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Linguine with Clams

Linguine Alla Vongole

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Campania

A simple yet immensely delicious recipe, Linguine with Clams. It is incredibly easy to make it, too: first the sauce, then the pasta, then you combine – and that’s it. The only trick: it has to be served hot. Enjoy! 🙂

Serves: 4 to 6
Cooking time: 15 to 20 min
You will need: a big skillet or frying pan, 2-3 bowls and a pot. The pan or skillet must be big enough to accommodate the amount of pasta you’re cooking. If you’re using fresh clams you may also need a fine sieve or cheesecloth.

Ingredients

  • 500g (1 Lb) Linguine or other similar kind of pasta (see Notes).
  • 200g to 300g (7oz to @10oz) clams, fresh or canned.
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
  • 2-3 very large garlic cloves, chopped.
  • 4 Tbsp chopped parsley.
  • Salt to taste.
  • A lot of black pepper and/or 1 pinch of crushed chili flakes.
  • Optional: if you want your clams in red sauce, then you will also need 2 big ripe tomatoes peeled, cored and diced into small pieces (or a small 400ml / 14oz can of diced tomatoes).
  • Optional: a dash of lemon juice.

Instructions

Preparation

If you’re using canned or packaged clams

  1. Simply open the cans or package, empty their content in a bowl together with their juice, and skip to next step: “The Clam Sauce”.

If you’re using fresh clams

  1. Wash the fresh clams by scrubbing them with a brush under cold running water. Do not let them stand in the water for any period of time – they might open, and you don’t want that.
  2. Take a frying pan or skillet and place the clams in it.
  3. Pour into the pan or skillet 1/4 cup olive oil, turn on the fire to high, cover with a lid and let the clams cook for approx. 6 minutes, until they open. Remember to shake the skillet or pan from time to time.
  4. When ready, remove the pan or skillet from the fire and put it aside, uncovered and wait until the clams are cool enough to handle.
  5. Then, take a bowl and start removing the clams from their shells over the bowl.
  6. The bowl will also collect liquid; you need this juice. Strain the liquid through a very fine sieve or cheesecloth, to remove any lingering sand (yes, the clams were scooped up from a sea bed, indeed.).
  7. Put the clams and their sieved liquid in a bowl and put the bowl on the side.

The Clam Sauce

  1. Take the pan or skillet and empty 1/4 cup of olive oil in it.
  2. Turn the fire on, high – but not too high: you don’t want the olive oil to smoke.
  3. Empty your garlic in the pan and saute until it’s golden brown and aromatic (it won’t take long).
  4. Remove the pan from the fire, wait for a beat or two, and then add the clams, the juices, the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. (While you’re doing this, be careful not to splash liquid or sizzling oil around.)

The Pasta

  1. Cook the pasta in a lot of salted water until their almost al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, gently re-heat the sauce in medium-low fire.
  3. When the pasta is cooked, use a ladle to catch a few Tbsp of pasta-water and put the liquid in a bowl.
  4. Drain the rest of the water.

Combine

  1. Transfer the pasta to the pan or skillet containing the sauce.
  2. Add the pasta-water.
  3. Increase the fire to medium.
  4. Mix well for a minute or so.
  5. You’re done!

Serve

  • Grind a lot of black pepper and/or sprinkle a fraction of your chili flake pinch over each plate.
  • Adding a dash of lemon juice is not a bad idea.
  • Serve hot!

Notes on Linguine with Clams

  • You can scale the recipe down or up – no problem there. If you’re scaling down, pay attention to the amount of olive oil: if it’s too little, it may not work.
  • You can always make the clam sauce beforehand and keep it in the fridge.
  • Instead of clams you can use mussels too!
  • If you’re using fresh clams and the clams open while you wash them… it’s not the end of the world. They will probably shed any sand they had in them and lose a tiny bit of flavour while cooking- but that’s all.
  • If you’re keen in red sauce then add your peeled, cored and diced tomatoes in the pan or skillet immediately after you saute the garlic. Simmer for about 5 minutes in medium fire and then carry on with the rest of the instructions.
  • If you’re using canned tomatoes for the red sauce, then it would be useful to check the ingredients of the can. The only preservative should be ascorbic acid (Vitamin C, that is).
  • You can use other kinds of pasta too; e.g. Pappardelle, Fettuccine, Tagliatelle, etc.
  • You don’t need cheese with this recipe, trust us.
  • A glass of white wine would be nice with it. (Just a thought.)

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - sushi in suhl

Sushi In Suhl (2012)

The film is based on a true story. A local countryside cook in the DDR (Communist East Germany) is bored with making Schweinebraten and Semmelknödeln, dreaming of exotic dishes. He starts by making japanese food for his friends, but eventually becomes a sensation and even a diplomatic asset for DDR-Japanese relations.

One evening in the mid-1960s, Rolf Anschütz, a chef running a small restaurant in the town of Suhl in the middle of the East German province of Thuringen offers his guests a unique and exotic meal – Japanese Sukiyaki. It was intent to be a surprise for some of his best customers and it became a great success. Even the local paper wrote about it. A couple of days after the “event” a real Japanese turned up at the restaurant and demanded the same meal again. The Japanese loved Rolf Anschütz’s cooking. It snowballed from there. First diplomats, later Japanese company executives and sports delegations were sitting – naked and side by side – with government officials and the brigades of the East German working class in the water pool of Rolf’s now famous restaurant “Waffenschmied” (Gunsmith).

Rolf even received a decoration by Japan’s Imperial family.

Directed by Carsten Fiebeler

P.S. We could not find a trailer with English subtitles but one may not need “language” to understand what’s going on, here. 🙂


Film Review – The Guardian

Film celebrates East German chef who cooked up Japanese storm in cold war

Sushi in Suhl charts Rolf Anschütz’s culinary struggle which eventually led to a cult menu and decoration by Japan’s royal family

Sushi In Suhl (2012) | myfoodistry

Having spent a lifetime slaving over meals of sausage, potato dumplings and beef roulade, Rolf Anschütz itched to turn his hand to something more exotic.

But living in 1960s communist East Germany, with the many restrictions imposed by its centrally planned economy, when the chef decided to try Japanese cuisine he found his options were limited. So he experimented with the few ingredients available to him.

Tinned rice pudding was transformed into sushi rice, local carp was dyed to resemble salmon, a local variant of Worcestershire sauce was used instead of soy sauce, and Hungarian tokaj wine was mixed with German corn schnapps and heated, to fool diners into thinking they were drinking sake.Even may bugs fried in batter were brought into play as Anschütz started conjuring Japanese fare in the heart of East Germany.

Before long his East German-style Japanese menu had gained cult status, and his restaurant in Suhl, Thuringia, began attracting diners from not only across the communist state, but also from West Germany and even Japan.

His story has now been turned into a film, which has been attracting large audiences across the country. Sushi in Suhl charts the rise of Anschütz’s success, his battles with the authorities, who accused him of “culinary capitalism”, the friendships he made with Japanese admirers who supplied him with foodstuffs, and his eventual invitation to visit Japan, where he was decorated by the royal family.

Just under two million diners passed through his restaurant, the Waffenschmied (the Armourer), between 1966 and 1986. Diners had to wait for up to two years to get a table and paid the equivalent of half of a month’s rent for the full four- or five-hour Japanese experience, which included a ritual cleansing bath for which guests had to disrobe.

“This was something of a mythical place in the heart of the communist east,” said Conny Günther, recalling…

Read More…

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - when banana ruled

When Banana Ruled

La Loi de la Banane (original title)

Bananas are everywhere: Americans eat nearly 10 billion of them per year, consuming more pounds of bananas than apples and oranges combined.

WHEN BANANA RULED is a French documentary telling the story of the men who made bananas the most ubiquitous fruit in the world, through a multinational empire that dominated production and sales, overthrew governments, and created a business model still largely used by today’s tech giants. (?)

Using a rich trove of archival footage and documents, including letters to and from lobbyists, telegrams, vintage ads and movie clips, and gorgeous, hand-tinted stills, WHEN BANANA RULED is a story of intrigue that touches on economics, international politics, the history of multinational business and reveals how an array of forces conquered the world through a simple fruit. 

Directed by Mathilde Damoisel
Official website, here.

Reviews

“This documentary tells the story of how a few American entrepreneurs20th-century conquistadorsturned much of Central America into a banana plantation using violence, theft, political cunning and clever and sinister marketing, creating one of the world’s first multi-national corporations: United Fruit.” —KPFA

“An enlightening story, rich in archival footage, about a fruit that has become the symbol of colonialism, corruption, and the advent of capitalism.”
 France Inter

“Illustrates the beginnings of American imperialism and reflects on the legacy left by the United Fruit Company in Latin America.” —Le Monde

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the 50 future foods report

The Future 50 Foods Report

Study sponsored by Knorr and WWF

The Future 50 Foods Report | myfoodistry

Introduction

It is at least refreshing, even positively promising, to come across a “Future 50 Foods” study devoid of synthetic meat, cockroaches and/or bio-engineering. Here’s a glimpse to a food-future built on traditional (did I mention “delicious”?) wisdom from the recent past.

Excerpts from The Future 50 Foods Report

Globally we rely on a small range of foods. This negatively impacts our health and the health of the planet. Seventy-five percent of the global food supply comes from only 12 plant and five animal species. Just three (rice, maize, wheat) make up nearly 60 percent of calories from plants in the entire human diet. This excludes many valuable sources of nutrition. While people may be getting sufficient calories, these narrow diets don’t provide enough vitamins and minerals.

“Most of us might believe it’s our energy or transport choices that cause the most serious environmental damage. In fact, it’s our food system that creates the biggest impact.”

Dr. Tony Juniper, CBE,
Executive Director for Advocacy, WWF-UK

Dietary monotony is linked to a decline in the diversity of plants and animals used in and around agriculture (agrobiodiversity), threatening the resilience of our food system and limiting the breadth of food we can eat. Since 1900, a staggering 75 percent of the genetic plant diversity in agriculture has been lost. In most Asian countries, the number of rice types grown has decreased rapidly from thousands to a dozen. In Thailand, for example, the 16,000 varieties once cultivated have dropped to just 37 varieties3. In the past century, the United States has lost 80 percent of its cabbage, pea and tomato varieties. This dependence on a limited pool of crop species leaves harvests vulnerable to pests, diseases and the impact of climate change. Farming a narrow range of crops using intensive methods can have serious repercussions on our fragile natural ecosystems. Monoculture farming, which is the repeated harvesting of a single crop, and over-reliance on animal-based foods are threatening food security. Monoculture farming can deplete nutrients and leave soil vulnerable to the build-up of pests and pathogens. This requires applications of fertilisers and pesticides that can, if used inappropriately, damage wildlife and leach into water systems. Many types of birds, animals and wild plants cannot thrive in biologically degraded landscapes.

Reliance on animal-based protein sources puts additional strain on our environment and current agricultural practices are not sustainable in the long term. Total agriculture accounts for around
a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, of which approximately 60 percent is due to animal
agriculture6. Meat, dairy and egg production is more water, land and greenhouse gas intensive than plant production. It also contributes to pollution through liquid waste discharged into rivers and seas. These problems seem insurmountable, but we believe that large scale change starts with small actions.

The list of Future 50 Foods, consisting of vegetables, grains, cereals, seeds, legumes and nuts from across the globe, has been developed to inspire greater variety in what we cook and eat. It is intended to enable three important dietary shifts. First, a greater variety of vegetables to increase intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Second, plant-based sources of protein to replace meat, poultry and fish, resulting in reduced negative impact on our environment. Third, more nutrient-rich sources of carbohydrates to promote agrobiodiversity and provide more nutrients.

“The search for nutrient-dense plants has taken us toward ancient grains, heirloom plant varieties, and less commonly cultivated crops. There is a good reason for rediscovering some of the forgotten plants.”

Dr. Adam Drewnowski,
Director of The Center for Public Health Nutrition,
University of Washington

Not all 50 foods are currently easily accessible. Working together with partners allows us to
make these foods more commonly grown and more widely eaten. By making a conscious choice to consume more of the Future 50 Foods, we take a crucial step towards improving the global food system. Swapping staples like maize and white rice for fonio or spelt increases the nutrient
content of a dish while contributing to greater agrobiodiversity, making our food supply more
resilient. It also helps safeguard these ancient variants for future generations.

These 50 foods are some of the many that we can and should eat. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), there are between 20,000 and 50,000 discovered edible plant species, of which only 150 to 200 are regularly consumed by humans7.
Future 50 Foods is the beginning of a journey and a way for people to make a change, one delicious dish at a time.

Food Groups

  • Algae (Seaweed), e.g. Wakame seaweed, etc.
  • Beans and Pulses, e.g. Lentils, Adzjuki beans, Fava beans, Mung beans, etc.
  • Cereals and Grains, e.g. Buckwheat, Khorasan wheat, Spelt, Quinoa, Wild Rice, etc.
  • Fruit Vegetables, e.g. Pumpkin Flowers, Okra, etc.
  • Leaf Greens, e.g. Kale, Bok Choi, Maringa, Red Cabbage, Spinach, Watercress, etc.
  • Mushrooms, e.g. Enoki mushrooms, Maitake mushrooms, etc.
  • Nuts and Seeds, e.g. Flax seeds, Sesame seeds, Walnuts, etc.
  • Tubers, e.g. Red Indonesian (Cilembu) sweet potatoes, Ube (purple Yam), etc.

For the full Future 50 Foods Report, click here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the lost art of mixing

The Lost Art of Mixing

by Erica Bauermeister

The Lost Art of Mixing | myfoodistry

Lillian and her restaurant have a way of bringing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers and ritual; Chloe, a budding chef who hasn’t learned to trust after heartbreak; Finnegan, quiet as a tree, who can disappear into the background despite his massive height; Louise, Al’s wife, whose anger simmers just below the boiling point; and Isabelle, whose memories are slowly slipping from her grasp. And then there’s Lillian herself, whose life has taken a turn she didn’t expect.

Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bind—and links that break—The Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship.

A luminous and enchanting sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients.

Author’s website, here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - dinner with Edward

Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship

By Isabel Vincent

Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship | myfoodistry

When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter–who lives far away and has asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York–Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflé will end up changing her life.

As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.

Review: Isabel Vincent chronicles her friendship with a pal’s gourmand father in Dinner with Edward

by Corey Mintz
Special to the Globe and Mail
Published July 29, 2016

Food has always been the best drug, the best medicine.

But the healing power of food, the eat-pray-love-ification of basic commodities, connections to our ancestors found inside dumplings, mojos regained through tropical fruits, has become enough of a cliché in recent years that I was wary of Dinner with Edward, Isabel Vincent’s chronicle of her friendship with a pal’s gourmand father.

Snobbery aside, food does have the power to transport our minds, to heal and to alleviate pain. Like any other stimulant, it shifts our focus. As we walk about our daily business, stressing deadlines, worrying over the trajectory of our relationships, we’re never thinking about what’s going on in our mouth. It would be strange if we did, consciously reminding ourselves to swallow or lick our lips. But that moment, when a velvety cauliflower soup hits our tongue or our teeth crush a particularly crisp French fry, it’s all we are focused on. The change in perception and release of endorphins, as our world narrows into a morsel of food, is as fast as any nasally ingested drug.

That’s one half of what Vincent captures in the book – Edward’s thoughtfully prepared chicken, his systematic martinis and how that level of care makes her feel. But the food is really just the conduit for human relationships. That’s all it ever is.

When Edward and Isabel are introduced, his wife of 69 years has just passed away and her marriage is falling apart. Over a series of dinners in the older man’s Roosevelt Island apartment, our narrator begins the healing process, admitting her problems, confronting them, finding solace, all while keeping the focus squarely on Edward.

I hated this book until I Googled Roosevelt Island. A tiny landmass between Manhattan and Queens, no wider than two city blocks. It seemed such an unnecessary addition of geographical, magic realism to suppose a fantasy island off the coast of New York, a perfectly twee islet on which to centre the narrator’s sense of alienation, living in a former mental hospital and the ruins of a marriage at the same time.

“There was something about Roosevelt Island that seemed to mirror my own sadness.” I couldn’t contain a snort as I read that.

But then I looked it up and learned that I’m just ignorant. There is such a place as Roosevelt Island, a community large enough to be an airport landing strip, a single stop on the F train as it passes from the Upper East Side to Queensbridge.

The island was home to 19th-century prisons and workhouses. Vincent’s apartment building had once been part of the mental institution where Nellie Bly went undercover to report her 1887 expose 10 Days in a Mad-House.

Who could live in such a place, even with its spectacular views of the New York skyline, and not be melancholy?

Vincent gives us the lush descriptions of bronzed chicken, squid bubbling in tomato sauce and caramelized fruits essential to any food memoir. She fussily documents Edward’s apple preferences for galette and his insistence on crushed ice in the pastry dough….

Read more…

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - The First Supper 2019

The First Supper (2019)

Saisho no Bansan / 最初の晩餐

The First Supper is a about a family reuniting for a meal, following a funeral’s last rites and cremation. The widow is supposed to cook the food for that meal but, according to the will of the deceased, there is nothing to eat but eggs. So, they eat eggs, reminisce, re-bond with each other and talk some more, even laugh as they recall the deceased, and his ways and their better days.

Directed by Shiro Tokiwa
Official website: http://saishonobansan.com

P.S. We could not find a trailer with English subtitles but one may not need “language” to understand what’s going on, here. 🙂

Dried and Salted Cod with Tomatoes and Raisins in the Oven

Tsiladia / Τσιλαδιά

Country: Greece
Region: Messenia

Dried and Salted Cod with Tomatoes and Raisins in the Oven is a delicious, somewhat unusual, quick and easy recipe, combining the saltiness of the dried and salted cod with the sweetness of the raisins and onions in a hearty olive oil sauce. All it really takes is to make a sauce and pour it on top of the cod before you cook it in the oven. 🙂 Enjoy!

Serves: 4 to 6
Cooking time: 40min
You will need: a saucepan and an oven pan
Preparation: desalt the dried and coded cod fillets for approx. 24hrs

Preparation

You need to to desalt your dried and salted cod first. Desalting dried and salted cod is easy but it the operation must start approx. 24 hours before cooking. For instructions on how to desalt dried and salted cod, click here.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (2 Lbs) dried and salted cod fillets
  • 3 big onions, cut in round slices
  • 1 cup (glass) olive oil
  • 1 cup (glass) black raisins. See Notes.
  • 1 cup (glass) tomato juice
  • 3 tomatoes, cut in round slices
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed but not cut.
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Turn on the oven and let it preheat at 180C / 356F.
  2. Take a saucepan, put it on the stove, add the olive oil in it and turn the fire on to medium heat. (You don’t want the olive oil to smoke and you’re not going to deep-fry anything, so, medium heat it is.)
  3. In the heated olive oil, add the onions and the garlic and saute the mixture until it’s caramelized.
  4. Add the tomato juice to the sauteed onions and garlic.
  5. Add very little salt, pepper to taste and the black raisins.
  6. Keep simmering.

While the sauce is simmering,

  1. Take an oven pan and smear it with just a little olive oil.
  2. Make a bed of tomato rounds in the pan.
  3. Arrange the cod fillets on the bed of tomatoes.
  4. Arrange the bay leaves on top of the cod fillets.

Combine and cook

  1. Pour the sauce on top of the cod.
  2. Put the pan in the preheated (180C / 356F) oven.
  3. Let it cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the olive oil comes to the surface of the sauce.

Sides

Boiled & Broiled potatoes are a very good side dish for this cod recipe; but, if for nothing else, perhaps a nice piece of bread is the only thing one might need (to scoop up the juice, and all… ) 🙂

Notes on Dried and Salted Cod with Tomatoes and Raisins in the Oven

  • You can also use diced canned tomatoes instead of fresh ones. If you’re using canned tomatoes, there’s a lot of tomato juice in the can, so, you can use the juice-in-the-can as the base for your sauce.
  • If, instead of dried and salted cod, you’re using fresh cod then we would suggest to use half the suggested quantity of black raisins (that is 1/2 cup of black raisins). If you’re feeling adventurous you could even substitute the raisins with black currants.

Enjoy!

How to Desalt Dried and Salted Cod

Time: approx. 24 hours.

Dried and Salted Cod offers a great variety of savouring experiences and dishes but before it’s ready for cooking it has to be desalted – and that takes approx. 24 hrs. Do not despair, however: desalting a piece of cod is a fairly easy process. Here’s how to desalt dried and salted cod.

Instructions

  1. With a sharp knife, cut your dried and salted piece of cod into smaller pieces. (Smaller and/or thinner pieces take less time to desalt.)
  2. Put the cod pieces into a strainer.
  3. Place the strainer in a much larger bowl or pot full of cold water. You will need approx. 3 to 4 litters of water for 1 kg of cod. (You do this so that when the salt detaches from the cod it goes to the bottom of the bowl or pot, leaving the rest of the water clean.)
  4. Change the water every 4 to 5 hours.
  5. If the weather is warm then after the first 12 hours you can put the bowl or pot in the fridge and continue desalting your cod there.
  6. Approx. 24 hours later, empty the water into the sink, pat-dry the cod and you’re ready for cooking.

Preparation for cod fillets

  • In order to make cod fillets from your desalted cod you need to clean it from fins, bones and skin.
  • To easily do that, blanch your desalted cod in hot water for a few seconds.
myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - love is a piece of cake 2020

Love Is A Piece Of Cake (2020)

In Love Is A Piece Of Cake Jessie Dale is a third generation baker who loves her cake shop more than anything in the world. When developers threaten to buy her building and force her out, she must do all she can to save her bakery, all while juggling a blossoming romance with her client’s brother.

Directed by David I. Strasser

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the longevity film 2019

The Longevity Film (2019)

The Longevity Film investigates the complex topic of ageing by documenting the longest lived, healthiest & happiest cultures from around the world.

Filmmaker Kale Brock (The Gut Movie, 2018) visits specific communities with significantly improved average life expectancies, remarkably low rates of disease and an extremely high quality of life well into the later years. Traveling to Okinawa (Japan), Loma Linda (California) and Ikaria (Greece) for a deep dive into longevity culture and what it really takes to get well and stay well, Brock delivers this transformational documentary with light hearted wit and a warm sense of relatability.

Featured expert commentary by Mark Hyman, MD, Nick Buettner from Blue Zones, Dr. Ross Walker, Dr. Craig Wilcox, Paul Chek, Daniel Vitalis, Dr. Damian Kristof & more. The film is 100% independent and self funded.

Directed by Kale Brock
Official website, here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the trip to Greece Steve Coogan

The Trip To Greece (2019)

When Odysseus left Troy it took him ten years to get back to his home in Ithaca. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have only six days on their own personal odyssey in The Trip To Greece.

On the way they argue about tragedy and comedy, astronomy and biology, myth, history, democracy and the meaning of life! Featuring locations such as: Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the Ancient Agora of Athens, the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, the unique island of Hydra, the Caves of Diros, Nestor’s Palace, Niokastro Fortress in Pylos, and Ancient Stagira, as well as a lot of shooting in restaurants and hotels in Athens, Hydra, Lesvos, Chalkidiki, Pelion, Kavala, and at the Peloponnese.

Directed by Michael Winterbottom

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the trip to Spain Steve Coogan

The Trip To Spain (2017)

The Trip to Spain. After jaunts through northern England and Italy, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on another deliciously deadpan culinary road trip.

This time around, the guys head to Spain to sample the best of the country’s gastronomic offerings in between rounds of their hilariously off-the-cuff banter. Over plates of pintxos and paella, the pair exchange barbs and their patented celebrity impressions, as well as more serious reflections on what it means to settle into middle age. As always, the locales are breathtaking, the cuisine to die for, and the humor delightfully devilish.

