Eating in Washington, DC Hazardous to One Food Writer’s Health …

News has it that cookbook author and TV chef Tom Colicchio of the Craft empire saved New York Times food writer and cookbook author Joan Nathan's life last night. According to a local blog, the DCist, "The big save happened at a benefit for D.C. Central Kitchen and Martha's Table, where luminaries of the food…

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The Willard Hotel, and a Near Brush with Obama’s Motorcade

See all photos (unedited) by clicking HERE: Last night's dinner at the historic Willard Hotel almost didn't happen because as we walked down 15th St., we couldn't cross the street because the police had cordoned off the street to await the Obama motorcade's passing through on the way to Blair House. But at one point…

Uber-Chef Alice Waters Comes To Washington: Inauguration Week’s Best Dinner

Alice Waters deserves more main-stream press recognition. Follow the link to see the detail about Alice's Restaurant (!) taking shape in Washington DC, where $500 gets you the best meal in town. (Note that $350 of that lump sum will end up in the coffers of local soup kitchens, and rightly so.) Aided by a…

Rest in Peace: Gaston Lenôtre

Gaston Lenôtre, wizard of French pastry and culinary empire builder, died January 8, 2008, according to the January 9, 2008  New York Times. My fonder memories of Paris include gorging myself on Operas from his pastry shops. Not that other shops didn't make swoon-worthy Operas, but somehow I just kept thinking of Lenôtre's as the…

Top 10 Food Trends for 2009 — According to the Food Channel

[Note: This post is a bit of a rant in reaction to the Food Channel list of trends for 2009.] The Food Channel announced its predictions for foodie trends in 2009. (See The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch for the whole story, based on a press release from the Food Channel.) 1.  Home on the Range…

Codfish Tales and Codfish Bones: Woe is Us

Glo'ster girls they have no combs, Heave away, heave away! They comb their hair with codfish bones, We're bound for South Australia. ~~ Old sea shanty ~~ Bacalhau, bacalao, cabillaud (from the Dutch kabeljauw), morue (and the marvelous brandade* resulting therefrom). Gone with the waves? Maybe. A disturbing story in the December 15, 2008 New…

BREAKING: Vilsack is the New Agriculture Secretary

Not a real victory for the petition signers and Michael Pollan advocates ... Tom Vilsack, former Iowa governor. In the words of Jill Richardson: "After his own presidential campaign floundered, Vilsack backed Hillary Clinton in the primary, but has recently been campaigning for Obama. One of Obama's top campaign strategists, David Axelrod, also ran Vilsack's…

Secretary of Agriculture: Still moot but …

The Associated Press released the following names on December 16, 2008 as contenders for President Barack Obama's Secretary of Agriculture. For more about each of these people, see my post with biographical blurbs. Dennis Wolff, Pennsylvania agriculture secretary. Tom Buis, president of National Farmers Union. Former Rep. Charles Stenholm, D-Texas. Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, D-S.D. Former…

Some Notable Food Books of 2008

There are food books and there are food books. The following list contains no whispers from FoodTV icons or other foodie celebrities. Just dedicated scholarship and authenticity (or as much authenticity as is possible when it comes to real food). The brief descriptions following each title following come from product blurbs provided by the publishers.…

Alice Waters: The Woman Behind the Throne? (Or, Um, The Push for White House Chef)

Alice Waters. Chef. Restaurateur. Cookbook author. Agricultural activist. Now add political activist to the list, too. Stir well. See what cooks up. Since 1971, Ms. Waters has overseen the stove and tables at her celebrated and innovative Berkeley, California restaurant, Chez Panisse. She's the force behind the Edible Schoolyard program that "demonstrates the transformative power…

Obama’s “Secretary of Food”: An Idea Whose Time has Come, Thanks to Nicholas Kristof

In the his December 10, 2008 column in The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof states that the name of the department responsible for food and agriculture in the United States should be called the Department of Food. His reasoning is that only 2 percent of the American population actually farms, but 100 percent eats. Good…

Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture: The Saga Continues

John Salazar? Is a potato farmer. With strong ties to corporate agriculture. The blogging world, at least those interested in who might take over the reins at the USDA (see Mark Bittman of the New York Times on this issue), think that maybe John Salazar of Colorado might be the pick. La Vida Locavore, in…

BREAKING: Short List for Obama’s Agriculture Secretary

The short list of three names includes Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Charles Stenholm, and Dennis Wolff. See an earlier post of this topic: Obama's Agriculture Secretary: Who Should It Be? According to an announcement in The Washington Post, each of the candidates has numerous strengths and weaknesses. These names do not make the sustainable agriculture…

Let Me Entertain You … A New Food Encyclopedia Bellies Up to the Shelf

Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl: An Encyclopedia might not grab you with a catchy, seductive title, but it's a new and welcome addition to the food history literature. Published by Greenwood Press and edited by two respected culinary historians --- Melitta Weiss Adamson (Food in Medieval Times, Medieval Dietetics, Regional Cuisines of…

The New Yorker’s Food Issue: “Tea & Wallaby”

Appropriately, since it was Thanksgiving week, the editors of The New Yorker dedicated their entire November 24, 2008 issue to food. And they included a fantastic slide show on their Web site --- "Tea & Wallaby" --- in which photojournalists discuss their most memorable meals.

