September 7, 2012

The Menu 9-7

One of the things I wondered as I started this new feature last week is if I would find enough links to have something to talk about.  It is quickly apparent that it should have been no worry at all.  It has been yet another busy week in the world of food.

Market HeaderI'll start close to home, where the Boise Saturday Market fired its founder and executive director, Karen Ellis.    Depending on who you believe, she was either ran out for sloppy business practices or the victim of internal politicking; maybe both.  The Market certainly seems eager to soldier on without her--their website has already updated their pages to reflect her removal--but I am curious to see what will happen next.  The market has grown quite a bit under Ellis' leadership, and although it has become so crowded that I tend to skip it in preference of smaller produce stands, I believe her vision has helped Boise keep pace with the national trends regarding local and sustainable eating.  

Speaking of local and sustainable eating, GMO Free Idaho is putting on what sounds like a pretty spectacular fundraiser at the Visual Arts Collective this weekend.  Five dollars for a raffle that includes Idaho-produced vodka and a stay at one of the nicer hotels in the Boise area sounds like a pretty good deal.  Add to that door prizes, food samples, and a documentary screening, and it seems that if organic food is your thing, this could be one of the better events coming up.

No, seriously, you should go.
Of course, while GMO Free Idaho is fighting the good fight here in the City of Trees, the big news nationally this week is that Stanford released a study stating that organic doesn't matter.  While the Stanford study has gotten plenty of headlines, it appears to be primarily focused on shock value--nothing in the article mentions the benefits of going organic for the sake of the environment; merely that organic and non-organic carrots might have the same levels of beta-carotene.  The L.A. Times was quick to point out that the damage caused on the planet by pesticides and herbicides is the primary reason most people eat organic foods, not extra vitamins.  Not to mention that the study itself might be lacking in honesty.  It should come as no surprise to anyone who pays attention to these sorts of things that the study comes on the heels of a five million dollar donation to Stanford from agricultural giant Cargill.  Then again, even many of the most notable organic brands are part of the Grocery Manufacturer's Association, a powerful group that is fighting tooth and claw in Washington to lobby against having to label against GMOs.  So maybe in that regard, organic doesn't matter--there is a good chance that what we all pay extra for at the store isn't organic anyway.

Of course, the same isn't true for our local farmers; they don't get the support of multi-million dollar investments from Monsanto or their ilk.  (In fact, they are often at odds with those pesticide pushers!)  When you can actually talk to a farmer face-to-face about their produce, or the animals they have raised, you can see what goes into your meal, and know that the people who provided your food actually care.  That is why I enjoyed this article by food writer Mark Bittman praising the farmer--having grown up in an agricultural setting, as well as having a day job that often goes unappreciated by those who don't see me in action--I think he hits the nail on the head regarding what it takes to make good food.

Of course, if I had some high quality local pork and some farm fresh eggs, the first thing I would want to do with them is make this Asian-influenced Udon Pork Belly Carbonara from "The Food in my Beard."
Photo from "The Food in my Beard." 
 What I really love about Dan's blog is the way he makes instructional pictures, like the one you see above.  As I discussed in one of my earlier posts, I work from flow charts when I am in the kitchen--little diagrams that present the recipe the way that my brain works, so I'm not sifting through unnecessary text while in the full-on Tasmanian Devil panic mode that hits me sometimes while cooking.  These photos aren't exactly the same thing, but they are close--it really helps me understand the process of his recipes and if I want to cook them.  Sometimes when I read a lot of recipes back-to-back, my mind begins to gloss over and I don't understand them, but not at "The Food in My Beard."  That, and his food just looks tasty too.  Seriously; check out this carbonara and tell me it doesn't make you hungry.  You are either a liar or a vegetarian.

Until next week, happy eating!


  1. Catfish, I never heard of flow chard recipes before. Didn't know such a thing existed. I'd like to see one.

    Your blogger mate may be the best around at cooking, but his title, "The food in my beard" stops me dead cold. Ha! Bad image :-P

  2. Hi Catfish,

    I have really enjoyed touring your site, Like yummy! It make me hungry for sure. It will be a pleasure to seen others to you site for some lip smacking recipes.

    I appreciate you link to our event and hope you will be joining us.

    Thanks Leslie, GMO Free Idaho