Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bittman Loves Him Some Sweet Potato


Mark Bittman, food editor of the New York Times, extols the virtue of the ubiquitous sweet potato while sharing no little frustration with our national fascination with turkey - the worst piece of meat you can roast according to him.

One word, Mark. It's tradition. But I'm one of those fortunate few that comes from a different tradition.

In my Cajun family, patat douce (sweet potato) was a staple from the fall through the spring.

Oh sure, we often candied it with brown sugar and marshmallows for the Thanksgiving feast. But we also served it baked, no butter, to be peeled and relished like a banana as a side to gumbo, for breakfast or any old meal.

Nowadays, I still eat baked sweet potato for breakfast, but my favorite recipe is coconut-roasted sweet potato served with lime zest or Tony's Creole Seasoning. (When in doubt, add Tony's!)

But its versatility is far greater than this. Roast, bake, French-fry, shred, puree, soup, salad, pie - however you slice it, dining on the humble sweet potato is one of those rare occasions when what's clean, healthy and good for you is also good eating.

So on the eve of the great turkey roast and subsequent coma, I concur with Bittman. Let's eat more sweet potato and leave those poor, tortured birds alone.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Novel Ways to Roast Turkey

I don't roast turkey for Thanksgiving. My companion doesn't eat it. I can roast turkey breast any time. But if I were planning a traditional feast, I'd look at some non-traditional ways to make it easy on me.

This spatchcocked bird from Mark Bittman makes short work of roasting that sometimes takes all day. The time saved gives you more time to play with your friends and family. After all, isn't that what the feast is all about?

Have a look at this and other novel preparations of Thanksgiving turkey or any poultry courtesy of Mark Bittman.

And don't forget the concept of displacement if you're frying turkey this year.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bittman: The Food Movement Takes a Beating

What? We can legally smoke pot in three states but we cannot know the ingredients of our food?!

As he reports in his column today, Mark Bittman, former New York Times food editor, is gobsmacked at the failure of California proposition 37, a ballot measure that would require labels identifying Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on some fresh produce and processed foods, such as corn, soybeans and beet sugar, whose DNA has been altered by scientists.

On the one hand, this defeat is puzzling.

The public's right to know what's in our food seems like a no-brainer. After all, we're not asking Monsanto and the other chemical companies to stop scientifically tinkering with ingredients. We're not banning GMOs as they have in Europe and widely around the world. We're simply asking them to label ingredients so that we can choose.

On the other hand, it's not surprising.

Opponents of the measure including Monsanto, Dupont, Council for Biotechnology Information, Grocery Manufacturers Association, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and Kellogg Company to name but few, spent $46 million to shoot down the initiative. See the fully updated list here.

According to the Los Angeles Times, they succeeded resoundingly. Proposition 37 was defeated by 53.1% to 46.9%.

Once again, money trumps the public's desire to self regulate.

Good to remember, that while marriage equality and marijuana made great gains in 2009, they've been advocating for this for a very long time.

This may be our first GMO round-up; it won't be our last.