Monday, February 8, 2016

I'm sticking by Chipotle

For my day job I have to keep up on restaurant news in general. Lately it's been filled with Chipotle stories. Honestly, I feel they are really getting picked on. I have to think it's a form of corporate jealousy. Here's a chain that found a winning formula of making good food with whole, ingredients that are sourced locally and with an eye to things like hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, etc. People responded to it and they became a business to be emulated. Not it's one to sling arrows at.

It's akin to the most beautiful, smart, popular girl in school who, behind her back, is being ridiculed and slammed as a slut by those that are jealous that she could have all three: smarts, looks, and a good personality. It's shameful behavior and yet it happens in every facet of life.

But I'm standing by Chipotle, even though I'm facing some disappointments with the changes they are being forced to make.  The thing is, it's not the same disappointments as the rest of the country.

As a person who wants to eat healthy, whole foods, I appreciate the Chipotle model. As a person who works on the outskirts of the restaurant industry, I appreciate the trials that restaurants go through to serve safe food.

The thing is, there are always health and safety concerns happening daily at thousands of restaurants throughout the country. Whether it is a problem with roaches or rats or sick employees, these are things that are dealt with constantly and yet Chipotle's has been magnified so dramatically by the press who keep harping on it months and months after. 

What makes it even more frustrating is that there's been no definitive cause for the illnesses. They have no idea where the e-coli came from and the norovirus could have been a sick employee or it could have been a sick customer. I also think a big part of the problems was just poor hygiene training of staff within individual stores. 

While I'm happy to see them now offering sick days for employees and they closed for thorough training of staff today, I am saddened and disappointed by some of the choices made regarding their ingredients.  I happen to prefer that they prepare and make their food fresh on site. Their issues over the last few months are the same that hundreds of independent restaurants face regularly, yet because they are a national chain they are being forced to centralize everything. Produce will now be prepped and packaged at central locations and then shipped pre-cut and pre-prepared to restaurants. I personally believe there could be a bigger issue of food safety done on a large, central scale and meanwhile lose the freshness of store preparation. 

Time will tell, but some of the Chipotle appeal has been lost to me now. I will still be a customer, but I'm disappointed how this has all played out and Chipotle has had to suffer... because I still believe in them. It makes me kinda believe the whole corporate conspiracy theories that have been floated about. Whether it's only the media overly feeding on a story that should be done or real conspiracy, there's high schoolish jealousy going on as far as I'm concerned. Leave Chipotle alone now for a while and go pick on some other story. 




Saturday, January 23, 2016

Chocolate Salon is next week


Are you a chocoholic? Or looking for some chocolatey goodness to give as a traditional Valentine gift? Then you need to go to the Chocolate Salon at the Embassy Suites next Sunday (1/30). 

Come and taste a bunch of chocolate, buy some as well, and listen to a couple of speakers. Here are some highlights:

Some of the participating chocolatiers, confectioners and wineries include Amano Artisan Chocolate, Cowboy Toffee Company, CACOCO, Fera'wyn's Artisan Chocolates, Endorfin Foods, 3D Candies, Degroot Desserts, Sweet Milalani, Farm Fresh To You, Be a gourmet, New Orleans Bill, H-G Vineyards, Serralles USAH-G Vineyards, Cuisine Noir Magazine, and more.

Meet Art Pollard of Amano, recently ranked by the New York Times as the #1 Bean-to-Bar ChocolateMaker in the United States.

What I'm more interested in, and think some of you will also be, is this discussion: 
Jen Cooper of Ben and Max Snacks will be doing a talk about her experience of starting and running a small snack business using new California' Cottage Food Bill.

If you've been making some sort of tasty treat in your kitchen and selling it to friends and relatives all this time, then here's a chance to learn how to upscale it into a full fledged business.




Sacramento CHOCOLATE SALON
January 30, 2016
11:00am - 5:00pm 
Embassy Suites-Sacramento Riverfront
100 Capitol Mall 
Sacramento, CA 95814
Adults: $20 Advance Tickets, $25 Door

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Foodie Podcasts

It took me a while to get into listening to podcasts for two reasons. First, I didn't know how to access them and second, I didn't know how to find ones that would interest me. 

