Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Final Post for 2013: Christmas Concoction & Contest


Well, here we go folks. Many of the wintertime holidays have gone and past, and in many parts of the world, 2014 has already made its mark. Before New Year's eve comes to an end in Michigan, I wanted to share with you for this final post of 2013 an experimental recipe gone right. Coupled with this is another reminder of the Christmas Menu recipe challenge I'll be helping to judge in the coming weeks, the deadline of which is January 5th (more info at the end of the post). And since I can't win as a judge, the timing works out to share the following concoction I made to pair with brie en croûte, which is perhaps the recipe I have replicated most frequently since beginning this blog nearly three years ago.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Restaurant Review: Northstar Café

Northstar Café on Urbanspoon

I'm not entirely sure why it took me so long to venture into Northstar Café, but I finally did just a few weeks ago, prior to travelling to Michigan for the holiday season. I met one of my closest Denison friends, Amanda, at the Easton Town Center location, where she introduced me to Northstar's wonderfully fresh and deliciously healthy menu (there are actually two, depending on the meal), complete with a cozy, warm vibe throughout the restaurant space. Though it's easy to spend a fair amount rather quickly, I can assure you the quality and experience are certainly worth the cost.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Restaurant Review: Two Pre-Movie Visits to Melt

Melt Bar and Grilled on Urbanspoon

It's not quite summer here in central Ohio. But with the recent releases (and definite favourites of mine) of Catching Fire (trailer) and Frozen (trailer) the dynamism between heat and the wintry weather can coincidentally be felt in Columbus's Short North at the newly installed (1,2), Cleveland-based Melt Bar and Grilled (840 North High St.). Unintentionally, though nevertheless prior to my first viewing of Catching Fire and third viewing of Frozen, I headed over to check out Melt's offerings on two different occasions, with some of my classmates. With the fall term officially ended, I now have the time to share my composite review below.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Because It's Just Better with Bacon: Three Thanksgiving Side Dishes for 2013

Greetings, Foodies and Food Fans of the Blogosphere! Somehow the end of my first semester in graduate school has arrived and with it comes the rather hectic week of finals. That said, I need to take a quick break from all that to make a fun announcement (and finally get this post published). If you haven't seen via Facebook, LearningthroughFood has recently been catalogued on Very Good Recipes's website (linked here). Soon after, I signed on to join VGR webmaster Stéphane Gigandet (who recently launched http://openfoodfacts.org) and eleven other food bloggers from around the world as a judge for VGR's "Christmas Menu" recipe challenge which opened up earlier today! But before I get to that, I wanted to share with you my entries into VGR's "Thanksgiving Your Way" challenge (which you could join as well, until the 7th: http://verygoodrecipes.com/thanksgiving-challenge).

Thursday, 21 November 2013

(Micro)Brewing Community in Columbus

Last Thursday, I had the fortunate opportunity to join Jim Ellison (a.k.a. CMH Gourmand, and Co-Owner and Tour Coordinator of Columbus Brew Adventures) and 13 others on a brewery tour in the microbrewing district of Grandview. Begun just this past September, van fulls of folks have participated in one or more of CBA's six public tours, including voyages to Granville and Athens. The Grandview tour took us to four different sites, where we tasted over a dozen local brews and especially learned through drink.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Oh là là là ! La Chatelaine of Dublin, OH

La Chatelaine French Bakery on Urbanspoon

We stepped into a rather charming-looking restaurant, a tri-colored flag posted prominently on its façade. Inside, the temperature rose considerably from the crisp autumn winds; clearly the wintry weather was hitting central Ohio early this year. Around the interior were a series of menus, all of which indicated familiar names and harkened back to memories from trips past. My speech began to take on a dual persona as I transitioned into French mode, my ears quickly acclimating to the music playing on the speaker system (this must be a live, streaming radio station I recalled). The Dublin, OH, location of La Chatelaine instantly became a place of homey comfort.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Autumn Apples and Foodie Fun on the Farm

