I have heard it said that the internet is all about cats. I won’t refute that suggestion – I mean, how could I? Considering how my better half & I pummel everyone with pictures and tales of our felines, to do so would be the HEIGHT of hypocrisy. But in among all the cat memes and LOLcats – there’s a lot of food material as well. And that’s what I am thinking about today – specifically I am thinking about foods that seem to come into being to serve social media.
What do I mean?.
Would freakshakes, for example, been anything more than an isolated incident or a culinary blip if social media didn’t exist? I mean, seriously – apart from being perfect for grabbing attention on Instagram, what have freakshakes got going for them?
I might say the same about those appalling rainbow bagels. I mean, why would you develop such a thing EXCEPT for the visual impact?
So I’m now pondering ways that social media (not just Instagram but the rest too – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, etc.) has has impacted the development of food and food trends. Not just the appalling ones such as freakshaes and rainbow bagels – but things like the craze for macarons? Surely some of that is down to how colourful and beautiful displays of macarons are and how many pictures of them can be found everywhere.
Not relevant to anything but I was just struck anew at how absolutely beautiful cocoa pods were.
And that got me thinking about the beauty of food in general. Frequently I see my facebook timeline fill up with art as people try to find a balance for the stress, bad news or uncertainty that the news (endlessly reposted and retweeted before our eyes) can bring. I can see the appeal of that but I’m a food person so I went looking for pictures of food that served the same purpose for me. here are some of what I found.
There are so many foods – raw, fresh, whole dishes, presentations, etc – that show just how amazing and breathtaking (as well as delicious) food can be. I’ll be hunting up more soon.
February may be a short month but it is in no way short of culinary holidays and foodie observances, including but not limited to:
Cherry Month – considering how many types of cherries there are, we may need more than a month to celebrate them all properly. And really, who wouldn’t extra time for cherry pie, cherry sorbet, cherry sundaes, chocolate covered cherries, dried cherries (excellent in summer salads not to mention in trail mix) and cherry preserves. Maybe we should – within National Cherry Month – declare a day for the top 20 or 30 most popular species? Someone get on that, right away! Thanks.
National Grapefruit Month – I have a confession. I am not a huge grapefruit fan. I know lots of people are and there are heated debates among them regarding the superiority of pink vs white grapefruit but to me it’s just too sour. I have heard that in South America they are often cooked which renders them a bit sweeter. I may consider trying that this summer. Has anyone else tried it? How is it?
Hot Breakfast Month – I know, I know. No one has time for breakfast. Heck, I work at home and even I am hard-pressed to remember when my last hot breakfast was. But I can tell you what it was because when I do hot breakfast at home, it’s because I am craving softly scrambled eggs (the kind that take ages but are so worth it), a well-toasted and thoroughly-buttered (with unsalted butter) plain bagel, shredded potatoes-n-onions and orange juice. Bliss.
Macadamia Nut Month – since macadamias are often found in some of my favorite cookies (as in any cooking with chocolate chips in them), I approve heartily of celebrating them. I did wonder if we actually needed a whole month. It seemed to me, in my nutty ignorance, that a day would be more than sufficient – until someone pointed out that macadamia nuts are excellent for the diet (they lower bad cholesterol being high in monounsaturated fatty acids). So, instead of the cookies (which I tend to have around year-long) why not indulge in a handful of macadamias a few times a week for the month. It can’t hurt and it might help. But hey – do not give any to your dogs. Macadamias are toxic to our canine friends.
Snack Food Month –a month? With SUCH a wide variety of snack food available for us to enjoy and celebrate, I personally would need a whole year or at least half a year.
Seriously? With all that we may need that leap day every year.
I am quite often found – on a Monday morning – down at the Puritans Radio studio talking with Peter Evan Jones about food on the ‘Jones on Food and Travel’ program. This Monday was no exception and this week the topic was food worth traveling for. CNN Travel made some bizarre choices – including ketchup (not a food, in my opinion, much less a food worth traveling for), buttered popcorn (another head scratcher) and potato chips (honestly?) which is what prompted this segment.
What food is so good that you would tackle traffic, airport lines and baggage restrictions to reach it? And yes, my better half – I mentioned the tapas from Bar Pinotxo in La Boqueria in Barcelona. 🙂 When do we leave?
If you’re a fan of food and/or travel, the show is on every Monday from 10-12 (UK time) and I will be posting links to the whole program as well as my segments for those who prefer to catch it later on. This week’s whole show can be heard at bit.ly/PuritansJan16
“All of that has led us here, to a strange and mostly uncharted territory where being passionate about food and being passionate about cooking have become two very different things.”
I think the above is true for huge swathes of people who describe themselves and think of themselves as being ‘into food.’ And while I think it is true, I also kinda don’t get it. I recognize the truth of the statement but I don’t understand how one can be TRULY interested in food without being interested in cooking because I’m both.
This doesn’t mean I am a good cook – I’m not. But I am interested in the process and the history of it in addition to being interested in food. I like eating food – hell, let’s face it (and my waistline), I love eating food – but I am interested in MANY things about food. Where it comes from, how it is prepared, how it changes from place to place and time to time, what it represented, etc. I watch cooking shows because of all of that – and frankly, I like watching people cook. At home or on TV. Also – some good tips can be winkled out of them.
Oh the weather outside is … well, actually it isn’t frightful at all. It’s rather brisk and chilly, yes. But bright and sunny. Never mind the song then. What else can we talk about? Oooh, it’s December 4th – Cookie Day! We can talk about cookies. What is your favourite cookie? By which I mean either to eat or make (or both).
You kick off the holidays any way you like – send cards, put up the tree, start hanging light. Me, I’ll start with this festive cup of hot chocolate laced with Bailey’s. It was the perfect drink for our romp through the Banbury Festive Market and Christmas Light switch-on. Warming and wonderful.
So, the Banbury Town Fair has once again come and gone. As always, there were samples galore to try. We’ve learned over the years that once we’ve nibbled your way through the first batch of booths, had lunch and then nibbled and snacked our way through the rest – the idea of dinner often never occurs to us. But it’s not all about actually eating. It’s also about chatting with people about the food they have brought, prepped, turned into art or just enjoy. It’s an incredibly social occasion and with over 100 vendors, a day full of cooking demos and foodie’s everywhere – I always learn a lot.
This year I learned that in order to make a fruit gin, you may need to let the fruit infuse anywhere from several months (soft fruits like raspberries) to just over a year (sloe). Now, I am not a gin drinker (I’m a vodka girl with mixers, myself) but I tasted the raspberry gin from Foxdenton Fruit Gins and goodness! It was delicious – I can absolutely see baking a Christmas cake with that.
I learned from Anita Chipalkatty (while watching her making jalfrezi – an Indian stir-fry) that while Chinese stir-fry and Indian stir-fry have a lot in common cooking method wise, the chop is very different. Chinese veg is shredded or julienned quite fine for stir fry where as for an Indian dish, the chop is chunkier. It still cooks quickly but retains more individual taste and structural integrity (all the better for scooping, for example with chunks of pepper).
And sadly while I was not able to get close enough for a clear picture, Restaurant 56 head chef Andrew Scott (Banburian himself) and sous chef Nick Bennett (yes, that was him on Masterchef) did make disassembling a duck look GREAT fun.
We discussed timeframes for smoking beef and pork with Smoke and Spice BBQ – and as a Texas-raised BBQ eater from itty-bitty-hood, let me say the beef brisket with Kansas sauce is spot on! The North Carolina sauce seemed to be going over well too.