Food Inc. – One of the Most Important Films of our Lifetime

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I had caught bits and pieces of the movie, Food, Inc., but hadn’t seen the entire documentary.  I figured I knew most of the information that would be in the movie, and I knew there would be disturbing images, and just didn’t feel up to watching the whole thing.  Well, I finally sat down to watch it in it’s entirety yesterday, and I have to say that it is such an important film, that everyone in our country needs to watch it.  It was quite an experience for me to watch it.  I took copious notes and broke down in tears many times.  But the thing that I reminded myself of, and the movie does a great job of reminding the viewers as well, is that we, as consumers, have the power to make a difference.  But in order to do this, we need to be educated – we need to be aware of the atrocities that exist in our food system and what we can do as individuals to change the situation.

Important films such as this, I feel, creat the foundation for what being a “Foodie Bitch” is all about.  Please take the time to watch both the documentary (you can download it from iTunes), and then watch the interview with the Director of Food, Inc., Robert Kenner.  And then share what you’ve learned with those around you, and continue to explore the topics they discuss.

Remember, changing the system needs to come from a grass roots approach.  We cannot rely on others to do what is best for us – we need to assume that responsibility and act on it.  We need to take back our power.  We need to ask questions.  We need to demand healthy food.  We need to demand that the truth be told.  And, we need to educate ourselves.   And we need to value our own health and that of our family’s enough to raise our standards of the food we allow to be grown on this planet and that we allow into our lives.  We deserve better!

Here’s where you can learn more about the film: http://www.takepart.com/foodinc/film

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For Those of You Not Familiar with Jean-Georges Vongerichten

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

“You’re only as good as your last meal.” – Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Check out these short videos that give you a good idea of what Jean-Georges is all about.  Even though the first one is from 2008, I still find it relevant.  And better yet, is the Iconoclast episode featuring Jean-Georges and Hugh Jackman (Sundance Channel) which I strongly encourage you to download from iTunes – it does a great job showcasing the talent and the human side of both “Icons”.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten in Miami

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By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

One of the things I was excited about on my recent stay in Miami was the abundance of great restaurants.  While reading an article about Miami in Guns and Garden magazine (actually a really great magazine), I read that Jean-Georges Vongerichten had a restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel in Bal Harbour (north Miami).  It was around 1:30 in the afternoon when I was reading the article, so I went on line to make sure how late they served lunch, and Mike and i took off to experience lunch at Jean-Georges’ restaurant, J&G Grill.

I’m embarrassed to say that I hadn’t even heard of Jean-Georges until a couple of months ago when I watched an episode of Iconoclast (Sundance Channel) featuring Jean-Georges and Hugh Jackman (you can download the episode on iTunes – and I highly recommend watching it).  I was intrigued by the Asian influence in his French cuisine and his passion and creativity for using fresh, local, organic foods and blending spices and flavors most typically wouldn’t think to combine.  Take, for example, the Grilled Wild Salmon Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing, Orange, and Sesame (pictured above) – crazy good.  When they set in in front of me, I seriously teared up!

Lunch was so good that we decided to come back for dinner that same evening, our last evening in Miami.  And we weren’t disappointed.  With the incredibly prepared filet – the best my husband has ever had, he said – he ordered a side of sweet potato puree with ginger and mustard – an unusual combination that worked incredibly well.  And for dessert – Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae with Peanuts, Popcorn, and Chocolate Sauce.  That, along with the best cappuccino I had my entire stay in Miami, was a great end to a wonderful dining experience.

I will definitely be seeking out Jen Georges’ other restaurants wherever I go.  His passion for amazing food and service is infectious!  Check out his other restaurants at his site, www.jeangeorges.com.

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Sugartree Farms

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By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

Every week, at least twice a week, I go to Sugartree Farms here in Ocala, Florida for their fresh produce.  One of the big things I missed about Michigan summers is the fresh fruits and vegetables – the produce at the stores doesn’t even come close to fresh produce grown in West Michigan.  But this year I am making more of an effort to connect with some local farmers.  And I have found that not only does that make me feel more empowered, it helps keep the spark and excitement when it comes to cooking.  This year, I decided that rather than complaining about the lack of good food here in Ocala, I would focus on seeking out more sources of good food (rather than waiting for it to magically show up).  It does take longer to get that food, but the relationships I’m creating by meeting the people who are growing the food makes it all worthwhile.  And, it feels good to visit the farm where our food comes from and meet the people growing it and to share ideas.  Makes me feel like we’re all working together to make the world a little better.  I’ve also started my own little container garden.  I’ve already picked a few fresh strawberries which have been delicious.  I have some herbs for adding flavor to meals.  And, in a couple of months I will have plenty of tomatoes as my tomato plants continue to develop.  I’m feeling pretty good about the food here now, and I’m looking forward to meeting more local farmers in the near future, like the goat farm not too far away that make their own goat cheese and feta cheese, and the handful of farmers who sell milk and other great food!