Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not Food Related, but Important Nonetheless

Ok, so I know this is a FOOD blog, but I read an email today that I feel should be broadcast from the rooftops in every city of this country right now, before we do something eternally stupid.

A little political comparison between Obama and Palin/McCain (let's face it, her name might as well be first on the ticket)...

We're a little confused. Let's see if we have this straight.....

* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic,

* If you grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, it's a quintessential
American story.

* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
* If you name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* If you graduate from Harvard law School you are unstable.
* If you attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're
well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the
first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter
registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as
a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator
representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the
state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the
United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while
sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and
Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real
leadership experience.

* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city
council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people,
20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then
you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising
2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your
disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a
Christian. (That'd be McCain, a real creep, reminiscent of Newt Gingrich
serving divorce papers to his wife while she was in the hospital with

* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the
proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no
other option in sex education in your state's school system while your
unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you¹re very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a
prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city
community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values
don't represent America¹s.

* If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI
conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until
age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of
Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

PLEASE choose wisely this November.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

HFLF Conference, Another Trip to the BRC, Slow Food IU

My, it has been a busy couple of weeks.

Way back on September 6th, I attended the Healthy Food, Local Farms conference in Louisville, Kentucky, sponsored by the local Sierra Club and Slow Food chapters there. The theme was "Politics of Food," which is right up my alley, of course, and I really enjoyed the conference. Most of the talk was about how to promote sustainability and Slow ideals within the Louisville area, but I think a lot of the ideas are transferable to any locale. Guest speakers included Daniel Imhoff, author of Food Fight, about the Farm Bill, and Judy Wicks, owner of the White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I found Judy Wicks to be particularly inspirational. During her talk, she said this fabulous quote which I would love to turn into my life's work: "I use good food to lure innocent customers into social action." If you don't know about the White Dog Cafe, I highly suggest you check out their website and see what they are all about.

The lunch served to us at the conference was absolutely delicious. It was all from local producers and included such wonderful dishes as cheesy grits, chicken salad, artisan bread, honey cake, local ginger ale, and some incredible sausage gumbo featuring chorizo from my dear friends at Fiedler Family Farms.

On the way home, Mom and I stopped for dinner at the Blue River Cafe. I had to have some more of that coleslaw! Of course they didn't disappoint, and my coleslaw was just as wonderful as I remembered. My pork tenderloin was excellent as well. I was surprised at it's thickness... it more closely resembled a pork chop than the pounded thin, mostly breading tenderloins one usually finds in Indiana. It was really delicious, though. Very juicy and tender, and the homeade breading was crispy and in perfect proportion to the meat. Yum!

Slow Food IU held its first meeting on September 9th, and I was pleasantly surprised to see people that weren't my friends or roomates attend. It was a small turnout, but I look forward to our first potluck tomorrow, and to growing the group a bit more once people know what we're about.

That's all from me for now, folks. As Paula Deen says, "Best dishes from my kitchen to yours!"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Southern Indiana Eating (Near and Far)

First, allow me to apologize for the poor quality of these pics (anyone want to buy me a new phone with a better camera?) Great, now that that's out of the way, allow me to talk about how much I enjoyed eating the food in these pics.

I took a weekend trip to Southern Indiana this weekend with my father, and on our way home on Sunday I suggested we stop for lunch at the Blue River Cafe. You could literally blink and miss Main St. in Milltown, Indiana, but if you do manage to find and follow it as it winds through the tiny town, you will certainly be rewarded.

I first read about the Blue River Cafe in Home Grown Indiana, the book I mentioned in my last post. Since it is a bit of a drive from Bloomington, I hadn't really ever thought about dining there until I was looking through a tourism guide on Southern Indiana that happened to mention the cafe as a great place to eat. Dad and I were in nearby New Albany, so we decided to make the jaunt over to Milltown for lunch. We arrived just as they were opening for the day and were seated and presented with not one, not two, but three menus of food and a "spirits" menu. As it was eleven on a Sunday morning and, in my opinion, a little early for alcohol, we concentrated on trying to decide if we wanted brunch, dinner, or a sandwich (hence, the three menus). I chose the "Avocado Burger," and got the basket, which came with steak fries and coleslaw. Now, as a general rule, I HATE coleslaw. Maybe it's all the time I spent making Steak N Shake's particularly disgusting version of the side dish, I don't know, but I hate it. So when the waitress brought the heaping scoop of slaw nestled on a bed of lettuce to our table, I immediately pushed it over to Dad (who will eat anything) and crinkled my nose like a seven-year-old presented with a plate full of broccoli. Seeing this, the waitress asked if I liked coleslaw. When I replied with an emphatic "NO" she told me that she hated it too... with the exception of the coleslaw she served at the restaurant. She insisted I try it, but I was majorly skeptical, so I took the tiniest of forkfuls, slowly brought it to my lips, and promptly fell in love. This was like no coleslaw I have ever tasted. The dressing was sweet and light, and the cabbage was fresh and crunchy. I couldn't believe my taste buds! And that was only the beginning. The avocado on my burger was perfectly ripe, and an amazingly unexpected taste with the cheddar cheese and ground beef. The fries were very obviously (in a good way) hand cut from a whole potato and expertly fried so that they had a great crunch on the outside but were nice and potato-y on the inside. The whole meal was just excellent, but the coleslaw was really the star. I wish I had some right now.

The other delicious meal pictured is the "Duck Confit" salad I had at Finch's Brasserie this afternoon, here in Bloomington. As many of you know, Finch's used to be Trulli Flatbread, which I was a big fan of, but I hadn't been in since the big change over to Finch's. The salad I had was a French lentil salad, frisee, crispy pommes, and mustard vinaigrette, as described by the menu. I describe it as tasty, although impossible to eat gracefully, thanks to the frisee. The lentil salad was stellar, with lentils, red onion, carrots, and celery, and what's not to love about crispy potatoes? The real tongue-tempter though, was the duck. It was tender and practically melted in my mouth. Duck is not a meat that I always enjoy, because it is so oily, but this duck was perfectly and simply prepared, and a pleasure to eat.

I was also fortunate enough to be dining near a friend who ordered the watermelon sorbet for dessert. He was kind enough to share a scoop with me, and my, am I glad he did. I am not a big watermelon eater, I never have been, but I'm furious at myself for not eating this sorbet all summer. It was full of watermelon flavor, but it was a very delicate watermelon flavor, and it was absolutely delicious.

I want to say more about my lunch at Finch's at some point, but alas, the classroom calls. Perhaps I will add more to this later. Until then, eat well!