Friday morning high. What to read on the interweb this week.

It's FRIDAY!  TGIF, right?   This weekend I am going to a friend's BBQ party and then work on my personal project- In Search of Little Saigon in America. Although there is also another BBQ event down the Jersey Shore that looks interesting.  But this project means more to me.  I don't know if I only scratched the surface of the Vietnamese markets in Philadelphia on Washington Ave or not, but I need to go back. 

Anyway this week's worth of items to read and watch, is another set of thought provoking items about how we interact with our food and food culture.  But first up is...

A rainy stroll around HCMC in Vietnam.

A rainy stroll around HCMC in Vietnam.

My youtube video on how to make iced coffee at home.  An easy way to make iced coffee at home. 

Smithsonian Magazine recently interviewed Anthony Bourdain about our recent food glamorization from food celebrity to popularity of instagramming your food.  I am a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain, so yes I got caught up in the food celebrity movement myself.  Starting from reading Kitchen Confidential to watching No Reservations and Parts Unknown, I have been a fan.  A quote from the article, that caught my eye, he says that it isn't really that we just realized this "revolution" of local, farm to table, but more like we are learning what the old World knew all along about our food. 

He has a theory about this I hadn’t considered. That the whole seismic food culture shift isn’t American superficiality but the New World learning what the Old World has known for centuries. “We’re just catching on,” he says. “We are changing societally, and our values are changing, so that we are becoming more like Italians and Chinese and Thais and Spaniards, where we actually think about what we’re eating, what we ate last night, and what we’re considering eating tomorrow. When I grew up in the ’60s, we’d go to see a movie, then we would go to a restaurant. And we would talk about the movie we just saw. Now, you go right to dinner and you talk about the dinner you had last week and the dinner you’re going to have next week, while you’re taking pictures of the dinner you’re having now. That’s a very Italian thing. A lot of the sort of hypocrisy and silliness and affectation of current American food culture is just fits and starts, awkwardly and foolishly growing into a place where a lot of older cultures have been for quite some time.”


— Ron Rosenbaum, The Smithsonian

I just hope we aren't Columbusing this idea though.  It's a real fascinating read.  And in a lot of ways, Bourdain is right in what he talks about.  And before I lead off to the next read, this interview has a nice segue to it.  From the article "Anthony Bourdain's Theory on the Foodie Revolution."

But not Instagramming food. He has strong feelings about the craze of Instagramming dishes that has taken over social media.

“Chefs bitch about it when it’s going on in their restaurants,” Bourdain says, “yet when they go out to dinner, they’re taking pictures of everything. And any notion that that’s sharing? It’s bullshit. It’s about making other people feel bad about what they’re eating. And a certain knowledge that what you’re eating is more interesting.”
— Anthony Bourdain being interviewed

Then on NYtimes, Pete Wells writes about Instagram and food, in his article: "Dishes Worthy of Instagram, But not your Appetite.  It's something that we all do.  Face the truth!  The truth will set you free!  One of the most posted instagram are the foods that we have ate at a restaurant or made.  As a food photographer, no really I am, I do it too. 

Besides a powerful research tool, digital food photography is a cheap marketing tool as well. A snapshot of a new dish uploaded last night can cause a bump in reservations this afternoon. Chefs who serve camera-ready plates find their dining rooms full of volunteer publicists, who work for free and leave money on the table when they go home.
— Pete Wells

Dishes, the entire look of the restaurant, and overall design of the place are now keeping in mind of the free publicity they get from customers making photographs of everything.  But the question is, will we eat first then take pictures or are we forever going to whip out the camera/phone first then eat?

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Modern Farmer has an article about dry farming.  Given the current extreme drought condition in California and given the fact that California grows much of our crops, it's quite an important read.  In their article, "When the Well Runs Dry, Try Dry Farming," finding ways to cope and grow through these long droughts, are vital.  Most of the drinking water originates from the Sierra Nevada snowpack, but it is annually dropping in percentage with this year only reaching 32%.  Much of the water usage is from the farms.  The idea of dry farming relies on detailed timing of implementation for the growing season.  It basically is trapping and retaining water, or moisture, like a sponge and tilling the land perfectly to make use of the trapped water that could last a long time in that plot of land.  Using dry farming techniques forces roots to go deeper for water.  Screwing up, however, would lead to no do overs.

