¡Viva México!

Not it, but kind of like…

For a lot of (maybe bad) reasons, I (and most others) associate my culinary heritage first with Italy and then second with Melting-Pot America. But the truth is that my first choice is almost entirely wrong. I do have a strong culinary ancestry from that region, my paternal Grandmother, although from Sicily. I also started my career in an Italian restaurant, and made my biggest claim to fame creating another one. However, given that I am second generation American with DNA from equal quarters: Mexican (Paternal Grandfather), Italian (Sicilian, Paternal Grandmother), German (Maternal Grandfather) and  Polish (Maternal Grandmother) my second choice is the most correct ethnically and indeed “spiritually” too. I am an American, and so not easy to pigeonhole, but believe it or not, as close to my heart as Italian food is, there is another equal lover, from south of the border. Continue reading

Mostly Vegan

In March of 2015 I learn of, and then mostly adopted, a change to my eating habits that has been relatively easy (for me) and had a relatively positive impact to my size, weight and blood pressure. I became mostly-vegan. “Mostly” in part because of my job, which does require me to eat meat on occasion. Also because I enjoy meat, believe dietary science urges omnivorous nutrition, and don’t subscribe to the “animals are peaceful” philosophy of many vegans. Indeed I believe if the tables were turned the animals, even my beloved dog (to say nothing of our evil cats), would have no hesitation in making a meal of me.

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Chef Paul

PaulPrudhommeSigningHolgaACropI have often dismissed the outpouring of regret when a celebrity passes away. In those times I usually like to point out that while the celebrity lived (and died) pretty well, many unfortunates lived and died in horrible circumstance, unnoticed. No less can be said of one of my culinary icon’s, Chef Paul Prudhomme. Having said all of that, I would like to take my moment to eulogize a person that had no small amount of impact on my life (and to be sure, the lives of many).  Continue reading

Happy Cho 15!

I’m Rich, I Tells Ya!

The end of the formal festivities of the Year of the Goat has arrived with day 15. Tonight is the night of the lantern festival, and of course one must prepare ones lantern…but forget all that. The real importance of the day is that those of us who get Lai See (red pockets full of cash) get to open it and see just how lucky we’ve been at bilking our friends and loved ones out of cash. This year I did better than usual, but only by coercion and trickery. I intentionally sought out those who by tradition must to give me a packet – those in superior employment positions – my supervisors. Oddly I also had one sister-in-law insist on giving me double lai see, maybe she was showing her disapproval of our marriage, who knows, and so what, her money (like my bosses) still spends.

Of course to net my haul I had to dish out about 20 times that in bait…fishing is often a loss making institution.
Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Spreadsheets! (Cough Cough)

In the late nineties a good friend and colleague and I presented a politically challenging project we were both excited about, to our boss. He shut us down with the phrase of the headline. The boss used those words in disdain of the fact that we had dared bring our data (data that would have saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars) in handwritten notations, on various documents. We saved him the time of actually thinking about how to dissuade our unpopular (but profitable) plan by failing to present that plan in spreadsheet format. That, just a mere 2 decades after spreadsheets were invented.

Since then, but I don’t think because of that, I have found a slight perturbation every time I see spreadsheets used for words or pictures, or worse for numbers but with only manual calculations. In any case to say they have revolutionized the way we work is an understatement. Planet Money has a podcast out now, on just how revolutionary spreadsheets are, and how they came to be. It is well worth your time.

It’s Food, not Magic.

 

Throughout history, every mystery ever solved has turned out to be, not magic.

Tim Minchin, penned the above excellent notion, as part of his wonderful beat poem Storm, which if you haven’t heard you probably should…but I digress. For some time now, I have said that food is just food, not magic. Indeed, I said this exact phrase in a keynote speech on developing healthier fast food, that I gave at the Healthy Products Asia Expo back in 2009.  Continue reading

What’s in a name?

(null)Kung Hei Fat Choi! Welcome to the year of the (dare I say it?) goat! Recently the year came under a flurry of dispute as euphemistic language took hold and, much like the rodent before (year of the Rat became Mouse in polite company) so the year of the Goat became Sheep and then Ram. Well we have a judgement on high and it is indeed the year of the Goat. Continue reading