MOVING ON UP LIKE GEORGE AND WEEZIE

•Wednesday, 8 July 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hey y’all things are moving forward well for us here at the Fyresyde Kitchen and because of that we are launching a website and moving the blog over to our own domain. Come on over to the new place and keep up with our journey into principled eating.

You can find us HERE!

Fear Not – Dare to be a David

•Monday, 29 June 2009 • 1 Comment

A few weeks back my wife and I had a conversation regarding the difference of living a life of faith versus living a life of fear.  One thought that came from our discussion was that a life of fear is a life where a person is in constant distress about what might happen. 

Fear is such a destructive power.  Fear has the power to destroy men, it destroys their self-esteem, it destroys their courage, it destroys their faith. 

 For those that consider themselves faithful Christians fear should be viewed as a sin.  For it is said in the scriptures that fear and faith can not abide together and so every time that we go into fear we are turning our hearts, might, minds, and strength away for the service of the Lord God and we begin to serve ourselves and our idols.

 But fear is a double edged sword of deception, it can define itself as a state of agitation and anxiety or it can also be characterized as a state of awe and reverence.   Such nuances in labels may confuse those valiant disciples trying to navigate life’s waters everyday.  How do you fear God and have faith?  How do you keep faith in the face of adversity?

 The scriptures give us many examples of faithful men and women who gave no heed to their fears and rejoiced in the glory of their God with faith.  David was such a one.  When David came to the camp of the army of Israel to see what progress there was in the war against the Philistines he learned of the champion of  the Philistines, Goliath, and of the fear that the soldiers of Israel had for this man.  David was shocked.  “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1Sam. 17:26) he asked of the fearful men.  He asked the same question of Saul the king.

As we all know David was sent to battle this giant of a man and with the faith and courage of God he “hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine” (1Sam 17:48) and by the grace of God and with a sling and a single stone he overcame the fear of an entire army.

 The scriptures also tell us a story of a man of great faith who after much tribulation found himself living a life of fear.  Job was an “upright” man who gave heed to the righteous side of fear, that is he held his God in great awe and reverence.  But one day the Lord gave leave to Satan to tempt , to try, and to afflict Job in his life.

 Though Job never cursed the Lord during this time as we continue in the story we find that Job is living a life of fear.  “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.  I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.”  It was Job’s friends who came to his aid.  Reminding him of the good he had done.  Telling them how he, Job, had been a forger of their own testimonies. 

 But fear is a paralyzer of souls and a thief of power and it would prove to be sometime before Job would gain full recovery from this debilitating bout of fear.  He would, in fact, get to the point of being weary of his own life.

 Fear is a deadly serpent whose venom is doubt and anger; hopelessness and grief.  If we are going to live the lives of abundance and grace that the Lord promises us we have got to live our lives in faith.  We have to rise every morning and immediately fill her hearts with joyful expressions and faithful thoughts.

 We must remember the words of Harry Emerson Fosdick:

Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable and, most of all,  fear puts hopelessness at the heart of life, while faith rejoices in its God.”

(Vern McLellan, The Complete Book of Practical Proverbs and Wacky Wit
(Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1996)
 
In His Name

High on Apple Pie – The Ups and Downs of Eating Sugar Free

•Saturday, 27 June 2009 • Leave a Comment

No one said it would be easy.

Dear friends, if you are not extremely upset by the appalling amount of added sugar sitting on the shelves of your grocery store then you are not reading food labels before you purchase.  Sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, etc.  The list of disguises that sugar wears on a food label is astounding.  One of my favorite things to see on a label now is organic [insert added sugar item here].  I wonder if Robert Kenner (Food, Inc.) will expose these imposters of health food store shelves.  Just because it’s organic sugar doesn’t mean it’s not still sugar.

In my quest to eat sugar-free [and flour-free when I can] there have definitely been ups and downs.  First of all, let me reiterate that sugar is addictive.  If you don’t believe me I challenge you to remove all added sugar from your diet.  This means don’t eat fruit because it has sugar or anything like that, a balanced diet is still important, I am talking about reading a label and if it has the word sugar or any of it’s devilish disguises listed put it back on the shelf.  This means certain brands of ground turkey stay at the store.  This means you need to find sugar-free recipes for many of your favorite condiments including, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce.