Directed by Michael Winterbottom

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - SONY AI Gastronomy App

Sony AI (Artificial Intelligence) launches the “Gastronomy Flagship Project” consisting of Research and Development of AI Powered Recipe Creation App, Chef Assisting Cooking Robot and a Community Co-creation Initiative

DECEMBER 15TH, 2020

PRESS RELEASE

Tokyo, Japan – Sony Corporation established Sony AI as an internal organization in November 2019 and it became a new company in April 2020 with a global presence in Japan, the United States and Europe. Sony AI  promotes fundamental research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) and aims to “create AI that unleashes human imagination and creativity.”

In addition to Sony’s existing business areas of “gaming” and “imaging & sensing,” Sony AI has set “gastronomy” as its flagship theme for new technical and business exploration. With the aim of enhancing the creativity and techniques of chefs around the world, the Gastronomy Flagship Project consists of the research and development of an AI application for new recipe creation, a robotics solution that can assist chefs in their cooking proess, and a community co-creation initiative that will serve as a foundation to these activities.

In addition to Game, Music and Pictures, Sony AI sees great opportunities in Gastronomy as one of the global creative entertainment domains connecting chefs, who are creators, with their audiences. To this end, Sony AI will pursue its own research and development efforts in partnerships with various collaborators.

Sony AI (Artificial Intelligence) launches the "Gastronomy Flagship Project" consisting of Research and Development of AI Powered Recipe Creation App, Chef Assisting Cooking Robot and a Community Co-creation Initiative | myfoodistry
Sony AI Gastronomy App – Graphical User Interface (GUI)

AI-Powered Recipe Creation App

Recipe creation is a very challenging research area for AI, as there are infinite possiblities for combinations of ingredients, as well as constraints such as location, climate, season, and a person’s health and food preferences, that must be taken into account.

Sony AI will utilize a variety of data sources – including recipes and ingredient data, such as taste, aroma, flavor, molecular structure, nutrients, etc. – to develop a Recipe Creation App that will be powered by proprietary AI algorithms to assist the world’s top level chefs in their creative process of ingredient pairing, recipe design and menu creation.

Through this App, Sony AI aims not only to assist in making delicious food, but also to contribute to people’s health and the sustainability of the environment.

Chef Assisting Cooking Robot

Developing a robotics solution that works in harmony with chefs – to replicate and in some cases even exceed their skills and techniques with high precision and speed – is a great challenge in the realm of AI and Robotics. This is precisely the reason that Sony AI will pursue this grand challenge through the research and development of an advanced and precise Chef Assisting Cooking Robot that can be an ultimate assistant to world-class chefs.

Cooking is a highly complex process that includes such steps as the preparation of ingredients of different shapes and characteristics, the physical transformation of these ingredients using various tools, and the plating of these ingredients into a final dish. Through collaborations with world-class chefs, Sony AI aims to create a solution that can assist chefs through the entire cooking process, from preparation to plating, by training the robots with sensors and AI for skill acquisition.

In addition, remote operations of these robots, for example to serve the chef’s meals to people in remote locations, are also in scope of these research and development efforts.

Community Co-creation Initiative

The creation and execution of new recipes and menus is based on the knowledge, experience and creativity of chefs, and the enjoyment of such creations is built on the health of the gastronomy community, which has been deeply impacted by the pandemic. With the aim to contribute to the long-term sustainability of the community, Sony AI believes it is essential to build and strengthen its relationships with the chef community worldwide, and to work with universities, research institutes and companies that are at the forefront of research in these areas.

Today, Sony AI is pleased to announce the release of the “Chef Interview Series” on its company website as the first step in building such relationships with the culinary community. Sony AI interviewed a total of 18 chefs and food experts via online interviews to learn about their sources of inspiration, the creative process behind their menu creation, their use of technology, their thoughts on sustainability, and other trends that will be essential to the future of gastronomy.

Sony AI will continue to drive dialogue with creators and experts in a wide range of food-related fields, and leverage these learnings in the development of its AI application and robots. https://ai.sony/

Comment from Hiroaki Kitano, CEO of Sony AI Inc.

“What has become apprarent with COVID-19 is the importance of sustainability and health, and the value of intangible cultural assets including gastronomy and the arts we wish to protect. Through the power of AI and robotics, we want to reaffirm the principle of our gastronomy flagship project, which is to enable creative gastronomy that is at the same time healthy and sustainable. In addition to supporting the creative community through its Games, Music and Pictures businesses, Sony Group has also invested in a range of projects including Synecoculture (a new form of agriculture enhancing biodiversity) and Open Energy Systems (a distributed renewable energy based micro-grid system) that contribute to the well-being of our planet. Together with creators in the gastronomy community, we wish to contribute to creative, healthy, and sustainable gastronomy.”

Comment from Michael Spranger, COO of Sony AI Inc.

“As Gastronomy is a completely new domain for Sony, our approach is to pursue our activities in partnership with creator chefs, food experts and researchers, as well as universities, research institutes and companies with cutting-edge capabilities. We look forward to working with a wide range of stakeholders in the spirit of open innovation, with the end goal of making real world impact.”

About Sony AI Inc.

Sony AI was established with the mission to unleash human imagination and creativity with AI. Sony AI combines world class fundamental research and development capabilities in AI and Robotics. By working with Sony’s unique technical assets, especially Imaging & Sensing Solutions, Robotics and its Entertainment offerings, such as Games, Music and Pictures, Sony AI will accelerate Sony’s business transformation and create new business opportunities. In addition, one of Sony AI’s long-term goals is to contribute to the resolution of shared global issues that extend beyond Sony’s business domains.

※ As an example, when a user selects chocolate and junmai sake, AI suggests ingredients that pairs well (in this case cauliflower, nori and sea urchin and others).

Link to original, here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the trip to Italy 2014 Steve Coogan

The Trip to Italy (2014)

The Trip to Italy is a 2014 British comedy film written and directed by Michael Winterbottom. It is the sequel of Winterbottom’s TV series The Trip, and similarly stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as fictionalized versions of themselves.

Rob has been commissioned by a newspaper to go on a road trip through Italy  from Piedmont to Capri, partly following in the footsteps of the great  Romantic  poets. Steve joins him, and as they journey through the beautiful Italian countryside, they talk about life, love and their careers.

The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on 20 January 2014.Following the premiere, a second TV series, also titled The Trip to Italy, was broadcast on BBC Two.

Written and Directed by Michael Winterbottom

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the trip 2010 TV series Steven Coogan

The Trip (2010)

The Trip is a 2010 British television sitcom series and feature film starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as fictionalised versions of themselves on a restaurant tour of northern England.

The series was edited into feature film format and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010. The full series was first broadcast on BBC Two and BBC HD in the United Kingdom in November 2010. Both the TV series and film received very positive reviews.

Three further series followed. The Trip to Italy in 2014, The Trip to Spain in 2016 and the final series of the show, The Trip to Greece, in 2019. Like the first series, the second, third and fourth were all edited into feature films.

Directed by Michael Winterbottom

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - chocolate covered Christmas 2020 film

Chocolate Covered Christmas (2020)

Also known as “Sweet Holidays”.

Sadie returns home for Christmas after her boyfriend cancels their Holiday plans, only to find out her parents have sold the family business. Begrudgingly Sadie agrees to teach the new owner everything she knows about chocolate, but what she didn’t expect was to fall in love with him.

Directed by Sandra L. Martin

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - I, Pastafari

I, Pastafari. A Flying Spaghetti Monster Story

“He shall cover thee with his spaghetti, and under his marinara shall thou trust: his truth shall be thy parmesan and meatballs.”

A documentary film about the world’s fastest growing religion: The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

With millions of believers worldwide, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the world’s fastest growing religion. Followers of the faith, Pastafarians, have been preaching the message of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) since The Prophet Bobby Henderson’s Open Letter to the Kansas School Board went viral in 2005. 

In response to the school board’s decision to teach evolution alongside creationism as equivalent scientific theories in science classes statewide, Mr. Henderson argued that it would then only be fair to teach other creation beliefs in science classes as well. Specifically, his belief: that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe a few thousand years ago. 

R’Amen.

Official website, here.

PS. No comment.

Honey Macaroons

Mēlomakárona

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Generic

Honey Macaroons | myfoodistry

Honey Macaroons are oven-baked biscuits soaked in syrup. The Greeks traditionally make them as a once-a-year special Christmas sweet. The beauty of Honey Macaroons is that every home-cook can make them. Most contemporary Honey Macaroon recipes involve vegetable oils and sugar. We chose to present an ultra-traditional Honey Macaroon recipe that is based on olive oil and honey. Enjoy!

Yields @35 pieces
Cooking time: @25 minutes per baking tray
You will need: one large mixing bowl, a few other mixing bowls, a sieve, a whisker, a grater, a strainer, a pot, a wooden spoon, parchment paper, one or two baking trays, one big platter and a blender.

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • @400 gr all purpose flour – sifted
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 125 ml fresh orange juice – not strained
  • 30 ml of cognac or simple brandy
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 4 Tbsp fine semolina
  • 1/2 Tsp cooking soda
  • 1-2 pinches of salt
  • 1/2 Tsp clove powder
  • 1/2 Tsp cinnamon powder
  • Orange zest of 1 medium orange

For the Syrup

  • 1 cup of honey
  • 110 ml water
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • Orange peel of 1 orange (the same orange you used to make the fresh orange juice)

For the Garnish

  • 1/4 cup ground walnuts
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • 1/4 Tsp cinnamon powder

Instructions

Make the Dough

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Sift the flour in a bowl.
  3. Make the orange juice and pour it in a glass or bowl.
  4. Add the cooking soda in the orange juice (it will fizz and bubble) and then add it in the olive oil and honey mix.
  5. Mix the olive oil and the honey in a wide mixing bowl.
  6. Add to the olive oil and honey mix the cognac or brandy, the salt, the baking powder, the orange juice, the orange zest and the spices.
  7. Whisk the ingredients with a whisker so that they mix well.
  8. When the mixture takes form, continue whisking and start adding sifted flour little by little, Tablespoon after Tablespoon.
  9. When the mixture starts sticking to the whisker put it on the side and gently continue mixing by hand while you keep adding flour little by little.
  10. The resultant dough should be wet, without clumps and not too sticky. The wetness of the dough also depends on the particular characteristics of your olive oil and honey; so, be a little careful as to how much flour you’re adding to the mix because you may not need to use it all.
  11. Cover the dough with a clean cloth or towel and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.

Make the Macaroons

  1. Set parchment paper on your baking trays.
  2. Take a handful of dough (@30g) and use your hands to mould it like in a rounded oval shape, about 5 cm (2 in) long. See picture.
  3. Place the macaroons on the parchment paper, not too close together.
  4. Lightly press the convex (external) side of a strainer (or the fine side of a grater) onto the top side of the cookies. (The imprinted pattern will help them better absorb the syrup, later.)
  5. When you’re done, move the baking trays to a cooler side of your kitchen, away from the oven.

Bake

  1. Turn on the oven to 180C/356F and let it heat.
  2. Place the tray at the lower 1/3 of the oven. E.g. if your oven has 6 racks, place the tray on the 2nd rack from the bottom.
  3. Bake for approximately 25 minutes.
  4. DO NOT open the oven to check progress prior to smelling the aromas of the baking macaroons – otherwise they may fall flat and never rise.
  5. After 25 minutes, check the bottom of the baking macaroons. If the bottom is darker then the top then the macaroons are ready. If not, leave them baking for another couple of minutes. (Do pay attention so that they are not burned.)
  6. Continue with the rest of the trays, baking each tray separately.

Make the Honey Syrup
As soon as the first tray is in the oven, start making the honey syrup.

  1. Add all the syrup ingredients in a medium size pot and give them a stir.
  2. Put the pot on the stove and turn on the fire to medium-low.
  3. Bring the mix to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes while stirring gently with a wooden spoon.
  4. Keep removing the foam regularly.
  5. After 5 minutes, turn the fire down to the lowest setting and remove the cinnamon stick, the cloves and the orange peels.

Combine

  1. When the macaroons are baked, remove the baking tray from the oven, and place it near the stove.
  2. Use a pair of tongues to start immersing your oven-hot macaroons in the honey syrup in batches of 4.
  3. Leave them soaking in the syrup for 20 seconds per side – a total of 40 seconds for both sides.
  4. Remove them from the syrup with tongues or a slotted spoon and put them back on the baking tray face down. (The idea is that you don’t want the syrup to gravitate towards the bottom of the macaroon. You want the honey syrup gravitate evenly throughout the macaroon, from the bottom to the top.)
  5. Keep the honey syrup warm and repeat the exercise for each baking tray.
  6. When finished, pour the remainder syrup over the macaroons.

Garnish
The macaroons are baked and soaked. Now it’s time for the garnish.

  1. Put all the garnish ingredients in the blender and, well, blend them – but not to powder. See picture.
  2. Turn the macaroons over.
  3. Sprinkle the garnish on each macaroon.

Rest

  1. Cover the trays with parchment paper or clean towels and leave them on the counter all night so that the macaroons absorb the syrup in room temperature.
  2. By next day the macaroons should have absorbed all the syrup and should be ready for garnish.

Store

  1. Move the Honey Macaroons from the trays to a serving platter.
  2. Cover the serving platter with parchment paper and keep it in room temperature.
  3. Honey Macaroons can last for at least one week without refrigeration. If in doubt, you can always keep some in an airtight container in the fridge.

Notes on Honey Macaroons

  • If so inclined, feel free to scale the recipe up by double.
  • When making the honey syrup please remember that high fire makes honey toxic. Do maintain your fire to medium-low or low.
  • Don’t knead the dough. You’re not making bread and you’re definitely not making pizza, so, the point here is to gently massage the macaroon dough so that it keeps the olive oil in it. Kneading the dough will only drive the olive oil to the surface, the macaroons will thicken during baking and they won’t absorb the syrup as they should.
  • Do not preheat the oven while you’re making the dough. The extra heat may affect the dough’s consistency so it’s better that the kitchen’s ambient temperature is cooler than warmer.
  • Bake the macaroons tray by tray and syrup them in batches of 3 or 4 pieces. You need both components (macaroons and syrup) to be hot or at least very warm. There are many recipes maintaining that during syruping one of the two components (macaroons, syrup) should be cool and the other hot. Well, one can also do it this way too and check the difference.
  • If, by any chance, the macaroons dry out while in storage you can freshen them up with a bit of syrup: take a really small pot, add a couple of teaspoons of honey and a few drops of water, let the mix simmer for a few minutes in a very low fire and then pour the syrup on the macaroons. (You could also use honey straight out the jar, if you’re so inclined.)
  • The syrup doesn’t contain sugar so the macaroons will not crystallize as the days go by.
  • Honey has lower glycemic index than sugar and it’s full of other good stuff. For more information on the matter check here.

Siberian Spiced Black Tea with Honey, Cinnamon and Cloves

Sibirsky Sbiten

Cuisine: Russian
Region: Siberia

The Siberian Spiced Black Tea with Honey, Cinnanon and Cloves, or Siberian Sbiten, is a traditional Russian hot drink well suited to sooth one’s body and mind during the Russian (or Canadian, or any heavy) winter. The word Sbiten describes the Russian equivalent of mulled wine. There are many Sbiten variations; this is one of them.

Serves 4
Cooking time: approx. 40 min
You will need: a pot and a strainer

Ingredients

  • 2 Tsp black tea leaves
  • 1 cup of water
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp whole cloves

Instructions

  1. Brew and strain the black tea.
  2. Return the brew to the pot.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Boil for 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off the fire and let it steep for 30 minutes.
  6. Strain and serve.

Notes on the Siberian Spiced Black Tea

Serve hot and enjoy!

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - Diana Kennedy Nothing Fancy documentary

Diana Kennedy – Nothing Fancy (2019)

The author of nine acclaimed cookbooks and a two-time James Beard Award winner, Diana Kennedy is called the “Julia Child of Mexico”, but the feisty cook prefers “The Mick Jagger of Mexican Cuisine”.

Winner of the 2019 SXSW Special Jury Award for ‘Excellence in Storytelling’, NOTHING FANCY provides an intimate look at ‘Mexicanophile’ and nonagenarian Diana Kennedy – a veritable gastronomical anthropologist who’s dedicated over six decades of her life to traversing Mexico collecting, preserving, and sharing a wealth of distinct regional dishes and preparatory traditions across nine acclaimed cookbooks.

DIANA KENNEDY: NOTHING FANCY features extensive interviews with Diana Kennedy and famed chefs José Andrés, Rick Bayless, Gabriela Camara and Alice Waters, Diana Kennedy provides an intimate look at the leading expert on Mexican cuisine.

Directed by Elizabeth Caroll

Official website, here.


Reviews

“Cinematic comfort food of the first order”
Variety

“A candid, frank, and comprehensive whirlwind tour through the life and work of one of the world’s most celebrated (and uncompromising) chefs.”
The Gate

“A charming documentary that allows its subject’s vibrant personality shine through.”
Quelle Movies

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - sweetgrass documentary 2009

Sweetgrass (2009)

Sweetgrass presents a riveting and poetic portrait of the American West just as one of its traditional ways of life dies out. Shot amidst the grandeur of Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, the film follows the last modern-day cowboys to lead their flocks of sheep up into the breathtaking and often dangerous mountains for summer pasture. Magnificently photographed and unsparingly candid, Sweetgrass discovers a world of harsh beauty and arduous labour, where humans still work in rugged intimacy with nature.

Directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Ilisa Barbash

Official website: here.

Chicken or Lamb Stew with Walnuts in Pomegranate Sauce – Fesenjan

Khoresh-e fesenjān (خورش فسنجان‎)

Cuisine: Iranian/Persian
Region: Gilan

Fesenjān or Fesenjoon is an ultra-classic Iranian/Persian stew (khoresh) featuring pomegranate sauce and ground walnuts. It will take some time to cook but the result is, well, indescribably good. There are many (unnecessarily complicated) Fesenjān recipes out there. This recipe comes straight out of the recipe box of our dear friend and fabulous home-cook Minu Chamani. Enjoy!

You will need: a pot
Cooking time: approx. 2 to 2.5 hours
Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 300g (just over 1 lbs) lamb or chicken meat. If your’re using lamb, then prefer shoulder cut (always better for stews),
  • 150g crushed/ground walnuts,
  • 1 medium sized onion, shredded or thinly diced,
  • 2 Tbsp Pomegranate paste,
  • 1 pinch of salt,
  • 1 pinch of turmeric,
  • Black pepper to taste,
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil,
  • 1 dry prune, OR 1 small potato, OR 1 piece of yellow pumpkin,
  • 2 cups of warm water.
    • Optional: 1 Tsp of brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Wash the meat well and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  2. Dice the onions and shred the potato or pumpkin.
  3. Add the olive oil in a pot and put the pot on the stove.
  4. Turn on the fire to medium high, wait for a few beats and then add the onions and the pinch of salt.
  5. Saute the onions for a minute or so, and add the meat.
  6. Stir the meat together with the onions, browning it on all sides.
  7. Before the onions turn golden add black pepper and turmeric. Give it a stir.
  8. Immediately add your 2 cups of warm water.
  9. Add to the mix the crushed/ground walnuts and the pomegranate paste.
  10. Stir well and wait until the mixture is brought to a boil.
  11. Let the mix boil for about 5 minutes.
  12. Add the shredded potato or pumpkin or prune.
  13. Lower the heat to medium low, or low.
  14. Put the lid on the pot and let it simmer gently for about 1.5 hours.
  15. Then, taste the sauce and add sugar (if you think it’s needed) and perhaps extra salt to taste.
  16. Leave it simmering for another 1/2 hour, or until you can clearly see the oil on top of the liquid.
  17. Once it’s done, turn off the fire and let the stew sit for 10 minutes or so.
  18. That’s all. 🙂

Side dishes

Serve with long grain Basmati rice.
An extra side dish of sour plums is also very popular.

Notes on Chicken or Lamb with Walnuts in Pomegranate Sauce : Fesenjān

You could also use small meatballs instead of chicken or lamb.

You can freely scale this recipe up by double. However, if you’re cooking for more than 4 people then it would be a good idea to cook in 2 pots and combine them in a soup tureen (or a bigger pot, for that matter) prior to serving.

We are adding potato, pumpkin or prune in order to thicken the sauce while the stew is cooking. If you’re using potato shreds then do remember to stir occasionally, otherwise the potato shreds will stick to the bottom of the pot.

We are adding salt towards the end of the process because salt dries the meat while it’s cooking. You can always add salt at the beginning, together with the black pepper, if you like – there’s no hard rule here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - Hershey's against West Africa

In a Global Chocolate War, It’s Hershey Against West Africa

Source: Bloomberg

By Isis Almeida, Baudelaire Mieu, and Leanne de Bassompierre
November 30, 2020, 10:16 AM EST Updated on December 1, 2020, 4:17 PM EST

Ivory Coast and Ghana halted Hershey’s sustainability programs
Nations accused Mars of changing purchases to avoid premium

Some in the world’s chocolate markets see a hefty premium charged by the largest cocoa producers as a blunt instrument wielded by the OPEC of confections — a tool of a faraway cartel that artificially inflates the price of a precious ingredient.

Cocoa tree.
Photo by Ly Le Minh
Cocoa tree
Photo by Ly Le Minh

To the leaders of Ivory Coast and Ghana, where most of the world’s cocoa is actually produced, the argument is something else entirely: a lifeline for farmers and entire economies that would otherwise be held hostage to the vagaries of global commodities markets.

Now those competing viewpoints — globalization reduced to a chocolate bar — have collided in spectacular fashion, thrusting the normally secretive machinations of some of the world’s biggest chocolate companies, cocoa traders and processors into rare public view.

The governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana accused Hershey Co., maker of Kisses, Reese’s and other chocolate treats, of trying to skirt around the $400-a-ton premium they’ve slapped on cocoa, aimed at boosting incomes for hard-pressed cocoa farmers. They also said Mars Inc. changed its buying patterns to avoid paying the charge.

Hershey upended markets in November when it unexpectedly bought large amounts of cocoa through the futures market, squeezing the New York contract.

“Some chocolatiers and trade houses have adopted covert strategies to circumvent the farmer income improvement mechanism with the aim of collapsing it,” Yves Kone, managing director of Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao, and Joseph Boahen Aidoo, chief executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board, said in a Nov. 30 statement seen by Bloomberg, adding they will do “whatever is within our power to protect the over three million farmers from impoverishment.”

In retaliation, Ivory Coast and Ghana suspended all of the Pennsylvania-based company’s sustainability programs, a move that could hurt sales to ethically minded consumers.

“It is unfortunate that Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana have elected to distribute a misleading statement this morning and jeopardize such critical programs that directly benefit cocoa farmer,” Hershey said in a statement to Bloomberg Monday, adding that it was paying the premium, known as the Living Income Differential or LID, for cocoa purchases from the 2020-21 season. “We buy a substantial supply sourced from West Africa.”

Many cocoa growers in West Africa live below the poverty line, growing beans on only one or two hectares. Chocolate makers and cocoa processors agreed to pay the West African nations the LID and other charges on top of futures prices, but after the pandemic slashed demand, companies needed to cut costs to weather a second wave of lockdowns from Paris to Los Angeles.

Exchange deliveries avoid big West Africa premiums
Since then, some exporters in Ivory Coast stopped buying cocoa, asking to pay a smaller quality premium known as the country differential, making it harder for the nation to sell about 250,000 tons of cocoa still left on the books. There has also been reluctance to pay the charge in Ghana.

“Ivory Coast and Ghana might be sending a stern warning to the trade, but they also need to be able to sell their cocoa of which they have plenty of,” said Judy Ganes, president of J. Ganes Consulting, who has followed markets for more than 30 years and previously worked for Merrill Lynch. “This is a stare down for sure with gloves off and will be interesting to see who blinks first.”

