Slow Food, Julia Child, and James Bond

I am afraid I am not necessarily on board with the locavore food trend. I like farmer’s markets as much as the next person, but you’re taking caviar and champagne out of my cold, dead hands, ya got me? The nice thing about slow food, raw food, local food, or other types of food planning is that you don’t have to go at it with 100 percent zeal to enjoy either the health or the flavor benefits. My favorite new writing on these subjects comes from my former colleagues at Virginia Tech, Heike Mayer and Paul Knox:

Knox, Paul and Heike Mayer. 2009. Small Town Sustainability: Economic, Social, and Environmental Innovation. Birkhäuser Basel.

On another note, I have loved Julia Child since I was a little girl; her free-spirited fun attitude; her unapologetically large frame that would have sent other tv personalities starving-to-a-size-6 syndrome; her long marriage.

In the relentlessly self-improving United States, we have largely taken the fun out of food. It should be feared, controlled, and efficient. Think about it: Ian Fleming’s James Bond loved food, sex, women, gambling, fine things, and risk. Now, James Bond has sex and kills people, with fancy gadgets and explosions. Sean Connery’s and Roger Moore’s Bond knew that you eat fresh figs whenever you can get them, that champagne should be chilled, not freezing, and was fussy about his drink.* You think about the Bonds since then, and the largely joyless way they go about conquering women and bad guys. Shouldn’t all that sex and travel be more fun? In some ways, this change in Bond exemplifies a larger social change: the imperative to consume has made consumption joyless. Bringing that franchise back to Casino Royale was a good idea if you can get past the torture scenes.

Here’s some fun with food on a Monday, brought to you by Julia:

Julia on MacDonald’s French Fries
Julia with a peep of chickens

*There is some debate about the shaken not stirred question on the martini, and some have argued this was a silly affectation, not a sign that Fleming’s Bond was a connoisseur. No. A shaken martini is properly referred to as a “Bradford,” but I suspect that Fleming was a smart enough marketer to know that most of his readers wouldn’t be cocktail-literate enough to recognize a Bradford. Shaken and stirred martinis tend to be pretty different drinks, and unless you are dealing with a good bartender (which are in short supply anymore, like good secretaries), shaken tends to yield a better vodka drink in my opinion. It’s too easy to do a bad mix on a stirred drink with a rushed/careless/palateless bartender.**

**And another thing about local foods: no cocktails, and I’m not giving them up either. Did you ever notice how much people drank on Bewitched? Samantha would make a whole pitcher of martinis for just the two of them–just two people. I mean, it’s not like they were expecting Larry Tate or Uncle Arthur every night. Damn. A whole pitcher is a lot for two people. No wonder Darrin was prone to imagine his wife could do magic.