Monday, May 24, 2010

Review: Kansas City Barbecue Society Cookbook

Memorial Day weekend is near. It's definitely a time to salute our nation's armed forces, and those who serve our country in law enforcement. A time to say a quiet prayer that all come home safe and soon from the Middle East.

Once we've done that very important thing. Well, it's time to kick off summer with a three-day weekend and fire up the grill or smoker. Smoker if you are lucky. I've got a real weakness for barbecue. When I do eat meat, it's often served up with a perfect smoke ring and dripping with Kansas City-style sauce. It's good to be home. Barbecue is our special comfort food here.

If you'd like to celebrate with me, you might want to get a hold of the 25th anniversary edition of The Kansas City Barbecue Society Cookbook just released from Andrews McMeel, and sent to my doorstep by them for a review. They know me, I guess.

The book has recipes from KCBS members and all the classic roadside BBQ joint food groups are represented; ribs, pig butt, beans, sauce, coleslaw, cornbread, cobbler, and recipes for things like "Spam Candy," and "Cheesy Potatoes."

What you may not expect, and I was pleasantly surprised to find are some recipes that reach beyond KC-style classics to embrace Brazilian-style barbecue, Enoteca Smoked Duck Salad, Yum Yum Smoked Duck, and Cedar-planked Salmon.

While there's a joke here and there about eating roadkill, (possum, not recommended from personal experience), the book's got game — elk, buffalo, and venison recipes to be exact.

For novices like myself who eat more than they smoke, the "boneyard" in the back of the book has guides on brining and marinating, different cooking woods and which meat they pair best with, doneness guides and timetables. To keep the book's original flavor, photos and memorabilia from 25 years of barbecue competitions fill the pages alongside the recipes.

Keep this one near the smoker. Not too near, mind you.

by Ardie A. Davis, PhB, Chef Paul Kirk, CWC, PhB, BSAS, Carolyn Wells, PhB

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Disturbing Links

Often, I marvel at how differently I see food now than five years ago. It used to be just food. Before, random headlines were just one offs. Now, one headline in the news can trigger 20 different related issues from industrial ag to politics. Like these two:

1. Kids Become Prime Growth Market For Prescription Drugs an article that notes kids are the fastest growing demographic in new prescription use for drugs that treat ADHD, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

It's kind of like that whole "five degrees from Kevin Bacon" but with, well, bacon ... and food.

Berkeley, Beans and Brown Bagging It

I've read with envy all the amenities and fresh food that Alice Water's and Co. have implemented in Berkeley schools along with their Edible Schoolyard program. I think about that program. Usually as I am eyeing my kid's school menu of "Hot Dog Tacos" and "Cheesy Potato Bake" with disdain as I pack her little bento box full of things like chicken potstickers, broccoli — a favorite vegetable, and fresh cut fruit.

Then I read this article in Grist about just how well the kids in Berkeley are eating and what they are not eating. Do they eat a better diet and non-processed foods than other kids? Yes. But, even with all the advantages, frankly the kids still aren't eating as well as they could.

How can this be? I mean, school lunch is the evil cause in the media right now. Fix that, and we fix the problem, right?

Apparently not. Apparently there is a missing ingredient in this menu for change. It may be, just may be, that for kids' diets to change completely for the better, that change has to happen at home, too. And anywhere kids eat, really. Everywhere.

So, Edible Schoolyard, stay the course. I'm still envious. But here on the home front, I'm trying too. I'm trying really hard.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Alright, "duh," "whatever," and any other tween-tude such words are kind of banned around our house. But, I tell you, I am usually the first one to break the rule. There are just some things that demand, no, pester and beg for a bit of sarcasm.

Here's a few research studies that have just been published as "news." I have to ask, is old news, news? And how much did the study cost to tell us something we already knew? See for yourself.

What if we took all the money spent on studies to tell us what we already know and put it into school lunch and physical education programs? You know, fix the problem, not study it.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Say What?! Ads and Additives

Yeah. Life's real short if you are eating that every day ...

It's amazing how much I learn about food while I am driving. From gas station signs to billboards to radio ads.

Just today, I heard a commercial for a fast food establishment with their new tagline: "You know when it's real."

So, I figured I would do a little checking (not while I drove) and see just how "real" the food is at this particular chain. These items are among the ingredients in their sandwich buns, cheese sauce and chili.

Bun: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, sodium stearoyl lactylate, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono and diglycerides, DATEM, calcium peroxide, calcium sulfate, L-cysteine, enzymes, ammonium sulfate, tricalcium phosphate, ammonium chloride, Modified Food Starch, Artificial Flavors, Gum Arabic, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Propionate (preservative)

Cheddar Cheese Sauce: disodium phosphate, artificial color [yellow 5 and 6]) Modified Food Starch, Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Lactic Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sodium Alginate, Sodium Caseinate (milk derivative), Calcium Gluconate, Xanthan gum, Disodium Inosinate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin, DATEM, Sodium Silicoaluminate (anti-caking agent), Artificial Color (yellow 5 and 6).

Chili: disodium EDTA [preservative]), disodium inosinate & guanylate, xanthan gum, caramel color, malic acid, red 40, artificial flavor, silicon dioxide [anticaking agent]).

Yeah, I know when it's real. AND WHEN IT'S NOT.

If you are interested in knowing what's in your food, you can usually find the ingredients and nutrition information, including calories, for most chains through their web sites. Just a quick look can let you know what you are eating, real or not.

Of course, some of those ingredients are probably going to require a dictionary of sorts. Center for Science in the Public Interest created this fantastic, helpful guide to Food Additives.