Hershey’s unexpected move to source cocoa through the exchange sent December contracts on ICE Futures U.S. to a record premium over March. The company highlighted at the time that it was buying cocoa with the LID, but that there were still beans in the market that were sold prior to the implementation of the premium. Hershey also said it needed cocoa from other origins to keep the consistency and taste its customers expect.

“The conspiracy and machinations by your company to evade the payment of the LID demonstrates your passive commitment to improve the incomes of three million West African cocoa farmers,” Kone and Aidoo said in a Nov. 30 letter to Hershey, adding that failure to comply with the orders would mean companies could lose their licenses to operate in the countries.

The regulators also took aim at Mars, saying the maker of Twix migrated the bulk of its cocoa butter purchases from its traditional processors, buying from Asian grinders JB Cocoa and Guan Chong Berhad instead just to avoid paying the premium. Mars said it “categorically disagrees” with the allegations and highlighted that it was the first major manufacturer to support the LID.

The accusations are a further hit to the reputations of chocolate makers…

[… Read More]

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the donut king 2020 film

The Donut King (2020)

The Donut King – a documentary telling the story of Ted Ngoy who immigrated from Cambodia, started a west coast empire of donut stores… and lost it all. This is a story of fate, love, survival, hard knocks, and redemption.

Directed by Alice Gu


Film Review

by Nick Allen / RogerEbert.com

If you’ve ever enjoyed a donut that came from a pink box, you have Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy to thank. The same goes for if you’ve been to California and tasted a donut from one of the many shops owned by many other Cambodian refugees like Ngoy, who have proven over time to be a top competitor with the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. 

The incredible story of Ngoy—with its hard-won ascendance and tragic collapse—is captured in “The Donut King,” a heartwarming albeit scattered documentary from director Alice Gu. With its balance of poppy visuals and detailed history, about both war-torn Cambodia and about the business of donuts, the documentary lovingly profiles Ngoy’s life, and the countless other donut shop entrepreneurs like him. 

By the mid 1970s, Ngoy had arrived in California with his family, having escaped the violence in a war-torn Cambodia. By chance he learned of the irresistible smell and taste of a fresh donut, but by his incredible hard work he was soon able to learn the business and open up his own shop, one that appealed to a growing market. Within years, he had multiple shops and had achieved financial success, while constantly working alongside his family who shared his sense of sacrifice. Ngoy had some brilliant ideas that changed the donut industry (like using pink boxes instead of white ones, originally to save money), and within a few years, he became a millionaire.

Read more, here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - a year in Provence book Peter Mayle

A Year In Provence

By Peter Mayle

A Year In Provence | myfoodistry

A Year in Provence is a 1989 best-selling memoir by Peter Mayle about his first year in Provence, and the local events and customs.

Peter Mayle and his wife move to Provence, and are soon met with unexpectedly fierce weather, underground truffle dealers and unruly workers, who work around their normalement schedule. Meals in Provençal restaurants and work on the Mayles’ house, garden and vineyard are features of the book, whose chapters follow the months of the year.

It was adapted into a television series starring John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan. Reviewers praised the book’s honest style, wit and its refreshing humour.


Review – The Guardian (2010)

A Year in Provence, 20 years on

When Peter Mayle moved to rural France, he intended to write a novel – not a bestselling memoir.

Its only mention on publication in 1989 was a brief aside in Campaign. And that was more a nod to Peter Mayle’s former career as creative director of advertising agency BBDO. The trade magazine even managed to get the basics wrong, calling his new book a novel. Even a year later, when A Year in Provence was published in paperback, the Times was the only newspaper that bothered to grace it with a review. A shortish one at that.

As far as the books pages were concerned, travel writing was the high-brow preserve of Bruce Chatwin, Freya Stark, Wilfred Thesiger and Prince Charles’s favourite guru, Laurens van der Post. All else was froth, and Mayle the frothiest of the lot – an adman who’d made a few bucks with the mildly racy Wicked Willie cartoon books and upped sticks for France.

To them, A Year in Provence was just aspirational lifestyle pulp for the middle-classes dreaming of a second home – the undemanding story of a fiftysomething couple and their two dogs moving to the South of France and their mildly amusing run-ins with lazy builders, a clarinet-playing plumber, tax-dodging lawyers, outlaw truffle hunters and the Mistral as they do up a derelict farmhouse.

The reading public saw it rather differently. After a slowish start, A Year in Provence has gone on to sell more than 1m copies in the UK and 6m around the world in the last 20 years, making it one of the most successful travel books of all time and inspiring thousands of Brits to leave Blighty in search of a warmer, gentler life.

Unintentionally, Mayle had created a new travel genre and spawned a generation of imitators, a couple of whom – Chris Stewart and Frances Mayes – sold almost as well. And still they keep on coming; only this year Selina Scott wrote a memoir of her life in Mallorca and John Humphrys hijacked his son’s housebuilding project in Greece.

If Mayle had had his way, the description of A Year in Provence as fiction would have been spot on. “When we first moved to France [in 1987] I had the intention of writing a novel and had shared this great ambition with my agent, Abner Stein,” says Mayle. “But there was a problem: I found myself completely distracted – much more taken up with the curiosities of life in Provence than with getting down to work on the novel. The daily dose of education I was receiving at the hands of the plumber, the farmer next door, the mushroom hunter and the lady with the frustrated donkey was infinitely more fascinating than anything I could invent.

“And so time went by – three months, six months – without a word being committed to paper. Eventually I sent Abner a long letter, largely inspired by guilt, trying to explain why I hadn’t even started the novel, listing some of the distractions. To my enormous surprise and relief, he wrote back saying that if I could do another 250 pages like the letter, he might be able to find a publisher.”

Stein struck the deal in the old-school publishing way: over a long, alcoholic lunch with Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson, the then managing director of Hamish Hamilton, who offered an advance of £5,000. The regrets kicked in almost immediately. On his way back to the office….

Read More….

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the restaurant of love regained

The Restaurant Of Love Regained

By Ito Ogawa

The Restaurant Of Love Regained | myfoodistry

Returning home from work, Rinko is shocked to find her flat is totally empty. Gone are her TV set, fridge, and above all, her boyfriend. She has no choice but to go back to her native village and her mother, on which she turned her back 10 years ago. There she decides to open a very special restaurant.

Book Review from The Independent

Ito Agawa’s foodie fable centres on Rinko, a chef who returns to her city apartment one evening only to discover that her boyfriend has taken off with her life savings and – what is worse – her Le Creuset casserole set.

Distraught, she returns home to her mother’s village in the countryside, and sets up an organic restaurant catering to the locals. Her delicious cooking gains a reputation for healing powers, and fosters love and friendship in the community.

Agawa’s descriptions of Rinko’s recipes can be mouth-watering, particularly if you’re a fan of Japanese food (“sangetan soup with whole chicken brewed in shochu”; “sautéed radish with shiitake mushrooms”). But the story itself will probably be a little too saccharine for most tastes.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - growing the big one

Growing The Big One (2010)

Growing The Big One is about a small town’s annual pumpkin growing contest which brings big changes for big city radio host Emma Silver (Shannon Doherty), who decides to pay off her late grandfather’s debts by winning this year’s $50,000 grand prize. In the process she strikes sparks with a handsome neighbor (Kavan Smith) who could teach her a lot about farming — and love!

Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growing_the_Big_One

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - farewell restaurant

Farewell Restaurant (2020)

Hae-jin, a chef who suddenly broke up through Kakao, left for Skopelos, Greece, the same island he promised to come with for the summer vacation. Hae-jin opened a Korean restaurant called Farewell Restaurant. For couples’ last farewell before their breakups, they play music and comfort them. And then one day, Eleni, a Greek girl came… and he falls in love again.

A fresh romantic musical set against the backdrop of the Greek island of Skopelos!

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

How diet became the latest front in the culture wars

Source: The Guardian

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - How diet became the latest front in the culture wars


Sometimes, particularly when looking at the weekend newspapers, it can seem that our obsession with food and health has reached a pitch of pure hysteria. “Eat!” screams one headline. “Diet!” shouts another. Cut out carbohydrates, suggests one report. Carbs are good for you, says a different one. Lower your fat intake. No, fat’s healthy, sugar’s the problem. Coffee raises the risk of heart disease. But it lowers the risk of diabetes. And so on, until you just want to ditch the papers and watch The Great British Bake Off or MasterChef.

Food, how to cook it, what it does to you and what growing or rearing it does to the planet are issues that crowd the media. And yet, as the clamour grows, clarity recedes. An estimated 820 million people went hungry last year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. A third of all people were vitamin-deficient. Two billion were classified as overweight and 600 million as obese. It’s also estimated that 1bn tonnes of food are wasted every year – a third of the total produced. A plethora of academic reports concerning food consumption and production have been published in recent years. The latest and arguably the most far-reaching is Food in the Anthropocene: the Eat-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems, which was conducted over three years by 37 senior scientists from around the world and published earlier this year.

To combat the world’s growing demand for food – there will be 10 billion people to feed by 2050 – we need to cut meat almost entirely out of our diet, say the authors of the report. The argument they put forward is that eating more plant-based foods will lower the incidences of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, enable more environmentally helpful use of land and reduce carbon emissions.

The report provides a “planetary health diet” based on eating vegetables, grains, pulses and nuts, which limits red meat to one serving a week and other animal protein to greatly reduced amounts, as little as an ounce a day of fish or chicken. This, say the authors, is what we should all be eating if we’re concerned about our health and that of the planet.

The response has been mixed. In mainstream food science, the reaction has been overwhelmingly supportive, with leading figures noting the report’s findings are in broad agreement with nearly all previous large-scale studies. There has also been enthusiastic reception from interest groups such as, for example, the Soil Association. However, there have been critics, who have used traditional and social media to air a variety of grievances. Their first target was the Norwegian couple Petter and Gunhild Stordalen whose foundation is one of the partners in Eat, the nonprofit organisation dedicated to food-system reform, which collaborated with the Lancet to produce the report. The Daily Mail was one of the newspapers that focused on the couple’s globetrotting lifestyle, while the influential campaigning food writer Joanna Blythman described the report as “a top-down attempt by a small, unrepresentative dogmatic global elite to mould public agriculture policy”.

In fact, the report was wholly financed by the Wellcome Trust, which is also a participant in Eat, which supplied staff, but they were paid for by Wellcome Trust….

Read more

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - pizza. a love story

Pizza, A Love Story. (2019)

How does this one little town in one of the smallest (US) states just happen to have three of the greatest pizza places in the world…all within a few blocks of each other? PIZZA, A LOVE STORY will explain it all.  

You’ll learn about the history, the families, the love, and craft that goes into each and every pie.  And you’ll discover a whole new appreciation for pizza as true culinary art.

This feature-length documentary has been in the works for ten years, and we are finally close to completing this labor of love.  And by “we,” I mean three of the most passionate pizza lovers on the planet: director Gorman Bechard, musician/producer Dean Falcone, and New Haven historian/operator of Taste of New Haven Colin Caplan.  We love pizza with all of our heart and soul.  We truly do.

Official website: http://www.pizzaalovestory.com/

Lamb with Orzo in the Oven

Arni Giouvètsi ston fourno

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Common

A yet another Greek comfort food classic, Lamb with Orzo in the Oven is easy to cook and – trust us – a lot easier to savour. Enjoy!

Serves 4
Cooking time: approx. 2+1/2 hours
You will need: an oven pan.

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg (2 Lbs) lamb.
  • 1/2 Kg (1 Lb) orzo or pasta similar to orzo.
  • 5-6 mature tomatoes, diced.
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced.
  • 1 garlic head, diced.
  • 1 cup (glass) of olive oil.
  • 1 +3 cups (glass) of hot water.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Optional: 200g (less than 1/2 Lb) grated cheese.

Instructions

  1. Turn the oven on to preheat at 180C / 350F.
  2. Wash and cut the meat into portions.
  3. Arrange the meat in the oven pan.
  4. Peel and dice the tomatoes,
  5. Add the tomatoes the rest of the ingredients, except for the orzo, in the oven pan.
  6. Add 1 glass of hot water in the oven pan.
  7. Add pepper.
  8. Put the pan in the oven and leave it cooking for about 2 hours.
  9. Two hours later:
    1. turn the meat,
    2. add 3 cups of water,
    3. return the pan into the oven,
    4. let the water boil,
    5. add the orzo,
    6. add salt.
  10. When the orzo absorbs the water, the food is ready.
  11. Take the pan out of the oven and let is rest for a few minutes.
  12. Sprinkle with cheese if so desired.

Notes on Lamb with Orzo in the Oven

  • There are many variations of cooking lamb with orzo from country to country and region to region (the main difference is the choice of spices) but the basics remain the same.
  • Adding salt at the beginning will potentially result to drying the meat while cooking. We prefer to add salt towards in the end.
  • In terms of what kind of cheese to sprinkle on the dish, if any, Pecorino will do nicely – but it’s up to you.
  • A few notes as to how to treat lamb and goat meat prior to cooking, here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - death by potato

Death By Potato (2016)

Death by Potato. When a boy invites 7 friends over to his Murder Mystery Themed Birthday Party, halfway through the evening, someone actually gets murdered, spurring on a full blown murder mystery.

Official website: here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - food lore

Food Lore (2020)

Introduced by award-winning Singaporean filmmaker Eric Khoo (“Ramen Teh”, “12 Storeys”), Food Lore, an eight-episode series from HBO Asia, explores human emotions with narratives inspired by Asian cuisines.

Shot from the perspective of eight different storytellers, each episode of Food Lore takes an alternative approach to showcasing the tales and taste of Asia through drama, satire, and comedy.

Food Lore – Official Trailer

Colcannon – Traditional Irish Cabbage and Potato Stew recipe

Cuisine: Irish
Region: Generic

Colcannon is one of the staple comfort food recipes of Ireland. Its name comes from the Gaelic “calceannann,” which means “white-headed cabbage.” As you may have already guessed, Colcannon is made of cabbage and potatoes. Colcannon can be as easy or complicated as you want it to be; some recipes use kale or leaks instead of cabbage, others add toppings of fried bacon, corned beef, glazed honey ham, etc. The Colcannon recipe we chose is simple and uncomplicated, focusing on the core idea of the recipe. (That doesn’t mean it’s not delicious!) Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6
Cooking time:
You will need: a pot, a saucepan, a colander and a fork

Ingredients

  • 7 to 8 large potatoes. That should be shy of 2kg or approx. 4 lbs. (Avoid “waxy” potatoes – those won’t do.),
  • 1 head of green cabbage, or kale,
  • 1 cup of milk or cream,
  • 120g (4oz) butter – rationed into 3 parts,
  • Salt and pepper,
  • Fresh Parsley or chives.
  • Hot water.
  • Optional: 4-5 green onions, chopped.

Instructions

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes.
  2. Wash the cabbage well.
  3. Put the potatoes in a pot and add cold water and salt.
  4. Place the pot on the stove, turn the fire on high and bring the potatoes to a boil. Then lower the fire a little and allow them to boil until they become tender. (Test them with a fork.)
  5. While the potatoes are cooking, start the kettle to make hot water.
  6. Then, remove the core from the cabbage.
  7. Slice the cabbage leaves thinly.
  8. Put the cabbage into a large saucepan and cover with boiling water from the kettle.
  9. Turn the fire on to medium or thereabouts and keep the cabbage at a slow rolling boil until it turns to a darker green colour. It should take about 3 to 5 minutes. You want the cabbage to be slightly under-cooked and definitely NOT overcooked.
  10. When ready, take saucepan off the fire and put it aside.
  11. Drain the cabbage well in a colander and squeeze it to get the last of the moisture out. Then, return it to the saucepan.
  12. Add 1/3 of your butter, cover the saucepan and leave it on the side somewhere warm (you want the butter to melt into the cabbage).
  13. When the potatoes are ready, drain the water and put them back in the saucepan. Set the fire to low, uncovered, so that excess moisture can evaporate. When the potatoes are perfectly dry add the milk, your other 1/3 of butter and the green onions, if you use any.
  14. Allow the butter to melt and the saucepan to steam; you want the contents of the saucepan to be warm, not boiled.
  15. Take a fork and mash the potatoes thoroughly into the warm butter and milk. (It is really bad idea to use a mixer or a potato ricer – the potatoes will become glutinous and lose all texture.)
  16. Mix the cabbage through the potatoes.
  17. Make a dimple or well in the middle of the mixture and put your last 1/3 of butter there to melt.
  18. (That’s all.)

Serving

Before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives.

Notes

  • You can add many kinds of toppings in that well or dimple in the middle of the Colcannon. Some prefer crisped bacon, others prefer corned beef, some like to add cheese in the mixture. Etc.
  • Some Colcannon recipes call for frying cabbage together with onions instead of par-boiling it before you mix it with the mashed potatoes.
  • Other Colcannon recipes substitute cabbage with leaks or kale.
  • You get the drift. 🙂

How to Core Cabbage

How to Core Cabbage

Some of us might find coring and slicing a cabbage a bit… intimidating. Well, it’s not.

Here’s a short video showing how to core cabbage.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - first cow

First Cow (2020)

Kelly Reichardt once again trains her perceptive and patient eye on the Pacific Northwest, this time evoking an authentically hardscrabble early nineteenth century way of life. A taciturn loner and skilled cook (John Magaro) has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon Territory, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant (Orion Lee) also seeking his fortune; soon the two collaborate on a successful business, although its longevity is reliant upon the clandestine participation of a nearby wealthy landowner’s prized milking cow. From this simple premise Reichardt constructs an interrogation of foundational Americana that recalls her earlier triumph Old Joy in its sensitive depiction of male friendship, yet is driven by a mounting suspense all its own. Reichardt again shows her distinct talent for depicting the peculiar rhythms of daily living and ability to capture the immense, unsettling quietude of rural America.

DIRECTED BY Kelly Reichardt
WRITTEN BY Kelly Reichardt and Jon Raymond
STARRING John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, and Ewen Bremner

Official website: https://a24films.com/films/first-cow

Fried Bananas, Singapore – Malay Style

Pisang Goreng

Simple to make and delicious to eat, Fried Bananas, or Pisang Goreng make a popular snack or desert in South East Asia, particularly in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Enjoy!

Serves: 4
Cooking time: @35 min
You will need: a bowl and a frying pan.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas. (Ripe bananas are sweeter.)
  • 100 g rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp custard powder
  • 1/3 Tsp salt
  • 1/3 Tsp baking powder
  • 15 g soft butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • frying oil

Instructions

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Take a bowl, add the dry ingredients and mix them well.
  3. With your hands, mix your 15 grams of soft butter into the dry ingredients.
  4. Add water slowly, little by little while stirring, so that the mixture turns to batter.
  5. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes, or so.
  6. Peel the bananas and cut them in half. Put them aside.
  7. Take the a frying pan, add some oil, put it on the stove and turn the fire on to medium-high. Wait a little until the oil heats up.
  8. Dip the banana pieces into the batter and lay gently into the frying oil.
  9. Leave enough room in the pan so that you can easily move and turn the bananas.
  10. Fry the bananas until golden brown.
  11. Serve.

Notes

  • Your fried bananas should be crispy or crunch on the outside and soft inside.
  • Regarding cooking oils: many people cook with vegetable oils but, unfortunately, those are not the best oils one can use. Prior to modern-day vegetable oils Asian cuisines used to use cold pressed, unrefined sesame oil, peanut oil, rapeseed oil, mustard seed oil and/or various kinds of animal fats. Fore this recipe, you may want to experiment with soybean oil, sesame oil or rapeseed oil. Each one of them has its own characteristics and offers a different flavour.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - a grain of salt

A Grain Of Salt

The Science and Pseudoscience of What we Eat

by Dr. Joe Schwarcz

A Grain Of Salt | myfoodistry

Eating has become a confusing experience. Should we follow a keto diet? Is sugar the next tobacco? Does fermented cabbage juice cure disease? Are lectins toxic? Is drinking poppy seed tea risky? What’s with probiotics? Can packaging contaminate food? Should our nuts be activated? What is cockroach milk?

We all have questions, and Dr. Joe Schwarcz has the answers, some of which will astonish you. Guaranteed to satisfy your hunger for palatable and relevant scientific information, Dr. Joe separates fact from fiction in this collection of new and updated articles about what to eat, what not to eat, and how to recognize the scientific basis of food chemistry.

About Dr. Joe Schwarcz

Dr. Joe Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s “Office for Science and Society” which has the mission of separating sense from nonsense. He is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of food to the connection between the body and the mind. Recently the Office has focused on trying to unravel the mysteries of COVID-19.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - sitopia

Sitopia

How Food Can Save the World

By Carolyn Steel

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - sitopia

Sitopia is the sequel to Hungry City. It explores the idea, first developed in Hungry City, that food shapes our lives, and asks what we can do with this knowledge in order to lead better ones. In essence, it is a practical, food-based philosophy. 

Food is the most powerful medium available to us for thinking in a connected way about the numerous dilemmas we face today. For countless millennia, food has shaped our bodies, lives, societies and world. Its effects are so widespread and profound that most of us can’t even see them; yet it is as familiar to us as our own face. Food is the great connector – the staff of life and its readiest metaphor. It is this capacity to span worlds and ideas that gives food its unparalleled power. Food, you might say, is the most powerful tool for transforming our lives and world that we never knew we had. 

While Hungry City explored how the journey of food through the city has shaped civilisations over time, Sitopia starts with a plate of food and travels out to the universe. Its structure thus consists of a series of overlapping scales, in which food is always central. Food animates our bodies, homes and societies, city and country, nature and time – seven scales that form the chapters in the book. This idea came from a drawing I did in 2011, in order to understand food’s place in our world. The drawing showed me how food’s effects at various scales interact in myriad interconnected ways. From the cultural norms into which we are born spring personal tastes and preferences that affect our individual health and pleasure, but also the vibrancy of local economies, global geopolitics and ecology. This interconnectivity made the book tricky to write, since every chapter overlapped with every other. As I wrote, however, a hidden structure began to reveal itself: as well as radiating out from food like ripples from a pond, the chapters, I realised, were mirrors of one another, so that Chapter 1 (Food) was mirrored by Chapter 7 (Time), in the sense that the former dealt primarily with life, while the latter was concerned with mortality. Similarly, Chapter 2 (Body) explores how out of synch with our world we have become, while Chapter 6 (Nature) offers a solution: to re-engage with the natural world. Chapter 3 (Home) examines our relative lack of a sense of belonging, while Chapter 5 (City and Country) shows how by rethinking the ways we inhabit land, we can regain our sense of home. It is not insignificant that this mirroring effect should have revolved around the central Chapter 4 (Society), which I came to realise was indeed pivotal, since the manner in which we share is key to all the rest. 

Official website: here.

Sitopia by Carolyn Steel review – a utopian vision that begins with food

By Christopher Kissane
The Guardian

We are out of step with our planet, so how should we live? Cheap food is an oxymoron and anarchism’s time may have come, argues this wide-ranging, stimulating book

“Civilisation is in crisis,” warned the EAT-Lancet international commission of food scientists last year. “We can no longer feed our population a healthy diet while balancing planetary resources. For the first time in 200,000 years of human history, we are severely out of synchronisation with the planet and nature.” We face climate crisis, ecological destruction, record obesity rates and rising hunger: food is threatening our future.

Carolyn Steel recognises these challenges, but she also sees food as “by far the most powerful medium available to us for thinking and acting together to change the world for the better”. By reconfiguring our relationship with food, she argues, we can find new and better ways of living that will arrest the damage we are doing to ourselves and the Earth.

Our world, Steel writes, is a “Sitopia”, a “food place” – from the Greek words sitos and topos – where everything from our environment to our societies to our bodies has been affected by our relationship with food, which “preceded us, anticipates us, sustains us”. It shapes our lives, but since its influence is so pervasive, we often fail to notice it. Thinking about its realities can also make us uncomfortable. We don’t want to know about the vast cruelty of industrialised meat and dairy production, the exploitation of migrant labourers, the deforestation and drought that are eating into the landscape of the global south, or how our addiction to processed foods is making us fat and ill.

