Food Writer’s Opportunity

Could you offer to write a brief paragraph about the food-related history of the city in which you live?

For example, the tale is told of Mlle Evelyn Claudine de Saint-Évremond, daughter of a distinguished French courtier. She was an immigrant, who established a salon (vulgarly known as a bordello), in one of New York City’s most exclusive residential districts.

In no time at all, her name was abbreviated to “Eve.” The ladies in her employ soon became known as “Eve’s Apples.”

The establishment where they resided was cryptically referred to as “The Big Apple“. Visitations were therapeutic, for, as everyone knows, “An apple a day . . .”

Excerpt from Great Food Jobs 2: Ideas and Inspiration for Your Job Hunt, available October, 2013.

Irena’s Recipe for Publishing A Cookbook

Working Family Cookbook

Irena Chalmers, Working Family Cookboo

Total Time from contract to publication: Far longer than you anticipated.
Level of Expertise: Subject to interpretation particularly if there is wine in your glass.
Yield: One soft-cover and one Kindle edition.
Shelf Life Expectancy: Somewhere between milk and yogurt.


For the Brilliant Idea
Don’t make it too brilliant or no one will understand it. Instead position your title to ride the crest of an existing wave but not one that is already on its way out, i.e. No. No. Not Tuscany again, or cupcakes or bibles.
Cookbook “Bibles” Listed on Amazon
Meatball Cookbook Bible
Barbeque Bible
Best Ribs Ever: A Barbecue Bible Cookbook
New Bible Cookbook
Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible (revised?)
Appetizer Bible
Sexy Forever Recipe Bible
Yogurt Bible Continue reading

Goat Cheese Cheers

goat cheeseIt’s fair to say that New American Cuisine was based on charismatic goat cheese.

It is served warm, with a flourish of baby lettuces and rolled in fruitwood ash and floated upon sea-green virgin oil. It is sliced into medallions and garnished with nasturtium petals. It is topping fancy pizzas. It’s crumbled into pricey salads and mounded onto crisp baguette slices to accompany ultra-cool chardonnays and fumé blancs.

How odd it is that we swoon over this creamy, tangy cheese yet curl our lip at the notion of eating the meat of goat from whence it comes.

I’ve been wondering if the problem lies with the goat beards that are known as goatees?goat2

We have always been suspicious of beards, on account of their connection with intellectuals and other dangerous left-wing subversives.

Another clue to our disdain may stem from saddling them with the name “Billy Goat” and calling their offspring “Billy the Kid.”

Billy – and Tom – as in Tom Cat, implies a tendency toward night prowling and the kind of lascivious behavior that leads to such wanton tendencies as begetting.

Naturally, thoughts about ‘right and wrong’ made me think the image problem might have something to do with goat’s hooves, which you will have noticed, are cloven. This anatomical anomaly, coupled with the dreaded horns mounted on their heads, leads to worrisome comparison with the Devil, the Greek goat god Pan, satyrs and yet other symbols of bawdy naughtiness, that have largely fallen from favor in the current climate if modified Puritanism.

And, of course, we all remember the Bible’s forecast of the Last Judgment, during which we will be separated into sheep and goats, and receive our long-term assignments accordingly.

capricorn constellationThe probable origin of the phrase, “getting our goat,” is the French expression prendre le chèvre, meaning, “to take the milch goat,” which could well be a poor person’s sole source of food or livelihood.

Today the goat association would prefer we cease to think of a goat as a disagreeable small, horned ruminant animal and instead come to regard it in astrological terms as it pertains to the constellation of Capricorn.

Even so, I am pretty much convinced that goat meat could provide us with another fabulous fad to distract us from the hard economic times that threaten to engulf us.

The young superstar chefs are rapidly approaching middle age and urgently need to come up with something fresh to capture our attention.  They could offer us roasted goat with octopus salad or maybe fricassee of stir-fried goat haunch with smoky chipotle and Armagnac-infused dried plums–formerly known as prunes–or even goat tortellini with lemon grass and rhubarb crumble.

The possibilities are infinite. Imagine if the nutritionists teemed up with the advertisers. Pretty soon we would be urged to have ‘an oat with our goat’! And there is plenty of work for farm-to-table birthers, rearers, milkers and artisanal goat cheese makers too.

As I was thinking about goats, I had quite forgotten that goats are also the source of MOhaiR and CASH$mere, our softest, costliest wools. We could consider combining the MO   R with the CASH. When this item appeared on the menu, we would cry out with one voice:

“What we want is MO—R  CASH!”




Holy Swimming Cow

There was an astonishing report this morning. The Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that it doubts the human health benefits of fish oil.

Crumbs! This kind of blows up the idea of teaching dairy cows how to swim underwater.

The theory was that the cattle would produce Omega-3s that everyone is (or was) crazy about instead of milk that hardly anyone likes any more….

Just kidding….

Speech, Speech

Giving a speech for many can feel like being a deer in the headlights

Giving a speech is a hard thing to do. It requires careful planning, rehearsing, exact timing and a thorough knowledge of the audience. All these elements have equal importance, even if the speaker is simply offering a toast (particularly if a few drinks have preceded the moment).

For several years I wrote the speeches for Joe Baum, the legendary former CEO of The Rainbow Room and Windows on the World.  The procedure was always the same. He hated giving speeches and invariably canceled at least five of our first scheduled meetings.

The next step required his secretary to retrieve copies of every speech he had ever given since the beginning of time.

Then I showed up and he began by insisting certain paragraphs from his previous talks be included included in the forthcoming speech (regardless of the occasion or the assigned topic).

After dozens of drafts, false starts, whining on my part, whining on his part, my refusal to speak to him, he glowering at me…we traveled together to the meeting.

Introduction over, he’d look over at me — and wink.

Then he’d shove all my neatly typed triple-spaced pages in his pocket and say whatever came into his head.

It was always a huge success.

It took me years to understand my part in this equation was simply to help him summon the courage to accept the notion that he was loved.

The lesson I so painfully learned is that all writers are not great speakers, and speakers succeed only when they accept the original premise that a speech requires “careful planning, rehearsing, exact timing and a thorough knowledge of the audience.” These rigid rules only apply to some people though…

I love this quote from Walt Disney. He said, “I’d rather entertain and hope that people learn, than teach and hope that people are entertained.”



Handling Chopsticks

In China,it is considered barbaric to present a piece of meat that looks like the animal from which it came, and it is considered impolite to expect a guest to cut their own food into bite-sized pieces. This task belongs to the cook. Such a philosophy of eating naturally led to the invention of chopsticks.

Fred Ferretti reports in Food Arts magazine that Jae Lee, a native of South Korea, created a job for himself and his increasing number of American employees: he makes multiple million chopsticks for export to China, Japan and other far Eastern countries.

Everybody has to eat, but the methods that people all over the world use to get their food from the plate to mouth vary.  Figures from the Japanese Restaurant Association divide the world’s population into four categories:

  • 1.2 billion people eat with chopsticks.
  • 1.5 billion eat with fork, knife and spoon.
  • 350 million eat with a knife and their hands.
  • 250 million eat with their hands only.

In fast food restaurants plastic utensils are optional for pizza.