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Warm yet? Summer is coming, and for some of you living in the lovely Southeast and Texas, you might already be sick of it. I cannot lie – I do not miss southern summers full of humidity, bugs, and 80 degree temps at 6am. There is something pretty durn wonderful about experiencing a lowhumidity, 95-degree day, then having to slap on a sweater at night... Perhaps even by the light of a little outdoor fire. It’s also time to break out my trusty $5 deluxe pocket kite, peeking out on this month’s cover. Oh, yes. Speaking of outdoor fires, it’s also the start of grilling season! Whether your poison is a juicy ribeye, burgers and brats, or smoky, grilled veggies, there’s something intriguing about getting primal with our cooking methods. Not that I’m familiar with it. That’s where my husband comes in. I’m lucky I even know how to turn the oven on, let alone the grill.
The arrival of summer brings in a different lifestyle for many. Gone are the snow boots, mittens, blankets, and shovels. We finally start making excuses to get outside and our social calendars tend to fill up a little quicker. It’s also festival season, vacation and road trip season, and all-around life-enjoying season. Good times. Growing up in Cleveland, the start of summer also spawned the anticipation of the annual day trip (or two) over to Cedar Point in Sandusky, My Official Happy Place™. If you’re a fan of roller coasters and have never been, trust me when I say that this is one of the main reasons to scoff at the naysayers when you book a trip to Ohio. Turn the pages with me as I investigate some of the favorite warm-weather pastimes, including one of my favorite hobbies, eating. Don’t forget that if you’ve got comments on anything you see here or elsewhere in the Spooniverse, give a shout! The mailbox is always open.
air guitar ‘77
Tina Jett is a maker of pictures, liker of vintage, and constructor of sentences. She runs: a blog called Scatterbox over at tinajett.com and two shops on Etsy: Scatterbox for art and photography, and Monday Pie for vintage goods. She has: a weekly column on Scoutie Girl, done some freelance writing for Trazzler, and knocked ladies down for fun with the Carolina Rollergirls. She is: a big fan of sarcasm, travel, movies, stuffing her face with good eats, and works hard to keep her sailor mouth in check.
P.O. Box 580844 Elk Grove, CA 95758
Writer/Editor/Publisher Photography, Art & Illustration
ÂŠ 2011 Spoon - For comments or inquiries, please contact the Spoon haus via one of the means listed above. Opinions expressed in the zine, on the website/ blog, or in any other social media format are not necessarily those of the editor, contributors, advertisers, or affiliates.
Michael Jett : Bacon Fat & Butter
Michael Jett spent close to fifteen years in the restaurant industry before escaping in 2006. Though he lives the life of a culinary refugee, he still burns a candle brightly for his love of food. This makes his wife very happy. In his spare time, he dabbles in sports like basketball and Australian Footy, enjoys a fine wine or two, smokes the occasional pipe while contemplating the universe (usually when campfire is involved), and listens to old-school rap.
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Flicks in review
Artisan Spotlight: Sand Guys
13 Summer solstice 14 Stewards of nature 14 Camp cooking 15 Camp style 16 Glamping 17 Road trip tips 20 Baseball in the movies 22 Hot weiners match game 25 Independence Day 26 United States of A-yum-ica 30 Do you know the way to CSA? 31 Summertime eco-goods 32 Food truck revolution 37 The big quote
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My two cents on newer and older movies I’ve seen lately. Because you were just dying to know.
Bridesmaids (2011) First off: THIS IS NOT A CHICK FLICK. For some reason, there are guys out there who immediately see a group of ladies leading a film and chalk it up to a suck fest. How anyone can NOT go see a comedy written by Kristen Wiig because they think it will bomb is devoid of a humor gene. We had many moments of loud, sometimes tear-jerking, laughter from the raunchy script and incredible cast, including the many scenes high-lariously stolen by Melissa McCarthy.
Salt (2010) I’m a fan of ass-kicking-chick flicks, so any action film starring Angelina Jolie falls firmly into that category. While not a mind-blowing movie, it did keep me guessing for a bit as you try to deduce just how it was going to play out in the end. Liev Schreiber is also in it, who I think is a fantastic actor.
Thor (2011) As one of a collection of comic book superhero flicks being released prior to next year’s big culmination film that is The Avengers, we wanted to see it just to have that backstory in place. Lots of CGI, lots of action, lots of eye candy. It was good... but not great. We unfortunately spent the extra coin to see it in 3D, which wasn’t really worth it. Speaking of Avengers, I found out it’s being filmed in Cleveland. Might be time to schedule that visit home... Hi, mom!
Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009) Narrated by a former animation artist, this documentary provides a revealing inside look at Walt Disney Studios. The focus is on an era when their film branch was in the gutter and how a wonderful cosmic alignment of people and situations helped them create blockbusters that would resurrect the company and set a new standard for animated films. Having both studied, worked, and lived in the World of Disney, we loved seeing the stories of both their imperfections and unsung champions.