The toxic core of our current conundrum is the lack of value we place on food. “Cheap food is an oxymoron,” Steel argues – low supermarket prices hide the costs of pollution, ecological destruction, poverty and obesity. She calls for a revelation of the true cost of food that will make industrial agriculture unaffordable and invigorate ecologically produced organic food, creating a “virtuous cycle” in which “the market would favour foods that nurtured nature, animals and people”.

Read more.

Midnight Diner II (2016) | myfoodistry

Midnight Diner II (2016)

Shinya Shokudô II

When people finish their day and hurry home, his day starts. His diner is open from midnight to seven in the morning. They call it “Midnight Diner”. Pork, Miso soup combo, Beer, Sake and Shochu is all that he has on his menu. Nevertheless, he makes whatever his customers request – as long as he has the ingredients for it: that is his policy. Does he even have customers? More than you would expect.

Based on a 2009 TV Series of the same name (which in turn is based on a 2006 Japanese manga comic book of the same title – Shinya Shokudo by Yaro Abe) the Midnight Diner is about a cook who runs a small eatery at the backstreets of Tokyo’s Shinjuku Square, open only from Midnight to 7 am. The cook is known only as “Master” and his specialty is that he will cook whatever a customer wants, for as long as he has the ingredients.

In Midnight Diner 2, a literary editor is mourning the death of one of her writers, a soba noodle restaurant owner wonders why her son won’t take over her business and an elderly woman is tricked by scammers into paying them millions of yen for her son.

Starring Kaoru Kobayashi as Master
Directed by Joji Matsuoka.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern sensitivity - midnight diner 2 movie film 2016

How to Choose, Test and Store Olive Oil

How to Choose, Test and Store Olive Oil | myfoodistry

It is said that adulterating olive oil makes more money than cocaine with none of the risks. 1 Extra Virginity : The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil We do need to know a few practical things as to how to assess olive oil when we find ourselves staring at all those bottles and brands neatly arranged on supermarket shelves. Here are a few practical tips to help you choose decent olive oil – wherever it comes from.

The olive oil bottle

Make: many brands pack olive oil in plastic bottles made of PVC. Well, there’s a problem here: olive oil is somewhat corrosive, so, the bottle’s PVC does seep into the oil – particularly so when those plastic PVC olive oil bottles have been stored in warehouses for months. The bottle of choice is made of glass.

Colour: olive oil is destroyed by light (be it sunlight or artificial; sunlight is the worst). The colour of the olive oil bottle should be either dark green or dark brown.

Practical olive oil quality tests

Testing for serious olive oil adulteration: put the olive oil bottle in the refrigerator and wait for an hour or so. If the oil becomes murky and cloudy, it’s good. If it doesn’t, then the olive oil contains other things in it.

Testing for quality: pour some extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and squeeze the juice of half a lemon in it. Beat the mixture with a fork until it becomes cloudy and inseparable. Leave it on the side and forget about it.

Much later check to see if the olive-oil-and-lemon mixture has separated into two distinctive layers. If it hasn’t, you’re good to go. If it has, then the oil is either adulterated or of inferior, definitely-not-extra-virgin quality. If it hasn’t, you’re good to go.

Storage

Store in a dark place which is neither too cold nor too hot. Excessive air in the bottle (say, a bottle that is 2/3rds empty) kept for months in a pantry may have gone rancid. If you’re not using olive oil often then do smell and taste before you use it.

If you’re buying olive oil in tin-cans, then do transfer that oil to glass bottles. Tin cans do suffer from corrosion too, and it’s never a good idea to leave them half-empty for a long time.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and recipes from all over the World - featured posts - editorial

Deconstructing the Mediterranean diet – fiction: a critical review of a 40 year-old fallacy

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the Mediterranean diet hoax

My name is Chris and I live in Toronto, Canada. Among other things I am running this food blog.

In my ancestral Greek Mediterranean home we always cooked and ate the produce of that land in the ways of that land. In North America my very mention of “olive oil” or “Greek food” or “Italian food” triggers in others a Pavlov’s Dog response on the health benefits and wonders of “The Mediterranean Diet” – as if people in Florence, Algiers, Ljubljana, Cairo, Marseilles, Tel Aviv, Athens or Izmir are somehow… indistinguishable in how they cook, what they eat and how they eat it.

Curious as to the origins of this confusion and misinformation I came to realize that the “Mediterranean Diet” is a media-driven idea that started becoming a household concept in the early nineties, when “in 1993 the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, and the European Office of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) introduced the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid as a guide to help familiarize people with the most common foods of the region” . (Read on.)

The gist of their story translates to “if you follow the ‘Diet’ practised in ‘The Mediterranean’ you may achieve ‘heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control. By following the Mediterranean Diet, you could also keep that weight off while avoiding chronic disease.’” 1US News – What is the Mediterranean Diet?

Alas.

There are major problems with the “Mediterranean Diet” story.

The first problem has to do with the blatant injustice the “Mediterranean Diet” story inflicts on the diverse, disparate and delicious cuisines of the +400 million people living around the Mediterranean Sea. The term “Mediterranean Diet” suggests that all the countries and regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea cook and eat in the same way – hence the name. As we shall see the culinary reality of the Mediterranean countries and regions is outright inapplicable to the notion of an implied “Mediterranean Diet”.

The second problem has to do with the real fact that no-one is able to offer a clear, unambiguous definition of the much promoted “Mediterranean Diet”. They call it a “diet” but, in reality, they present “dietary patterns”, “eating patterns” or “eating plans” that are supposedly shared by “the Mediterranean”. As we shall see, these terms, often used loosely in everyday speech, are not interchangeable: a “diet” is not the same as an “eating pattern” when medical/health claims are involved.

The third problem has to do with the credibility of the science supporting the medical/health claims this “eating-pattern-called-diet” of “the Mediterranean” is all about. As we shall see, the statistical correlation of dietary patterns is at best inadequate as a method to supply the necessary link between dietary cause and medical effect that the “Mediterranean Diet” story purports to provide.

In this post/article I am jotting down certain thoughts as to why, in my mind, the much promoted “Mediterranean Diet” story is pure diet-fiction. As I was researching the subject I came to realize that yes, there is truth in some of this; but that truth is not “Mediterranean” at all.

What’s in a name?

Deconstructing the Mediterranean diet - fiction: a critical review of a 40 year-old fallacy | myfoodistry

The “Mediterranean Diet” story suggests that all cultures bordering the Mediterranean Sea constitute a homogeneous region that grows the same produce and cooks and eats food in the same, indistinguishable way. Otherwise… why call it “Mediterranean”?

In actuality the Mediterranean Sea is the geographic nexus of 3 Continents, 24 countries, 12 languages, 4 religions and +400 million people. We will probably be surprised to know that the majority of the population of the Mediterranean is Muslim.

In terms of food and cooking the countries and cultures bordering the Mediterranean could not be more disparate. For example, Crete (Greece, Europe) is about 300 km or 186 miles away from Libya (Africa) on a straight line. This is the same amount of distance separating New York from Boston and less than the distance between Toronto and Ottawa. Regardless of the geographical proximity, the Libyans abhor pork; but the Cretans adore it in every shape and form.

The same level of disparity characterizes the food and cooking of Florence and Algiers, Izmir and Tel-Aviv and Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Cairo – among others. To better illustrate the point let’s compare a popular Slovenian dish (Bograč) to a popular Egyptian dish (Koshari)

You will probably agree with me that, metaphorically speaking, these two represent the two sides of the Moon. That is no surprise when one takes into account the lands, or terroirs, these two recipes come from.

myfoodistry - the Mediterranean diet fiction
Slovenia
myfoodistry - the Mediterranean diet fiction
Egypt

Yes, Slovenia and Egypt are both on the Mediterranean Sea.

So, what do you think? Does it look like the respective diets of where these two dishes come from, namely Egypt and Slovenia, can “differ slightly” as Harvard says they do? (Read on.)

The list of the cultural and dietary differences comprising the Mediterranean basin is long. Some of the most significant include the following:

  • The minority of the Mediterranean peoples (Christians) eat pork and drink alcohol.
  • The majority of the Mediterranean peoples (Muslims) abhor pork and alcohol.
  • The Jewish people of the Mediterranean do not eat pork, do not mix meat and dairy, do not eat seafood but do drink alcohol.
  • The Muslims of the Mediterranean do not eat pork, eat seafood and they mix meat and dairy.
  • The Christians of the Mediterranean eat pork and seafood, drink alcohol and also mix meat with dairy.
  • The Muslims of the Mediterranean follow the Ramadan (a 30-day period of consuming neither food nor drink from sunrise to sunset).
  • The Christian Catholics fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstain from meat on all Fridays during their 40-day Lent and all Fridays through the year are fish-only but there are no dietary restrictions on meat-based sauces and gravies or animal fat.
  • The Greek Orthodox Christians fast at regular intervals from 95 to +120 days per year. During the fasts and Lents they abstain from any and all animal products, including eggs and fish, but not seafood. For the rest of the year they drink alcohol in moderation and eat red meat, white meat and fish roughly once a week or 72 times per year (total including all three categories).

Religious dietary differences may not present themselves as significant to the modern reader. However, they were very significant at the time of initial research, namely in the 1950s and 1960s because people back then did observe dietary stipulations imposed by religion.

So far, we established differences among the culinary cultures of the Mediterranean. Are there any similarities that can actually justify the suggestion of a “Mediterranean Diet”?

Um… actually, no.

When it comes to food,

The Mediterranean countries have one thing in common: they border the Mediterranean Sea. Apart from that, they vary in religion, culture, ethnicity, economy, political status, and food supply. Consequently, the diet varies from place to place and country to country. It has been difficult to find a common denominator for all the countries, but several of them seem to have in common the use of locally produced foodstuffs, like vegetables and olive oil.” 2Kiple, K. E., & Ornelas, K. C. (Eds.). (2000)
The history and culture of food and drink in Europe
Cambridge World History of Food (Vol. 1, pp. 1193–1203). Cambridge, UK
Cambridge University Press

It seems that the much-promoted idea of the “Mediterranean Diet” has very little to do with the Mediterranean itself.

Well, in fact, it is not even a diet.

What is “The Mediterranean Diet”?

Deconstructing the Mediterranean diet - fiction: a critical review of a 40 year-old fallacy | myfoodistry

I ran a web search on “Mediterranean Diet, definition”. Alas. Instead of a definition, all I ended up with is the consistent lack of definition. Here are some of the results. Emphasis is mine.

Time Magazine

There’s no one book or website to follow if you want to learn about the Mediterranean diet, and there’s no one way to structure a meal plan around it. …/… The Mediterranean diet also includes alcohol in moderation—traditionally, wine with meals —and encourages sitting down to meals as a family or a group, rather than rushing through them on-the-go.

Mayo Clinic

…/… While there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet, …/… Other important elements of the Mediterranean diet are sharing meals with family and friends, enjoying a glass of red wine and being physically active.

UNESCO

The Mediterranean diet as a nutritional recommendation is different from the cultural practices that UNESCOlisted in 2010 under the heading “Mediterranean diet” on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity: “a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking, and particularly the sharing and consumption of food”, not as a particular set of foods. Its sponsors include Italy,  Spain,  Portugal,  Morocco, Greece, Cyprus, and Croatia.

US News

The Mediterranean Diet may offer a host of health benefits, including weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control. By following the Mediterranean Diet, you could also keep that weight off while avoiding chronic disease. There isn’t “a” Mediterranean diet. Greeks eat differently from Italians, who eat differently from the French and Spanish. But they share many of the same principles.

American Heart Association

There’s no one “Mediterranean” diet. At least 16 countries border the Mediterranean Sea. Diets vary between these countries and also between regions within a country. Many differences in culture, ethnic background, religion, economy and agricultural production result in different diets. But the common Mediterranean dietary pattern has these characteristics:

  • high consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
  • olive oil is an important monounsaturated fat source
  • dairy products, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, and little red meat is eaten
  • eggs are consumed zero to four times a week
  • wine is consumed in low to moderate amounts

Harvard School of Public Health

The traditional diets of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea differ slightly so there are different versions of the Mediterranean diet. However, in 1993 the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, and the European Office of the World Health Organization introduced the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid as a guide to help familiarize people with the most common foods of the region.

More of an eating pattern than a strictly regimented diet plan, the pyramid emphasized certain foods based on the dietary traditions of Crete, Greece, and southern Italy during the mid-20th century. [1,2] At that time, these countries displayed low rates of chronic disease and higher than average adult life expectancy despite having limited access to healthcare. It was believed that the diet—mainly fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, fish, olive oil, small amounts of dairy, and red wine—contributed to their health benefits. The pyramid also highlighted daily exercise and the beneficial social aspects of eating meals together.

There are additional points that make this eating plan [Mediterranean Diet] unique:

  • An emphasis on healthy fats. Olive oil is recommended as the primary added fat, replacing other oils and fats (butter, margarine). Other foods naturally containing healthful fats are highlighted, such as avocados, nuts, and oily fish like salmon and sardines; among these, walnuts and fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Choosing fish as the preferred animal protein at least twice weekly and other animal proteins of poultry, eggs, and dairy (cheese or yogurt) in smaller portions either daily or a few times a week. Red meat is limited to a few times per month.
  • Stressing daily physical activity through enjoyable activities.

Basta. Enough.

Confusion reigns supreme

Deconstructing the Mediterranean diet - fiction: a critical review of a 40 year-old fallacy | myfoodistry

Do I really need a PhD to figure out that confusion reigns supreme, here?

  • From the 24 countries around the Mediterranean Sea only 6 endorse the idea of a “Mediterranean Diet”. The 7th country endorsing it, namely Portugal, does not even border the Mediterranean. It is situated entirely on the Atlantic Ocean.
    • If we are to include Portugal in the Mediterranean what prevents us from including Austria in the list? After all, Austria’s border is only 90 km or 56 miles away from the Mediterranean coast. Portugal’s border is more than 200 km or 124 miles away from the Med.
  • The majority of the sources consider the (24) Mediterranean countries as having “common (dietary) principles”.
    • Well… as we already saw, they don’t. The only things they share is vegetables and olive oil – much in the same sense that East Asia shares vegetables and soy sauce. Is this enough to support the idea of “common dietary principles” in the Mediterranean? (Nope.)
  • UNESCO again (by way of Wikipedia) considers “The Mediterranean Diet” to be a set of skills, knowledge, etc. instead of a particular set of foods.
    • This definition of the “Mediterranean Diet” does not even involve… food!
  • Harvard, (yes, Harvard) recommends… avocados and salmon as ingredients of the “Mediterranean Diet eating plan”.
    • Well, avocados and salmon are neither indigenous to the Mediterranean, nor are they – or have ever been – a food staple of the Mediterranean.
  • The same Harvard suggests that the “Mediterranean Diet” has “different versions” because the countries bordering the Mediterranean “differ slightly”.
    • We did compare a popular Slovenian dish to a popular Egyptian dish. We also saw pictures of the lands they respectively come from. Do they “differ slightly”? A common mortal like myself would not dare suggest that the dietary differences between Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Cairo (Egypt), or between pork-adoring Barcelona and pork-abhorring Algiers, or between meat-and-dairy loving Izmir and meat-and-dairy detesting Tel-Aviv is… “slight”. But Harvard can.
  • Further on to Harvard’s description of “the Mediterranean Diet” we read that it is “More of an eating pattern than a strictly regimented diet plan”.
    • If it’s an eating pattern why do they call it a diet? If it’s a diet, why do they call it an eating pattern? As we shall see these terms are not interchangeable when medical/health claims are involved.
  • And, here’s the best part: all but one (UNESCO) of the aforementioned sources accept moderate amounts of alcohol, mostly red wine, as an integral part of the “Mediterranean Diet”.
    • Well, more than half (that is: +200 million) of the Mediterranean population is Muslim: alcohol is Haram (forbidden) to them by religion – particularly so in the cultural context of the 1950’s – 1960’s when initial research took place. So, what are they talking about?

All in all, no one here is in position to offer a single, unambiguous definition of the alleged diet of the Mediterranean.

At the same time, almost all of them are quite busy describing the magnificent health benefits of the “pattern” or “principles” of a diet that has no single, unambiguous and clear definition.

Marvellous.

So, why and how on earth did the “Mediterranean Diet” fiction become a household concept?

The timeline

Deconstructing the Mediterranean diet - fiction: a critical review of a 40 year-old fallacy | myfoodistry

As the story goes…

After World War II the Greek government was concerned about the living conditions of the population and saw the need to improve these conditions. They invited the Rockefeller Foundation to carry out a major epidemiological survey on the island of Crete to find out how best to raise the standard of living for the population. The epidemiologist Allbaugh (1953) carried out an investigation into the life of the population in Crete. Included in this study was a survey of the dietary characteristics of the members of one out of every 150 households on the island.

The survey of the dietary characteristics showed that the population had a mainly vegetarian diet, with a lot of cereals, vegetables, fruits, and nuts and only small amounts of milk, meat, and fish. Olive oil and bread were part of every meal, and wine was consumed in moderate amounts. Wild herbs were also gathered and used.

Although Allbaugh and the Rockefeller Foundation were the first to record the diet in Crete, Keys was the person who first showed an interest in the diets in southern Italy and Crete and possible health effects. He noticed the very low rates of heart disease in the regions, and together with colleagues, he started a series of investigations in seven countries into diet and other factors that could cause coronary disease.3From Greece To Norway With Useful Knowledge.

From then on…

The concept of a Mediterranean diet was developed to reflect “food patterns typical of Crete, much of the rest of Greece, and Italy in the early 1960s”. Although it was first publicized in 1975 by the American biologist Ancel Keys and chemist Margaret Keys the Mediterranean diet failed to gain widespread recognition until the 1990s. Objective data showing that Mediterranean diet is healthful originated from results of epidemiological studies in Naples and Madrid, confirmed later by the Seven Countries Study, first published in 1970, and a book-length report in 1980.4Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediterranean_diet#cite_note-1

Finally…

…/… in 1993 the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, and the European Office of the World Health Organization introduced the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid as a guide to help familiarize people with the most common foods of the region. 5The Nutrition Source, Harvard School of Public Health.

In short:

  • Leland G. Allbaugh researched the diet of the Cretan Greeks between 1949 and 1951, and published a study called “Crete: A Case Study of an Underdeveloped Area” in 1953. He found that although the diet of the Cretan Greeks of that time was scarce, their health was excellent.
  • Inspired by Allbaugh’s study, Ancel Keys et al. embarked on their famous (or infamous) “Seven Countries Study”. Although said study did include… Japan, it was accepted as the scientific base for the medical/ health attributes of the “Mediterranean Diet” idea.
  • Many years after that, in 1993, the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, and the European Office of the World Health Organization published their “Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid” – thus cementing and promoting the idea of a “Diet” of the “Mediterranean”. The media – and others – took it from there.

As we can clearly see, the entire “Mediterranean Diet” discourse sprang from Allbaugh’s research in Crete, Greece c.1950.

What did Allbaugh find in Crete, Greece, between 1949 and 1951?

Allbaugh, Crete and the missing attribute

Deconstructing the Mediterranean diet - fiction: a critical review of a 40 year-old fallacy | myfoodistry

Leland G. Allbaugh was an epidemiologist and an Assistant Director in the Social Sciences department of the Rockefeller Foundation. Shortly after WWII the Rockefeller Foundation accepted the Greek Government’s invitation to conduct an epidemiological survey on the island of Crete citing, among other things, that:

Crete has been almost untouched by the industrial revolution or by the technological changes in agriculture which have accompanied the development of modern science. Its population, for the most part, is descended from families that have inhabited the land for generations, and the manner of living has not essentially changed for centuries. Over 80 per cent of the people live in rural areas, giving their major effort to the raising of food.” 6Rockefeller Foundation, Annual Report, 1949, p.41.

Starting in 1949, Allbaugh’s team researched the diet and way of life of the Cretans for two years. Much to their astonishment, they found the opposite of the famine and malnutrition they assumed to expect.

In Crete, expecting to find widespread malnutrition, Allbaugh’s researchers instead discovered the local diet to be “surprisingly good” and noted that the Cretans had an exceedingly low rate of chronic Western diseases. They suffered about a third as many heart disease-related deaths as Americans at the time and had barely any incidence of cancer. No matter how underdeveloped Crete might have been in terms of roads, plumbing and other typical markers of “progress,” it seemed they were far ahead of the U.S. when it came to eating well. 7Eating Well

Unfortunately, the one thing Allbaugh did not mention in his study was that the diet of the Cretan Greeks c.1950 was dictated by the strictly regimented Greek Orthodox dietary code.

In reverse, given that the place was Crete, Greece and the time period was 1949-1951, Allbaugh could not have researched or studied something other than the daily life application of the Greek Orthodox dietary code – practised by the overwhelming majority of the Cretan Greeks in their daily lives back then.

The Greek Orthodox dietary code calls for Lents and fasting at regular intervals for a total number of days ranging from 95 to +120 days per year. The major Lents and fasts of the Greek Orthodox are spread out in three main periods: 40 days before Christmas, 40 to 48 days before Easter and 15 days before August 15. The strongly devout also follow other minor fasts and Lents among these three periods, increasing the total number of Lent and fast days to approx. 200 days per year.

During their Lents and fasts the Greek Orthodox abstain from any and all animal products, including eggs and fish – with the exception of seafood.

During the regular, non-Lent, periods the Greek Orthodox go vegetarian for 4 days per week and drink alcohol only in moderation. They eat red meat, white meat and fish roughly once a week per category. The result is something like 24 fish dishes, 24 white meat dishes and 24 red meat dishes… per year.

This was the diet (as opposed to “eating pattern”) whose results Allbaugh’s study observed as beneficial to the health of the Cretan Greeks c.1950.

I suggest that the results of Allbaugh’s research c.1950 were subsequently generalized by others, namely Ancel Keys et al., to apply to other countries or regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

Ancel Keys et al.

Deconstructing the Mediterranean diet - fiction: a critical review of a 40 year-old fallacy | myfoodistry

Ancel Keys was an American physiologist known for the creation of the ready-to-eat portable meals known as K-rations that were used by the American army during World War II. He also conducted landmark research on the causes of heart disease and promoted the Mediterranean diet, which emphasized fruits, vegetables, and olive oil. 8https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ancel-Keys

Ancel Keys et al. reached scientific fame (or infamy) with their Seven Countries Study. Here’s a section from the abstract:

Ancel Keys and his Italian colleague Flaminio Fidanza and their SCS colleagues were central to the modern recognition, definition, and promotion of the eating pattern they found in Italy and Greece in the 1950s and ’60s, now popularly called “The Mediterranean Diet.” They showed together with their colleagues that dietary patterns in the Mediterranean and in Japan in the 1960s were associated with low rates of coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality.”

What we learned from the Seven Countries Study

The number of Mediterranean countries Keys et al. included in the Study was only three: Greece, Italy and two regions (now countries) of former Yugoslavia: Croatia and Serbia. It is worth mentioning that Serbia is landlocked – it does not extend to the Mediterranean Sea. 9Serbia is Greek Orthodox but during the time of the Seven Countries Study Serbia was a part of Communist Yugoslavia. Communist rule actively discouraged and suppressed expression of religion in Serbia during that time. But let us choose to forego this “detail” and carry on.

The medical/health nature of the claims attributed to the Seven Countries Study’s “Mediterranean” eating/dietary patterns and/or principles (e.g. reduced heart disease and all-cause mortality etc.) suggest a proven and unambiguous link between dietary cause and medical effect. As many have since pointed out, this may not have been the case.

