Episode 32 :: Love & Food

Love & Food

Let’s face facts here – Valentines Day is for rookies and amateurs. You’re not really going to try to make reservations, are you? Seriously? If you’re in the early years of your relationship, sure – do what you’ve gotta do. But the true connection between love and food goes a lot deeper than reservations at a “romantic” restaurant. And really, how much romance is there in a crowded restaurant next Saturday anyway? Even the darkest corner of that sneaky hideaway does not equal romance, my friends.

No, the true balance of love and food is in your kitchen, and that’s the topic of the day. Feeding someone you love makes a true connection between food and love because feeding someone you love makes them feel loved by you, which then leads to the real bottom line. And for all intents and purposes, there’s a very good reason to get good in the kitchen.

Are you following me here?

In this episode:

• Bourdain and Batali on Food & Sex
• The real reason why we’re all sick and allergic to pretty much everything – processed food
• “Watersgate” – Bourdain throws the gloves down on Alice Waters
• Burger King is reaping the benefits of our economic downslide
• Prosciutto in Iowa? Oh Hell yeah!
• Top Chef Season 5 update
• Season 6 of No Reservations, and why I’ve all but lost interest
• Jose Andres’ “Made In Spain” and a connection to Dracula (in good fun, of course)

Listen to Episode 32 now.

Music in this episode by Christophe Goze. Download his song in the iTunes store.

Don’t forget to visit Jo’s site My Last Bite. The woman’s been on an absolute roll lately, and has provided me with loads of new material. Cheers, Jo!


  1. Yo Phil, thanks for the shout-out! Keep these killer culinary ‘casts coming…

  2. Amateur night. Ha! When we were dating, my husband and I lasted 2 Valentines Day dinners before we finally got fed up with the long lines and crowded tables.

    Very nice show, and enjoyed the talk of Bourdain and Jose Andres. So Bourdain is not a fan of “molecular gastronomy”?

  3. Phil,

    another great show. i’ve been a long time listener, but haven’t commented yet. wanted to share my “my life as a foodie” experience. i just got back from a two month-long roadtrip to the west coast. i’m from wisconsin. before leaving, i downloaded all the episodes to date to re-listen to on the road, and share with my traveling companion (she’s a gardener and CSA organizer, so i thought she’d glean a lot from it). well, i started from episode 1 in, say, iowa (because, fuck, iowa’s more boring than a food network marathon) and we listened to the episode…silence from the other end of the car, and i thought—oh man, i really wanted to listen to these, because i love your show and wanted her to as well. so, as the episode concludes, she says, “that was awesome! this phil guy is right on!” i was bouncing in my seat, and we listened to almost all 30 episodes to date at the time. so, i wanted to thank you for riding along with us, you lasted until the california/nevada border! she even loved the few episodes of dude night i had! what a woman.
    and it didn’t stop there—from all the great reviews and stories from the show, we set off to see some of the breweries and seek out beer and restaurants that you talked about. sampled from the bruery (autumn maple was amazing), stone (which unfortunately we don’t get in the midwest many places), and the holy of hops, russian river. i cried a little each night thinking of that place. spending 8 nights in santa rosa/sebastopol, i think i was at RR 7 of those nights, having many a pliny, consecration, and my favorite, defenestration, their belgian IPA, the best of both worlds. checked out yountville, a long time dream, though we don’t have much money to eat at any of keller’s places, we did get the best bread outside of paris at his bouchon bakery, along with some rillettes…fan-fucking-tastic.
    so, thanks, phil. if think new glarus is good, wisconsin has some even better local breweries, smaller, like ale asylum, lilja’s, and from my stomping grounds, lake louie, who makes the best scotch ale on the planet, nicknamed “liquid reefer” . i’d love to send you a few bottles.
    love the entrance into molecular cooking. i’d love to hear more on homebrewing, and from listening to SIDT, your brews sound like the mutt’s nuts. i’ve been inspired to start brewing belgians and thinking about beginning some cultured yeasts.

    keep up the good casting, and thanks for a great trip,

  4. Incredible show dude, very well done!

  5. Thanks for your comments, everyone. Nik – your foodie adventure really made me proud. Reading that was perhaps one of the greatest feelings I’ve had since I started doing this show. I’m really happy you made it out West and made the most of it by sampling some of the greatest treats we have to offer here – anything from Bouchon, and the solid beers of Russian River.

    If it’s any consolation to you, I get a little bummed out when I have to leave that area myself. Santa Rosa is about 400 miles North of here, and very few of Vinnie’s beers make it our way. We get Pliny, Blind Pig, and Damnation in bottles, but that’s it. Once in a while, a keg of something special might make it to a local pub, and we can enjoy an 8 ounce draft there.

    I would love to see more of what Wisconsin has to offer in the way of beer and (of course) cheese. You’re in cheese mecca there, my friend. I can only imagine the hidden gems on those small family-run farms.

    Thanks again, you guys. Your comments always brighten the day. I appreciate you listening.

  6. Another great episode!!! This may be my favorite, maybe because it hit on things I’ve been thinking about lately. One, on the topic of the warm feeling food gives, it literally changes your mood. I can’t find the article but at some point I remember reading something that states that if you eat meat with others it causes chemical changes making you feel more bonded. As in, if there is meat around when I hang out with these people, I have a better chance to survive.