UPDATED: BREAKING: Indian Food Critic / Journalist Sabina Sehgal Saikia Dead in Mumbai Terrorist Attacks

Sadly, I've just learned that Sabina Sehgal Saikia's death has been confirmed by her friends and family: A massive fire has gutted major portions of the floor she was in. Till late Friday night, her husband Shantanu Saikia, who is also a journalist, was "hoping against hope" that she would be found alive. But that…

BREAKING: Camp David / White House Thanksgiving Menu 2008

Just in time for Thanksgiving eve, the White House uploaded the following menu that President Bush and his family will eat on November 27, 2008. Just a few changes from 2006: Free-Range Roast Turkey Cornbread Dressing Cranberry Sauce Sautéed Green Beans Morelia Style Gazpacho with Spinach Salad Zucchini Gratin Whipped Maple Sweet Potatoes Buttered Mashed…

Obama, the Cookbook

I knew it would happen. An Obama cookbook, or rather, an Obama Foodie book. After all, a guy's got to eat, right? Even if he is the President of the United States. Steven Black is writing a book about Obama food. Who is Steven Black? Let him tell his own story: Stephen Black has worked…

Food Summit 2009: It MUST Happen

As we prepare for Thanksgiving,  that largest of American feast days, our own "Let Us Feast" event, the United Nations calls for a world food summit in the first half of 2009.  For those concerned with feeding the hungry and providing safe, nutritious food for the world, this summons reminds us that not all pantries…

Food Activism I: Slow Fish & Organic Standards

The Route to Sustainable Seafood ... Food activism began when pioneers like Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and Sylvester Graham expressed concern over the poor diets of many Americans in the late nineteenth century, and really took off with the scathing work of socialist Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle, a fictional exposé of Chicago's meat-packing…

Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture: Who Should It Be?

As a food-obsessed person, I am interested in more than just who will be President Barack Obama's White House chef --- I also eagerly await his announcement for his pick for Secretary of Agriculture. In certain circles, people are speculating about who will head up the USDA. George W. Bush has had three different agriculture…

What??? $500-a-bottle wine* at the White House … Now???

What do world leaders get to imbibe at the White House in these last days of the Bush presidency? To look at the menu for the G20 financial-crisis dinner held on November 14, 2008 at the White House, you wouldn't even guess that world leaders flew in to discuss the economic woes of the world…

The Race for White House Chef Heats Up

The New York Daily News chimed in on November 10, 2008, suggesting three male chefs --- Chicago chefs Daniel Young, Rick Bayless, and Art Smith --- for White House chef. Then the next day Juliette Rossant of Super Chef Blog took a bit of umbrage at that. Why? Because The New York Daily News failed…

Barack Obama Takes the Cake, 1240 Cupcakes, That Is

Maybe a little late in the game, but I just learned of this amazing political food art --- this is a form of history along the lines of ice carvings and other such things: President-elect Barack Obama in cupcakes. Zilly Rosen of Zillycakes in Buffalo, New York created this stunning mosaic of Obama to celebrate…

“A New Birth of Freedom”: Senator Feinstein Announces 2009 Inaugural Theme

If the presidential campaign and election of President-elect Barack Obama revered a patron saint, Abraham Lincoln would be the man. The great American poet and Lincoln biographer, Carl Sandburg, tells a story about Lincoln and gingerbread in his Prairie Years II, a story that Abe told in his fourth debate with Stephen A. Douglas -…

Art Smith: White House Chef-to-Be?

Tom Sietsema, of The Washington Post, writes that It's too early to say whether the next president will appoint a new White House chef, but a new restaurateur in town, Art Smith of the fledgling Art and Soul on Capitol Hill, has a résumé that could serve him well if Barack Obama wants to make…

Heirloom Cooking and Baking: Nothing’s Really New Under the Sun

Every year new cookbooks, always welcome, spill like fruit from a Thanksgiving cornucopia. This fall, the newest fruit in the mix is Heirloom Cooking by the Brass sisters, Marilyn and Sheila. Publishers Weekly says: The Brass sisters (Heirloom Baking) once again pore through their impressive collection of timeworn note cards, cookbooks and manuscripts to offer…

Inaugural Menu at Palette: Feeding Political Palates

A press release from Palette, a restaurant at  Loew's Madison Hotel in Washington DC, captures the growing excitement about the 2009 presidential inauguration and its aftermath. From January 10-25, 2009, the chef, Arnel Esposo, and his dedicated staff announce that they plan to serve foods loved by many of our former presidents: For appetizers, guests…

FICTION IN THE (WHITE HOUSE) KITCHEN

Food and fiction go together like ham and eggs. And especially food-based mysteries --- as the following authors so aptly show: Phyllis Richman, Susan Alpert, Miranda Bliss, Nancy Fairbanks, Ellen Hart, J. B. Stanley, and Diane Mott Davidson. Elliott Roosevelt, the son of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, wrote a mystery with the title of The…

World Food Crisis — One of the Next President’s Major Worries

The next president will have his hands full with many pressing problems, both here in the United States and abroad. One of those problems will, of course, be the financial disaster on Wall Street. Another will be plain, unvarnished world hunger. An article in The Washington Post pointed out the impact that the Wall Street…