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Omnivore Food Blog By Suzanne Podhaizer

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May 2008

May 30, 2008

More Onion-y Fun

I have, yet again, been saving up food-related articles from The Onion. Here are a few for your Friday evening reading pleasure:

~ Potential Employee Uprising Quelled with Free Pizza

~ Piggly Wiggly Scouting Report Indicates J.J. Hardy Enjoys Rib-Eye Steaks

~ Tomato Genetically Modified to be More Expensive

~ Nation's Poorest 1% Now Controls Two-Thirds of U.S. Soda Can Wealth

~ Desperate Chives Marketing Board Launches 'Big Bowl o' Chives in the Mornin'' Campaign

May 28, 2008

Java and Jihad?

Like many foodies, I'm not a fan of Rachael Ray. I admit she has a few decent recipes on her website, but the catchphrases such as "yum-o" and EVOO really annoy me. And some of her recipes sound totally gross: I enjoy hot dogs, but do they belong in a salad? And pizza cobbler? Blech.

But even though I find her annoying, I'm pretty sure that the gal is neither a terrorist, nor a terrorist sympathizer. I make this seemingly out-of-the-blue statement because Dunkin' Donuts recently pulled an ad starring the perky spokeswoman after right-wing pundits pointed out that the scarf she is wearing bears a resemblance to a keffiyeh, a piece of cloth often worn as a headdress in Arab nations. (Read more about it here).

The fabric wrapped around Ray's neck in the commercial features a black and white print, which critics say is reminiscent of Yasser Arafat's preferred keffiyeh styling. Conservative Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin notes that other famous folk -- including Colin Farrell, Kanye West and our very own Howard Dean -- have been seen with similar scarves (Dean's wrap actually resembles a keffiyeh much more than Rachael's scarf does), which Malkin compares to wearing "klan-style hoods."   

I'm not sure that the comparison is apt, given that people in cultures all over the world wear scarves, shawls and headdress of various colors and patterns, but I don't believe that there are any modern day cultural/ethnic groups unaffiliated with the KKK who wear pointed hoods with face masks that include eye-hole cutouts. Thus, I think it much more likely that somebody could innocently wear a keffiyeh-like scarf with no political motivations, while I think that is extremely unlikely in the case of the hood. Anyway...

After DD nixed the online ad, they released a statement saying that the black-and-white silk, paisley print scarf was purchased at a US retail store, and was in no way intended as a political statement.

While we're on the topic of the marriage of Rachael and Dunkin', this tidbit calls the veracity of her endorsement into question: In January, NY Magazine's website reported that Rachael Ray doesn't even like DD's hot stuff. After sipping some DD coffee, Ray reportedly shouted, "What is this shit? Get me my coffee." Her coffee, apparently, is Starbucks. Which is funny, because in the a press release about her deal with the donut co., Rachael gushed, "Having grown up in the Northeast, I have a long-standing and deep appreciation for Dunkin' Donuts' coffee." Hah.

According to that same press release, the company's brand president, Robert Rodriguez, had this to say about Ray: "We believe there is tremendous synergy between Dunkin' Donuts and Rachael Ray. Rachael's philosophy of creating quality meals quickly and without pretense for busy people living busy lives is the same driving force behind the Dunkin' Donuts brand." [Emphasis mine].

Right. Because in my book, a quality meal typically consists of a Boston creme donut and a vanilla bean "coolatta." Or maybe he's talking about the "nutritious" breakfast sandwiches, like the bacon egg cheese croissant version that derives more than half of its calories from fat and includes margarine, corn syrup solids, artificial flavors and "egg patty" on its list of ingredients. Deelish!

May 27, 2008


For reasons that I may get into at another time, I spent the last week driving to, sojourning in, and then returning from Alabama. The trip was unexpected and wasn't a vacation, so I did not go with a list of worthy restaurants to visit, nor did I pack a delightful array of healthy snacks for the trip. (I did, on the other hand, eat my first Burger King burger in 11 years and dined at The Red Lobster for the first time).

