Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blogging for your Business I & II

Fellow IACP members who blog may want to know about Denise Graveline´s forthcoming "blogging-for-your-business" workshops (both beginner and advanced) coming up in late October in Washington, DC.

Her own food blog, Vegetables for Breakfast, was recently named "small business blog of the day" by Pajama Market, an industry observer of entrepreneurial blogs. More and more food-related businesses are using blogs to promote their products and services, so if you are in the DC area, make sure to attend this event!

Here´s the program:

Blogging for Your Business I and II

A workshop presented by don’t get caught — creative communications consulting

Monday, October 23, 2006 OR Tuesday, October 24, 2006

PART I: 9:00 am to 12:30pm

PART II: 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Part I: With strategies, examples, and hands-on practice, this workshop helps you start (and make the case for) a blog, create content, use it to promote your business, build an audience, handle comments, and drive and measure traffic. Part II: More hands-on practice and strategies for improving your blog's visual appeal; adding links, sound and photos; promoting your blog to wider audiences; and more creative uses for business blogs.

National Press Club, Eric Friedheim Library classroom, 529 14th Street, NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC
Please note that neither the National Press Club nor its library is a sponsor of this event.

Cost: $150, or $110 for National Press Club members. Major credit and debit cards accepted. Workshops are limited to no more than 15 participants. Registration includes coffee and light refreshments.

What Previous Attendees Say: Terrific seminar…very hands-on…informative, easy to follow and helpful...thorough and fast-moving. Whether you are a new or experienced blogger, you’ll be posting items throughout the session. If you don’t have a blog now, you will have started one in this session.

About the Instructor:
Denise Graveline is president of don’t get caught—creative communications consulting. A former magazine writer and editor and longtime senior communicator for major nonprofits – including AAAS and the American Chemical Society -- a federal agency and a national philanthropy, she is the current author of two blogs: don’t get caught news & info and Vegetables for Breakfast, recently named “small business blog of the day” by the Pajama Market blog, an industry observer.

To register, go to Don´t Get Caught.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Slow' re moving too fast

by Judy Witts, Under a Tuscan Stove,

Simon and Garfunkle were ahead of their time. Slow Food and Slow Travel are today’s trends.

Torino every other year hosts Slow Food’s Salone del Gusto,
a showcase for foods which risk disappearing or becoming illegal in the globalization of the world market. Gourmets risk becoming outlaws in search for quality. Culinary traditions and history are also spotlighted.
A sister program Terra Madre ( Mother Earth) is also held at the same time, opened to chefs, farmers and others actively involved in preserving these traditions.

Biodiversity is the theme and the products on the ARK to be saved are numerous. Each continent has their own area of the show to present their foods and it is a fabulous chance to lear, taste and speak to the producers.

Slow Food huge food pavilion is overwhelming. The last show I went to featured products from the national parks in Italy, one of the more surprising finds was Manna, an edible resin, rich in nutrients, perhaps the Manna from biblical times?

Presentations, dinners, tastings and the huge showcase make this a wonderful experience. Several of our own IACP members are involved in hosting dinners.

The show is held at Lingotto, the old FIAT factory, just outside the city and easily reached by train.

Terra Madre is being held at the same time. This is more for people in the industry, chefs, farmers, educators and is not open to the public. You must apply to attend.

The city of Torino has a offered a service of housing the delegates with families to help with the expenses, many of the participants come from third world countries.

Torino itself as a city is fabulous. I am planning a day doing a pastry and chocolate crawl. Home to Gianduja, the rich hazelnut chocolate candy and spread, pastries made so tiny you can eat a whole tray by yourselves. Bicherin a chocolate coffee drink. Brasato, Barolo and white truffles. Piemonte calls out to all food-lovers.

If you need to find a hotel in Torino, contact Robert.

If you are planning to attend, let me know, we can arrange a dinner or tour the markets in town!

