Thursday, June 27, 2013

Meat Envy


I’m a part-time vegetarian. I leaked this information to a friend recently and she was a bit taken aback. I guess I can understand. Since the catalog and website I lead are full of pig parts and a bacon club is our best seller it’s probably easy to imagine I'm powered by pork 24/7. (Please don’t tell bacon that I don't eat it every day, it might get jealous.) If you ask around in the food industry, though, you’ll find I’m not even close to unique. There are many closeted part-time vegetarians among us. My streak of vegetarianism tends to run during daylight hours. It’s rare I eat meat before dinner—virtually every lunch I have is all vegetables. I’m also a huge fan of restaurants that do vegetable dishes well (when restaurants start to figure this out I predict it'll be a powerful trend).

I still love a good debate with vegetarians about their life choice. There are many reasons why but mainly it comes down to the fact that vegetarians, on the whole, think about what they’re eating more than most of us. Since a large part of my job is thinking about eating they’re usually engaging folks for me to discuss food with.

All this is a long walk to get to my point: meat envy. The foods pictured were at two markets in my neighborhood but you could find something like them anywhere. I knew about tofurkey but I'd never heard of beefless sliders or vegetarian chicken. Prepared packaged food sold as vegetarian has a horrible tendency to market itself with meat envy. "So good it tastes like meat!" Why do these companies insist on selling to vegetarians like they’re losing out, that they can be happier if they just ate vegetables that looked or tasted more like animals? No vegetarian I know thinks like this, it feels foolish to sell this way.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Most promiment company, state by state

Debateable but totally interesting. Source: mapsontheweb.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chilled Salad


If you regularly buy too much at the farmer's market and the results crowd out your fridge all week here's one way to cut the clutter and help ensure you don't end up throwing a lot out. Spend half an hour blanching your haul in a single pot of heavily salted water, dropping each batch of cooked vegetables into a fresh bowl of ice water. Seal 'em up and use throughout the week. Then make something like this.

My whatever-works kind of farmer's market salad. The one pictured has blanched asparagus, peas, favas; boiled potatoes, chickpeas and egg;  ricotta, anchovies, capers and basil ripped from an indestructable plant that's been surviving on my sill for five months. I doused it in good olive oil, salt, pepper. (Sometimes I dress it in a vinaigrette of torn basil leaves pounded with a clove of garlic, Txakoli vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil.) Serve it cool.

It also works great with green beans, tinned tuna, shreds of cured ham, chunks of salami, flakes of Comté, a squeeze of lemon, and probably a hundred other things.