- Full Title: Beach Bum Berry Remixed
- Autor: Jeff Berry
- Print Length: 248 pages
- Publisher: SLG Publishing; 2 edition
- Publication Date: 2009
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1593621396
- ISBN-13: 978-1593621391
- Download File Format | Size: pdf | 18,65 Mb
anapés + cocktails
Quick-cook canapé crostini
Crispy, crunchy chicken strips with honey mustard dip
Pancetta & Parmesan puffs
Crunchy black pepper halloumi dip sticks with harissa hummus
Naughty, naughty nachos
Lemoncello jello shots
Watermelon jello shots
Strawberry & mint mojitos
Starters, snacks + soups
Vegetarian mushroom & port ‘faux gras’ with tarragon & chestnuts
Pizza expressed three ways
Aussie sweetcorn breakfast fritters with avocado & rocket salad & sweet chilli jam
Simple salmon ceviche with tortilla chips
Gingerbread pancakes with Parma ham & maple syrup
Roasted new patatas & chorizo bravas with aïoli
Potato & leek vichyssoise with crispy bacon & chives
Thai chicken soup with coconut milk & ginger
Hot-and-sour king prawn soup
Red pepper, tomato & basil gazpacho with salt & pepper croutons
Broccoli & blue cheese soup with chive mascarpone & warm garlic bread
French onion & sage soup with big fat Gruyère & mustard croutons
Mango, feta & avocado salad with fresh lime juice
Wild Waldorf salad with toasted walnuts & Granny Smiths
Courgette ‘pappardelle’ with asparagus, avocado salad & rocket
Thai beef salad with roasted peanuts & chilli dressing
Prawn Caesar salad with olive oil croutons & pomegranates
Mackerel salad with horseradish crème fraîche
Nifty Niçoise salad with hot-smoked trout & sundried tomatoes
The Union cobb
Chicken + duck mains
Whole roast perky peri peri chicken
Really simple Sri Lankan chicken curry with coconut milk & cashew nut rice
Baked jerk chicken with pineapple salsa, coconut rice & beans
Sticky Asian BBQ chicken wings with sweetcorn rice & red cabbage slaw
My take on chicken tikka masala with fluffy basmati rice
Tandoori chicken wraps with cucumber raita & mango salsa
Scrumptious spicy chicken fajitas with guacamole, salsa & sour cream
Chicken cacciatore with harissa, bacon & rosemary
Chicken, apple & cider casserole with fennel seed roasted veg
Five-spice roasted duck breasts with cherry & Shiraz sauce & sesame noodles
Beef, lamb + pork mains
Good old-fashioned burger with rocket, red onions (plus all the trimmings) & garlicky potato wedges
Rich rump steak ‘sort-of-stew’ with port, porcini & herby dumplings
Rosemary roast cottage pie with a crispy rosti topping
Thai red beef curry with jasmine rice
The mighty moussaka
Maple and balsamic-glazed lamb chops with mint, toasted almonds & feta cous cous
Lozza’s lamb biryani
Slow-roast, fast-prep leg of lamb with Aussie Chardonnay, rosemary, sage & bay
Sweet & sour pork balls with crunchy peanut rice
Tasty tarragon pork steaks with creamy mustard mushroom sauce & spring onion champ
Pan-fried pork chops with a watercress, peach & Stilton salad & a lemon ginger dressing
Dad’s penne all’arrabbiata with crispy pancetta & basil
Fish + shellfish mains
Tapenade-crusted cod on a bed of crunchy ciabatta, tomato & basil
Blackened Cajun cod burgers with aïoli & paprika baked potato wedges
Buttered fish with roasted ginger butternut squash & pancetta petits pois
Moroccan pesto fish with caramelised onions & haricot beans served with minty pine nut cous cous
Pan-fried sea bass with basil & pine nut sweet veggie sauce & rosemary sautéed potatoes
Prawn linguine with chorizo & Cabernet tomato sauce
Tin foil Thai trout with red pepper noodles
Hot-smoked trout kedgeree with spring onions & basil
Seared tuna steaks with cannellini beans, feta & mint
Warm salmon & lentils with chorizo, asparagus & a balsamic dressing
Salmon saltimbocca with gremolata potatoes & crispy sage leaves
Filo salmon en croute with basil & curly kale pesto & pesto potatoes
Honey soy-glazed salmon with sesame & ginger noodles & stir-fried bok choy
Goat’s cheese, toasted hazelnut & honey quesadillas with rocket salad
Butternut & sweet potato lasagne with sage, toasted pine nuts & nutmeg
Greek spinach, feta & pine nut pie with dill & crunchy filo
Spicy bean burgers with corn cous cous & coriander lime crème fraîche
Sweet potato tortilla with jalapeños & dill
Pan-fried mascarpone gnocchi with dreamy basil pesto
Cakes + puds
Little warm Bramley apple pies or ‘chaussons aux pommes’
Rum punch roast pears, figs & peaches with toasted hazelnuts & vanilla crème fraîche
