Hot Food, Served On A Plate, Eaten While Sitting

I have now been in San Cassiano, Italy for a week and could write volumes about the amazing alps and Alto Adige. As if the last week wasn’t great enough, the man had to pull something as crazy awesome as a spa day at Hotel Fanes: massage, sauna, a “quiet relax room” with a heated water bed, and naked Europeans. When a girl doesn’t think that things could possibly get any better, this ultra pampering session was followed by an impromptu three-course dinner in the Chef’s office.

A stock broker can get desensitized to money because she sees it all day long, and when the Dow drops 650 points, it’s really just another day at the office (stay with me here). Similarly, working in the food industry can cause a cook to be desensitized and forget how food makes people feel. We in the restaurant business don’t get to sit down very often to enjoy a hot meal. We forget what it’s like. Most of the time we eat standing up, perhaps over a trash bin because we’re too busy to actually put the food on a plate. (Especially if you’re in the shit and can’t get your work done fast enough because you’re still a shitty cook when it comes down to it, but work up a sweat all day trying to improve.) Sacrificing normal-people dinnertime rituals is what we do to make others feel happy during their dinner time. When you think about it, food really is quite simple. You either make people happy or you don’t. And a lot of us try to make people happy 100% of the time. The endless pursuit of perfection can be mentally and physically taxing. Sometimes if we don’t step away often enough, we forget what it feels like to be served a hot meal, on a plate, while sitting down. And if we don’t step back every once in a while from what we work so hard at every day and reflect on what is really important, we might just forget what that is. It’s just food after all.

Sometimes what a girl needs is just to sit down and be served a hot meal…in Italy…by a sweet chef…and take a deep breath of mountain air.

Gridiron Grub: Venison & Ginger Beer Chili


A couple of weeks ago my Eagles were knocked out of the NFL playoffs and before that, my beloved PSU Nittany Lions embarrassed themselves in the Outback Bowl. Thankfully, while I drowned my sorrows last week, BS provided us with a look at overpriced NFL beer and provided me with some time to regain my composure so that I could return reinvigorated for the final 2 weeks of the 2010/2011 season.  The forecast for the games this weekend isn’t too promising and where I live we are expecting single digit temperatures. Needless to say, I will not be heading out to watch any games, but instead thought I would make a big pot of the ultimate winter comfort food….chili.

I don’t know if I have ever come across a bad bowl of chili. There are so many different ways to prepare it and they all end up being pretty delicious. While doing a little research for this post, I confirmed that the word chili is Spanish and the first recorded use was in 1604. The rough translation was: “a bunch of tasty shit stewed together for awhile.” Partly inspired by ML’s recent post about game meat, and the fact that I had access to locally hunted venison, I decided to go with a venison chili. This chili recipe started out a few years ago, straight from a Field and Stream recipe, but with small changes each attempt, I came to this week’s incarnation:

Venison and Ginger Beer Chili with Lime Cream

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