Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Remembering 2008 Through Food

by Andrea Scalici

Beware of the Tomato!/Jalapeno...Whatever it is:
In June of last year we started to notice all the tomatoes going missing from our supermarket shelves. How was I to make my favorite summer Caprese Salad? Well, it turns out there was a scare somewhere about something to do with tomatoes and I would have to settle for the cherry variety for way too long. Of course the hype, which stemmed from the influence of the spinach outbreak in 2006, was over the top but better safe than sorry right!... right? Turns out millions of farming dollars were lost in the U.S. and the sources were contaminated jalapeno and serrano peppers exported from Mexico. Talk about a mixed salad. Tomatoes got the blame for the largest salmonella outbreak in over a decade
, sickening more than 1,400 people in 43 states, including New York. So how do we know if we are afflicted? Most infected people suffer fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps starting 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness tends to last four to seven days. Beware! But never stop eating fresh produce.

The Return of Coffee:
2008 was the year of the little guy, including independent, neighborhood coffee shops getting all the hype. This went hand in hand with new studies out in June that suggested coffee is good for us! Sweet relief! The study was the largest of its kind to date, exploring coffee drinkers against such diseases as cancer and heart disease. And guess what? Coffee drinkers live longer.
"Coffee seemed to have no impact on cancer one way or the other. But it did have a big effect on heart disease - the leading killer for both men and women. Two or three cups a day cut the chances of dying from heart disease by 25 percent. Four or five cups a day cut it by 34 percent." So go out and support your local barista without the guilt...
For more details, visit the article online at

Obama Eats:
We will always remember 2008 as the year we were introduced to our new president, Barak Obama in a historic election win back in November. We were also introduced to some very important information about him including of course, his favorite foods. This started with a 60 Minutes interview featuring the Obama family making tuna salad (tuna, Grey Poupon, mayo, and chopped gherkins) and ended with questioning Obama's right-hand-man Reggie Love. And, like a good candidate, his answers remained pretty much the same. Comfort foods! Water over soda, and good ol' healthy vegetables...There was also this telling quote in response to his daughter's claim that he only makes chili:
"The truth is, before I met Michelle I did quite a bit of cooking. I had an Indian roommate for a while, so I learned how to make Indian food. I grew up in Hawaii where there's a lot of Asian influence, so I learned how to cook Chinese food...also, the stuff I make is a little too spicy for these guys." It's no wonder we have such faith in him; he has a global yet down to earth palate!

Favorite Food to Cook... Chili
Has Been Known to Enjoy... Shrimp & Grits
Not Fond of... British Food
Favorite Restaurant... Italian Fiesta Pizzeria in Hyde Park, Chicago
His vices?... Handmade milk chocolates from Fran’s Chocolates in Seattle and Nicorette gum

Palin Syrah:
On the other side of the ticket was an interesting little ditty. During all the 2008 campaign stats and trends, one bar in San Fransisco had it's own to watch. According to local wine guru in that area Amy Monroe, "Republican VP pick Sarah Palin might not be fond of San Francisco, but one San Francisco wine bar is fond of Palin Syrah. Or rather, it was. 'It was our best selling wine before the announcement,' said Chris Tavelli, owner of Yield Wine Bar, which has offered Palin Syrah, a certified organic wine from Chile, by the glass since July. But after John McCain tagged Sarah Palin as his running mate, sales of the wine with the conservative's inverted name plummeted—not surprising in famously liberal San Francisco."
Serious Eats tell us that "the Palin label is inexpensive (about $13 a bottle), organic, and Chilean."

The Dawn of Healthier Eating:
Along with the changing coffee image is a seemingly healthier eating trend that began developing in 2008 and will move us into the new year. With publications like In Defense of Foods by Michael Pollen enlightening us, we are concentrating more of whole grains, fruits and vegetables rather than calorie counting for overall health. This is further proved by the ban on trans fat that started in NYC in 2007 and moved to other parts of the country in '08 including Boston, Philly and the whole state of California! Though I must admit it has been a little helpful seeing just how many calories make up what I am eating at the chain restaurants required to post that information. A New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene survey even states there is growing evidence that New Yorker's have changed their eating habits in the six months since that new law went into effect this year.

1 comment:

Gonzalez Lewis said...

ooo... i am a tofu super fan! sigh. i want the mapo tofu soooooo badly right now. with rice.

Here I bought a sauce pack so as to skip all the seasonings! and i will try this friday after work.