Neat-and-tidy Eton mess with blackberries & stem ginger whipped cream
Chocolate mousse with raspberries
Strawberry & cream mini cakes with chocolate drizzle strawberries
Pear, almond & amaretto tart with stem ginger mascarpone cream
Doorstop vanilla cheesecake
Dulce & banana cake
Simply coffee, vanilla & walnut cake
Lemon & lime poppy seed drizzle cake
Let them eat cake, cake
Crouching tiger, hidden zebra cake
Bread + pastr
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⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ small fennel bulb, shaved (about½ cup/2 oz/60 g), plus 1 Tbsp fennel fronds
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) dry rosé wine
¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
In a mortar using a pestle, grind together the fennel seeds, peppercorns, ¼ tsp salt, and red pepper flakes until coarsely ground.
Place 1 chicken breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a meat mallet until evenly flattened to ½ inch (12 mm) thick. Repeat with the second chicken breast.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tsp of the oil. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts evenly with the fennel seed mixture. Cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, 3–4 minutes on each side.
Meanwhile, stir together the shaved fennel, chives, parsley, fennel fronds, lemon juice, and the remaining oil in a medium bowl and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Transfer the chicken breasts to warmed plates. Add the wine and broth to the frying pan and simmer until reduced by about half, about 1 minute. Pour the pan juices over the chicken and top each with some of the fennel-herb salad, dividing evenly, and serve.
Spain’s iconic egg-and-potato omelet can be served directly from the frying pan on winter nights or at room temperature on summer days. The tricky part of preparing this dish is flipping the omelet. Iberian cooks typically use a special hinged pan that simplifies the flip. But any large, flat plate or lid, handled carefully, will get the job done.
SPANISH TORTILLA WITH LEEKS
7 Tbsp (3½ fl oz/105 ml) olive oil
1½ lb (750 g) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into slices ⅛ inch (3 mm) thick
1 leek, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
3 eggs, plus 3 egg whites Salt
In a frying pan, warm 5 Tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the potato and leek mixture to a colander to drain. Wipe out the pan.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, egg whites, and 1 tsp salt. Gently stir in the potatoes and leeks.
In the frying pan, warm the remaining 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add the potato-egg mixture, press it into a thick cake with a spatula, and cook until set, about 5 minutes, adjusting the heat to prevent scorching. Loosen the tortilla by working the spatula under it, then continue to cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the bottom is well browned, about 5 minutes more.
Slide the tortilla onto a large, flat plate. Invert the pan over it and carefully turn the pan and plate together. Return the pan to the stove top and continue to cook the tortilla until the second side is browned, about 5 minutes.
Slide the tortilla onto a platter and let stand for at least 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
Tri-tip is a full-flavored cut that remains juicy and moist even when trimmed of fat. Brussels sprouts boast an equally bold flavor to complement the beef. To round out your plate, roast baby potatoes at the same time as the vegetables.
SPICED TRI-TIP WITH ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
2 lb (1 kg) beef tri-tip, trimmed of fat
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2¼ tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp cayenne pepper
3½ Tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 lb (500 g) brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
¾ lb (375 g) small shallots, halved lengthwise, plus 1 large shallot, minced
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, plus 2 tsp
½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) dry vermouth
½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) low-sodium beef or chicken broth
2 tsp unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Season the beef with salt and pepper, and place on a baking rack set in a shallow roasting pan.
