Cooked versus raw – or – maybe this is why people on raw food diets are so slim. [Globe and Mail]
More than 30 years after his death, Colonel Harland Sanders will become a published author – online no less. KFC plans to publish a recently discovered manuscript written by Sanders in the 60s. Part-autobiography, part cookbook, it sadly does not contain THE secret recipe. [Philly.com]
Black Creek Pioneer Village makes a one-mile beer, made with ingredients grown on the museum grounds. [Toronto Sun]
A dirty restaurant bathroom doesn’t necessarily mean that the kitchen is disgusting too. Also, door knobs aren’t that dirty, stop being so paranoid!) [Chow]
I’m a big fan of returning old buildings to their former grandeur, so the plans by Oliver & Bonacini to return the Arcadian Court at The Bay Queen Street to its original art deco elegance get a big thumbs up. The room (along with the sad little cafeteria-style restaurant) will become an event space in 2012. [Oliver & Bonacini blog]
The problem with sites like CakeWrecks is that, without knowing the context, you can’t be sure the cake is actually a wreck – maybe it has some hidden meaning that everyone else just doesn’t get. As such, some of these ugly wedding cakes might actually be delightful, funny and meaningful to those in attendance. Okay, except for the cake that is a life-size version of the bride – that one is just narcissistic and creepy. [Village Voice: The Fork in the Road]
Do you know this man? Have you seen him recently in a food service capacity, either as a server or a chef/cook? Or possibly making your morning coffee? Do you live in a backwoods logging camp, hundreds of miles from the nearest town? Because that’s the only reason why we should be eating food served and prepared by lumberjacks. No, really, take another look at him. Minus the axe, he could pass for any Toronto barista, hipster server, or chef at a place that serves “rustic” fare.
Yes, yet another “rustic” Italian restaurant is opening in Toronto (4 since the new year). We’re still desperately trying to find more things to put on poutine. Late night comfort food now has its own cross-border trend – “stoner haute cuisine” for the after club crowd (back in my day, all we had at 2am were donairs, and we were happy to have it! /end old geezer Haligonian rant). And while all those things are good and tasty… I can’t possibly be the only person longing for a little bit of elegance and sophistication on my plate occasionally.
This rustic comfort food thing – it made sense two or three years ago when a recession loomed over our heads. The world was a scary place, high-end restaurants were shutting down with some regularity (RIP Perigee), and we just wanted something familiar on the plates in front of us. Nonna’s spaghetti, plenty of fries, some “of the people” pulled pork, piles of game meat to assuage our inner wannabe hunter, and bacon on every damn thing in sight. Like our pioneer forefathers and mothers, we ate all the parts of the animal, preferably off a slice of log, complete with bark around the outside. We canned and pickled and imagined ourselves as a modern day Laura Ingalls (or Catherine Parr Trail if you want to keep it local and Canadian). We lumbered through the spring growth of local woodlands stomping down (or over-harvesting) the very jewels of the forest we claimed to prize and revere. We rejected anything that wasn’t “local”, which meant we ate an awful lot of “white people food”, in the process making many immigrant citizens feel that their cuisine was second class.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s all been very tasty. And homey and comforting and… rustic. But man, isn’t it getting boring?
There’s a recession coming. Gas prices are going up, the housing market looks set to crumble and everyone is preparing to tighten their belts. Inevitably, at the table, our thoughts will turn to comfort food. Hearty, healthy fare from the family recipe books will win out over expensive, exotic ingredients or dishes we can’t pronounce. The trend toward local and seasonal produce and admonishments to not eat anything our great-grandmothers wouldn’t recognize as food has us considering the delicacies of past generations, only with a more genuine attitude. The retro kitsch of “comfort food” and thirty-dollar meatloaf has been replaced by what Grace chef Dustin Gallagher refers to as “modern farmhouse”; a more elegant, timeless way of eating that honours the past and the present, using fresh, seasonal ingredients with a nod to tradition, family and the classics.
There is a time, immediately after the breakup of a relationship with a serious other when we all seem to require comfort food. Ice cream, cake, mashed potatoes, something in which to drown our sorrows, that reminds us of better, safer times when we were not so vulnerable and hurt.
Comfort food can be anything that reminds us of someone we love, whether it’s the safety of a childhood home, or the memory of a loved one who has passed. Regardless of our culture, food is woven into the fabric of our lives and every dish, every forkful evokes memories.