Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Melon balls wrapped in prosciutto ham

Last week I was lucky enough to spend a few days at Edible Schoolyard: a place I've read about for years, and a place that inspired the work I support today (school gardens, reconnecting kids with real food). The master educator Esther took us through an exercise she does with her students, one that encourages them to document a "food memory." Here's what I wrote:

1984, I think. My dad's surprise 39th birthday party. His "Jack Benny birthday," my Mom kept calling it. I was wearing a white zip-up jumpsuit with a bright pink belt and feeling very grown-up about welcoming the guests, all of my parents' closest friends. It was a really big party in our medium-sized NYC apartment.

My mom had made all of the food, including a bunch of passed hors d'oeuvres. My dish, that I was tasked with walking around for several hours, was a platter of balled cantaloupe, each ball wrapped in a strip of prosciutto. In 1984 this was pretty revelatory—the first wave of a "gourmet" explosion that would include goat cheese and sundried tomatoes, pesto and fancy vinegars.  This hors d'oeuvres platter was my mother's way of being cool and of the moment.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

You are eating horsemeat: or there are 450 places where something could go wrong with your food

Horse meat.

Pig bung.


What do these three things have in common?

Or maybe your first question is "what the eff is pig bung?" Let me explain. This week, three stories came to my attention. Two because they're making headlines, and one because it was on "This American Life" two weeks ago and I only just listened to it this morning.

Horse meat: Europe is horrified to discover that its beef supply has some horse meat in it. In some cases traces, in some cases up to 80%. Of what was supposed to be beef burger meat. Salon does a great job of covering the issue and it implications.  Now the fact that horse is being eaten is not what should horrify in my opinion, though I suspect for many people that is the case. What should horrify is stuff like this, from Salon:

"While the explanation of where some of the horse meat could have come from is straightforward, how it got to dinner plates is not. As Lichfield explains, “It came from abattoirs in Romania through a dealer in Cyprus working through another dealer in Holland to a meat plant in the south of France which sold it to a French-owned factory in Luxembourg which made it into frozen meals sold in supermarkets in 16 countries.”

Leading to: "There are 450 places where something could go wrong before your food gets into your hands."