Time flies so check out the site and come SLOW DOWN!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Easy Peasy, an Interview with Constance Briscoe

by Scott Givot

The food was then placed back down on the floor in front of me and Pauline left the room. I managed to turn on my side to eat. The potatoes were hot and the chicken did not taste too bad. I picked up a spoonful of gravy and poured it over my arm; the bloody blob melted and started to make its way down my arm. I poured another spoonful of gravy over it and then used the little finger of my left hand to make a bloody puddle on my arm. When all the blood was moist, I cut open a potato and used to clean my arm. Then I put the bloody potato on the carpet and ate my dinner.

-Constance Briscoe from her book, Ugly

This passage occurs when the author was of pre-adolescent age and following a row with her Mother ensued about her cooking. The author’s Mother, Carmen Briscoe, had abused her daughter throughout her entire childhood and even turned a blind eye following the sexual abuse by her step father. In this chapter she took up a kitchen knife and slashed her child’s arm.

It is but one icon to recall in the remarkable journey of a woman, who survived a treacherous and tormented path to adulthood. How it that this child has become so accomplished today and specifically one of Britain’s only black woman judges? Her account is narrarated with a particular naiveté and subtle humour. The ending to this first memoir bestows the reader with a sense of jubilation and admiration for Briscoe’s sheer pursuance and subsequent accomplishment of her dream.

Ugly was number one on London’s The Sunday Times bestseller list for roughly six months and is soon to be published in paperback. It is currently being sold in a multitude of languages throughout the world, including its launch in Norwegian last Friday. This is the context in which I came to interview Constance Briscoe. Our meeting was driven less by discussion of the storyline, although that was the source of my initial interest. It was, rather, a consequence of being touched by deep references to food memory and the weft patterned in the fabric of her life.

We met the evening of her arrival at the British Embassy in Oslo How could a woman, who had only been named “ugly”, emulate such exquisite qualities so pleasurable to the beholder? When asked, she is quick to explain the assistance of a talented friend, who just happens to be a plastic surgeon. Still there is something more. Constance Briscoe has a voice, which is child like and a tone that reflects simple wisdom and honesty. She has the face of someone who has endured great pain and has processed her experiences into transformation.

How does she manage to smile after enduring such challenges? That was my experience. I didn’t know anything else…that’s ALL, she explained.

We agreed to meet the next morning in the breakfast room at her hotel. I convinced her to have a bit to eat, when she informed me that she never has anything but five cups of English breakfast tea, black and with no sugar for her first meal. She reluctantly accepted a glass of orange juice and small fruit plate consisting of two slices of pineapple, two slices of honeydew melon and one orange segment, which I offered to her. Why didn’t she care for more, as I proceeded to eat smoked salmon, cheese, a soft cooked egg and flatbread? Because...I’ve never had breakfast. My first meal of the day was always school dinner... I couldn’t wait to leave the house and always attempted to avoid a meeting with my Mother at the cost of sacrificing the breakfast meal.

At what time did you lose your food virginity?
She paused for at least three minutes. Interesting question... I have to think about that… I told her to take her time and fiddled with my pen. Finally she responded with deliberation. Brown sponge pudding and pink custard…because it works. I used to receive this for my school meal. You see, when the pudding is baked, it rises and pin holes form at the top. The custard has pinholes at the bottom. Put them together and…IT WORKS! Then as if thawing from the deep freeze of recollection, the fruit that I enjoyed was the pomegranate. First you cut it in half and then you take your time to take each seed out. It’s the adventure. When I have enough seeds collected to the side of my plate, I eat them.

Suddenly she took off. My favourite food is an anchovy. Why? Just is...and my favourite biscuit is a “Jammy Dodger”! It got me out of a lot of trouble as a child. You separate the two biscuits with jam and custard, which provides three opportunities to eat the biscuit. She proceeded to draw an illustration on a paper serviette. The first drawing was a circle (the bottom layer), the second was a circle of equal dimension, with a hole in the centre (the top layer) and the third was a small blob which represented the jelly in the hole. This she would scoop out and eat at the end. Meanwhile the custard, which held the two halves together, could be licked off the biscuits if she so desired. The tea lady in the barristers’ chambers stocks “Jammy Dodgers” now and I have one every day. So do all the barristers.

