Alicia's Food For Thought


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Film Review
September 27, 2009, 8:23 PM
Filed under: Media Bites

Hi readers! :)

On this cloudy Sunday afternoon, I think it is only appropriate to write about my review on the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” (my first 3D movie experience!). I watched the movie with my residents at Regal Cinemas on 13th Street and Broadway with Alan Seise (RA on C2 Floors 4 & 5). I have not read the children’s book Cloudy with a Chance of Meaballs by Judi Barrett, but I’ve heard that they are completely different. But I imagine that’s how I’m going to feel when I see “Where the Wild Things Are” (comes out October 16th–so excited!).

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Book

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Book

To give you a brief summary, the movie is about a young inventor named Flint, and he is a fumbling genius that makes inventions that usually ends in disaster. His small town (let alone his father) doesn’t understand the way his mind works and the only person who did was his mother, who died when Flint was a young child. One day, Flint creates a machine that converts water into food (by mutating the molecular structure). Accidentally, the machine ends up in the atmosphere and converts the water in clouds to food–hence it starts raining meatballs and other food in his small town.

Flint with his invention

Flint with his invention

I highly recommend watching  the “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” The movie does a great job on gently bringing up current food issues that our society is facing. Not to mention, Flint is totally someone I would love to date if he was a real person. Anyways, moving on to the more serious topics of the film:

Genetically Engineered Food:

Large food falling from the sky.

Large food falling from the sky.

As the movie goes along, the food gets progressively bigger. This is a really interesting point because in America, our food is getting bigger and we are over-eating and over-consuming large amounts of food. Also, are food is becoming bigger because we are genetically altering them so that only large food are grown. A hamburger/dinner plate now compared to a hamburger/dinner 50 years ago looks completely different.

This brings up another “Food for Thought” about how genetically engineering our food has caused the amount of biodiversity in our world to go down. Our eating habits are pressuring producers/farmers/manufacturers to make food that look and taste the same. So what’s the big deal if there is only one type of turkey left in the world instead of 450 like there are supposed to be? (Don’t take these numbers seriously, I’m using them for dramatic effect). Well, I don’t really know the sole reason why biodiversity matters, but all I know is that I am really going to be pissed if one day we find that the cure to diabetes or cancer in a particular plant went extinct from our neon green food producing ways.

Fast/Processed Food:

Super Size Me

Super Size Me

This extraordinary machine that Flint invented only converted water into fast/processed food. It would be pizza, fried chicken, ice cream, peanut brittle, hamburgers, hotdogs, etc. etc. Definitely did not see any veggies or fruits falling from the sky. (Bare with me as I over analyze this movie) But somehow that really disgusted me. I definitely did not leave the theatre hungry, but rather sick from all the junk food that fell from the sky in the movie. It was weird how something so natural (such as water) was changed into the fattiest food known to mankind.

Obesity:
The mayor of Flint’s town became so enamored with the food that fell from the sky that he became severely obese. It was interesting how the mayor turned to the food to solve all the problems of the town (i.e. he wanted to use the “Food falling from the sky” to attract tourists and bring $$$ to the town). I think that brings up another interesting point, why do we turn to food to solve our problems. I supposed it is because food doesn’t judge and there is such a high value of comfort that come along with “eating away your sorrows”.

Fat Mayo

So I don’t know about you, but I tend to feel really uncomfortable around morbidly obese people. It really is an epidemic that our nation is facing. I am unsure as to when it was not OK to talk about weight. I don’t think I care about how people look, but obese (and too skinny) people should be more concerned about their health! So many reasons why we have some many health issues is because we don’t watch what we eat. Counting calories is not going to solve anything, but I think being more educated and aware about the food we intake would make us a more health conscious society. So when did it not become OK to talk about our waistband? We go around as a society criticizing people about alcohol use, drug abuse, smoking, etc. etc. So why aren’t we talking about obesity? Obese people are killing themselves the same way as someone smoking cigarettes is.

There are many other things that the movie make social commentary of but one thing that the movie did not address (which I find almost annoying) is world hunger. The only cities that were mentioned in the movie were all from the Western culture and did not have a problem with hunger in their society. I think it was unrealistic to have this type of machine to begin with (it chemically is not sound to be able to mutate hydrogen and oxygen molecules into carbohydrates, protein, lipids, and nutrients). However, if there ever was such a machine, I think the first thing it would have been used for was for those “starving children in Africa/China”. I mean really, how selfish of a society are we if we use the machine to make it snow ice cream whenever we feel like it?

Anyways, this movie was really entertaining and there are so many other good points that I like about it. I really think you should watch it and have a conversation with yourself about how you are contributing to these food problems we are having. Also, do your own research about the food politics and form your own opinions (don’t just listen to what I have to say, I would love to have a discussion if any one of you on it!)