Effectively, Ancel Keys et al. linked the medical/health attributes of the religious dietary code of the Greek Orthodox Cretan Greeks to “eating patterns” or “dietary patterns” found elsewhere in the Mediterranean by way of… correlating mortality statistics and F.A.O. balance sheets. 10The Truth About Ancel Keys: We’ve Got It All Wrong

What Every Doctor Should Know About Ancel Key’s Experiments

Can statistical correlation link dietary cause to medical effect?

Um… no, it can’t.

Statistical correlation is unable to prove causation.

For example, if “the consumption of ice cream and the number of murders in New York are positively correlated (i.e. both rising) then as the amount of ice cream sold per person increases, the number of murders increases”. The statement is statistically correct. But can you seriously suggest that the number of murders in New York increases because people in New York began eating more ice cream?11How Statistical Correlation and Causation Are Different

In plain language, Ancel Keys et al. statistically correlated apples to bananas suggesting that “eating patterns” found elsewhere in “the Mediterranean” (bananas) can be linked to the good health stemming from the religious dietary code of the Cretan Greeks c.1950 (apples).

Their method and results left a lot to be desired. E.g. among other regions they also included Greece’s Crete and Corfu in the Seven Countries Study.

…/… However, the diets of these two islands, Crete and Corfu differed from each other rather markedly with an appreciably higher fat content in Crete. Moreover, the available evidence on the Greek diet in the 1960s is limited to only two specific and possibly atypical and unrepresentative island sites, so it would be unwise to extrapolate the diets of either of these islands to the main-land as only 5 and 1% of the Greek population lives in Crete and Corfu.12The high-fat Greek diet: a recipe for all?
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2002)

If this is how two regions of the same country compare, what would an all-out comparison of the multitude of countries, regions, cultures and religions bordering the entire Mediterranean Sea be like, I wonder?

Anyhow, the scientific community of the time had few good things to say about the conclusions of the Seven Countries Study. But, at any rate, Ancel and Margaret Keys captured North American imagination by publishing two diet books revolving around their study – Eat Well and Stay Well in 1959 and How to eat well and stay well. The Mediterranean way in 1975. Their books became best-sellers and the rest is history.

But why and how did Keys brand his science in a manner that implies a single “diet” that is purporting to be characteristic of “the Mediterranean”?

I cannot be certain as to why. But there can be an explanation as to how. Let us now examine the wonders of reverse causality.

Reverse Causality and the Mediterranean diet – fiction

Deconstructing the Mediterranean diet - fiction: a critical review of a 40 year-old fallacy | myfoodistry

According to Katz (2006) 13What is Reverse Causality?

… identifying reverse causality is sometimes a matter of “common sense.” For example, a study might find that brown spots on the skin and sunbathing are linked. While it is plausible that sunbathing can cause brown skin spots, it’s highly unlikely that the brown spots cause sunbathing.

This gives us a handle to better understand how Allbaugh’s Cretan Greek brown skin spots came to cause… Mediterranean sunbathing. To better illustrate the point let’s employ a few direct yet equally absurd analogies.

The Lake Ontario Diet

You research the diet of the Torontonians and you somehow find that it results in less heart disease compared to “eating patterns” found elsewhere around Lake Ontario. Alright. Would you name the diet of the Torontonians “The Lake Ontario Diet”? (Nope.)

The Great Lakes Diet

Had Detroit, Michigan followed a diet somehow leading to less heart disease compared to “eating patterns” found elsewhere around the Great Lakes… would you name the diet of Detroit “The Great Lakes Diet”? (Nope.)

The East China Sea Diet

The Seven Countries Study also associates the diet of Japan to low rates of coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality.

Splendid.

China, Korea and Japan share the East China Sea. In fact they share soy sauce and vegetables much in the same way that Greece, Italy and Egypt share vegetables and olive oil.

Would you name the diet of Japan “The East China Sea Diet”?

Nope.

If the suggestion of an East China Sea Diet is unacceptable, how is the suggestion of a Mediterranean (Sea) Diet reasonable?

Why not, then, also equate “Astronomy” with “Astrology”? After all, they both have the word “Astro” in common.

The bottom line here is that, in light of the information above, plain common sense is able to dismiss the idea of a “diet” of the “Mediterranean” as the obvious, perhaps preposterous, by-product of reverse causality.

Nevertheless, Harvard, the Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust and the European Office of the W.H.O. were indeed able to propose and promote such reverse a causality with their “Mediterranean Diet Pyramid”, summa cum laude.

Wondrous, isn’t it?

The Mediterranean diet – fiction : concluding remarks

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the Mediterranean diet fiction

Have you ever walked away from a medical doctor’s office holding in your hand a piece of paper listing “patterns of medication”? If you have, chances are that your region’s medical board would like to know about it. But you haven’t. You walk away with a prescription, dictating how much of what you should be taking when and for how long to achieve a certain health goal.

It is the same with diets. You consult a dietitian because there’s a medical/health goal you want or need to achieve. You don’t walk away from her/his office waving “eating patterns”. You go away with clear instructions as to how much of what to eat when and for how long. In my mind that’s what the word diet means (or ought to mean) when medical/health claims are involved.

As such, plain common sense is telling me that if I am hoping to imbibe “weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, diabetes prevention and control, etc.” chances are that following “no one way of structuring a meal” around “eating patterns” portrayed to represent a “diet” that is supposedly shared by a so disparate and heterogeneous a region as “the Mediterranean”… will not get me very far.

On the other hand, following a regimented diet may give me a better chance of staying healthy through cooking and eating, as shown by the Cretan Greeks’ centuries-old Orthodox diet, all the way up to the 1950’s.

After all, this is what Allbaugh studied in Crete c.1950s and this is what other scientists are discovering today when researching the health effects of diets born of scarcity no matter where they come from. 14Greek Orthodox fasting rituals: a hidden characteristic of the Mediterranean diet of Crete.

Does the periodic vegetarianism of Greek Orthodox Christians benefit blood pressure?

A critical review of current evidence, perspectives and research implications of diet-related traditions of the Eastern Christian Orthodox Church on dietary intakes and health consequences.

Unravelling the metabolic health benefits of fasting related to religious beliefs: A narrative review

Health Benefits of Islamic Intermittent Fasting

Is Ramadan fasting related to health outcomes? A review on the related evidence,
Islamic Fast and Health

Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease

Religious Fasting in Hinduism

Ramadan, Lent and other fasting periods have benefits for body and mind

The impact of religious fasting on human health

Fasting for Health and Longevity: Nobel Prize Winning Research on Cell Aging

A week of Danjiki (Buddhist fasting ritual) on cardiometabolic health: a case report

As this point I feel totally comfortable to freely and summarily dismiss the “Mediterranean Diet” idea as pure diet-fiction. It ran its course. It is now time to move on; embrace applied, shared human wisdom and eat happily ever after.

Be well,
Chris G

Written for myfoodistry – traditional cooking and modern inspiration
All rights reserved.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - midnight diner film movie 2014

Midnight Diner (2014)

Shinya Shokudô

Based on a 2009 TV Series of the same title (which in turn is based on a 2006 Japanese manga comic book of the same title – Shinya Shokudo by Yaro Abe) the Midnight Diner is about a cook who runs a small eatery at the backstreets of Tokyo’s Shinjuku Square, open only from Midnight to 7 am.

The cook is known only as “Master” and his specialty is that he will cook whatever a customer wants, for as long as he has the ingredients.

The story of this film revolves around an abandoned obituary urn which the Master discovers in the diner. Follow the stories of his regulars tangled around this urn.

Starring Kaoru Kobayashi as Master
Directed by Joji Matsuoka.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - midnight diner movie film 2014

Midnight Diner : Reviews

Koshari – a national dish of Egypt

A more complex yet similar dish to Mujadara (rice and lentils), Koshari is considered to be Egypt’s national dish: a delicious comfort-food meal that is sometimes made from left overs: if you happen to already have a bit of chickpeas, a bit of lentils and a bit of rice left over in the fridge all you have to do is make the sauces, crisp or caramelize some onions and boil some pasta. The secret ingredient here is the vinegar: it breaks down the carbohydrates Koshari is all about. (See Notes, below.)

Cuisine: Egyptian

Serves: 8 people
Cooking time: 60-70 minutes
You will need: 3 saucepans, 1 frying pan, 3 pots, 3 mixing bowls, 1 serving platter and 4 sauce bowls for serving. If you have just a few pots and pans then wash them as you go.
Soaking: If you’re not using canned chickpeas then soak your chickpeas overnight. Next day drain, rinse and cook them before you start cooking the Koshari.

Ingredients

For the crispy onion garnish

  • 2 onions cut into thin rings,
  • ½ cup olive oil,
  • Salt.

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 onion grated or diced,
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed,
  • 1 Tsp ground coriander,
  • 1 Tsp chili flakes,
  • 3 cups tomato puree (a.k.a. tomato coulis or passata). Tinned is OK.
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil,
  • 3 Tbsp vinegar (preferably apple cider).

For the cumin sauce

  • 2 Tsp crushed garlic,
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin,
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil,
  • 6 Tbsp water,
  • 6 Tbsp vinegar (preferably apple cider),
  • Salt.

For the Koshari

  • 1 cup brown lentils well-rinsed and drained,
  • 1+ ½ cup of canned chickpeas (15 oz or 425 g) or ½ cup of dried chickpeas you cooked the day before.
  • 1 cup white rice previously soaked in cold water for 15 minutes, then drained,
  • 2 cups pasta, preferably ditali, tubetti, or elbow. If you don’t have this kind of pasta in the pantry then just crack into small pieces whatever normal thickness pasta you happen to have and use that instead,
  • ½ Tsp salt,
  • ½ Tsp pepper,
  • ½ Tsp ground coriander,
  • Olive oil,
  • Water – some of it hot.

Instructions

Soaking

  1. If you’re not using canned chickpeas then you need to soak your chickpeas in cold water overnight.
  2. Wash the rice [link] and put it in a bowl to soak for 15 minutes.
  3. Wash the lentils and put them aside.

While the rice is soaking…

Tomato sauce

  1. In a saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil.
  2. Add the grated onion, cook over medium-high heat until the onion becomes a little golden and translucent (not brown).
  3. Add the garlic, coriander and chili flakes and saute briefly.
  4. Add the tomatoes and salt.
  5. Bring to a boil and cook at medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  6. Add the vinegar, lower the heat and simmer for another 3-4 minutes or so.
  7. Turn off the fire, cover and keep the sauce warm until you’re ready to serve.

While the tomato sauce is cooking…

Cumin sauce

  1. In a saucepan, saute the garlic and cumin until they are fragrant. It will take about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the vinegar, water, and salt.
  3. Cover and set aside.

Lentils

  1. Put the lentils in a pot, add 3 cups of cold water turn the fire on and bring to boil.
  2. Reduce the fire and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes or until the lentils are slightly tender. You don’t want them fully cooked. You want them half-cooked.
  3. Drain and season with salt.

Rice

  1. Drain the rice that has soaked for 15 minutes.
  2. Take a mixing bowl and mix the half-cooked lentils and the rice.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and add the coriander. Mix well.
  4. Time for a heavy pot if you have one: put it on the stove, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and turn the fire on to medium-high heat.
  5. Add the rice and lentil mixture and saute for about 3 minutes, gently stirring constantly.
  6. Add about 3 cups of hot water to cover the ingredients.
  7. Bring to a boil.
  8. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, until the rice and lentils absorb the liquid and are cooked through. During the process you can add more hot water if necessary. Important tip: do not stir.
  9. Turn off the fire and half-cover with a lid.

Macaroni / Pasta

  1. While the rice and lentils cook, prepare the macaroni according to the directions on the package. Basically: bring the water to a boil, add salt, and cook them to al dente.
  2. Drain.

Chickpeas

  1. Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
  2. Put them in a pan under very low fire to warm up. They should not be hot.

Crispy onion garnish

  1. Pat dry your rings of raw onions with a paper towel.
  2. In a large pan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Saute the onions, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes, until they caramelize. You wan them crisp. You don’t want them burnt.
  4. Set them aside.

Combine

  1. First layer: rice and lentils: use a fork to fluff the mixture in the pot. Arrange it as your first layer in your serving dish.
  2. Next layer: chickpeas.
  3. Next layer: macaroni / pasta.
  4. Next layer: drizzle half of the tomato sauce.
  5. Next layer: drizzle half the cumin sauce.
  6. Next layer: half the crispy onions.
  7. Put the remaining sauces and onions in separate bowls and serve on the side.

Notes on Koshari

  • When you first cook Koshari it might seem like a big deal. This is why Koshari is often made with left over lentils, rice and chickpeas, namely: small amounts from other meals that you might otherwise throw away. (Why throw food away?) So, if you really enjoyed this recipe then each time you cook lentils, rice and chickpeas you can make a little extra so that you can put together a Koshari a few days later.
  • Can also wrap it up in a falafel pita bread if you’d like to make a sandwich out of it.
  • Regarding the chickpeas: you can soak them in cold water overnight and cook them the next day; or use canned chickpeas – the choice is yours.
  • The copious amount of vinegar used in Koshari not only gives it the tangy, sharp flavour people love. It also helps break down the carbohydrates Koshari is all about. Also, the amount of iron the cumin sauce contains is impressive. Read more here. (Scroll down to the post’s Notes.)
  • Important tip: the recipe uses many pots and pans. If you have just two or three, just wash them as you go. (Less work to do at the end, n’est-ce pas?)

Bograč – a one pot stew with 3 kinds of meat from Slovenia (with love) :)

Cusine: Slovenian
Region: Prekmurje

Bograč is a one-pot stew recipe, somewhat evocative of the Hungarian Goulash. (The Slovenian region were the recipe comes from used to be part of Hungary up to 1919.) Calling for three kinds of meat, namely venison or boar, beef and pork, Bograč is so popular that it is often referred to as one of the national dishes of Slovenia.

Serves: 6 to 8
Cooking time: 2 to 4 hours
You will need: one big enough pot or dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp of lard or butter,
  • 500 g (1 Lb) venison or boar, thick cut, sliced in half,
  • 500 g (1 Lb) beef (shank),
  • 500 g (1 Lb) pork (chuck), thick cut, sliced in half,
  • 1 + ½ kg (3 Lbs) onions, diced,
  • 1 kg (2 Lbs) potatoes, cut in half or in quarters (see Notes),
  • 1 red pepper, diced,
  • at least 1 cup of wine (red, white or both),
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed,
  • 2-3 bay leaves,
  • 2 Tsp of paprika,
  • 2 tomatoes, diced,
  • 10 -15 peppercorns,
  • 1 pinch of ground pepper,
  • 1 Tsp of marjoram,
  • 1 chopped green chili pepper (without the seeds),
  • Salt.
  • Hot water.

Instructions

  1. Take a big enough pot or dutch oven and put it on the stove.
  2. Put the lard or butter in, and turn on the fire to medium high.
  3. Wait for the butter or lard to melt and thrown the onions in.
  4. Saute the onions until they are translucent.
  5. Add your diced red pepper and crushed garlic and cook until the pepper softens.
  6. Now, add the meat in the following order. As you do this, if needed, add a little hot water to keep things from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
    1. Venison or boar goes in first. Brown it for 15 minutes.
    2. Then 15 minutes later in comes the beef.
    3. Then, 30 minutes later, after the beef, add the pork.
  7. Add your herbs, spices and the diced tomatoes.
  8. Add enough hot water to barely cover the ingredients, cover the pot and simmer in low fire for 1 + ½ hours, until the meat is almost done. Don’t add too much hot water; it’s better to add hot water as you go or it might turn to soup (and you don’t want that).
  9. Add salt and simmer for a little longer, say 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Then add the potatoes and more hot water if needed to keep the ingredients covered.
  11. When the potatoes are done (sliding down your testing fork) add the wine.
  12. Simmer for another 10 minutes and you’re done.

Notes on Bograč

  • The wine gives Bograč its distinctive flavour, so, bear that in mind when you choose your cooking wine. Red wine works better; white wine will do.
  • Die hard Bograč fans simmer for four hours in very low fire instead of two hours in low fire. If that’s the case, then there’s a problem with the potatoes: letting them simmer for too long will turn them to mush. So, cut the potatoes in half instead of quarters and follow the recipe as is. Or, add the potatoes in the last 20 to 30 minutes. If they are new or small potatoes you can put them in whole, without cutting them.
  • If you’re going for the four-hour simmer, you may want to cut down on hot water so that Bograč is cooked in its own juices. So, instead of adding hot water as it cooks, add more wine.
  • To help the meat remain tender while cooking add your salt towards the end of the process and not at the beginning.
  • The meat will shrink while cooking so it’s better for the raw portion to be thick. You can always cut it smaller when serving.
  • Like all other stews Bograč will taste better the next, or even the third day after cooking.

Pickled Turnips

Cuisine: Central European (among others)

In Germany Pickled Turnips are called Sauerruben, in Slovenia they are called Kisla Repa, in Russia they are called Marinovannaya Repa, in other countries or regions they go by different names. It is a popular side dish or recipe ingredient in many countries and regions where the winter cold can be really felt. It can also be a refreshing side dish when served chilled in the heat of the summer.

Fermentation time: 5 to 7 days
You will need: a mixing bowl and clean jars with lids.

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg (2 Lbs) turnips, ends trimmed, peeled and shredded.
  • 1 Tbsp and 1 Tsp of salt.
    • The rough proportion is 2 Tbsp of pickling salt for every 1+1/2 Kg (3 Lbs) of vegetables.
  • Optional: whatever spice you may feel like using.
  • For the brine : 2 Tbsp of salt per 1 litre of water.

Instructions

  1. Trim the ends of your turnips, peel them and slice them lengthwise, to a quarter of the vegetable’s thickness. The idea is that you cut your turnips as thin as French fries but half the length of French fries.
  2. Put the turnips in a mixing bowl and add salt together the spice(s) you may want to add.
  3. Scoop the turnips from the bowl and pack them relatively tight (but not too tight) in your jars. The idea is that you want the brine to reach everywhere in the jar. Make sure you leave enough room between the top layer of your turnips and the lid, ideally about 4 cm or 1.5 in.
  4. Wait a little. You will see juices coming out of the turnips.
  5. Add the brine and gently press the vegetables a little more down the jar. The idea is that you want the vegetables submerged in the brine.
  6. Add more brine, almost to the brim of the jar.
  7. Close the jar with the lid, but not tightly: fermentation creates gases and you need them to escape.
  8. Store the jars in a dark place with temperature ranging between 21C to 24C (70F-80F) and wait for about 5 days. Lower storage temperatures will delay the fermentation process. E.g. storing at 16C (60F) will add 2 more days to the fermentation process. You can ferment your turnips even longer if you wish – there is no harm there.
  9. During the fermentation process you will notice tiny bubbles on the top of the liquid. This is normal. When the bubbling stops, the fermentation process is over.
  10. After the fermentation process is over you can tighten the lids and store them in your fridge. You can keep your fully fermented Pickled Turnips in the refrigerator for several months. (See Notes below.)

Notes on Pickled Turnips

  • You can also add other vegetables in the mix, such as carrots.
  • The water you will use for the brine should be de-chlorinated. You can do this by filling a pot of water and leaving it without a lid on the counter or stove for 24 hours; or you can boil the water and then let it completely cool off to room temperature; or you can use water from the tap filtered by any active charcoal filter you may be using.
  • The quality of salt is important. Do use sea salt, Kosher salt or pickling salt.
  • Use firm and fresh turnips of any variety – rutabaga included.
  • Caution: if your pickled turnips become soft, slimy, or develop a disagreeable smell then do discard them.

Cumin Sauce

Cuisines: Middle Eastern, Mexican, Indian.

Cumin, known in India as Jeera, is a common spice in the cuisines of Middle East, India, Mexico and elsewhere. This is an easy, generic cumin sauce that can be used with rice or meat or whatever needs spicing towards a certain direction.

Cooking time: less than 5 minutes
You will need: a saucepan

Ingredients

  • 2 Tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 6 Tbsp vinegar- be it apple cider vinegar or wine vinegar
  • Salt to taste


Instructions

  1. Turn the fire on to medium heat and put the saucepan on the fire.
  2. Add your garlic and cumin and sauté until they are fragrant. That should take about 30 seconds or so.
  3. Add the vinegar, water and salt to taste. (Less salt is more preferable than more salt.)
  4. Stir the mixture in medium to low fire for a 2-3 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

Notes on Cumin Sauce

The health benefits of Cumin are well known in old cultures. E.g. cumin is a very popular spice or cooking ingredient in India – sometimes offered raw at the end of a meal to help with digestion. India’s traditional healing system, Ayurveda, has a lot of good things to say about Cumin. So does modern medicine: who would have thought that one (1) teaspoon of Cumin contains 1.4 mg or approx. 17% of the recommended daily dose of Iron?

Regarding the health benefits of vinegar, please click here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - a spoonful of vinegar helps sugar go down

A spoonful of vinegar helps reduce blood sugar levels

Source: Arizona State University

By Diane Boudreau
Dec. 1, 2004

A spoonful of vinegar helps reduce blood sugar levels | myfoodistry

Diabetes killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2001 alone. The disease also takes a toll on the people who live with it. In general, controlling diabetes requires massive lifestyle changes and/or expensive medications. Carol Johnston says there may be a cheaper, easier way to get the same results; in fact, you probably have the help in your kitchen cabinet.

Making headlines and climbing Top 10 lists is not always a sign of success. Consider diabetes, which has swept the nation like wildfire. Diabetes is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Diabetes killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2001 alone. The disease also takes a toll on the people who live with it. Diabetes-related nerve damage accounts for more than half of all non-traumatic amputations in this country. Diabetes is also the leading cause of new cases of blindness and the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease.

In general, controlling diabetes requires massive lifestyle changes and/or expensive medications. Carol Johnston says there may be a cheaper, easier way to get the same results—in fact, you probably have the help in your kitchen cabinet.

Johnston is a professor of nutrition at Arizona State University’s East campus. When she started developing menus to help prevent and control diabetes, she began with a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The diet worked amazingly well, but it involved major changes from the way people usually eat. Johnston feared they would give up and start downing Twinkies in no time. She wondered if there was an alternative.

Johnston struck gold while reading through some older studies on diabetes. Actually, she struck vinegar. “While writing my literature review I saw an article about vinegar. I was making all these massive changes. I found that maybe you can just add vinegar to your diet,” she says.

Five studies conducted in the 1980s suggested that vinegar could improve insulin sensitivity and thus help control diabetes. For some reason, the mass media and the public never caught on.

“It’s odd that no one ever pursued that,” Johnston says. She decided to take the opportunity herself.

In the ASU scientist’s study, participants drank one of two solutions before eating a high-carb meal of a bagel and orange juice. Some subjects drank a vinegar solution (vinegar, water and saccharine). Others were given a placebo drink (water and saccharine).

Read the rest of this fascinating article at the source.

How to Prepare Lamb and Goat Meat for Cooking

Sometimes people stay away from lamb and goat because they find them “smelly” or of too strong a flavour. Can’t blame them, really. Ideally the animal’s blood should be allowed to completely drain off before cutting or packaging it but in very many instances lamb and/or goat meat, fresh or frozen, is packaged or sold while still containing blood in it. This is one of the main reasons for strong smell or flavour.

Here’s an easy trick to moderate, or at times: eliminate, the strong smell of lamb or goat meat before cooking.

  • Take a big enough pot and fill it with cold water.
  • Put the meat in the cold water and wait for at least 30 minutes, so that blood seeps out.
  • When ready, drain the the water from the pot and gently squeeze the meat to get rid of water that has seeped into the meat’s fibre.
  • Then, place it on a rack and let it dry for a while, while you’re chopping up and preparing the rest of the ingredients of the dish you’re about to make.

Notes

In some Middle Eastern countries the custom is to add salt in the cold water, to purge impurities off the meat faster. Depending on the amount of salt used and the kind of meat you’re using this practice may dry the meat beyond your initial intention. E.g. it might be OK for a stew, but it may not be OK for a roast.