    Another thing that really caught me, and I need to listen to the Food Hell episode, but the idea that there is nothing to eat in the Midwest. I always thought that too since getting here. It seems there’s food everywhere but it’s all processed shit. Well, because of your influence I’m starting to uncover some hidden gems of our area. It came from talking to a local Mennonite Christian. Not the type of person I would have thought to hang out with. I realized it’s in the more traditional Christian communities where fresh, well cooked food is preserved in this area. This person turned me on to the best butchers in the area, a farm just outside of town making their own fresh and aged gourmet cheese, farms that that have the best produce, offered to teach me how to can for the winter… You know if you can find the right group of old church ladies you have pies that are so fresh it’s like soma of the gods. It was really just amazing the depth of the local food I never knew existed, and wouldn’t have had I not put away some preconceived notions about people different than me. I’m finding there are more and more local products that exist, I just have to look a little harder and in areas I might not have thought of.

    That, and I’m also finding a group of good Thai and Indian restaurants run by recent immigrants who are starting to do some cool things with food in a rather unexpected way. How the fuck are people not realizing that in teh winter there is nothing better than a bowl of Thai curry? I’m findings ways to get fresh hunted game, I think something more people should try and find inf they can, and generally learning there is a depth to the local area I just brushed off due to personal biases. I think lots of people probably do that with their local area too.

    Bourdain is mellowing out. I don’t mind it so much I guess because I have too. When I started doing TBR I had no problem ripping the shit out of a beer. Knowing the love people put into stuff, it gets harder. I still love his show though.

    Top Chef fucking rules!!!

    Can’t wait for the next one man.

  7. Thanks for your awesome message CHUD. It’s cool of you to comment, and bring so many thoughts to the table.

    I cannot agree with you more on many of the points you made. Every area of the US is going to have it’s hidden gems, you just need to find them. Unfortunately (and I looked) Lincoln, Nebraska had maybe a handful, and they were so spread out it really bummed me out that we had to work that hard to find fresh food. I saw Buffets everywhere we turned. Fast food rules. We found a Mongolian BBQ place, and it turned out to be chain – TGI McFunsters with noodles and bean sprouts. I wanted to get on the plane back home immediately.

    It’s so great to hear that you’re eating Thai and Indian dishes. Food has a lot of history, and it all pretty much started in those areas as far as I’m concerned. For my money, there is nothing better than Thai, Indian, or Vietnamese peasant dishes. It’s made by people who actually care, and that’s why it has so much flavor. That gets back to that whole “love” thing doesn’t it? I’m a broken record over here. And anytime immigrants not long off the boat open a restaurant, you can be assured you’re getting the most authentic food from where they came from. They’re trying to be comforted too, so when you eat what they cook, you’re tasting a little slice of home. And now their new home is here, but it feels like their old home. 🙂 Feels good, doesn’t it? I love this country.

    Cheers dude. Thanks again for taking the time to comment today.


  8. I can’t say much more then the others have already said. I liked the line “respect the food”. There is never a need to be cruel to animals. Thanks for the show!

  9. My mom drank a bottle of whiskey while preggers with my bro and he turned out fine. But that was the 50’s, she was on a train from TX to PA in the middle of winter and there was no heat. Wait, he’s not normal, nevermind. She smoked with me in the 70’s and I turned out… errrr yeah. OK, yeah you’re right.

    If you sprayed me down with horseradish I’d be in heaven. make that happen.

    I have a friend who is all about “I’M ORGANIC!” and makes it a point to say “well you can eat that but I only buy organic.” He also has no problem sloppin down cheese fries and burgers

  10. Great show, Phil. The Dracula bit was very funny. It sounds just like him!

    On the subject of germs and eating processed food full of chemistry, when I was a small child, my parents were rather relaxed housekeepers. I’m told I used to crawl behind the couch and eat dead bugs. By the time my brother was born, ten years later, my parents had learned better. He was confined to a high chair, and any toy that fell to the floor had to be sterilized before being returned to him.

    So he has been plagued by allergies his whole life. Me, I have no allergies, not even to poison ivy, and I never get colds or any other illnesses. Neither do I get infections, not even if I step on a rusty nail and give the wound no treatment other than pulling the nail out.

  11. Thanks Spoon and Paul. I appreciate your comments and stories.

    Spoon, my point was directed more towards the fact that we’ve been ingesting more preservatives and chemistry for so long that our bodies are beginning to lose their ability to fight simple microbes. And to a certain extent, I think Paul’s post almost clarifies that a little. The human body is a miracle. It can fix itself, has an entire center inside of it that can produce elements to combat disease and sickness. But if we continue to ingest large quantities of food that can literally sit on a shelf for a lifetime, we’re not using those functions. Look at the appendix. I’m sure at one point it had a function, but what’s it used for now?

    This isn’t something that’s happened overnight, it’s taken us a long time to get here, and if we continue I can’t say it’s not going to get worse. That’s all I was getting at.

    Thanks again for listening, and for posting.

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