How are blogs impacting traditional journalism?
A while ago I received an email from a student and blogger, Leena Trivedi-Grenier, in Australia, asking for help spreading the word about a survey she was creating for a graduate thesis:

“I am trying to discover the impact of food blogs on traditional food journalism by looking at how people use the two forms of media.”

It’s an intriguing premise. The more people who take the ten-minute survey and answer thoughtfully, the more valuable it will be. She’ll post results in the spring.  Our spring.  Please note this survey is for U.S. residents only.

Asking yourself, "Did It Have a Head? Do I?"
Several people have emailed me today’s NYTimes story by Julia Moskin on chefs who announce their sympathy for the animals they cook and serve and ask more people to be aware of these animals and the quality of their life. It’s a sentiment I’ve talked about before and one shared by just about every chef I know.  What’s disconcerting about the Times article is the peculiar slant the story takes: "How far will chefs go to display their empathy and respect for the animals they cook?" Moskin writes. "All the way, it seems, to the barnyard and the slaughterhouse.

"Leading chefs like Mr. Oliver, Dan Barber and David Burke seem to be wallowing in — and advertising — a new intimacy with the animals they cook."

As though concern about animal husbandry were a kind of marketing gimmick.  What the story goes on to report is good and certainly it’s a story deserving of the space, but chefs have been thinking this way for years.  (I’m reading San Francisco’ chef Chris Cosentino’s book proposal today which, as it happens, begins, “My life changed a few years back [itals mine] when I had finally decided to take an animal from start to finish, from slaughter to supper, myself.”)  When I was writing Charcuterie three years ago, I made a point of being present at the slaughter of two hogs, catching the blood in a Home Depot bucket then elbow deep in entrails to harvest the intestine to fill with the blood for sausage, because I thought it was important to know and see and feel (and because the Amish guy who did the actual sticking wasn’t technically allowed give me the blood); I didn’t do it as a stunt.  I wonder if this reflects a gathering cynicism toward chefs or is simply the writer’s attempting to make the story more “newsworthy” or “timely.”

Regardless, the story focuses our attention once again on what more and more people consider an urgent issue: our acknowledging the costs of our appetite and the humane treatment of the animals we eat.

Cleveland Rocks
In today’s Chicago Tribune, reporter Monica Eng writes about Cleveland (via yours truly, because I’ve got such big mouth about it).  I’m honored by the attention she gives my fair city.

Swank new site: Gourmet.com
Monica Eng also has a story on Marco Pierre White in this month’s Gourmet magazine, and I see that they’ve just put up a sleek, well-organized and diverse site.  Used to be you’d have to get an actual copy of the magazine to read Monica’s story—now you can read it here.  You can also read my hot dog love song and a profile on Rocco, when he stood like Icarus on the cliffs of Manhattan fame, poised to fly.  And also, a recipe for creamed woodchuck, according to Ruth (she’s got straight hair! a new sleeker look for the new sleek design!).  I’ve just started exploring the site. Video quality is excellent: Marco fries Dorade, David Chang makes his mama’s kimchi—no recipe, drat!  That’s one I’d really like.  So far I find it impressive.  I thought Gourmet, to which I happily contribute on occasion, was hopelessly stuck in an old publishing model, maybe it’s not … or almost … I just tried to find a great story by Daniel Zwerdling on chicken slaughter from last June.  Apparently not everything in the magazine is on the site.  Gourmet should at least make all its political stories available.  Kudos to all those who put this site together—get Zwerdling’s story up, and others like it, and it will be fantastic. (UPDATE: And now it’s up, so it IS fantastic.)

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51 Wonderful responses to “Notes 1/16”

  • luis

    Marco’s Jamaican dorade recipe is in my recipe bin now. Only I will not fry the fish in soooo much oil. For one thing I use the best oil I can afford or find at the time. I will not have the fish swimming in expensive oil like that. If you use cheap oil..what’s the point?. So the fish will be fried in a much healthier fashion..my favorite way is to broil it lightly chop it and do it in the stove top wok I got at Publix. The rest of his recipe is pristine to me. Another great blog full of great info we can mine Ruhlman….

