Archive for May, 2008

Fiddlefest is upon us!

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Sunday June 1st, 4-7pm, Slow Food Portland will be holding its annual Fiddlefest , a celebration of Maine’s spring foods.

Spices of Life

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Next Friday, May 30th 5-7pm, please join us for the opening of a new show of photographs by Portland photographer Stacey Cramp. The show, titled Spices of Life: Scenes from India’s Himalayas, includes photos of food in the life and culture of this northern Indian region. Also during the opening, you can sample teas from South Asia in a tasting organized by Sweet Leaves Tea House & Restaurant from Brunswick. You can probably expect some funky Bollywood dance mixes as well.

Monday, May 19th, 2008

There’s always something good to read at Amy Ephron’s food writers’ blog/newsletter One for the Table. This week there are two favorites of mine up there. There’s a great excerpt from Alexander Lobrano’s Hungry for Paris: The Ultimate Guide to the City’s 101 Best Restaurants. So much more than a book of reviews – the author tells real stories of his experience dining in this select group of Paris restaurants. The list includes restaurants from many culinary traditions – not just French – here are pleasant tips on dining happily and bits of history as well.

There’s also a lovely article on the arrival of fiddleheads, by Brenda Athanus who, along with her sister Tanya, run the Green Spot in Belgrade Lakes. Brenda gives us real instruction, too, in the tricky craft of cooking them just right.

Food for thought

Monday, May 19th, 2008

An incredible article on food waste in America.

Stop messing with our luxuries!

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Iran has been messing with Iraq and now they’re messing with the caviar markets. Iranian caviar, considered some of the world’s best, is being sold for the first time via a major auction in Britain. Nearly $10 million dollars worth will be on the block. This may be a problem for some of the existing brokers of caviar, but we’ll have to wait to see what it does to the market.

More seriously, global warming is effecting the truffle harvests in France. And the Chinese truffle, a cousin to the magnificent white truffles of Italy and black truffles of France has been found in Italy, perhaps imported on inoculated root stock. Truffle “farming” is getting more popular in Europe and the US, and inoculated oak saplings are being sent around the globe. So the truffle spores are traveling, and sometimes they’re not the right spores. Time will tell if the bland flavorless Chinese truffles will be invasive and replace the real thing. The Chinese have been selling fake truffles to the west for years (and more years), but this time it’s a threat to the actual existence of the real thing. Whether it’s global warming or the invasive Chinese spores, it will be more than a shame if this grand piece of gastronomic heritage is eventually lost.

Winemaker Robert Mondavi is Dead

Friday, May 16th, 2008

California winemaking patriarch Robert Mondavi is dead at 94.

Chicago rejoins civilization

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

The Chicago City Council has repealed its ridiculous ban on foie gras. For those of us who have a fondness for Chicago’s food culture, this is a very good thing.

Pigs, Pigs, Pigs

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

So we missed the first Monday night at Evangeline. Erik’s cooking up a single meal each Monday, and offering it at a great price. I mention it because I’ve got pigs on the brain right now, and the meal we missed included this:

Slow-baked Four Story Hill Farm “Cochon de Lait” with bean cassoulet,
and stuffed with riesling soaked apricots

I won’t be missing too many of these nights.

Also regarding pigs – we’re grateful for some more national press in the form of a “News & Notes” piece in the June issue of Food and Wine. They state, “the owners—a rare-book appraiser and a former pastry chef—stock quirky texts like notes written in 1905 on breeding pigs for bacon.” We love the attention, and send our thanks, but think there’s nothing “quirky” about bacon. We’ve got lots of bacon stuff in the store, including the piece they were referring to: Bacon Pigs in Canada. We love pigs, and bacon, and personally I get a big kick out of finding an unusual (ok, quirky) piece on the subject. I found this –> turn of the 20th century trade card, advertising a Lard Refining company with a great graphic.

And here’s one of the many, many publications of Charles Lamb’s Dissertation on Roast Pig in a limited gift edition from 1933.

Some of the great modern pig books include Martin Picard’s Au Pied du Cochon, both volumes of Fergus Henderson’s Nose to Tail series, Stephen Reynaud’s soon to be indispensable Pork and Sons and Terrine, and James Villas’ single subject study, Bacon (the last three not pictured here).

And if you need a dose of pork, and other meats every few months, don’t forget the new journal of carnivore culture, Meatpaper.

And while were on the subject, visit the new website of Dave Mallari, The Pig Kahuna, where you can book your summer pig roast (in Southern Maine).