Category Archives: Culture

Lusting for Wine: A Dude’s (Or Lady’s) Guide to Wine-Smarts Part IV

With the base knowledge you have learned in the past 3 editions of Lusting for Wine, you are now ready to venture out into the world, fair reader, and fall in love with wine all over again. It seems fairly obvious, but the only way to truly learn more about wine is to drink wineIn the same way you can’t perfect an athletic skill without rigorous practice, you cannot truly appreciate wine or become wine-smart without spending time wine tasting at a winery. Very few people are born with a palate strong enough to fully appreciate the subtlety in great wine. This has to be developed over time with multiple wine tasting experiences. So with that in mind, here are some simple rules (guidelines) for getting the most out of your wine tasting experience.

Part 4: Rules for wine tasting

Rule #1: You do not talk about wine tasting.

Just kidding. Couldn’t resist.

Rule #1: There are no rules. Don’t buy into the hoity toity crap reputation that surrounds wine tasting. Yeah, I said it. Wine tasting is fun. You know why? Because you get to drink. Wine. A lot of it. Whatever snobby reputation wine tasting used to have is going out the window. Wine tasting isn’t for wine snobs. Screw those guys. Wine tasting is for everyone. It’s like a fun and inexpensive treasure hunt where instead of finding gold at the end, you find delicious wine. And then drink it. When you are out wine tasting remember that the goal is to have fun and discover new experiences. There are no rules.

vista-2

Rule #2: Make wine tasting a complete experience. Millennials get it. Millennials don’t buy products, they buy experiences. Wine tasting isn’t just about the wine. It’s about the adventure. Pack a picnic, load up your friends, and head out to wine country. Chances are, the wineries you will experience will be in some very beautiful locations in quiet tucked away corners. Take in the views. Wineries and vineyards are some of the only agricultural businesses where you can explore the property at-will and make yourself right at home. Most wineries play up this aspect. They feel like quiet little cottages. This is why so many people get married at wineries. Some even have bocci ball or volleyball courts for anyone to use. Taste some new wine, buy a bottle you like, then spread out your picnic and relax the day away with friends.

winery-sign

Rule #3: Plan ahead and stay safe. There are ways to do wine tasting right. When you are in wine country, find a map of the local wineries either in your hotel or online. Take suggestions from locals (the best way is to go out to a nice dinner  your first night in town and ask your server or bartender for winery recommendations). Once you have planned the wineries you want to taste, literally map them out, as in find them on a map and plot your route. You do this for two reasons: one, many wineries are tiny little cottages in the middle of nowhere and are often difficult to find. Some will require you to look for an extremely tiny sign pointing to a dirt road that you have to travel on for 2 miles before you get the goods. This is where the treasure hunt aspect comes in. Finding hidden wineries is one of the most exciting aspects of wine tasting. Second, if you are driving yourselves ALWAYS designate a sober driver. If you must all participate in tasting, start with the winery furthest away from your lodging and then work your way back, so you are closest to home at the end of your day; however, Lust for Cooking always recommends designating a sober driver or getting a cab. Wine country will also often feature wine tasting tours or drivers for hire.

winery-truck

Rule #4: Learn the proper way to taste. Not for snobbery, but because if you follow the correct sequence you will get the most out of each wine you taste and will make a more informed decision on which bottle to purchase. Don’t worry, it’s not complicated. When you arrive in the tasting room the staff will hand you a menu listing everything they have available to taste. Typically you will pay around $10 for 5 tastes although this will vary. Most wineries will comp your tasting if you buy a bottle after, but don’t demand this. Tastings will come in flights which just means the group of wines the tasting room has paired together in a certain order. Flights will always go in order from white to red and light bodied to full bodied. Some will end with a fortified wine like port. This is because when you are tasting multiple different wines together you run the risk of destroying your palate by tasting a heavy wine first. They will also likely have bland crackers out for this reason. Take a bite of cracker after each taste to restore your palate. Tastes will be 2 oz.