Last Sunday, the composite aroma from light dustings of cinnamon mingling with warm, buttery caramel and natural sugars from the interplay of cooked down Melrose, Rome, and Suncrisp apples filled my kitchen as I took out my first attempt at tarte tain out of the oven. A few weeks prior, in the midst of midterms, I joined some of my anthro friends at Lynd Fruit Farm (Pataskala, OH) to pick apples, get through a superhero-themed maize maze, and select a pumpkin for last Saturday's pumpkin carving party hosted by Erin and Tim. (Unfortunately, the original pumpkin I picked didn't make it to the party.) With about 12 pounds of apples, a few more than I knew what to do with, I settled on trying my hand at creating my own rendition of the aforementioned "accidental" [1,2] dessert for Bluescreek Farm Meat's ox roast and potluck on their Marysville farm.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Slow Money Saturday: Brunch and Community-Building Continues at The Crest

The Crest Gastropub on Urbanspoon 

As I was preparing to set my fingers to the keyboard to write this post, something caught my ear as I once again randomly caught a cooking-themed episode of "Charlie Rose." Executive Chef of The French Laundry Thomas Keller said something to the effect of a goal of today's restaurants is to give customers an experience. Restaurants are a place of community and it's there where many memories are made. Somewhere between what stuck out and my own transformation of an already loose interpretation and tired memory (an ethnographic feature when you don't have a recorder, I suppose), I found the James Beard Award-winning chef's comments to aptly capture everything I am about to write. If you choose to stop reading at the end of this sentence, the summary is thus: The Crest Gastropub, alongside every restaurant and foodie event about which I have ever blogged, and will one day blog, strives to give customers an experience.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Music and Food: The Phillip Fox Band and Two Food Experiences in Central Ohio

What do the 2013 Ohio Food Truck Festival and The Granville Inn on every third Thursday of the month have in common? The Phillip Fox Band, of course (okay, technically two of the band members)! On Sunday, September 29th, I made my way over to the latter half of the Ohio Food Truck Festival which took place on the grounds of Ohio Village (the same location of the Country Living Fair I attended last month). It was there that I first heard the proclaimed "country-fried rock'n' roll" persona of the central Ohio-based group, led by native Detroiter Phillip Fox. Fast forward to the more recent present, and yesterday I went to Granville for a quick evening visit to the Inn's Acorn Pub to hear Phillip and Toledo native Jonathan Kampfe, together known as the Phillip Fox Acoustic Duo. Highlighted briefly then are my dining experiences, set to the tunes of local music.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

My 25th Birthday and a Return to the Blogosphere

Worthington Inn on Urbanspoon

Late night greetings, my foodie friends among you! I cannot believe it has been over a month since my last blog post, though I am most definitely going to pull out my I'm-in-grad-school card. (We will see just how many times it takes before that excuse gets worn out.) In any case, the next few days are quickly going to be particularly foodie-filled. This has prompted me to consider an attempt to catch you up on the past month. I do wish I had more time to give all my food experiences their due justice, but c'est la vie. This being said, I would like to kick things off with this first return post (of perhaps four or five): a Slow Food Columbus "Off the Menu" dinner at The Worthington Inn (which coincidentally timed perfectly with my 25th birthday... wow, time is flying by!).

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Saturday Recap: A Day at the Country Living Fair

As I took my first bites of a pulled pork barbecue sandwich, I heard the following from a nearby table: "This is the sixth one. Where have we been all this time? And did you see the individual carts? Clearly we weren't prepared. This year's just the practice round for us anyway." Yesterday was day two of Country Living Magazine's annual fair, which has apparently taken place in Columbus for the past six years. Also to be held in Atlanta, GA (October 2013), and Rhinebeck, NY (June 2014), this weekend's fair--or at least day two of it--brought in an amazing array of talent, ingenuity, and diversity, as well as a great deal of personality. Though I know this post won't do the fair much justice (let alone my own experience), here is but a taste of what went down in this section of Columbus.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Back at The Crest: An Anthropological Experience

The Crest Gastropub (Clintonville)
The Crest Gastropub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

