Thoughts For Food

Insights into the Mind of a Culinary School Student


Food Bites: Food Writing


Taken from Google Image Search

Some time ago, I had indicated that I wanted to be a food writer. That still holds true to this day. I’m intent on becoming a food writer once I leave the CIA. However, I’ve gotten questions regarding why I would have to go to culinary school for such a career. I will say this, it’s true that I didn’t have to come here for that career, however, it does nothing to hinder my ultimate goal. In fact, it will help it in the long run.

Food journalism, and food writing in general, is a fast-growing aspect of the food industry. In fact, food journalism has taken a major upswing in recent years. What was once a small and often overlooked aspect of both the journalism field and food industry, is now a major part of modern pop culture. Magazines, newspapers, online publications and even blogs all have expanded food journalism to brand new heights. However, just because you like to cook or eat doesn’t mean you can just grab a job at the local newspaper as a freelance writer nor can you become employed at one of the many food magazines that populate the newsstands of the world’s cities. You actually need a working knowledge of the food industry, as well as a grasp of what the latest food trends are, where the hottest new restaurants are located, etc. In short: You need to know what you’re talking about. It also helps to know what, exactly, you’re getting into.

The term “Food Writing” is a broad term encompassing many different aspects of Food Journalism. Different careers in this field include; Restaurant Reviewer, Food Critic, Food Editor, Cookbook Author, Food Columnist and, most recently, Food Blogger. Critics and reviewers rely on their straight-forward and unbiased writings to critique different foods and restaurants. Editors head the whole operation. Cookbook authors take what they’ve learned and share it with a grateful public. Columnists and Bloggers are more opinion-based than reviewers and critics are, but still seek to deliver news about the food industry, restaurants, etc. Each aspect requires that you do certain amounts of work to fulfill each task. Whether it be going to eat at a newly opened restaurant or traveling abroad to sample the fare of a distant country, the assignments are always diverse and interesting. Potential employers such as newspapers, magazines and online journals and other resources, will always have a myriad of assignments and other interesting topics to write about, including interviews with chefs or other food industry “bigwigs.” As a result, it is important to exhibit good interpersonal skills, such as good listening skills, interaction with superiors and peers alike, good public speaking skills, as well as just being confident in your own speaking and writing abilities. Educational requirements for a food journalism profession include degrees in English as well as Journalism. A degree from a culinary college isn’t necessarily required, but it is encouraged by many newspapers and/or magazines, because it’s important for writers to know exactly what they’ll be writing about. Finally, the average yearly salary of food journalists in the US is around $43,000.

It’s most interesting to observe the evolution of food journalism over the years. In its earliest stage, it was nothing more than a short part of a newspaper, mostly read by housewives. Jokingly, it became known as “The Housewife’s Sport’s Page.” Today, food journalism accounts for a growing percentage of all publications across the country, encompassing countless magazines, online blogs and a growing section of newspapers across the country. This rapid expanse isn’t just limited to newsprint. With the growing popularity of shows like Iron Chef America, Top Chef and other shows like them, Networks like Bravo and the Food Network thrive on showing either a majority of, or predominantly culinary-based programming. It’s plain to see that food journalism, and food writing in particular, are on the fast-track of rapid growth. With an industry as rapidly changing as the food industry, it’s clear to see that food writers and journalists will be at a premium for some time to come.

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Food Bites: Snack Time


Taken from Google Image Search

Midnight Snacks. Late-night Cravings. The Munchies. Gamer Fuel. No matter what you call them, everyone gets them at some point. It’s a craving for just something small (or large for some people) to eat or munch on. Not a large meal like lunch or dinner. Just something to nibble on while the game enters the later quarters or while the movie enters its second hour or something to give you some added fuel while your latest videogame marathon drones on for another hour or more. Just something to munch while not doing much or even, nothing at all.It’s true that not a lot of snacks are all that healthy, but hey, sometimes you need to kick back and relax a little, right? Right.

Companies the world over have come to capitalize on the ever growing snack food craze. Again, they may not be the most healthy snacks on the planet. but darn if they’re not good. I’ll be the first to admit that one of my all time favorite munchies any time of day has to be a bowl of Tostitos accompanied by a container of salsa. To me, that’s snack food any time of day. But, sometimes I like to get creative and make some dips of my own. A personal favorite is ketchup, mayo, ranch, Parmesan cheese, soy sauce and hot sauce. It’s the kind of dip that goes great on chips, veggies or even spread out on a chicken sandwich.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Snacks? Chips? This isn’t what I expected from a culinary school student! My response? Hey, I’m only human! I like snacks too! But, if you had to twist my are for a snack worthy of culinary school status, then I’ll give you one!

Simply grate some fresh Parmesan Cheese onto a silicone baking mat and toast them in a 350 – 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and formed a nice cheese crisp. These are delicious! Trust me!

If you have any neat snack ideas, feel free to post them as a response! I’ll think of more snack time recipes and post them up for you to enjoy!


Recipe: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


Taken from Google Image Search

Hey everyone! Sorry for the slight delay in posts. Class has got my full attention for a while, but I’m back! First of all, I really need to thank everyone who helped my blog hit over 2000 views all time. It really means a lot to me and I’ll continue to churn out posts for your reading pleasure. Here’s to another 2000! Now that that’s out of the way, I’ve got a new recipe for you, straight from my class recipe guide. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but trust me, done right, they are absolutely fantastic, especially if the raisins got a little flavor augmentation. But I’ll get into that later. So, enjoy!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 12 Ounces of Room Temperature Butter
  • 14 Ounces of Brown Sugar (Light or Dark, it doesn’t matter)
  • 5 Ounces of Granulated Sugar
  • 5 Whole Eggs
  • 1/8 Ounce of Baking Soda
  • 1/8 Ounce of Salt
  • 14 Ounces of Rolled Oats
  • 9 Ounces of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Ounce of Cinnamon
  • 6 Ounces of Raisins (soaked in Rum, if you’re feeling adventurous)

Hardware:

  • #100 Scoop/Disher
  • KitchenAid Stand Mixer
  • Electronic Scale
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Whisk
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Small Bowl
  • Mesh Strainer or other sifting device
  • Sheet Pan(s)
  • Parchment Paper
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes and put them inside the mixing bowl of the KitchenAid.
  3. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar to the butter and cream, using the paddle attachment, until the mixture is smooth and lighter in color. Now, when I say “cream,” it means to beat on about medium-high speed. What this does is aerates the butter by punching small holes in it using the sugar crystals. This will aid in leavening later on.
  4. Beat the eggs in the smaller bowl and then add the Vanilla extract. This will make adding them to the mixture easier.
  5. Sift the baking soda, salt, flour and cinnamon together and set that mixture aside for now.
  6. When the butter and sugar have reached the proper consistency, drop the speed to low and SLOWLY add the egg/vanilla mixture until a homogeneous mass forms. You may need to scrape down the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl to ensure a fully homogenized mixture.
  7. When the eggs and vanilla re fully incorporated, dump in all sifted ingredients at once, followed by the oats and then the raisins. Again, you can soak the raisins in a bit of rum for more flavor and a bit of a kick.
  8. Mix until everything comes together.
  9. Using your #100 scoop/disher, portion out the dough onto one or two sheetpans lined with parchment paper. I usually line them up in a 6 x 5 pattern.
  10. Bake at 350-degrees for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the outside is crisp, while the middle part is still moist and chewy.

Best part about Oatmeal Raisin Cookies? Not only are they good, they’re good for you! Well, maybe without the rum-soaked raisins. Then they’re just plain good! Enjoy!