This Month in News... Sexy Chickens??

As the last day of September comes to an end, I thought it’d be a cool idea to recap this month’s food news in today’s post. There was a lot of interesting stuff out there this month.

Tony Cenicola / New York Times via Redux Picture

September was the month for the formal announcement of Top Chef: Texas, the scandalous New York Times chicken photo,the last last meals in Texas prision systems, deadly cantaloupes, a death of a snack food icon, and more...

Here are the top links I’ve saved over the past few weeks. ENJOY!!!

What news did you find the most interesting? Anything that didn’t make my list? Feel free to add your favorites in the comments section!


Reader's Choice: Pizza Pizza Pizza!

I took to twitter to get some reader input on today’s posting. I got an underwhelming number of responses, but there were a few and they all were actually the same… I guess you guys love pizza. Some wanted to know about the origin, some wanted to know all the different styles, while others wanted the food porn. 

Well, your wishes have come true. Today’s post will be all things pizza! I mean... I don't know why I never did a post about pizza before. I love pizza.... There's something about the combination of a perfectly chewy crust, a tangy mild tomato sauce, bubbly, hot and greasy cheese and perhaps some red pepper flakes sprinkled over the top with some freshly chopped basil.... oh man... my mouth is watering. I'm literally drooling right now...

Let’s begin our pizza journey with the most practical place, the beginning.  Let’s go back in time to before the 17th century in Italy. 


All chefs beware.... Joshua Scott is watching.

There is a lot of buzz in the culinary world right now surrounding a certain chef and a certain up-until-yesterday-anonymous blogger.  Yesterday morning, I stumbled across an article from the day before, September 26th, with the headline, “Philly Chef Sues Anonymous, Troublemaking Blogger.”There is something about gossip and drama that pulls me in. A scandal like this gets me all excited.

Chef Georges Perrier
Essentially, the blogger behind staphmeal.com has very publicly and very blatantly deemed Le Bec-Fin’s Chef Georges Perrier, to be a racist and an overall bad dude. The not-so-surprising result? Chef Perrier has filed for defamation of character. He has filed a complaint and will be going to court to defend his name.

Now, when someone goes around accusing people of things like this, you expect them to just be hotheaded and immature. I read the law-suit-inducing-post, and I must say, it is exactly what I thought. The post is a bit dramatic, but what I didn’t expect was evidentiary support. The blogger, who outted himself yesterday as Joshua Scott, provided quotes from former employees of Chef Perrier, such as, ““He often tells black people who work for him that they are lucky to have a job, and that they should be in jail.”


Devastation: Doritos Creator Dies at 97 years old

Ok, so this isn’t exactly breaking news, but I read it for the first time last night. The creator of my favorite snack food died last week. Arch West, the man credited with creating Doritos passed away on Tuesday, September 20th at 97 years old.  

A statement issued by the West family says he died Tuesday at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. A graveside service is scheduled for Oct. 1. Daughter Jana Hacker tells The Dallas Morning News "the family plans on "tossing Doritos chips in before they put the dirt over the urn."

I’m devastated. No, I didn’t know him, and no I didn’t know anything about this man before doing some research. I just know that the man who is given full credit to the creation of one of the most tasty and important snack foods in my life deserves much more than a post dedicated in his honor, but that’s really all I can give. 

So who was Arch West? 


Finding comfort in discomfort foods

What do you crave when your life turns upside down? When you switch jobs or start school again or move to a new city, you want to immerse yourself in a warm bath of familiarity, right? You want macaroni and cheese, your favorite musician burbling from the speakers, and you burbling right along with them, at the top of your lungs… and maybe a glass of your most reliable booze chilling your hand. You want comfort food.

I know that when I had my bad day that turned into a bad week that turned into a bad few weeks… all I wanted was extra cheesy pizza, spicy-tomato-sauce-soaked pasta, pillowy yeast rolls, combination lo mien, quesadillas, bloody mary’s, tubs of icing, vanilla malts, lays and ranch dip, a case of Stella Artois, tortilla chips and queso….. yeah you can see where I am going with this. Comfort foods for me may be different than anyone else’s, and yours may look nothing like your best friend’s. I know my mom’s comfort foods are loaves of crusty bread, and coffee ice cream that’s half melted. My dad’s is probably bread and butter, cookies, and chocolate cake with white icing… All very conventional, and normal. All so starchy and carb-y and gooey and yummy.