Advice: If you really need to add salt in the cold water then add very little. Try the technique a few times and decide for yourself the amount of salt that’s best for what you’re cooking.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the mindfulness conspiracy

The Mindfulness Conspiracy

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the mindfulness conspiracy - the guardian

It is sold as a force that can help us cope with the ravages of capitalism, but with its inward focus, mindful meditation may be the enemy of activism.

By Ronald Purser
The Guardian

Mindfulness has gone mainstream, with celebrity endorsement from Oprah Winfrey and Goldie Hawn. Meditation coaches, monks and neuroscientists went to Davos to impart the finer points to CEOs attending the World Economic Forum. The founders of the mindfulness movement have grown evangelical. Prophesying that its hybrid of science and meditative discipline “has the potential to ignite a universal or global renaissance”, the inventor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon Kabat-Zinn, has bigger ambitions than conquering stress. Mindfulness, he proclaims, “may actually be the only promise the species and the planet have for making it through the next couple of hundred years”.

So, what exactly is this magic panacea? In 2014, Time magazine put a youthful blonde
woman on its cover, blissing out above the words: “The Mindful Revolution.” The
accompanying feature described a signature scene from the standardised course teaching MBSR: eating a raisin very slowly. “The ability to focus for a few minutes on a single raisin isn’t silly if the skills it requires are the keys to surviving and succeeding in the 21st century,” the author explained.

But anything that offers success in our unjust society without trying to change it is not
revolutionary – it just helps people cope. In fact, it could also be making things worse.
Instead of encouraging radical action, mindfulness says the causes of suffering are
disproportionately inside us, not in the political and economic frameworks that shape how we live. And yet mindfulness zealots believe that paying closer attention to the present moment without passing judgment has the revolutionary power to transform the whole world. It’s magical thinking on steroids.

There are certainly worthy dimensions to mindfulness practice. Tuning out mental rumination does help reduce stress, as well as chronic anxiety and many other maladies. Becoming more aware of automatic reactions can make people calmer and potentially 1/10kinder. Most of the promoters of mindfulness are nice, and having personally met many of them, including the leaders of the movement, I have no doubt that their hearts are in the right place. But that isn’t the issue here. The problem is the product they’re selling, and how it’s been packaged. Mindfulness is nothing more than basic concentration training. Although derived from Buddhism, it’s been stripped of the teachings on ethics that accompanied it, as well as the liberating aim of dissolving attachment to a false sense of self while enacting compassion for all other beings.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - The mindfulness conspiracyWhat remains is a tool of self-discipline, disguised as self-help. Instead of setting practitioners free, it helps them adjust to the very conditions that caused their problems. A truly revolutionary movement would seek to overturn this dysfunctional system, but mindfulness only serves to reinforce its destructive logic. The neoliberal order has imposed itself by stealth in the past few decades, widening inequality in pursuit of corporate wealth. People are expected to adapt to what this model demands of them. Stress has been pathologised and privatised, and the burden of managing it outsourced to individuals. Hence the pedlars of mindfulness step in to save the day.

But none of this means that mindfulness ought to be banned, or that anyone who finds it useful is deluded. Reducing suffering is a noble aim and it should be encouraged. But to do this effectively, teachers of mindfulness need to acknowledge that personal stress also has societal causes. By failing to address collective suffering, and systemic change that might remove it, they rob mindfulness of its real revolutionary potential, reducing it to something banal that keeps people focused on themselves….

Read more: The Mindfulness Conspiracy by Ronald Purser The Guardian

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the furthest end awaits

The Furthest End Awaits (2014)

The Furthest End Awaits, set at the edge of the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, with its beautiful scenic views, revolves around two women from different backgrounds who develop a friendship, and how they begin to influence and change each other’s lives.

Misaki is a coffee expert roaster who returns to the hometown of her father, after he is reported to be dead. There she opens a coffee shop on the isolated beach. A relationship with her neighbour Eriko and her children evolves.

Note: To us, The Furthest End Awaits is one of the sweetest, most humane films we watched in quite some time.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - Tsatsiki, Dad and the Olive War

Tsatsiki, Dad and the Olive War (2015)

Tsatsiki, Dad and the Olive War is a Swedish kids’ movie partly shot in Crete, Greece. There are no English language subtitles in the trailer, but, well, you don’t need them really. 🙂

Tsatsiki longs for the summer holidays when he will be going to Greece to live with his father Yanis. When Tsatsiki arrives at the village, however, it is not really as he remembered it. Guest houses and taverns are deserted, there is a crisis in Greece and in his beloved village. When Dad tells the bad news that he may have to sell both the hotel and the olive grove, Tsatsiki gets upset. But Tsatsiki’s mother has taught him to never give up, he realizes that it is up to him to save the hotel, otherwise his beloved place in Greece will be lost. Along with the wild adventurer Alva, a fearless twelve-year-old girl full of laughter and explorer joy, they embark on a rescue mission that turns Tsatsiki’s summer vacation into a journey full of adventure, friendship and love.

Tsatsiki, Dad and the Olive Wars is the third film of a trilogy based on Tsatsiki’s adventures between Sweden and Greece.

Note: Tzatziki or Tsatsiki (depending on where you come from) is the name of the well known Greek garlic-yogourt dip. It is rather uncommon to encounter a child named after a yogourt dip recipe, but, well, it’s the film business, isn’t it? 🙂

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the olive tree - el olivo film

The Olive Tree (El Olivo) (2016)

The Olive Tree (El olivo) is a 2016 Spanish drama film directed by Icíar Bollaín. It was also chosen as one of three films that could be chosen as the Spanish submission for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.

Alma is a 20-year-old girl and adores her grandfather, a man who has not spoken for years. When the elderly man also refuses to eat, the girl decides to recover the millenary tree that the family sold against his will. In order to succeed, she needs to count on her uncle, a victim of the crisis, her friend Rafa, and her whole town to help her. The problem is to find out where in Europe the olive tree is.

Official website: Morena Films

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - midnight diner film movie

Midnight Diner – Tokyo Stories

Shinya Shokudô – TV Series

A Japanese TV series that ran for five (5) solid seasons since 2009, Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories is based on a 2006 Japanese manga comic book of the same title – Shinya Shokudo by Yaro Abe.

When people finish their day and hurry home, his day starts. His diner is open from midnight to seven in the morning. They call it “Midnight Diner”. Pork, Miso soup combo, Beer, Sake and Shochu is all that he has on his menu. Nevertheless, he makes whatever his customers request – as long as he has the ingredients for it: that is his policy. Does he even have customers? More than you would expect.

The Midnight Diner : Tokyo Stories is about a cook who runs a small eatery at the backstreets of Tokyo’s Shinjuku Square, open only from Midnight to 7 am. The cook is known only as Master and his specialty is that he will cook whatever a customer wants, for as long as he has the ingredients.

The series is an anthology of human relationship stories and resolutions are often facilitated by the Master of the Midnight Diner.

Starring Kaoru Kobayashi as Master
Directed by Joji Matsuoka.

Following the success of the series, the Midnight Diner was also turned to two feature films named after Midnight Diner (2014) and Midnight Diner 2 (2016).

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern sensitivity - midnight diner 2 movie film 2016

Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories : Reviews

More information:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_Diner_(Japanese_TV_series)
  • https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/80113037
myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - cook off the movie

Cook Off

An uplifting, feel-good romantic comedy from Zimbabwe, Cook Off is a film about falling in love, with food.

Starring Tendie Chitima, Tendai ‘TEHN’ Nguni, Eugene Zimbudzi and Jesesi Mungoshi. Written and directed by Tomas Lutuli Brickhill and produced by Joe Njagu, Cook Off has screened at nearly 20 festivals worldwide and won Best Film and Best Actress at the 2019 NAMAs and ZIFF 2018.

Official website: www.cookoffthemovie.com

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - h2o the molecule that made us

H2O : The Molecule That Made Us

H2O : The Molecule That Made Us is a 3-hour PBS series, airing in three one hour episodes. The film dramatically reveals how water underpins every aspect of our existence. In the emptiness of outer space, Earth is alive because of water. Humanity’s relationship with this simple molecule is everything and has been both positive and negative.

Explore our interdependent relationship with water and the cosmos.

Official Website: https://www.pbs.org/molecule | #MoleculePBS
Stream full episodes at: https://www.pbs.org/molecule

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - the boy who harnessed the wind

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

Well, OK. The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind is not a film about food. It is, however, an extraordinary film about finding water, so, we decided that it should be presented here.

The story is about a thirteen year old boy in Malawi, Africa who against all odds invents an unconventional way to save his family and village from famine.

Based on the best selling book and true story of William Kamkwamba. Directed by and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and introducing Maxwell Simba.

And here’s a little “behind the scenes” featurette that you might find interesting.

Official website: https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/80200047

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - tortilla soup film

Tortilla Soup (2001)

A Mexican-American master chef and father to three daughters has lost his taste for food but not for life.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - big night film trailer

Big Night (1996)

In a restaurant run by two Italian immigrants, the tables sit empty despite the extraordinary talents of Primo the chef (Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”) and the ambitious efforts of his brother Secondo (Stanley Tucci, The Devil Wears Prada). A celebrity night at their restaurant promises not only to turn their business around but to change their lives.

It’s a five-course gourmet experience filled with rich, delicious characters including the marriage-minded girlfriend (Oscar® nominee Minnie Driver), the seductive mistress (Isabella Rossellini) and the successful rival (Oscar® nominee Ian Holm). From the first bite to the last, this critically-acclaimed movie dishes up an irresistible evening of scrumptious entertainment.

Here’s an excerpt scene (and recipe): Il Timpano

Papadopoulos & Sons (2012) | myfoodistry

Papadopoulos & Sons (2012)

Self-made businessman Harry Papadopoulos has got it all; a mansion house; awards and a super rich lifestyle. However, on the eve of a property deal of a lifetime, a financial crisis hits and the banks call in their huge loans. Harry and his family lose everything in an instant. Everything, except the dormant and forgotten Three Brothers Fish & Chip Shop half owned by Harry’s larger than life brother Spiros who’s been estranged from the family for years.

With no alternative, Harry and his family, plant enthusiast James; fashion victim Katie; nerdy Theo and their loyal nanny Mrs. Parrington, are forced to pack their bags, leave their millionaire lifestyle and join ‘Uncle Spiros’ to live above the neglected Three Brothers chippie. Together they set about bringing the chip shop back to life under the suspicious gaze of the their old rival, Hassan, from the neighbouring Turkish kebab shop whose son has his own eyes on Katie.

Each family member must come to terms with their new life in their own way and make the most of their reduced circumstances. Harry struggles with the banks to regain his lost business empire, but as the chip shop comes to life and old memories are stirred Harry and his family gradually discover that only when you lose everything are you free to discover it all.

Official website: https://www.papadopoulosandsons.com/

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - poetry - billy collins

Billy Collins Teaches Reading and Writing Poetry

Billy Collins Teaches Reading and Writing Poetry | Official Trailer

Known for his wit, humour, and profound insight, Billy Collins is one of the best-selling and most beloved contemporary poets in the United States. He regularly sells out poetry readings, frequently charms listeners on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, and his work has appeared in anthologies, textbooks, and periodicals around the world.

Learn more: https://mstr.cl/2D8bv2M

(No, we didn’t receive money for this post. :))

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - who is killing the great chefs of Europe

Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978)

Mystery abounds when it is discovered that, one by one, the greatest Chefs in Europe are being killed. The intriguing part of the murders is that each chef is killed in the same manner that their own special dish is prepared in. Food critics and the (many) self-proclaimed greatest Chefs in Europe demand the mystery be solved.

Based on the novel “Someone Is Killing The Great Chefs of Europe” by Nan and Ivan Lyons.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - someone is killing the great chefs of Europe

Someone is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - someone is killing the great chefs of Europe

A mystery novel by Nan Lyons, Ivan Lyons

Take one rich, eccentric, morbidly obese gourmand; add a beautiful, sexy dessert chef; mix with them a fast-food entrepreneur; and you’ve got the fixings for a stylish treat.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - feature film - today's special

Today’s Special

TODAY’S SPECIAL is a heartwarming comedy with a culinary flavor, inspired by Aasif Mandvi’s Obie Award winning play “Sakina’s Restaurant.” In this super-feel-good foodie comedy, young Manhattan chef Samir rediscovers his heritage and his passion for life through the enchanting art of cooking Indian food.

Samir (Aasif Mandvi) is a sous chef who dreams of becoming the head chef at an upscale Manhattan restaurant. When he is passed over for a promotion he impulsively quits and lets his co-worker Carrie (Jess Weixler) know that he intends to go to Paris and apprentice under a master French chef. Dreams must be put aside though after his father Hakim (Harish Patel) has a heart attack and Samir is forced to take over Tandoori Palace, the nearly bankrupt family restaurant in Jackson Heights.

Samir’s relationship with his parents and his heritage is immediately put to the test. He has been estranged from his father since the death of his older brother, and his mother Farrida, (played by legendary cookbook writer and actor, Madhur Jaffrey), is consumed with finding a wife for her remaining son. While Samir is being forced to forsake his dreams, he is desperately trying to master Indian cooking to salvage the family business.

Luckily, he crosses paths with Akbar, a taxi driver, passionate chef, and worldly raconteur (Naseeruddin Shah). Akbar inspires Samir and teaches him to trust his senses more than recipes; to stop measuring his life, and to start truly living it. With Akbar’s guidance, Samir has a chance to rediscover his heritage and his passion for life through the enchanting art of cooking Indian food.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - chili peppers reduce mortality

Chili pepper reduces mortality risk?

Source: New Food Magazine

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - chili  peppers reduce mortality

The Moli-sani study, which aims to learn about environmental and genetic factors underlying cardiovascular disease, cancer and degenerative pathologies, is said to be the first to explore the properties of this spice in relation to the risk of death in a European and Mediterranean population.

Research by the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy has allegedly shown that people who consume chilli pepper on a regular basis have a reduced mortality risk by 23 percent compared to those who do not.

The research examined 22,811 citizens of the Molise region in Italy, studying their health status for an average period of eight years, and compared it with their eating habits. The researchers observed that, in people regularly consuming chili pepper (four times a week or more), the risk of dying of a heart attack was cut down by 40 percent….

Read more

Full study, here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - water on the table

Water On The Table

Is water a commercial good like Coca-Cola, or a human right like air?

Featuring best-selling author, activist and public figure Maude Barlow and her crusade to have water declared a human right, protected from privatization, WATER ON THE TABLE explores Canada’s relationship to its freshwater, arguably its most precious natural resource.

The film shadows Barlow over the course of a year as she leads an unrelenting schedule as the U.N. Senior Advisor on Water to Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd Session of the United Nations.

Trailer

Written, Directed and Produced by Liz Marshall
Co-Produced by Susan McGrath
Edited by Jeremy Munce
Cinematography by Steve Cosens
Additional Cinematography by Liz Marshall, John Price
Music Score by Jennifer Moore & Mark Shannon
Supervising Sound Editor Garrett Kerr
Supervising Re-Recording Mixer Daniel Pellerin
Location Sound Recordist Jason Milligan

Official Website: here.

Stream or Download from Vimeo.

Other references
The Council of Canadians: ‘WATER ON THE TABLE’, FEATURING MAUDE BARLOW

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - feature films - butter

Butter (2011)

Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, and Olivia Wilde star as unlikely rivals who will do whatever it takes to beat the competition in this quirky and outrageous comedy about love, sex, winning, and most of all, butter.

In Iowa, laid-back Bob has won the state fair’s butter-carving contest 15 years running; his tightly-wound and hard-charging wife Laura sees Bob becoming governor, so when the contest organizers ask him to step aside so others can win, she’s incensed, and when Bob won’t protest, she decides to enter herself.

In the county contest, she’s up against African-American foster child Destiny and Brooke, a prostitute Bob hasn’t paid. When things don’t go Laura’s way, she enlists the help of old boyfriend Boyd. Also involved as things heat up at the state fair are Laura’s stepdaughter and Destiny’s foster parents. are in the mix as things heat up at the state fair.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - sweet drinks increase breast cancer risk

A sweet tooth, three fizzy drinks a week increase the risk of breast cancer, study claims

Source: Canadian Cancer Society

26 June 2014
TORONTO –

A diet high in sweet foods and sugar-sweetened drinks is associated with increased breast density, according to a new study funded in part by the Canadian Cancer Society. Increased breast density is a well-established risk factor for breast cancer. Some studies have shown that women with dense breast tissue in 75% or more of their breasts have a 4 to 6 times greater risk of breast cancer than women with little or no dense breast tissue.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - sweet drinks increase breast cancer risk

The study, which involved 776 premenopausal and 779 postmenopausal women, found that postmenopausal women with a high intake of sweet foods and premenopausal women with a high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages had higher breast density. The findings mark the first time a specific association has been studied between diets high in sweet foods and drinks, breast density and menopausal status.

“We know that the worldwide consumption of sugar has increased and the findings of this study show what effect that type of diet has on breast density, one of the strongest indicators for breast cancer risk,” says study lead author Dr Caroline Diorio, professor in the department of social and preventive medicine at Université Laval. “As this is an understudied area, we need more research to further understand the health implications of a diet high in sugar.”

In this study, breast density was measured through mammography screening. Women from both groups answered a questionnaire about the frequency of their consumption of sweet foods, such as chocolates, doughnuts, pies and pastries; sugar-sweetened beverages, such as carbonated drinks with sugar and sweetened fruit juice; and spoonfuls of sugar added to food or drinks.

The results of the questionnaire found an association between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and breast density in premenopausal women. The same association with breast density was noted for sweet foods consumed by postmenopausal women. Women who had more than 3 servings of sugar-sweetened beverages in a week had a 3% difference in breast density compared to those who did not have this type of beverage, which could be considered a significant difference. The researchers suggest that this association may be greater in populations that consume more sugar.

Read more.

Full study, here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - fat, a documentary

Fat: a Documentary

Health expert Vinnie Tortorich exposes the history behind widespread myths and lies regarding healthy eating, fat and weight loss.

Official website: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fat-a-documentary#/

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - phantom thread

Phantom Thread

High fashion, romance and love… revolving around a plate of omelette. (That’s right. 🙂 )

Set in the glamour of 1950’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock.

Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.

Official website: http://www.PhantomThread.com

Pesto with Parsley and Walnuts

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Common

A really simple, delicious and trouble-free “pesto” sauce using walnuts and parsley instead of basil and pine nuts. Let’s give it a go!

Serving: 4
Cooking time: 10 minutes
You will need: a food blender or processor

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh parsley without the stems,
  • 1/4 cup walnuts,
  • 1 Tbsp dry basil,
  • 2 garlic cloves,
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated,
  • 3/4 cup olive oil,
  • Salt and pepper.

Instructions

  1. Put everything in a food blender or food processor except for the olive oil.
  2. Start blending and slowly add olive oil little by little until the ingredients have turned to a paste.
  3. At the end, add salt and pepper to taste, if you feel you need more.
  4. That’s all. 🙂

Notes on Pesto with Parsley and Walnuts

  • Serve the pesto warm, not cold.
    • So, if you made it and stored it in the fridge, take it out and put it in a little pan over low to very low heat while the pasta is boiling.
    • Divide the portions of pasta in single bowls or plates, spoon pesto onto each and mix with a fork. Make sure you put ample pesto on each serving!
  • Regarding the amount of olive oil: 3/4 cup is reasonable but feel free to adjust the quantity as you see fit.
  • Serve with pasta or use it as a pizza topping. (That’s an idea!)
  • Enjoy!
myfoordistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - big farms make big flu

Big Farms Make Big Flu

Spatial ecologist Marius Gilbert reviews Big Farms Make Big Flu for Lancet Infectious Diseases:

“The popular narrative of deadly viruses emerging from wild animal reservoirs clearly appeals to humankind’s deeply rooted fascination with wildlife and its dangers. But isn’t such a focus on the zoonotic origin of emerging infectious diseases distracting attention from the more important social, economic, and cultural forces operating at different spatial and temporal scales and contributing to the chain of causality leading to epidemics?

myfoordistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - big farms make big flu

“In his book, Big farms make big flu: dispatches on influenza, agribusiness, and the nature of science, evolutionary ecologist Rob Wallace calls on virology, phylogeography, political ecology, mathematical modelling, and economics to tackle those questions by taking us on a rich and fascinating journey through the multiple layers of causality in the emergence of disease. In parallel to multiple dispatches on influenza and other emerging infectious diseases, Wallace addresses a number of biocultural issues linked to the globalisation of food and fibre markets…

“What makes Wallace’s book a must-read for those concerned with emerging infectious diseases, and many other issues emerging from modern food systems, is the breadth of interrelated themes and the richness and thought-provoking nature of the assemblage. Readers will put down this book thinking of emerging infectious diseases in a different light; cognisant of their multiple and intertwined root causes in the context of our rapidly changing agro-ecological environment.”

Official website: here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - rokjesdag - skirt day

Skirt Day (Rokjesdag) (2016)

Rokjesdag is a Dutch term, meaning “skirt day”. It is the first sunny day of the year, when women altogether start wearing (short) skirts. “A great and beautiful day” according to Martin Bril, a Dutch writer and columnist who made the word “rokjesdag” a household word in the Netherlands.

In Skirt Day (Rokjesdag) the film, Spring is in the air and the film’s characters are attending a cooking course for singles. You can (sort of) imagine the rest. 🙂

Director: Johan Nijenhuis
Writer: Eveline Hagenbeek
Stars: Lisa Zweerman, Barbara Sloesen, Loek Peters

Note: the film trailer and title song below are in Dutch language; but I don’t think anyone would have trouble breaking a laugh with what’s going on. 🙂

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and recipes from all over the World - featured posts - editorial

Fat Fiction documentary: a review and a few thoughts

I watched the “Fat Fiction” documentary with great interest. In the end, I was far from disappointed for having done so: informative, well researched, well informed and at times dissonant in connection to what many of us believe to be “normal” when it comes to breakfast, lunch or dinner.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - fat fiction documentary

In the way I understand it, the gist of Fat Fiction comes down to “if you think that there’s health and well-being in a ‘food pyramid’ diet based principally on carbohydrates and low-fat foods…. think again, because here’s ample evidence for the opposite”.

Many eye-opening books and critiques have been written regarding the political and economical agenda behind the “food-pyramid” guidelines. Denise Minger’s “Death by Food Pyramid” is one of them. Marion Nestle’s “Food Politics” is another. The reading list is long but you can find a few suggestions here.

All in all, investigative journalists and thinkers do present ample evidence of what a low-fat and high-carbohydrate (metabolizing into sugar) diet can do: obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure etc. Reacting to this picture, Fat Fiction suggests real life examples as to how – in the documentary’s opinion – a diet based on fat and animal protein (the Ketogenic or “Keto” diet) can reverse the effects and illness caused by a low-fat, high-carb diet.

I will not argue in favour or against the documentary’s claims because my subject here is neither the food pyramid, nor the vilification or commendation of dietary fat.

My subject here is Fat Fiction’s sense of “moderation”, or rather: the lack of it.

Throughout Fat Fiction I couldn’t help but witness a metaphoric pendulum swinging from one extreme (American food-pyramid diet, low fat) to the other extreme (Ketogenic diet, full fat).

The argument, my argument, is that neither of the two (food pyramid, Keto) takes into account the middle dietary ground many people in the World, and North America, live by.

Ask any Italian about pasta. He or she will not reject pasta as a food choice but he or she will indeed reject eating pasta… in excess.

Our bodies need fat and there’s no other way of looking at it. (Personally I never subscribed to the “low-fat” message; the few times I tried “low-fat” foods left me always hungry and always eating – much to the delight of the processed food industry, no doubt.) However, dietary fat, particularly animal fat, can and will become questionable when consumed… in excess.

