I know what you’re gonna say and you’re right…Bacon and pork belly are everywhere, and it’s gotten out of control. Ok, so you’re only right until the end of the sixth word, then you got all crazy on me! Bacon and pork belly, more precisely good bacon and porkbelly…are everywhere. Applewood, cherrywood smoked, maple bacon, peppered bacon, thick cut, bacon pieces, jowl bacon, bacon ice cream, chocolate dipped bacon, braised pork belly, Asian spiced pork belly, porchetta done with pork belly, oh baby… I could go on forever!
Tell me you didn’t smile and think about grabbing a skillet just then. Trust me when I tell you there are worse things out there than good bacon or a nicely done pork belly anything. If you don’t believe me, get up tomorrow and have some nicely cooked over easy eggs, lovely toasted brioche and a side of wheat grass. Come on people….give pork a break. I’m a child of the 70’s and 80’s I know what overdone is…Exhibits A and B: ABBA and Phil Collins…I rest my case.
It’s not just produce that has improved over the last ten years or so either. Look at the amount and variety of ethnic foods. I grew up in a virtual ethnic desert. French, Finnish, English, Irish, Swedish and maybe 4 Italian folks were what made up my little corner of Nowheresville, NH. When it came time to go to the grocery store to get creative with my inner Asian, La Choy was all they had. This made my inner Asian very sad, and not very Asian. Now look at what you can get, black vinegar, black bean paste, all manner of Asian sauces, noodles and ingredients…At this rate, I’ll be able to become full on Asian within five years… just as soon as I figure out how to speak any of the languages.
Social Media, I seriously don’t even know where to start here folks. Once, all we had to go on to find out if a restaurant was good, were food critics. That was if you were local, and your tastes jived with said critic. If you were away from home you were pretty much on your own, or you found yourself listening to the twenty year old receptionist at the hotel you were staying at pin down “insert pizza joint name” just up the street, as the “go to” restaurant in town. Now with Yelp, Trip Advisor, Chowhound, etc… You can see what’s good anywhere you go. Restaurants just about all have Facebook pages so you can look at menus and house specialties, and daily specials can be received via Twitter.
Pho and Ramen…Yeah, I said it…Ramen, but not the ramen you’re thinking of. Good Ramen may sound like an oxy-moron to some, but Pho and ramen shops are starting to pop up all over the place using some super ingredients and producing some excellent stuff. Feel free to go to a local ramen shop and have a bowl, just don’t tell them you want the “Oriental” flavor you remembered having with the ten for a dollar ramen noodles you got at Wal-Mart.
Also included in the food people, are food blog’s and blogger’s. Not just the Serious Eats and Chowhounds of the world, but the everyday people, plus cooks and chefs alike. They care about food, they love food, and they want to share that love and passion with everyone to make this world a tastier place. From the simple to the complex, hamburgers to caviar, the foods these people blog about, or provide recipes for are a means to share an experience. An experience we can all learn from and should share with others. There are cooks and chefs out there who bellyache and moan about food bloggers, cibo people, and the like… but they’re missing the point.
Food for cooks may be about perfection, about an endless, mindless pursuit of robotic like repetition, so that the very last plate of Herb Crusted Dover Sole with Crab Brandade and Chive Emulsion looks exactly like the first …these “bloggers” can never hope to understand this, nor do they want to. But to these bloggers food represents more, much more…The food they write and talk about is a celebration. Not a celebration of how well they made a cupcake, or a celebration about how they made a perfect Consommé Doria…but rather food, is a celebration of life.
I know I missed quite a few things here people, but it’s a start. Maybe I’ll do a “What’s good in Food II” sometime in the near future…right now I’m feeling way too happy and positive about myself. Maybe I’ll go and challenge The Cat to a game of Chess (He likes to call it “the game of kings” little smarty pants) Seeing’s he has beaten me the last eight out of ten games, I’m sure that’ll have me back to my old curmudgeonly self in no time…until then… I bid you peace.