Mix together 2 tsp of the paprika, 1 tsp of the caraway seeds, ½ tsp of the marjoram, the mustard, and cayenne. Mix in 1 Tbsp of the oil, then rub the mixture all over the beef. Oil a large baking pan and add the brussels sprouts, halved shallots, the 1 Tbsp soy sauce, plus the remaining 2½ Tbsp oil, 1 tsp caraway seeds, and 1 tsp marjoram. Mix to coat. Roast the beef and vegetables until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the beef registers 120°F (49°C) for rare, about 20 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Roast the vegetables until tender and browned, about 25 minutes. Remove the beef from the oven, transfer to a warmed platter, tent with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Spoon 1 Tbsp fat from the roasting pan into a saucepan over medium heat; discard the remaining fat. Add the minced
special tea, home brew shop, wine bar, meatless meals, easy fruit smoothie recipes,
d to rice. In the Basque country, I went crazy for pinxtos, the ornate local version of tapas. In Catalonia I marveled at the Mediterranean grace of the coastal cocina and at the intriguing inland combinations like salt cod with honey or rabbit with chocolate. In Andalusia I ate my way through an encyclopedia of gazpachos and stayed up until madrugada (dawn) gulping sherry at smoky flamenco dives.
Besotted by Spain and its cuisine, I returned again and again—making pilgrimages to markets, fried fish shacks, and sausage shops; to countryside cider houses for fizzy apple brew and rare chuletas—T-bones, charred and thick as an airport novel; up to hilltop villages for roast baby pig with the crispest of skins; along rocky coastal roads to seafood hideaways for pristine langoustines and Europe’s best salt-baked fish. Between meals I zipped from one crowded tapas bar to the next, comparing their crispy patatas bravas and garlicky shrimp. Addictive—but back in those days, Spain still had a one-note cuisine, elegant in its austerity but somehow lost in a time-warp.
Over the years, I have watched as Spain transformed itself from an almost archaic Mediterranean culture into a European capital of style and design. Yet despite its thrust into modernity, the country has kept globalization at bay, retaining the authenticity that seduced me in the first place. And something truly extraordinary has happened—fostered by a desire to break with the past: The boom that gripped Spanish cultural life after Franco, producing figures like filmmaker Pedro Almódovar, has taken hold in Spanish kitchens. “Eating well is part of our new freedom, it has made us feel modern,” says my friend José Carlos Capel, the influential food critic for Madrid’s El País newspaper.
New Spanish cuisine was conceived in the belle époque Basque resort of San Sebastián in the late 1970s. Impressed by the vibrant delicacy of revolutionary nouvelle cuisine across the border in France, a group of Basque chefs that included Juan Mari Arzak and Pedro Subijana decided to stage their own revolution. The result was nueva cocina vasca, or new Basque cuisine—a lighter, fresher, prettier, unapologetically modern style, both cutting edge and solidly grounded in Basque ingredients and traditions. It wasn’t a coincidence that these first innovations took place in the Basque province of Guipuzcua, the most food-centric corner of Europe, that today boasts an improbably high concentration of Michelin stars. Nueva cocina soon spread across Spain, giving rise to new modern regional styles.
And then something radical happened. A self-taught Catalan genius named Ferran Adrià arrived on the scene. I had my first meal at Adrià’s restaurant, El Bulli, in 1997, the year that he was awarded his third Michelin star and hailed by the great French chef Joel Robuchon as “the best cook on the planet.” To get to El Bulli from the Catalan resort town of Rosas, I drove up the world’s most treacherous, pot-holed dirt road. Though Adrià was already creating a stir in the food circles, El Bulli’s whitewashed dining room was nearly empty when I arrived for lunch. (Today the restaurant gets around 300,000 early reservation requests and the chances of scoring a table without one are practically zero.) While enjoying aperitifs on the terrace, I looked down on a villa above a picturesque cove, inhaling the scent of Mediterranean fir trees. But that’s where the familiar gave way to the uncanny.
My degustation menu unfolded in a series of edible whimsies, each dish a nose-thumbing to convention. Some of the amuse-gueules—a Parmesan ice-cream sandwich, a poached quail egg in a caramel cage—introduced the concept of dessert-as-dinner. Another Daliesque provocation was “smoke foam,” a mousse made from water that had been smoked over burning wood. The rest of the meal? Egg-yolk sabayon with whipped cream and hazelnut vanilla sauce (a savory appetizer!). A garlicky ice cream of ajo blanco (an Andalusian almond gazpacho). Cuttlefish-and-coconut ravioli. Sardine roll-ups filled with raspberry froth (“El señor chef is in his ‘foam’ phase,” a waiter confided). Eggplant ravioli stuffed with a yogurt mousse and caramelized with … Fisherman’s Friend (a licorice cough lozenge). The finale was a sculptural contraption holding sublime and outrageous petits fours.
