Food Court

September  2, 2011

In which Food52's News Editors Shelly & Fran (not pictured) pass judgment on the week's top food news.

florida supreme court

  • • Loser: Food Companies.
  • As the government makes it tougher for food companies to market to kids, advertisers have a new target in their sights: dads. Fathers are taking on the grocery shopping in ever increasing numbers; and Kellogg's smells an opportunity. Their new TV campaign features a father and son bonding over backyard football and a cozy, post-game bowl of cereal. Looking for quality time with your kids? We think cooking together might bring you closer than a bowl of Frosted Flakes.


  •  Winner: School Districts across the country (and their students!).
  • Reports now predict half of all US adults will be obese by 2030. Yep, you read that right: HALF. At the same time, more American kids than ever go hungry every day, with as many as 17 million children nationwide struggling with "food insecurity". Could healthy school meals address both these issues? We know when kids have access to quality food, they learn better, develop healthy eating habits and become healthier adults.


  • • Winner: Deen Loser: Bourdain.
  • This week Merriam-Webster added the word "tweet" to its popular dictionary; so maybe "culinary elitism" won't be far behind. Frank Bruni cried elitist foul when Anthony Bourdain aimed his chef's knife at Paula Deen and her "[expletive] bad for you" cuisine. Deen set aside southern hospitality to voice her opinion: "I have no idea what Anthony has done to contribute besides being irritable." While Bourdain made a valid point about the need for Americans to eat more healthfully, he did so in a way that smacked of, yep, culinary elitism. When called on it, he quickly backed off with an explanation and an apology. Sort of.


  • Thrown out for lack of evidence: Commercial composting.
  • Demand for compostable and biodegradable products is up, but knowledge about composting has remained, well, stagnant. While the idea sounds like a no-brainer, the reality is not so simple. Finding a commercial composter to deal with all those products is no mean feat. Maybe we need to start thinking about not using disposable containers at all. Maybe we all start carrying our own takeout containers (especially cute ones!).


  • Loser: Twinings Tea (and, unfortunately, its many fans).
  • Twinings throws 200 years of steeping history to the wind as it 'alters' its classic Earl Grey tea. Claims that the new mix resembles 'foul-tasting dishwater' prompt a Facebook page for furious fans of the original and result in Twinings tossing out, um, the dishwater. Why mess with a good thing? We remember how New Coke turned out. Though one hated new product that was too short-lived for us was the compostable Sun Chips bag. We'll trade a little noise for a big planetary benefit (even if we're not sure yet where to compost it!).


  • • Winner: Alice Waters (and, fortunately, her many fans).
  • Chez Panisse celebrated turning 40 this week; and the festivities honoring Waters and her Edible Schoolyard project seemed to last longer than the closing of El Bulli. As news coverage of both Chez Panisse and the approach of Hurricane Irene reached saturation point, Ruth Bourdain joked to the Twitterverse: "Breaking: Chez Panisse 40th anniversary festivities downgraded to a peach on a plate." But 40 years is a dog's age in the restaurant business; and there are probably few food lovers who haven't in some way been inspired by the fruits of Ms. Waters' labor. The alumni she has nurtured and the food wisdom she has imparted will be forever part of our culture.


  • • Under Appeal: Hurricane Irene response.
  • Speaking of Irene, well, that's pretty much anyone on the East Coast did last weekend: speak of Irene. As we all laid in food supplies and stockpiled flashlights and batteries, the Category 1 storm headed for the beaches of North Carolina and New Jersey. Even worse, Irene seemed destined to land a direct and dangerous hit on New York City. Many of us spent the weekend hunkered down with friends and family, baking, eating and drinking as we waited for what turned out to be both much less and much more than expected (depends on where you live). In the days since the storm, those of us lucky enough to escape unscathed have been bingeing on the (junk??) food supplies, while devastated and, in many cases, isolated residents of Vermont have had to rely on the National Guard to airlift them food and water.


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Photo (of the Florida Supreme Court in 2000) by Newhall Photography.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • deidre.dostal
  • Johnny daHand
    Johnny daHand
  • nratt
  • RisaCooks
  • lksugarman
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


deidre.dostal September 6, 2011
Madeleine Kamman; a famous classic French Chef that ranks with James Beard, etc., [which truly is "Culinary Elitism"], aired in San Francisco circa 1980's and her recipes were centered around old French Cuisine, with butter and cream.

However, very different from Paul Dean--in the sophistication level. "Madeleine's French cooking standards of using the freshest foods and the proper techniques. Never compromising on her cooking, she used the bounty of American ingredients and melded them with her homeland's techniques. A whole new culinary world was born: a French chef cooking and enjoying such dishes as Corn Grits with Okra and Squashed Tomatoes."

I cooked with Madeline once and you were NOT going to tell her anything about food.

The (3) shows I refuse to watch: Paula Dean, Rachael Ray & and the most significant person Anthony forgot to mention: Semi-Homemade, Sandra Lee

I so agree: "Anthony Bourdain's candid and colorful comments about Paula Deen were absolutely delightful and refreshing."