  • Rachel

    Of course Cleveland rocks! I’m from Akron, and moved to DC about 2 years ago. People are always putting Ohio down here, and I’m constantly having to set them straight. Ohioans are very hi-how-are-you and generally very hungry people. If you’re looking for deliciousness without snobby of course you should visit Cleveland (or Columbus for the most delicious ice cream of my life at Jeni’s in Grandview. Shameless plug for the food I miss most.)

  • schwarz

    I had been a loyal Food & Wine reader for years, but last year I let my F&W subscription go un-renewed. There was simply too much Food Network celubuchef cross marketing for me. I switched my mainstream media allegiances to Gourmet who over the past couple of years has evolved from stodgy (my mother’s food mag) to modern. Maybe my favorite part is that while they have gone through a thorough reinvention of themselves they have done it without forgetting where they came from. They regularly go to their archives for “how we did it back then.”

  • Dick Black

    Mr del Grosso,

    Further to my assessment of US made hotdogs, I find that this whole hotdog comparison turns up some every amazing facts.

    Hotdogs are very big business in the USA. Not so much in Canada. Not everyone here eats sliders, but almost everyone in the US does.
    With a population of 300 Million + compared to a measly 33 MillionI can see why Kraft Foods and others are not in hurry to open new markets and sell us Canucks BallPark singles and Cheddar smokies. I find it interesting that US weiner makers add corn syrup to the meat sludge. This might be a reason for the difference. While I agree you have a much better grade of chemicals at your disposal, I cannot concur with you on the superior cooks and cooking equipment theory you mention.

    I think US hotdogs are better because it is multibillion dollar concern, so the producers felt maximum R&D was necessary to perfect the product.

  • Virginia

    An editor’s comment:

    How are blogs impacting traditional journalism?

    The most common impact comes when a traditional journalist, on reading blogs in his or her chosen field, picks up the computer and throws it at the wall. The resulting impact can cause drywall/plaster damage and nearly always permanently damages the computer.

    A further impact can be the journalist’s head sharply striking the top of his or her desk. A less-severe version of this involves hand-head impact.

    It’s a compelling issue.

    AND THE VERB YOU WANT IS “AFFECT.”

  • ntsc

    I certainly have no idea if it is still done, but in the 60s and 70s 4H and FAA projects were slaughtered and eaten or auctioned for slaughter.

    But I’ve trouble with ‘betrayal’. I’ve held pets when they were being put down, the cats did what cats do, ignore you, and the dog was worried about my reaction and trying to cheer me up, as dogs do.

  • katy

    i read that article and it was a slap in the face — my occasionally-cheating but 99%vegetarian self needed to be more cognizant of the animals that were involved every time i tasted or cooked a meat dish. that part of the article about the pigs feeling betrayed just about broke my heart. i know the article wasn’t aiming to recruit vegetarians, i couldn’t react any other way. focusing on the animals from slaughter to table is fine, but what about from birth to slaughter? i have a feeling that’s a lot harder.

  • Dick Black

    Sir/Madame,

    Regarding Hotdogs. I live in Canada and much prefer the taste of US made hotdogs. Whether they are Oscar Mayer, Ballpark or Hebrew National, they all taste better than the homogenized bland flavour of CDN sliders.

    I think it is in your chemicals. US makers use a far better quality of chemicals and as such, translates into a tastier dog.

    You Americans don’t know how good you have it with your weiners. Do any of you know of a good producer that will Fed Ex me some Ballparks ?

  • Bob delGrosso

    DB

    It is true that the US has the best chemicals in the world and this, combined with our superior cooks and cooking machines, is what makes our cuisine the best in the world.

    Thanks for saying what we Americans have been too shy to say for fear of sounding hubristic.

  • Tags

    I have to admit I was sobered by the Dec 2007 article about Kobe beef (Raising the Steaks) in Gourmet.

    It is troubling to me that every story about Kobe beef is so effusive, and it is only after someone digs really deep that the truth comes out.

    It shouldn’t be too surprising that the Japanese government would be so evasive about the methods of producing Kobe beef. These same keep-it-under-the-radar tactics have worked so well for Smithfield, Tyson, and Conagra et ilk.

    Just ask anybody who isn’t specifically keyed to animal treatment about what life is like on a beef, pork, or chicken farm. You’ll likely get an answer informed by the “Happy Cows” commercials.

