Monday, February 6, 2012


I was raised by parents who taught me, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I guess either I wasn't listening, or I'm just a baaaad toad of a son. Either way, I do have some good things to say regarding food...contrary to what you fine people may have believed after reading several of my posts.  So let’s take a look at some foods, food trends and people in the food industry that deserve a thumbs up…we will get to the thumbs down another time. So sit back and enjoy the glittery rainbow with a happy face, covered in pink ribbons and chocolate sprinkles…or whatever it is that positive people think about.
I know what you’re gonna say and you’re right…Bacon and pork belly are everywhere, and it’s gotten out of control. Ok, so you’re only right until the end of the sixth word, then you got all crazy on me! Bacon and pork belly, more precisely good bacon and porkbelly…are everywhere. Applewood, cherrywood smoked, maple bacon, peppered bacon, thick cut, bacon pieces, jowl bacon, bacon ice cream, chocolate dipped bacon, braised pork belly, Asian spiced pork belly, porchetta done with pork belly, oh baby… I could go on forever!
Tell me you didn’t smile and think about grabbing a skillet just then. Trust me when I tell you there are worse things out there than good bacon or a nicely done pork belly anything. If you don’t believe me, get up tomorrow and have some nicely cooked over easy eggs, lovely toasted brioche and a side of wheat grass. Come on people….give pork a break. I’m a child of the 70’s and 80’s I know what overdone is...Exhibits A and B: ABBA and Phil Collins…I rest my case.

Food awareness…What the?! Oh man, Pav has gone soft in the head! No, now think about this for a moment people. Remember growing up and the most exotic thing in the produce isle was a banana?! Now look at the place, you’re hard pressed to find the banana’s now. I spend more time walking through produce trying to figure out what I’m gonna have for dinner because the variety and possibilities are endless. It’s like walking through the menu at Cheesecake Factory! (Which for chain food, I really like by the way.) Not just produce in stores, but with the rise of farmers markets and CSA’s, we have the ability to get some really great produce on our tables…if you’d just push the sloppy joe to the side once in a while.
It’s not just produce that has improved over the last ten years or so either. Look at the amount and variety of ethnic foods. I grew up in a virtual ethnic desert. French, Finnish, English, Irish, Swedish and maybe 4 Italian folks were what made up my little corner of Nowheresville, NH. When it came time to go to the grocery store to get creative with my inner Asian, La Choy was all they had. This made my inner Asian very sad, and not very Asian. Now look at what you can get, black vinegar, black bean paste, all manner of Asian sauces, noodles and ingredients…At this rate, I’ll be able to become full on Asian within five years… just as soon as I figure out how to speak any of the languages.

Social Media, I seriously don’t even know where to start here folks. Once, all we had to go on to find out if a restaurant was good, were food critics. That was if you were local, and your tastes jived with said critic. If you were away from home you were pretty much on your own, or you found yourself listening to the twenty year old receptionist at the hotel you were staying at pin down “insert pizza joint name” just up the street, as the “go to” restaurant in town. Now with Yelp, Trip Advisor, Chowhound, etc… You can see what’s good anywhere you go. Restaurants just about all have Facebook pages so you can look at menus and house specialties, and daily specials can be received via Twitter.

Street food now compared to just four or five years ago is getting crazy good, and the variety is endless in some cities.  Korean BBQ, Waffles, Ice Cream, Taco’s, crème brûlée, Thai, Soups, Sandwiches, Sausages and the list keeps growing by the month. Growing up the only food truck in my town was “The Hot Dog Man”, Today…well, today there are three food trucks, all three are stationary, all three of them serve Hot Dogs… the one at the home depot has branched out and also does Italian Sausage, but for those towns not the midway point between purgatory and hell…the future is looking bright…very bright!
Pho and Ramen…Yeah, I said it…Ramen, but not the ramen you’re thinking of. Good Ramen may sound like an oxy-moron to some, but Pho and ramen shops are starting to pop up all over the place using some super ingredients and producing some excellent stuff. Feel free to go to a local ramen shop and have a bowl, just don’t tell them you want the “Oriental” flavor you remembered having with the ten for a dollar ramen noodles you got at Wal-Mart.

Food people, and  by this I mean people that are out there talking about food and have some kind of forum to promote food awareness. The scary thing is, I don’t just mean the likes of Eric Ripert , Anthony Bourdain , Michael Pollan or the like, I’m also talking about (God help me) Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis and most of that crowd. Because for as evil as I think the latter group is, they at least are a catalyst for getting people who never thought about food before, to think about food in a somewhat serious manner. There are a few whom I give no credence to, and in my opinion do more harm than good. But as this is a positive article, and we are all thinking of baby penguins and cotton candy I’ll let you Google “Kwanzaa Cake” on your own. As for me, primum non nocere...second, get some ice cream.
Also included in the food people, are food blog’s and blogger’s. Not just the Serious Eats and Chowhounds of the world, but the everyday people, plus cooks and chefs alike. They care about food, they love food, and they want to share that love and passion with everyone to make this world a tastier place. From the simple to the complex, hamburgers to caviar, the foods these people blog about, or provide recipes for are a means to share an experience. An experience we can all learn from and should share with others. There are cooks and chefs out there who bellyache and moan about food bloggers, cibo people, and the like… but they’re missing the point.

Food for cooks may be about perfection, about an endless, mindless pursuit of robotic like repetition, so that the very last plate of Herb Crusted Dover Sole with Crab Brandade and Chive Emulsion looks exactly like the first …these “bloggers” can never hope to understand this, nor do they want to. But to these bloggers food represents more, much more…The food they write and talk about is a celebration. Not a celebration of how well they made a cupcake, or a celebration about how they made a perfect Consommé Doria…but rather food, is a celebration of life.

I know I missed quite a few things here people, but it’s a start. Maybe I’ll do a “What’s good in Food II” sometime in the near future…right now I’m feeling way too happy and positive about myself.  Maybe I’ll go and challenge The Cat to a game of Chess (He likes to call it "the game of kings" little smarty pants) Seeing’s  he has beaten me the last eight out of ten games, I’m sure that’ll have me back to my old curmudgeonly  self in no time…until then… I bid you peace.


  1. Mmmm. Okay I've feasted upon the food words and I'm asking for a toothpick. Better bid me good luck too. I think I just gained 20 lbs. *sigh* YUM!!!!

    1. It's all good @Kisi, maybe only read half next time, then read the other half later! Feel free to jump in with things I have missed and I'll try to address some of them in WGIF2 later! Thanks for reading!

  2. Well, done, sir! Really great post. Speaking of bacon, I'm making a bacon and mushroom calzone for a co-worker tomorrow. My cats will be rooting for The Cat, but I will root for you to win against him in your chess match!

    1. Thanks D,

      Well your cat's got their wish... but I now have the upper hand as I have hid his copy of "Holiday's In Heck" that he just got at the bookstore yesterday afternoon....NANNY NANNY BOO BOO!

  3. Ah, bacon! Every Thanksgiving, when I smoke my bird in applewood chips, I cross weave uncooked hickory smoked bacon over the top of it. It doesn't suck. My brother in law tried to beat my turkey two years running and failed miserably at it,(Nemo me impunio lacesset!) taking the majority of his bird back home! BWHAHAHAHA!Love the 2 Pho shops we have in Sarasota on Main...I use the chopped peppers they give me with the bean sprouts and sweat while I enjoy the steaming noodles with tripe and beef slices. Mmmmm......
    Poor cat, I loved 'Holidays in Heck,'cat is bumming I bet!

    1. Sounds like an ass kicking bird Bry! Do you brine it first? The Cat will be fine...big baby...