Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites-05/14/2010

Friday Favorites posts feature news articles from the food world, recipes which look amazing, or anything I find interesting, want to share, or think readers might like too.
Leave a comment and tell me what you think!

1. Respect for every ingredient:
Even though I have not always been a fan of his, this Rick Steves article expresses one of the best parts of traveling in Italy; the respect and appreciation for every ingredient which is part of the cultural fabric.

2. Are companies “Green Washing” their products by deceptively using the words “organic” and “natural?”
The short answer is unfortunately yes. This article goes into detail about how they do it, citing examples like Sara Lee’s new EarthGrains breads which purport to be more “environmentally friendly” but really use grains which are not grown sustainably or organically.
While the term “organic” is somewhat regulated, the term “natural” is not and the definition is left up to the manufacturer so buyer beware. In addition, this really caught my eye; “While companies are tightly regulated in terms of their use of the word “organic” on food packaging, some businesses are deceiving customers by using the words “organic” or “organics” in their company name on food that does not legally qualify as organic.” One company mentioned for doing this is Newman’s Own Organics. While some of their products may be organic, not every item in the line is. That sounds like “green washing” to me. Just another reminder to read every label carefully.

3.Would you pay in advance to eat at a restaurant?
Would you be willing to pay more/less depending on the time/day of your reservation much like how plane tickets are sold? Grant Achatz, one of the best chefs in America (Alinea, Chicago) is willing to bet that you will and is opening a new restaurant based on this model. The “tickets” will include a set menu, service, and tax with extra for wine pairings. In theory, you could pay in advance, dine in the restaurant and leave without ever opening your wallet.
Personally, I think it will work, for Achatz. He has the name and reputation to offer a unique concept like this and have people flock to it. However, I’m not sure it’s the “wave of the future” for restaurants as some people are saying. I have a feeling there will be a large population of people who just will not be willing to commit to paying in advance for their meal.

4.Taking your own food on the plane:
I love food and I love travel but I don’t love the food offered during travel on airplanes. I’ve had a few memorable (in a good way) meals on airplanes; there was the filet mignon cooked to order by a toque wearing chef in First Class and the sushi set on Japan Airlines Business Class, but usually I’m in cattle class and the food is not much better than feed-lot corn.
So what’s a girl on the go to do? BYO is the answer. I always bring snacks on the plane (nuts, dried fruit, etc) but sometimes meals as well. For extra early morning departures it’s usually a bagel and cream cheese (much cheaper to pack your own than buy at the airport), and sometimes sandwiches for lunch. This article offers lots of travel food advice and a few nice looking recipes too. The Gingery Soba Noodles With Peanut-Cilantro Pesto And Asparagus looked particularly good to me. I might just make those next time we travel.

5. Finally, if you haven’t checked out my newly redesigned other website, wired2theworld, please take a peek and let me know what you think.



Please share with me your thoughts on any of these subjects!


  • Maureen

    I love the photo of the Pizza Bianca…how I wish I was in Roma and could stroll over to LoZozzone and order some just now!

    We just got back from Istanbul and the food on our flight was dreadful…even for Delta. Fortunately we had the most amazing dried figs and dates to tide us over. I’m off to read the article above to get ideas for our Thanksgiving trip to Barcelona.

    Love your latest incarnation of w2w, especially the scrolling photos on the home page and your “Golden Rules…” Hope to “see” you on Fodor’s soon!


  • chefrenee

    You know what would be cool? If you did posts on “what they are doing now” Chef’s who left the trenches, and are doing something different now. I always find it interesting when someone changes careers, but it’s hard to get out of food forever!

  • formerchef

    Maureen- Thanks! I took that photo last time I was in Rome. Thanks for the nice comments about w2w.

    Chefrenee- That’s a really good idea and yes, it’s hard to get out of food completely, isn’t it?

  • Kathy

    Thank you for the reminder to always read the labels especially to see if organic products are used. I have wondered and usually check with the abundance of “organic” and natural products. There is no way farms can be converting to organic that quickly that large corporations can take advantage of. I guess the old saying of Buyer Beware is still true

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