If you haven't been able to tell, I am a huge fan of The Crest. And yesterday's event solidified that fact even more for me, as if it had much further to go. The sun was shining and the weather was near perfect. I made my way up Crestview and stopped at the restaurant to my right, a general crowd already filling up the interior space. After a little over a week planning for yesterday's happy hour with Chef Dustin and Abed, one of the first things I'm told is that a special keg was brought in for us: a "neolithic" beer for anyone who was interested in trying it. (Let's just say there's a pretty good chance of that happening with a group of anthropologists.) Alongside an "anthropology-themed" menu I, and perhaps quite a few of my anthropology colleagues, have practically been drooling over since it was released, it was in that moment that I fully realised just how much of a great time our first happy hour of the year was going to be.

Monday, 2 September 2013

August Beer Dinner at The Crest Gastropub

The Crest Gastropub on Urbanspoon

Barely a connoisseur of wine, I was both intrigued by--and eager to learn from--the proposition of a beer dinner. The dinner, my notes from which I'd like to share below, was prepared at the transparent and philosophically- and intellectually-charged Clintonville staple The Crest Gastropub. Rooted and inspired by the triple bottom line of sustainability ("environmental, economic, social," also defined as "people, planet, profit", [2]), which I also included in my initial review of The Crest, the entire team continues to gradually teach the general public about this approach to cooking, eating, and business management, without complicating the menu or throwing it in their faces. This third beer dinner, paired with beers brewed locally by Seventh Son Brewing Co., was another perfect example of how we can all do our best as we strive for the sustainable, and certainly tasty, ideal.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Back in Business! (And Busier than Ever)

Oh là là ! It's been a while, eh? For those of you who don't know, I most recently came back from a five-week program via the Experiment in International Living, a return trip to France focusing this time around on language and cooking. I know I'm still far behind on even my first international leadership experience from a few years ago, so for the meantime I'll defer to letting my many photos (linked at the end of this post) do the talking.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Another Planned Hiatus: Summer 2013

Greetings, dear Reader! This is a very quick post (albeit one intended to have been posted earlier) to note that once again I'll be heading back to France for much of the summer and as such may not be posting as frequently as I'd otherwise like (if at all). That being said, my co-leader Jess and I will soon be on a remarkable program via The Experiment in International Living; our program: "Mastering the Art of French Cuisine: Language and Cooking." I'm pretty sure I'll have a lot to share when I get back!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Dining with Sass at Surly Girl Saloon

Surly Girl Saloon on Urbanspoon

Greetings, Reader! It seems that this is the last blog post I'll be writing from my residence here in Granville, as by tomorrow's end I'll be completely moved out and back in Michigan for a bit before heading to Vermont and then to much beloved France for the majority of the summer. With this being said, I want to share with you my experience last night at the Surly Girl Saloon, located in one of my favourite areas of Columbus, the Short North.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Pork or Pork?: Serving up Red Wattle Hogs at the Downtown Luau

Hosted by The Hills Market Downtown and neighbouring Grass Skirt Tiki Bar, the Downtown Luau was one of quite a few events (at least 68) scheduled for this weekend.
On Friday evening, Slow Food Columbus's Chairman of the Board Bear Braumoeller joined butcher Tim Struble from Columbus's North Market and pitmaster Jim Budros (co-founder of Columbus's City Barbeque) in preparing and cooking two hogs for Columbus's Downtown Luau. But these weren't just any hogs, they were Red Wattle hogs, an Ark of Taste food in danger of extinction. Red Wattles are currently listed as "critically endangered," with less than 200 annual registrations and less than 2000 in existence around the world. With the biodiversity of our food system continuing to dwindle, it's becoming more and more important to reverse the trend by creating a demand for them; without it, there's no reason for a shop to source them and by extension for farmers to raise them. Yesterday's luau provided a wonderful opportunity to not only showcase the hogs, but to also foster a communal, Columbus celebration of food, drink and the upcoming start of summer.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Desserts for/with/after Lunch: Take Your Pick

