Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

After the scary tornadoes that tore through North Carolina yesterday, I feel very blessed that I still have a Sunday table. Many lives were lost. Homes and businesses completely demolished. The aerial video of towns to the south is chilling. Photos of decimated homes in Raleigh are heartbreaking. We were so lucky. One tornado tore up a path west of us and another approached and went off to the east. We were well out of harm’s way. Mother Nature is random, either cruel or kind.

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We watched on TV as the tornado headed toward downtown Raleigh.

Back to food — some relief. There’s something both fascinating and repugnant about this story. It’s a profile of Marie Wright who is a flavor chemist. Her creative process is compelling, reminding me of a painter mixing colors. But lab beakers full of prosciutto flavor? Ick. However, an interesting article and video about the secret to processed food’s success.

If it were April’s Fools Day, I’d think this was a joke. Mario Batali and a few other chefs, including Michael Symon, will be hosting a new daytime talk show, The Chew. It’s replacing one of the two long-running ABC soap operas that are being canceled. I have to admit, I could really get into watching a show that will “focus on food from EVERY angle.” Hopefully it won’t become too Food Network-y and the producers will let Mario be Mario. And here’s a bonus, Clinton Kelly of What Not to Wear is also one of the rotating hosts, their entertaining expert. Don’t judge, I adore him. The other new show The Revolution stars Timothy Gunn from Project Runway. Looove him! My work ethic will be challenged.

When I think about my fantasy sandwiches, there’s a common ingredient – melted cheese. Just writing those words makes my stomach rumble a bit, and now I’m wondering if there’s still cheddar in the frig. April, in case you haven’t heard, is National Grilled Cheese Month. If you’re looking for new grilled cheese ideas, check out the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s Grilled Cheese Academy. But beware, the page talks.

And then there’s the pimento cheese sandwich. Swoon. (stomach grumbling sounds)

Greenpeace has released its latest Carting Away the Oceans report, seafood sustainability rankings for supermarkets. I’m surprised to see Target is ranked second, behind Safeway. I’m guessing that’s based on frozen fish because I don’t recall any fresh fish at my nearest Target, about 15 minutes away.

As for my other local supermarkets:

  • Harris Teeter, 20 minutes away but where I usually buy fish, placed 6th
  • Food Lion, part of the Delhaize group, placed 10th – maybe they’re fairly sustainable but their selection is dismal
  • Walmart is 13th – surprised they even rank that high, the only fish I’ve seen there is frozen farmed fish from Asia, but maybe my Walmart is a crappy hick one
  • Greenpeace doesn’t rate Lowes Foods, maybe because they’re a Carolina chain. Lowes Foods is better than Food Lion on inventory; I would hope they’re better on sustainability, I’ll have to take a closer look.
  • BJ’s isn’t in the report either – love their frozen wild salmon.
  • I don’t have any Whole Foods (4th) or Trader Joe’s (12th) near me which is why I left them out.

How does your supermarket rank? Where do you find the best fish?

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A reminder to not take anything for granted, the house of one of my Raleigh tweeps.

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