Dear Full Irish,

“Bless your little Irish heart
And every other Irish part.”

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, from Dear Food to your friends and family!

This morning, unlike any other morning of the year, I decided to go big. Instead of sulking over my more routine American breakfasts, this particular Irish holiday inspired me to own and wave the flag of all two-percent of my Irish heritage. That’s right, I whipped up a Full Irish Breakfast to treat the celebration!

Well, let me be fair: maybe not quite a spot-on Full Irish. The penniless college student is not far off from the penniless sitar player. I couldn’t quite get my hands on soda bread (then again, I suppose I could just as well have made it…shame on me), I’m not a big fan of breakfast sausages, and any evidence of potato is missing (Or is that just stereotyping?). -Most of all, I just wasn’t able to find black or white pudding anywhere on the shelves.

Darn.

Still, to the best of my abilities, I think my recreation was noble in gesture, no? Fried bread, egg, and bacon next to a general dollop of baked beans with sauteed tomatoes and mushrooms, and a mug if Irish breakfast tea to go with? If every there was a king in Ireland, I certainly felt like him!

                                   

The Full Irish breakfast is quite the tradition in its homeland, just as the Full English is to the east. Munching down, I wondered: what are some of your favorite regional dishes? From America? Another content? Comment below and fill us in on what you love! Hopefully sometime down the road I can share any of your same food loves on Dear Food.

And if you were wondering: yes, you’re darn right I finished every bite!

                           

– Rory

 

Dear Milan to Vienna

Where, you ask, will I find myself whisked off to in the course of a year? I’ll give you a clue:

Or:

Give up? Well, if you guessed a trek from Milan, Italy to Vienna, Austria, you’re absolutely right!

First off, I just want it known how thankful I am. Traveling is an opportunity that only appears so often, and it’s a true blessing and treat to adventure with esteemed professors and fellow courageous classmates. No one will find a luckier person in the world than myself.

It’s premature, so bear with me, but I am so jazzed about this trip that I want get started on some considerations now. For me, and for Dear Food, that means this:

– What are the foods in Italy, Germany, and Austria that I absolutely HAVE to try?
– What kinds of foods should I maybe stay away from?
– What are some places, specifically, you all can think of that I have to visit for their cuisine?
– Nightlife or daytime – which is best for the food scene?
– Any and all tips and tricks regarding food?

Again, trip doesn’t leave until May of 2016, but I want to spend the next year hopefully garnering some exciting opinions from all of our beloved readers. Comment on our blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, the works!

Best,

Rory

Dear ‘Food, Inc.’

Does the chicken come first, or the egg? When the poor bird is suffocated under its own unhealthy weight and sinking in a kiddy pool of its own dung, does it matter?

I’ve seen Robert Kenner’s Oscar-nominated doc Food, Inc. twice now. A third opportunity presented itself, but I was called away to the burdens of wage-making. Still, because it was briefly on the George Fox University campus radar, I felt it important to remind others of crucial film.

Documentaries are, generally, biased. I know this to be true. I can’t even pretend to beat around that bush. But Kenner is not only a filmmaker; he’s hypnotist. I mean that as a sincere compliment. In an age where food is categorized by the “organics” and “non-organics”, audiences get to be the James Bonds for the food industry as we are taken into an in-depth – and utterly horrifying – look into how America’s food supply. On large, industrial farms for the masses of people, animals are cheated out of their living rights, between being pumped with hormones and injections to unsavory and spiteful deaths.

Watch the documentary for yourself. Words cannot describe most of these images.

I’m less interested in reporting the issues brought up in the movie. In a society of clever people, these are the kinds of topics we should be discussing with friends and families already. Robert Jenner’s film prods us into those questions, for the better.

I bring up this film, ultimately, because I am in love with food. Yeah, I’ll say it, and I’ll say it again: I am in love with food. My infatuation has blown up to the proportion where it can become painful, agonizing to think that I have to make daily decisions: the ethical food, or the tempting delicious ones?

Why not both? Call me idealistic, but I think we’re ready for a bit of progress. Are we not graced with a land to select local, ethically-selected foods, meat or meatless? I care for this film because it does not prescribe a serious habit change in our eating. In fact, the first image is of the muckraking author of Fast Food Nation Eric Schlosser diving teeth-first into a juicy hamburger. The film promotes logical and ethical questions, and has shaped my life and my thinking for the better.

Are there any other docs you guys have seen that Dear Food should watch? Comment below, share with us the titles so that we can continue to spread the word.

Viva la Food!

