Science and Cooking
Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of The Kitchen, will teach a three-day, 15-hour class on the application of the scientific method to cooking, including classical cooking techniques, ingredients, and new technologies. "The Harold McGee Lecture Series: Using The Scientific Method in The Kitchen" will take place on July 14, 15, and 16, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at The French Culinary Institute, 462 Broadway. $1,200/person (888.324.CHEF).
Japanese competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi will be defending his title at Nathan’s annual hot-dog eating contest on July 4th. Kobayashi fans can show their support with Kobayashi T-Shirts that retool Nathan's and Bob's Big Boy logos in favor of the frankfurter-eating champ. $22 at kfordiet.com. [via Japan Probe]
Lauren Fleischer, the creator of Sweet Meats, crafts soft, huggable versions of steaks, pork chops, ribs, and other fine cuts. We recently interviewed her about the inspiration behind her products.
Why plush meats?
I like meat. A lot. I have ancestors and relatives who are/were butchers on both sides of my family. My last name even translates to "butcher" from German. When we were kids, my little sister and I would take weekly trips with our mom to the Karl Ehmer butcher shop in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. We would tear into the bag the second we got in the car. The entire ride home we would bite out shapes to make bologna "masks" and eat entire strings of cocktail frankfurters.
How did you come up with the idea?
I had had the idea to make unusual plush objects a long time ago. They were something I used to collect. Then, about three years ago, I saw a video and an online exhibit for Jennifer Lew, who makes things like plush videotapes and lines of cocaine (razor included) as fine art. That gave me the push to actually begin. I started with a plush ham and a pack of cigarettes, neither of which I ever finished.
What do you think is their attraction?
I've explained my own attraction to meat but I think there are many reasons other people love them. Meat, especially red meat and pork, is often seen as a vice these days and people love to be subversive. There's also an instinctual, biological urge to grab a piece of meat. Meat is one of those foods, like chocolate, that people have intense cravings for and of which they will go out of their way to find the best piece, unlike, say, milk or cabbage. Also, cuddling up to something that is normally bloody and cold is pretty funny.
Who is your market?
Mostly punks, hipsters, artists and Western Europeans. Sweet Meats, however, can be marketed to enormous range of demographics. They are vegan, kosher (even the pork) and your pet (or new baby) will gladly chew on them.
For more information about Sweet Meats and to view the entire line of plush meats, t-shirts, and toys, visit sweet-meats.com.
Do you live in Los Angeles? Do you read this site regularly? Do you have a soft spot for celebrity babies?
If your answer to these questions is yes, we're traveling to L.A. for a wedding this week and will be holding an informal mash-up/gathering of The Food Section/Celebrity Baby Blog readers and friends on Thursday, June 28, 6:00 p.m., in the vicinity of the Farmer's Market (pictured above).
Interested in joining us? Send an email, and we'll send you the details.
Above, Mark McGrath poses with Carrie Bradshaw-inspired "Spraychel" and "Spritzy."
TFS headquarters is stricken with a viral infection that has not only debilitated your humble editor, but infiltrated critical infrastructure at the heart of this site's operations (in other words, I have a tremendously sore throat).
During a brief attempt at reading all the email that's piled up over the last several days while incapacitated, I came across one message stood out from the rest -- a PR pitch for what might be one of the most absurd food marketing campaigns ever launched: Wishbone and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter's reinvention of HBO's "Sex and the City" as "Sprays in the City":
The fridge is full of love and adventure in “Sprays in the City,” a fresh, new animated romantic comedy, starring an all-star celebrity cast including Extra‘s Mark McGrath [above], Project Runway star Tim Gunn, and Fabio. The webisodes follow the adventures of two gorgeous city sprays. Spraychel, the captivating I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®’s spray, and Spritzy, the feisty Wish-Bone® Salad Spritzers® Dressing.
And so, I leave you with the following advertainment until my return:
Food on Film
The first annual New York Food Film Festival -- a summer-long event featuring animation, short films, and documentaries about food -- kicks off Thursday, June 14, through Saturday, June 16, with a series of films about regional American hamburgers. The festival returns from June 21 to June 23 with films about hot dogs and sausage, including the Best of the Wurst, chronicling a Korean American woman’s discovery of Berlin through its multicultural mash-up snack food, currywurst. The event wraps up from September 6 to September 8 with a lineup of movies about barbecue. Naomi Leibowitz's mini-montage of Rachael Ray "mmm" faces, Tasting Rachel Ray, plays throughout the festival. All of the screenings take place at Water Taxi Beach, 2nd Street and Borden Avenue, Long Island City. The films are free with the purchase of food, including the aforementioned currywurst (visit watertaxibeach.com/film for more information).
Forget the ice bucket. Vacu Vin's Rapid Ice Cooler promises to chill a bottle of wine (or champagne or beer, for that matter) in just five minutes. When not in use, the space-saving ice jacket stores flat in your freezer. $10.99 at Klinq.com. [via not martha]
The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party returns for its fifth year on Saturday, June 9, and Sunday, June 10, turning Madison Square Park into a smoky pigscape of barbecued meat, music, and seminars on the finer points of 'cue. If previous editions of the event are any indication, expect huge crowds and maddeningly long lines. This year, the organizers have promised more pitmasters (a total of 13), more food, and more space (the event will now extend into 24th Street. between Madison and Park Avenues, and 26th Street, between Madison and Broadway). Invest in a $100 "BUBBA Fast Pass" to speed access to the food, or check out the pitmasters while they set up on Friday night and plead for a taste before the festivities begin on Saturday. Visit bigapplebbq.org for more information on this year's lineup and a schedule of seminars and cooking demonstrations.
Simplehuman's Sensor Soap Pump brings a little public restroom sensibility into your kitchen -- but in a good way -- by dispensing dishwashing liquid soap touch-free to avoid cross-contamination. A sensor in the device automatically delivers a dose of soap as your filthy hands pass under it. Germaphobes, rejoice! $39.99 at simplehuman [via gizmodo]