Today, April 8th, 2013 is Food Bloggers Against Hunger Day! This means we are donating our blog post to this wonderful cause. We and 200 other food blogs are part of this. This has hit the mainstream media which makes it even more exciting! There are two call to actions by you the readers at the end of this post.
Good food is not just about being tasty and looking attractive. It's also about being healthy. Healthy, organic, local food tends to be more expensive and harder to access by all. Today we are providing a low-cost, healthy recipe for this cause. Our recipe is a traditional Greek lentil soup provided by our loving mother, someone who always strived towards healthy home cooked foods. She is among the inspirations for this blog. Growing up, she made sure we ate healthy which meant we would eat at home. After all, Home is Healthy! Lentil soup is high in iron & protein and doens't cost an arm and a leg!
One pound lentils
½ cup olive oil
one medium onion shredded
3-4 cloves garlic chopped, two bay leaves
half cup fresh tomato puree (4 plum very ripe tomatoes)
4 cups water
Wash the lentils well in strainer (sourotiri)
Put the olive oil, onion, and lentils in a 6 quart pot
Start stirring them with a wooden spoon (koutala) until the lentils are well coated , with the olive oil.
Add the tomato puree, the garlic and continue cooking for a few minutes longer.
Total time 4-5 minutes
Add water, two bay leaves, salt to taste and continue cooking until they are tender soft but not over cooked.
Add more water to make the soup more watery or thick, the way you like it.
When you watch a Kurosawa you don’t expect the shock and awe of a Michael Moore. Like the increasing sugar levels in many foods, we are expecting more shock and awe from our movies including food documentaries such as Food Inc. and Super Size Me. Unless you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you won’t get this from the film American Meat, a solutions-oriented documentary directed by Graham Meriwether.
American Meat is subtle, tells several real stories from the U.S. meat industry, points to some solutions as well as things that haven’t worked [yet], but doesn’t freak you out. It builds on the body of work of existing food documentaries and has a focus. It assumes we already know about industrial farming's methods from Food Inc or that eating too much McDonalds is bad for you as told by Super Size Me. American Meat could go into how Americans eat too much meat but it assumes that’s a constant limiting the fronts it takes on.
Key points that we liked in the film:
We need more people to go into farming, it is an industry where the average age is over 50 where a healthy average age for an industry is around 35.
Many animal farmers do not own the animals they raise. The big food companies such as Tyson and Perdue make the farmers take the risks of owning the equipment and land but keep ownership of the animals which leaves less money in the hands of the farmers.
While technology can be demonized in places such as industrial farming, people like Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms has built contraptions such as eggmobiles and pigaerators. This is technology which enables him to efficiently replicate the natural ecosystem of land rotation so that poultry, cattle, and pigs can use the same land in a way that nature intended.
Transparanecy is important. Joel at Polyface Farms has an open door policy and is not afraid of being inspected, visited, or asked any questions. Good luck getting that from companies like Monsanto.
Food subsidies from the US Government help keep industrial farming cheaper for people who do not have the luxury to buy the higher priced grass fed or organic meats.
Some farmers have tried to move to grass-fed farming but have not been able to get customers to sustain their business. These farmers do prefer the taste of grass-fed meats over the industrially farmed meats.
Vote with your dollar. Everytime you buy something, you are making a statement. Farmers get as little as 10 cents for every dollar you spend at a supermarket. Joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) gets more of that money directly to the farmers which means [in theory] that they can make a healthier product. We are joining the CSA in Flushing, New York.
We attended the screening at New York University on March 26, 2013 hosted by the NYU Earth Matters group. According to the IMDB page of the film, it will premier on April 12, 2013 in New York City.
We’re big fans of Bare Burger. One of the first places we saw with Hunts Ketchup with no High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) on the guest tables; this made John a fan! Getting people to think in terms of organic, local, and sustainable foods is a great thing. We need more of this.