Slow movie-watching months! BOO. June/July 2011 Spoon :
artisan t spotligh
Sand Guys If you’ve spent any time at a sandy beach, chances are good either you or someone around you tried to make a sandcastle. Maybe you started with just your hands and a plastic cup, or maybe you upped your game ang got a fancy bucket with notches in it and a matching shovel. A commendable effort ensued. All child’s play compared to the Sand Guys. Rusty Croft and Kirk Rademaker are the Sand Guys, each with over 13 years experience in sculpting the tiny grains into fantastical creations. They compete in competitions, present works in galleries, hold team-building sculpt sessions, and instructional workshops, in addition to taking on custom work. Sand isn’t their only medium, either, as both have worked with snow, ice, and more traditional sculpting materials. This month, the Travel Channel premiered a new series, Sand Masters, based on the adventures of the Sand Guys. You’ll get a peek into their creative minds, their creative friction, and the creative challenges they face in varying locales and environments. Along with their crew members, Matt Long, Andy Gertler, Sue McGrew and Morgan Rudluff, they travel the globe meeting the artistic challenges and desires of their clients. Watch them try to work in frigid temperatures in Aspen, make a functional champagne tower in Napa Valley, and travel to spots in Costa Rica, Thailand, New Zealand to impress the locals. You’ll probably never look at a beach the same way again. Be sure to check out Rusty and Kirk’s individual sites to get a glimpse of even more sand genius.
www.sandguys.com www.rustycroft.com www.kirkrademaker.com
: Spoon June/July 2011
Be Happy by Tina Jett
Academy of Summer by Tina Jett
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Summer Solstice June 21, 2011
Summahtahm! June 21st is the official first day of summer in the northern hemisphere, when we get the longest stretch of sunshine we’ll see all year. It’s also known as Midsummer, which can refer to the day itself or to the festivities planned around it. Traditionally, of course, it means that school is out for the year, family vacations hit their stride, general kicking-back takes place, and about 30 pounds of winter wear is shed. Here are some other suggestions on how you can celebrate the season: Join the crowd: Street fairs, carnivals, and festivals of all kinds are popping up on the schedule to take advantage of the weather. Check your local papers and websites for calendar updates. Summer concerts: It’s also summer concert season, where you can see many a band perform in the open air. Metrowize.com lists the biggies. Midsummer Night’s Dream: Take in the classic Shakespeare tale by reading the story, seeing a live performance by your local theatre troupe, or watching one of the film adaptations. Follow the sun: On the day with the longest hours of sunlight, get up early
and watch the sun rise, then watch it drift away when it sets in the evening. Decorate with flowers: Flowers are a very popular symbol of Midsummer and many are in full bloom. Snag a bunch for an arrangement in your home and bring some of that sun indoors. Summer fruit: Indulge in the yumtastic sweet fruits that you can only get during this time. Berries, watermelons, and peaches are just waiting for you to bake them, pair them with ice cream, or do a little canning. Light a bonfire: Bonfires are also a symbol of the summer solstice, representing the sun and the increased daylight. Stoke up the flames on the 21st and give yourself an excuse to make some s’mores. Jump-start your eco-friendliness: Put that sun to good use! Look into installing solar panels and solar lights, plant shade trees, start a compost bin, and put your clothes out on a line to dry in the fresh, warm air. Everyone loves a parade: Attend one of the biggies that celebrate the season, like the colorful Coney Island Mermaid Parade in the East and the Santa Barbara Solstice Parade in the West.
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Stewards of Nature
Eating at a campsite can definitely be more exciting than granola bars and beef jerky. Three websites share some notso-boring ways to nosh. Click the names to go to the recipes. Images and recipes via TLC, National Public Radio, and Today’s Letters.
In Down the Neuse River, John Pugh (a.k.a. Johnny Swank) writes about the journey he took with his equally-adventurous wife, Jessica Robinson, paddling the entire length of the Neuse River in North Carolina. Both are very passionate about nature and protecting America’s waterways from the ills of erosion, pollution, and other human destruction. No stranger to the outdoors, John’s experience includes spending six months hiking the Appalachain Trail, which spans from Maine down to Georgia. In 2005, both John and Jessica paddled the entire length of the Mississippi River to raise awareness for Audobon Society’s Upper Mississippi River Campaign (now under the name Mississippi River Initiative). The excursion took 73 days and 2,150 miles, through all sorts of exciting and inclement weather (hey, hurricane!). Journaled tales from this trip, along with some of the 2,000 photos they took, are in the works to be part of John’s next book, due out this fall. John and Jessica’s insight, along with helpful links and resources for all levels of outdoorsmen and nature lovers, can be found on their website, Source to Sea. There, you can order Down the Neuse River, available in paperback and e-book, and you can also order a copy to donate to your local public library. www.sourcetosea.net
Meatloaf in Onions
Whole-Wheat Penne with Sundried Tomatoes, Mushrooms, and Chard
Campfire Orange Cakes
CAMP STYLE Airstream Camping Sign from Whispering Pines, $88 You can even get it personalized with your favorite camp spot. Be sure to check out the rest of the Whispering Pines site, which has a ridiculous amount of great camp & cabin decor.