--Deidre Dostal

Read more: About Madeleine Kamman
Johnny D. September 5, 2011
Rock on Tonee!...PD comes from the "Cream of Mushroom soup southern cooking" the type of food feed to us after the help went home...lunch was always the big meal in my Alabama home because it had the verite of soul food mixed with influences of Creole, Cajun and Low Country prepared by black women who knew that fried chicken, biscuits baked with lard and long simmered greens were what God intended us to eat...Mr. Bourdain is a cook...a true Blue collar hot line guy who tells it like it is....
nratt September 5, 2011
Tony speaks as Tony does; no reservations!!
nratt September 5, 2011
Tony speaks as Tony does; no reservations!!
RisaCooks September 4, 2011
I am a fan of Bourdain too BUT I thought he went a bit far in his interview in TV Guide. I have eaten at Deen's restaurant and the food is so good. There are healthier dishes on the menu, not just lots of butter and mayo. Most folks go there for the buffet (which ain't cheap BTW). When U R on vacation U don't care about the calories or the fat (just saying).

Also, she is not obese. She is fat, yes, but even she admits that she doesn't eat that way all the time. I don't think that she is the reason our children are fat (mine isn't). Making an assumption like that is what is evil. He doesn't have to like the Food Network (he DID work for them at one point - Anyone remember "A Cooks Tour").

Yes, Deen does work for Smithfield, and yes, we are not happy with that, but saying that she is "dangerous" is a bit strong.

I realize that Bourdain's modus operandi is to be kind of curmudgeonly and cynical but being nasty to someone like Deen is ridiculous.

Also his "apology" was far from one. So even though he was a prick for what he did, doesn't mean I will stop watching him OR stop reading his books. I won't ban him from my tv or my book shelves.

I just think he should think before he speaks. His mouth can get him into big trouble.
lksugarman September 4, 2011
Anthony Bourdain's candid and colorful comments about Paula Deen were absolutely delightful and refreshing.

Forget that her accent has gotten progressively thicker to the point of caricature over the years. Here's an obese woman pushing disgusting recipes as if they're authentic Southern cooking. Shoving oversized helpings of food into her piggy mouth, looking as if she is experiencing a transcendant moment is more than enough to make a well-mannered Southern hostess cringe. Why can't Food Network have a program that features healthy Southern cooking, instead of this unhealthy cartoon of a woman?

At least, Bourdain is honest about owning his past, about honestly reviewing the food he eats, and actually knows good food! All more than I can say about Paula Deen, one of the many jokes Food Network is putting over on the viewing public.
Trillinchick September 4, 2011

Shame on Frank Bruni. Paula Deen hijacked what could have been a conversation, and led Mr. Bruni down the sideroad of deliberate misinterpretation of Mr. Bourdain's comments. Granted, Bourdain could have been more polite but that's not our straight-shooting Tony.he wasn't advocating that people buy:conse "$58 steaks" his emphasis was on our children eating healthier and, by the way, unhealthy food costs more than healthy (buy less, cost less, eat less), especially factoring in health costs over a lifetime. We're facing not only neatly issues, but also a generation that will not have the same life expectancy as their parents. Ms. Deen is unconsciousably wrong in pushing boatloads of sugar and deep fat frying. It's neither politics nor culinary elitism (a media-created term?). It simple common sense, otherwise known as "we are what we eat." I urge Mr. Bruni to work to regain his sense of integity, and for Ms. Deen to work on getting some(integrity). Mr. Bourdain, I salute you. May you continue to give your cojones.a regular outing!
SKK September 4, 2011
Useful comments and your last line has me still chuckling!
zozotherabbit September 4, 2011
SKK-yes the village voice article is GREAT. I think it makes an excellent point that these are two different people expressing two different ideas. Anyhow, I love Bourdain and I watch No Reservations regularly and I think really it's best to take most of what he says with a grain of salt. It's his shtick so-to-speak. He's a cynical guy, he says cynical things. Now I will say that Sandra Lee's show is more creepy than charming and her recipes (which I have actually tested) should be marketed as semi-homemade alternatives to emetics.

As for GMO foods, I have studied enough Microbiology and Plant pathology to say that I think they have been given a very overhyped bad reputation. They are actually very beneficial when used PROPERLY however I think things got blown WAY out of proportion when companies like Monsanto, who have made more than their fair share of scandalous headlines, abused this technology.

I agree we should have more access to information to what is in our food however that doesn't mean banning something that could "possibly" be dangerous when we really don't know anything at all.

-That's my two cents...maybe three,
S.Arzola aka "BandanaNinja"
SKK September 4, 2011
Great points!
boulangere September 4, 2011
Love your comments. Paula Deen vs. Anthony Bourdain, not even a fair fight. I've given up my TV habit, but I swear Paula Deen lays awake nights trying to find a way to deep fry butter. Yes, I love her boot-strap story. But enough is enough.
walevitt September 3, 2011
Great weekly roundup! Keep them coming!
SKK September 2, 2011

Regarding the Deen vs Bourdain confab, neither won. What we are talking about is the politics of food. An interesting articley by Rebecca Marx who uses the opportunity of this issue to look into what shapes the thinking of each side, including Bruni who blew the whole thing out of proportion.

Losers in my opinon are:

Nestle Chairman of the Board "the chairman of the board of one of the largest food companies in the world—whose tripling in profits from 2009 to nearly $43 billion in 2010 was generating from selling mainly processed foods produced with inputs from industrial, chemical farms—is “skeptical” of organic food, reports

In Alaska, a food revolution is brewing, and it’s led by 12 year olds. "The GMO Right2Know March is the first of it’s kind in America, and will have daily events between its kickoff in New York City and its finale at the White House, in Washington, DC. Come for the knowledgeable speakers, fun presentations, camping, and much, much more! Now is your chance to make your voice heard. We will win back our Right to Know what’s in our food – one step at a time!"

boulangere September 4, 2011
Thank you SKK for some good, grounded research.