The Free Range Gourmet Free range thoughts on the finest ingredients, cuisine, and fine dining in Hawaii.

Range Gourmet

  Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair

        ^BNanette^K^H (Gone but not forgotten) 1946-2020


Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Store Wars -- May the Farm be with you

Hang on to your grocery cart for dear life as you view this stunningly clever and well-executed video created for the Organic Trade Association. The video is of high enough quality that you may want to view it full-screen, in which case you need to get this Store Wars download.

This video is a production of Free Range Studios, a great bunch of people, unfortunately not at all related to the The Free Range Gourmet. Hat tip to Laurie Carlson for bringing this to our attention.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Another tasty podcast: On Food with Hsiao-Ching Chou

Every week Seattle Post-Intelligencer's food editor Hsiao-Ching Chou comes to your iPod with her On Food podcast. Click on the link for a rundown of her interviews and to get her podcasts (you can of course just listen from the web page even without an mp3 player).

This evening we listened to her very first podcast, an interview with Thomas Keller (French Laundry and Bouchon) and Bouchon chef Jeffrey Cerciello. What a fabulous start to the series.

Next, another podcast in which she interviews Giada De Laurentiis, who sounded to me like a Los Angeles kid, maybe 16 years old. I couldn't shake that image, perhaps because De Laurentis spoke about her experiences cooking with her family from the early age of five years old. Afterwards we just had to check out a recent Food Network recording. She looks 24.

Ok, I'm supposed to be interested in her cooking. But such is the magic of podcasting, your imagination is free to roam. I'll be listening to the other On Food podcasts over the next few days, probably starting with Hsiao-Ching's interview with Ruth Reichl, the editor in chief of Gourmet magazine.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Japanese wagashi as an endangered slow food

Kyoto machiyaWhen we lived in Japan, we visited Kyoto frequently. We always stayed at the same Japanese inn, on a street called Ishibei Koji in Higashiyama. The directions to the inn in the guidebook began, "get off at the Higashiyama-Yasui tram stop..." and walk up the hill. Well, the tram was discontinued as the interior of Kyoto succumbed to the creeping concrete junglization that has consumed most cities in Japan, but the taxi drivers still knew where the tram stop was, so we continued to use those directions, even when the tracks were finally torn up and the street repaved.

Walking up the hill was to go back in time 150 years. The sounds of the city gave way to the clatter of geta (wooden shoes). (Well, sometimes.) And the nightmarish concrete buildings of the city center yielded to age-softened wood, inns and machiya, the traditional townhouses of the city's merchants.

At the top of the hill one turns right, and then at the corner where the tsubaki-mochi shop is, turn left. The narrow, cobblestone street is Ishibei Koji, and part way up on the right side was the inn.

The little shop that made tsubaki-mochi, a kind of Japanese sweet wrapped in camillia leaves, was run by an elderly couple who lived behind the shop. I am not sure which of them passed away first, but one day there were no more tsubaki-mochi in the show window.

Sure, one could buy them elsewhere, and they are displayed in the basement food halls of every Japanese department store in season. But none can compare to the wonderfully fragrant tsubaki-mochi we purchased from the shop near the inn.

Fortunately, Japan is a country that has clung to its culture despite the inroads of modernization. Japanese sweets like tsubaki-mochi are low-calorie treats and remind Japanese people of the change of seasons. But will there be fragrant tsubaki-mochi for future generations, or only the department store plastic variety?

Slow Food to the rescue.

"Animals aren't the only thing that can become endangered. Imagine your favorite sweet treat-the one that makes you dream and drool-gone forever, extinct like the saber-toothed tiger and Tyrannosaurus rex. What would life be like without a yuzu citron flavored dumpling or a cherry leaf-wrapped rice cake?"

Read the Asahi Newspapers article here.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


School lunch reform - Restoring childrens' health and well-being through edible gardens and healthy school food

On a current installment of my favorite podcast, Eat Feed, Shane Rhodes chats with Zenobia Barlow of the Ecoliteracy Project about educating kids to eat right and grow their own food. The program is Food and Philosophy on the Left Coast. From the web page you can download the program to your computer, iPod or mp3 player.

The Ecoliteracy Project was the first funder of Alice Waters' Edible Schoolyard project. Listen to this interview which describes how the catastrophy of school lunch is reversed successfully in Berkeley. Also mentioned is the involvement of superstar chef Jamie Oliver in England in a similar project focused on reforming British school lunches.

If it can be done in California and Berkeley, it can be done in Hawaii also!

The entire program is good listening. To skip ahead to this segment, move the slider over to the 32 minute point on your iPod, mp3 player, or computer player.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


The Future of Food - showing May 18

The Future of Food

Fast food, Frankenfood, or Slow Food?

Elisha Goodman of GMO Free Hawaii and Karen Miyano, a chef and Slow Food advocate will discuss how fast food and genetically modified food are compromising our health and well being. We will learn about the GMO crops already being grown in Hawaii and the danger they pose to our organic farmers. The Slow Food Movement reminds us of the time when food was grown with care by someone down the street, and dinner was a time of gathering together and sharing. Slow Food will be served and the film The Future of Food will be shown.

May 18th
YWCA, 1040 Richards St.
Room 304
6:30 - 8:30pm
Email: or call Betty Gearen at 524-8427 for more information.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Pean to Slow Food, Farmers' Markets

TomatoesThis article from the Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland) sums up the interrelationship between Slow Food, farmers' markets, and the appreciation of good food.

It also integrates sustainable agriculture and minimizing the use of precious oil to bring us food we should be able to grow for ourselves right here.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Hawaii works on food security: attend the Wai`anae Food Security Conference

"A gathering to explore, develop and implement diverse and innovative actions which solve Hawai`is community food insecurity."

And insecure we are. Imagine that something disrupted the supply of oil to Hawaii. How would we get our food? Hmmm?

"The conference will explore the essential question:

How do communities, with rural roots and values, build thriving and sustainable communities that promote positive social change?"

The conference will be held in Wai`anae on May 20-21 with pre-conference workshops on May 19. The organizers have arranged for scholarships for native Hawaiian youth.

Contact Information:
Wai`anae Community Re-Development Corp (MA`O)
P.O. BOX 441
Wai`anae, Hawai`i 96792
Tel. 808.696.5569 (farm/fax)

For convenience, here are some quick links:
General Information (.pdf file)
Workshop Summaries (.pdf file)
Adult Registration Form (.pdf file)

Among the workshops is one on Edible Schoolyards, a concept which is also the subject of a resolution making its way through the Legislature to establish edible school gardens in public and charter schools as one way to combat childhood obesity and diabetes. The resolution is supported by the Slow Food Hawaii and Slow Food Oahu convivia.

Check out the agenda and workshops. This is a very worthwhile conference. Please also help spread the word.


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Market News

Official web pages and Tip Sheets for Saturday morning KCC Farmers' Market, Wednesday night Honolulu Market, Sunday morning Mililani Market, and Thursday Night Kailua Market


Slow Food

You've read about the world-wide slow food movement. Hawaii has an active Slow Food group. Learn about or join Slow Food USA at the Slow Food USA website.

Where we're Eating

Olive Tree Cafe

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