Little explains the principles of dry farming with a simple metaphor: “Imagine you have a cookie sheet filled with water and you lay a dry sponge on the water and then cover the sponge with cellophane. The cookie sheet is the subsoil that holds moisture even when the topsoil is dry. When we till the topsoil, it becomes a sponge that pulls the water from the soil below. Then we go over the finely tilled topsoil with a roller pulled by a tractor, which seals in the moisture — that’s the cellophane covering the sponge.”

A sponge covered with cellophane will stay moist for a long time, which dry farmers hope will last through the growing season. According to Little, the precise timing of planting and tilling is the key to moisture retention. If the moisture of the winter rains evaporates from the soil before a field is properly prepared, Little has no irrigation system as a backup. “We make a lot of mistakes,” he says, “and there’s no going back with dry farming.” He has tried bringing water trucks into the field to save crops that weren’t making it, but has learned to let them wither — “they never fully recover, anyways,” he says.
— Modern Farmer

Dry farming, however, yields less crops.  It is a good strategy for community based farms, but larger operations it would not. 

These are actually long, but really worthwhile reads.  So grab your cup of coffee and enjoy!  What are you planning to do for the weekend?

What to read for this week.

It's Friday!

As with last week, I am trying to make a Friday reading list happen every Friday.  These following links and reads are things that I thought were pretty good in terms of thoughtfulness, crafty, and fun.  Check them out. 

At Kickin Crab with family about to dine on a crab and clam roast.  Photographed in May with a canon 5D3 and 50mm zeiss.

At Kickin Crab with family about to dine on a crab and clam roast.  Photographed in May with a canon 5D3 and 50mm zeiss.

Why Americans Stopped Eating their own seafood.

I saw this on yahoo food about a book, that I will soon pick up, called "American Catch" by Paul Greenberg.  It reports that 91% of our seafood comes from over seas from places like Thailand and around South East Asia for the majority of the more commonly eaten seafood like shrimp. 

It’s a great line. But Greenberg’s question also underpins the central issue plaguing the national seafood industry: Americans aren’t eating from their own waters, and it’s hurting us on both environmental and economic fronts.
— Rachel Tepper, Yahoo Food
Hand made and rolled dumpling wraps.  Shot with a 5D3 and 50mm zeiss

Hand made and rolled dumpling wraps.  Shot with a 5D3 and 50mm zeiss

Can you ever have too much dumplings?  What if you went to a dumpling eating competition?  This youtube channel, Off The Great Wall, hosted such challenge.  Check out the video and subscribe.  My own personal dumpling best is 12 soup dumplings.

Crab and Clam roast from Kickin Crab.  Shot with a 5D3 and 35L

Crab and Clam roast from Kickin Crab.  Shot with a 5D3 and 35L

Another youtube video to check out, and subscribe, Ann made a video about making your own drinkable red white and blue drink.  Remember those rocket popsicles?  You do, don't you?  Those are so very nostalgic for all of us, in the US, growing up.  Especially since July 4th is next week!

At Griffith Park in LA.  Shot with a 5D3 and 50mm zeiss

At Griffith Park in LA.  Shot with a 5D3 and 50mm zeiss

I am not sure about this one, but something worth watching.  Well if you aren't squeamish.  From AsapScience, on youtube, vlogs about should we all be eating insects?  While I am pretty squeamish about eating insects, I mean just read the last blog entry on the weird things that I have ate, it is something to consider and watch.  Sustainably it does bring up some really good points.

Tim, Weckerly's Ice Cream, helping Andy, one of the owners of the shop, with their camp fire ice cream smore ice cream sandwiches.  Shot with a 5D3 and 35L

Tim, Weckerly's Ice Cream, helping Andy, one of the owners of the shop, with their camp fire ice cream smore ice cream sandwiches.  Shot with a 5D3 and 35L

On Fstoppers, there is an article about going back to living simply that is told through photographs.  Check it out.  Antoine Bruy Documents Individuals Who Have Abandoned Society for the Simplicity of Wilderness.  While I think of just living off the land and without trinkets, I personally would think it would be tough considering that modern photography needs cameras and a computer to create those images.  But, I am not romanticizing this, the individuals in these photo series dropped modern world for simplicity and peace. Check it out. 

On the beach on Isla Mujeres.  Shot with a 5D2 and 35L.

On the beach on Isla Mujeres.  Shot with a 5D2 and 35L.

On the same lines of freedom and living off the land, this photographer, Sebastian Dahl, has a photographic series in where he has hitchhiked from Oslo to Beirut. 

I hope you enjoy this weeks reads and videos!