Monthly Archives: August 2011

Take the $5 Challenge!

When Carlo Petrini founded Slow Food back in 1986, it was in reaction to the proliferation of fast food culture in Italy, which was undermining the traditions and quality of the Italian diet.

Today we know the fast food “value meal,” readily available for around five dollars, is anything but. The cost in subsidies, healthcare, labor exploitation, and extinction to local varieties and local cuisines make it very expensive indeed. And who’s to say you cannot eat a healthy, “slow food” meal for five dollars?

This is the spirit of the $5 Challenge. Pledge to take back the value meal. Find someone hosting a meal or go ahead and arrange to host one yourself.  And if you’re lucky, I’ll come and bring the dessert! Apple crisp anyone? I picked the apples myself.

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3rd year and the First Lady

I’m approaching my third year at DC Central Kitchen working under the Fresh Start catering umbrella arm in school food dining services. It’s been night and day in how we approach school food. Three years ago I, we, DCCK, were getting our feet wet by feeding 72 kids in a private school in North East. Year two brought us both clients in the public charter school sector and of course, the pilot program we were granted for 7 DCPS schools (these schools were the most under served in the over 100 schools that DCPS has on its roster). And now, in year three, our feet are no longer wet but rather soaking with experience, knowledge, and the tools to move into different schools to feed and also educate.

I am one of now a team of school food chefs with DCCK. Just as we have expanded our operations to develop more schools we needed more chefs to help execute them and I am honored to work with them.

This year my home base is at Walker Jones Education Campus right in the heart of the city. This school ALSO just happens to have a one-acre farm on it. But before I can use the produce that grows on the farm I have to have forms filled out signed by parents saying that their kid can eat the produce…. AND we then have to get the soil tested…makes sense and all but do you know how hard it is to get 436 waivers back? My next goal is to then figure out how much produce actually needs to be grown so that we can feed the students each their 4oz of vegetable portion as mandated for lunch by the Healthy Schools Act and national school lunch program.

You can be sure that Iron chef competitions will happen and guest chefs will visit. My goal is to try and get the First lady to visit the school and see how far we are going to get kids to understand the importance and role of food in their lives.

But then again…. when you have kids, who on the 5th day of school ask you when the salad bar starts well, that makes me think that maybe these guys already know the role of good food in their lives.

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Fig Lovers Feast

One of the rare treasures of late summer is the arrival of fresh figs.  My Italian American grandmother kept three bushes of turkey figs in her garden in Pittsburgh, Pa.   I remember the ripe figs sticky with honey sweetness and always readily gobbled up fresh in the garden.
If you haven’t been so lucky to have such an experience, now is your chance!

[figs]

Saturday, September 10th from 12:30pm to 5:00pm, Ticonderoga Farms will be hosting a Fig Lover’s Feast! The 5th generation, family-owned, family-run farm will be taking visitors on a hayride to the fig groves, and will be indulging us in fig-tastings and pairings, including special cooking demonstrations by Chef Vaughn Skaggs, and one pound of a variety of figs.
Slow Food members are encouraged to RSVP as we get $5 off the admission price of $35 dollars!
Here’s the Details
Date: Saturday, September 10, 2011 Saturday, September 24, 2011 (rescheduled due to Irene)
Time: 12:30 – 5:00 pm
Location: 26469 Ticonderoga Rd., Chantilly, VA
Admission: $35 ($30 for Slow Food members – mention the announcement when you call)
RSVP: 703-327-4424 osimpson@ticonderoga.com
Rain Date: September 25, 2011

Program
12:30 – check-in
1:00 – intro & overview
after: hayride to fig groves
Fig Tastings & Pairings:
Special cooking demonstration by Chef Vaughn Skaggs
Frey White, Red & Verde Champagne
Figalicious Pizza
Local Cheese & Cracker
Fig Recipes – Sorbet – Preserves
1 lb of complimentary figs
More information at Ticonderoga Farm
Also, don’t forget about our upcoming Snail of Approval awards! Details coming soon…
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Sept 15: Do good while eating well at Brainfood’s annual Grill-off fundraiser

What could be more fun than watching teams of award-winning chefs, amateur grilling aficionados, and Brainfood program graduates compete for the Brainfood Skillet Award and the Brainfoodie Choice Award? Might I suggest enjoying cool drinks, tasty food, and a silent auction at the same time? Do good while eating well at Brainfood’s annual fundraiser.

Tickets are $75.00 per person for attendees. Or you can sign up as a competitor (costs vary depending on sponsorship level). More information and a link to purchase tickets can be found here.

To learn more about the impressive after-school youth cooking and mentoring program — featured in the summer 2011 “Community Development” issue of the hip, local Bittersweet Zine — check out Brainfood’s website.

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Garden Party: Annual Community Garden Day

If you have some time tomorrow (August 13th), head over to the P Street Whole Foods for the Annual Community Garden Day! The Garden Party gets underway at 10:00 AM and runs until 3:00 PM.

Washington Youth Garden, Arcadia Farm and Sustainable Agriculture, City Blossoms, The Farm at Walker Jones, Rooting DC, Department of Parks and Recreation will be on hand to share information, share the harvest, and bring the community together to share in the delights of community gardens.  You  may even hear a bit about Slow Food DC and developments with our Snail of Approval Awards!

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