FLOG: The Foodiness Blog

Episode: 146

What’s on YOUR Plate?


Yes, a live show today, with my good friend Kristin Wartman; Let’s Get Real’s resident nutrition guru and food policy wonk! She has her own little office down here in the ‪#‎Foodiness‬ Fallout Shelter, where she sits and works on her forthcoming book “Formerly Known as Food”, and then we hang out and eat grass-fed burgers. Oh, we’re “discussing” the new ‪#‎USDA‬food guide “‪#‎MyPlate‬” recommendations…should be verrryy interesting.

Episode: 145

You can’t make soup dumplings with blue raspberry flavored Jello…


So I had to go to Whole Foods a few days ago, to buy unflavored gelatin. You know, like Knox gelatin in the little packets? I needed it for a private cooking class I was teaching, the clients wanted to make soup dumplings, those Chinese dumplings that are filled with ground pork and cabbage and also scalding hot soup stock. To make the soupy filling you make a strong chicken stock and add gelatin to it, or use a lot of extra bones to get the gelatin out that way, but we were using boxed stock. I don’t get paid enough to make homemade stock for clients, so don’t judge the box. You then chill the gelatinized stock ‘til it…well, gelatinizes, then dice it up and mix it into the filling, before filling and folding the dumplings. Then, when you cook them, tada! Soup inside! Incidentally, making stock is one of the best, simplest and most classical way of using up food and preventing waste, and for the record, I am a HUGE advocate of making your own stock, ok? I do it at home, but when I’m only getting paid for the 2.5 hours at a client’s house…well, then it’s boxed stock city for me. Don’t judge. That’s my job.

Why I am telling you this? Well, because I had to go to Whole Foods because it was on the way to the client’s house, and my stupid upscale local grocery didn’t have Knox gelatin, let alone any other gelatin, not even a selection of Jello, not that I could’ve used that. You can’t make soup dumplings anyway with blue raspberry flavored Jello. But the simplest, most basic of kitchen and pantry staples? Nope. Oh, they had 16 types of gluten-free crackers, and 7 brands of cold-pressed juices and 12 local ice creams and 18 organic baby-food options–but no plain ol’ Knox gelatin. Yup, 7 kinds of organic gluten-free flour, artisan baking powder, 6 different vintages of chocolate chips, but no Knox. So much of the “more”, not enough of the basics. I’d like to open a store that sells the 20 basic necessities for cooking at home. And that’s it. Like a Portlandia store, “two girls, two shirts!” or, “the cup and spoon store.” Twenty Cooking Basics. That’s it. And nothing gluten-free.

And my crappy regular mainstream supermarket is almost a mile walk away, as this is the new Brooklyn where on my once formerly desolate block there are now TWO custom bridal shops and TWO custom perfumers and a doggy day care and a store that just sells international soccer team jerseys, but you have to walk a mile to find a stupid packet of Knox gelatin.

What, does nobody gelatinize things anymore? Are we so impatient that we just leave our liquids fluid, have our short attention spans removed out ability to wait for gelatinization? Is it easier and requires less effort to drink liquids vs. the effort and dexterity involved in spooning a gel into our over-fed gaping maws? Or does the fact that gelatin is made from boiled, strained and rendered pig skin, hooves and bones factor in? I doubt it; this is Brooklyn. You could probably offer a restaurant dish titled “rendered pork skins, hoofs and bones, parsley stem coulis and apple core essence” on any menu around here and charge $28 bucks for it. And you’d CLEAN UP! But try to find a little box o’ Knox…well, you’d better put on your Fitbit cause there’s gonna be some walking involved.

Episode: 144

These Foolish Foodiness™ Things…Remind me of You…tah.


Speaking of soda, and Mormons, (we are, in today’s show) in yesterday’s edition of the paper of record there was an article about a lawsuit that is raging between two Utah drink companies, Swig v. Sodalicious. Have you heard of either of these chains? No, you wouldn’t unless you lived in the Mormon enclaves of Utah. Swig and Sodalicous are drinks stores, much like Starbucks, but they sell giant cups of soda, mega-slushies, so-called “energy” drinks, and giant cookies. What differentiates them from say, just a 7-11, is that they customize giant soda drinks with flavored syrups and added creaminess, to make what they call “dirty” sodas. The dirty being the Mormon version of acting slightly naughty in their squeaky-clean seeming lives. (Although I got some of the dirt on actual Mormon naughtiness from a very chatty ex-Mormon massage therapist one night, and hoo boy, the hypocrisy)

Anyway, adding shots of sweetened, sugary, coconut, strawberry, red velvet, or blue raspberry syrups (among hundreds of other options) to ALREADY super-sweet soda bases, is what makes them “dirty”, they’ll also throw in a shot of half n half or cream too, too make them even dirtier, and the Mormon kids are LOVING this shit. It’s their Starbucks.  They get to customize their drinks, too. Just like us!

One regular customer was quoted: “I go there on my way to work and on my way home from work,” said Britni (!) Perry, 33, a Swig fan who works at a prison not far from her preferred soda stop. She orders a Dirty Dr Pepper (soda, coconut syrup) in the morning and a Mountain Dew Fruit Loop (soda and strawberry, peach and watermelon syrups) in the evening.

This is some seriously sick shit. Like soda alone isn’t sugary-gross enough, these freaks are doctoring it up with MORE syrupy nastiness? Oh and what about the lawsuit I mentioned? Well the legal fight is over the word “dirty”,

A lawsuit between the two chains is raging over the use of DIRTY. And who has the right to use it, to describe their doctored up soda nightmares. As if drinking the soda isn’t enough, actual businesses exist to make it worse, sell it in huge plastic cups that get tossed away onto the Utah roadside, and now a legal battle rages over a word.

So this is what we’ve come to; members of a religious, sugar-addicted cult, fighting it out over a word that they’re using incorrectly to begin with. Not like a dirty martini, or a dirty movie or a bomb, no. Dirty soda. Soda is already dirty, it’s sweetened polluted water. Think of the resources, the water, the packaging, the petroleum products that go into this pointless industrial nightmare business. Then add a pointless, frivolous lawsuit, a shot of coconut-flavored syrup, and you’ve got America in one big plastic cup. Sweetened, plastic, pointless, frivolous, empty caloric junk.

Know what’s actually dirty? Shooting at people at a clinic that provides health care. That’s dirty. Claiming an alliance with 100 black ministers who never made that alliance. That’s dirty. Vowing to not allow any refugees from terribly war-torn, dangerous countries into your vast nation of immigrants. That’s dirty. Adding a shot of blue-velvet, cherry, marshmallow, twinkie flavored crap to a vat of sugar water? That’s just stupid.

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