Yes, I knew podcasts were basically radio-type shows on the internet. My first podcast that I listened to was Serial because it had gotten so much press. But I was listening to it off its website because I didn't know any better. Now I use a podcast app - Player FM - which I've downloaded to my phone and tablet. 

That also takes care of problem #2 - finding podcasts. It pretty much has any of the well known, national podcasts out there. Still, the best way to find podcasts is through the recommendations of others. So here are my recommendations for foodie podcasts and a couple others that are not food related.

Sporkful - Host Dan Pashman hosts this James Beard Award nominated podcast. The slogan is "It's not for foodies, it's for eaters. These are only half hour podcasts, so usually stay to one interview or topic.

Splendid Table - One of the most listened to podcasts features Lynne Rossetto Kasper who talks to chefs, authors, restaurant owners, and food specialists. I like it because there are interviews mixed in with call-in questions and other fun food features.

America's Test Kitchen - Another super popular one that is done by the fold from Cooks Illustrated. Just like the TV show on PBS, this covers perfecting recipes through science as well as answering listener questions and doing product reviews. 

Gastropod - This show mixes history and science to bring a new food topic to the show each week. You  might learn about the history and science of ice cream, for example. They interview people who have researched and written books on the subject or others who practice the science involved. 

Doughboys - A couple of guys who do reviews of fast food chains such as Wingstop to Steak n Shake. 

Special Sauce - This podcast is done by Ed Levine, the founder of Serious Eats. He talks with friends and celebrities about food.  


Non-food podcasts I like:

Serial - The most famous podcast of all, they are now in the middle of season two and this time the topic is that of PFC Bowe Bergdahl, the army private that wandered from his post in Afghanistan and then was held hostage for five years. 

Lore - This podcast is for those who like spooky or eerie stories, some based on truth, others based on mythology. I've found it interesting to see where movie and TV plots have come from. For instance, this season's American Horror Story - Hotel is based on a real case in Chicago (episode: The Castle) and another is what the soon to be released horror movie "The Boy" was based on. Apparently Hollywood is listening.

The Black Tapes - If you like Serial, then you'll like the supernatural slant to this series. The host got caught up in the background and the research conducted by a professor who tries to prove that supernatural occurrences are fake. 

Local Sacramento podcasts:

Sactown People (My episode from August 2014)

Serious Talk, Seriously (I'll be a guest around the end of March.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Delicious Duck Ragu


I got a somewhat unusual Christmas present from my best friend's husband. Some dead ducks. Rob is a hunter and so he gave me four frozen ducks and a goose for Christmas. 

Now coincidentally I had been already contemplating my weekend cooking project. I was in the mood for pasta and ragu and had planned on making a pork ragu. Change of plans — duck ragu. I went home, left two of the ducks out to thaw, and threw the rest in the freezer. 

The recipe below is a combination of things from a few recipes I researched. Keep in mind that I had two wild ducks versus domestically raised ones, so they were smaller. I also had hoped to shred the meat, but ended up having to dice it. I did the stovetop steps in my cast iron skillet, but after deglazing the pan I transferred everything over to my slow cooker. The coffee adds depth of flavor. Overall though, an excellent meal in which I kept wanting to eat more but had to stop or else hit that "I feel sick" point from overeating!

Duck ragu 
- this recipe includes curing the duck overnight

2 ducks or 4 duck breasts
1/2 c kosher salt
1 T fresh thyme
1/2 t ground black pepper
5-6 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced

1 T olive oil
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 1/2 c dry red wine
2 14oz cans of tomatoes, chopped
1 t thyme
1 t rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 c of dark, brewed coffee

Day before:  If using whole ducks, cut off the breasts and the legs and set aside. Use the rest of the carcasses for stock.  In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic. Use the salt mixture to coat the breasts and legs all over. Set on a plate, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Next day: Remove the duck from the refrigerator and rinse off the salt mixture. Dry with paper towels and then set aside until the duck reaches room temperature. Use the time to chop your veggies.

Heat a large pan to high and add olive oil. (Note: Because I was keeping the duck skin on, I found it unnecessary to add oil — it's fatty enough.) Take the duck pieces and sear them in the hot pan on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the duck and set aside. If there is excessive oil in the pan, remove it, leaving enough to saute the veggies.