Always keep in mind that moderation is the key to eating and remember that there will be food tomorrow (yes, leftovers taste delicious) and let’s talk about this huge health issue that America is facing and not be so overly concerned about “hurting” other people’s feelings when a lot of their medical problems could go away if they lost those 50 lbs.

Leave me a comment about how you feel and your feedback!

Thanks for reading and good eats everyone!

Alicia Kim
Food For Thought Resident Assistant
alicia.foodforthought@gmail.com



“High Price of Cheap Food”
September 19, 2009, 11:35 PM
Filed under: Media Bites

Hi readers!

I’m trying to get back into the groove of updating my blog at least twice a week. School has been pretty hectic lately but a ton of fun. I’m taking a lot of interesting classes this semester so I’m looking forward to learning a lot.

My internship at Food Network has been amazing! I could not have asked for a better internship that fits everything I love in life–I even sat next to Bob Tuschman today during a meeting! And every Friday I sit on a meeting with Susie Folgelson (Only you hardcore Food Network fans know who I’m talking about…).

Anyways, one of my favorite classes is my Nutrition & Health class in the Food Studies/Nutrition department at Steinhardt. On Tuesday, we read an amazing article from the Times called Getting Real about the High Price of Cheap Food”. You can find the article online here. What I like most about the article is how it discusses about how Americans are so unwilling to change their habits and if we keep going down the road we are going on, the scenario from Wall-E is actually not that far-fetched. Also, I suggest you look at the “Top 10” lists that they included in the article because it is very eye opening and disturbing at the same time.

Here is a brief portion of the article that I think is really important:

“And perhaps worst of all, our food is increasingly bad for us, even dangerous. A series of recalls involving contaminated foods this year — including an outbreak of salmonella from tainted peanuts that killed at least eight people and sickened 600 — has consumers rightly worried about the safety of their meals. A food system — from seed to 7‑Eleven — that generates cheap, filling food at the literal expense of healthier produce is also a principal cause of America’s obesity epidemic. At a time when the nation is close to a civil war over health-care reform, obesity adds $147 billion a year to our doctor bills. “The way we farm now is destructive of the soil, the environment and us,” says Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)…

But we don’t have the luxury of philosophizing about food. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil — which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills — our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy — demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 — but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs — and bland taste. Sustainable food has an élitist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants — and as every farmer knows, if you don’t take care of your land, it can’t take care of you.”

I think this article creates a great conversation starter that we all need to have with ourselves and with others. It brings up a good point about how unwilling Americans are to recognize the fact that the world is not at our disposal and how unaware we are of what goes into the food we passively consume. We got to become more conscious of the fact that what we eat has a profound effect on not only our bodies, but also the world. This might come off as dramatic, but really, think about how much corn product you consume in a day, and how much locally grown food you eat in a week. Big difference right? We shouldn’t be overly concerned about the price of our food anymore, instead we should think about the other external costs that are the byproducts of eating so unhealthily/cheaply.

However, I don’t want you guys to go around being food snobs in the grocery stores and lecturing others to eat the high priced organic produce… let’s face it, even if what you’re saying is correct, no one wants to be told what to do. I highly encourage you to do some of your own research about Food Politics and how closely related food is related to people’s economic status. Some people can not afford to eat the higher quality food–I don’t think anyone is looking to the Green Market for a bargain on their produce. I’m no business (Stern) major, but the people who can afford to eat the higher priced products should buy them and create the demand for a change to happen. The more people purchase locally grown, organic, nutritious food, the more likely the price will be driven down with the increase in supply.

I can’t make this change overnight, this is a new lifestyle that is going to take me a lot of time to become accustomed to. This is my game plan: I’m going to pick a produce that I would most likely buy the cheaper (and not organic) version of and purchase its organic counterpart. (i.e. bananas). Next step, I am going to purchase the local version of a vegetable instead of buying the bulk supplier version (lettuce?). Next, I will make a serious effort to eat out to places that support local farmers and cooks with organic products.

Sure, this is going to put a strain on my modest student budget, however, I really think this is a major problem in the US and we should all try to change our bad habits that is causing our world to deteriorate.

http://www.eatlocalchallenge.com/
Click here to learn more about the Eat Local Challenge!

Leave me a comment and tell me what you think about the article.

Thanks for reading!

Alicia Kim
Food For Thought Resident Assistant
alicia.foodforthought@gmail.com



Stogo, Arepas, and Governor’s Island, oh my!
September 14, 2009, 2:57 AM
Filed under: Real Eats, Recipes

Hello readers!