Mason Jar Chandelier by Boots N Gus, $90 These also come in a ton of other great arrangements, configurations, and colors.
Fresh Fish Pillow by Mimi Kirchner, $75 Handmade plush fishie, smartly sewn using reclaimed clothing.
Happy Trails Wallflower Rack by Shelley Schott, $34 Very cute retro camper design perfect for displaying objects and hanginâ€™ stuff.
Rustic Camp Stool from EveryEskimo, $36 The perfect vintage accent seat to hold you or your accessories.
Americana Lamp Shades from UncommonGoods, $68 Awesome handmade batik lamp shades celebrating the retro outdoors. Cedar base sold separately.
June/July 2011 Spoon : 15
GLAMPING (v.) - Glam/glamour/ glamorous camping. Roughing it without the “rough” part. Basically, any camping that is more fancy than just a tent and sleeping bag. Last year, we visited Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend festival out at their beautiful headquarters in Menlo Park, California. One exhibition displayed many levels of this style of leisure. Glamping runs the gamut of complexity, from just having nice chairs and plates to eat off of, to decked out Airstreams and resort tents that are more like hotels without hard walls. Here are a few photos we took and links to help you decide if this is more your speed when it comes to getting in touch with Mother Nature. Gallant & Jones had their beautiful and comfy handmade deck chairs on site. They also make cute matching camp stools. gallantandjones.com
Awesome teardrop trailers for sale or rent from Vacations in a Can. Small-scale, compact, decked-out. WANT. vacations-in-a-can.com
ping re glam s to o m r o F ce es & pla sites: c r u o s e r se eck the stay, ch et ping.n m a l g o g .com inggirl om glamp .c inghub glamp
The room you see in this photograph, from Paws Up resort in Montana, was fully set up and on display (minus the en suite bath). Amazing, but jeez... pawsup.com
Ikea accessories were all over. Target, dollar stores, and thrifted goods are also perfect ways to spruce up your spot. I like the repurposed picnic suitcase.
road trip tips It is high road-trippin’ time! With so many places to explore in the states, it’s definitely as much about the journey as the destination. Keep these tips in mind before you hit the road this season. Even common-sense ones are worth the reminder.
• Make sure your car is in reliable shape. Oil checked, tires filled, etc. • Check for hotels along your route that offer deals on gasoline. Some will present you with a card good for a fillup to win your business. • Employ the cruise control setting to save more gas than you would trying to maintain one speed with your foot. • Invest in or borrow a GPS navigation system. Even the ones on smart phones will save you time and money driving around. A real paper map helps, too, if you run out of power or if the GPS isn’t 100% accurate. • If possible, try to avoid traveling on weekends and during holidays when gas prices are higher and roads are more crowded. You don’t want that headache, anyway. • Pack light. Just because you’re not flying, that doesn’t mean you need to bring the kitchen sink with you. The more weight in your car, the more gas ye shall use. • Clean your car before you go. You’ll likely accumulate another round of clutter along the way, so you might as well start with as clean of a slate as possible. Don’t let petrified french fries ruin a good thing. Bring along a small bag for garbage and recyclables. • Be flexible! One of our best road trips ever had zero agenda, including hotel reservations. While you might not enjoy quite that much uncertainty in your itinerary, I promise you’ll have less stress and more fun letting your adventure unfold as you go. • Research fun places to stop along the way. Museums, roadside attractions, and fun eateries abound. You might just find a new favorite destination to revisit on your next trip. Social websites like Yelp! let you know which spots are favored by the locals. Explore! It’s not a race, Charlie. • Check into getting satellite radio or downloading some good internet podcasts before you go. After driving across the entire length of the country for our move, we can definitely attribute our favorite podcast to helping make it tolerable and fun. • Sign up for a roadside rescue service. AAA is the most well-known and also offers discounts that you can use on your trip. Some insurance companies offer services, too.
• Have activities to do on your own. For a lot of families, that one week of the year is the most you’ll be in each other’s company 100%. Plan ways to save your sanity. • Have games and activities you can play together. Sometimes we play the billboard alphabet game. Each person goes through the alphabet on their own, calling out words on billboards that start with each letter. First to make it through all letters wins. Our rule: X just has to be somewhere in the word (and “exit” doesn’t count). Just wait till Z holds you up forever. • Wear your seat belt and don’t get all crazy with the speed. The last thing you need is to crap on your travel budget by paying traffic tickets. • Get gas and pee when you can and sleep when you need to. You never know when the next pitstop will be, and you never know where you might get stranded. • Have fun, dammit! The end. How fabulous is this illustration? From the cover of a vintage travel guide I picked up. Love. It.
