Food Explorations for the Mind and Tastebuds = Asian Culinary Forum


20100510FFacfIt’s been a privilege so far to have joined, as of last year, the board of Asian Culinary Forum, an SF-based nonprofit dedicated to exploration and enjoyment of Asian foods from around the world.  Under the enthusiastic and diligent leadership of executive director Thy Tran and an equally enthusiastic team of board members who bring in wisdom and experience from food careers and avocations, I’ve really gotten the chance to learn so much more simply by listening in on all of the conversations already in progress about food trends and mysteries, the development of ideas into programming and events for the current year or perhaps shelving them in orderly fashion for long-term planning.

This weekend’s symposium, “Filipino Flavors: Tradition + Innovation” at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California-San Francisco is set to bust through, in a metaphorical sense, the picket fences of lumpia as a barricade between, on the one hand, the concept of pedestrian home cooking in your typical Daly City household and, on the other, the development of Filipino cuisine as ripe and intricate culinary subject matter.  The beautiful thing about ACF’s events are that they’re not all talk; there are some serious eating occurrences planned this weekend!  I suggest you cast your spoon and fork into the adobo deathmatch assortment and cast your vote for your favorite contender at Saturday night’s Adobo Throwdown:

Whose recipe reigns supreme? Considered by many to be the national dish of the Philippines, adobo is personalized by household with each version passionately championed. Enjoy a gustatory tour of long-held family recipes and innovative variations on the theme. Taste, drink, mingle, move and groove to live music, then cast a vote on your favorite entry. Competition is open to all community members and amateur cooks. (Competitors are set – see below!) Top prizes will be awarded by popular vote and by our panel of distinguished judges. Keith Kamisugi will serve as our gregarious master of ceremonies and Lumaya will provide music. $20 per person.

Ticket sales end May 12! [buy now]



Fred Briones | NAME OF DISH: Not Your Mom’s Adobo
Aimee Crisostomo | NAME OF DISH: Adobo
Clemente P. Escopete | NAME OF DISH: Uncle Clem’s Abobo Bicolano
Lizelle Festejo | NAME OF DISH: Tuna Squidobo
Steffany Farros | NAME OF DISH: Howard Family’s Awesome Adobo!
Jennifer Kirk | NAME OF DISH: Captain Kirk’s Adobo
John Melana | NAME OF DISH: J’s Tomadobo Chix and Ribs Recipe
Pauline Rivera | NAME OF DISH: Jalapeno Pork Adobo
Chummy Sevilla | NAME OF DISH: Slow Braised Pork Adobo

THE JUDGES: Dawn Bohulano Mabalon, Assistant Professor, Department of History, San Francisco State University; Marie Romero, President & Publisher, Arkipelago Books; Vice Consul Leah Victoria Rodriguez, The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco and, the toughest judge of all….YOU!

Then, on Sunday, we’ve placed a creative interlude amidst the furious cooking and exploratory academic and industry panels:

Sun May 16 | 1:00–2:30 pm, with light refreshments
Local writers share their poems, fiction and essays about two of the most important facets of life: our families and our food. Barbara Jane Reyes, Rashaan Alexis Meneses, Aileen Suzara, Aimee Suzara, Lizelle Festejo, Yael Villafranca and Lisa Suguitan Melnick read from their books and works-in-progress. Oscar Bermeo emcees.  $5 general admission, $3 students. Ticket sales end May 12! [buy now]

Designer Max Medina at The Mystery Parade created the superb symposium poster and collateral.  Thanks, Max!

It’s Earth Week…


20100418targetearthday…and, according to this weekly Sunday circular, you can celebrate Earth Week by buying even more stuff at Target.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fat fan of Target and this fascinating flash animation of the proliferation of its stores across a map of the United States since 1962, in truth, is less my sadness over consumerism and its evils and more a roadmap for finding stuff at one store when the other has sold out of stuff, like its Liberty of London for Target partnership that launched last month.

But, at least this week, we are supposed to be even more conscious and emboldened to do things like drink tap water instead of buying bottled water, walk or bike to work instead of drive or choose neither paper nor plastic and, instead, BYOBag.  This latter tip I blogged about in 2007, the year that San Francisco banned plastics bags.  Unfortunately, the article, “The Environmental Cost of a Free Canvas Bag“, which I read last year in Utne Reader online conjectures that you would need to reuse a canvas bag perhaps 400 times in order to really give the planet a helping hand: “Judging by the cost, producing one tote is equivalent to producing 400 plastic bags. That’s fine if you use a tote 400 times, but what if you just end up with 40 totes? The environmental promise of reusable bags becomes dubious when there are closets full of them in every home.”  Ironically, “[t]he plastic bag itself began as an environmental salve.  Before the introduction of ultra-thin plastic bags in the 1980s, groceries were primarily packed in paper.  Plastic was touted as a way to save trees.”

bastis-cat.jpgI confess that I probably do have over a dozen or two reusable bags in varying sizes kept as give-aways, purchased while waiting at the checkout counter and received as gifts.  I might even have 40.  And still, I will sometimes forget and leave them in the trunk of my car or find that the one that I do keep in my purse at all times is not enough for all of my purchases and I end up coming home with another disposable bag anyway.  Still, I think I’ve likely used a few of them greater than 52 times, i.e. once a week for a year across several years.  Do you keep a stash of reusable shopping bags?  Does your use–say 400 uses per bag–justify the environmental cost (or even the cost to your home budget) of the bag; or are these bags just more stuff?