Culinary Sagacity

~Thought for Food~

The Cathayans believed that the soul or mind is located not in the head but in the stomach.

Doubtless this explains why they fret so much about the preparation and serving of food.

It may also explain why their memories are so much better than ours.

Information is stored not in the finite head, but in the expandable stomach.

--Cyrus Spitama in Gore Vidal's Creation

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wild Abundance: A Beautiful Cookbook for Carnivores and Hunters

I love books, so when I come across a beautiful new cookbook -- so lovely it doubles as a coffee table book -- I'm a happy camper. Recently I've been losing myself in Wild Abundance: Ritual, Revelry & Recipes of The South's Finest Hunting Clubs, gazing at the stunning photography of Lisa Buser, drooling over the delectable recipes of the chefs and cooks, and reading the warm tales about the people and places brought together by editor Susan Schadt.

Wild Abundance (courtesy ArtsMemphis)

Odd as it may seem for a girl who grew up in cities, my family actually did a fair bit of hunting when I was a kid. My father was a chef who loved to hunt, and my family would pile into our camper and drive all the way from California to Montana or Wyoming for weeks-long hunting, fishing and camping trips on horseback.

Perhaps because of this, I've always been skeptical of carnivores who shun hunting. I've just never understood why someone who is not a vegetarian could have anything against the hunt. Often when I speak of hunting, people gasp, You'd kill Bambi?! Yet these same people happily order venison in a restaurant and buy it from the market. I truly believe the modern mentality born of experiencing meat all cut up and sold in plastic wrapped packages at the grocery story is the very disconnect that has led to the horrible animal raising and slaughtering practices rampant in today's food industry. To hunt is to respect and appreciate the life of the animal with which you're nourishing yourself, as well as the land on which they nourish themselves.

 Chef Derek Emerson's Grilled Quail with Corn Salsa (courtest ArtsMemphis)

Chef Derek Emerson with NY Giants Quarterback 
Eli Manning at Fighting Bayou Hunt Club
(courtesy Arts Memphis)
Wild Abundance is enough to make this nature-loving, game-craving city girl want to run for the wilds of America, and never look back.
Read the full article and see more of the beautiful photos from this stunning cookbook at The Huffington Post.

Carl Warner's Cool Food Landscapes

For Carl Warner, it all started with Portobello mushrooms. Now the landscape photographer who has spent 25 years in the advertising industry is famous for his foodscapes, which you've probably seen in an email that went viral back in 2008. I caught up with Carl when he was in New York City to present his Chocolate Train at the NYC Chocolate Show, as well as to promote his new book, Food Landscapes.

"I came across these Portobello mushrooms and they were beautiful specimens," said Carl when we sat down for an interview at Barnes & Noble. "Then I looked at them from a low angle and thought, Wow, that kind of looks like a tree. I wonder if I could photograph these in a way that would really make them look like trees?"

So he brought the mushrooms back to his studio in London, bought some seeds, beans and rice for the ground cover, and started constructing a landscape, using mackerel for the sky. With his knowledge of lighting and his talent for photography, he got down to the photo shoot. The result was his first ever food landscape, which he calls Mushroom Savanna, "because it looks like an African Savanna on another planet."

Read the full article and watch a slide show of Carl's Food Landscapes on The Huffington Post.