Baseball at the Movies For decades, America’s pastime has been played out in film. No matter what the storyline, we’re drawn to them for the love of the game and the reminder of our childhood. Baseball is a sensory experience. The sight of the perfectly-cut outfield... The smell of the dirt in the infield... The sound of the bat making contact... The feel of the leather and stitches on the ball... This is why baseball is best enjoyed live, not on TV, which, let’s be honest, can be a bit of a snoozefest.
• A League of their Own brought to light the important role this World War II era women’s organization played in our history, emphasizing that there is no crying in baseball.
These are some of my favorite flicks that honor the game:
• Field of Dreams always reminds me about the roots of baseball in a time when players stuck with teams for love over money. And to watch out for dudes hiding in your corn.
• Being a Cleveland Indians fan, Major League is near and dear to me. The struggle of the team and the frustration of the fans was something we knew well. The ending was a bit of a fantasy that we were more than willing to indulge in. • The Natural is one of the best movies ever made, period. The pinnacle song at the end still gives me goosebumps. This was the first film I’d ever gone to where the audience actually gave a standing ovation at the end. The other was Major League... but that’s because it was in Cleveland. :) • Bull Durham has so many quotable lines in it and really speaks to why some people feel so passionate about the sport. Just remember: candlesticks always make a nice gift. • Billy Crystal directed 61*, the made-for-TV movie about the friendly competition between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, as they drove to break Babe Ruth’s homerun record. You’ll have to watch it to find out the deal with the asterisk.
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• I had to include Fever Pitch in my list of picks. It’s another film I lived vicariously through, since my team is quite familiar with championship drought. The movie was actually already filming when the Red Socks won the World Series, something they were able to capture for the story.
• The Sandlot is an homage to every baseball-loving kid’s makeshift games and friendship-bonding during childhood. • A classic film of raunchiness and Americana, The Bad News Bears gave Walter Matthau one of his most memorable roles coaching a menagerie of kids through beer-goggled eyes. For a full list of baseball films that have hit both the silver and TV screens, be sure to visit www.baseballmovie.com
Take Out by Tina Jett
Coney, dog, durger, frank, frankfurter, red hot, w (Talkinâ€™ about the pure-bred varieties, here, not the your links, and in some parts of See if you can match these geographic
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weenie, wiener. No matter what you call it, it comes on a bun and tastes amazing on a grill. e ones filled with mystery meat parts and unmentionables.) There are many ways to dress up f the country, there is only one way, as far as their residents are concerned. locations with their traditional toppings. Answers are at the bottom of the next page.
Mexican-style bacon grilled onion jalape単o salsa
sauerkraut onions in tomato sauce
melted swiss cheese
red pepper sliced pickle mayo
onion tomato pickle spear pickle relish mustard sport peppers celery salt
stewed potatoes brown mustard
potato fish cake
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Independence Day July 4, 2011
July 4, 1776 marks the day Americans celebrate their nation and commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration is the written proclamation of the original 13 colonies, in which they declared their independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. The colonies legally separated from the Kingdom on July 2nd. It was on the 4th that the physical document and its wording was approved and signed. (There are some who debate the signing date, but I’m rolling with the 4th!). The Declaration was drafted by what is known as The Committee of Five: John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. From a letter that John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3rd: The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one
end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more. Fun fact: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the very same day... July 4th, 1826 – the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Do what John would have wanted us to do and add these to your Independence Day agenda: John Adams: Get your eyes on the amazing HBO miniseries about the founding of our country through the life of our second President, based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning book by David McCullough. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney phenomenally portray the dynamic duo of John and Abigail. Traditional TV: Tune in to some of the annual broadcasting gems, like the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, the Boston Pops concert, or grand fireworks celebrations in D.C. Apple Pie: Get your bake on and whip up a version of our national dessert with one of a plethora of recipes. Learn the full Star-Spangled Banner: There are actually four stanzas to our national anthem. Learn the other three and have a beer while doing it... Francis Scott Key put the lyrics to the melody of a popular drinking song.
Hot Weiners: 1. Los Angeles, 2. Kansas City, 3. Miami, 4. Washington D.C., 5. New York, 6. Seattle, 7. Chicago, 8. New Jersey, 9. Philadelphia, 10. the Carolinas
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United States 32.
30. 28. 27.
1 26 : Spoon June/July 2011
s of A-yum-ica 1. 33. 3. 4. 2.
No matter where you live, you likely know of 34. 5.
