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  1. Okay! I told you we had a great contest coming up, and here it is! We're giving away a personally autographed copy of Nevin Martell's "Freak Show Without A Tent" - to be signed by Nevin after the contest is over, and hand-delivered to the winner. The rules are simple, and are as follows: Alex Elman remains an unknown commodity in the DC wine world, and I plan on changing that. Everyone that posts a question for Alex in her chat gets 1 entry. And, to keep our Professionals and Businesses forum moving right along - because I seem to be the only person who understands how valuable it is - everyone who posts there (subject to our forum rules - read the FAQ) gets 3 entries. (The "Help Needed" subforum there doesn't count for the purposes of this contest.) That's it. This time around, posting in any other forum amounts to nothing. Alex deserves all the recognition she can get, and my goal is to make everyone aware of her presence in this area. The contest starts tonight at midnight (10 minutes from now), and runs through Friday night, July 25th, at midnight. So, for example, if someone posts 2 questions for Alex, and 1 post in the Professionals and Businesses forum, they'll get 5 entries. Nevin's book is the hottest thing in the DC restaurant scene right now, and I was the one who approached him; not vice-versa. It's getting great reviews, and Nevin is a wonderful person who deserves all the success he's working so hard for. There it is ... good luck to all members. Cheers, Rocks
  2. Nevin Martell wrote an interesting article as the cover story of today's Washington Post Food Section. Having raised an adventurous eater, I feel somewhat qualified to comment on this piece, but it's not the piece itself I want to comment on - it's the fundamental tenet behind the piece. This sentence, in this forum, is going to be like Daniel in the Lion's Den screaming out, "Hey lions! I bet you can't hurt me!" as he pokes them with a stick. Nevertheless, here goes: "What's so great about being an adventurous eater?" The benefits of maintaining an open-mind on life in general are obvious and need no supporting argument - it exposes you to different people, and places, and things, that jingoistic societies eschew (how was that for three snotty words?), and makes you a better person. My mother-in-law is perhaps *the* least adventurous eater I know. So was my mom, in a different way - one was raised in the South of France; the other, on a farm in Kempton, Maryland. Throughout their lives, they have eaten the foods that they were comfortable with growing up, and never strayed too far from home base. My mom never took a single bite of Indian food that she liked; my mother-in-law refuses to eat spicy food (the French, in general, do not eat spicy food). Are they interesting and fun to dine with? No! Well, yes, in the sense that they love a good meal (forgive me for talking about my mom in the present tense here), and enjoy conversation and conviviality. But what is the virtue of having an adventurous palate? I see very little, other than it might make you a more interesting person. Knowing the difference between "healthy" and "unhealthy," on the other hand, is of primal importance, and certainly worth educating your child about. Fresh vs. processed, natural vs. chemical - these are *all* imperative, and "we" have utterly failed as a society by letting big, industrial, food factories connive their way into our homes and schools - and it's not just the U.S. either, as "it" is spreading around the world, just like cigarettes. Perhaps this is a matter of nomenclature: I don't consider knowing the difference between fresh, high-quality tomatoes and chemically sprayed crap coming up from who-knows-where "adventurous" - I consider it being educated and informed. My mother-in-law only eats organic food, nearly all vegetables and grains, nothing spicy, nothing weird, and shows every sign of someone who will live and thrive well into old age. Is that not more of a virtue than being willing to try every capsaicin-laced innard that comes your way? I want to repeat: I like and respect Nevin a lot. I think the article is interesting, and very well-written. So this little rant is neither about Nevin nor the article! But I do question the postulate that being an adventurous eater is a virtue, at least from a health perspective. And for the record: I am *all for* pureeing fresh, organic vegetables for your baby, instead of slapping down some chicken nuggets and plopping your little darling down in front of the TV set. Hard work? Yes! Especially when you're exhausted. Adventurous? No.
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