Toss in the carrots, celery, and onion. Stir and cook until the veggies are tender. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom and sides. Turn the heat down to low. Add in tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Return the duck to the pan and simmer everything for 2-6 hours.

Before serving, remove the duck pieces and shred or dice, then return the duck to the sauce. Remove the bay leaf and throw in the coffee. Stir until blended.

Serve with a hearty pasta and good Parmesan cheese. I used campanelle because I couldn't find a good, fresh pappardelle.



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Yang's Noodles

Even though Yang's Noodles has had great reviews for some time, my first experience with them was in a roundabout way. Chef Don Dickonson works there and he wanted to bring some of the offal dishes he had learned there to Have an Offal Day last year. The two dishes he brought were a Chinese beef tendon dish and another with pork stomach. Of Offal Day 3, these were among the most popular and unique dishes served.

But Yang's isn't exactly nearby to me and so it's never been convenient for me. Last week I asked my foodie Chinese friend where she wanted to go expecting her to pick one of the newly opened restaurants. Instead, she picked Yang's Noodles, a place and my other Chinese friends go to often. 

It was actually funny because I arrived first and said "hello" to owner Yang. He remembered me from offal day and we had a quick chat. Finally my friend arrived and he was surprised we were together as he recognized her as one of his regulars.


Turn's out Rui's desire for Yang's Noodles was because a Lamb Clay Pot had just been added to the menu and she had a craving for it. We ordered that, the beef roll, and the seasoned, shredded potato.

Rui's craving stems from the cold weather. Her clay pot dish is something she associates with winter like we do with stews. It's really what I'd consider a soup filled with thin slices of lamb and sour cabbage. The sour tang of the dish made me think that it would be a favorite among Filipinos who also love that sour flavor in savory dishes. 

Yang brought out something extra for us. A dipping sauce. Rui took the slices of lamb out of the soup, dipped them in the sauce, and then ate them  - separately from the soup. She said it was like getting two dishes from one. 




The Chinese Beef Roll was a bit of surprise for me because it looked like a Western dish. It resembled a crepe filled with the thin slices of beef, cucumbers, and a leafy green. I really enjoyed it and we put the sauce on the beef roll as well. There was the soft, tender crepe with crunch from the cucumber sticks and the saltiness of the beef.



The seasoned, shredded potato was also a surprise only because my Western expectations were in contrast from the Chinese reality. I was picturing in my mind a hot, shredded potato cake but what we got was a bowl of cold shredded potatoes. It was lightly spiced and vinagery; it was a nice, cold contrast to our other dishes. 

Yang's is located on Stockton Blvd, about 1/2 mile south of Fruitridge Rd. 


Friday, December 4, 2015

Learning what's new at Seasons 52

Oftentimes restaurant managers are so busy running their restaurant that you don't get to have time for a good conversation. But when you get the chance, it can be very informative. Such was the case this week when I went to check out Seasons 52's new winter menu.


all to ourselves!

After a bit of holiday shopping at Arden Fair Mall my BFF and I stopped in for dinner. I had met Managing Partner Andrew Byers before and discussed that the dining room lighting was not really conducive to good food pictures and so this night he and his Service Manager, Patrick Volner, set us up to dine in the Sonoma Room, one of the two private dining rooms they use for group bookings. We had the whole dining room to ourselves and we loved it.  Should  you need to book a private room, both the Sonoma and Napa rooms come fully set with A/V capability should you need media.

The last time I wrote at length about Seasons 52 was when they first opened in 2013. At that time the menu items had a 475 calorie limit which was accomplished by using whole ingredients and healthier cooking techniques such as grilling and steaming. This might have inadvertently created an assumption that it was a diet restaurant instead of a healthier fine dining one.

Almost a year ago they decided to allow for higher calorie items. "We wanted to offer some items for people who were not concerned about calories and wanted to indulge a little bit more," said Byers. "We wanted to make sure that we had something for everyone and not just guests looking for a healthy eating place. The majority of the menu is still under 475 calories and the items that are over are not over by much. We still pay strict attention to how we prepare those items and not to over indulge in the recipe making."


highly recommend the Brussels sprouts

A good example would be something like the Lobster Pappardelle on the winter menu. While it's over 700 calories, that's considerably lower than a 1000+ version you might find at a competitor restaurant because Seasons is taking steps to create an indulgent dish, but on the healthier side with less fat. 