After lunch I had the good fortune to talk with Adrià for hours. I drove away completely under his spell, convinced that Europe’s culinary future belonged to Spain. Almost every year I’ve returned to El Bulli in awe at Adrià’s outrageously inventive thirty-course tasting menus that blend high design with groundbreaking scientific research. A self-proclaimed heir to Salvador Dalí, Adrià keeps developing his iconoclastic vocabulary, spending six months a year at his taller (laboratory) in Barcelona where he experiments with new dishes
meat delivery, homemade birthday cake, wine tasting party, home bakery, good vegan recipes,
ler slow cooker. So for these recipes, such as Hearty Beef Stew or Classic Marinara Sauce, where a smaller slow cooker (like 4 quarts) is an option, you’ll find a longer cooking range to accommodate this. Note also that all the more delicate and exacting recipes using fish and leaner cuts of meat have the shorter time range (and shorter cooking times); we found this narrower range to be more reliable. We recommend that the first time you make one of these recipes you check for doneness at the lower end of the range.
KNOW YOUR SLOW COOKER
While all ovens set to 350 degrees will perform the same (assuming all the ovens are properly calibrated), temperatures vary widely among slow cookers. We tested more than a dozen models and prepared every recipe in this book in two different models. It’s hard to make blanket statements that apply to all slow cookers; some models run hot and fast, while others heat more slowly and gently. In our testing, we have found that some slow cookers run hot or cool on just one of the settings (either low or high). This is where the cook’s experience comes into play. If you have been using a slow cooker for some time, ask yourself if dishes are generally finished cooking at the beginning or at the end of the times provided in the recipes. The answer should tell you whether you have a “fast” slow cooker or a “slow” model. If you are just getting started with your slow cooker, check all recipes at the lower end of the time range, but allow some extra time to cook food longer if necessary. NOTE: To reiterate, all of our recipes were developed using traditional slow cookers. Be aware that there are appliances on the market, such as a multicooker, that have a slow-cooker setting or function but perform very differently and may not produce the same results.
MATCH RECIPES TO SLOW-COOKER SIZES
Slow cookers come in a variety of sizes, from the ridiculously small (1 quart) to the very big (7 quarts or more). In general, we like 6-quart models. That said, we tested our recipes in slow cookers of different sizes. Each recipe in this book includes the size range that will work for that particular recipe, though the majority of the recipes work with 4- to 7-quart slow cookers. Note that some recipes must be made in a large slow cooker (at least 5 quarts) or you run the risk of overfilling the insert. The shape of the slow cooker also matters for some of our recipes: Oval slow cookers are needed to accommodate some roasts, casseroles, braised vegetable dishes, and rice and grains. Some foods just won’t fit in a round slow cooker, and some are more successful due to the greater surface area in the oval type. For example, in the case of rice and grains, an oval slow cooker allows for more even cooking because the rice or grain is spread out more. If you don’t know the size of your slow cooker, check the underside of the insert (where the size is usually stamped), or simply measure how much water it takes to fill the insert to just above the lip.
Test Cook Joe Gitter carefully lowers a 6-inch cake pan containing a Key lime pie into a slow-cooker insert.
KEEP FOOD SAFE
Using a slow cooker is a safe way to cook food, but there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure it is a safe process. First, make sure your slow cooker and your utensils have been properly cleaned. Do not let your meat or fish sit out on the counter for any length of time before adding to the slow cooker. And never put frozen food into your slow cooker, as this greatly increases the risk that your food will not reach a safe bacteria-killing temperature. You should also follow our guidelines in recipes where we specify the doneness temperature of meat, fish, or poultry.
THE AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN GUIDE TO BUYING A SLOW COOKER
A slow cooker promises to be a little fantasy grandmother who sits in the kitchen all day cooking for you, but use the wrong cooker and that dream could fizzle. A cooker might run hotter than expected, drying out the food or turning it mushy, or slower than you want, so dinner isn’t ready when you are. Then there can be issues with hot spots, which make food cook unevenly. And what if operating your machine is so confusing that you have to pore over the manual each time you use it?
