Food is passionate. But, it is a word that seems to get thrown around a lot in the industry, and seldom embraced. It is easy to think, that when you like something intitally, it is passion. Similar to romance, it is a new feeling on the inside and unmistakeable. But, what happens when those little feelings leave? Do you stay the course, or seek out the next fun new artistic feeling, become a painter or musician, perhaps. But the true passion pushes through the tough times, only to look back and admire the difficult times for their lessons. It seems that kitchen stories, from what I have heard, are all about the crash and burn. The sport NASCAR comes to mind, do you tell stories of how a car made a left turn two hundred times, or the one when flames and destruction were involved. On the next occasion, when passion becomes your mantra of conversation associated with food...have you crashed and burned? The best part is, you become better at cooking. Where there was once indecision, the mistakes have all ready been made and you can move onto thinking of the things that matter, making the food visually appealing and amazing to taste. Happy Eating Freinds.

The Integrity of Food

It has been an eventful week in the city of New Orleans. Our world champions took the field Thursday night, and prevailed. The city was very alive tonight, as I road my bike home through the French Quarter and down St Charles Avenue it is beginning to feel a lot like New Orleans, southern electric. Back to food. How many people actually know what they are putting into their body's? Even more, How many don't care? I am not saying there is a definitive answer right or wrong, but the information is available today from several sources, it just takes a little want. For me, it is important to know. When I look at a piece of steak, it is not just a protein in plastic wrap with a price, there is a story. Looking into what the animal ate, where it came from, and was it happy. All of these things, believe it or not, affect the final outcome of the dish. Sometimes it is just easier to overcook, oversauce, and overeat cheaper cuts of meat. It is actually simpler to buy an exquisite piece of food, and simply cook it with simple seasonings. I want a steak to taste like a cow, not just something to dip/taste/smear sauce on at the end of my fork. The only reason, for me, to eat steak is to taste, steak. To understand that, behind this plastic wrapped piece of dinner, there was actually an animal. So the whole point is, something sacrificed its life for it justice and cook it well, please.

Hong Kong Market, bow down.

Yesterday was Labor Day. It was a blessed holiday in the sense that I was able to go to the Hong Kong Market. The market is located somewhere on the westbank. It is only my second time there, but with each trip my affection for the market grows. The market is in the space of an old Walmart to give you an idea of the size of the store. Once inside, you are immediately swept to another country by your surroundings. I fancy myself as liking food, almost to a fault at times, and I can not tell you what more than half the vegetables are or how to use them. In this lies the beauty of the market, it is like an unopened book with many chapters. Each trip provides a look into a different aspect of another regions food culture. Making the market even more attractive, are the prices for the products. To give an example of the market, I am going to list some of the items which made it into the basket and back to short street.

Red spinach, lemongrass, infant bok choy, chinese celery, chicken feet, soy bacon, kimchee, dum ploy, soy sauce, noodles, lunch, leeks, baby gala apples, and pork belly.

Lunch was one of the best sandwiches that I have ever eaten, based on value and flavor. Banh Mi. It was fresh baked bread smeared with mayonnaise and pate, topped with hogs head cheese, spiced pork, cucumber, pepper, carrot relish, cilantro, and some sauce. This is probably not all of the things that were on the sandwich, but with the bakers quick movements and a language barrier it was just the first draft of Matthew meets Banh Mi. And finally the best ingredient of was $2.50.

So if you get the chance, and the culinary confidence, check out The Hong Kong Market hands down the best value food shopping in the city.

Pushing The Fresh Envelope, cook your food.

Today is Labor Day. Heading over to the Hong Kong Market in a few, then over to the seafood store to grab some of the best seafood in the world, and I mean that. The shrimp that we get here in New Orleans are absolutely amazing. On the Atlantic side of the South, The Low Country, shrimp are just as abundant as they are here with the exception that the shrimp are deheaded on the boat. In order to get shrimp, from say the waters off South Carolina you have to call ahead and ask the shrimper man to not take the heads, but leave all their delicious goodness for the cook to explore and expand upon. THe subtley of change from making a meal good to great is in the depth of the flavor. It is a symphony on the palate, where all the notes are harmonized to form a flavor. Each flavor adding its own character to the final product, similar to a guitar solo gone bad, too much of one component can ruin the enjoyment for some and elevate for others, autonomy of art. So to the point. It is not hard to seek out and find fresh ingredients, as opposed to relying on the ease of scientist in a lab to cook the food for you. I am not on a soap box preaching, as I have been known to enjoy some pretty amazing microwave burritos from time to time. But for the majority of the food I ingest, I cook it or see it being cooked by someone else. The amount of vitamins and nutrients in fresh food allows one to add extra butter since we are not adding chemicals to our bodies, but a variation of cream from an animal. All in all, just take the extra step and effort to make sure you know what you are eating. Seek out food not for its convenience but its quality. Not only will you be giving to the community in which you live, but you will meet more people and enjoy better food. Cook Your Food.