As a die-hard Yankee fan, there is nothing more pleasurable than seeing the Boston Red Sox looking so demoralized when the camera pans their bench. If there is a God in pinstripes, the Sox will squeak by the Tribe in seven and then get bageled by the Boys in Black in the Series. And how about young Eli and my New York football Giants? But I digress . . .
One of the best pieces of storytelling I've seen in a while, especially for those fifteen people on the planet who still have not read my favorite food book of the last twenty years (The Omnivore's Dilemma), is the documentary King Corn. Joe Drape in The New York Times had a great piece last week about the film, which is in limited release. The movie, like Pollan’s book, makes a good case that, among other things, “government subsidies have lead to the overproduction of corn at the detriment of public health."
Some more of Drape's quotes from the NYT, as quoted in Ain't It Cool News:
That issue lives at the heart of King Corn, which "takes the position that America's most valuable crop is overproduced" and that it takes a toll "on the environment, public health and family farms." While that sounds like a polemic, the filmmakers—Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney— say that wasn't their intent. Their hope, they say, is simply "to raise awareness about how the food on our plates gets there, for better or worse." Their device is to grow an acre of corn in Iowa and follow its path from an Iowa grain elevator to a corn-fed cow farm in Colorado, as well as to Brooklyn, where they "examine how high fructose corn syrup in sodas has contributed to the nation's high obesity and diabetes rates."Their tone remains respectful of Iowa and its farmers, perhaps most surprisingly during a nursing-home visit with 98-year-old Earl Butz, who was Richard Nixon's agriculture secretary and "the architect of modern farm bills." Curt says his plan was to "take down," Mr. Butz, but he found himself disarmed. Calling corn "our secret weapon," Mr. Butz said: "We feed ourselves with only 16 or 17 percent of our take-home pay. That is marvelous." Curt couldn't disagree—even while knowing that the acre of corn he had grown for the movie "would have lost $19.92 but became profitable with a government subsidy of $28." As Curt puts it: "We do not have all the answers . . . there are not fifty simple ways to save the planet."
So if you spend 40% of your income on housing and, stretching Butz's numbers slightly, 20% on food, then is it really true that we spend 60% of our dough on room and board in this country? No wonder no one ever saves any money.
Speaking of money, if you are looking to splurge a little, here are some ways to do it.
La Belle Vie is celebrating its second anniversary at its 510 Groveland location with a six-course wine tasting dinner at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 1. Special guest Terry Theise, named “Man of the Year” by Wine & Spirits Magazine and hailed by The New York Times as the “voice of Austrian wine,” will be there.
The cost is $135 per person, plus tax and gratuity.There is limited seating available and reservations are required. For more information or reservations, contact La Belle Vie at 612-874-6440 or visit the website.
D'Amico Cucina is celebrating their twentieth birthday, and their Cucina tasting menu will be comprised of menu items from the original 1987 D'Amico Cucina menu. The special menu will be offered from October 26 to November 10 and will also be available a la carte. The tasting menu with wines is $135. On the menu:
CONSERVA D'ANATRA, MELE, MENTA
Warm Conserve of Duck, Apples and Fresh Mint
Orvieto, Antinori "Campogrande" 2005
DENTICE ALLA MELANZANE, SALSA DI POMODORO E MELANZANE
Snapper Wrapped in Eggplant, Eggplant Tomato Sauce
Arneis, Ceretto "Blange" 2006
GNOCCHI DI FORMAGGIO DI CAPRA CON SALSA DI NOCE
Goat Cheese Dumplings with Walnut Sauce
Chardonnay, Jermann 2005
POLLO NOVELLA ALLA GRIGLIA CON ERBE E OLIO
Baby Chicken Grilled Peasant Style with Herbs and Oil
Grinolino d'Asti, F. Rinaldi 2005
SCALLOPINI DI VITELLO CON SALSA DI BOTTARGA
Pan Fried Veal with Tuna Roe Sauce
Barbaresco, Ada Nada "Cichin" 2000
TORTA RICTOTTA CON FRUTTA CANDITA
Ricotta Cheesecake with Candied Fruit
Vin Santo, Isole e Olena 1996
Finally, for $40 less than either of those two dinners, you can dine on November 13 with the Alsatian sensation and winemaker Paul Zinck at Fugaise. Five courses from chef-owner Don Saunders will be paired with six wines. Because of the small seating capacity, this one will fill up fast.
So who's going? I wonder, do the same fish from the same pond bite on the same lures in this town? As customers, do you think restaurants should continue to do events like this? For the restaurateurs in the room, do they work for you from a profit or PR standpoint? Discuss!