  • ntsc

    “Speaking of hot dogs…. I tried your recipe in the Charcuterie book. Worked out OK but I think something ran afoul while smoking. I’m using a Bradley and the recipe says to hot smoke for until internal temp of xxxx. The dogs were good… but a bit too smoky. I also think I put in a bit too much nitrite… there was a definite tinny aftertaste. Sooo… have any tips about smoking dogs? Like what wood to use… how open to keep the flue, etc?

    Posted by: Bob | January 18, 2008 at 01:48 PM

    Hickory is always an acceptable wood, that and mesquite are available at Home Depot (well mine anyway). Don’t use an evergreen wood and never use treated wood or plywood. I’ve a dead cherry tree which should be ready this year.

    If it is too smokey, use less wood and open the flue more. As for the aftertaste, I’ve never noticed one using the InstaCures in the amounts specified.

    I’m working my way through Charcutire currently having a decent fresh ham hanging in my curing box, along with pepperone and sopressta (spelling errors are mine). I’ve the pork for Tuscan Salami, chorizo and Hungarian Salami in the freezer which get hung in four weeks. A local Spanish meat market has told me that they will have pork belly this AM, so I have hopes of starting bacon and panchetta today.

    Yesterday I made proscuitto bread with 3/4 cup of last year’s dry cured ham (King Arthur Bread). I think some garlic would improve it.

    Michael has said that he will try and find a way for us to discuss and comment on the cookbooks he has been involved with. I’ve been seriously involved with pate and sausage since a couple of 1 day courses at CIA, Chef LeBlanc. The CIA Garde Mange book is well worth having.

  • Fe

    Thank you for the Gourmet.com site.

    I come from a migrant labor background, surrounded by cooks. My earliest childhood memories were of sitting by the prep table where my dad would chop onions, butcher meat, slice poultry and fish. I remember him frying chicken in woks that could easily hold two or three four-year old children at once. He was a cook at a migrant labor camp and did this every day for twenty years.

    The Edna Lewis bio was moving and beautiful, and made me hunger for that type of simple, straightforward food. I relished not only other’s memories of Edna, but was reminded of my own youth and of that powerful energy to nourish, generated by watching my father ply it as his trade.

    I vaguely understand why Scott didn’t realize until later what a gift he was given, and now holds. But the enormity of it must be humbling. He holds the prize of a very valuable piece of American culture by a spoon.

  • jacqueline

    One issue I have with the magazines who go digital and their missteps is exemplified by Epicurious.com’s recent “revamp”. They make it impossible to search for any content but recipes and their “bloggers” do not (for the most part) respond, create dialog, or build community. To me, that was supposed to be the promise of the blogosphere: a modern-day salon overcoming physical boundaries. Time and again I’ve found their bloggers use the forum as an absolute one-way communication. That’s not blogging, that’s editorializing or journaling or something, it’s just not blogging.

    I haven’t checked out Gourmet’s new site yet, but I hope it will be better than Epicurious’ and I noted the sleek hair too…hmmm.

    Slowfood’s magazine had a thoughtul piece (couple actually) this edition on the chef/slaughter/consumer thing. Check it out.
    Thanks,
    Jacqueline

  • Katie

    Ruhlman- you may want to remove the information regarding what Leena hopes to find with her survey, as it can influence and skew responses. When I conducted a local/organic foods survey at my college, I found that, even with a very carefully worded request to take the survey, some respondants used the free-response sections to address perceptions of me personally rather than the survey questions. They assumed someone who created such a survey MUST be a vegetarian, and talked about how much they loved to eat meat. Funny, as I once persuaded a vegetarian to order steak tartare at Les Halles, and she has since helped slaughter a pig on a trip to Cambodia.

  • Sarah

    Natalie, delete the cookies on your computer and try it again. Under tools, internet options, you should be able to get it from there.

    And yeah, I’ve been watching hunting shows my entire life (country girl), but I don’t think it’s the same thing. Celebrity chefs educating their fans about where meat comes from can only be positive, even if it is a gimmick.

  • Natalie Sztern

    You should not do that, then your computer will forget all bits of codes u entered ie. if u do online banking, I would have to re-enter all my saved info and that proves true for all your pin nos and security codes…her survey is not worth that…

  • ks

    Why is it illegal in the US to sell pork blood? Is it an outdated law or is it still there for good reason?

