phrase or two.

    Chinese Aquaculture - What's not Ti-Love?
    I told readers about the so-called "Zero Toxin Fish" . Tilapia, which is being marketed as "TiLoveYa" by a Chinese-owned company whose web-site and company structure seemed, well, fishy, to me. Not only were the claims suspect "rain fed" equals "zero-toxins" but the only certifciations on their site were not for any organic, or natural, or aqua-culture methods. Reading the fine-print it was something like plant safety, if memory serves. I invited anyone from the organization to answer questions or send information and no one, to date, has responded.

    Except for one regulatory agency in the U.S. - now if I can only get them to hound Paula Deen's favorite polluters, Smithfield Foods.

    Labels: , , ,

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    New England Clambake - July 4th in Boston

    John's Clambake included lobsters, steamers, hot dogs, bratwurst, onions, potatoes, corn on the cob....we tore it up! Thanks buddy, we're still savoring the memory of the terrific meal. Good company, too.

    My first blueberry pie of the season. Not too shabby.
    The seafood was from Yankee Lobster way out on the pier. This has to be one of the favorite finds of the summer. Clean, simple, straightforward seafood. Doesn't cost an arm and a leg, either. Gotta love a joint with old photos of generations of fishermen and counter service that includes generous pours on the wine and non-stop smiles.
    Continuing our obsession with seafood, I made Linguine con Vongole (last week) and Caleb did a fantastic Scampi tonight. It's a terific meal and include the technique and tips that will enable you to make many seafood pasta meals easily in this week's Suite101 column.

    Labels: , , ,

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    Going Green – is it just me or is it hot in here?

    Okay, here’s what I’m burning on today.

    Our Great Barrier Reef is now dying at an astonishing rate due to rising water temperatures. It’s dying faster than I can save to fly there and dive it. But Al Gore (the ex-veep, not his headline-stealing, drunk-driving, son) is hosting mega –concerts on multiple continents to teach us the importance of using energy efficient lightbulbs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but did he insist the White House get fitted with same? I know about these concerts because I read a nice piece on MSNBC.com by a British journalist who flew to the US to cover our concert here, rather than save all those carbon credits and cover the event on his own home turf.

    Gore’s concerts to save the planet were accomplished with the help of stars who’ve jetted all over the globe for the occasion, including US-based bands who flew to other continents to perform. He also had help from organizers and roadies seen drinking Fiji water from plastic bottles. And don’t forget the 60,000 fans in NJ alone who had to drive their cars to the venue selected. I quote “…only mass transit available directly to the Meadowlands was New Jersey Transit Authority buses coming from midtown Manhattan. “I would’ve taken the bus, but I wasn’t going to drive all the way into Manhattan just to do it,” said Michael Frank, who drove 30 minutes from his home in Short Hills, New Jersey in his Mercedes-Benz. “That’s the problem with the Meadowlands,” he said. “No trains, no metro stops. You’ve got to drive to get here. You have no choice.” Oh, no Michael you had a choice. Stay home and watch it on TV. Don't buy a Mercedes, Michael, that's another choice.

    And some eejit named Akon, described as a rapper who “…drives a Lamborghini Gallardo (9 miles per gallon) and owns a South African diamond mine, admitted that he was only just now cluing into environmentalism. “I just realized today what the meaning of green is,” he said.

    How much in carbon emissions could have been saved if people simply watched the performers from their own TVs or computers? How about if performers contributed via satellite? How many landfills of concert trash could have been avoided?
    Going Green- it isn't easy. Then again, sometimes it is.
    Every time I look at some list of top ways to “go green” and save the planet, it seems to start with buying someone’s product. Call me a relic but in the old days we started by saying “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” I think that’s how it went but I wasn’t ever really that virtuous…My point is this, and I do have one: buying more consumer products will not help us reduce waste, or toxic emissions, carbon footprints or what have you. Buying things to save the planet only makes sense to those who are selling things. This they do, not to save the planet but to save their jobs. Remember the old anti-war slogan: “Fighting for Peace is like Fucking for Virginity.” Why buy new Windex wipes when yesterday’s newspaper with a little water or vinegar cleans glass just as well? Go ahead, try it.

    Another example: I pick up “Real Simple” magazine on a recent trip. Never mind it’s over 300 pages long. We could probably cut down on carbon emissions by requiring airline passengers to limit the heft of their reading materials. Anyway, the first ad in "Real Simple" is for an SUV. The second ad is about “Nature’s Gifts” but it’s not about the rainforest or the Barrier Reef. No, it’s about clothes at Baby Gap. Any new parent will tell you that babies grow out of clothes LONG before they wear them out. Recycling baby clothes is one of the easiest ways to cut down on wasteful consumerism.

    Next ad: Elizabeth Hurley for Estee Lauder. I must have missed the news of how my makeup choice and buying more of it will help “simplify” my life. Ask any honest woman and she will tell you that she has bins of unused makeup that have done nothing to simplify her life. Next ad: more new clothes. Next ad: Visa card encouraging me to go to the Kentucky Derby. (In my new clothes, with my new makeup, in my new SUV, no doubt.)

    Irons for Irony's sake?
    On page 10 – the first hint of any real content: a quote from Dorothy Parker – under a picture of an iron on an ironing board. The quip “It’s not the tragedies that kill us, it’s the messes.” Somehow, I don’t think Dot was thinking about global warming or simplifying my life. I’ll bet if she were, thinking about either, it would be a martini in hand, not an iron.

    Well, you get my drift. It is simply offensive to have hucksters using guilt to sell us more crap in the name of “conservation.” Carbon credits are largely viewed as a dubious benefit to the environment. The myth that we can buy our way to guilt-free, planet saviour status is just that: a myth. Real behaviour change means more than buying a more fuel-efficient SUV. It means not buying one to begin with. I want a carbon credit (or some kind of credit) for every jerk who went to one of these concerts but still has to have the i-Phone, the Xbox or some other new toy and drove to the concert with a case of individually bottled water in the trunk of his SUV. How many of us have drawers and closets littered with last years’ model of gadget or last seasons’ hemlines? I'm guilty.

    Next time someone tries to sell you their product to assuage your guilt as a consumer, beat them to the punch and say “no thanks.” Then feel good that you’ve done something meaningful, at least this day for mother earth.

    Labels: , , ,

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button