I’ve had brunch and lunch and dinner, many times. Always going for a burger as I thought anything else would be like getting salmon at a steakhouse. Today, while having brunch at the Bayside Bare Burger, I ordered one of the Mexican Egg sandwich (not exact name on the menu). I ordered them over easy. The plate came and looked good but then I noticed the egg yolks. Not the orange we’ve come to expect from places like Queens Farm but pale yellow that we’ve been warned about.
I’ll be back but not to order eggs and Bare Burger, please put your eggs on the table!
As I leave Atlanta, I was thinking about my stay there. My expectations were pretty low. Not sure why and it certainly wasn't based on anything factual. Maybe cause there's no beach and no terrain. Plus I've had plenty of BBQ in the past year. Of course the Southern US is more than one big smoker. As I was searching for grass-fed BBQ, the unicorn of the culinary world, I found a place near me called Heirloom BBQ. I guess Google associates grass-fed with heirloom from the organic world. The website made no mention of grass fed beef but it did talk a big game in more of an artistic way rather than a macho way. There was mention of Korean influence and some of the items looked conspicuously Korean. From the reviews the owners are an American man and a Korean woman at which point John and Yoko came to mind.
I went there on Wednesday; a regular BBQ place, sauces on the tables and real casual. I had the ribs and brisket combo with a Brunswick stew on the side, apparently a Georgia dish. I avoided anything with Korean connotations as my home in Auburndale has many Korean restaurants. And then, in a metal tray, my food was brought to me. Brisket, ribs, a side of stew, and some token veggies, your standard BBQ. I go for the ribs, I bite, I chew, and then comes the surprise; Korean spices! I was blown away. Eventhough Korean influence in the BBQ should have been obvious, the obvious and I have a way of avoiding each other. With every bite I was taken back to my younger years when I wasn't on repeat of various foods. Like a child eating spicy ice cream for the first time I was estranged, intrigued, and smiling all at once. I won't bore you with more adjectives on the rest of my meal but the Brunswick stew was great.
I did ask if the meat came from grass fed animals and they said "no." Overall, don't expect BBQ to have grass fed meats. Good luck finding one and let me know when you do. Butcher Bar in Astoria, New York is a big exception to this.
When I travel I avoid going to the same place more than once. Going to a place more than once on a short trip and in a place with a population greater than 40,000 should mean something! And so I went back to Heirloom BBQ another time. This time on Friday before heading to the airport in Atlanta. I ate again and this time as I was prepared for the Korean spices I was able to enjoy things on a different level. No more was I the little kid having spiced ice cream for the first time. I knew what to expect and my taste buds were set to red alert playing more offense than defense this time around! Ahhh! That was good and then I wisked myself off to the airport to head to Portland, Oregon with its rich culinary offerings. Until, then stay hungry, unless John would eat it!
Sometimes I sleep and sometimes I pass like night. But typically I don’t sleep. I leave the television on, sometimes I put the timer to shut off the television before the morning. One time I slept to the looped 30 minute biography of Conrad Hilton and woke up the next day ready to write his biography. John once told me the importance of darkness when sleeping. The idea sounded boring to me and so I continued with my failed habits. Then I heard about Circadian rhythms on the HBO show Bored to Death and I thought, cool I need darkness for good sleep. So I did, I drew the dark curtains of the hotel room, closed all doors, turned off the television, set my alarm clock and fell asleep. I slept really well, so well that I overslept!
Seeking good BBQ in New York City for the well traveled may seem ridiculous; why not go for Italian, Asian, or French? I could just wait until my next trip. But even then, the so called really good BBQ places in places like Texas, Kansas City, St. Louis, or Oklahoma [many of which I’ve been to] may not always be keen on having grass fed meats. It’s either good sauces or grass fed, but rarely both. I’ll never forget some of the BBQ places in Kansas City, which as good as it tasted, was advertised as “corn fed.” Really? Was this menu printed in the 90s?