I found out this morning from Jack, one of my faculty foodie friends, that today was National Donut Day. As was the case for this site, something didn’t seem right, as I remembered celebrating donuts during a previous autumn. Then again, why only celebrate food 25% of the year? After a brief search (and continued research for this post), I learned there’s a difference between today’s holiday and that which is celebrated on November 5th. Celebrated every first Friday of June (coincidentally, this year just after the national anniversary celebration of D-Day), National Donut Day was begun in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army not only as a much-needed fund raiser during the Great Depression, but as a celebration and commemoration of the “Lassies," female volunteers who brought food and morale boosts to the front line troops during WWI.  By contrast, the November 5th food holiday is National Doughnut Day (aka, Doughnut Appreciation Day), which celebrates the foodstuff (and which I think would be the more appropriate time to promote free donuts, especially if the promotion doesn't include the history; oh, the irony). Rooted in Europe and first referred to in writing in Washington Irving's 1809 text A History of New York (in which he writes of "sweetened dough, fried in hog's fat"-- no wonder I'm drawn to these), donuts were sought after by troops longing for the fried treats that were being served in France (as mentioned in the above clip). Well, whichever way you spell it and whenever you choose to neglect any sense of a diet (or perhaps even to reward yourself), fried dough is definitely something I can enjoy on any day ending in “y” and today was no exception. Thankfully, Sarah, a constant cheerleader and supporter from across the Academic Quad, was willing to join me in an extended lunchtime exploration of the local food scene, complete with donuts... and key lime pie. (All in the name of proper research, of course!)

Monday, 27 May 2013

A New Recipe Experiment: Cinnamon and Cayenne Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Salted Cookies

It's not often I present a stand-alone recipe on this blog, but here's a pretty good one for you. Yesterday, I went back to Columbus for a combined Arrested Development premiere party and birthday celebration for Phillip, an OSU cultural anthro grad student who I had met during my campus visit back in March. Among his confirmed guest list were Lisa (a fellow blogger and cultural anthropologist.. as noted at one point, we outnumbered the non-cultural anthro folks, an apparent rarity) who was baking this delicious cake (I especially loved the mango jam) and Abby (a bioarchaeologist who was bringing chocolate covered frozen bananas). All I knew until Sunday morning was that I was also bringing a bottle of red wine. Eventually, I settled on baking cookies that needed to include chocolate (to match the red and because I love chocolate), spice (to complement the wine notes) and salt (to enhance the chocolate). A winning combination, no? Well, that was yet to be determined; I could only hope that these theoretically classic pairings would work together. Here we go with trial test #1.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

An Impromptu Return to The Crest Gastropub

The Crest Gastropub on Urbanspoon

Nearly one month ago, The Crest Gastropub officially opened in Clintonville. At the time of its opening, which I attended and subsequently wrote about, I knew that I had to return and build on the previous write up to include a more proper review of the food. And so, when the opportunity to dine at The Crest presented itself this weekend, I had a feeling it was the right place to be, you know? (Two points to those who understand the reference.) To backtrack a little, I met up with my soon-to-be-roommate Alex (my faculty friend Amanda's step daughter) in Columbus and finally took on the physical search for an apartment for the fall. We had made it through our only scheduled appointments for the morning when Hunger hit at brunch/lunch time, at which time none other than The Crest was in sight. Thankfully it didn't take much convincing to head over to The Crest, especially as Alex had also heard nothing but good reviews from her circles. The final review, if you'd prefer to bypass the descriptions below: you won't be disappointed (or at least, you shouldn't be). Keep reading though, if nothing else for the pictures.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Another Scoop of Success: Opening Day of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Easton

Jeni's Ice Creams on Urbanspoon

It wasn't until about six months after my move to Granville that I had my first tastes of the eclectic flavour combinations coming from the first branch of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, located in Columbus's North Market. And since that inevitable day back in April 2011, I have continued to support and enjoy the results of James Beard Award winner and Slow Food Columbus Central Ohio Terra Madre delegate Jeni Britton Bauer's creative and entrepreneurial spirit. This past Thursday, and despite the windy and very rainy weather, it was evident that the 200+ others (in my estimation) who literally braved the storm and remained in line were also there to support both Jeni and her ice creams, being among the first to do so on opening day of the new scoop shop at Easton.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

