Sad news awaited when I got back from a lengthy vacation—Christine Walthour, co founder with her husband of B.T. McElrath, the eponymous chocolate empire, passed away at the way too young age of 43. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family. Christine was a wonderfully kind and funny woman, and spending time on two occasions with her in their shop created a whole slew of memories . . . great memories. It’s a crushing idea that someone so young and talented could pass away.
Rick Nelson’s paean to coq au vin, a dish I know enough about to be dangerous, got me racing to check out the source recipes for his column. It’s a great recipe, but as someone who has made it his mission in life to collect and perfect these type of recipes, I can pass on to all of you that using a deep, grape-y, high quality Gigondas will make your coq rise to any occasion you choose to show it off at!
My family XMAS trip this year was to the lovely isle of Jamaica in the West Indies, a great country with great people and superb food. Scotchies was better than ever, the jerk chicken especially, and the Half Moon resort, taken over two years ago by the RockResort management company is one of the worlds great ‘old world’ charmers updated for the next generation. Sitting on 400 acres of coastline, the resort issues you bikes and golf carts upon arrival so you can putter from its varied series of beaches, events, and activities. I was stunned at the depth of quality and care expressed by what I can only describe as the most friendly and gracious staff of any hotel I have ever stayed at. What a stunner of a property, perfect for families looking to take a break. I can’t recommend this place enough. The resort has it all, but this classic sprawling resort allows you to do nothing at all but sit on a private beach if you want to, or be as active as a world class athlete. You must experience this place if you enjoy warm weather vacations . . . bliss.
In Jamaica, as in many other places around the world, everyone knows how to cook something. Walk up to any kid and ask—they can all catch a fish and cook it. In our country, we are undergoing a culinary transformation, a renaissance of appreciation, but at its base level, the train is leaving the station without a lot of people on board. Learning to cook, to actually care for yourself and others in that respect, is something that is equally as important as any other life skill. This HuffPo piece reflects that way of thinking and its worth a read, its why food education needs to become a trend in 2013.
WaPo’s food blog is no more, same with Gourmet Live. WaPo’s Tim Carman’s point about the hungry animal is spot on, and describes the problem with digital media to a tee. Sure there are 500 TV channels, so that genre is competitive, but there are a billion blogs! How do they become economically self-sustaining? Or meaningfully different than everything else around it? At mspmag.com we offer a ton of content, as do several other outlets around town. but differentiation and economic health are tenuous in this space for everyone. What do you think this blog (let’s make it personal shall we?) should be doing more of? Less of? Be honest. And e-mail your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Are there any local food blogs or websites you think are a complete waste of time? Anyone getting it 100 percent right?
Check this out next week, my pal Dr. Fred Opie from Babson College is a talking head in the upcoming documentary film Soul Food Junkie, which premiers next week on Independent Lens. He is awesome.