The culinary world lost a giant earlier this week with the death of Marcella Hazan. What Julia Child was and is to Americans and their understanding of the proper way to cook "French", Marcella was to our understanding of how to cook"Italian"  .........genuine Italian. Her guide to Italian cooking, "The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking", was first published in 1973 and had its' eighteenth printing in 2006.

Those of you who know me well, know how much I enjoy cooking and Italian cuisine. For the past six years, ever since I received my copy of Marcella's book as a gift, it has become my "go to" resource for recipes and instruction. What is truly its' greatest strength is her approach...keep it simple. Every recipe is so straight forward, with each step explained, that even an inexperienced cook like myself has no trouble following her instructions.... and the results are amazing! While all I do is follow her instructions, many of my friends now view me as a really good creator of Italian dishes. If you want to impress your friends, go out and buy this book ....and use it!

Not only is the book a treasure chest of wonderful recipes, it also serves as a primer on ingredients as well as a guide to the various regions of Italy and the tastes and techniques that differentiate say Neapolitan from Tuscan, Milanese from Venetian and Sicilian from Roman. You can find the book in most any bookstore, or online. Its' reference # is ISBN 0-394-58404-X

Craig Claiborne, the long-time food editor and restaurant critic for the New York Times who passed away in 2000, got it right when he said, "Marcella Hazan is a national treasure...No one has ever done more to spread the gospel of pure Italian cookery in America."  

As Marcella probably said on many occasions... "Mangia"  



Over the past several years we have seen a large number of problems suffered by the Chinese food industry relating to food safety. Fortunately, none of these problems have directly affected the U.S. food supply. That's about to change!  As our world continues to shrink and we become more and more involved with foreign suppliers, it will be only a matter of time before food stuffs grown, processed and examined in mainland China find their way here. In effect, the recent acquisition by China of the U.S. based Smithfield Farms has made China the proverbial 500 lb gorilla in the room.  

So, what should we do about it? Well, of course we should ramp up our inspection of all imported food, especially from China, but we also should ramp up our efforts to cooperate with the Chinese to assist them in upgrading their food safety systems. After all, where better to learn about food safety than from the current world leader in food safety technology.

Any investment in time, knowledge and resources we make now in Chinese food safety, will help to guarantee our continuing reputation of providing the safest food supply in the world.


I am really looking forward to traveling to the City of Brotherly Love this Sunday (the 22nd) to moderate a day long meeting on Monday the 23rd at the David Michael Company. Why am I excited?  Because it will give me an insiders' view of the initial planning stages of an annual event that has fascinated me for years....the David Michael Innovation Road Show.  For at least a decade David Michael has invited a large number of their current and future clients to come to Philadelphia to immerse themselves in new product concepts developed by their technical staff focusing on the latest trends in various product categories such as beverages, bakery, dairy, confections, and culinary. In essence we will be conducting a day long new food products think tank, the end result of which will be the identification of upwards of 25 product ideas that David Michaels' talented technical staff will then develop as finished products to be tasted by the attendees at next May's Innovation Roadshow. What a neat concept! Sharing their research on the latest new product trends with clients while showcasing your technical staff's capabilities and cutting edge new flavor profiles from the David Michael Company.

My thanks to Skip Rosskam and Phil Parisi of David Michael for offering me this opportunity.



My most recent blog entry announced my trip to Philly to moderate a day long session with the David Michael Company's technical staff, the purpose of which was to discuss, vet, and select new product concepts presented by individual staff members. What a day!  We examined, discussed and analyzed over 70 concepts covering all product categories and current trends and gave "thumbs up" to enough of them to insure that when the final decisions are made they will have no problem in filling the 21 booths planned for the David Michael 2014 Innovation Roadshow next May.

Again, my thanks to Skip Rosskam and Phil Parisi for including me in this kickoff event leading toward next May's signature event.

No, this isn't a pep rally for the Washington State football team, but rather a call out to the majority of editorial writers in the state of Washington. Why?  Because the majority of them are following in the 2012- 2013 footsteps of their editorial brothers and sisters in California who very early in the run up to the vote on that states' Proposition 37 came out pretty heavily against the GMO labeling initiative.  That was an early harbinger that Prop 37 wasn't going to win a majority from the voters of California. Let's hope history is repeating itself in Washington. Most of the scribes in Washington are following the lead of the Seattle Times editorial board when they said,  "The dialogue should center on science. And so far- there is no reliable evidence crops containing genetically modified organisms, commonly referred to as GMO foods, pose any risks" Makes sense to me!

What doesn't make sense to me is the recent behavior of the makers of Chobani Greek Yogurt, a product that I personally have adopted as one of my favorites. It seems they discovered that certain batches of their product have exhibited some disturbing characteristics such as a foul smell, sour taste and bloated packaging. Rather than issue a voluntary recall, the company opted for what is called a "market withdrawal", a much less transparent option to a recall. Chobani's rational was to declare that the product was indeed defective but did not pose a safety or health risk to consumers. I think they have been very shortsighted in taking this action as the initial PR reaction has been that they may be hiding something. Not good for their image.  They would have been much better served by issuing a standard product recall and reaped the PR benefit of being seen as a company that will go the full distance in protecting the health and welfare of its' consumers. I, for one, am going to give Chobani the benefit of the doubt and continue buying their product in the hopes they have learned their lesson from this incident.... and besides... I love their product!