At the risk of feeling deeply penitent, I asked her what she would choose as her last meal on earth. I was not surprised with her answer, given her strict Catholic schooling as a child. Fish and chips. I’m assuming that it (her last day on earth) is a Friday and Catholics eat fish and chips on Fridays. Catholic school never served meat on Fridays. We had fish and chips. That represents the body of Christ. So...for my last supper I’d have 4-5 cups of tea to begin the day and finish off with pink custard and brown pudding. My life has always been a struggle to get food. It takes a long time to have a preference, when it is a struggle to get food in the first place. One can’t be fussy!”

At this moment she showed me some of her scars, including the burn from a cigarette, which her stepfather extinguished on her hand and the long gash mark from her Mother’s quick flash with the kitchen knife along the length of her left arm. I keep away from rice. (She was preparing rice when her stepfather, Eastman, burned her.) I have a problem with chicken because I cooked so many when I was growing up. (She was preparing a family chicken dinner when her Mother cut her.) When I DO eat chicken, I always check for feathers, because I had to pluck them all the time.

What other food memories do you have that make you feel good? Father was a superb cook. He made the best ever Jamaican food...fried plantain, fried snapper...and I would have a mango. We didn’t see him very often, but he’d always buy a fresh turkey at Christmas with the head still on. He showed us that when the eyes went grey, the turkey had been dead just a little while. My sisters and I had to pluck all the feathers. Sometimes when he came to visit, we got to eat a fresh coconut. That wasn’t too often. They were pretty messy.

What spices or herbs do you remember from your childhood family food? Let’s see...bay leaf was always used in rice and porridge. Thyme was added to soup. Mint was always used for meat because Mother grew it in the garden. I can also remember jerk chicken seasoning. It was made of thyme, crushed peppercorns, sage, parsley...and a lot of nutmeg was used too.

Do you have a garden now? Yes. We have a country home with a camomile lawn. We have an herb garden with sage, coriander, thyme, parsley...lots of different types. We also have an organic vegetable garden with broad beans, cauliflower, spinach, potatoes, onions, courgettes, tomatoes...

What about your children, Constance? Do they have interest in their Jamaican culinary heritage? What do they like to eat? I keep away from making all types of Jamaican food. We make it...maybe...once a year. They (the children) have modern tastes. Given a choice, my 16 year old daughter, Francesca, would eat steak! She also likes salmon, olives, cheese...and her favourite dish is hummus. My 19 year old son, Martin, has preferences based on his travel experience. I think it’s a fashion he’s going through. He would probably choose sushi as his favourite food, based on his recent seven month trip through the orient.

I thanked Constance for her time and also asked her what she and her partner, Tony would like for me to cook for them. Fish...because it’s Friday. No rice, please. What about a fresh wild mushroom risotto, I ventured. That’s ok. My kids complain that we make too much risotto, but I love it.

I left them at the entrance to the hotel and walked into the sunshine under a radiant blue sky, which Constance told me was her favourite colour…this particular blue. I recollected the challenges she faced ahead including the passing of her A-levels with good grades in order to qualify for a scholarship to the Law Department at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. When questioned as to whether or not she could accomplish this mammoth task, her response was quite simply, Easy-peasy.

Friday, September 15, 2006


This article first appeared in The Japan Times on September 15, 2006.

Yukarai Pratt meets Professor Theodore Bestor of Harvard University, author of "Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World".

Bestor, a leading expert on Tsukiji outside of Japan, is in Tokyo to put the finishing touches on the translated Japanese version of his book, to be published by Kirakusha and scheduled to be on bookshelves in November.

Read the entire story here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

9th Cous Cous Fest

San Vito’s big heart beats a little faster when the Cous Cous Fest guests stream into its streets and beach, bringing new life, once again, to the festival – this year in its 9th year and brandishing a new prize.
The Cous Cous Fest has just been awarded the Luigi Veronelli Prize – established by the publishing houses Class Editori and Veronelli Editore.

The international festival was defined by the awarding panel as “the most interesting, lively and quaint food and wine event, bringing side by side the many ways of making couscous and involving all the populations of the Mediterranean Basin, their cultures and traditions - in the name of integration and tolerance”.

