21 June 2007

grub: ideas for an urban organic kitchen review

I think this book will be an excellent source for eco-conscious rehearsal dinner, reception meal, or day after brunch planning.

Last year I was traveling through California while visiting family and wanted to get my fiance a gift. I went to the weekly Hollywood Farmer's Market that I have been going to since I was 14 and I bought a book co-authored by Bryant Terry and had it signed for my guy (Anna Lappe is the other author). The book is Grub. At the time my fiance was doing a writing assignment on high fructose corn syrup for a night class and was really getting into nutrition and holistic living. I already knew a lot about these concepts but liked the packaging of this book. Of the 300+ pages, 125 are devoted to health issues in our country, environmental justice issues associated with food, the vast processed food industry, and simple steps anyone can make to put better food in their mouths that will benefit their health, their community, and the environment. What I really loved about this book is that it is not as "Anglo" as most books on this subject are. The book is targeted to be very inclusive of those in an urban setting. Sure the Moosewood Kitchen series is kind and has great recipes with international flair but I rarely see those books in the kitchen of a minority.

The authors, Anna Lappe and Bryant Terry

The menus reflect a high-degree of cultural diversity that is evident by examining who lives in urban areas. I pulled this book off the shelf to look at some recipes last night and started going through the menus again. There is some gold here for wedding planning. Each menu is a set of food to be served as courses or together at once. Each menu comes with a musical soundtrack that will go well with the food. Some have stories or poems, and some account what the event was like where this menu was served. Some menus are titled New Millenium Soul Food, Lara's Cuban Comfort Meal, and Straigh-Edge Punk Brunch Buffet.

The New Year's Eve Good Luck Hors D'oeuvres menu includes crudites with hummsu, black-eyed-pea croquettes with yogurt dill dip (a spin on the good luck tradition in the South), quinoa stuffed cabbage packets, cinnamon-dusted sweet potatoe fries, and a money green champagne. The music includes Cottonbelly, NYC Sessions 1993-2004: X Amounts of Niceness, DJ Kicks doing Daddy G, and the Phat Global #1 compilation. The champagne reminds me a bit of a mojito... grinding mint with organic raw sugar and then mixing in lime juice and adding champagne. Mmmmm.

I need to go over this book again for the music to see if we need it for our wedding playlist, some of the menu options for any parties we may be having, and just because the stories are cool. I recommend this book if you are looking for eco-conscious party planning menus, if you are looking for a source that talks about what is wrong with the current way Americans eat and how you can fix it, or for any organic cooking enthusiasts. This book has become one of my staple gifts to give friends for housewarmings or if these topics seem like they could interest them.

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