Middletown, CT - Foodstock, “an all day extravaganza devoted to cooks and books,” held at Wesleyan University on Saturday, May 5th, attracted the likes of many nationally renowned food writers such as Raymond Sokolov, Jane Stern and Molly O’Neil, who came to do workshops. Artfully conceived and put together by Connecticut resident food writer extraordinaire, Amy Bloom, this first time food conference was sold out with over 400 people in attendance. As Bloom said, she hoped the event offered a “good time to those who like to read and eat.” The event was smartly organized by many able bodied students, including Will Levitt, an eager food writer/student who is already working with Serious Eats and Amanda Hesser’s Food52 and whose blog, dormroomdinner, encourages students to cook in their dorms [they all have access to kitchens there at the residences.] Will’s latest video is Cinco de Mayonnaise, offering a recipe for peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. Hmm.
Faith Middleton, host and executive producer of WNPR’s The Faith Middleton Show was there to interview Ruth Reichl, former executive editor of Gourmet magazine, now Editorial Advisor to Gilt Taste and Editor at Large at Random House and Eric Asimov, chief wine critic of The New York Times and creator of the $25 and Under restaurant reviews.
These are some of the highlights:
Now is the time when molecular gastronomy and farm-to-table are fighting it out, we yearn to know where our food comes from but we also want to deconstruct it…What’s driving the restaurant business today are food trucks. It’s not top down anymore, it’s the trucks that drive the chefs…We are losing something so important when all we do is eat out. Bringing people into your home, saying this is who I am, cooking food for people, we need to return to that and start cooking again….I would rather eat non organic locally grown food than organic industrial food that you buy in a box store…Everyone should try living on food stamps for a week and see how they feel about what they are eating. Then people will understand why cutting the budget for food stamps and giving it to the defense industry is not a good idea…Social justice is the next big thing. Food historically has been just for us, but now it is about all of us.
The focus is too much on the mechanics of wine and tasting. The methods of analyzing are unnecessary to the pure enjoyment and pleasure of drinking wine…Wine is a living, breathing work of art, it is magic in a bottle and should be respected the way a painting would…Wine is thought to reflect class, it’s a status symbol often times. It’s not about the treasured products contained within the bottle…in order to achieve a certain status, you have to know something about wine, it’s a bourgeois badge. It’s no longer about the emotional attachment that is satisfying or that solidifies a relationship with wine. We’re lead to believe that we have to know something about wine before we can enjoy it. It’s not true…The best quality and best value wines right now are coming out of Spain and Italy. Sicily, which has centuries of tradition in producing wine, and has had some centuries of making bad wine, now has remarkable ones.
Podcasts for these interviews will be available soon, check back at Foodstock for updates.