  • Troll

    I took the survey. And want to make it perfectly clear that Restaurant and Product Reviews at my blog are not influenced by freebies. However, should anyone WANT to bribe me, I will definately say positive things about their restaurants and/or products. And, I feel no ethical obligation to disclose that arrangement.

    Cheaply and Easily Yours,

    TrollWhore

  • Jim

    When did the food chain become inhumane or offensive? Elementary school children learn about the food chain through science lessons, and then somewhere along the way to adulthood some people decide this philosophy is wrong. I don’t understand it at all.

    I’m with Alice Waters … we as a civilization have evolved so far to the point that we have disconnected how the food on our tables gets there. It is our duty (as foodies) to re-educate everyone on what they have “forgotten.”

  • Maya

    I think it’s great for chefs to educate the public, but then I expect them to buy only humanely raised animals and have vegetarian options.

    I’m reminded of veterinarians who tell their clients that declawing their cat is terrible and causes problems, then they turn around and declaw the cat anyway. Like vets, chefs have a higher obligation because they are in a position of knowledge and authority.

    And it’s great that people experience the slaughter themselves, but what about the years and years animals may spend in a cage? At the SPCA I sat in one of the cages for just ten minutes to get an idea of what animals experience, and it was nothing at all like what I expected. The visibility was practically nill, noises were much, much louder inside the cage and it was really claustrophobic. I had to get out after less than 5 minutes. It drove me nuts.

    I can’t imagine spending my life that way!

  • Holly

    The NYT article wasn’t so bad, aside from those unnecessarily snarky remarks. Having spent 19 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, I can tell you very, very few of my colleagues had ever seen their dinner while its heart was still beating. Ninety-nine percent of them were raised in urban areas where meat is born on polystyrene trays. I was raised on a farm, so my insistence that a happy pig was a tasty pig seemed odd and perverse to them. It was like I’d come from Mars.

    Now that I hunt for most of my meat (with a gun, that is, not at the butcher shop), I spend a lot of time explaining to colleagues the value of eating meat that lived and ate naturally. Lots of flavor, lots of nutrients, no hormones or antibiotics. They’re starting to get it. And on the whole, articles like this one in the NYT probably help.

  • econnofoot

    Enjoyed the Tribune article, although my food experience in Cleveland is a midnight whistle stop vending machine run and hotboxed Marlboro riding AMTRAK out west. But it’ll definately be on my list of American cities to visit in the near future.

    Saw the ‘No Reservations’ on Vegas rerun recently, as well as having read the bit on that trip in ‘Nasty Bits.’ Funny stuff.

  • Bob

    Speaking of hot dogs…. I tried your recipe in the Charcuterie book. Worked out OK but I think something ran afoul while smoking. I’m using a Bradley and the recipe says to hot smoke for until internal temp of xxxx. The dogs were good… but a bit too smoky. I also think I put in a bit too much nitrite… there was a definite tinny aftertaste. Sooo… have any tips about smoking dogs? Like what wood to use… how open to keep the flue, etc?

  • Steve

    With respect to the condescending Chicago Tribune article profiling Cleveland dining, it should be the other way around. The PD should write an article expressing surprise that there may be acceptable dining in humdrum, conservative Chicago.

  • Natalie Sztern

    i wanted to take the 10 minutes and fill out the survey with an intellectual twist until the first question: do u live the US? I had to tell the truth and then I was done!! Only americans could answer the survey from an Australian girl on blogging….Isn’t blogging an International sport? So how come coming from Montreal, I can’t take part…lie, you say…I tried but the survey remembered my computer…..shucks!

  • JR Prospal

    Regarding the NYT article, last year I was given the opportunity to help a friend slaughter, butcher and cook a lamb they raised. My friend has an organic farm in Ohio that primarily is used to raise several breeds of chickens for eggs and meat, but they also raise sheep, geese, turkeys at various times. The experience was very enlightening from a food perspective. I was amazed how quickly and animal can go from looking like a familiar animal to looking more like food. I’ve always had the awareness where food comes from, but this experience really awoke a connection with the animals around us. I believe that there is resurfacing of tradition, as Lacey said, that is focussing on sustainability and personal connection with food. We have seen the dangers of large farming operations and I think people are just realizing that they can help their community by buying locally and feel more safe. I think people are once again becoming aware and concerned about what they eat.

