Voting with Your Forks: How We Can All Have a Positive Impact on our Food System



Insufficient access to fresh food. Childhood obesity. Eroded soil. Many of us know that our food system is rife with problems, but aren’t sure how we, as food shoppers, cooks, and eaters, can bring about change.

The key, according to Karen Karp, president of NYC food business consultancy Karp Resources and a partner in planning the recent JBF Food Conference, is to focus on making progress—and remember that we won’t solve these big problems all at once. “Sustainability is a journey, not a destination,” says Karp. “That kind of thinking can really instigate some change.”

Our 2011 Leadership Award recipients and members of our advisory board agree that there is a lot we can all do. Here are their suggestions.

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“Cook. If you don’t cook your food it invariably gets cooked for you. It gets processed and it gets manipulated. And when that happens you eat less nutritiously. And the environment suffers. And

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Market Haul: After Apple-Picking Edition

apples

For I have had too much 
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
 Of the great harvest I myself desired. –Robert Frost, “After Apple Picking”

Apple picking is an eagerly anticipated autumn ritual. Crisp fall air, cider donuts, hayrides, a bright wagon overflowing with apples that we are sure we will put to delicious use—sometimes it’s easy to get a little carried away. Once home with our invariably enormous haul, we begin to cook with the best of intentions. But after baking a pie or two and making a couple batches of applesauce without seeing a noticeable dent in the apple stores, panic can begin to set in. What’s an overly ambitious apple picker to do? Here are a few ideas.

The Haul: Apples. Many, many apples.

The Tools: A

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Giveaway: Win a Lenox Cheese and Cracker Set!

cheese
Did you know that October is National Cheese Month? We're celebrating by giving away a Scoop Cheese and Cracker Set from Lenox, one of our generous house purveyors. This 11 1/2-inch cheese service set (pictured below), which features a contemporary design and includes cheese-and-cracker tray and cheese knife, will help you get your fill of fromage any time of the year. For a chance to win it, tell us about your ideal cheese plate in the comments section of this blog, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter (use hashtag #JBFcheese) by the end of the day on Tuesday, October 25. We’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday, October 26.* UPDATE: this giveaway is now over. Congrats to L. Jeske of New York City for winning the Lenox cheese-and-

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Eat this Word: Piloncillo

piloncillo

WHAT?
Sugar cone. Mexicans have long used piloncillo to sweeten their café de olla, an earthy espresso invigorated by cinnamon and citrus. Also known in South America as panela or panocha, piloncillo is cane sugar juice that has been melted into a dense syrup and then poured into cone-shaped molds. Once solid, these small caramel-colored cylinders are pliable enough to be grated, usually with the side of a serrated knife, or crushed in a molcajete (a traditional mortar and pestle). Piloncillo imparts a unique flavor with hints of smoky molasses and deep mineral notes that distinguish it from traditional refined white sugar. Renowned modern Mexican chef Richard Sandoval uses the versatile ingredient in savory dishes like seared sesame-crusted tuna or on crunchy buñelos layered with fresh whipped cream. WHERE? Abraham

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On the Menu: October 22 through October 29

Whether it's a black pudding tart, smoked Nantucket Bay scallop, or Ligurian-style braised beef, there's something for every palate this week at the Beard House. Saturday, October 22, 7:00 P.M. Iconic British Brasserie A longtime favorite among royals and celebrities, iconic London restaurant Le Caprice has recently opened an NYC outpost where Ed Carew, Michael White’s former chef de cuisine at Fiamma, turns out cutting-edge brasserie fare. For this dinner, Carew will join forces with his British counterpart, Tim Hughes, to prepare a meal fit for a king. Sunday, October 23, 5:00 P.M. Atlanta: Friends of James Beard Benefit Our perennially popular Sunday Supper series is returning to Atlanta for a second year of fantastic food and festivities. Hosted by JBF Award winners

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Recipe Roundup: October 21, 2011

lentilsThe blogosphere’s sprawling universe of recipes is inspiring, diverse, and—let’s face it—a bit daunting. Our recipe roundup does all the heavy sifting to single out recent, mouthwatering recipes from our favorite blogs. All you have to do is click and cook! Fines Herbes Omelet [NYT] Think you know how to make an omelet? Unless you’re Jacques Pépin, there's always room for improvement. Carrot and Lentil Soup [Leite's Culinaria] Red lentils add body and depth to this vibrant-hued Aryuvedic soup.

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Recipe: Sticky Ginger Cake with Caramelized Pears

Sticky Ginger Cake with Caramelized Pears

When deciding on what to serve for dessert when entertaining a large group, it's often easiest to fall back on a shareable, one-pan pie or cake and call it a day. But if your kitchen's arsenal includes a muffin tin, you can easily prepare several individual desserts with the same amount of effort. Take these perfect-for-fall ginger cakes from chefs Tom Berry and Liz O’Connell. They're made with a standard cake batter that's sweetened with a simple date purée. After baking in a muffin tin, the charming cakes are slicked with a buttery rum glaze and topped with caramelized pears. Get the recipe here.

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