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North Carolina-First Time Visitor, Where to Eat?

It's been a few years since I lived there, but Allen & Son's, Crook's Corner and Mama Dips come to mind.

Newspaper Food Sections Cutting Jobs; What Can Be Done?

The ultimate irony--I am a newspaper food writer (actually a political writer who does food on the side) and I just wrote a newspaper column about my favorite food blogs. I started writing for the food section mainly because I was disappointed that there was barely any local content. I have to fight the editor constantly to get across the point that the section should lead with images of FOOD, not cutesy stupid illustrations that come from either iStock or our idiot graphic designer (one recent one included a lot of puke green...on the FOOD front). I rarely use recipes from our food section, and although I have a huge cookbook collection, I find myself cooking most often from ideas and recipes found on blogs and sites like this. So yeah, the question of what is to become of the food sections (just like the rest of the paper) is one we really need to get off our butts and figure out.

Good airplane reading material?

To me, the airport is an excuse to buy a glossy food mag. Kitchen Confidential is on my reading list for 2008, and after reading these comments I'm really looking forward to it. A slim book that is easy to pick up in short sittings is Laurie Colwin's "Home Cooking." It's beatifully written essays about various aspects of learning to cook and spending time in the kitchen. I loved Garlic and Sapphires, too.

what are you serving Mon/Tues?

The only thing I have settled on so far is dessert for our NYE dinner. That will be a rich chocolate bread pudding, adapted from a recipe out of Joy of Cooking. We'll be drinking a nice bottle of Champagne we've had for years, and probably eating a wonderful steak we were given for Christmas. The rest is still coming into focus. I can't wait for that chocolate goodness, though! If anyone has tips on baking bread putting for the first time (I do plan to put it in a water bath), fire away.

Where do chef's eat in Chapel Hill, NC?

Allen & Sons is awesome...I had a bad date with a Dook guy one night at Spotted Dog, so can't remember what the food was like. I used to like to get a vegetable plate at Mama Dip's. I think a lot of the Franklin Street places have changed hands since I was in school there.

Fresh Mint!

I also grow mint, and have not been very good about incorporating it into my culinary repertoire. What's your favorite mint recipe, sweet or non? Anyone made a good mint pesto? What are some unexpected ways I might use my mint?

Who's your most/least favorite food personality on Food Channel?

Oh, and while I am thinking about it, if you want to see something scary, watch the Easter episode of "Semi Homemade" where Sandra makes a bunny rabbit cake. That has got to be the scariest looking bunny i have ever seen, covered with coconut and surrounded by jelly beans...words cannot do it justice, but it was so bad it was entertaining, so I guess that's why she stays on.

Who's your most/least favorite food personality on Food Channel?

I really wish they would get rid of the "Secret Life of" and that show with Mark Summers that comes on after Alton. They are just total commercials for overprocessed foods, and come on at a time when I am in the mood to see someone actually doing stuff in the kitchen. Can we also move Sandra Lee out of the way in the afternoon lineup? On the rare occasion that I get home from work early, I enjoy Giada and Ina, then I have to put up with, "tablescapes" and other semi-crap before rachel ray takes over. Ray might not be my favorite, but she is at least bearable.

"I'd hate to take a bite out of you...

That first one makes me think of Dr. Seuss...I am quoting from memory here, so it's bound to be a little off, but in the song, "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch," I have always loved the line: "You're a triple-decker toadstool sandwich....with arsenic sauce!"

Better the next day

Chili and everything that I make in my slow cooker. I know some people think this is wrong, but I love leftover fried chicken straight out of the fridge!

Organizing all those recipes

I use a giant stack of papers, clippings, printouts and other junk that is slowly taking over a corner of my kitchen.

Are most foodies fatties?

Depends on what kind of foodie you are. Some foodies are into going out all the time to fancy restaurants, and i would imagine that would pack on the pounds faster. However, due to both funding concerns and location, I am more of a stay-at-home foodie. I take the most pleasure out of knowing as much as I can about every morsel that went into what I'm eating. Even when it's heavier than usual on butter, bacon or other fat, I still feel like it's a hell of a lot healthier than something cooked commercially. Plus, when you cook for flavor, you just don't end up eating as much, so you don't gorge yourself on salt, fat and flavorless starches and in general don't pack on as much. Ok, too much thinking, I need a cookie.

Do you like company in the kitchen while you cook?

My favorite kitchen companion is my little dog, who calmly but intently watches every move I make at the counter and stovetop. I know he's desparately hoping something will drop into his mouth, but I like to think I am his own personal food network. It is calming to have him there.

Who's your most/least favorite food personality on Food Channel?

Favorite: Mario (why is he being cancelled? great personality), Giada, Ina, Alton
Least favorite: Sandra (why she is on food network i do not know...if she can get a show, we call can), Rachel (I used to like Rachel Ray, a while ago...then she got way too big and it seems like her personality overdid itself after that she's on nabisco boxes and has a horrendous daytime show, it is just too much. I have to admit i get ideas from some of her recipes, though.)

Question of the Day: What drives you nuts about other people's eats?

Cheese in a can. As I was leaving the grocery store last week there were whole boxes of it staring at me as I walked out the door, on special. Surely someone who couldn't resist a bargain is now eating it, and that makes me sad.

What do you think is contributing to obesity in America?

Let's just take my office as a case study. There's always unhealthy crap like doughnuts or cheetos or nasty processed cookies sitting on the "calorie counter," as we call it, and the fattest people in the office can always be seen clutching a fast-food bag around lunchtime, because they were "too busy" to make their own lunch.
The solution is not miracle's more exercise and healthier foods. As a former fast-food eater myself, I can attest that it is addictive, but once you make the switch to cooking for yourself, your body will start to reject that crap....come ON people! take some responsibility for yourselves!


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