7. 8. 9. 10.
an edible or drinkable staple that is a favorite of your area. Hometown and regional delicacies and specialties emerge as a result of cultural heritage, agricultural bounty, or just a small company keeping its secret local. In Cleveland, we call one particular mustard our own. Heading down to the old park, watching the Indians or the Browns play, meant hot dog and soft pretzel concessions slathered with Stadium Mustard. I’ve actually seen the delectable condiment show up at a couple other sporting venues in other parts of the country, much to my childish glee. I made my husband a true believer in it, which isn’t too hard, given its spicy, tangy nature. Stadium Mustard has made its way into a few of his recipes, too, from pasta salad to salad dressing to marinade. It’s one item I need to import from home to restock supplies here, out West. Likewise, my husband has reciprocated by turning me on to Texas Pete, ironically not made in Texas, but in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I’ve never been one to use hot sauce for anything prior to that momentous introduction, and I haven’t preferred another since. We’ll slap it on everything from eggs to french fries, and don’t get me started on how it’s the #1 ingredient for a killer chicken wing. Pete is also a must-import for the pantry. Do as the Romans do and try out this handful of other favorites the next time you’re in the area. Lawd knows the South has enough regional specialties to keep you fed for a week. Flip to the next page for the full list. Miss the stuff you grew up on? Check out the Hard-to-Find-Grocer, whose mission is to stock the virtual shelves with the taste of home that you’re craving. www.crossroads.com/hard-to-find-grocer June/July 2011 Spoon : 27
~ the guide ~ 1. Stadium Mustard (Cleveland) - The only mustard worth putting on a hot dog, or just about anything. 2. Lobster roll (Maine & New England) - Some serve it hot, some cold; some with just a skosh of mayo, some with a slathering. I’m not a big seafoodie person, but I’d definitely try one of these on. 3. Moxie (Maine) - The official soft drink of Maine, which started out as a medical elixir of sorts, as many colas and sodas did. Said to be a bit on the bitter side. 4. Autocrat (Rhode Island) - “Coffee milk”: the official state beverage of Rhode Island. Milk and coffee syrup, of which Autocrat brand is king. 5. Soft pretzel (Philadelphia) - Soft pretzels are one of the greatest bakery items of all time. Made popular here by German immigrants, I’m dying to try one of the real-deals. With Stadium Mustard on it, of course. 6. Cheesesteak (Philadelphia) - Cheesesteaks are all over the country, but apparently, no one makes them like Philly. Whether you like Geno’s or Pat’s, wit or witout, this sandwich is a good time. 7. Scrapple (Pennsylvania & Mid-Atlantic) - Pork scraps mixed with oats and other ingredients, often pan fried. You go knock yourself out, PA. 8. Half smoke (Washington, DC) - Half pork, half beef, and spicier than a hot dog, this Capitol-area sammich is high on my food travel list. No other is as loved as the chili half smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl, made famous by Bill Cosby and President Obama. 9. North Carolina barbecue - Sure, there are all kinds of barbecue out there... Kansas City, Texas, Memphis, North Carolina, and other segments in between. One of the things I miss most about living in NC is the hella-addictive, vinegary, red-pepper-flaked tang of some NC pulled pork. I never got into the coleslaw on top, though. Blasphemy, I know. 10. Cheerwine (Carolinas) - Another one of those things I’d never heard of until meeting my Carolina husband, Cheerwine is quite the tasty-sweet, cherry pop (<-- because that’s what it’s called) that is the fan favorite in these parts. 28 : Spoon June/July 2011
11. Benne wafers (Charleston, SC) - Specifically linked with the Low Country area of South Carolina, namely Charleston, these flat, sesame-sprinkled wafers are just the right amount of salty and sweet. 12. Cheese straws (southern US) - Having a function? Are there more than four people involved? There will be cheese straws on the menu. You have no choice. They come in infinite variations and shapes, some more dry and bland than others, but a good little snack cracker item, nonetheless. 13. Pimento cheese (Southern US) - Perhaps if it looked better, I’d probably have been more willing to try this chunk spread when I was there. Though varied, it’s mainly cheddar, mayo, pimentos, and some added spices. Then it’s slathered on bread and crackers and never hard to find at a football tailgate. 14. Boiled peanuts (Southeast) - I absolutely love peanuts (or P-nuts, as some seem to have to spell it); the closer to raw, the better, so I can’t get into ruining a good thing by boiling them. Found all over stores, sporting events, and roadside stands, I personally think they taste like dirt in a shell. Yet another tradition I’ll gladly leave to the locals. 15. Texas Pete (North Carolina, Southern US) - As mentioned before, SO GOOD. If you pay me enough, I could probably drink a small bottle. 16. Burgoo (Kentucky) - A state tradition and musthave for Kentucky Derby day, this multi-meat and bean stew sounds mighty fine. Just please don’t use the turn-o-the-century recipe I found, calling for “6 squirrels, 6 birds”. 17. Beignets (New Orleans) - These pillows of bakery goodness, assaulted with a mountain of powdered sugar, are a must-have when visiting Cajun country. Hit up landmark Cafe du Monde for the city’s most famous. 18. Pan de campo (Texas) - This basic, staple recipe is bread baked in a dutch oven, over a fire, just like the cowboys do it. 19. Spam (Hawaii) - We’ve all seen Spam in the stores. We haven’t all tried it. We haven’t all become