To find the ideal machine that would deliver a properly cooked meal and be absolutely simple and intuitive to use, we went shopping. Previous experience taught us that glass lids were a must, as they allow you to see progress without losing heat. So were oval-shaped crocks, as these can accommodate large roasts and offer more versatility than round crocks. We also wanted a generous 6- to 7-quart capacity. With these criteria in mind, we rounded up eight models priced from $39.99 to $148.71.
Slow cookers rely on covered moist-heat cooking, so of course we wanted to evaluate how well each model performed the classic task of turning a tough cut
wedding cake icing, hunan gourmet, gluten free naan, brewings, potato curry,
s out on a non-stick surface until they cool a bit and dry out a little.
Cut phyllo dough into squares and press into greased muffin tins or ramekins. Baste the squares with a little oil or melted margarine and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned (keep an eye on them). Allow to cool a bit and then fill each with strawberry applesauce and top with candied nuts and some minced herbs.
Baby Herb Pies with Sun dried Tomato Crust
1 cup chopped mixed herbs plus extra to decorate
1 cup vegan crème cheese
¼ cup olive oil or margarine
3 crushed garlic cloves
2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seed
A few pinches nutmeg
½ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup flour
½ cup soymilk
Add to pie crust recipe:
½ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon lemon juice
A bit more flour may be needed to make the crust rollable.
Blend the non-crust ingredients. Separate the crust dough into 12 or so little balls, roll them out into rounds and press them into muffin tins or ramekins. Prick with a fork and fill with the herb mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes then lower to 375 degrees for another 15 or so. Allow to cool/set a bit before serving. Decorate with some fresh herbs when done.
CHAPTER 2: THE HUT OF MS. FORTUNA
And so out I set with a knapsack on my back, valderi valdera all the way. To a dank and foggy bank, the edge of the Toadstool Swamps, a dangerous morass of tangled vines and becreatured waters. I paid the ferryman with a Safron Crumpet and was promptly taken across the murky mush to the hut of Ms. Fortuna.
As I approached cautiously, apprehensively-even though I know her quite well- I heard her creaky voice wafting over the marsh, over the din of chattering twilight birds and the frogs and toads answering… “come, come adventurer, you seek my counsel again, and as usual you shall have it.”
I waved aside the curtain, rattling hematite beads and jagged blocks of quartz suspended on twine and made myself comfortable.
“Yes, yes, sit, boy, I will provide your answer and what have you brought me?”, she queried. I handed her some crumpets as well.
“And I have this for you.”
She gave to me a pumpkin filled with steaming hot soup and I drank it greedily.
“You’ll need the strength for the journey ahead, and now for your question: what of the phantom? Yes, yes, I know, I know as I know most things, let us see- what do the cards tell us today…”.
She deftly spread the tarot with her craggy hand upon a silk cloth, waved over them once, twice, thrice and plucked three cards from the fan of wisdom.
“Fool, world, fortune,” she spake… “Yes, you must make the journey, far it will take you, unknown is the outcome”.
“The phantom makes a recipe, perhaps the greatest for you to seek- I cannot see for even the ball is obscured”.
She waved dismissively at her crystal, of to the side, obviously shrouded in swirling mists and impenetrable.
“Perhaps this, perhaps something you did not expect, seek the trader in Metropolitan, maychance he has something that can provide a clue, now that the journey is joined you will have no rest until it is complete”.
I gave her more culinary gifts, and she gave a few to me (recipes follow), then with another flourish of her hand, the whole hut, marsh and all its contents simply disappeared leaving only the faint hint of musty incense in my nostrils, and the last wafting notes of advice:
“It may be a dangerous journey for you, take care…”
I know, I know: I am in grave danger… And on to Metropolitan…
SOUP IN A PUMPKIN
A pumpkin (around 10 lbs.)
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
(1 cup each chopped red and green bell pepper)
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon each allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin and coriander
½ cup chopped oregano, dill and cilantro (any ratio you wish)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 to 2 cups coconut milk
4 cups broth
½ cup tamari roasted pumpkin seeds
Cut open the pumpkin like you’re making a jack o’ lantern. Remove seeds and pulp. Rub with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at around 400 degrees for 25 minutes with the lid on. Meanwhile, simmer the other ingredients (except pumpkin seeds and a few teaspoons of the herbs) for a few minutes, set aside. Remove pumpkin, fill with the soup mixture and bake at 375 degrees for an hour in a round casserole (in case the thing breaks). Use a foil cap instead of the pumpkin top to bake this. Remove from oven, take of the foil and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, herbs and a little paprika. Serve soon, with the pumpkin top on when you bring the little bugger to the table.