In Recognition: A Cross-Cultural Gastronomic Tour

Greetings from Granville, dear Reader! As I look back at the date of my last post, it's quite striking how quickly time is flying by here on the Hill. Denison's Commencement exercises were held earlier this month, I participated in my final Division meeting (and a great potluck that followed) and I recently returned from a trip this past weekend back home to celebrate my parents' 30th wedding anniversary. Amidst all of the celebrating with colleagues, friends and family over the past few weeks, food was, of course, a central piece. And last night, the same was also true. For those of you who don't know, I've been living this past academic year across the street from Denison's outgoing (literally and figuratively!) President Dale Knobel, who will be retiring with his wife Tina after 15 years of service to the University. I had at some point last semester mentioned to him that one of my bucket list items before we both leave Denison was for me to cook for both of them. A few changes in date later, and with the help of the CCCE, our dinner finally came to fruition. It was certainly a relaxed dinner both in celebration and appreciation for everything the Knobels have done for Denison and especially for our office. Concurrently, for me it was also an opportunity to reflect on the myriad food and culture programmes and foodie experiences that I have enjoyed and which have cultivated my interest in food studies over the last 31 months. On our menu: white wine apéritif, with selections of cheese, fruit and crudités; Lyonnaise-inspired salad; carne asado with chimichurri sauce and roasted garlic mashed potatoes; pancit canton; zucchini chocolate mocha cake with buttercream frosting and strawberries; and beskuit, with coffee and rooibos tea.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

CCCE "Farewell" Dinner at Gallerie Bar & Bistro

Gallerie Bar & Bistro on Urbanspoon

I learned way back in November that a new restaurant had entered downtown Columbus and had brought with it "French dining." And despite it automatically being placed toward (if not at) the top of my must-try list, it wasn't until earlier this week that I finally made my way over there. After being prompted by my CCCE family (here, I'm specifically referring to Beth, Erik and Marilyn) to select a restaurant for my farewell dinner, I spent quite some time going back and forth between simply wonderful and consistently rated restaurants throughout Columbus. I found myself, however, returning to Gallerie Bar & Bistro. Perhaps my Provençal-theme cooking demo last Friday with Marlaine or the fact that I'll be returning to France this summer (for the fifth time) to co-lead a program focusing on language and cooking or maybe my deep-rooted attachment to French gastronomy had something to do with that. Whatever the influence(s) may have been, the point is that we found our way to the Arena District, up the spiral staircase pictured above and were seated in a more or less secluded section of the restaurant, within its smart, modern and sophisticated aesthetic which fused so well with the rest of the concurrently built Hilton Columbus Downtown hotel.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Provençal-Inspired Cuisine à la The Seasoned Farmhouse


As I consider the importance of place and space on the diversity and culinary variation of regional French cuisine--in a word, terroir--I often turn to Provence as the first example of rustic, countryside cooking, where dishes are produce-heavy and light, pairing nicely with the sunshine and generally favourable, breezy weather. Provençal cooking as I've experienced it to date is at one end of France's wide gastronomic spectrum. Geography has a lot to do with it of course, including the culinary influences of its neighbours. Provence and southeastern France border northwestern Italy, and are particularly defined by ingredients and cultures of the Mediterranean; equally so, they are influenced by the spices and techniques of North and West Africa. This disposition for olive oil and chickpeas over the arguable prevalence for pork and cow-based dairy products were particularly well highlighted in a cooking demo I attended this past Friday with Marlaine at The Seasoned Farmhouse. Recently opened in Clintonville (the demo we attended was just the third to be held in the new space), this set of programming was created by chef Tricia Wheeler, graduate of the French Culinary Institute of New York and founder of Edible Columbus. And joining her was Shawnie Kelley Foy, author of 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go and owner of Wanderlust Tours. On Friday's menu: Provençal Chickpea Salad, Provençal Summer Herb Bread, and Provençal Herb Pasta. And paired with each dish was a different wine from the Côtes du Rhône appellation.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Life in Granville: An Italian-American Experience