But while I was in Alabama, I did have the chance to visit the Roadfood website in search of a quality BBQ joint that happened to coincide with our long drive home. I found exactly what I was looking for in Bluff City, TN. Ridgewood Barbecue, which is on a beautiful, winding country road off of the beaten track, has been lauded by local barbecue enthusiasts and visitors alike. And the required detour was only a few minutes long.

And boy was it worth it. Dan and I shared a barbecued pork platter, which came with crispy golden French fries, rolls and a generous serving of sweet 'n' creamy slaw. But it was the heap of hickory-smoked pork, sprinkled with dark brown crispy bits from the outside of the pork as well as tender inside pieces, that really blew me away. It was undoubtedly the best barbecue I've ever eaten. I don't know how long they smoke the stuff, but whatever they do is just perfect. And I had a Mr. Pibbs soda, which was described as being "like root beer," but actually tasted like Dr. Pepper.

So, if you're ever driving through Tennessee, I strongly advise you to seek Ridgewood out. And if you do, please order the pork.  You won't regret it.

May 15, 2008

Eating Around the Globe

The other day, a reader sent me a link to a blog called "DeadGod." When I followed the link, I found a series of pictures depicting what families from around the globe eat in an average week, called "A week of food around the world). Each photo shows a family with a week's worth of food arrayed around them. It also shows the cost of that food in their native currency as well as in American dollars.

A few interesting points: 1) The number of processed American products that show up all around the world. In the picture from Kuwait, for example, one can see Ritz Crackers, Pringles, Heinz Ketchup and Kellogg's Cornflakes 2) The lack of fresh vegetables in the first American family's diet (the only one I can see is broccoli). Hello colon cancer. 3) That the family of 6 from Chad lives on the equivalent of $1.23 cents of food a week. 4) The listing of the family's fav foods under each picture.

After examining each photo carefully, I decided I would most like to swap food with the family from Cairo. My second choice would be the Turkish family.

Maybe I should try to figure out what my little family of 2 eats in a week and take a picture. It would be an interesting exercise.

May 14, 2008

Farmers' Market Season Has Begun!

Img_4120_2 Where in Vermont can you find sizzling burgers made with grass-fed beef, Tibetan momos, pork tamales, egg rolls and barbecued meats with Caribbean sauces, all in one place?

Nope, it's not an International food court or an "eclectic" restaurant: Every one of these items is available at the Burlington Farmers' Market, which kicked off the season last Saturday with gorgeous weather and a big, hungry crowd.

I had a great time wandering City Hall Park and reconnecting with a few vendors I hadn't seen for a long time. Although I didn't buy too much (my farm share takes care of most of my Img_4122 veggie needs), I did get some cave-aged "Butternut" cheese from Willow Hill Farm as well as some Caprella (you can never have too much cheese) and pork chops from Doe's Leap. And I got some ground beef from Stony Pond Farm, too.

Although there weren't many veggies available yet (some overwintered roots, microgreens and tons of spinach), the most exciting part about the first few markets is that there's something new every single time.

I may have to miss this coming weekend though...I'll be handing out the 7 Nights Dining Guide at the Vermont Chocolate Show in Essex, as well as sampling the delightful chocolate martinis.

* Pics: Rachel, Addie and David of Full Moon Farm
* Shoppers relaxing on the green

May 13, 2008

Best Beer Names

HazedIf drinking wine leads to truth, what does drinking beer lead to? If the names of craft brews are any indication, the answer to that question is, "a good sense of humor."

I've collected more funny beer names than I can list in one post, but here are seven that made me crack a smile (Please note that many such breweries produce beers seasonally, and not all of these are currently available. But this doesn't make the names any less amusing):

~ Ale Mary, Full of Taste: Rock Bottom Brewery

~ Hoptimus Prime: Nodding Head Brewpub

~ Hazed & Infused: Boulder Beer Company

~ Tripel Vision: Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

~ Pure Hoppiness: Alpine Beer Company

~ Slam Dunkelweisen: Big Time Brewery

~ Strange Brew: Kannah Creek Brewing Company (their website is down, so no link)

May 09, 2008

This Week's Farm Share: 5/9/08

I can't wait to do some cooking with all the delightful stuff that came my way this week:

Mixed Potatoes
Spring Dug Parsnips
Savoy Cabbage
Mesclun Braising Mix 
1 Bunch Basil
1 Bunch Scallions
1 Bunch Mizuna
Champlain Orchards Apples
Butterworks Farm Yogurt
Dulse Seaweed
Pearled Barley
Patchwork Bread.