  • luis

    Blogs are raw unfiltered thoughts, ideas and information that often times is leading edge.
    Also a lot of times is nothing.
    I remember reading about the straits of Hormuz and Iran weeks and months ago in the net at “Eaglespeak”. Just now the mainstream news has made reference to the recent Iranian Guard provocation to the US fleet in the strait of Hormuz.
    So this applies to everything including cooking and the internet will sowly change the way we receive our information. Why go to mainstream any outlet to receive information that is weeks if not months old. Case in point by the time you heard the real estate was in effect going soft the net was already discounting it at least two years ago that I can remember. Blogs were it be food or any other types are leading edge valuable information.

  • Tags

    BTW, speaking of Diary of a Foodie, et al…

    Why isn’t there a pbsfood.com and org?

    Foodnetwork.com is the 1,678th rated (alexa.com) website in the world. (by comparison, travelchannel.com is 92,965 and ruhlman.com is 299,382)

    Shouldn’t PBS get the word out that there is a better way?

    (A link’s as good as a nod to a blind bat, nudge, nudge, he said knowingly)

  • SwillMonkey

    Wow, so it there are more reasons then just the weather to come to Cleveland.

  • DJK

    I was happy to read that you took Ms. Eng to Flying Fig, my favorite Cleveland restaurant. Too bad Bourdain wasted his time with that Cincinnati chili soup garbage or he too might have had the chance to enjoy those delicious short ribs (or the gnocchi, which is great too).

    I wonder what she would have thought of another Ohio City favorite of mine–Momocho–and how it compares to Topolobampo in Chicago. (I prefer Momocho) Or Heck’s Cafe, home of the best burger I’ve ever had. Blackies (I think that was the name of the place that Zagats said offered the best burgers in Chicago) isn’t in the same ballpark, league, or sport.

  • Adele

    As always, many interesting links (especially the Gourmet site) in your blog.

    As a Chicagoan, I saw today’s Tribune and enjoyed Monica Eng’s article on you and Cleveland. You seem markedly unsnobbish, but “dashing Uberfoodie”, indeed. You are pretty cute, but don’t let the Trib’s tribute to your fair city and your fair self turn your head too much. It should help lift you from the January doldrums, though.

    Just another thought, there seems to be a leit motif of hair running through this blog, although anyone with eyes would have noticed that Ruth Reichl has traded in her landmark curly “do.”

    Gotta go strain stock now.

    Adele

  • Chris Walker

    The new Gourmet looks great. I’ve never really read anything over there, always sticking to Food & Wine, but now I’ll have to check it out more often.

  • Tags

    Even though I grew up enjoying cake-mix cakes, I can’t stand them now.

    Not so with hot dogs or pastrami or reubens. I prefer the French’s turmeric toothpaste every time. No gussied up Dijon for me. I’d fight with my last breath to the kitchen if the executioner brought me a hot dog with Dijon mustard on it.

  • Maya

    The guy who wrote the Secret Life of Lobsters is having a tiff with the guy who wrote the lobster essay in Gourmet magazine over the best way to kill the critters. I have to wonder if there is any way to kill such a tough arthropod in a humane way.

  • Darius K.

    Have you ever tried a Pearl Beef Dog? They’re the finest in the land, and they packed and sold only here in the Boston area.

    http://www.pearlmeat.com/

    I’ve tried scores of different hot dogs, and this one is head and shoulders (and probably other body parts) above the rest!

  • lumpalumpia

    Lacey – totally agree with your comment. We live in a country of abundance that we forget the majority of the world still rely on animals as their way of survival and/or livelihood. We, over here in the US, are very fortunate to enjoy finer things in life that we easily take things for granted that are really, necessities for other people’s daily survival.

  • ntsc

    It would be very nice if Gourmet published everything on a boxed DVD set the way the New Yorker has.

    With a good index.

  • Nicholas Bergus

    Two points on the Times piece:

    First, it does feel like old news, pegged only to Oliver’s slaughter of a chicken on live TV. (But it’s certainly not the first time the Times as presented old food news as cutting edge nor will it be the last.)

    Second, I think some of the chef-slaughter backlash or cynicism comes from what could be seen as stunts by cooks on TV (Anthony Bourdain on A Cook’s Tour, Gordon Ramsey on the F-word and now Oliver) killing animals in front of TV cameras. While their reasons for doing so might be educating, it can feel like a made-for-TV moment.