This definition summarizes perfectly the authentic ‘DNA’ of an event designed to bring out the common cultural roots of the Mediterranean, united around a simple dish; a dish which has become much more than a simple culinary speciality – it has come to represent ritual, culture and sharing.

This year the theme running through the whole event is ‘Myths and Rituals’. More than a theme, it is, in truth, more of a ‘cultural river’ with many tributaries feeding into it – charged with significance and symbolism. The ethnic and cultural heritage of countries which share couscous as a common historical and culinary denominator, is vast.

To go to the festival´s website click here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Xonocostle: IACP and Slow Food Mexican members meet

Xoconostle Mi Amor -Tuna Agria
With a slightly sour tang, xoconostle from the nahuatl language, is the oval fruit of a cactus . Found in the central region of Mexico its use varies from its addition in the famous Mole de Olla, stuffed with escamoles (black ant larvae), prepared in jams and jellies, refreshing “aguas”, flavoring pluque and as sweet dessert wine. In a land where everything has a use, this beautiful but spiny fruit has been used for mil-lennia. As part of Slow Foods commitment to preserving and supporting small arte-sanal growers our convivia was transported back in time to the Ex-Hacienda San Jose el Marquez located near the village of Santa Maria Amealco in the state Hi-dalgo.
Construction began in the 1600’s by Marques del Villar del Aguila on a land grant from the Spanish King Philip III on an estate of almost 114,000acres (46,000 hectares). In its long life it has served as monastery, home and military fortress but with the land reform and revolution ,the hacienda has been reduced to a scant 50 acres (about 20 hectares), half of which is planted with xoconostle.. With the Spanish conquest also began deforesta-tion, introduction of foreign plants and animals, scant rainfalls causing desertifica-tion, causing a crippling effect on the traditional farm economy of the region. The 3 acres of buildings are in various states of disrepair, note the roofless chapel, but still a plucky young couple, Yunuén Carrillo Quiroz and her husband Gabriel Cortés García, whose family has owned the land since the 1940’s, have dedicated themselves to preserving and reclaiming the land.

Yunuen and Carlos have placed their “Xoxoc” brand of products into the marketplace and now give employment to 20 workers as well as going out to other communities where they teach what they have learned. They graciously invited us to their home and prepared a traditional Hacienda fiesta for our group that included the famous Barbacoa de Hoyo of the state of Hidalgo. The recipe calls for a yearling lamb to be wrapped in “pencas de maguey” ,leaves of the maguey plant,with a large kettle to collect the resultant broth, buried in a pit over a fire that is then covered and left for several hours to slowly cook. This method of cooking more commonly known as Pib cooking harkens back to Mayan times. The meat and the resultant broth are fragant ,from the maguey leaves, and the meat incredibly ten-der and juicy. Below the menu for the day:

For information on Xoconostle and the products that are prepared go to
Or by e-mail &

For further information on IACP activities in Mexico contact Vice coordina-tor for Mexico Ruth T. Alegria at Come join us!

Interfood China 2007

Mark your calendars. From June 7 - 9, 2007, Interfood China will take place in Canton, China. About 500 exhibitors from over 38 countries and about 20 thousands visitors are expected to participate in Interfood China 2007. It can be learnt that in China, especially Guangzhou, imported foods are popular and Interfood China 2007 is the right fair for you to launch your products and penetrate this lucrative market.

During the exhibitions, they will organize various activities including Introduction of China food market for food & beverage exporters; National subject activities, such as French Food Culture Day, Spain Food Culture Day, Italy Food Culture Day; Purchasing Negotiation Meeting; International Food Taste Banquet & Food Art Show; Food Contest & Ten Top Name Brand Foods Awarding and Report of Global Latest Food Trend.

For more information on this event click here.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Molecular Gastronomy Resources is a website dedicated to molecular gastronomy and the science of cooking! The name of the site, khymos, is Greek meaning “juice"!. The word is however related to al-kimiya, the Arabic word from which our word chemistry derives from. So the word has links both ti food and chemistry, just like molecular gastronomy.

Martin Lersh lives in Norway and is in the process of completing his PhD within the field of organometallic chemistry. His involvement with molecular gastronomy has been a spare time activity besides his research. Click here to read more