Eating meat is no different; most ancient cultures include a little meat in their diets. E.g. red meat is often present in East Asian plates of food; but just one American or Canadian restaurant-size beef portion is probably enough to feed an Asian family of four.

We now know that excessive consumption of meat brings on gout and other unpleasant diseases, not to mention the depletion of resources excessive production of meat is all about: each kg or 2 lbs of beef brought to the market takes 15,416 litres of water to produce – not to mention that the three largest North American meat producers (Cargill, Tyson and JBS) emitted in 2016 more green-house gases than… France. (The Guardian even suggests that if all Americans exchanged beef for beans, their country would be close to meeting the greenhouse gas goals agreed by Barack Obama.)

Other cultures incorporate complex Lent and fasting rules in their understanding of how to go about life. E.g. the Greek Orthodox (religious) dietary code prescribes going vegan in regular intervals spread among +14 weeks out of 52 weeks of any given year. For the remaining 38 weeks of the year, consumption of red meat is restricted to once a week, or 38 times a year – and the same goes for white meat and fish. This means that the people following the Greek Orthodox lent/fast rules do make a point in purging and regenerating “intestinal flora” and alternating animal-based and plant-based proteins in regular intervals, year-in and year-out. When did all this start? We don’t really know but we can safely assume “centuries” before the ideas of “intestinal flora” or “protein” were even conceived.

If we think about it, it all starts and ends at your, my, our plate; and ends in how much of what to put in it, when, how often and for how long. Our answers to these questions dictate the amount of resources required to produce food and also our quality of life by eating it.

So, on one hand, my choice as to what to put in my plate is totally connected to natural resources. E.g. the amount of water required to produce one pound (1/2 Kg) of beef is 7,708 litres of water; that of a pound of lentils is 2,816 litres of water, a pound of tofu (talking about protein) costs 1,208 litres of water or 1/7th of the water-cost of a pound of beef; that of potatoes comes down to a mere 136 litres of water per pound of produce and eggplants cost 172 litres of water per pound of produce. (When was the last time you cooked an eggplant stew, by the way? Here’s a recipe; and here’s another. Searching for “eggplant” in this blog will give you more. 🙂

On the other hand, there’s the size of my stomach and the welfare of my body. How much can I eat, really? Well, a lot, apparently. That’s the kind of thing that “investors”, “markets” and certain ad-based media thrive on.

Sometimes I dare amuse myself with the thought that if it was left entirely to “the market” they would probably very much like to force-feed us with copyrighted edibles (that is: GMO foods) on a 24/7 basis because the ever expanding size of our stomachs fosters “economic growth” and the kind of spreadsheet “investors” really like to talk about when they are very busy not eating the kind of food they are selling.

Jokes aside, though, I wonder:

Can I really afford the luxury of shunning good, decent, proven foods? Does choosing meat and rejecting pasta, or choosing lentils and rejecting cheese sound reasonable?

After all, sheep, goats and cows do exist, and for as long as they exist they produce milk on a daily basis and that milk is turned into butter, cheese, yogourt and other dairy products people have been eating for millennia – alongside with lentils, potatoes and other humble crops demanding less environmental cost to grow. So, honestly, I can’t in good conscience imbibe the luxury of rejecting one kind of food and favour another by committing myself to oh-so-popular or modern dietary extremities.

I am for ever grateful for the (real, un-copyrighted) food that lands on my table and I dare not reject some of it because it is – at times – “popular” to do so.

After all, dietary fat was popular until it wasn’t. Dietary low-fat is popular until it won’t be. Eggs were unpopular for decades now – until they weren’t. (Is there an end to this nonsense, by the way?)

Summing it up, I see a lot of human, social and eco-nomic benefit and sense in the ways certain old cultures went about food and well being. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, all in moderation and nothing in excess – there’s some traditional wisdom here that we, the modern, ought to humbly re-explore, I think.

Be well,

Chris

References:

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - wasabi - film

Wasabi (2000)

Wasabi is a 2001 French action-comedy film directed by Gérard Krawczyk and written and produced by Luc Besson. The film stars Jean Reno, Michel Muller and Ryōko Hirosue. In France, it was released as “Wasabi, la petite moutarde qui monte au nez” (“Wasabi, the little mustard that gets right up your nose”).

The film gets its title from a scene where the protagonist, Hubert Fiorentini (Jean Reno), eats a whole serving of wasabi at a Japanese restaurant without flinching.

Here’s the (really hilarious) clip. Enjoy!

Wasabi – funny clip
myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - feature films - Kung Fu Chefs

Kung Fu Chefs (2009)

When martial arts meet culinary arts… nothing gets more hilarious! KUNG FU CHEFS revolves around one master chef training an up-and-coming chef for the championship title. However, this contest isn’t only about food.

Starring world renowned Kung Fu master, Sammo Hung, actress Cherrie Ying (LETHAL ANGELS), Lam Tze-chung (KUNG FU HUSTLE), and pop idol Vanness Wu (DRAGON SQUAD).

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - eating on the wild side

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

The nutritional losses did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, Jo Robinson has learned, but thousands of years earlier when we first abandoned our native diet of wild plants and game and began to domesticate animals and grow food in the first primitive gardens. Unwittingly, the choices we made about how to feed our livestock and what to plant in our gardens reduced the amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants in the human diet, which compromised our ability to fight disease and enjoy optimum health.

Jo Robinson is a bestselling, investigative journalist who has spent the past 15 years scouring research journals for information on how we can restore vital nutrients to our fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Robinson is a nationally recognized expert in how to recapture those lost nutrients. Her insights into the benefits of raising animals on pasture have been featured in scores of magazines, newspapers, and radio shows, including Sunset Magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, NPR’s All Things Considered, and Mother Earth News.

Official website: http://www.eatwild.com/jo.html

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - fat fiction documentary

Fat Fiction

What if everything we’ve been told about saturated fat is fiction? And what if the “Low-Fat, heart-healthy” diet is one of the worst health recommendations in history?

FAT FICTION (formerly known as BIG FAT LIE) is a film that questions decades of diet advice insisting that saturated fats are bad for us. Along the way, we’ll reveal the lies we’ve been told about fats, learn what fats are good, what fats are bad, and what we can do to reclaim our health.

Narrated by Dr. Mark Hyman
Directed by Jennifer Isenhart

Official website: https://fatfiction.movie/

Fat Fiction Extras – A Filmmaker’s Journey
myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - fantastic fungi

Fantastic Fungi

When so many are struggling for connection, inspiration and hope, Fantastic Fungi brings us together as interconnected creators of our world.

Fantastic Fungi, directed by Louie Schwartzberg, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.

Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offers us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges.

Official Website: https://fantasticfungi.com

Karei (Curry) Udon Noodles

Cuisine: Japanese
Region: Common

A classic, hearty, every-day Curry Udon meal from Japan. Easy to make, it can be as spicy as you want it to be – no hard rules here. Enjoy!

Serves : 4
Cooking time: approx. 30 minutes
You will need: two pots, a colander and a frying pan

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp oil,
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp of flour,
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp curry powder,
  • 5 cups hot vegetable stock, or Shiitake mushroom stock,
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce,
  • 4 bundles Udon noodles,
  • 3 to 4 scallions, chopped.

Instructions

  1. Dice the scallions.
  2. First, heat up the vegetable stock. You want it hot but you don’t want it boiling or scalding hot.
  3. Put the pan on the stove, add the oil and turn the fire on to medium-high heat.
  4. After the oil is heated turn the fire down to low-heat.
  5. Add the curry powder and stir for a minute or two.
  6. Add the flour and stir for another minute or two. Make sure you that curry and flour are mixed well in the pan.
  7. Now it’s time for the hot vegetable stock: pour it into the frying pan all at once and stir well. The mixture will become thick in no time.
  8. Add the soy sauce and stir.
  9. Simmer until the mixture is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.
  10. While the sauce is simmering, start cooking the Udon noodles: boil water in a pot, add the Udon and cook them to al dente.
  11. Drain the boiling water, and rinse the Udon with cold(ish) water.

Serving

Distribute the Udon noodles in 4 bowls, ladle curry sauce into each bowl and garnish with the scallions. Serve immediately.

Notes on Karei (Curry) Udon Noodles

  • When it comes to cooking oil, rapeseed oil is one of the cooking oils traditionally used in Japanese Cuisine. Olive oil will also do.
  • You can substitute wheat flour with rice flour, too.
  • Do adjust the Curry powder quantity depending on the type and heat of your Curry.
  • You could use mushroom stock instead of vegetable stock. See below.
  • If your vegetable stock is not hot, instead of pouring it in all at once pour it in little by little while whisking the mixture – otherwise the sauce will turn out lumpy. (Don’t want that.)
  • If you don’t already have a vegetable stock here’s a generic recipe on How to Make Vegetable Stock and/or Shiitake Mushroom Stock.
  • Enjoy!

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - after truth documentary

After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News

After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News (2020) examines “fake news,” its victims, its perpetrators, and its consequences. It investigates the ongoing threat caused by the phenomenon of “fake news” in the U.S., focusing on the real-life consequences that disinformation, conspiracy theories and false news stories have on the average citizen, both in an election cycle and for years to come.

Directed by Andrew Rossi (“Page One: Inside the New York Times,” HBO’s “Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven”) and executive produced by CNN’s Brian Stelter.

Official website: https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/after-truth-disinformation-and-the-cost-of-fake-news

Shiitake Mushroom Stock

Shiitake no Dashi

Cuisine: Japanese
Region: Common

The Shiitake Mushroom Stock is used as a vegetable stock in other Japanese recipes. Unlike other vegetable stocks, this one requires neither simmering, nor boiling (Yes, it is possible.) Enjoy!

Yield: 4 cups
Cooking time: +3 hrs
You need: a bowl

Ingredients

  • 15 to 20 dried shiitake mushrooms,
  • 4 cups of water.

Instructions

  1. Take a bowl and add 4 cups of cold water.
  2. Add the shiitake mushrooms into the bowl and leave them soaking for at least 3 hrs.
  3. The water in the bowl will become brown – from light brown to dark brown. This is the stock. 🙂

Notes on Shiitake Mushroom Stock

  • If you don’t intend to use the stock in the same day, cover the bowl and put it in the fridge. It will last for approx. 2 weeks.
  • When you take it out of the fridge either allow the stock to gradually adjust to room temperature before heating it up for further use.
  • Enjoy!
myfoodistry - Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms

Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms

Internal documents describe how to profit from farmer losses and desire to oppose some independent testing

Excerpt from: The Guardian
Written by Carey Gillam
Last modified on Mon 30 Mar 2020 19.00 BST

myfoodistry - Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms
Photo by Vijendra Singh

The US agriculture giant Monsanto and the German chemical giant BASF were aware for years that their plan to introduce a new agricultural seed and chemical system would probably lead to damage on many US farms, internal documents seen by the Guardian show.

Risks were downplayed even while they planned how to profit off farmers who would buy Monsanto’s new seeds just to avoid damage, according to documents unearthed during a recent successful $265m lawsuit brought against both firms by a Missouri farmer.

The documents, some of which date back more than a decade, also reveal how Monsanto opposed some third-party product testing in order to curtail the generation of data that might have worried regulators.

And in some of the internal BASF emails, employees appear to joke about sharing “voodoo science” and hoping to stay “out of jail”.

The new crop system developed by Monsanto and BASF was designed to address the fact that millions of acres of US farmland have become overrun with weeds resistant to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkillers, best known as Roundup. The collaboration between the two companies was built around a different herbicide called dicamba.

Importantly, under the system designed by Monsanto and BASF, only farmers buying Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybean seeds would be protected from dicamba drift damage. Other cotton and soybean farmers and farmers growing everything from wheat to watermelons would be at risk from the drifting dicamba…

Read more at The Guardian

Eggplant Parmigiana

Parmigiana Di Melanzane

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Sicily

Eggplant Parmigiana or Parmigiana Di Melanzane is a traditional 3-ingredient recipe from Sicily, Italy. Contrary to what we would all think, “Parmigiana” does not mean “with Parmesan cheese”. Parmigiana comes from the Sicilian word parmiciana which means “latticed”, describing the way the eggplant slices are arranged in the baking pan or casserole prior to baking. Enjoy!

Serves: 4
Cooking time: approx. 60 min
You need: a bowl, a tray, a skillet, a frying pan and an oven-proof casserole or pan

Ingredients

  • 4 medium eggplants (aubergines),
  • 2 cans of tomatoes,
  • 2, or more, garlic cloves,
  • 250g to 300g (0.5 to 0.8 Lbs) of grated Pecorino cheese,
  • 1 onion – preferably red,
  • 1 cup of of basil leaves,
  • A bit of olive oil,
  • A bit of flour.

Instructions

First, make the tomato sauce

  1. Peel and cut the onion in half.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves and smash them flat with the broad side of a knife.
  3. Take a skillet or broad fraying pan, add a bit of olive oil and then add the tomatoes.
  4. Add the onion and the garlic cloves.
  5. Add the basil leaves.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon and turn the fire on to high.
  8. Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately lower the fire to medium.
  9. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 30 minutes.

While the tomato sauce is simmering… prepare the eggplants

  1. Add some flour in a bowl.
  2. Wash the eggplants, dry them with a towel, chop off the narrow ends and then cut them into slices of approx. 1 cm ( 1/2 inch) thick.
  3. Add a bit of olive oil in the frying pan and turn the fire on to medium-high.
  4. Pass the eggplant slices lightly through the flour. Shake off any excess flour and fry them in the pan in batches, like 4 or 5 slices at one go, until they are tender. (Remember, they are going to be baked into the oven a little later, so, don’t overcook them.)
  5. Remove the eggplants from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and put them on a tray. Then pat them dry with a kitchen paper.
  6. Sprinkle a bit of salt over each fried eggplant batch as you go.

Combine and bake

  1. By now, the tomato sauce must be ready.
  2. Turn on the oven to 200C or 392F and let it preheat.
  3. Take your oven proof casserole or baking pan and spread some of the tomato sauce on the bottom. This is your first layer.
  4. On top of the tomato sauce layer arrange a layer of eggplant slices in a lattice pattern. (“Parmigiana”, remember? :))
  5. Sprinkle some of your grated Pecorino cheese on top of the eggplant layer and repeat the exercise until you have used up all the ingredients.
  6. Be careful so that the top layer is made of tomato sauce and grated Pecorino cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for approx. 30 minutes and then under the grill for another 5 minutes (to make the top crispier).

Notes on Eggplant Parmigiana

  • Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
  • Most North American gas stoves come with a grill under the oven compartment. If your stove is different you may want to place the casserole or pan in the upper half of your oven, which is generally hotter than the bottom half.
  • This recipe can be as simple or complicated as one may wish to make it. E.g. there are Eggplant Parmigiana recipes out there calling for a combination of cheeses, even for… mozzarella. Try the (this) simple version first, see how it goes and then feel free to experiment next time.
  • Pecorino cheese is made of sheep-milk, which is a lot more digestible than cheese made from cow’s milk. Pecorino is also a bit rough and tangy, combining very well with the slightly bitter taste of the eggplant and the sweetness of the tomato sauce. If you have to use a different kind of cheese then try to select one that tastes closer to Pecorino than away from it.

Enjoy!

Modified | myfoodistry

Modified

“Beautiful beyond words”

Joan Baxter, Medium

The award-winning film Modified follows a personal and poignant mother-daughter investigative journey into the world of genetically modified foods (GMOs). Filmed over 10 years and anchored in the filmmaker’s relationship to her mother (a gardener and food activist who battled cancer during the film’s production), the film asks why GMOs are not labelled on foods in the United States and Canada, despite being labelled in 64 countries around the world.

Filmmaker Aube Giroux says, “While making Modified, I tried to access basic information from Health Canada about how GMOs are regulated in Canada but I came across many barriers, including the fact that Health Canada does not track which GMOs are being grown in Canada and in which food products they are being sold. Health Canada also refused to be interviewed and answer questions in my documentary, which speaks volumes about the lack of transparency within our food system. I was grateful to be able to access the information I was looking for from CBAN. As a filmmaker and researcher, I found CBAN to be an invaluable source of meticulously researched data about GMOs in Canada. We are lucky to have an organization such as CBAN, which makes available the information that our government should be providing, but isn’t.”

An official selection at 70 international film festivals. Recipient of 15 awards including the 2019 James Beard Award for Best Documentary. For more information, visit us at modifiedthefilm.com

The award-winning documentary film “Modified” is now available online! You can watch it  online for $5 – or order it for a community screening.

Stream in English: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/modified
Stream in French: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/modifie
Order DVDs: https://www.modifiedthefilm.com/dvd
Order for a public screening: https://www.modifiedthefilm.com/host-a-screening

Irish Potato and Leek Soup

Cuisine: Irish
Region: Common

When we think of “Ireland” and “food” we often think of “potatoes” (and beer; and cheese and pubs :). Well, this is a nice, easy, tasty and hearty Irish recipe using potatoes and leeks as a base and a whole host of other goodies to give it taste and texture. Enjoy!

Serves: 8-10
Cooking time: approx. 30min
You need: a pot

Ingredients

  • 4 Tsp olive oil.
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 8 cups vegetable stock or warm water.
  • 3 cups of light cream.
  • 4 Tsp dill, chopped.
  • 4 Tsp parsley, chopped.
  • 4 Tsp tarragon, chopped.
  • 1 Tsp dried thyme.
  • 4 cups leeks, chopped. That generally translates to 3-4 leeks.
  • 2 small onions, chopped.
  • 8 medium potatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped.
  • 2 Tsp salt.
  • 1 Tsp pepper.

Instructions

  1. Wash your vegetables well – particularly the leeks.
  2. Take a pot, put it on the stove and add the olive oil.
  3. Turn on the fire to medium heat.
  4. Add the leeks, celery, onion and garlic and saute until they soften up.
  5. Add the vegetable stock or water, thyme, potatoes, salt and pepper.
  6. Wait until it begins to boil and then lower the fire.
  7. Keep simmering until the potatoes are soft and tender.
  8. Time for the cream and the herbs: stir them all in and keep stirring from time to time.
  9. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
  10. Turn off the fire.
  11. Take the pot off the stove and set aside for 10 minutes or so to cool off a bit, allowing the juices to combine.

Notes on the Irish Potato and Leek Soup

  • Serve with warm bread.
  • Feel free to scale the recipe down – can’t harm it.
  • If your ingredient ratios turn out to be a little less of one and a bit more of the other – don’t worry. You can’t go wrong. 🙂
myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

More Than Honey

MORE THAN HONEY is the provocative yet touching tale of what may happen to mankind if bees keep dying. It is a 2M Euro budget documentary directed by Oscar nominated director Markus Imhoof and by the creators of “LET´S MAKE MONEY”& “WE FEED THE WORLD”.

Albert Einstein once said: “If bees ever die out, mankind will have only four years left to live”. In the past years, billions of honeybees simply vanished for reasons still obscure. If the bees keep dying, it will have drastic effects for humans as well: more than one third of our food production depends on pollination by honeybees. Seeking answers, the film embarks on a world journey to discover bees and men.

Over the past 15 years, numerous colonies of bees have been decimated throughout the world, but the causes of this disaster remain unknown. Depending on the world region, 50% to 90% of all local bees have disappeared, and this epidemic is still spreading from beehive to beehive – all over the planet. Everywhere, the same scenario is repeated: billions of bees leave their hives, never to return. No bodies are found in the immediate surroundings, and no visible predators can be located.

In the US, the latest estimates suggest that a total of 1.5 million (out of 2.4 million total beehives) have disappeared across 27 states. In Germany, according to the national beekeepers association, one fourth of all colonies have been destroyed, with losses reaching up to 80% on some farms. The same phenomenon has been observed in Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Poland and England, where this syndrome has been nicknamed “the Mary Celeste Phenomenon”, after a ship whose crew vanished in 1872.

Scientists have found… read more at the official site.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspirations

The Irish Pub

THE IRISH PUB is a celebration of the greatest institution in Irish society, the pub or more specifically the traditional Irish publicans who run them. The characters in this exceptionally endearing film all run and own pubs that have been in their families for generations and it is through their warmth, wit and wisdom that we gain an insight into the heart and soul of THE IRISH PUB.

ATOM FILMS  in Association with BORD SCANNAN NA hÉIREANN/ THE IRISH FILM BOARD present THE IRISH PUB. Composer: DENIS CLOHESSY Clarinet: CONOR SHEIL Editor, Sound and Camera: ALEX FEGAN. Directed and Produced by ALEX FEGAN.
© 2014 Atom Films.

Official website: here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

Strudel Sisters

Ilona and Erzsébet are sisters living in the small Hungarian town of Tura. They make “big strudels on small tables” in much the same way their beloved mother did when they were children during the communist era. What starts as an ode to a disappearing way of life quickly becomes a beautifully harmonic anthem to sisterhood, freedom, mothers and, of course, strudel.

Winner of the Devour Golden Tine Award for Best Short Documentary. Official Selection at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Sydney Film Festival and more.

Produced and Directed by Peter Hegedus and Jaina Kalifa
Camera: Peter Hegedus and Jaina Kalifa
Editor: Jaina Kalifa
Audio Post Production: Rafe Sholer

Korean Beef Short Rib Soup with Glass Noodles – Galbi-tang

Galbi-tang – 갈비탕, –湯

Cuisine: Korean
Region: Common

Galbi-tang is a hearty yet fragrant and often delicate clear beef short rib soup, traditionally offered at Korean wedding receptions. It is now one of Korea’s staple recipes and a regular entry in every Korean restaurant’s menu that’s worth its salt. (Pun intended. :)) Galbi-tang is not difficult to make; but, as all good soups and stews, it just takes some patience – that’s all. Time to cook, eh?

Serves 4 to 6
Cooking time: approx. 150 min (2.5 hrs)
You will need: a pot

Ingredients

  • 1.5 Kg (3 Lbs) beef short ribs, roughly 6 cm or 1.5 inch thick.
  • 3/4 Kg (1.5 Lbs) Korean radish, moo or daikon.
  • 1 large garlic bulb.
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion.
  • 1 piece of ginger, at the size of a thumb.
  • 3 to 6 green onions, plus more green onions for garnishing.
  • 15 cups cold water
  • 140 g (5 oz) Dangmyeon (Korean glass noodles).
  • 1/2 Tsp soy sauce.
  • 1/2 Tsp fish sauce.
  • 1/2 to 1 Tbsp sea salt.
  • Extra salt and pepper for serving.

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Take a large pot, fill it up with cold water, put it on the stove, turn the fire on high and bring it to a boil.
  2. While you wait for the water to boil, wash the vegetables.
  3. Peel the Korean radish and cut off the edges.
  4. Cut the garlic bulb in half.
  5. Cut the edges of the onion, without removing the skin.
  6. Slice the ginger in rounds.
  7. Chop the green onions in halves.
  8. When the water starts boiling, add the short ribs in the pot and blanch them for about 10 minutes.
  9. Then, empty the pot in a colander, rinse the meat under cold water and put it aside.

Cooking

  1. Wash the pot.
  2. Arrange the blanched meat and the vegetables in the pot and add 15 (fifteen) cups of cold water.
  3. Turn the fire on high and bring it to boil with the lid off.
  4. Skim the scum and fat as required.
  5. When the froth is clear of scum and fat, reduce the fire to medium, put the lid on and simmer for 2 hours.
  6. While the meat and vegetables are simmering it’s time to soak the Korean glass noodles: take a bowl, add warm (not hot) water and let the noodles soak while pot meat and vegetable pot is simmering.
  7. Two hours later: turn the fire off and remove all vegetables with a slotted spoon or sieve.
  8. Discard all vegetables except for the radish (you’re going to use that, later).
  9. Make sure the bottom of the pot is clean.
  10. Season the stew to taste with the prescribed condiments: soy sauce, fish sauce and sea salt.
  11. The soup is ready.