The menu keeps changing as well. Normally Nantucket bay scallops and Dungeness crab would have been added by now, but due to prolonged closures of their respective fisheries, these items are on hold until available. 

Sacramento is luckier than other Seasons 52 locations because we are in such a great climate area where we have seasonal produce all year long. I did have to ask why the Nantucket scallops then. Byers explained that sometimes they do like to ship in the best quality items that will draw customers in that are familiar with them. In the case of the Nantucket scallops, one of the few items flown in to Sacramento, their reputation is so good that they are prized by scallop fans.

We are also blessed by being in wine country. The Sacramento Seasons is the only location that has wine on tap, direct from the winery. As Volner explained, this is how the wine is intended to be tasted, without having been exposed to air. There are two wines on tap at a time. Currently they were a Matchbook Chardonnay and a Crusher Petit Syrah, which my BFF enjoyed immensely.



We started with an amuse bouche tasting of the Butternut Squash Soup. It was creamy with a distinct caramel flavor.



My BFF chose the Beef Short Ribs which come with cheddar grits and horseradish crema. It was wonderfully succulent and was made even better by their excellent caramelized Brussels sprouts side dish. It paired well with the Petit Syrah.  



I chose the New York Strip Steak. This is always on the menu, but how they prepare it (sides, topping) changes with the seasons. Currently it has soy garlic marinade, charcoal roasted vegetables, Yukon mash, and a 15-year aged balsamic drizzle. Byers explained that often a restaurant will say X ounce steak only for you to trim off an ounce or two in fat and gristle. This NY Strip was 13 ounces of meat because they trim it down to a 13 ounce size. It was perfectly cooked to medium rare and the accompaniments meant that I didn't need to use any salt or pepper.

During the course of the meal we had been served by Bryan. When I asked how long Bryan had been with Seasons he surprised me with his answer — since it opened and he transferred from the Seasons in Miami! Turns out it is very easy to transfer among Darden restaurants and Bryan had been in the mood for a change. He was happy to sing the praises of the Seasons group, saying that he's worked at several restaurants but stays and loves Seasons because the management is so good. He mentioned that they take care to hire quality staff with great personalities and that is what makes service so great for guests.



Finally it was time for the Mini Indulgences, an assortment of mini parfaits. Guests can choose one or more and the small size is meant to allow them a way to indulge their sweet tooth without an excess of calories. I questioned why, if they were upping some calorie counts now, they didn't have a few full size desserts. Byers said, "People have enjoyed getting to choose their own dessert as opposed to having to get one large dessert and share with others. We find that it allows people to get exactly what they want and the possibility of sampling more than one dessert, not having to choose just one thing."

If you are in the Arden area and looking for fine dining, then check out Seasons 52.

Monday, November 30, 2015

My choices for Giving Tuesday

This Tuesday is Giving Tuesday where charities all over the world ask for donations. The idea is that many people will give a charity gift in the name of a friend or relative in place of a Christmas gift.


This year I'm asking for support of a new charity I just learned about. We all know about the Syrian refugee crisis. If you've read my bio, you know that I grew up in Saudi Arabia. There are many wonderful, generous, friendly, peaceful Muslims in this world and it is unfair to generalize all of them.  

In fact, when I was a child we were driving our Suburban back from Europe and passed through Syria. We pulled over in the dark to camp for the night. Then a Syrian came up to us and invited us to stay at his home. Turns out we had inadvertently parked by a dump. He shuffled his family around to offer us their bedrooms and they fed us and were very generous to us. It's a story that we still recount to others as I'm doing now.

It saddens me to think that their home is probably bombed to smithereens and that in all probability, that family is decimated by the killings over there. They could very well be refugees themselves. 

There is a new charity that connects you directly to Syrian refugees living in refugee camps in Lebanon. It is called Humanwire. Because it is completely internet based, they are able to contribute 100% of your donation. 

You can support with single donations, but because I know a lot of family friends from our years in Arabia, I've started a campaign to support the family above. Omar (3) is pictured with his uncle, Asad Hamad (28) on October 26, 2015 in Beirut, Lebanon. The family of seven is originally from Hasakah, Syria near the border of Turkey and fluent in Arabic and Kurdish. They left their homeland in August, 2012 when ISIS invaded and began controlling their neighborhood in Al Qameshli where Asad also worked as a concierge.