½ cup lavender flowers
d and then turning ourselves into a gated community. 5
It’s little wonder that the manifestos of local production and consumption almost never confront these hard numbers. After all, the figures, so unyielding and alarming, plead with us in their urgency to think beyond an exclusively local perspective. At the least, the diet we strive for must take us beyond the local food activist Vandana Shiva’s mantra that “all rules… should promote local production by local farmers, using local resources for local production.” But is it viable to feed 9 or 10 billion people through local modes of agricultural production, without long-distance trade? And what if, by some crazy miracle, it were? 6
What would happen to local traffic patterns if every consumer in Austin made daily trips in their SUVs to visit small local farms to buy locally produced food? What would happen to the nation’s water supply if the entire American Southwest insisted upon preindustrial, locally produced food? What would happen, for that matter, in New Delhi, New York, Casablanca, Mexico City, or Beijing? And how the hell would I get my daily fixes of wine and coffee? The problem and the solution—local, slow, nonindustrial food—eventually struck me as fundamentally incompatible with these logistical (and sensual) concerns. I realize that most locavores are much more flexible when it comes to obeying their founding premise. But still, it is by taking the ideology to its logical extreme that we make its inherent weaknesses most visible.
When I asked myself the demographic questions, no matter how imaginative my answers, no matter how doggedly I pursued alternative options, I kept slamming into realities—the reality of 10 billion people scattered across the globe, of declining soil quality, of limited arable land, of shrinking fresh water supplies, of the Ehrlichs’ “already plucked… low-hanging resource fruit.” Considering these inescapable global facts, I remained steadfastly unable to envision anything but a food dystopia arising from the universalization of the movement that I had once embraced with religious passion. It might have worked in 1492, but not today. Not on the eve of 10 billion. We need bigger systems.
This is not to dash the hopes of the locavore. It’s only to point to what’s heretofore been hidden in plain sight: there are very real limits to the locavore vision, limits that cannot realistically be overcome. When I left the locavore bandwagon, I did not completely leave behind its ethic. I simply want to place it in a new perspective, one that acknowledges that there’s a world of consumers out there whose concerns about food have little to do with anything that Chez Panisse, Berkeley, or the slow-food movement happens to be celebrating.
Rest assured, I’ll control my antielitism. I say this in part because I am pretty much a member of the food elite. For those of us fortunate enough to spend our leisure time fretting over heirloom tomatoes, the world is not just our oyster, it’s our Malbec, our Blue Point, and our cave-aged Manchego. And good for us. If you have the leisure time to ponder the subtleties of taste, and if you can afford to travel the world and eat a diet that hews to the earthy wonders of terroir, well then, be glad and rejoice. But let’s be honest with ourselves: it’s a narrow perspective. Most of the world wants food, just food, and if we don’t figure out how to produce that food in a sensible and sustainable manner, one that honors future generations, our localized boutique obsessions are going to appear comically misguided (if not downright tragic) to future historians.
And so my journey as a locavore fizzled out on the shoals of common sense and healthy skepticism. Radical locavores continue to brook little deviation from the sacred commandment that local food is virtuous while imported food is irresponsible. But nowadays, the more I talk with advocates of localism, the more I sense their own doubts and frustrations with the idealistic agrarian worldview. Even those located firmly within the locavore movement feel alienated by its expectations. How could they not? The demand that we eat exclusively locally produced, preferably organic food poses an unrealistic hurdle for even the most dedicated, activist-minded foodies. Dreams can be grand, but at some point we must admit their limitations and seek their spirit in more realistic endeavors.
What follows is a mass of information delivered with doses of humor, humility, objectivity, and even a little anger, but it’s ultimately the story of how I came to terms with the locavore’s dilemma. Readers hoping for a journalistic travelogue of eating adventures had best close the book now. Despite my opinion that food miles are the least of our concerns, I did not circumnavigate the globe to investigate the topics that I’m writing about directly. Instead, I settled in behind my desk in Austin, Texas, made the requisite phone calls, sent