May 07, 2008

Hell-y Jelly? Mean Beans?

Beanboozledbox_2 The Jelly Belly company is primarily known for making colorful, Reagan-sanctioned pellets in 50+ "life-like" flavors such as "juicy pear," "crushed pineapple" and "toasted marshmallow."

In recent years, though, the company has branched out. They capitalized on the Harry Potter phenomenon by producing a real-life version of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans: Sardine, vomit and ear wax are a few of the gross tastes you can find in each box.

And now the company has another unusual product, Bean Boozled, seemingly tailor-made for playground bullies or perhaps those into S&M. There are 20 kinds of BB beans: 10 in delicious flavors like coconut, cafe latte and peach and 10 in gross flavors such as baby wipes (hopefully unused), pencil shavings and skunk spray.

The catch is that each tasty treat looks exactly the same as a nugget of nastiness. For example, both the toothpaste and berry flavors come an an icy, electric blue color, while tutti-frutti and vomit are pink with colorful dots. There's absolutely no way to tell the difference.

Fun party game or stupid marketing ploy? You decide.

One more note: One of the "unpleasant" flavors is moldy cheese. Pardon? I love me some moldy cheese. I'd take a big hunk of Bayley Hazen Blue over a box of jelly beans any day.

May 02, 2008

A Little More Yakking

One thing I didn't mention in my article about the Vermont Yak Company this week was that Rob and Kate Williams, two of the yak farm's owners, invited me and my husband to their house in Waitsfield for a multi-course yak dinner...and man does it taste good.

First we snacked on slabs of yak summer sausage, local cheddar and Wolaver's beer as we toured the farmyard. I must admit it felt a bit strange to be introduced to an animal while holding a slab of summer sausage made out of its cousin, but coming to terms with that kind of thing is all part of farming, right?

Then we and the Hartshorns, also business partners, headed the the Williamses for yak bratwurst with three dipping sauces -- I liked mine with the garlic aioli -- divine yak chili and tender strips of yak sirloin with an organic salad. There was also artisan bread with a curry oil dip.

Yak meat is dark red and savory, but (to me) it tastes just a bit milder than beef. It is also fairly lean, but is still high in heart-healthy omega-three fatty acids. I hear the dairy is great, too, but have never tried it. If my affection for water buffalo yogurt is any indication, I'll probably like it.

The evening was full of fun conversation and delicious food, and the experience really helped me with my article. Rob blogged about it here.

May 01, 2008

Popcorn Peril

Corn_2 Throughout the winter months, my CSA share occasionally provided popcorn on the ear with instructions about how to prepare the snack in a microwave. It seemed easy enough: put the ear in a paper bag, tape the bag shut, nuke it.

Not having a microwave at home I ended up with a bunch of ears, but today I had a brainstorm: I could bring a them to the office and make popcorn for everybody. I headed to work armed with the sea salt, butter and corn, sure that I was going to make my coworkers' days by providing a fun and tasty snack.

No so much. I placed the corn in the bag, reminding myself that folks put paper towels in the microwave all the time, so it must be safe. I was actually more worried about the tape, to be honest. I put the bag in the machine, set it for three minutes, and stood there listening for the inevitable explosive noises of popping.

After 30 or 40 seconds I sniffed the air and decided that something wasn't quite right. I hit stop, opened the door, and noticing smoke coming from the bag, decided to throw it in the sink and douse it with cold water. Lucky. Parts of the bag were scorched. If I hadn't taken it out, I'm pretty sure it would have caught on fire rather quickly. I'm thanking my lucky stars that I didn't walk away or use the restroom while I was waiting.

In any case, the office smells unpleasant and I don't have a tasty snack to help me smooth things over with my coworkers. I sent an email to Pete's Greens suggesting that they let their other shareholders know that the whole paper bag + electromagnetic waves = potential burning down of the building.

I'm feeling a little shaky...not sure if it's the smoke inhalation or the knowledge that I could have set off the sprinkler system in our building. What a bad start to the afternoon!

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