|Let's Pretend it's Warm Outside|
Today, for our lunch at Calhoun, let’s pretend it’s warm outside. Imagine you are in a warmer climate. Let’s imagine we are in the warmer climate of the Aegean Sea, specifically, Greece. Our Chef Ilya spent two weeks there during the break. Lucky him! When I think of Greece I am reminded not only of the warm climate but also of delicious food, fresh and bold flavors, beautiful white scrubbed villages and the intense blue of the sky and the sea. I think of salty fresh feta cheese, kalamata olives, fresh oregano, delicious seafood and the robust aromas and flavors of moussaka, pastitsio and sweet Greek pastries. Maybe these thoughts will be infused in our food today and make everyone look remember warmer days. Chef Ilya is cooking Greek cuisine!
|Oh my goodness!|
I can't believe it has been a month since I posted a blog on the website! I've got to be more diligent about posting what I write every day. This provides such a great way to share what we are doing with Calhoun families and with people outside of our community. And I love writing it. I hereby promise to be more regular in these posts.
For lunch today we have a homey comfort meal which should turn out to be a real crowd pleaser. Chef Andrew hails from Nebraska, yes I hear there really is a Nebraska but I've never been there. It's the only state in the Union which I haven't visited. That was because I never was 100% sure it was real. I'm believing it now and maybe one day I'll go to Nebraska on vacation! With the harsh winters there they need food that will really warm them up. That's what we have today.
|So Happy it's Friday!!!|
But, I won’t be staying in this weekend in my soft clothes and watching movies. I’ll be having fun at the New York Times Travel Expo at the Javits Center. Part of that show will be an area called “Taste of the World”. That’s where I’ll be representing, not only Calhoun, but also an organization called “Spoons Across America”. I’ve been on the Advisory Board for “Spoons” for a few years and what they do is joyous. Their goals are consistent with mine, one of which I feel very strongly about. That goal is to encourage family meals and the social aspects of eating together. Spoons reports that recent research has shown that children who regularly eat meals with their families are more likely to make healthy food choices and less likely to engage in “risky” behaviors such as bullying. So I’ll be there working with kids to “take a taste” to help them understand food and it’s many components. Maybe I’ll even seen some Calhoun families there!
|Laissez les Bontemps Roulez|
Yesterday was the most beautiful day we’ve had in a long time. It was a real tease. I wish we could have many more days like that but, alas, I think it’s going to be a long time before we do. Anyway, hopefully today’s lunch will put you in a warm frame of mind. Maybe even a party mood? How about make you feel “jazzy”? Today’s lunch is a menu of food from New Orleans!!!
It’s Chef Jose’s last day of his menu plan and he is finishing in great style! Here’s what’s cooking:
|Eating Old Clothes|
First, l want to thank Chef Ilya for some wonderful lunches over the past couple of weeks. How did you like that dessert yesterday? It didn’t matter that no one could pronounce the name of it, which was Ekmek Kataifi. But everyone was able to call it delicious!
Today, Chef Jose takes over the menu planning for the next 10 days. I’m so excited about today’s lunch menu and I’m pretty sure most of you will be too. Jose loves to cook the food from his background and today we’ll have some of his best! Here’s what’s cooking:
|Thank goodness we're not in Buffalo!|
Okay, it’s really cold and blustery but, hey, it’s not snowing! I heard on the radio this morning that Buffalo is expecting 5” of snow per hour today with a total accumulation of around 5 FEET! Think about that, how many of you are less than 5 feet tall? A lot of you! Makes it feel like we have a “summer day” , in comparison. Well, maybe not summer. But I’ll take Manhattan!
Last night a group of MS and LS students, along with their parents, performed a sweet community service task serving a hot meal (which they prepared the day before along with our Calhoun cooking staff) to 100 homeless people at a shelter on the East Side of Manhattan. Chef Jose and I were with them so we could heat up the food and coordinate the serving along with Sonia Bonsu, our Director of Development. The people who were served the meal were so happy and so grateful for what we were doing. Many said it was the best meal they had eaten in a very long time. They were utterly charmed by the young people serving them. While all of this was going on I noticed one of the women as someone who looked very familiar to me. Finally, I had to go ask her if it was possible we knew each other. We checked off different possibilities but nothing rang a bell. Finally she looked down at my jacket and saw my name. “BOBO!” she exclaimed! The light came on. She remembered immediately and gave me one of the best hugs I’ve had in a long time. Her name is Wendy and 15 years ago, when I was just beginning culinary school (which she reminded me) we used to hang out together with friends at a place near my apartment. I remember Wendy as a very talented graphic artist. We had a great time reminiscing about the “old gang” and how much fun we had back then. It was a bittersweet but happy moment. She didn’t try to explain her situation and I didn’t ask. It didn’t matter. What mattered was running into a long lost friend and giving her a hug. Wendy, along with everyone else who came to the shelter for dinner, left happy with full stomachs and perhaps with a little hope that there are people, some quite young, who care about them.
I’m especially excited about today’s chicken because we have recently connected with a chicken farm located in the Pennsylvania Amish Country which raises organic, hormone free, antibiotic free chickens which are treated humanely and allowed to roam free. This is the way chickens used to be raised way back before they were manipulated to grow larger and given doses of antibiotics to keep them from getting sick and get them to market as soon as possible. I like to support local farmers who work in such a sustainable way.
You’ve probably noticed a new chef around. His name is Mark Boudiette. We’re very happy to have Chef Mark join our staff. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, Chef Mark brings a lot of experience in menu planning and cooking of high volume food. Be sure to say hello to him and welcome him to Calhoun!
|Simple but Powerful Diets|
In today’s NYTimes, Mark Bittman has written an article on change. In “(Only) Two Rules for a Good Diet”, he speaks about how slowly the wheels of change turn when it comes to food while clearly recognizing that there are change agents who are working on our behalf. The big food corporations, who own industrial farms as well as restaurant chains are not eager for change and, in fact, resist with their powerful pocketbooks. At the end of his very interesting essay he offers a two –step guide for improving how we eat.