  • Kirk

    Monica Eng’s piece starts out, “Michael Ruhlman can come off as such a snob.” Michael Ruhlman has never come off as a snob to me. I wrestle with the misuse of the word “snob” a lot lately, especially with the publication of “The Food Snob’s Dictionary”. There’s a difference between being a “snob” and being a “connoisseur”. (I wish we had a better, Anglo-Saxon word for “connoisseur” but we’re kind of stuck with the snobbish-sounding French.) Straight up, a snob is an asshole. Sometimes the asshole knows what he’s talking about, sometimes not. A connoisseur knows what she is talking about but isn’t a dick if she cannot always have the best. She appreciates superior things when she can have them and makes a reasonable, often tremendous, effort to have better things in her life but she is gracious and understanding when she cannot. She will share her experience and opinions about finer things when asked but does not force her views on others.

    It would be an interesting discussion to talk about how having the best (best meal, best wine, best french fry, best cheese steak) changes a person as it relates to food.
    Going to the mountaintop can transform people in different ways. Some become Prophets. Some become dicks. Some come back no longer content with the mundane. Some return with a Zen-like appreciation for the sublimes moments of life without it ruining the day-to-day. Some people are born on the mountaintop. Some never see it.

  • Nathalie

    Bonjour Mr. Rhulman,

    thank you so much for the Gourmet.com turn-on!

    My day has been joyfully consumed with watching the videos on the site (click on the view all videos link).

    Of special note, was the Diary of a foodie H2O piece. I’m now determined to play with alkaline water.

    Next, the Brazil Fusion piece transported me to such an extend, that I could have sworn I was smelling the ingredients.

    Fantastic new net-hang, I’m hooked….

  • French Laundry at Home

    Gourmet’s relaunched site is really great — thanks for letting us know about it. I’d stopped going there because it wasn’t all that useful. They’ve done a great job turning it around.

  • Elise

    First of all I want to say how much I’m enjoying your blog. I just discovered it the other day and I know I will be a daily reader of it. Thanks for your perspective on the NYTimes story about being kind to animals before eating them. I am irritated by the perspective that eating animals is by definition cruel. There are plenty of ways to respect the animal and still consume it as food. A few years ago I heard a story on NPR about the Chinese New Year. The reporter was with a Chinese chef who was selecting a fish to be the new year’s meal. They went to the market and carefully chose a living fish, and then the chef killed it and prepared it beautifully for the meal. The reporter kept saying, “Well that fish isn’t having a very good day,” and it was quite irritating. The chef disagreed completely. He explained that this fish was having a great day – it had been selected to be the new year’s meal, a great honor. Its life was successful. The reporter totally didn’t get it. I had to turn off the story. I think it has been proven over and over again that animal husbandry can be humane and respectful. I just wish the big industrial food companies would embrace that perspective.

  • Doodad

    The animal from field to table evokes two things in me. One, the chickens my grandmother had and would slaughter for Sunday dinners. This was not on a farm, but a small town where many had gardens and such.

    The other was the Ramsay TV shows where he also raised I think pigs, lambs and turkeys (?)

  • veron

    I guess, the only animal I’ve seen being slaughtered were chickens. My grandmother raised black skinned chickens and I would see them “processed” all the time in our kitchen. Which reminded me of the time my brother took the chickens and released them to our dogs (what can i say they were young and stupid at that time). Needless to say my grandmother was not too pleased.

  • Hoon

    Watching the David Chang video, I’ll attempt to guess what he’s putting in based on what my mother taught me. Hope this helps. It really is a matter of different family recipes. Everyone believes they have the best recipe. It’s something our grandmas take pride in arguing about.

    Again, this seems to be David Chang’s recipe, I’ll put comments in parentheses. There are things here that I will note that seem a little odd to me but to each his own.

    Chop 1/2 a head of Chinese Napa into quarters, remove stem (traditionally, You would use a whole head and let it ferment in a glass jar with all the ingredients for at least a week but like David says, it seems to be a “kitchen efficient” recipe and so it seems he wishes to use it for service immediately)

    Toss cabbage with sea salt (you could probably use normal table salt but I’m just remembering what my mother used) and let stand for 2-3 hours (This is to draw the water out to make the fermentation easier). Rinse and dry

    Ok, I’ll list everything that he seems to put in the paste in the order he puts it in and I’ll add comments.

