Category Archives: Food Culture

Happy Groundhog Day

Bill Murry Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day, which will be forever remembered by the Bill Murry comedy with the same name.

This Movie has a certain appeal for those on weight loss program.

The movie is about weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murry) who find himself in a time wrap, repeating the same day (Groundhog Day) forever.

One of the iconic scenes in the film is when Phil’s pig out at the diner. Phil had come to terms with the reality that he will repeat the same day, day after day, which meant that he could eat whatever he wanted, as much as he wanted and have no impact on health, weight gain etc…

Maybe, many people on a weight loss program would love to repeat the same day, day after day and eat what they want with no consequences.

The reality is that food choice and the quantity of consumption do have consequences.

Paula Dean: The Rise and Fall

For people in the foodie world, the news is out about Paula Dean, the queen of fried and southern comfort food.

The News: Dean has type 2 Diabetes…and she had been hiding it for three years, while selling her brand of high calorie, fried, EVERYDAY FOOD.

She announce a big money drug endorsement deal to boot and has her son playing a little cover with his new show “Not My Mama Meals,” which is supposed to feature healthier food.


Of Mouselike Bites and Marathons, by Frank Bruni, NYT

What’s more, she [Dean] had waited three long, greasy years since her diagnosis to come out. During that period, she promoted the deep-fried life without acknowledging her firsthand experience of how a person can be burned by it.

That’s a profound, unsettling act of withholding. But it’s mirrored by many smaller, less calculated, more innocent ones in the world of food celebrities and food celebrators, including those of us who have written orgiastic accounts of sumptuous dinners. Deen’s revelation jolted me in part because people in the business of peddling gastronomic bliss rarely draw such a bold connection between indulgence and its possible wages.

So are the food celebrities the food gluttons that we tend to believe they are or are they good at hiding it like a skilled under cover cop on a drug beat?

The issue I have with Dean, having never made any of her food and found her recipes and show more of an outrageous food laugh line than cuisine, is her lack of damage control.

She should have fessed up after her diagnosis.

But the larger issue is that the whole industry of food TV/publishing/Media.

People are cooking less and these food writers are running marathons and going on juice fast to have made-for-TV bodies that do not come from the food and indulgent lifestyle they promote.

We can point to Dean, but it did not start with her.

But what gets me about Dean is that she promoted her food as everyday, not special occasion fare.

Maybe more food celebrities should out themselves about how they eat and then maybe we can have a food media that reflects a lifestyle that will not promote obesity and Diabetes.

Michigan Beer Documentary: Beer People

Michigan Beer Documentary

I am a big fan of promoting local Michigan Food related projects.

Allen Torres is a Senior at U of M who is making a documentary about Michigan Beer called Beer People.

His needs and funding request is minimal at $750 and he is already half way to his goal with 10 days left.

If interested, please check out this Fundraiser Page

Community Garden Potlucks Rock

Ann Arbor Food

County Farm Park Ann Arbor Gardeners

OK. I have said it before. If you want a really great meal, go to a gardener’s potluck. You never know what you are going to get, but it will all be fresh from the garden and the meal will reflect the culinary energy and diversity of the community.

On a culinary note, I feel that there are a few important cooking techniques that are essential for any gardener to help them use all of their great veggies. In my opinion all gardeners need to know how to make:

1) Stir Fry (Great for a large number of mix veg)
2) Quiche (Perfect for all of those dark leafy greens)
3) Salad Dressing (great taste giver to fresh raw veggies)
4) Pizza (Think Veggie Toppings)
5) Soups/Stews (Think purees, gazpacho, lentil dahls, minestrone, hearty stews, chowders)
6) Roasted Veggies (Thinks potatoes, red bell peppers, asparagus, and mix root veggies)
-And do’t forget to add a healthy bunch of fresh herbs to these dishes

Today’s Potluck Menu:

Cherry tomato tasting
Steamed Eggplant mash
Home made sour Kraut
Mix salad with chicken
Sprouted bread with olive/tomato tapenade
Pan fried veggie cake of dandelion greens and garlic chives
Cellophane Rice Noodles with Dried Shrimp
Baked veggie cake with yogurt dressing
Cabbage, beet, and carrot cole slaw
Bitter Melon dish
Fattoush Salad
Varies Fermentation: Pickled Lemon
Home Made Pizza and Focaccia Bread (Recipe) (My offering)

Note: The pizza shown below uses the entire dough recipe to create a very thick single sheet pan crust pizza. You can probably half the dough recipe and get two sheet pan pizza from the it. I use a sheet pan because it is easier to transport. One of these days I will get some pizza boxes.

