Monthly Archives: October 2011

What Boston Eats in Area Four

Google “Area Four.”

When was the last time you read so many words strung together to describe a restaurant?  It’s a “Coffee / Bakery / Bar / Oven.” Officially.

How do you pull THAT off?

Pretty well, thanks. So says Boston Eats’ inimitable Sarah Kleinman (midwife / restaurant critic) in this review of chef Michael Leviton’s hip new eatery Area Four, located in the Area Four neighborhood of Cambridge.

PRK On the Air: Fishy Fish

Photo: malias/Flickr

It’s been a busy week in food news at WBUR.

Trick, or Treat?
First, “Radio Boston” picked up the thread of a major investigation published Monday by the Boston Globe, which reported on the willful and frequent mislabeling of fish by big names in the Massachusetts seafood processing industry.This means there’s a good chance that the tuna you think you are eating isn’t actually tuna. It could be escolar, or “snake mackerel,” a different fish species entirely and one that sells for 20% less than white tuna. Guess the chances of that price differential being passed on to you. Concerned? Listen to Radio Boston’s take on this controversial news story.

The Communal Table
On Tuesday, New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik joined “On Point” to talk about the meaning of food and the ‘why’ and ‘how’ we share it. His conversation with Tom Ashbrook takes as its jumping-off point a letter penned in 1942 by a French Resistance fighter three hours before his execution. “Questions of food have taken on great importance.” Indeed. The doomed man’s letter invigorates Gopnik’s thinking in his new book The Table Comes First: Family, France and the Meaning of Food.

Brown is the new Green
On Thursday, “Here & Now” aired a segment about the so-called “Brown Revolution.”  This form of ‘holistic land management,’ begun in Africa some 40 years ago, uses large grazing animals (e.g., cows) to restore dried-out grasslands, improve water tables and mitigate global warming. Sacha Pfeiffer speaks with Colorado rancher Jim Howell, co-founder/CEO of Grasslands LLC, and Brandon Dalton, a rancher and wildlife biologist, about the details. It’s a logical, fascinating concept; cows and goats get to do the ‘wild’ thing with the all-important action of their hooves.

A Shangri-la of flavor
“Radio Boston” finishes off the week with a visit to a Dartmouth farm named “Eva’s Garden,” three acres with more than 200 uncommon herbs, greens and edible weeds. Chef Didi Emmons calls it a Shangri-la of flavor, whose high-priestess is Eva Sommaripa, a woman who’s a veritable encyclopedia of botanical knowledge. “Radio Boston” co-host Meghna Chakrabarti paid a visit; listen in.

Food Fight: Celebrating National Food Day

Photo: Steve Snodgrass/Flickr

I have a confession: I was craving popcorn.

The moment I entered the dimly lit theater in the Museum of Science and took my seat to watch the critically-acclaimed documentary “Food Fight,” shown in celebration of National Food Day, all I could think of were those flimsy little paper bags stuffed to the brim with popcorn, topped with buckets of salt, and drenched in that fake butter that I have come to love as a compliment to a good movie. Call it conditioning, call it a societal ill, call it whatever you like – I just knew that all I wanted was that delicious sack of fake-food to munch on for the duration of the film.

I also knew that I, rightfully, was going to receive no such snack that day since I was there for the purpose of supporting ideals that counteract that very craving. The screening, sponsored by the Boston-based Let’s Talk About Food initiative, was free to the public and followed by a special commentary and Q&A session with the film’s director, Christopher Taylor. Before the film began, Taylor took to the podium to say a brief word about the documentary. “This film is a murder mystery,” he declared. “It’s about the murder of taste and who killed it.” With that simple statement, he stepped back and took his seat. The film began. Continue reading

Food Therapy from In the Kitchen with Eva

Photo: Rui Ornelas/Flickr

Snow’s coming. Start your slow-cookers and pull out your stew recipes.

Here’s one to get you started, from Boston blogger In the Kitchen with Eva. She’s got a Moroccan Harira made of wholesome beef or lamb, legumes (to the tune of lentils and garbanzo beans), noodles and savory spices such as ginger, saffron, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, cilantro and/or parsley. A veritable meal-in-one that is easily shared.

So, hole up and dig in, Boston! Winter is making a cameo appearance this weekend. Let’s welcome it in, then bid it adieu.