Enter Butcher Bar located on 30th Avenue in Astoria, Queens. Half butcher, half BBQ, fully fresh, locally sourced, grass-fed meats, this is our new favorite place! While our food was being prepared we were given a tour of the kitchen and the patio in the back. No freezers or deep-fryers guarantees that food isn’t frozen forever to be eaten whenever. Reasonably priced and open for a little over a year, this is one of the top rated BBQ places in New York City. They’ve been in the NY Times and other newspapers. They are Michelin recommended in case the opinion of a French tire company is important to you. But take our word for it and go in for the burnt ends, the brisket, pork belly, or some of the cane-sugar sodas! And right now it’s a BYOB so bring in your favorite IPA or wine…
We are proud to announce that we have just joined the twittersphere! We did have to wait for the right day and time but we finally did it! We are following two, no wait, three accounts, we have zero followers, no posts but that will soon change. With the help of our IT Manager and a little fluoride we will soon integrate this blog with twitter and vice versa. Things will be unified and centralized. They will come from one place so when we post, it can come from anywhere and be seen both on this blog and on twitter. A joyous day, rejoice, rejuice, and repeat! Our twitter name is @WouldJohnEatIt and we currently follow @thefoodbabe, @foodfactscom, and @HealthRanger (Natural News).
Tonight may be my last bowl of yogurt for the night. The only certainty is that it’s my first. I know it’s always five o’clock somewhere but I think I am out of time zones and my goose is cooked. What was I saying? Ah yes, the yogurt. Words fail, but my stomach and mouth don’t; I keep eating. This is sounding like a commercial but without the camera, the audience, or anything to sell so I guess it’s more like reality tv without the tv. This yogurt keeps giving me amnesia. The second I taste it, I love it, then I step to the computer, you know that bright thing, and then I forget it all. So I built this auto-feeding mechanism, similar to what they use to make foie gras from tofurky. Moving along, it’s almost like gum, in its texture visually, you would think it’s rubbery the way the spoon pulls it from the bowl. That’s all deceit. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. The taste, the flavor is amazing, like a Greek Easter combined with a techno rave all in your mouth. Like all lousy analogies all wrapped up. Tasty, tasty, tasty, it is good, it is good. If you don’t eat this, you haven’t lived.
What do you get when you combine my favorite Yugoslav head of state, a Mad Men drink that makes a morning cameo, and our rawsomeness? After pushing my Swedish meatball of an automobile to the mechanic, we felt that a reward was in order. Stopped in the liquor store and picked up a liter of Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Can I get a volunteer to go find out what the f— is handmade vodka? Thanks. Anyway, this is made by a geologist and geophysicist, as opposed to the rest of distillers who have distilling degrees. I mean if it were made by a chemist, I guess it would appeal to the scientific side of me but I guess it’s good that it’s made by a man of science and his crack team of Mad Men found a story to tell. I like Austin, Texas where this vodka is from, I have two friends who like to drink it, it beat out many high priced vodkas in competitions, so at $21 it’s also recession proof. Sold! We come home, fill dissimilar glasses with ice cubes, pour Tito’s into the glasses, and add legally obtained but socially defiant raw milk. Not a fan of vodka per se but since this action produced a blog post, a smile on my face, and a frown on many others, I’m happy.
I pride myself on my humility. Back up, scratch that. Ever see that big cheese ball who’s eating cheese? He’d be lucky if it were cheese. I just cracked an egg with one hand and dropped its contents in my mouth with two, some day it’ll take just one. So many people fear the idea, the action, yet they consider themselves open minded. Somehow they’ve been indoctrinated into being scared of these things. They eat chicken, they eat tofurky, they eat what they eat and are what they eat what they are. I think Oscar Wilde said that at a raw foods buffet or was it F. Scott Fitzgerald. Not sure but I’m running out of ideas and this egg is rotting in my teeth. Wasn’t the exhilarating experience I was expecting. Eat everything once and then decide. Eat everything more than once to make a conclusion. Don’t talk the talk if you’ve never tried it. I am fed up with that and you’re time is up. Next!