Good evening, dear Reader. I've been under the weather lately and so much of my free time has been spent sleeping. (And for those of you who know me well know that I need to catch up on quite a bit of that..) In any case, I'm feeling much better now and am of course finding quite a bit of comfort through food. And while I have the energy (more so the memory), I wanted to catch you up on a dining experience from last Saturday. I received a call around 11am or so from fellow Gleek and Les Mis singing partner Amanda, who informed me that Elio, Damian and Alex were aiming to replicate for the first time her mother-in-law's recipe for Italian wedding soup, in celebration of Alex's birthday. With an invitation to join them, I went through my mental index of dishes to potential bring over and add to the occasion. For some reason, Italian wedding soup equated to lemons which yielded my first attempt at a limoncello cake with toasted meringue topping.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

First Impressions: Initial Review of The Crest

The Crest Gastropub on Urbanspoon

As I pulled into the parking lot of The Crest Gastropub (1,2), I saw quite a few people enjoying springtime's sunny weather on the outdoor patio. And then I saw Abed who looked to be taking in the moment. I met recent OSU grad Abed and Dublin, OH native Dustin in early March at the annual meeting of Slow Food Columbus. Since then, I've been following the progress of The Crest which officially opened last night (following a successful soft opening last weekend), and of which Abed and his family are the owners and Dustin is head chef. Already, the early and very recent previews (1,2,3) had created positive buzz. That said, my initial review below appears to be one of the first post-opening pieces (at least the first to make its way over to Urbanspoon) to add to that buzz, hopefully providing the curious among you with a peek of what the experience was like in full force.

Cooking for the CCCE Staff: Spring 2013 Dinner

We've now reached the final days of the academic year and yet somehow the number of programs has been increasing, students are spending many more hours writing up final papers, and reviews and assessments are keeping more and more folks in the office. Amidst all of this, most of our staff was able to find a small window to enjoy a break and a meal, and of course the company through which food brought us together. On our menu: grape tomato and orange bell pepper salad with orange vinaigrette, blueberry salad with feta, muesli and citrus infused olive oil, handmade whole wheat tagliatelle with fresh marina, Italian dressing chicken, baguette toasts with pasta sauce and shredded cheese, Italian cheese trio (perline mozzarella fresca, grated parmesan and ricotta, blue, and for dessert dark chocolate mocha cake with Whit's frozen custards.

Friday, 26 April 2013

FCC Field Study Trip: Part III (Dayton)

Rue Dumaine on Urbanspoon

Following our visits to Cincinnati and Fairfield, our Food and Culture Colloquium field study trip group headed about 40 minutes north to Rue Dumaine in Dayton, where both their Americanised take on regional French (Provençal) cuisine restaurant and their emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients caught my attention.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

FCC Field Study Trip: Part II (Fairfield)

It took less than an hour from Findlay Market and our first stop in Cincinnati to get to the original, Fairfield location of Jungle Jim's International Market (there's a second, recently opened location in Eastgate). I've been to Jungle Jim's only once (this past August, as part of my visit to Cincy) and even then it was an overwhelming experience. This time around, we only had a little over two hours to explore the six acres of space, an establishment that I affectionately refer to as the Toys 'R Us for foodies. As most of our field study trip participants had never been to Jungle Jim's, and since there are no guided tours on weekends (because of the high volume), I put together a brief scavenger hunt that guided them through the market. Below, you'll find the scavenger hunt script, along with accompanying site photos to introduce you to different areas of the market. Of course, for the true Jungle Jim's experience, I'd encourage you to check out the market the next time you're in the area!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

FCC Field Study Trip: Part I (Cincinnati)

Following the conclusion last Wednesday of the modules and practicums of this year's Food and Culture Colloquium, the much-anticipated field study trip to Southwest Ohio finally arrived this past Saturday. The trip, eight months in the making, served as the capstone event to the Colloquium and brought us to Findlay Market in Cincinnati, Jungle Jim's International Market in Fairfield and Rue Dumaine in Dayton. Presented in three separate posts, this one shall serve as a brief overview of the first third of our "more than a foodie" experience.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

