New Year’s Food Resolutions for the Beginner and the Brave


Once the holiday season is over and we’ve finished indulging in turkey, ham and stacks of gifts, there are slightly less exciting things to look forward to: resolutions. We are all forced to make them, and of course we’ll eventually break them before January is out. But in the spirit of all things new again, here are some New Year’s resolutions for both the beginner and brave food lovers.

Tell us how you will resolve to make 2011 a better food year.

New Year’s Food Resolutions: The Beginner

By Brit

Try Something New
Skip the #34 Kung Pao Chicken and choose something new, something that scares you, something that’s blue.

Meatless Monday
It’s no secret that we’re a fan of Sid Lerner, the pioneer of Meatless Monday. For one day a week you can avoid meat and eat a little healthier, save a little cash and reduce your carbon footprint.

Cook More
I love eating out as much as the next person, but there’s nothing more satisfying than cooking and enjoying your own meal. 

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I’ve Made Peace with Summer Produce

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“You still have tomatoes?” I whispered to Julia as I scanned what was left at the Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market.

She knew I wasn’t referring to what produce was available a mere 30 minutes before closing, but rather that tomatoes still graced the market the first Saturday in November. “They’re from the hothouse, I think,” she whispers back, eyes squinting out of secrecy.

“They’ve all been picked at this point,” Julia guesses, as she only works the stand, not farms the land. (Not that selling vegetables—and making change without a calculator!—is easy on a weekend morning.)

I didn’t try one of the last quarts of tiny yellow tomatoes. I’ve made peace with summer produce. I’ve said my goodbyes. I bought the last of my tomatoes two weeks ago, roasting them in a low and slow oven, and letting them linger in my fridge for just a few more weeks.

Using them sparingly at first—a few in an egg scramble, a few right to the mouth, a few on toast—I now must act fast before mold wins them over.

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Roid Rage


This country’s Jersey Shore obsession must be stopped!! Anyone paying attention the past few months knows that the Situation is getting out of control, and now comes word that soon even our fish will be JUICED! Yes, recently the FDA approved the genetic engineering of salmon for human consumption.

This announcement seems to be gathering a lot of attention here on the interwebs and among some special interest groups, but it has been mainly a blip in the realm of traditional media.  Here is a quick recap:

A company has figured out a way to have their salmon produce growth hormones year-round, rather than stop in the colder months as naturally happens. Essentially, they have figured out how to “juice” our fish. (It’s funny because when we found out baseball players were doing this, Congress held a hearing, but with our food, the FDA gave it two thumbs up.) The resulting fish grow much bigger in a shorter period of time, are more aggressive and the majority of them are sterile (you can see why the Jersey Shore reference popped into my head right?)

This news is about more than just salmon.

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How Hard Is It For Restaurants to Source Locally?


I wear slim, light gray pants that stop an inch and a half above my ankle. I wear shoes with a peep toe. It’s a hot fall and I can’t make up my mind, so I split the difference: giving into the season, but remembering that just because we’ve passed the fall equinox, the temperature hasn’t ducked too low.

This same compromise appeared to me at a press lunch last week. Eating outside on a sunny day at Agora, yet enjoying fall’s produce.

House-made pita dough is turned into a soft flat bread and can be found underneath melted feta and manchego cheese, topped with thin slices of a Granny Smith apple.

So far, it’s a happy story for a meatless meal. I can find the joy of fall’s favorite offspring while I dine comfortably alfresco. And my gray pants are adorable, I might add.

While chatting with the chef, Ghassan Jarrouj, a native of Lebanon, he tells me the Peynirli Pide (the cheesy flat bread) receives its fall glow from “Washington state or New York apples, most likely New York.”

Jarrouj assured me that they are in the process of lining up several local growers to supply produce to the restaurant. With such a diverse variety of apples grown only miles away in Virginia, it’s hard to hear that customers can’t enjoy fruits of the Mid-Atlantic.

Now I know how easy it is to supply my own kitchen with farmers market goods (and if you don’t know, check out Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food, a new non-profit with a mission to educate the public on sustainable, local eating), but it is quite another issue to buy enough food for a restaurant.

In fact, there’s been plenty of stories on how difficult it is for restaurants in the DC area to source local ingredients (see The Go-Betweens by ES fav Melissa McCart.) But I’ve got to think restaurants can make it work for a few months out of the year.

Hopefully, Agora, there’s a local winter squash flat bread in my future.

Industrial Food Complex


Editor’s Note: As you may remember, ES contributor forkitude has given up the corporate life to take the plunge into culinary school.

Part of culinary education is learning how to purchase food. Therefore, I found myself in a food Home Depot during my walking tour of the 245,000-square-foot Sysco warehouse in Lincoln, NE.

When did food distribution become so mechanized and industrial?

Sysco was started in the 1970s by several producers in order to distribute different food stuffs to buyers on the same truck. This idea has evolved into a food machine. And it felt like a machine.

We walked past boxes labeled “fresh cut vegetables.” Maybe the English language needs a new definition for the word fresh. “Still consumable” perhaps?

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All About Mark Bittman

It’s all about Mark Bittman this week. First we rave about his iPhone app and now some lucky DC reader (and friend) will get to hear him talk food, talk recipes, talk sustainability, talk minimalism, talk Jew. Maybe.

Bittman will be shilling for his book The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living. DC’s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue is offering TWO FREE TICKETS to the chat on October 5th at 7pm.

Email info (at) endlesssimmer (dot) com with “All About Bittman” to enter. Emails must be in the box by Monday at 3pm EST.

More: Event Details

Pay What You Want


Driving through rural Pennsylvania I came across a great roadside family farmstand. In addition to all of the late summer and fall produce, the warm summer weather has made the apple harvest in the state come a little bit earlier. Think crisp apples with intense sugars.


Especially surprising was the fact that payment at this stand was based on the honor system. There was even a sign saying if an item wasn’t marked, to pay what you wanted. In a world where organic often means more expensive, there is something beautiful about the simplicity.

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