Food Porn Saturday: Cliché Italian Food Edition

I'm going to piggyback off of yesterday's post and say this. If i ever were to land myself on death row (not in Texas), my last meal would most certainly have some pizza and some pasta and some crusty bread with delicious cheese, meat and tomato topping.... That's right. My last-meal would consist of delicious, albeit SUPER cliché, Italian food. 

While looking for some pictures of some perfectly obvious Italian dishes, i found this article "10 Italian Cliches You Won't Find in Italy." I mean, why don't they have salad as an appetizer? Huge Italian families out for dinner is a thing of the past? No twirling of the pasta???? I picked my favorite from the list to share with you, but for the entire article, click on the link!


Denied!! No last meal for you!!


Oh how I love breaking news! Today, September 23, 2011, is the final day for last meals on death row in Texas. It is a bizarre ritual, to be pretty honest, but a ritual nonetheless. As an inmate on death row in the Texas prison system comes to the fated execution date, you were allowed the perk of one last special meal. Anything they wanted would be served to them before they were killed for the crimes they committed. 

After doing a bit of digging on the topic of last meals and the final last meals, I found that Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center said that most states that have the death penalty allow last-meal requests. Some allow the inmate to choose from a menu, others have cost restrictions or say they must be ordered locally. So this ritual isn’t just unique to Texas, but today marks the day that State Senator John Whitmire said, "Enough is enough.” 


Every Day is Worth Celebrating: September Edition

OK so this past week has been pretty awful. Friday night, my foot went from normal to a 9.5 on the pain scale and ballooned up to about 5x the size of its former self. I haven’t felt much like doing anything except sleeping away the discomfort that comes with what I found out was a Staph infection. 

Doctors, a hospital stay, several antibiotics and pain pills have gotten me through this past week. And finally, I am feeling up to doing something more than lying down and watching Medium re-runs. 

So, without further a due, I am back to writing. Being out of practice of writing and coming up with interesting ideas, I had a hard time coming up with a topic for today. This prompted me to do my usual, which is to look up what National food holiday today was, and that’s when it hit me, how in the world do days become food holidays? Who determines what day is dedicated to what food? Then I figure, woulnd’t it be cool to do a post once a month, (preferably not this far into the month but hey, work with me here,) that covers the food holidays for the month at hand? 

I mean, did you know that there is a National Ice Cream Month, a National Biscuit and Gravy Week and a National Guacamole Day? And with hundreds of other national food celebrations throughout the entire year, you can quite literally celebrate a different dish every single day.

How Are Food Holidays Determined?

Sorry Sorry Sorry

Hello my dearest readers,

I will be resuming my normal posts soon enough - I've been sick with Staph infection... and only now am I finally able to walk around and do things other than sleep and watch TV.
My apologies.
But let me tell you one thing.....



Mustard is the King...

How is it possible that I drip, spill, splash or spread mustard all over myself, no matter what? I was just thinking that as I watched a drop of golden deliciousness fall, as if in slow motion, and splatter on my dark denim pants. I swear I get mustard on everything. 

The truth is, I love mustard. My love doesn’t end with mustard though. I love sauces and dips in general. What is a sandwich without some kind of condiment? It’s just meat and cheese on some bread. That doesn’t sound good to me. There needs to be that extra somethin’ somethin’ to transform it from something dull to something dangerously good. 

Even though there is already National Mustard day (August 7th), I shall deem today National Condiment Day.
Everyone is familiar with ketchup, one of the most popular condiments, but there are many others to choose from. From spicy mustard, to mild vinegars, to sweet jellies to savory sauces, having a large selection of condiments gives anyone the chance to add new and exciting flavors and color to any dish. I mean, can you even imagine a hamburger without the smooth red ketchup or glistening golden mustard layered on the meat patty? Or like I've said before, make any bag lunch sandwich less boring.

Wikipedia defines a condiment as...
A condiment is sauce or seasoning added to food to impart a particular flavor or, in some cultures, to complement the dish. They may also be dry, such as a mixture of herbs and seasonings. Many condiments are available packaged in single-serving packets (sachets), like mustard or ketchup, particularly when supplied with take-out or fast food meals. Condiments are usually applied by the diner. Condiments are sometimes added prior to serving, for example a sandwich made with ketchup or mustard.

What are your favorite condiments? What do you use them on?



Food Porn: The Hamburger

There are few things in this world that can provide instant comfort in our stress-laden world. One of those things is a delicious hamburger.  There’s nothing more familiar and comforting that the hamburger and you really can’t prove me wrong. You can try to, but whatever you say won't work. The fact remains, Americans love hamburgers, so much so that they devour some 14 billion of them every year. By one count, that’s about three or four per person every week.