Thursday Tidbits: Cups of Happiness

Photo: Flickr/modomatic

LOCAL TREATS

Tea Time
Finale Desserterie and Bakery invites you to their November Tasting Event of Exotic Teas by MEM Imports, Nov. 2, 6:30-8pm. Choose from a variety of teas to sip on while savoring a paired dessert. To reserve your spot, call 617-423-3184 or visit Finale’s site for more information.

A Thrill/Chill Fiesta
Celebrate this Halloween in full spirit by coming out to ONCE de Los Muertos: a locavore Day of the Dead Fiesta being held Wednesday, Nov. 2, 6:30-9:30pm, at the Somerville Center for Arts at the Armory. Cuisine en Locale, Taza Chocolate, Cambridge Brewing Co. and Toscanini are sponsoring. The meal will include bountiful Mexican-inspired dishes such as pulled pork verde, chicken mole, agua fresca, and more, plus music and door prizes to the first 100 tickets sold. Get ‘em here.

Gather ‘Round
On Nov. 7 at 7pm, gather a group of your 10 favorite peeps, pool your money and support the Boston Public Market Association. The BPMA is working to make a year-round public market a reality, and needs your help at their Harvest Dinner Party fundraiser to do so. Purchase a table for 10 at one of the 20 participating Boston restaurants and feast upon a multi-course meal prepared with fresh seasonal ingredients and paired with wine. The meal will also come with a specialty cocktail designed exclusively for your table using spirits from Bully Boy Distillers. For more information and to purchase a table — each is $2500 — call 617-510-3796.

Books & Cooks
Pick up some holiday baking tips as KitchenWares by Blackstones hosts a book-signing event with local chef/authors Joanne Chang (Flour) and Amy Traverso (The Apple Lover’s Cookbook), Nov. 9, 7-9pm. Delicious holiday treats will be served, and for each book sold $2 will be donated to Community Servings’ wonderful ’Pie in the Sky‘ program. Shoot an email over to KitchenWare to RSVP.

Continue reading

What We Did on Food Day

Photo: Beautiful People ATX/Flickr

The nation’s first-ever Food Day came and went on Monday. Where were you? What did you eat?

Quid pro quo. We at Public Radio Kitchen began last Friday with Food Day events, ate our way through the weekend, then visited both the Musuem of Science’s screening of Chris Taylor’s “Food Fight” and the Boston Food Swap’s community potluck Monday evening.

PRK’s Elizabeth Hathaway has already shared with you her experience at the Swap potluck. Anna Thorup will stir the pot soon with a run-down of  ”Food Fight” and the ensuing panel discussion. I, on the other hand, want to fill you in on my own participation in Food Day, beginning with the awesome Tedx Food Policy event that took place on Friday, Oct. 21st, at Harvard Law School (HLS).

Friday, October 21: TEDxHarvard Law Forum on Food Policy

This conference was jointly sponsored by The Harvard Food Law Society and the smart new Boston-based initiative Let’s Talk About Food, founded by Louisa Kasdon. Together they organized the forum into three sessions broadly labeled “Health,” “Supply” and “Demand.” Each session consisted of three individual speakers and a moderated panel discussion in which audience members could directly question the panel members.

The session on “Supply” was fascinating. Continue reading

Boston Food Swappers: Grassless Urbanites Support a Grassroots Movement

Goodie Bags for the Attendees (photo: Elizabeth Hathaway)

There are a lot of influential people advocating for a change in our eating habits.

The nation’s top chefs, including Alice Waters and Jamie Oliver, are on board; high-profile leaders, like Michelle Obama, are on board; celebrities, including Oprah, Susan Saradon, and 50 cent (yes, 50 cent), are on board; nationwide organizations, such as Slow Food USA, are on board; media outlets, like this one, are on board.

But that’s still not enough. Real change is in the hands of the home chefs and food providers in everyday American kitchens. That means me, and you.

On Monday, Food Day became part of a growing trend of community-centered movements hoping to target these providers. And, like most grassroots mobilizations, Food Day was contingent upon the initiative of volunteer event hosts willing to commit time and energy to share their knowledge about healthy sustainable food with their local communities.

Though the success of the first annual Food Day was relatively modest in scope and participation, these volunteers are laying the groundwork for widespread access to and education about healthy, sustainable foods.

