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Posts Tagged ‘Food Conferences Gatherings and Activities’

Superheroes seem to keep popping up in my world.

They are appearing in more forms than I’d ever imagined on the pages of the book I’m reading right now – ‘Who Can Save Us Now – Brand New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories’ . They’re on the pages of  ‘Mental Floss‘ magazine this month in the article ‘5 Comic Superheroes Who Made a Real World Difference’. They showed up in great form at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. And last month they took to the runways at The  New York Chocolate Show, capering and mincing along in astonishing costumes – no longer made of strange stretchy materials – but constructed instead of the fruits of the cocoa bean, warped by knowledgable chocolate-focused culinary materialists and reimaged to be stylin’.

(More images here on telegraph.co.uk.)

While reading the ‘Superheroes’ book I wondered what sort of superhero I’d be (if only I could be one). I’d have to be something to do with food, I thought. These new superheroes can take many different forms. Some are described in this review from bookgasm:

One of my favorites was “The Pentecostal Home for Flying Children,” in which Will Clarke examines the aftereffects of a promiscuous costumed crimefighter and a town full of easily seduced Baptist women. The result is a slew of snotty kids who can fly and wreak havoc on their neighbors’ privacy and well-being. It takes a rather dark, disturbing turn.

Another highlight is the heartbreaking “The Horses Are Loose” by Cary Holladay. Its little-girl protagonist is born with the knowledge that she has the power to fly, but can only use this power once. She’s saving it for a grand plan that she hopes will save her single, clinically depressed mother from a lifetime of misery. If it doesn’t move you even a little, read it again.

Some pieces are straight humor, like the Sea Monkeys-oriented “The Snipper,” from Noria Jablonski, and Sam Weller’s “The Quick Stop 5®,” in which a chemical accidental transforms a quintet of convenience-store employees into mutants with the powers of beef jerky, a Slushee, condoms and the like. It’s one of the better stories in the entire volume, marred only by an over-reliance on pot humor.

At first I thought of fruits and vegetables, but my mind became a curious blank slush. No, ‘Banana Woman’ – who would stroll through the most luxurious shopping areas of major cities of the world trying to make the universe a better place by finding the most perfect outfit to buy that ever existed! (while saving cats and dogs and old ladies from ugly-faced muggers who were trying to steal their sardines, bones, and handbags by hitting the muggers over the head with a huge banana that would grow in an instant before your eyes from the end of her right middle finger, leaving the malefactors covered in a pool of disintegrating banana mush rapidly turning brown and attracting flies) would not do.

Besides, it seemed to hint at penis envy.

Forget the fruits and vegetables. On to meat.  Fish were not something I considered – though actually something could be done with a giant clam. Or with a jellyfish. Ever get stung by a jellyfish?

After sifting through various ideas for becoming a meat-based superhero, the decision was made. It was perfect. I would be ‘Caul-Fat Girl’.

I haven’t exactly worked out all the details yet, but basically somehow I would extrude a huge net of caul-fat whenever and wherever trouble arose in the world. I could then wing it through the air to cover and entangle in its fatty folds every single person who was causing all that trouble.

(Actually I thought of honeycomb tripe first, but caul fat is easier to work with. And besides, I’m not crazy about anything along the lines of the name ‘Tripe Sistuh’.)

But what do real Superheroes actually eat? This is important to know. I looked to the BBC for answers, and as always, the BBC came up with some.

Some superheroes need various foodstuffs to give them their strange but wonderful powers. Eric is just a normal schoolboy but if he eats a banana he becomes Banana-Man. When Olive Oyl is in trouble, Popeye opens up a can of spinach and becomes a regular pillar of strength, and all that is needed to give Scooby Doo a little encouragement is a Scooby Snack – a rather delicious dog biscuit. The Flash burns calories in a flash, and in order to re-energise has to eat copious amounts of burgers, fries and power-shakes without any affect on his fabulous skin, and Roger Ramjet would never find the strength to beat up the bad guys without his Proton Energy Pills. Superheroes who get their powers this way all suffer from the same problem – those powers wear off without a constant supply of their magic food.

The first time I read this I scanned it too fast and got a bit worried, for I thought Roger Ramjet was eating Protose Energy Pills and it shrunk my image of him. Protons – now there’s something fine to eat. Protose I still have my doubts about.

It’s good to live in a world filled with Superheroes. I hope the chocolate doesn’t melt too soon.

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Keynote speaker Darra Goldstein, editor of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture, discussed the social and cultural commentary of food images. Other prominent speakers included Shirley Corriher, author of Cookwise and the “Mad Scientist” on the Food Network’s Good Eats, and Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, and the photography team from Gourmet magazine. In addition to the unique programming, one evening featured a lobster boil prepared by noted chef Jasper White.

That was in 2007. I bet the upcoming conference to be held this June will be a knockout.

I can’t even hold a camera straight so I’m totally in awe of all this.

The words of De Gaulle come to mind: One can’t impose unity out of the blue on a country that has 265 different kinds of cheese.

I just wonder how professional food photographers and stylists manage to impose unity on all the different foods that exist, aside from making them sit still and smile nicely for the camera!

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