– Rory Phillips

Dear Eggs-Benedict Cumberbatch

Although not yet an official member, I love dressing up every year for the Academy awards; whether it be black-tie, PJ’s, or casual Sunday. On seeing a few shots of the great Benedict Cumberbatch in the audience as a nominee, I stumbled upon this picture.

Now, don’t get me wrong: Travolta’s got the crazy eyes, no doubt. But for Cumberbatch…doesn’t he deserve some credit, some recognition for this great Brit thesp?

I suppose that I felt that I could relate, and mulling it over I came up with a recipe, albeit a screwy one, that best summarizes him: the Eggs-Benedict Cumberbatch, of my own creation. Through a step-by-step take, I’ll show you just how it’s done!

Dear Ninja Pea,

Food is really a symphony.

If so, your main course is like the melody; taste it, savor each musical line and pitch reaching for perfection. A glass of water keeps the beat, while something sweet ends the piece on the rise. And the side salad – oh, the side salad! You complement every flavorful note with a crunch, a tang, a vivacious variety. Refreshing, cleansing, and how else are we to get our vegetables?

However, it’s Ninja Pea that’s like the one tuba out of place.

Where do you come from, Ninja Pea? Once found in a whole new world,  at the far end of the salad bar, where your friends Quartered Cucumber and Cherry Tomato, you’ve traveled long, far, wide. And still, I beg a question of you: how is it that you managed to fit in with the croutons? Hang out with the cheeses, tofu, proteins? And furthermore, how is it that you’ve been so lost that you acquaint yourself with the Thousand Island dressing?

Do not misunderstand me, Ninja Pea. I do care for you so. Any day of the week, I would play the role of carrots for you. If you belong at the salad bar, I affirm you life choices. You are loved, little pea.

But you must understand, that you are not invited to my lettuce and greens party, not out of spite but out of respect. You are a good pea, Ninja Pea, and don’t let anyone tell you different. Your heft as a vegetable satisfies my hunger for green, soft yet densely calibrated, like a perfect pillow. But not light enough for my side. One day, when you are ready and wise enough, perhaps you will find a place in my bowl. But until then, if you really respect our relationship, you must not sneak your way into my salad.

Love,

Rory

Dear New Valentine’s Plans,

First order of business: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Whether you’re with your honeybee or checking into the heartbreak hotel, no one should have to be alone on Valentine’s Day. For those who belong to the latter category, please don’t panic. For every misfire of Cupid’s hopeful arrow, the boomerang of unexpected virtue will always come back around. Whether or not you’re “in a relationship,” don’t forget the other miracles in your life: friends, family, teachers, coworkers. Anything goes.

french toast crunch is back!

Dear French Toast Crunch,

My name is Rory, and I am a self-prescribed Lost Boy, a la Peter Pan’s troupe.

(Unenthusiastic audience chimes, “Hi Rory.”)

Both in and out of the “foodie” world, I am often a child at heart. When a freshly brewed of a cup of coffee or cocoa and I make eyes, I sometimes forget to account for the steam and exhale too quickly, causing this:

I’m also prone to odd peculiarities that aren’t childish. Case in point: I return home from college, and what is my birthday gift to myself? A night cooking gourmet grub for me, myself, and I.
(Okay, every now and again friends and family can join too.)

Sometimes my dishes turn out like this:

Sometimes, they…don’t…

All this to say, where is the line where great food and childhood nostalgia intersect? Well, after about a decade of patience (as well as a little prayer in there too) and a fortunate – if unexpected – trip to Wal-Mart, I found it. Hop into the Dolorean, guys: we’re going back to 2006…


Oh…
For those crunchy curves, trimmed with luscious, golden brown sweetness with the aroma and warmth of maple syrup sent dancing…
For those Saturday mornings, when you wake up at six in the morning for chaotic cartoons, hankering for a sugary enlightenment to go with it…
For the hard-working, nine to five-er without a second to choose between bland breakfast cereal and pan-to-plate French toast…
For the runners – and, let’s not be presumptuous, the non-runners too – who’ve only dared dream of a bowl full of bread…

Whoever you are, I’m completely and utterly delighted to announce its big return! This box of breakfast lovin’ takes me back to early mornings at home, crusty morning eyes awaiting nourishment. When I knew I had to rush off to school, I still got the proper homestyle treatment of a comforting first meal. What are some of your memories?

Again, I found it at Wal-Mart, but it could be in all kinds of grocery stores. Where have YOU seen French Toast Crunch? Comment below, share with us those little store secrets! Don’t be selfish; crunch on your toast the right way, the French way.