Of course no one really knows how many we eat. How could they? The exception may be McDonald’s, the world’s largest purveyor of hamburgers, which says it sells 4.2 million meat patties in a bun every day in the U.S. alone.
My burger from today at Chili's - Old Timer + Hatch Chilis

Hamburgers may seem like a relatively recent arrival on the culinary scene, but some food historians think the ancient Egyptians and Genghis Khan’s forces consumed some form of scraped meat, maybe dried and spiced to preserve it, and maybe wrapped in some kind of bread.
Who invented the modern version is controversial. Some credit Oscar Werner Bliley, an Oklahoma farmer, with putting the first meat patty inside a bun in 1891. Others say a café in Athena, Texas, was first in the 1880s. Whoever the inventor may be, the official public debut of the hamburger seems to have been at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.


Myth Busters: TheTruth Behind Hot Dogs, German Chocolate Cake & Caesar Salad

Today as I was walking to lunch, I couldn’t help but notice there was a familiar smell in the air. It was smoky, and tangy. It was borderline sweet, but had notes of spice.  It was a hot dog. The smell is distinct, and isn’t easily mistaken for anything else. You know it, and you know how it wafts. Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Memorial Day all smell like hot dogs. 

Suddenly, I wanted a hot dog. That wasn’t what I was going to be enjoying for my mid-day meal though. So I had to quickly wipe that futile craving from my mind, only to be replaced with the question, why is a hot dog called a hot dog? I started thinking of all the different rumors and myths I’ve heard in my life surrounding the naming process. The sausages used to be made of dog! They look like a Dachshund, but Dachshund is hard to spell! They smell like wet dogs! All of these are perfectly good explanations for the naming of the hot dog, but none are real. 
This got me started on a giant hunt to separate the truth from the false. Thanks to a handy little site called Snopes, I was able to get to the truth! And not just about hot dogs, but about a whole array of different myths surrounding food origins. I got really excited.
So what is the truth about the the naming of the hot dog? 


Is Culinary School a Dream-Maker, or Elaborate Scam?

It blows my mind to look at where I am today and where I was only a few years ago. I’m not going to get into the dirty details, but I will say it’s a vastly different place. When I decided to get my act together and go back to school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I had been an art history major at Bucknell University and a Mass Communication major after that. But when it came time to go back to school, I had some major reservations about going to traditional school. I didn’t like it then, why would I like it now? I was basically being a little brat - a 22 or 23-year-old brat.

After spending a few days researching and discussing different possibilities for school and education, I settled on two choices. My first choice was going to culinary school. My second was going to Texas State University and entering The School of Journalism and Mass Communication. One was super exciting and exactly what I thought I wanted to do, while the other was so boring; so mundane. Right?


Corpus Christi - The Verdict

It is official. I love the coast. Corpus Christi provided me with the chance to get away, and for the day and a half that I was gone, I felt revived. Part of me was feeling a bit dead, and a bit stale. 

No longer. I’m back. There is something about the shore, the lapping waves, and the food that allowed me to slow down and reconnect with what is truly important. It permitted me to relax. I felt the stress melt off and I left it there in the dunes on the beach.

The whole experience was interesting to me. Why? When I moved to Texas in the summer of 2009, I had a very specific view of what Texas was.


Corpus & The Gulf

Happy September!

I know it’s no longer the 1st of the month… but it is the FIRST weekend of the month. It’s a long weekend to boot! (Yay Labor Day!) How very exciting. I personally am excited. The past few weeks have been a doozy for me. I need the break. What’s even better than just a long weekend? I’m going to Corpus Christi! (I may have spelled that wrong, I’m really not sure.) My boyfriend is taking me on a get-a-way to detox from the stress and oh-woe-is-me-ness. So, after this was sprung on me, (in a good way; I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the springing of some R&R) I decided I needed to do some research on Corpus Christi.

First of all, I live in Texas, but I'm not from Texas. I love it here, but I am still very naieve to the state and it's size and bredth. I felt stupid asking where Corpus Christi was. I felt stupid to find out how close it was and I had no idea what it was. Hey, now I know (thank you Google.)

As it turns out, there aren’t many food ties (that I can find) SPECIFIC to Corpus Christi itself, but after doing some ignorant digging, I realized that Corpus is in the “Gulf Coast”. THIS area has many food ties.

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