Combining / Serving

  1. Slice the cooked radish into bite-size pieces.
  2. Chop 1 to 2 green onions for garnish.
  3. If the Galbi-tang soup has cooled off by the time you serve, bring it back to boil.
  4. Arrange the glass noodles in each serving bowl and add the sliced radish.
  5. Pour your boiling hot ribs and soup into the serving bowl, so that the glass noodles are cooked through.
  6. Garnish each bowl with green onion and black pepper.

Sides

Warm rice is classic side dish to Galbi-tang. In general, accompanying the main course with a plethora of other nibblers (in this case: kimchi, sour plums, bean sprouts, etc., is often the norm.

Notes

It is popular in Asia to soak meat in cold water for 2 to 3 hours prior to cooking. They do that in order to remove any remaining blood, and this makes a clearer soup. If you decide to do that then do replace the soaking water every hour or so.

Enjoy!

Korean Potato Soup – Kamja Guk

Kamja Guk

Cuisine: Korean
Region: Common

An easy, uncomplicated and hearty recipe this Korean Potato Soup. One would think that it is ideal for lunch or dinner but in Korea they also serve it as breakfast. The recipe calls for broth or stock, so, depending on the stock you’re going to use the dish can be equally be vegetarian, vegan, lenten or none of the above. Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6
Cooking time: approx. 20 min.
You will need: a skillet.

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes.
  • 2 medium carrots.
  • 3 cups of chicken, beef or vegetable broth.
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mushrooms, quartered.
  • 1 fresh (green) onion, chopped.
  • Salt and pepper.

Instructions

  1. Peel carrots and potatoes and cut them in bite-size pieces.
  2. Put them in a large skillet and add the broth.
  3. Put the skillet on the stove, turn the fire on to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Cook, uncovered, for about about 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Turn the fire down to low, cover the skillet and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes – until the vegetables are very tender.
  6. Add the mushrooms.
  7. Add the green onion.
  8. Pepper to taste, stir well and cook for another couple of minutes.

Notes

Pasta with Butter and Cream – all’ Alfredo

Pasta all’ Alfredo

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Northern Italy

Yes, Pasta with Butter and Cream – a.k.a. Pasta all’ Alfredo – has very little to do with the all-millennial “tuna salad” lunch or dinner; yet, good food is good food and there’s no two ways about that. 🙂 This is an easy and fast pasta recipe to make – and you don’t need to eat a lot of it to feel satisfied. Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6
Cooking time: approx. 20 min.
You will need: a pot and a skillet.

Ingredients

  • 500 g (1 Lb) pasta of our choice – Fettuccine, Linguine, Spaghetti, Gnocchi or any type of pasta you like.
  • 1/4 cup of butter.
  • 1 cup whipping cream.
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + additional cheese for serving.
  • Salt and pepper.

Instructions

For the pasta

  1. Take a pot, fill it up with water up to two thirds, and add salt.
  2. Put the pot on the stove and turn the fire on to high heat, bringing the water to a boil.
  3. Add the pasta to the pot and cook, uncovered, according to instructions.
  4. Drain the pasta.

For the Alfredo sauce

  1. Take a skillet, add the butter, put it on the stove and turn on the fire to medium heat.
  2. Melt the butter.
  3. When the butter foams, add the cream.
  4. Simmer the mixture for about 2 minutes or until it starts to thicken.
  5. Season with salt and white pepper.

Combining

  1. Empty the pasta in the skillet with the butter and cream over medium fire.
  2. Add your 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.
  3. Toss the pasta and sauce in the skillet until the sauce coats the pasta. It should take about 20 to 30 seconds.
  4. Serve immediately, while it’s hot.
  5. Sprinkle each serving plate with additional Parmesan cheese, to taste.

Notes

How to Peel Artichokes – and a few words about their health benefits

For most of us the very idea of an “artichoke” is intimidating – never mind peeling one! But, all is not lost and things aren’t as bad as they seem. Watch the video.

And here and here you will find a few words about the health benefits of artichokes (such as potential anticancer effects, improved heart health, regulated blood pressure etc).

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

What we do (and we don’t) know about the Coronavirus

What happens if you get infected with the coronavirus? Who’s most at risk? How can you protect yourself? Public health expert David Heymann, who led the global response to the SARS outbreak in 2003, shares the latest findings about COVID-19 and what the future may hold.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition

By Paul Pitchford

Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition | myfoodistry

There is a near-consensus among health authorities that whole, unrefined foods represent a fundamental truth in support of individual health and well-being. The whole foods movement is a common sense approach that is quietly extending through all economies and social classes to overcome the madness resulting from highly processed, refined, genetically modified, and synthetic (non-) foods that have turned modern societies into centers of degenerative disease. At the end of the day, wholesome foods are destined to be a biologic remedy that, in concert with organic farming and plant medicine, has the capacity to heal the Earth and her peoples.

The quality whole foods approach works at the foundations of healing, that is, it acts as a foundation for all healing systems. Newer developments in science are beginning to value foundational medicine as well; these approaches are sometimes referred to as “systems biology, integrative medicine, and functional medicine.” From the perspective of the Healing-with-Whole-Foods paradigm, it is not just food alone, but also other priorities that nurture us deeply and eternally. Awareness practices primarily represent this function. Meditation, prayer and other ways of quieting and focusing the mind and fortifying the spirit are in fact a priority in healing, providing clear guidance regarding which food and other lifestyle choices are most effective.

Read more about the book

Author’s interview

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

The Connection

The Connection is a film about how frontier research is proving that there is a direct connection between your mind and your health.

The film features scientists, researchers, writers and doctors, as well as remarkable true stories of people adding mind body medicine to their healing toolkit to recover from severe back pain, heart disease, infertility, cancer and multiple sclerosis. While the science is complex, the solutions for people suffering with illness are astonishingly simple. The film shows that we can counter the harmful affects of stress with an equally powerful relaxation response triggered through specific techniques such as meditation.

It shows that emotions can impact the course of an illness for better or for worse and could even be the difference between life and death. The film explains the mechanisms behind belief, which scientists now know contributes 30 to 50 percent of the effect of any known biological cure and explores how scientists at the cutting edge are now learning that the mind can even influence the expression of genes and the rate at which we age.

Official site, here.

Disclaimer: please do your own research before you make decisions that may or can affect your own self and others around you.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - imagine - documentaries

The Junk Food Experiment

Dietary expert Dr Michael Mosley has promised that “things are going to get scary” during ITV’s latest programme, The Junk Food Experiment.

In this 90-minute programme, six famous faces (singer Peter AndreThe Chase mastermind and barrister Shaun Wallace, politician Nadine Dorries, actress Hayley Tamaddon, Olympian Tessa Sanderson and TV personality Hugo Taylor ) have agreed to put their bodies on the line and become guinea pigs in an extreme scientific experiment to find out what our junk food lifestyle is actually doing to us.

You can watch the entire documentary, here.

With Information from: inews.co.uk

Lamb or Goat with Artichokes in Egg and Lemon Sauce

Agginarato

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Crete

A classic, traditional Spring dish from Crete, Greece that’s simple to make and easier to savour. The season for artichokes is between March and June. For the rest of the year you could use canned or frozen artichokes – but do avoid marinated artichokes – they are a totally different deal and will not go well with what we’re making here. Time now to start cooking, eh?

Serves: 4-6
Cooking time +60 min.
You will need: a bowl and a skillet or pot.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (2 Lbs) baby goat or lamb, chopped into portions. As it is often the case with stews, a shoulder cut is better than others.
  • 1 Kg (2 Lbs) artichokes.
  • 1/2 bunch dill, diced.
  • 1/2 cup (or glass) olive oil.
  • 3 fresh onions.
  • 1 medium sized dry onion.
  • Juice of 1 lemon.
  • 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup of hot water. See notes.
  • Salt and pepper.

For the Egg and Lemon Sauce

  • 2 eggs.
  • Juice of 2 lemons.
  • 1/2 Tbsp flour.

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Take a medium bowl and fill it up with water.
  2. Squeeze a lemon in the bowl and dilute the flour in it.
  3. Peel the artichokes one by one and discard the stems. (Peeling and cleaning artichokes may sound intimidating at first but it’s not that bad. Scroll down to watch the video.)
  4. Cut the artichokes into halves and put them in the bowl.
  5. Dice the dry onion.
  6. Chop the fresh onions into pieces of 1 cm or 1/2 inch.
  7. Dice the dill.
  8. Wash the meat in cold, running water.

Cooking

  1. Pour the olive oil in a skillet or broad pot.
  2. Put the skillet or pot on the stove and turn the fire on to medium-high.
  3. Add the diced dry onion into the skillet or pot and sautee until it’s translucent.
  4. Add the meat and give it a couple of stirs until it changes colour.
  5. Add pepper to taste.
  6. Add the diced fresh onions.
  7. Add the 1/2 cup of hot water.
  8. Lower the fire to medium / medium low (depending on your stove) and let the meat simmer, covered, for about 30-40 minutes. The point here is to retain the steam in the skillet/pot while the meat is cooking gently.
  9. 30 to 40 minutes later, test the meat with a fork. If it falls off the fork then it’s ready for the next stage. If not, add a little hot water as needed and keep simmering until ready.
  10. Add 1/3 cup of hot water.
  11. Add the artichokes into the mix.
  12. Add salt to taste.
  13. Wait for 2-3 minutes and add the dill.
  14. Let the mix simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the artichokes are cooked. (You don’t want the artichokes “crunchy”. You want them “cooked”.)
  15. At this stage you pour into the mixture the egg and lemon sauce.
  16. Shake well so that the egg and lemon sauce spreads evenly in the skillet or pot.

Egg and lemon sauce

  1. Crack the eggs in a small bowl.
  2. Add the juice of your 2 lemons and beat the mixture well.
  3. While you beat the eggs, little by little keep adding a little juice from the skillet or pot until the bowl is almost full with liquid.

Notes

  • Shaken, not stirred – as good old James Bond might have insisted: after you add the artichokes into the skillet or pot do avoid stirring with a ladle or spoon or you run into the risk of having the artichokes disintegrated. Shaking the skillet or pot will work just fine.
  • Keep adding hot water to the skillet/pot little by little as needed, if needed. The idea is that the mixture should not be cooking in sizzling olive oil – there should always be some hot water in that mix.
  • Goat meat, although very lean, is a bit tougher than lamb. If you’re cooking goat then add more hot water into the skillet/pot and simmer longer than you would have with lamb.
  • Add salt only towards the end, before you mix in the artichokes, otherwise the meat will dry out while cooking and will not be as soft.
  • Wash the meat thoroughly, until there’s no blood in it. A few words about how to prepare lamb or goat for cooking, here.

Health benefits of artichokes

A few words about the health benefits of artichokes (such as potential anticancer effects, improved heart health, regulated blood pressure etc) you will find here and here .

How to peel artichokes

Enjoy!

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

A Touch of Spice

“A Touch of Spice” is a story about a young Greek boy (Fanis) growing up in Istanbul, whose grandfather, a culinary philosopher and mentor,teaches him that both food and life require a little salt to give them flavor; they both require a touch of spice. Fanis grows up to become an excellent cook and uses his cooking skills to spice up the lives of those around him. 35 years later he leaves Athens and travels back to his birthplace of Istanbul to reunite with his grandfather and his first love; he travels back only to realize that he forgot to put a little bit of spice in his own life.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

Apicius – Cookery and Dining In Imperial Rome

De Re Cocinaria
myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

The present first translation into English of the ancient cookery book dating back to Imperial Roman times known as the Apicius book is herewith presented to antiquarians, friends of the Antique as well as to gastronomers, friends of good cheer.

Three of the most ancient manuscript books that exist today bearing the name of Apicius date back to the eighth and ninth century. Ever since the invention of printing Apicius has been edited chiefly in the Latin language. Details of the manuscript books and printed editions will be found under the heading of Apiciana on the following pages.

The present version has been based chiefly upon three principal Latin editions, that of Albanus Torinus, 1541, who had for his authority a codex he found on the island of Megalona, on the editions of Martinus Lister, 1705-9, who based his work upon that of Humelbergius, 1542, and the Giarratano-Vollmer edition, 1922.

We have also scrutinized various other editions forming part of our collection of Apiciana, and as shown by our “family tree of Apicius” have drawn either directly or indirectly upon every known source for our information.

The reasons and raison d’être for this undertaking become sufficiently clear through Dr. Starr’s introduction and through the following critical review.

It has been often said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach; so here is hoping that we may find a better way of knowing old Rome and antique private life through the study of this cookery book—Europe’s oldest and Rome’s only one in existence today.

JOSEPH DOMMERS VEHLING
Chicago, in the Spring of 1926.

Download this book, here.

Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for enjoyment and education.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and recipes from all over the World - featured posts - editorial

Twenty Years in Ubud

By Ibu Kat

When I moved to Ubud almost 20 years ago, I contacted the editor of the Bali Advertiser with the suggestion that I write a column. I didn’t know anyone here and it seemed like a good way to meet interesting people. Perhaps I’d been sitting up late with Jenny and a bottle of single malt, a combination that has hatched many bright ideas over three decades.

The editor agreed.

I had no idea what I was getting into. I’d been a writer for many years and I knew a deadline from a dartboard, but these deadlines were remorseless. Every second Wednesday I had to pony up with 1,000 words that were interesting, relevant and true whether I felt like it or not. Sometimes I did not feel like it. Very often I sat down under the ticking clock with no idea at all what I was going to write about.

And so began a journey and a journal. I became a window to Bali and my life here for myself and readers. It wasn’t supposed to be like this; Greenspeak was meant to be a column on the environment. But those endless deadlines soon pushed me out of that box, and I began to expand my mandate to include my immediate, personal environment – my garden, my dogs, my staff, my pond, my street. I found myself holding the space for many small encounters and experiences and distilling them into 1,000 words of prose every second Wednesday. My editor Chris, bless him, gave me a very long rope. The only time he censored anything I’ve written was to remove an impassioned and possibly actionable paragraph about a manufacturer of baby formula.

The column led me outside to meet people who are creating positive change on this island – farmers, priests, social activists, Βalians, weavers, environmentalists, scholars. It led me into my garden to observe the plants and creatures there. The column was an excuse for me to contact all kinds of fascinating folk and ask them impertinent questions. It led me inside myself, to examine how I was so touched by Bali’s profound and quirky magic.

And I’ve learned so much… about rice cultivation, poverty, natural textile dyes, sexually transmitted diseases, reptiles, black magic, orphanages, bamboo construction, herbal remedies, natural ventilation, dengue fever, spices, scorpions, so much more.

The more I learned the more curious I became. With a notebook under my arm and a pen behind my ear I visited subaks, rural health clinics, water projects, farms, schools, composting toilets, temples and birthing clinics. I learned how knives and kites are made, how witches are placated and the correct way to hold a python (don’t).

The trouble with writing for a paper is that people tend to believe what they read and be influenced by it. So I had to train myself to be a witness, not a judge. Even if a situation had me raging, I had to present it from a place of calm balance because you would read it. I had to walk the talk, because of you. You kept me honest. You stretched me in all directions.

People my age who settle in this part of Bali often come from an academic or business life. They’ve taken a great leap of faith, leaving a world of reliable medical care, live theatre and good wine to live in a rice field. It’s remarkable what happens to them, over time. The right side of the brain wakes up and starts to dance in Ubud, this little town that is such a crucible of creativity. Tax lawyers and computer wizards take up painting, educators start designing hats. In Singapore I used to write corporate brochures and advertising copy. Now my keyboard clicked to tales of spirits from the undercliff and dragons in the bath.

I’m always pleased and humbled when people tell me they enjoy the column. That never gets old. It’s an odd feeling, actually, to write a story and send it out to the world for strangers to read. Sometimes those strangers wrote to me, and some of them became friends. A couple of times an enraged reader fired off a rant – my writing was too positive, too happy. Was I blind? Didn’t I see the piles of garbage and the mangy dogs and the corruption? Well yes, I do. But long ago I learned that people are just about as happy as they decide to be, and I’ve decided to be happy.

myfoodistry - editorias - bali daze

Over a decade ago people started saying, “You should make a book of these stories.” I thought it over and took the concept to a Bali-based publisher who told me, “No one would be interested in a book like that.” So I took a deep breath and published it myself. Bali Daze (originally Dragons in the Bath) has now sold over 5,000 copies in hard copy and online. I think this indicates that people are indeed interested in the small stories of everyday life in Bali, cross cultural engagement and reptiles in the bathroom.

But Bali has changed a great deal in the past few years.   Outside my gate the town has become noisy and busy, and it’s quite a scene out there these days. Inside my gate Wayan Manis, my housekeeper all this time, remains a precious constant. Many dogs – Karma, Kipper, Kalypso, Casey, Chloe, Daisy, Hamish, Tika, Tilly and Bruno – have shared my home and garden. My life is small, now. I am content. I find I have less to say, so it seems like a good time to stop saying it.

So thank you, Bali Advertiser, for the discipline of two articles a month (later one) for so many years, giving me a platform for my occasional rants and material for two collections of stories. There’s no feeling quite like seeing someone smiling while reading a book I’ve written.

Thank you, Chris and Ratih, for your patience and understanding over cliff-hanger deadlines.

And thank you, dear readers, for all your feedback and support, for stopping me in the street to mention a recent article, for your emails and visits over the years. I’ll miss you, but I won’t miss those deadlines.

Bless you all. Over and out.

Ibu Kat

Bali Daze on Goodreads: here.
Bali Daze on Amazon.com: here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - brasserie romantiek

Brasserie Romantiek (2012)

Brasserie Romantiek is a Dutch comedy telling the stories of the forty-something restaurant owner Pascaline and her Valentine Day’s patrons. Pascaline’s lover of twenty years ago appears out of the blue to ask her to leave with him to Buenos Aires. Thirty-something, bored housewife Rose informs her husband that she has a lover. Almost fifty Mia intends to commit suicide when she is courted by waiter Lesley while inconspicuous civil servant Walter is wrecked by insecurity when seated in front of the woman of his dreams.

P.S. We could not find a trailer with English subtitles but one may not need “language” to understand what’s going on, here. 🙂

Trailer
Trailer and excerpts

Directed by Joël Vanhoebrouck
Available by Netflix

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

I Am Love (Io sono l’amore)

Emma left Russia to live with her husband in Italy. Now a member of a powerful industrial family, she is the respected mother of three, but feels unfulfilled. One day, Antonio, a talented chef and her son’s friend, makes her senses kindle.

Octopus with Pasta in the Pot

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Generic

A Greek lenten classic – guaranteed to keep your body going whatever you have to do. Octopus with Pasta in the Pot is going to take some time to cook – approx. 2 hours – but its level of difficulty is minimal: sautee, simmer, stir, do something else while the food is cooking, pay some attention during the final stage. (That difficult. 🙂 ) Enjoy!

Serves: 4 -6
Cooking time: approx. 120 min
You will need: a pot

Ingredients

  • 0.75 – 1 kg (approx. 1.5 to 2lbs) octopus
  • 500g (approx. 1 Lb) pasta, preferably Ditalli, Tubetti or whatever macaroni-like short and hollow pasta you can find.
  • 500g (1 Lb) diced tomatoes. Fresh or canned from a brand you trust.
  • 1 cup (glass) of olive oil.
  • 1/2 cup of white wine or a 1/4 cup vinegar. (Do prefer grape vinegar if that’s an option.)
  • 2-3 diced onions.
  • 3-4 diced garlic cloves.
  • 4 cups of hot water.
  • Salt & pepper.

Istructions

  1. Wash the octopus and cut it in small pieces.
  2. Dice the onions, the garlic and the tomatoes.
  3. Pour the olive oil in a pot, place the pot on the stove and turn on the fire to mid-high.
  4. Wait for a few minutes until the oil is hot and then add the onions.
  5. Sautee the onions until translucent and add the garlic.
  6. Give it a stir or two and add the octopus.
  7. Sautee the mixture for about 5 minutes.
  8. Lower the fire to medium-low.
  9. Add the wine or vinegar.
  10. Give it a stir, wait for a beat or two, then add the diced tomatoes and 1 glass of hot water.
  11. Add pepper to taste.
  12. Cover the pot.
  13. Let it simmer for about 90 minutes or until the octopus is tender. Give it a stir from time to time just to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  14. Ninety minutes later: add 3 glasses of hot water.
  15. Add salt to taste.
  16. Add the pasta – Ditalli, Tubetti or similar – to the pot.
  17. Raise the fire to mid-high.
  18. It will take 15-20 min before the pasta is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. So, at this stage stir very often because the pasta can and will stick to the bottom of the pot as it absorbs the liquid.
  19. Turn off the fire, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes and you’re ready to serve.

Notes on Pasta with Octopus in the Pot

  • If you see that the liquid is absorbed but the pasta is not yet cooked, add 1/2 glass of hot water or so and keep stirring. It will get there.
  • It tastes really good the next day (or the day after…. :))
  • If your palate is used to spices, you can freely add chili flakes, cayen pepper, Gochugaru (Korean spice) etc. It will definitely not harm the recipe.
  • If you’re going for spice, do prefer to add the spice while the octopus is simmering: you need the spice to infuse the liquid and the spicy liquid to infuse the pasta.
  • Enjoy!

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

myfoodistry

Welcome to myfoodistry – home of traditional cooking and modern inspiration!

We present traditional food, recipes, cooking and cuisines from all over the World; as well as suggestions for literary and non fiction books, films, documentaries, ideas, news, articles, opinions and talks about food and well being.

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Goat in Fruit Juice in the Oven

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Crete

This one is very interesting. You marinate the goat meat in lemon and orange juice for 12hrs in the fridge. Then you cook it in the oven for approx. 60 minutes. It contains alcohol.

Serves 6
Cooking time: about 60 min
You need: a bowl and an oven pan
Notes: it requires marinading

Ingredients

  • 1+1/2 Kg (3 Lbs) goat meat cut in portions.
  • 1+1/2 glass (cup) lemon juice
  • 1+1/2 glass (cup) orange juice
  • 1/2 glass (cup) brandy wine or 1/4 glass (cup) red vinegar
  • 6 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 150g olive oil
  • 2-3 Tsp oregano
  • 1 glass (cup) of hot water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut the meat into portions.
  2. Salt and pepper it.
  3. Put it in a pyrex bowl.
  4. Add to it the lemon juice, the orange juice, the brandy, the oregano and the garlic.
  5. Cover the bowl in leave it in the fridge for 12hrs.
  6. Then, empty the contents of the bowl into an oven pan.
  7. Add the olive oil and the hot water in the pan.
  8. Cook in medium oven (about 180C/350F) for about 60 min.
  9. Depending on your oven, if you see that the liquid evaporates too fast then add some hot water in the pan so that there’s always gravy.

Suggested side dishes

Pasta

  • 500gr of flat, square pasta. (See Notes, below.)
  • 200g grated of hard cheese for the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta in a separate pot and drizzle it with the cheese.

Boiled and Broiled Potatoes

  • Click here for the recipe.

Notes on Goat in Fruit Juice in the Oven

  • Goat meat is very lean and also sinewy (because it’s very lean). The purpose of marinading it for 12hrs in acid (i.e.brandy, lemon and orange juice) is to break down the fiber before you put it in the oven.
  • Preparing deep frozen goat meat (if that’s the case) has a few tricks. Click here for more.
  • You could potentially substitute brandy wine with red vinegar. If that’s the case then all you need is not more than a 1/4 of glass (cup) vinegar. If that’s your choice then bear in mind that vinegar is corrosive; it will stain the metal and it will leach the plastic. Do prefer a glass or pyrex bowl instead.
  • Regarding the appropriate kind of pasta for this recipe: the Greeks use a kind of pasta called CHYLOPITTES. It usually comes in square form and it contains eggs and milk. The closest Italian equivalent is QUADRATTI or QUADRETTINI and they contain neither eggs, nor milk. You could also use Orzo – there’s no hard rule.