thoughts on the cancelation of The Chew

Perhaps you saw the news in late May that ABC made the decision to cancel The Chew and replace it with another hour of Good Morning America. Since I write so much about food and cooking here I would be remiss if I didn’t have something to say about that, especially since the program was, as best as I can tell, the inspiration for one of my favorite cooking programs, The Kitchen.

The Chew logoI am not a big fan of The Chew, so I am not really mourning its loss. And it’s not going away immediately. The farewell episode will broadcast Friday June 15. After that there will be two weeks of pre-taped new shows. For the rest of the summer reruns and repackaged shows will air. Good Morning America will replace the program in September.

In retrospect I suppose it’s not a surprise that The Chew was cancelled. The show’s two biggest stars are gone. Daphne Oz left on her own late last year. Mario Batali was fired after serious allegations of misconduct arose. That left Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, and Michael Symon, all of whom are extremely capable and talented, but none of whom offered the star power of the two departed hosts.

I have my Food Network and PBS cooking shows so the cancellation won’t leave a hole in my cooking or my television watching universe. The biggest question for me is what the new program will be called. The time slot in question is 1:00 pm Eastern and noon Pacific, so they’re really not going to call it Good Morning America, are they? We’ll see.


appreciating our immigrants

I am sick of, and I am sickened by, the attitude the current administration takes towards immigrants. All of us privileged white middle class women and men are descended from immigrants. It’s just that some immigrants have arrived in the United States more recently.

My cousin Keith, who is an astute researcher and marketer, recently wrote the following about today’s immigrants:

quoteImmigrants who come to America, legally or illegally, start and succeed at more small businesses, send a higher percentage of their children to college, and commit far fewer crimes than natural born Americans.

There’s more. But you get the point.

Cities and towns of all sizes are home to restaurants that we patronize and enjoy. Here in Hemet we have Mongolian, Japanese, and Thai cuisine, with an Indian restaurant due to open soon. They are run by hardworking individuals who are often underappreciated.

Eden Eats photoFortunately there are those who understand and value this. Eden Grinshpan is the host of Eden Eats, a short-run program that originally aired on Cooking Channel. You can still find the series on the Genius Kitchen app. Each week Eden visits a different U.S. city and seeks out the best immigrant food. When she went to Austin Eden didn’t go near TexMex or festival food. What she did do what visit an Ethiopian restaurant and an European bistro run by a Hungarian family. She partied with the Austin Filipino community and then visited a Lebanese bakery and a Cuban café. When she did seek out Mexican food she found a food truck whose owner serves authentic Mexican dishes from the interior.

Penzeys button and spicesThen there is Penzeys Spices. Owner Bill Penzey is a long-time champion of progressive causes. He speaks out against gun violence and in favor of teachers and marriage equality. He has also taken a strong stand in support of immigrants and the value and richness that they bring to this country. He has made some very generous promotional offers to underscore his belief that immigrants add to rather than detract from the fabric of our American society. Many of his spice mixes reflect the diversity and breadth of flavors around the world.

Let’s set aside bigotry and ignorance. Instead, let’s pause and take a moment to remember all that immigrants contribute to this country.


local strawberries

We have a strawberry stand on a busy east-west thoroughfare on the south side of town. They keep decent hours, stay relatively busy, have so-so strawberries, and are expensive.

strawberry standWest and south of town on a country road is a strawberry stand that keeps irregular hours, grows strawberries on site, has the best, sweetest strawberries you can imagine, and charges half the price of the other stand.

You have to time it right, however.

On Friday Terry and I were going to have lunch at Jersey Mike’s. Terry wanted to stop by Lowe’s afterwards. And we were going to get strawberries. We left ten minutes earlier for lunch than the original plan. After lunch Terry said we could do Lowe’s later. We headed for the rural strawberry stand. I was one of the last to get strawberries before they shut down for the day. Had we waited another ten minutes to go to lunch and/or gone to Lowe’s we would have been out of luck. Instead we came home with a three-pack of fresh, sweet strawberries picked literally just minutes before.

Serendipity.

strawberries


our new wine strategy

When we lived in Gilroy we had it easy when it came to wine. We had a BevMo in town which always had a good selection of wines. And we would order wine from our favorite winery, Navarro. They all sat properly chilled in the wine cooler which we included in our remodeled kitchen.

Wine RackHere in Hemet we have nothing like a BevMo, and financial constraints no longer allow us to order from Navarro. There is a BevMo about thirty minutes away, but we stopped going there when I found my scotch was cheaper at Smart & Final here in town and they settled a class action lawsuit in which they were found to be manipulating prices in their “buy one, get the second for one cent” sales.

Then Terry discovered the new Total Wines, in the same city as BevMo a half hour south of us. She was amazed at the selection. We were both wearying of the limited rotation we had with our supermarket and Smart & Final, and we agreed that we could visit Total Wines every couple of weeks to stock up. We found a wine rack on Amazon which Terry, with the proper amount of snarling and swearing, put together.

It’s good new plan and I think it will work.


look at the %$#@! ingredient list!

I know better. I really do. Sometimes I just have a brain lapse.

Tropicana LabelI was recently looking for something different for my morning juice. I wanted a change from my standard orange/peach/mango, as much as I enjoy it. I looked at a couple of products and settled on Tropicana Pineapple Mango with Lime. Sounded good. And after all no artificial sweeteners and no artificial flavors is a Good Thing, right?

Why I didn’t look at the ingredients until I got home I have no idea. My only excuse was that the store was really busy and I wanted to get my groceries and get home. I did look at the label when I got home. Are you freaking kidding me? Sugar is the number two ingredient after water? Well, sugar is not an artificial sweetener.

Lesson learned. Next time I’ll look at the %$#@! ingredient list while I’m in the store.

Tropicana Ingredients


our local dining scene

Several months ago the last restaurant here in Hemet to serve a range of American cuisine in a pleasant sit-down environment closed. That was The Anchor. It is now the Mexican restaurant El Patron, which rose from the ashes, you might say, their previous location having burned to the ground. While many in the community are delighted about the opening, I am also sad about the loss. I remember the Anchor growing up.

The Anchor restaurant signI have thought a lot recently about how the dining scene here in Hemet has changed from when I was growing up. Today we have a nice Thai restaurant for dinner, as well as a very nice Italian place. But we no longer have a go-out-for-a-nice-dinner restaurant that serves American cuisine.

It was very different when I was growing up. In addition to the Anchor, there was G’s Steak House (where I worked as a dishwasher for about two evenings), The Quarter Horse, The Stables (yes, two horse motifs), Reimer’s, and finally the estimable Embers restaurant.

It was a much smaller town with a wider range of choices. I know the demographics are very different today than they were in the 1960’s, but the fact that we don’t have such a restaurant today makes me scratch my head a bit. And makes me a little sad.


sticking with what works

I had long thought of El Pollo Loco strictly in terms of chicken pieces with tortillas and salsa. El Pollo LocoBut recently I had noticed television ads that mentioned their chipotle avocado burrito. That sounded interesting to me. The other day after Toastmasters I wanted to grab something quick so I went through the drive through and got one.

I was disappointed. There was definitely avocado, but no chipotle flavor of any Chipoltekind that I could detect. It would have been just as easy to have driven another block to the Chipotle Mexican Grill and have gotten a burrito I would have known that I really would have liked. Since it was well after the lunch hour there wouldn’t have been a line, and it would have been only two dollars more than El Pollo Loco. And that’s only because I have to have my guacamole in my burrito. Without, it would have been about the same price.

Sometimes it’s best simply to stick with what works.