addicted to it like the Hawaiians, who were introduced to the canned meat block during World War II when mainland US soldiers were stationed there. Ranks right up with Scrapple for me. Try some musubi, which adds rice and nori seaweed to make a type of onigiri. 20. Akutaq (Alaska) - Native Alaskan eskimos and ancestors ate it because it’s what they had around. I get it. And I won’t get it, at the same time. Also known as “eskimo ice cream”, traditional versions used fish and animal fats combined with berries. Today, the modern version equally grosses me out, using Crisco, vegetable oil, berries and sugar as the main ingredients. You still won’t win me over with the sugar. 21. Cactus Cooler (Southern California) - Largely popular in San Diego, SoCal, and a neighboring state or two, Cactus Cooler is a pineapple and orangeflavored soda that is said to be named after a drink featured on The Flintstones, one of Fred’s favorites. 22. Green chiles (New Mexico) - Though sometimes red, the New Mexico chile is usually harvested when green and put on ev-er-y-thing. Eggs, burgers, salsa... I wouldn’t be shocked to find a green chile toothpaste. 23. Green Jell-O (Utah) - Not just any Jell-O. GREEN Jell-O. Sucked up by more Utah folk than any other state, it could be just plain ol’ lime, but to make it the “right” way, you’ll need to add some pineapple chunks, lemon juice and whipped cream. 24. Avocado pie (California) - Considering I’ve consumed more avocado in the last year-and-a-half living in California than in the 3+ decades before that, times ten, I am more than willing to give this dessert a go. It’s said to be a closer taste to key lime pie than anything avocadoey. A summery version also leaves out the cream cheese. 25. It’s-It (San Francisco) - We have these in our grocery store and had to try out a box. Ice cream between two oatmeal cookies, submerged in chocolate. The oatmeal cookie touch is something new to me, but I kinda like it. Now I just have to experiment my way through all four flavors. 26. Cioppino (San Francisco) - This soup originated with Italian immigrant fishermen tossing in bits and pieces of crab, shellfish, and other seafood from their daily catches in the wharf area. 27. Caramel Cookie Waffle (Montana) - Technically a “stroopwafel”, these Dutch specialties are vanilla
and cinnamon cookies filled with caramel before being flattened out on a waffle iron. Made famous in the area by two brothers who brought the secret recipe over from Holland. Feel free to send me some. 28. Rocky Mountain oysters (Western US) Battered and fried bull testicles. You’re welcome. 29. Cherry Mash (Missouri & Midwest) - I’ve yet to try one of these, and I’m still so-so with cherries, but just the chocolatey, nutty coating is enough to draw me in. I’m actually more intrigued by the site’s recipe for cookies, cake, and even a martini. 30. Hotdish (Minnesota) - It’s basically a casserole of any kind, basically served for every occasion, and basically awesome, because it’s usually topped with tater tots. Yes, please. 31. Cincinnati chili (Cincinnati) - It’s spaghetti, topped with chili that has nutmeg and cinnamon in it, topped with a supremely unhealthy nest of cheddar cheese. It’s actually pretty darn good. Found in Ohio restaurants and also in malls, thanks to the Skyline Chili restaurant chain. 32. Vernor’s (Michigan & Midwest) - Ginger ale, but better. My grandmother always had a 2-liter stocked in the fridge. You usually can’t avoid at least one incidence of coughing when the sassed-up, spiced-up carbonation hits your throat in the first sip. 33. Buckeyes (Ohio) - Buckeyes are a very common staple in the Ohio candy and cookie scene, and we certainly had our share growing up. These peanut butter balls are dipped just deep enough in chocolate to make them resemble the nut of the state Buckeye tree. There’s a multitude of recipes, some more sweet than others, thanks to some calling for a metric ton of powdered sugar. Regardless, homemade is always best, which you can spot by the little toothpick holes at the top. Smitten Kitchen featured a version I’m dying to try, which adds graham crackers to the mix. 34. Primanti sandwich (Pittsburgh) - Big, fat slices of bread, deli meats, french fries ON the sandwich, and topped with coleslaw and tomato. It’s the perfect late-night, post-drinking nosh. Primanti’s is the home of this obnoxiously wonderful sandwich that is impossible to eat gracefully. And because Cleveland and Pittsburgh need another reason to get on each other’s nerves, you can also find a knock-off in Northeast Ohio at one of the many Panini’s restaurants. June/July 2011 Spoon : 29
Do you know the way to CSA? CSA: Community Supported Agriculture CSAs have gained popularity in recent years as we increasingly want to know where our food comes from. Farmers sell shares, or subscriptions, to the public as a way to subsidize the cost of production, and in return, customers get a healthier, more ethically-grown bounty of goods. I won’t get all preachy about *why* you should know what farm grows your veggies, whether or not they use chemicals to do so, or how the way the cows, pigs, and chickens that provide your meat, milk, and eggs spend their days affects us physically and the globe environmentally. If you’d like to know more, I highly, highly recommend watching the documentary Food, Inc. and reading the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. (If Omnivore’s is too heavy, and it is a little at the beginning, start with the pocket-sized, condensed version, Food Rules, which you can knock out in about an hour.) One of the best decisions we’ve ever made was to join a CSA, which offers incredible benefits: • You’re eating healthier. Your vegetables are usually organic, your eggs come from open-air, pasture-raised chickens, and your meat is made with no antibiotics from animals raised the way nature intended. The other bonus to all this is that the taste quality of the food is phenomenal. • You’re eating the right foods at the right time. Mother Nature didn’t intend for tomatoes to be on every plate in winter. Eating what’s in season helps keep the agri-cycle in balance and lessens the cost and environmental effects of shipping said tomatoes from Mexico to Maine in December. • You’re exposed to new foods and recipes. CSA farmers grow a variety of fruits and veggies to keep their crops regularly rotated and sustainably maintained. This helps control weeds and pests, eliminating the need to rely on chemicals. The result is an ever-changing box of surprises. I now know that I really dig cucumbers and hate bok choy!
