Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

I launched The Sunday Table series last week. In my little game of Let’s Pretend, I imagine that I’m sharing my table with some fellow food lovers and we chat about interesting tidbits of food news from the past week.

Since it’s the season of Celebration, I’ll pour us some Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, an American India Pale Ale brewed with fresh hops. Dan Becker at The Full Pint talks to Sierra Nevada brewer Bill Manley to clear up some myths about one of my favorite beers.

Has anyone tried this cheese, SarVecchio? I love Parmigiano-Reggiano but I’m too cheap, I mean frugal, to buy it regularly.

Live and let eat, that’s what I say. A vegan changed her eating habits because she needed to get some meat back into her diet and the holier-than-thou condemned her for it.

dungeness crab sierra nevada celebration food news

photo by flickr: Tony the Misfit

Sigh, the Dungeness crab season opened two weeks ago in northern California. Once you’ve been spoiled with Dungeness, it’s hard to go back to the smaller east coast crabs. Although I have, of course. When I lived in California I got my fill of Dungeness at many church fundraising crab feasts in Sacramento and at Jasper and Rebecca’s house at Christmas. Festive memories.

Six large companies, including Butterball and Heinz, have agreed to use less salt in some of their products as part of a national campaign against high blood pressure. I wonder if they’ll add something else to try to maintain the same flavor profiles.

A New York Times article about a small cheesemaker going head-to-head with the FDA over food safety regulations raises questions about balancing food safety with artisanal food production. Many artisanal products, for example, some Belgium beers and Italian meats, are made using methods that probably wouldn’t pass factory inspection muster yet are necessary for their unique flavor. Marion Nestle writes in The Atlantic:

Every producer—large and small—who makes food should be producing it safely under a HACCP plan or its equivalent. If the product carries special risks, as cheeses sometimes do, the producer ought to be testing to make sure it is safe.”

“This cheesemaker’s refusal to recall Listeria-contaminated products is another reason why so many of us who care deeply about food safety want the Senate to get busy and pass food safety bill S.510.”

However, a commenter raises a good point, saying the FDA already makes it clear what foods to avoid when pregnant. “How about Americans start being responsible for themselves, rather than the government treating them like 2 yr olds.” There’s definitely a place for some regulation but not at the cost of artisanal foods that people have been eating for centuries.

Open It! is next weekend, Friday through Sunday, December 3-5. “Let’s find a bottle from the depth of the cellar and open it, drink it and then tell others about it.” My cellar isn’t that deep these days but I’m sure I can find a tasty seasonal beer on the store shelves, and some stinky cheese that was made in a dirty barn to go along with it.

cheese food safety beer open it

photo by flickr: Chris Buecheler

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2 thoughts on “The Sunday Table: November 28, 2010

  1. teri says:

    As I graciously accept my pint of Sierra Nevada from you, I’ll plate up a number of the stinky artisanal cheeses left over from the holiday for us to share and throw in an article in this past week’s New Yorker, Nature’s Spoils: The underground food movement ferments revolution (http://archives.newyorker.com/?i=2010-11-22#folio=CV1). Fermentation? Listeria? Raw milk? Bacteria as the cornerstone of civilization? Does it get any better?

    1. deirdrereid says:

      We’re all friends in fermentation. Pass me that oozy cheese over on your side of the board. Got any more of those crackers you made? Oh good, thanks.

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