Coming Soon: The Nude Pantry Project

An art teacher once told me the difference between a naked person and a nude is that the nude doesn’t mind being that way. The person poses willingly for you to observe and draw, or stands frankly on a wall for art lovers to enjoy.

That’s the idea behind the Nude Pantry Project, coming soon to You Are Delicious. The NP2 is a pretty simple idea, a kind of low-key reality show for foodies. It will reveal what real vegetarians eat on a few typical days in a few typical American cities. Who they are, what they eat, and new recipes for you to try. And perhaps, for tentative vegetarians or skeptical omnivores, a few revelations.

Stay tuned.

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Everyday World Saving

It’s happening at Oberlin, and you can do it too! Check out the article on this sustainable house at my alma mater. I had the privilege of touring the place during my college reunion this past weekend. It’s nothing radical–no solar panels or automatic gray water recycling system–but perhaps that’s the charm.

I especially liked their vermiculture. To the untrained eye, it’s just a plastic bin nestled in their kitchen. But a closer look reveals that it’s compost teeming with earthworms pooping out agricultural gold. And it’s true that it doesn’t smell one bit.

Be sure to watch the video, too, and try not to drool at the abundance of ramps in their walk-in! (Sorry, Mr. Brown — those are not leeks!)

Tri Nutrition — It’s All About Sustainable Energy

There’s nothing like squirting a Gu, chewing a chew, or popping a Shot Blok to make you feel like an athlete. It’s not just because it looks cool to tear open little packages with your teeth or deftly swipe a bike’s water bottle from its cage at 25 m.p.h. In addition to all that, slurping or chewing the right things can really make a difference in your training and racing. I’m living proof, having survived my first sprint triathlon and only once commenting that I was going to die.

Somehow, through eating well leading up to the race and then fumbling with a gel and drinking Cytomax, I guess I managed to do what the experts recommend. That is, keep up my carbohydrate reserves and replenish lost calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

I was reluctant to look into tri nutrition, because sustained energy and sustainable, healthy athletic nutrition seemed at odds. Continue reading

Bike Fuel

Last Friday morning, a reporter stood in Freedom Plaza holding a microphone in one hand as he steadied a road bike with the other. “I never considered riding a bike to work, but with gas approaching four dollars a gallon, it’s getting more appealing these days,” I think I caught him saying.

It was Bike to Work Day 2008, at a rally that was rain-soaked but surprisingly packed. The news folks had to keep doing new takes as streams of cyclists constantly wandered between the camera and the reporter. Continue reading

Grandma’s Tub of Lard

Today I picked up a friendly-looking burlap-colored bag in the potato chip section and made a discovery. Unlike Frito-Lay, which is creating a collection of earth tone-colored bags filled with healthier versions of their popular chip flavors, Utz is taking a different tack. Grandma Utz’s naturey bags of snacks are truly old school, in a truly unsettling way. Namely, she fries her “thicker, unrinsed slices” in pure lard! Deeelightful!

I suppose in this enlightened moment, when the skinny and bespectacled Michael Pollan is killing his own wild boar and we’re all riding a passion for “real” food, it makes sense. But lard?? Anti-veggie, un-kosher, cholesterol-and-saturated-fat-filled fat? Whole foods revolution, can’t you do better than that?

Well, at least the customers are happy. WALA!

* * *

To wit:

Lard nutritional profile

Peanut oil nutritional profile

Doritos have their own site that’s worth experiencing

In Defense of Flesh

“Eat good meat and source it well. Acknowledge where it comes from. And respect the fact that the animal died for your dinner.”

If I were to eat meat, these principles articulated by author Scott Gold are what I would live by. Some thought-provoking books on the omnivorous lifestyle (including Gold’s) came out this spring and the WaPo did a nice job examining them.

Check it out.

What Makes Mama Happy, part II (Mama Don’t Do Crust Quiche)

As promised in the last post, here’s a recipe with ramps. My take on this new-to-me ingredient was “eh.” They are tasty, but no more so than a mixture of carmelized onions and garlic, sauted shallots, or the “onion grass” I used to harvest from our yard and use like chives. So go for the ramps for this recipe, or experiment a little on your own, but don’t expect heaven to drift down and alight on your table.

The name of this recipe comes from the fact that I just do not like to make crust. It takes too much work and heartbreak, and for what? Something made with white flour (usually) and shortening that most people don’t even notice because they’re so into the filling.

But that being said, you can make this with a prepared crust just as easily. Or, if you have the touch and the patience, feel free to use your own crust recipe and know that you are a better man than I.

By the way, you could probably make this crust with a number of other soaked whole grains like buckwheat, millet, or quinoa. If you try any of those, I’d love to know how it comes out!

Note that all of the vegetables should be thoroughly washed before preparing. Ramps and greens are especially good at harboring grit.

Okay, on to the recipe (after the jump). Continue reading

What Makes Mama Happy, part I

Big Mama’s been happy this past week or so. Food adventures abounded, from the ground to the table, and most importantly to my mouth.

Yes, this is the closest I come to a Mothers Day post. I could talk about the breakfast in bed we used to make my mom, garnished with the pink crab apple blossoms that always popped open at the right moment, but, well, I decided radio personalities and wild ingredients are more exciting–and, perhaps most importantly, mush-free.

Here’s what’s been doing:

Gardening at the community garden! And finding a tiny garlic bulb no bigger than the tip of my index finger just hanging in there in the tilled soil. Continue reading

Columbia Heights, Petworth, and Mount P restaurants

A sweet mango, a world of wonder, or the greatest heights? This is the question that confronts many a Washingtonian. Ok, maybe just a few. Or maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about.

A friend recently asked for restaurant recommendations for Columbia Heights and Petworth. So I shared some thoughts, and I’d like to share them with you. Perhaps you’ll see the predicament.

Petworth

Sweet Mango Cafe is across the street from the Petworth station. I’ve never been but have wanted to try it. Organic Caribbean food!

El Torogoz Restaurant–4231 9th Street NW. Salvadoran, Mexican, and Italian food?? The Prince of Petworth doesn’t mention the latter, but seems to really like it.

More ideas here.

Columbia Heights

The Heights14th and Kenyon NW. The name refers to the level of the atmosphere, service, brows of some of the clientele, and somewhat the prices… you’ll shell out for $8-10 appetizers and like $13-$25 for a main dish, but they do give you extra virgin olive oil with a constant stream of really good bread. And they have lower priced sandwich options.

Red Rocks Pizza (couldn’t find a website, but it’s apparently good brick oven pizza — seems popular with the hip young set when I drive by!) it’s at 11th and Park Rd NW.
 
WonderlandBelieve it or not! I like their food. And they have veggie half smokes! 11th and Kenyon NW.
 
If you’re willing to head west, walk along Mount Pleasant Street and take your pick of Dos Gringos, Don Juan’s, Don Jaime’s, or Marx Cafe (which has added some delightful international tapas options). There’s also Haydee’s, which a lot of people like, but I’m not too fond of.

Eat well!