Three such volunteers in the Boston area were Lyn Huckabee, Susan Johnston and Tara Belluci, the woman behind the Boston Food Swap. The three friends decided to use their planning expertise, gleaned from organizing monthly food swaps, to host a Food Day Community Sourced Potluck. Like other event hosts across the nation, they were willing to capitalize on their strengths and collective knowledge in support of Food Day.

“We had gotten so much attention early on [for the Boston Food Swap] and we have so many connections in the food blogger community, we felt we had something to offer the campaign,” explained Lyn Huckabee. Continue reading

Food Therapy From The Grizzly Kitchen

Photo Courtesy of The Grizzly Kitchen

Initially, the idea of a compost cookie sounds, well, gross. Like “Stone Soup” or “Green Eggs and Ham,” it’s a name that belongs in a children’s book, not a cookie jar.

But in the spirit of National Food Day (today!), these compost cookies (or “Everything Cookies”– yeah, I’ll stick with that name) deserve a second look. To make them, Ashley of The Grizzly Kitchen is composting the sugar, chocolate, butterscotch, salty chips and pretzels from her baking cabinet. Now we’re talking!

The best thing about these treats is how adaptable they are. Ashley gives the basics, but notes that any leftovers in your cabinet can be added to the mix, whether it be nuts, dried fruit or other candies. Since Food Day calls for us to save those kitchen scraps and then put them to use, it can almost be seen as your Food Day Duty to make these cookies. And I’m sure your significant others, families, roommates or friends won’t mind.

Now the question remains: how do you compost the leftover compost cookies? My guess is you won’t have to worry about that one.

Liquid Therapy from Eat Make Read

Photo: msr/Flickr

When I was growing up, a few well-meaning aunts used to say that I should marry a doctor – I assume because doctors are supposed to be rich and prestigious and solid, whereas I was a dreamy, impractical child who would probably flounder in the real world. Perhaps to their dismay, I tend to date artist-types.

I blame my apple habit. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but I eat so many apples – two, three a day – that the effect is probably akin to vampires and garlic. It is my favorite fruit in the whole world, especially in the fall, when they are so perfectly tart and sweet, when they feel just removed from the branch instead of shipped up from Peru.

Anyway, this weekend, I discovered the existence of Applejack – like hard apple cider, only highly concentrated and boozier. I also discovered this cocktail, by Eat Make Read, that calls for both applejack and rosemary syrup. With these unusual ingredients, it’s a dreamy cocktail – a good drink to toast my writer boyfriend with.

Thursday Tidbits: Through the Grapevine

Photo: Flickr/ChuckThePhotographer

LOCAL BITES:

Wining & Dining
Enjoy an evening of fine wine and tasty food for a great cause at the 11th Annual Boston Festival of Food and Wine on Oct. 20th, 6-11pm. The evening will feature wine tasting, samplings of exceptional food courtesy of some of Boston’s best restaurants, and a silent auction benefitting the International Rett Syndrome Foundation. Reserve your spot or make a donation here.

Bubbie’s Kitchen
Prism and WGBH invite you to join the festivities as 13 of Boston’s top chefs innovate, update and recreate traditional Jewish recipes at the 3rd annual “Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen” celebration this Sunday, Oct. 23rd. The event will include tastings and a conversation with special guest Avron Honig, author of Feed Me Bubbie, and his own 84-year-old “Bubbie.” This event sells out fast!

Food Fight
Celebrate National Food Day this Monday!! There are a host of local events to participate in. For one, Let’s Talk About Food will present a screening of Chris Taylor’s documentary, Food Fight, at 3pm at the Museum of Science. The event will include commentary not only from Taylor, but also MDAR Commissioner Scott Soares and David Waters, Executive Director of Community Servings. This event is free! Check PRK’s write-up for more happenings.

Day of the Dead, Night of the Living
The Beehive is inviting all of you to catch the Halloween spirit with their Día de los Muertos extravaganza on Oct. 27th, 9pm-1am. Savor several traditional Mexican dishes and drinks while dancing to live music. Check out the Beehive’s site for all the info.

Go Bananas
The Franklin Park Zoo and Sweet Cupcakes are teaming up to celebrate the first birthday of Kambiri, the Zoo’s baby gorilla, with delicious limited-edition treats: dark chocolate cupcakes with banana buttercream frosting. Stop by any Sweet Cupcakes store, anytime from Nov. 5 – Nov. 11, to indulge on these unique treats. To make the deal even sweeter, $1 from every “Bananas for the Zoo” cupcake will be donated to Zoo New England. Continue reading