Tom Colicchio’s movie about hunger: A Place at the Table

James Beard award-winning celebrity chef, cookbook author, Top Chef executive producer and judge, the brains and talent behind the Craft and ‘wichcraft restaurant empire, bald salad ruiner, and lifesaving party guest Tom Colicchio has just spread his Renaissance Man wings a little farther. He is the executive producer of a A Place at the Table, a documentary that examines the issue of food insecurity. In a San Francisco Chronicle interview, Colicchio explains how this topic of food insecurity organically came to him and his wife, filmmaker Lori Siverbush: “My wife was mentoring a young girl and she realized that she was often hungry,” Colicchio says. “In fact, we got her into a school that we thought would better suit her, but it didn’t have a breakfast program – breakfast and lunch were the only two meals she was having all day. One day she got a call from the principal, who said, ‘She’s always looking for food. She’s always hungry.’ We didn’t realize how bad it was at home, and so that got Lori thinking, ‘Is there a film here? Is there something we can do?’ “Read more People who are food-insecure don’t always know where their next meal is coming from. Statistically, 1 in 6 Americans don’t have access to enough food to sustain a healthy life. This includes children. Senior citizens. Working parents. In fact, 36% of clients served by the organization Feeding America have at least one working parent in the household, and toss those misconceptions aside . . . only 10% are homeless. In a 2010 Newsweek article, Claudia Kalb defines food insecurity as not having enough...

Second Harvest fundraiser needs donations

This Saturday, December 15, our friend Nick Alaga is doing a mile-long swim around the Santa Cruz Wharf with the group he founded, Will Swim For Food. Their goal is to raise $40,000 for the Second Harvest Food Bank. Can you pledge even the price of tomorrow’s latte to help? Click through for the information.

Drinking my vegetables

Drinking my vegetables

“Tiny pellets of poison” what a friend calls peas. Personally, I don’t have any problem with peas as long as they’re not mushy and are mixed in a creamy white sauce, tossed with penne, and topped with crispy prosciutto. Everything is better with crispy prosciutto. I told someone recently that I don’t really like vegetables. That’s not really true, though, I love artichokes, asparagus, zucchini, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers), and any member of the allium family. I’ll take a tart, crunchy salad any day, loaded with lettuce and cucumbers and radishes and celery and shredded multicolor carrots. I like some vegetables. It’s probably more accurate to say that admonishments to “eat your vegetables” and news extolling vegetables’ virtues have only served to turn me off. They’re just not being presented in a delicious way, and I just don’t have much innate desire for dandelion greens or kale. I’m not like that mom who turned to me that cool Tuesday morning while chaperoning a Kid Two field trip as asked, “I just crave cruciferae this time of year, don’t you?” No. I’ve recently developed a fondness for fennel and parsnip, but I don’t dream of roasted beets. No cooing over cauliflower. Squash and yams are challenging to cook with. Just smelling broccoli makes me queasy, as it has ever since I was pregnant with Kid One. And Brussels sprouts? Big shiver. It was over between us after The Worst Dinner I Ever Ate – LL’s 50th birthday dinner – which infamously finished with Brussels sprouts crème brûlée. Truly disgusting. I’ve since noticed that fall’s fields of ripe Brussels sprouts give off the odor of...
Got water?

Got water?

Definitely go and watch the excellent documentary Tapped. As soon as you can, before the next episode of Jon Stewart or Married to Rock, or whatever your viewing pleasure may be. Then go out and recommend it to everyone you know. The movie addresses what the filmmakers call “the not-so-new bogeyman in town: the bottled water industry.” They explore a variety of issues that are all bonded together with those tiny molecules of hydrogen and oxygen – privatization to plastics and farming to pharmaceuticals, all topped off with a healthy dose of environmental (in)justice. I knew there were issues surrounding bottled water from an excellent water law class I took – I just didn’t know what they were. The professor slyly pointed out that “Evian” spelled backward is “naive” before stating that he was prevented by court order from sharing anything he knew about the bottled-water industry. We moved on to specifics of California water law. A few year later, now, Tapped fills in the blanks. Here are a few of the points the movie made: The business of bottled water began around 1989 when the introduction of disposable plastic bottles made it cost-effective. Now the bottled water industry collectively generates over a billion dollars in sales each year. Water bottling companies purchase or lease water rights from private parties to pump water from the ground to sell to us. The quality of bottled water is not regulated by the FDA or anyother governmental agency. Municipal water supplies are. In fact, many tap water quality reports are even available online. Communities located in close proximity to plastic bottling plants...

HFCS, a gloppy monster

News that Hunt’s is cutting high fructose corn syrup from their catsup recipe makes me wonder if HFCS will fall into the “seemed like a good idea at the time” category along with DDT and subprime mortgage loans. I cut it out of our diets over decade ago and since then it just sounds worse and worse. Give me my sweets straight from the plant, please!