All-in-all I believe that I am doing well becoming a sugar-free chef.  It is definitely not something that has or will happen overnight.  I have found that the aftertaste and “cotton mouth” that I once ignored when consuming sugar-free foods is now not a sensation I’m willing to have everyday.  So I’ve looked at a number of alternatives in the sweetener realm.  Also, in the past I used sugar as a stress reliever.  This is currently my biggest obstacle personally in becoming sugar-free.  When stressful times come I crave a Maple Bar or and orange soda.  Fat free, Sugar Free ice cream has come in handy in this area.  But I’m still trying to find a “sweet” carry along that I find palatable that I can reach for when life gets stupid.

Of course, my job, for now, prohibits me from going 100% sugar-free.  Especially on the days when we are developing new product or testing new recipes. It’s hard for others to be confident when you tell them that something tastes good if you haven’t actually tasted it before.  Other than that, however, I am still well on my way to becoming a 100% added sugar-free chef.

As always I invite you to remove added sugar from your diet and to leave your comments regarding your ups and downs.  We can all use a little encouragement.

Eat and Grow Rich!

•Tuesday, 23 June 2009 • Leave a Comment

All foods are not created equal!

Below are ten power packed foods designed to give you energy, vitality and all around good health! Try these super foods to get started on the right foot.  

 1. Beans – Beans of all kinds (kidney, navy, lentils, chickpeas, Northern) are high in plant protein and low in fat, carbs and calories.  If fiber is a problem in your diet, eating a healthy portion of beans each day can keep your digestive system healthy.

 2. Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a filling grain that also provides much needed fiber to keep hunger at bay and your blood sugar constant.

 3. Fruits – Fruits are filled with antioxidants such as Vitamin C and A.  Antioxidants fight free radical damage in the body and reduce the risk of cancer.  The antioxidants in fruit boost the immune system to fight the effects of aging in the body.

 4. Allium foods – This class of foods includes garlic, onions, leeks and shallots.  Allium vegetables help guard the body against the risk of cancer and many other ailments and some are known for lowering cholesterol.  They also help lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots.  Eating these power packed vegetables in their natural state especially garlic increases their health benefits. 

 5. Salmon – Salmon is rich in protein and in omega-3 fatty acids which reduces the risk of heart disease and other conditions. Wild salmon is a fatty fish but it contains good fats proven to improve health in children and adults. 

 6. Flax seed – Like salmon it contains omega-3 fatty acids.  These seeds also contain omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.  You get a lot of power to fight high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes with this seed. 

 7. Peppers – Peppers contain antioxidants like beta-carotene and Vitamin C.  Peppers range from mild and sweet to so hot you’ll be calling the fire department.  All peppers contain a substance called capsaicin.  Capsaicin has the properties of an anti-inflammatory, a pain reliever, lowers cancer risk and heart disease. 

 8. Nuts and seeds – Nuts are high in fat but those fats are the good kind.  Peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts and pistachios are all providers of good fats and protein.  Nuts help to lower cholesterol.  Eat them right out of the shell with no additives.

 9. Açai – This berry has become the media darling of the health and food industry as of late.  It is rich in antioxidants and increases energy.  You can get more done and look better while doing it. 

10. Yogurt – The fat free variety is good for you.  Yogurt contains calcium, Vitamin B, and protein.  If you don’t drink milk, yogurt is an alternative to get your calcium in to build strong bones and teeth.  Live yogurt also contains friendly bacteria to help promote a healthy digestive system.

Okay so perhaps you won’t grow rich from eating a healthier diet.  However, building a better healthier body begins with what you eat and if you are choosing and eating the right foods perhaps one day you will wake up and find yourself on the cover of a magazine, your quality of your life improved as well as your life expectancy, therefore giving you more time to work on becoming rich, So maybe you can Eat and Grow Rich.  There is only one way to find out.   How about oat crusted salmon with a fennel and leek white bean stew for dinner?

Legends of Honour, Strength, and Love

•Saturday, 20 June 2009 • Leave a Comment

As this father’s day approaches I have been doing a lot of thinking in regards to my own father.  My father, as a father, was flawed.  He could be judgemental and suspicious, harassing and sarky.  He was never emotional and if I had a perfect memory I probably could count on one hand the number of times he’s said I love you.  And growing up we had a tense relationship. 

