I hate to disappoint those who are seeking a gluttonous New Orleans food tour dripping in butter and hot sauce (okay, there’s a little of that), but this post will be a little different. I made the trip as a guest of Rachel’s Network, an alliance of women that supports female leaders who want to be agents of change for environmental protection. Some highlights: Mayor Mitch Landrieu talked to us about the city’s reliance on the oil industry, a local fisherman steered us through the bayou (which loses the equivalent of a football field of marshland per hour), architects cooperating with Dutch water control experts walked us through the Ninth Ward (devastated by Hurricane Katrina) to see the new “green housing” pioneered by Brad Pitt, and—I didn’t forget you, foodies—we dined with Chef John Besh, who is decidedly an agent of change in his own community.
A few weeks ago, Slow Food USA challenged Americans to make a meal that costs five dollars or less per person—about the cost of eating fast food—to prove that eating pure (not processed) food doesn’t have to be expensive. It also had the corollary effect of proving that cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as rice and beans. According to Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel, more than 30,000 people took the challenge, and 5,500 events were held that day. Me? I attended Slow Food Urban San Diego’s event in Little Italy and then devoured Chef Chad White’s $5 stew at Sea Rocket Bistro (recipe below). I also asked some fellow San Diego food bloggers to chime in with the $5 recipes they love, and I hope they will inspire you to cook for family or friends tonight. Nothing brings everyone together like a home-cooked meal, and there’s nothing better than being in control of the good ingredients going into it!
On September 17th, Slow Food USA challenged the nation to cook a meal for $5 or less per person to prove that real food is an equally affordable alternative to fast food. From Slow Food Urban San Diego‘s (SFUSD) event at the Little Italy’s farmers’ market to the Let There Be Bite goodie bag giveaway at Sea Rocket Bistro (tasting their $5 stew and much more), it was decidedly an eating extravaganza. Above: SFUSD offered various recipes with ingredients that could all be found just steps away at the market.
As some of you know, I am giving away a Let There Be Bite cotton tote packed with award-winning products to one lucky winner who submits a $5 meal recipe by September 25th. Click here for details. But if you happen to be in San Diego on September 17th, don’t miss two fun events being held in celebration of Slow Food USA’s national challenge (as well as a chance to win a second LTBB goodie bag!).
On September 17th, Slow Food USA is challenging people across the country to prepare a meal that costs less than $5 per person to prove it’s possible to eat well and not break the bank. Cook a meal with friends, have a potluck, or host a public event. Read more about the event here. [This is purely informational; you do not need to register on Slow Food's site unless you're hosting a public event.]
Okay, the purple butterfly might be a little much, but I like the message, don’t you? As I continue to watch floods, tornadoes, and fires stampede across the country (sorry, but no one can convince me it’s not because of climate change and greenhouse gases), I know we can do better. We can conserve more, recycle more, live greener and with better intentions for the future of this ailing planet—at least I know I can. Want to join me?
Perhaps you’ve been following the dialogue I’ve been having with Therese Pompa, the social media manager for the Corn Refiners Association. We started speaking after I posted a Saturday Night Live video satirizing a high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) commercial, and then we subsequently exchanged a pair of letters. As you’ll see below in our second exchange of letters, I felt Therese was dodging my concerns about HFCS, and she in turn felt that I am “not trying to have a genuine conversation.”
So let’s have that conversation. Readers, please leave any comments, questions, or concerns below that you have about high fructose corn syrup. As always, please remain respectful and thoughtful in doing so. Therese, feel free to comment yourself, or ask people from your camp to contribute their ideas.
Earlier this week, after posting a “Saturday Night Live” skit that parodied the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup commercials (in which HFCS is presented as “basically equal to sugar” and “fine in moderation”), I was contacted on Twitter by Therese Pompa, the social media manager for the Corn Refiners Association. She sent links that, according to her, refuted my position that HFCS appears to be dangerous to our health and a contributor to America’s health crisis. I asked if she thought it was not disingenuous to have HFCS in salty foods, creating a wider reach for sugar that is essentially hidden in food. Our Twitter conversation is posted here. After the representative asked to speak more in-depth offline, I received this email:
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has an image problem. As this Saturday Night Live parody demonstrates, the HFCS industry has launched a series of commercials over the past year to clarify misconceptions and “state the facts about corn sugar.” That’s right, it’s no longer “high fructose corn syrup,” but “corn sugar”—an almost identical, warm-and-fuzzy twin that will subtly convince you that “sugar” and “corn sugar” are interchangeable ingredients. Wrong.