The Food for Thought Explorations floor has been in full swing for the past couple of weeks and even though classes/internships/jobs have already started, we were able to squeeze in some amazing and successful programs!

stogo

We’ve had ice cream (without the cream) from Stogo’s, an organic, gourmet, dairy free, kosher ice cream shop located on 10th Street in between 3rd and 2nd Avenue during Welcome Week. I got 4 different pints: Hemp Raspberry, Mango Sorbet, Berry Mix, and Orange/Coconut flavor. The ice cream is very pricey (~$12/pint), so I would only suggest going there for a very nice treat and if you are lactose intolerant/vegan.

caracas1caracas2Next, we had arepas from the Caracas Arepa Bar, a Venezuelan Restaurant located on 7th Street inbetween 1st and Avenue A after our first floor meeting. An arepa is a flat bread made from corn and it is opened like a pocket to be filled with delicious fillers such as beans, cheese, avocados, plantains, and meat. I bought 5 different types of arepas: The De Guasacaca, La del Gato, De Pollo, La Jardinera, La Mulata and 5 side orders of Arroz con caraotas (rice & beans). Their salsa is amazing! It is sweet ands savory at the same time and it really adds a lot of flavor to the arepa. To view their menu click here. An interesting note on how I found the Caracas Arepa Bar, I learned about them from the Throwdown with Bobby Flay, a show on Food Network (of course!). For a recipe on how to make arepas go here (Thanks Serra!).

The last event he had was a trip to Governor’s Island, NYC. We went on a free ferry ride over there and spent the day eating lunch and biking around the island. The first 90 minutes renting a bike is FREE and we had a great time stopping by the different entertainment spots. You should really check it out if you ever want to get out of city without ever really leaving. There is also an article about the Dutch Festival that was going on while we were there (Thanks David!).

Here are some pictures that we took while we were in Governor’s Island (Photo credit goes to Steven on Clarissa’s camera!):

Governor's Island Ferry

Governor's Island Ferry

Enjoying a picnic Lunch on Kimmel (Road). *Please note Alyssa's expression, kthxbye.

Enjoying a picnic Lunch on Kimmel (Road). *Please note Alyssa's expression, kthxbye.

Riding the FREE bikes!

Riding the FREE bikes!

Enjoying the view of the Statue of Liberty while biking around the island.

Enjoying the view of the Statue of Liberty while biking around the island.

I amsterdam (mini version).

I amsterdam (mini version).

The wonderful RAs that I co-programmed with (David, Clarissa, and Christina). Love you Carlyle!

The wonderful RAs that I co-programmed with (David, Clarissa, and Christina). Love you Carlyle!

Overall, it was a great program and everyone had an amazing time checking out a different area of NYC. We will probably do it again in the Spring when it is warm again.

And as promised, here is a recipe for banana bread that I will be baking for BASE meetings (sign up on Doodle!). I got the recipe from Food Network.

1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

* Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes.

Enjoy and good eats! If you have any ideas for a program, feel free to send me an e-mail.

Alicia Kim
Food For Thought Resident Assistant
alicia.foodforthought@gmail.com



Meatpacking Local Photoshoot
September 4, 2009, 12:01 AM
Filed under: Real Eats

Hello readers!

Sorry I haven’t written in while, things have been pretty hectic with RA training. Move-In Day and whatnot. But fear not! I’m back and I shouldn’t be leaving anytime soon.

So this past summer I interned with Bridget Williams, a Graphic Designer based in New York City, and she invited me to come to a photoshoot with her yesterday at Milk Studios. The photoshoot was for Meatpacking Local, a magazine given out at the Wine & Food Festival. A bunch of portraits were done of the contributors (Farmers, distributors, chefs, etc.). We also took pictures or produce, oysters, honey, and mushrooms! Hans, the guy who brought the mushrooms, was the cutest man ever! He even brought in “forest debris” to photograph. I never been to a professional photoshoot so it was an overall exciting day with BDUB.

Here are some pictures that I took:

Buying oysters!

Buying oysters!

Wandering Chelsea Market for props.

Wandering Chelsea Market for props.

Himalayan Salt for the Oysters.

Himalayan Salt for the Oysters.

Honey from the rooftops.

Honey from the rooftops.

Delicious honey straight from the comb.

Delicious honey straight from the comb.

Photoshoot inside Milk Studios.

Photoshoot inside Milk Studios.

Meet and Greet our subjects.
Mushrooms ready for their closeup.

Mushrooms ready for their closeup.

Don't eat the subjects!

Don't eat the subjects!

I got paid in mushrooms.

I got paid in mushrooms.

 Overall it was a great day! It was super long (I was there from 10AM-8PM). We ate a lot, sat around a lot, took a lot of pictures, met a lot of people, and wandered a lot but it was really interesting seeing how food gets styled. I can’t wait to go to the festival to see the magazine after it is all printed!

Anyways, once again, I have failed to provide you all with a recipe post, but I promise the next one will be a recipe! Wasn’t this interesting to see the process on how a professional shoots gets done? A lot of work gets put in to making an annual magazine.

First post since residents have moved in! I hope you all have enoyed and talked to you all soon! :)

Alicia Kim
Food For Thought Resident
alicia.foodforthought@gmail.com