30 : Spoon June/July 2011
• You’re supporting local farmers and the local economy. Supporting CSAs and nearby farms keeps money in the neighborhood and allows farmers to earn a more consistent wage. They are also open to suggestion more, as you have a bit of a stake in their outcome. • You’re helping the environment.The majority of the mass-produced grocery items are shipped over long distances to reach you, be they from the other side of the country or another continent. Some items, like those tomatoes, are treated with chemicals to control ripening speeds, prevent spoilage, and make them them perfectly round to pack better in boxes. There are CSAs for not only fruits and vegetables, but also for other products like meats, eggs, nuts, and even flowers. Programs vary by farm, usually with everyone getting the same box of goods each week or month. In California, we are very lucky to be in an area that is the heart of produce in America. The CSA program we belong to is one of the most flexible I’ve seen, employing a network of nearby farms to provide an incredible selection. Most CSAs have a set location where subscribers pick up their box at designated times of the week, though there are some that deliver to your door. Check your local area and markets for farms that offer CSAs. Be sure to ask questions you might have regarding practices and use of pesticides, and definitely take part in any farm tours they may offer. Having an open relationship with the people that grow your food keeps the whole cycle in check. Listening to Richard Holcomb talk about his incredibly sustainable practices on Coon Rock Farm in North Carolina.
summertime eco-goods Handmade outdoor quilts by SewnNatural, $125 – $205 Perfect for beach, picnic, or camp, featuring natural and vintage fabrics.
Burt’s Bees Bug Bite Relief and Herbal Insect Repellent, $3 – $8 Fighting the annoyance of mosquitoes using all-natural oils and ingredients.
Bare products by Solo Ideally, you want to be taking along reusable plates and cups, which can be found at yard sales or in your own cupboard. If that is not an option, the Bare products are a great alternative, made either from renewable, compostable, or recyclable materials.
Multi-use utensil by Life Without Plastic, $19.95 The only utensil you’ll need. For more plastic item alternatives, be sure to visit their website.
Charcoal chimney by Weber, $14.95 Stop using toxic lighter fluid and spend less time getting coals hot and ready with this simple gadget.
Hand soap, lotions, and candles by Further, $12.50 – $25 A husband and wife team that takes glycerin leftover from used vegetable oil to make their pleasant-smelling line of products.
food truck There’s
an uprising afoot. Perhaps not in your neighborhood, but in larger cities across the country, there is a growing anticipation for a gourmet food truck revolution. Mobile food traditionally conjures up images of taco trucks, burgers, or other less-thanexciting food being hawked in vehicles that can best be described as sketchy. “Roach coaches”, as some are known. In places like Portland, LA, and New York, there is a contingent of highlytrained chefs and home-taught cooks who have been turning that old notion on its ear.