After they fled, they paid to rent an apartment for $300/month though, after a year, were not able to make ends meet due to the lack of opportunities. Only one family member has found occasional work in construction earning a salary of $5/day. 

He assumed it would be safe to return to Syria sooner. Now it is too late to receive assistance from the UN as the UNHCR is no longer registering refugees in Lebanon. Despite having no shelter, Asad says his three greatest needs are 1) food and milk for his sister’s children, 2) clothing and 3) the desire to cease pleading with people on the streets.

When asked if he would like to return home if it becomes safe, Asad said “Of course. This is what we are praying for every single day. Moving back to our home….if it still exists.”

I've set a goal of $1000.00. Please consider joining the campaign and making a donation for Asad's family here.  



------------------------------------------------------------------------
PREFER LOCAL?




Followers of me and my blog know that my local charity of choice is the Food Literacy Center. They do a terrific job of educating low income elementary school children on nutrition and the importance of proper eating. Children come out of their classes excited to eat vegetables! Each year Amber Stott's program expands a little more and the hope is someday it will be statewide. 


Please consider donating to her group here: donation page 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

World Food Championships

Long time, no see. That's because I was doing a bit of traveling this month. I had gone off to the World Food Championships held in Celebration, Florida. This is the same place where our own Pangaea Cafe, winners of the Sacramento Burger Battle, were off to compete against the best in the nation...and the world.

In actuality, I was at the blogger component, a conference called Food Fight Write. I was among about 40 other bloggers from across the United States and even one from Myanmar, thus contributing to the World component. The real goal of Food Fight Write (FFW) was to bring in bloggers to promote the World Food Championships (WFC) and "food sport" or competitions.

This was the fourth year for the WFC. Prior to this they had been held in Las Vegas. The creators of the WFC had the idea to create the equivalent of the Olympics or the Superbowl — for food. After all, every year there are regional cook-offs at events or State fairs for everything from chili, to barbecue, to desserts. The idea was to have a final arena for these regional winners to compete and claim the ultimate title of World's Best.



The competition categories are: dessert, pasta, recipe, chili, barbecue, burgers, sandwiches, bacon, seafood, and steak. Dishes are judged based on the EAT methodology of Execution, Appearance, and Taste. This year the competitors included 17 countries and 40 States.

Each category has two stages of cook-off. The first stage sets everyone to prepare two dishes — their signature and a "structured" dish that has create their own spin on the same basic dish.  The top 10 then go on to compete in the finals where they must use a specific ingredient . The winner wins $10,000.  The winner of each category then goes to a final competition where they compete for the $100,000 grand prize and title of Best Dish.



For this endeavor the competitions took place in two places. In downtown Celebration, where I spent my time, there were 50 cooking stations set up down their main street. Every station was equipped with brand new Kenmore Pro Series appliances that included: range, microwave, toaster oven, gas grill, food processor, standing mixer, blender, pots and pans. Every few stations shared a refrigerator.

The other location was at the Westgate Resorts where the barbecue and burger competitions took place. I believe the reason is that they had more than 50 competitors and also that they had a range of barbecues available and there was more concern for fire danger.

I should mention that Pangaea just BARELY missed the top 10 by like fractions. Good job though! VERY close to cracking the top 10.


Our pantry selections
Meanwhile I had the lovely honor of competing as well. We actually were the first to use the Kenmore kitchens in an "all in fun" cooking competition. It was designed to  make us see what it's like to participate in a cooking competition with the timing, judging, etc. We had to use filet mignon from Kansas City Steaks as well as one of six sauces from Saucy Mama. I knew everyone would be cooking, so I chose to do a steak tartare. Let's just say at least I didn't come in last place.

My overall impression is that someday the WFC will be a huge deal. Right now it's still in growing pains. They've chosen to stay in Celebration for the next five or so years. While I understand that it's easy to keep coming back to the same place logistics-wise, downtown Celebration is small and I just can't see tens of thousands of people crowding and attending it there. 