Fast forward the clock several years and here I am a father in my own right and it is so clear to me what it was my father tried to do for me.  I understand the frustrations a father feels when he feels like he can’t provide something of beneficial value to his children when they need it.  I know the deep soul wrenching agony to feel like you have let your family down.  I know the fear that despite all that you do you will lose one or all of your children to the world or death.

My wife asked me the other day what I thought my father’s legacy would be when he died.  My response was “work hard and never give up.”  Trying to live up to that standard bar has often been a cilice in my adult life that at times pushes me ever forward with diligence and perseverance and at times has brought me to my knees in shame for falling so short of the mark. 

One of my earliest memories of my father is so vivid and yet so disconnected that I have never figured out how much was dream and how much really happened.  When my father was working in the oil field he use to share with me his hopes of owning his own company some day.  I have a vivid memory that I am certain was a dream of my father showing me a garage full of vehicles that were going to be for his business.  Later in life my father planned less for this opportunity and focused more on others but the damage was done from that time forward I have been obsessed with the idea of owning my own business.  My obsession is deepend because I often wonder if my father had to forgo his dream in order to more reliably provide for his family.  This thought is one of the driving forces in my life – I want to succeed big enough for us both.

One last memory to share about my father, though there are many that  I could share.  In 1994 my father drove me from Wyoming to Las Cruces, New Mexico where I attended New Mexico State University for a semester.  After helping me check in and move in my father shook my hand, gave me a hug, and began to cry.  At the time I think we were both a little embarrased in the moment and I remember after we parted ways I myself teared up and was frustrated at doing so.  I was, however, touched in the moment.  But that moment did not mean nearly as much to me then (and it meant a lot) as it does now.  When I think about it now I get overwhelmed imagining the number of emotions and memories and hopes my father simultaneously experienced at a level that it made a man, whom I have only ever seen cry twice, tear up to say goodbye to his oldest son. 

Father’s day is a day to celebrate legendary men of honour, strength, and love from the generation before ours.  But it is also to support and encourage and edify the current generation of fathers many of whom are self-taught fathers living day to day just trying to get it right everyday.  I thank each and every one of those men for their example to me.  My children will be better people as I look to the example of my father and other honourable men who have worked hard and never given up on us their children.

On this Father’s Day I would like to say to my father thank you for making me possible.  Thank you for accepting the divine call of a father becuase through all of the victories and failures, mistakes and successes as a father the person I am today was made possible and for better or for worse I am so grateful for that.

Will you please share your memories, stories, and thanks with me and the readers of my blog this Father’s Day weekend.  Thank you.

On My Culinary Soapbox – Hope I Don’t Fall!

•Thursday, 18 June 2009 • 2 Comments

So a good friend of mine who is living in the frosty paradise of Minnesota is working on a class assignment where they have to conceive and plan a restaurant.  She enticed me to here wall thread by sending me a message to read her restaurant post.  Of course, being a chef, I’m a sucker for a restaurant wall post so I bit.  That’s when I saw it was an assignment.  I read all of the comments and my magical soap box drop like a brick out of my nether-regions.  So before I could hijack her peaceful thread I took some deep breaths and told her I would post my thoughts here so that they would be accessible to her co-threaders and so I could be my usual long winded self and not feel bad about being this smelly dark pompous cigar cloud on her wall. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I think that all of her friends had great comments and insights that I’m sure will be great for her assignment.  But when you ask for my opinion about restaurant concepts and design you’re asking for a very large piece of baggage to be unpacked and dumped forth.

The overall responses were in the vein of cuisine themes or gimick themes. 

Gimick themes (ie the dutch oven restaurant with covered wagons, or the mexican place with the cliff divers (Casa Bonita I think), etc)  most definitely have their place on the culinary landscape and they make great business sense because most are family friendly.  But being a chef I have a bit of an arrogant food snob side and I am not a fan of 99% of those restaurants.  Although if and when I get my own restaurant group running (see about the kitchen) I will definitely have one or two chain restaurant veterans on my staff because those people know how to make money in the food biz.