Ann Arbor Food

Home made pizza ready for transit

Ann Arbor Food

Cherry Tomato Sampler

Ann Arbor Food

olive tomato tapenade

Ann Arbor Food

Baked Veggie Cake w/yogurt sauce

Ann Arbor Food

Fattoush Salad

Ann Arbor Food

Rainbow Bright Sour Kraut

Ann Arbor Food

Steamed Mashed Eggplant

Ann Arbor Food

Cole Slaw

Ann Arbor Food

Salad with Chicken

Ann Arbor Food

Rice Noodles with Dried Shrimp

Ann Arbor Food

Pan Fried Veggie Cake w/dandelion and garlic chives

Ann Arbor Bagels

Ann Arbor Food

I have been looking for a great bagel ever since I moved from New Jersey. It has been a kind of obsession for me, which peaked when I moved in Portland Oregon and I could not find a good bagel.

For a few years, I  wondered in a bagel dessert that was Portland until Kettlemans opened up. They bagels were good, and boiled they way they should.

During my wonderings, I attempted to make bagels at home. I am still working on recreating the bagels of my homeland.

Now living in Ann Arbor there are a few bagels to choose from.

There is Barry’s bagels. They are right near my house and next to the library, so they are my go to. I like their vanilla cinnamon. I am not a raisin fan but like cinnamon on a bagel.

I give Barry props for cinnamon vanilla.

No Ann Arbor Bagel conversation is complete without talking about Zingermans. People love their bagels and they have their own appeal as “traditional” style bagels, but for myself who grew up on the New Jersey (and NYC for that matter) super puffy bagels Zings are not my thing.

The best bagel in town, the one closest to my favorite, Hot Bagels of Fairfield, in Fairfield NJ is Elaine’s out of Detroit.

The are sold at Kerrytown, Produce Station and Morgan and York.

With that said, I am still working towards making bagels myself.

Here is my latest attempt.

I used the bagel recipe from Best Recipes. They were good, but I still think they need some work. I might add a little sour dough starter for a little kick and use sugar in the boiling water.

Best Recipes technique (and other sources) requires rolling out the bagel and placing them on a sprayed baking sheet covered with plastic for 13-18 hours in the frig to create a slow, flavor creating rise.

The problem is that my frig is only so big and if I wanted to make more than 6 bagels (one sheet pan) I would kind of be out of luck.

So I took the dough and put it in a plastic tub to rise over night then I rolled them out the next day to rise.

This solved for the space issue, but the dough was cold and hard to form and it would take hours to poof up again, but I went with it anyway.

I let the dough poof up at room temp for two hours and boiled and baked them. I think they could have benefited from a little more proofing. Maybe next time I will proof them in the oven with a pilot light on, or let them rise longer.

The idea here is to make bagels to offer for sale at the Westside Farmers Market and for special orders in town.

Ann Arbor Food

Rolled Bagel Dough

Ann Arbor Food

Proofing after 2 hours

Ann Arbor Food

boiling bagels 30 seconds

Ann Arbor Food

draining bagels

Ann Arbor Food

baked bagels

Michigan Food Kickstarters

Check out this Michigan local food kickstarter Campaigns and give your support.

Brickside Brewery, Copper Harbor, MI

Brickside Brewery is the result of years of enthusiasm for homebrewed and craft beer. Years of making and enjoying beer at home have lead to this. We want to take that passion to the next step and open a microbrewery in Copper Harbor, Michigan.

With your support we can get the equipment and materials needed to move this dream to a reality. This is what I have worked on for the past 7 years, to make sure that I can make a quality beer that people will talk about. We, my wife and I, have been doing the leg work on this for the past couple of years and know this is what we want to do. We can make this happen and make it work with your support.

Bartertown Diner: Cooking towards a better tomorrow

Our food will be all vegetarian, with many vegan and raw choices. Roc’s Cupcakes will be operating from within the diner, featuring delicious and creative vegan treats. Local food will be a focus at the diner by using seasonal fruits & vegetables from local farmers as well as breads, cheeses, beverages, and even tofu, all grown or made in Michigan.

Medium Rare Pork?

Good news for those who like their pork on the tender rarer side. The USDA has lowered the safety temperture guidelines for pork from 160 degrees to 145.

With that said, I still plan to fully cook hot dogs and sausage this holiday weekend.

 Pink pork won’t kill you according to the USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has lowered its temperature recommendation for cooking pork to 145 degrees — down from 160. (This means that pork will be held to the same standard as beef, veal, and lamb.) Moreover, it is recommended to let the pork rest for three minutes after removing it from the grill or oven; the temp will continue to rise slightly while killing any remaining pathogens.