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Wednesday
Jan212009

Why I Love Kevin Loscotoff

When I first met Kevin Loscotoff, he didn’t eat anything from the sea. He wouldn’t have anything to do with capers or fennel, and still doesn’t. Anchovies? Never. I don’t even think he eats olives. 

But food quirks aside, I decided to give Kevin a chance. Besides, even then we had several similarities in taste: we both liked earthy, fruity pinots and floral IPAs. He and I could sit drinking iced tea until the tea leaves ran out. And the Indian food...oh, the Indian food. 

In the five years or so that I’ve known Kevin, his culinary tastes expanded and he has demonstrated a willingness to try new cuisines. Now he readily eats mild fish and most sushi, and even appreciates the salty/smoky/sweet (umami) characteristic of salmon. He has tried dishes with fennel - with much resistance and not necessarily by his own intention – and he continues to dine with an open mind. And that, while not the only reason I love Kevin Loscotoff, is emblematic of the perspective of his that allows me to look past the anchovy-hating. 

I have not given up, and neither has he. All it takes is an open mind and a little willingness to expand his comfort zone. He may have to move into discomfort more than once. Heck, I don’t know of anyone who liked beer on their first sip. 

Happy birthday Kevo, and keep that mind open. You’ll need to, because for my birthday this year I want one present from you: I want you to join me for a big bowl of pasta puttanesca. You’d better start practicing.  

 

Tuesday
Jan202009

Fancy Food Show vs. NFL Playoffs

We attended the Fancy Food Show at San Francisco's Moscone Center and found this sight in the Italy section, a large group gathered around a flat screen TV watching football.  Granted, it was the NFC Title game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles but it was a funny sight nevertheless.

 

Tuesday
Jan202009

Fleur Du Maquis

The other day, I had a wonderful sheep's milk cheese from Corsica (which is technically part of France) called a Fleur du Maquis.  The cheese is covered in herbs.  There was a pungent lavender front along witha background of rosemary, juniper, and fennel.  I wasn't familiar with the style before and I thought it was fantastic!  I'm going to ask to see if my local Cheese Monger carries any regularly.

I was instantly struck by the similarity of the idea behind the Fluer Du Maquis and the Herbes De Provence (which typically contains rosemary, marjoram, basil, bay leaf, thyme, and lavender).  The former is what is considered to be found in the typical Corsican landscape, the latter what is typically found in Provence.  

 

Monday
Jan192009

Farm Fresh Eggs

 

We picked up some fresh eggs at a local farm in the Bay Area, I'm not sure they're allowed to sell to the public so we won't implicate them.  This is a recycled egg crate.  Among the brown and white eggs there was a single blue one (pictured, bottom left).  When I asked about it, they said it was from an Araucana hen

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan192009

When Peanut Butter Attacks

Peanut Butter photo by sparktography

New findings in the recent Salmonella Typhimurium contamination of peanut butter have authorities thinking that it has sickened more than 470 people and is implicated in as many as 6 deaths.  Epidemiology is tricky, and according to the FDA's website, this outbreak may go as far back as five months.

"On January 16, [Peanut Corporation of America] expanded its voluntary recall to include all peanut butter produced on or after August 8, 2008, and all peanut paste produced on or after September 26, 2008, in its Blakely, Ga., plant because of potential Salmonella contamination. (via fda.gov)"

Here is a chart that shows the onset of this particular outbreak; it's called an epidemic curve, or "epi curve" for short.  

 

 

They say that these epi curves are "complex and incomplete" but there are key five points to understanding them better: 

  • There is an inherent delay between the date that an illness starts, and the date that the case is reported to public health authorities.  It typically takes 2-3 weeks for Salmonella infections. 
  • Some background cases of illness are likely to occur that would have occurred even without an outbreak.  This makes it difficult to say exactly which case is the first in an outbreak.  For some cases, the date when they became ill is not known because it takes time before someone from the health department can do an interview to ask for this information.
  • It can be difficult to determine when cases start to decline because of the reporting delay.  
  • It can be difficult to say when the outbreak is over, [also] because of the reporting delay.