Instead of serving up greasy-spoon fare, today’s trucks offer up food that is usually reserved for more high-dollar and experimental permanent eateries. Kobe beef burgers, sweet potato tater tots, Korean barbecue, Cajun, crepes, coffee... The beauty of the trucks is that you can sell anything, with a menu that is large or small. No need for all the tremendous hoo-hah that comes with opening a traditional restaurant. Want to just sell cupcakes? Great. Want to introduce the townsfolk to Eskimo ice
cream? You go for it. (I’ll pass.) Only want to specialize in different types of mac ‘n cheese? Lemme know where you’re parked. Personally, I secretly dream of having a cookie truck... Now, let me step back and say that there are some mighty fine taco trucks and the like rolling around on the streets. I’ve been to them, and I’d visit again. But some of the older trucks out there can go for a long time between inspections, leaving conditions that you’d probably rather not know about. This is one of the objections to letting the new class of food trucks become successful. Another is the fear that they will steal away business from established brick-and-mortar joints. Here in Sacramento is a scenario that is similar in some other states. In 2008, regulations changed to prohibit food trucks from parking in one location, within city limits, for more than 30 minutes. Older, existing trucks are grandfathered in and allowed to set up shop with no time limit. New ones are either constantly moving about all over town, or they have to head outside the city. There are suburbs that bring them good business, but if they want to take advantage of the downtown business lunch crowd, things get a little tricky. This is where social media, namely Twitter, has been very beneficial. People can follow a truck’s whereabouts as they announce their locations, when they’re
about to be on the move, and where they’re headed next. This also limits how many people they can serve in each spot. On the absurd upside, all they technically have to do is move to another spot a minimum of 400 feet away. Every 30 minutes. Make sense? Not to most people. Trucks are also limited to how late in the day that they can sell, which isn’t late at all. On the bright side, our mayor is in favor of making things easier for truck owners, but as with any political change, there’s a lack of speed that exists. The outlook is promising, though. In May of this year, a group organized the very first Sacramento Mobile Food Festival (awesomely shortened to SactoMoFo). Since the new food truck culture in Sacramento is in its baby stages (we got our first new truck in January), we only have a couple vendors that are trying to make a go of things. That doesn’t make for much of a festival, so the organizers wrangled up vendors from nearby San Francisco, where the mobile food scene is alive and very well. On hand were 21 trucks, selling everything from gourmet burgers and sandwiches to Korean barbecue and curry. The objective was to show city officials that its citizens were literally and figuratively hungry for the type of variety and success that San Fran has. But was it a success? Did people really turn out? Umm... YES.
Rumor has it that there were over 10,000 people that made their way to the park, not that I have any idea how anyone estimates these sort of things. It was a Saturday. We arrived during what we figured might be the post-lunch down time, around 3:00pm, halfway through the six-hour fest. I swear I’m not exaggerating when I say there were easily 100 people in line. FOR EACH TRUCK. Some waited over two hours for a dish from one vendor, and I have no idea how many of them gave up after just one dish or went to another line knowing they’d be hungry again once the got to the front. We decided to not wait for any trucks at all, mainly because we were starving and about to eat our arms off, but I was still so very impressed. Left: A customer selects condiments from a vendor that has sold out of most items in three hours at SactoMoFo. Middle: Everyone standing is in line. For one truck. Above: The entrance. Inset: Mini Burger’s standard fare, via sacmag.com.
As for those neighboring brick-andmortar eats? Let’s just say that they did more than a nice little business that day with the run-off crowd. There’s no telling how long it will be before the current bans are lifted or revised. Recently, I read about a plan in place for Dallas, Texas that sounds pretty interesting. An actual park is being set aside for food vendors, complete with paths and a playground for the childrens. But instead of them pulling in with their trucks every day, they will be prepping and serving up food in vintage-style, Airstream-esque trailers. The catch? The trailers are mounted on cement docks and actually bolted down. Permanent. This matters because instead of having to adhere to mobile vehicle guidelines, each trailer is now put into the category of an actual building. Sneaky and amazing. Each vendor will actually purchase the trailer they use and have rights to serve food in it for as long as they are owners. They are then free to sell it to another vendor when they’re no longer interested in the location. Genius.
Portland, Oregon’s food carts frequently group together in lots and parks, making a one-stop shop for foodies. They’re open for business lunch, and often stay open late to capture the after-hours bar crowd, which is nice to have when the regular eateries are closed up tight. In Los Angeles, you can follow over EIGHTY trucks and their Twitter streams on one website so you don’t miss a thing. And I can’t forget to mention pioneer Roy Choi’s Kogi BBQ in LA, which generated $2 million its very first year. No typo. Currently, a third truck is in the works for Sacramento, with more on the way. Hot off the presses with fingers crossed, it was also just announced that there’s a weekly festival in the works, organized by the local vendors themselves, who are working to form an alliance. It is proposed to be every Thursday night... Just outside city limits, of course. One thing’s for certain, regardless of recession: People gotta eat. There’s room for all types of restauranteurs in town to get a share of that pie. June/July 2011 Spoon : 33
Travel is fatal to bigotry, prejudice, and narrowmindedness. Broad wholesomeness and charitable views cannot be acquired by vegetating in one tiny corner of the globe. ~Mark Twain
A book of quotations Iâ€™ve compiled since my freshman year of college. June/July 2011 Spoon : 35
Spoon : the e-zine* www.spoonzine.com
(*Itâ€™s got a little poo in it!)
Published on Jun 16, 2011
Welcome to Issue No. 4 of Spoon! Spoon is a bi-monthly, digital zine based on the little things that make life awesome: inspirations, experi...