Cuisine Themes.  One of her friends who talked about cuisines asked a question about why ethnic cuisines are generally poor quality in this country.  (Hold on let me see if I can find that soap box in my carpet bag…oh here it is) Okay I can get rather heated about this subject because here is the problem.  I am american so when I make Chinese food it will be American-Chinese food.  The only exception to this is a chef who has spent YEARS in the country of origin of that cuisine doing nothing but studying and practicing and absorbing the food and the culture.  Like Rick Bayless at Topolabampo in Chicago.   A cuisine is more than it’s spices and it’s varied foodstuffs it’s also it’s culture and it’s traditions.  If I want to cook authentic and delicious Indian food in America I need to move to India “become Indian” and then come back.  (P.S. this theory is slightly flawed because it is acually never going to make my food 100% authentic because I can not help but bring my own experience, culture, tradition, and palate to the stove and that is just as much an ingredient as coriander or saffron).  Even when natives come here and open a restaurant you sometimes find that their time here has changed there experience and has added something American to their food.  Plus sometimes the type, quality, etc of a key ingredient might be different here than in an origin country.

So after all that here are some ideas for a restaurant(s) that I think my friend should look into.

First of all Minnesota has some wonderful native ingredients including wild game and whole grains.  There is a great company out of St. Paul I think called Indian Harvest (www.indianharvest.com) that has some amazing grains.  I’ve introduced several to BYU this year.  Obviously with the posts on this blog I’m becoming an avid supporter of seasonal/local/sustainable/organic more so in restaurants even than at home.  (I’ll post more about that next week)

Some restaurant models I like include the One World Everybody Eats Community Kitchen model out of SLC.  No Menu, No prices.  Everyone pays what they can when they can and the owners are making a statement and a profit.  I also like the Kogi Korean BBQ truck out of L.A.  I’d love to see that in a restaurant setting though I worry that it will dull the excitement because chasing the dragon seems to be a big part of the experience (extraordinary atmosphere is not just about a dining room).  Taco

My previous (twenty minute) restaurant experience had  a great mix of culinary ideas on it.  There was some Asian influence and some Mexican influence and a whole lot of American influence.  America has an amazing culinary heritage if you go looking for it.

Anyway I hope, my friend, this helps.  If you want I can post some menu ideas on your wall to help further inspire you if you want.  Let me know.

Okay this post is too long I’m going to end here.  Before I go though everyone check out a new link on my sidebar.  (bestamericanretreats.com) Okay, yeah I’m a little biased because I know the owners but these guys know their stuff.

Sleeping with the Enemy – or Why There is No Law of Chastity in Agriculture

•Wednesday, 17 June 2009 • Leave a Comment

In a comment to the post “Jesus is a Locavore” Kory made some great observations regarding the global consequences of worldwide locavorism.  Obviously he and I are not holding hands over this issue but I do think a lot of what he says is true.  But I think there is more that we can do and there is more that our ancestors did do centuries before locavore was even a word.

While conventional agriculture degrades the environment and is not likely to work well in the long term; it is still much more profitable than organic agriculture.  That means that as long as we can make it bigger, cheaper, faster and as long as the economics of it continue to make good bottom line sense the free capitalist market will demand that it continues.  In the long run there will always be people who choose the easy option over the more environmentally friendly one.  Plus, with increased need for large amounts of food due to the expanding world population; we will soon run out of room to grow enough crops to feed everyone if we only use organic methods

I was once taught by a church leader that as stewards of the faith and stewards of this earth it is our duty to teach the ideal.  We must teach “the letter of the law” and not “the spirit of the law” even though most will choose to live the latter.  So I have chosen to put forth this idea that the revealed standards of health in section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants are best kept with a green and local lifestyle because more and more people are becoming concerned not only with the health of their families, but also with the health of the environment. 

 Organic agriculture may become more prevalent as we become more aware of the negative environmental and physical effects of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, hormones, and other chemicals.  It is believed by some, on the worldwide front, that families who use organic agricultural in developing countries may make more money than traditional farmers in the same areas and have a higher standard of living.

Since neither type of agriculture seems to be going anywhere, it’s likely the two will have to coexist in the future.  The ideal situation would be that both methods were used in conjunction with each other depending on the environmental, financial, and political situation.  This way, people can have the benefit of increased yields from traditional agriculture along with the health and environmental benefits of organic agriculture.  The problem with this theory is that the two sides are unlikely to reach a compromise and work together any time soon.  These two different mind sets will probably be at odds until it is absolutely necessary to make changes. 

 While organic agriculture may not be able to take over the world and solve all the environmental and dietary problems we face; it still has the ability to make an significant impact. 

 
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