FCC: The Final Four (Modules 21-24)

I can't believe the flyer I put up back in September has remained the entire academic year!
In the spirit of the recent conclusion of March Madness, or rather in actuality because of the madness that is April in academia, I present to you in this post brief recaps of the final four modules of the 2012-2013 Food and Culture Colloquium at Denison University. Of course, the ideal situation would be that I have tons of time (and energy) to write up much more in-depth recaps as I've done for the first 20 modules (search: FCC) and our six In the Kitchen practicums (search: ITKP). Having said this, and knowing full well these recaps won't do justice to these presentations, I hope these turn out to be enticing enough appetizers to tide you over until the recorded video sessions of all of our modules have been posted on-line.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Food and Culture Programme: College Cuisine

On and around the Hill, it's becoming more and more difficult to deny the fact I'll be heading out at the end of the academic year. And indeed the list of lasts [for now] seems to be getting checked off quicker than I'd like. One of these items is the last food and culture program in a residence hall, which took place this past Monday in East Hall with RA Jaime and her residents. On our "An Italian Affair" menu (the planned budget of which was $60 for 20 people): handmade whole wheat tagliatelle with roasted vegetables, handmade dunderi with fresh pesto al'Amalfitana, Italian dressing chicken, handmade lemon meringue cookies with raspberry sherbet, and fresh lemonade with strawberry coulis.

Monday, 15 April 2013

A Second Entry: Books2Eat 2013

My 2013 Books2Eat entry: "Luck of the Draw"
Throughout my short time at Denison, I have participated in a fair number of Denisonian traditions and annual events. One of the most creative and tastiest of these is the Books2Eat Festival held in the Library and indeed all over the world. Last year, I was unable to participate as I was in Virginia for the French Film Festival, but this year I was able to follow up on my "Best of Show" win from 2011. With little time ahead of me (as I had arrived home on the evening of Easter and the contest was the following Monday, April 1st), I garnered up some energy and prepared myself for a handful (or two) of hours baking, painting and finessing my entry for Denison's 10th Festival. Similar to my 2011 entry, I focused my attention on another book replication: Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, one of my favourite high school texts.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Living a Foodie Kind of Life: Boston, Monday (3/25)

Two weeks ago today (wow, time has flown by!), I awoke with the last day of my recent trip to Boston ahead of me. Back on Thursday, Jared had suggested I visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum where he and his roommate, friend and fellow opera singer Roland also work (in Café G, that is). After making a quick visit back to BU to learn more about Metropolitan College's Gastronomy program, I headed over to the museum. I got there a bit too early and found out that they don't open until 11am. I certainly didn't mind waiting, especially with Monday's weather being one of the most favourable of my entire visit. Indeed, Monday was a great day for the museum and especially one such as this. As far as the museum went, my favourite part had to be the garden around which it seemed the rest of the museum had been built. The plants throughout the museum were very well integrated (literally giving life to the museum) and not having known what kind of artwork to expect, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the familiar religious themes and artwork I had previously studied as part of my limited art history training at Albion. Walking away with relatively few photos (cameras aren't allowed in most of the museum), I left the museum filled and reinvigorated by its energy and the food of Café G, where cameras are allowed and where mine was definitely in use.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Living a Foodie Kind of Life: Boston, Sunday (3/24)

After attending Mass at St Mary of the Assumption, Jillian met up with me at the church and we headed to Trader Joe's and Stop & Shop to purchase ingredients for the menu we had been building with Christina since Friday evening. (An aside: the stark difference between the two sites offers quite an interesting comparative case study in terms of the access, availability and value of food across lines of difference.) In the end, we got most everything on our list, except for the important ingredient for my signature finale course. No matter.. As The Next Iron Chef competitions have demonstrated over the years, adaptability and improvisation are among the essential traits one should aim to hone. On our French-inspired menu: salade Niçoise, coq au vin, plat aux fromages, and brownie avec caramel salé et bacon. This being said, allez cuisine !