    1/4 cup soy sauce (this is a little odd, My family never really uses soy sauce but I have seen it used in some family recipes, again, I believe this is to make it more “kitchen efficient” and ready to eat)

    2 T Korean salted Shrimp/Grated Asian Pear (this is where I’m a little confused. Normally one would use either fish sauce or salted shrimp but in this recipe he seems to use both. It also could be Asian pear but I’ve seen that used more during the summer time to make the kimchi a bit more refreshing. Judging by the consistency, I’m going to guess it’s salted shrimp)

    1 Asian Radish, grated (David doesn’t seem to add this and it is optional but again, it makes it a bit more refreshing, similar to the Asian Pear so you can use either)

    1 bulb garlic, peeled (I think I count about 20 cloves if you want to get technical)

    2-3 inches of ginger root sliced

    1/4 C Water (I’ve only seen water used when the final paste seems too thick so I would hold off on adding this until all the other ingredients are combined and you can judge the consistency)

    1/4 C fish sauce

    1/2 C Korean Chili Poweder (Pronounced gohchugahru, you could probably use a single-chili powder but it won’t be the same at all)

    1/4 C Sugar (This is a major point of disagreement. I originally though it was sea salt but in my personal opinion, that’s overkill with the salt , soy sauce, and fish sauce but who knows, even David admits he may have used too much salt so it could be sea salt. It makes more sense if it’s sugar since all recipes have some sort of sweetener but that’s way too much sugar. In my opinion, it is sugar and it’s just David’s way of making it a little bit more agreeable to the American palette and a way to make it ready to eat faster. A lot of mothers lately have been using a couple tablespoons of Honey powder instead of sugar – just a thought)

    Combine all the ingredients into a blender or food processor until finely minced.

    Combine:
    1/2 C finely julienned carrots
    1/2 C Scallions, chopped into 1 inch pieces (My mother would use 1/4 C green onions and 1/4 C mustard greens, I believe that’s more traditional)
    1/2 C chopped onions (optional, some families do it, some don’t)

    Toss all vegetables including cabbage with paste. Serve immediately or refrigerate. I would recommend waiting at least 2-3 days before trying it, it really is a matter of preference. Some people love it fresh and others love it extremely fermented but most Koreans love it somewhere in between at its peak. The kimchi will ferment over a period of 2-3 weeks. After that, you could still use the kimchi in other recipes but I wouldn’t recommend eating it straight, you’ll see what I mean.

    If you would like to do it the traditional way, instead of using just a half a head of cabbage, use a whole head and slice it once lengthwise and remove the stem. Put a fair amount of paste between all the leaves from the outside leaf in, but try not to overstuff it. Place the whole cabbage into a 1 gallon jar and keep in a cool place. When ready to serve, take out half the cabbage and slice into 2 inch pieces (You’ll really need to scrub your cutting board afterwards or it’ll reek for a very long time)

    Hope this helps!!

  • thespian

    Had a conversation with my nephew (5 years old) that got my brother’s ex-wife pissy with me.

    Him: Dad says you were a vegetarian.
    Me: I was, about 20 years ago.
    Him: But you eat burgers!
    Me: I do. But not a lot of them.
    Him: Why not? I like burgers.
    Me: Because meat comes from cows and chickens. Like your dog or cat. It’s ok to eat meat, but sometimes, when they kill meat, they’re mean to it beforehand. I think if we’re going to eat meat, we should be nice to the animals (ok, *you* try explaining family farming to a kindergarten kid). So I try to eat meat from animals that people were nice to.

    Apparently this resulted in a 5 year old saying, the next day, that he didn’t want to go to McDonald’s, because they’re ‘mean to cows’. And I’ve been told to stick to discussing Star Wars and Hot Wheels cars until he’s in college.

  • Lacey @ The Road is Life

    In regards to the Times article, it is funny that it is being considered to be en vogue to see an animal slaughtered and that people take issue with it, when there was a time when knowing and seeing an animal die for the sake of a meal was normal. I think in order to be a better chef it is important to know all the processes of what your cooking, even standing there and watching the animal eat grass is important– I would say it’s not a mere trend, but a resurfacing tradition.