Each year there is sure to be more sponsors. Last year Kenmore wasn't one, this year they are. Also, celebrities will help as well as the TV coverage that takes place by some of the food networks. 

Meanwhile, Sacramento should try to send more competitors in more categories besides burgers. I hope to see that grow as well. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Dan Barber visits Sacramento


I am not interested in eating insects. Oh, I know they are the next big food thing, but count me out on that one. It gives me the heeby jeebies. Yet I inadvertently ate some the other night.

I was at the Fruit to Root party, put on by the Food Literacy Center,  that preceded the Dan Barber speech at the Central Library Galleria. A dozen of Sacramento's chefs were all presenting bites a la Wasted, Barber's New York pop-up restaurant that serves only dishes made from parts that we normally throw away. This list includes offal from animals as well as things like carrot tops, peels, and seeds that are normally tossed from plants. 

Fox40's Bethany Crouch trying the arepa

There were some pretty impressive bites, including the arepa that was made with meal worm flour mixed with maize flour, thus the insects. At least I couldn't see them. All joking aside, all of them were creative and delicious. (Scroll to the bottom to see some of the dishes).

Of course the star of the evening was Dan Barber, James Beard Award winning chef and the author of The Third Plate. Now in all honesty, I knew I wouldn't be able to read that book, so I opted for the audiobook, which he reads. He apologized for his boring voice, but actually, it's quite enjoyable as an audiobook because it's like he's telling you stories of his trips and discussions with people. It's more personal.



What I love about the book is that he shares his insights in what is wrong with the farm to fork movement, his journey to his conclusions, and the way it wakes you up to a new way of thinking about where our food comes from. There are many topics/chapters in the book that all relate to the overall message of how we need to change how we look at farming and food. 

Barber was also gracious enough to say that Sacramento has an important part to play as we are the Farm to Fork Capital.

Making me wonder...

Barber talked about the importance that chefs can play in educating and changing the way we eat. He also explained how, when he made his changes to serving dishes with rotational crops and lesser known ingredients, he switched to a prix fixe menu. Prix fixe menus mean that you eat what the chef decides instead of choosing off a menu. So, in his case, you were eating offal and rotation risotto (risotto made with other grains such as barley and millet) whether you wanted to or not.

I've also been watching Chef's Table on Netflix. There's actually a great episode with Barber, but the one I'm thinking about now is the episode with New Zealand chef Ben Shewry. In it he talks about how every Tuesday is their experimental night. Guests know it and they pay for a prix fixe menu of a meal where anything goes. It could be good, or some dishes can fail.

So all this makes me wonder... what if a restaurant here took the same approach with a creative menu using waste? Have a night where everything is helping to educate people and getting used to eating in a way that is better for farming and the environment.

Thing is, Sacramento isn't exactly a prix fixe town. The only restaurant that solely works on a prix fixe basis is The Kitchen.  All other restaurants that have prix fixe menus also allow off-menu ordering. My cynical thinking is that if people have a choice, they'll opt for their familiar favorites over trying something adventurous, so I'm concerned it will only work by limiting to prix fixe menu only.  But then will there be enough interest/orders/sales?

I'd love Sacramento to prove me wrong. I'd love us to be like Barber said, a leader in the movement to TRUE sustainable farm to fork dining. Can we make it happen?


Braised lamb neck

Whole grain risotto, smoked eggplant, goat milk feta

Winter squash guacamole

Crackers of sprouted buckweat, bruised apple butter, chicken innards mousse


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

An A-ha Moment re Michael Pollan, Dan Barber, and America's Food

Tuesday night I was lucky enough to be gifted with tickets to see food writer Michael Pollan. Anyone who is into the food movement knows he is the author of The Omnivores Dilemma, a groundbreaking book on the impact of food and the American diet. 

During his talk Pollan discussed nutritionism. This is where Americans have learned to look at food in terms of nutritional components instead of as just food.  For instance, calories, proteins, probiotics, etc. instead of beef, broccoli, and beans. And that we categorize them into good and evil - gluten, carbs are bad; omega 3s are good. In the late 70s is when we started to piece apart nutritional components trying to find the magic good ones and nasty bad ones that we need to eat or avoid.

The other landmark book on food has been last year's The Third Plate, written by Dan Barber who will happen to be here next Tuesday, exactly one week after Pollan.