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Restaurant Review: Alfie's Wholesome Food

Alfie's on Urbanspoon

Greetings, fellow Foodie (or Foodie-in-Training)! I'm taking a slight break from my series of Boston posts to inform you of a new restaurant that recently rolled into town and opened today, with the proclaimed mission that it would "connect people to what they eat and each other by being the community’s best place for food." Well, that restaurant is Alfie's Wholesome Food of which CCA-trained Chef/Owner Sam Dodge has made his small business vision a reality. Located in the "cute" village of Granville, Alfie's officially opened this past Tuesday. The Grand Opening took place today, beckoning Granvillians and area folks to check out what this addition to Granville is all about.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Living a Foodie Kind of Life: Boston, Saturday (3/23)

By some Bostonian influence/magic, I got up early on Saturday and made it in time to the ESS conference site for an 8.30am session (which would turn out to be my last session of this year's annual meeting) on the (de)construction of ethnic identity. After practicing some restraint by not buying nearly every book of interest at the book exhibit, I eventually met up with Cheryl, a theatre professor at Denison, who also happened to be in Boston that same weekend. As has been the common thread in this series of posts (and will continue as such), we began our journey in search of food.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Living a Foodie Kind of Life: Boston, Friday (3/22)

Following a very full day on Thursday, I woke up Friday with a rush of enthusiasm for the even fuller day ahead. The Eastern Sociological Society's first ever Mini Conference on Food Studies--a testament, in my opinion, to the growing recognition and acceptance of food studies as a viable and relevant field in academia--had finally arrived. Without going into too much detail here, this mini conference (organised by Barbara Katz Rothman and Alexandrea Ravenelle from City University of New York) was divided into four back-to-back sessions, each focusing on a different intersection with food. I was part of the first panel which addressed food as a tool for learning and teaching, specifically from the angles of ethnography (Richard Ocejo and Connor Fitzmaurice) and pedagogy (me and Helaine Harris). My paper focused on the food and culture programs and research I have led over the last year and a half or so at Denison, leading up to our Food and Culture Colloquium. Subsequent sessions focused on food as a tool for social control, as a tool for constructing ethnic identity, and as a tool for media representations. To have been fortunate to dream up and construct my own understanding of food identity, and to create a tangible mechanism for seeking to understand the connection between food and culture, continues to be an important highlight of my professional journey to date. To have been fortunate to engage with others who are going through similar processes has helped me in this orientation, to further recognise that we're all still learning through and with food. Now, after a full day of this (14 presentations within a span of 7 hours), and with a quick snack run to Au Bon Pain, I was ready to take it easy for the evening. For me, of course that more often than not involves cooking and the consumption of food.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Living a Foodie Kind of Life: Boston, Thursday (3/21)

Greetings from Southfield! This week has been wicked hectic as of late, having just recently returned from my long anticipated trip to Boston for the Eastern Sociological Society's annual meeting. After an extremely short time this week in the office, I headed over to The Ohio State University for a fellowship nominee visit to campus and am now home for the Easter break. Before I get too far behind (or at least further behind than I already am as of this post) and write about this past week's Food and Culture Colloquium module, I wanted to be sure I transferred my food adventures throughout Boston into blog form. I've been debating on how I should structure this series of posts and have elected to break it up into five separate posts, one for each of my very packed days. And so, read on at your leisure for Thursday, March 21st.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Restaurant Review: Vinsetta Garage

Vinsetta Garage on Urbanspoon

Late night greetings, dear Reader! I know I have a ton of blogging still to catch up on, but I did want to make sure I got this one written sooner rather than later. Opened in 2011 along Woodward Ave in Berkley, MI, Vinsetta Garage (not to be confused by nearby Vinsetta Grill) proclaims a byline on its neon signage which reads "Custom Detroit Eats". I had been prompted this weekend to check out the restaurant after I learned that one of my childhood friends, John, was working there. And since I do love food and happen to be home for Easter weekend, this evening was as perfect a time as any to see what this local dive (apparently site of the oldest garage east of the Mississippi) was all about.