  1. Examine the wine’s color and appearance. Young wines will look more watery especially around the edges. High quality wines will have vibrant colors, whereas wines past their prime will be dull and murky. If you tilt your glass a ways and then stand it back up straight you may notice clear streaks running down the sides. These are called legs. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t mean anything.
  2. Stick your nose in the glass. Go ahead, do it. Wine glasses tilt inwards at the top to control the release of gasses from the wine. You can’t really get a sense of the aroma from outside the glass, and tasting glasses will typically be large enough to accommodate your face. So stick your nose in and take a big whiff. Try to describe to yourself what the wine smells like. Swirl the wine around quickly in your glass to add more oxygen, then smell again. Notice if anything has changed.
  3. Taste the damn thing. Take a sip. Describe to yourself what it tastes like. Different flavors that pop up are called notes. Notes indicate the complexity of the wine and will vary person to person depending on what your brain experiences. Winemakers don’t manipulate tasting notes; they don’t add in strawberry juice to make the wine taste like strawberries, (or snozberries), etc. There are no right notes, but often multiple people will taste the same thing in a strong complex wine. Take another sip and swirl the wine to every corner of your mouth. See if the flavor expands.
  4. Swallow. Or don’t. There are no rules. I like the full experience so I almost always swallow each taste. But if you are the sober driver, or you are reaching your limit, go ahead and spit the wine out in the spittoons on the counter. Then dump out any excess wine in your glass that you don’t want in the spittoon.

wine-swirl

Rule #5: Learn some terminology. Each wine will have different characteristics on a scale that you can judge by tasting. There are four big ones to look out for:

Acidity: PH level of the wine. More acid will cause a pucker effect like sucking on a lemon.

Tannins: Red wine gets red from the winemaker leaving grape seeds and skins in the juice during fermentation. The chemicals released from this process are called tannins which make the wine a darker red the longer it sits. Highly tannic wine will make your mouth dry.

Body: Also called mouth-feel. This is the degree to which the wine feels like water or syrup in your mouth. Fuller bodied wines linger longer.

Sweetness: As mentioned earlier, wine is made by fermenting grape juice with yeast to turn sugar into alcohol. Wines with more alcohol will be dry (not sweet) because the yeast ate all the sugar. To make a sweet wine, the winemaker will chill the wine at the right moment to cut off fermentation before the yeast is finished. This will leave some sugar behind. Try not to confuse a fruity tasting wine with a sweet wine. Dry wines will often have a sweet fruity taste, but that doesn’t mean there is actual residual sugar. Experience will help you tell the difference.

Rule #6: Have a life changing moment. Always remember the point of wine tasting: to drink a wine you have never tasted before right from the source. Wine tasting is designed to expand your knowledge of a winery you are familiar with, or expose you to a winery and to wine you never thought possible. Every mind blowing experience I have ever had with wine has been at a winery. Always take a winemaker’s recommendation and don’t be shy about exploring wine through all your senses. The sensuality of wine is most perfected when you can talk to the person that made it, see where it is made, and drink it while enjoying a sunset holding hands with the person(s) you love. There may be nothing better in life.

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Lusting for Wine: A Dude’s (or Lady’s) Guide to Wine-Smarts Part III

 

Last time on Lusting for Wine we examined some key varietals from around the world and their characteristics. We talked about American wines and how they are primarily designated by a single varietal.

This time we are going to delve into the terrifying world of European wines (cue Exorcist theme). Don’t panic. The first thing you should know is that it is actually easier to determine the quality of a European wine than an American wine. How and why you may ask? Because Europeans love wine so much, they have actual government bureaucracies totally dedicated to regulating wine quality (who wouldn’t want that job?).

Part 3: A brief guide to European wine

While selecting an American wine for quality requires prior knowledge of varietals, vintages, regions, and wineries; Europeans have simplified the task. They just go right ahead and tell you on the bottle whether or not the wine is good. European countries have a ranking system for wine that distinguishes top quality bottles that are region specific and follow strict standards for traditional winemaking, all the way down to “table wine” which is a Euro way of saying: cheap wine from just about anywhere made in just about any manner.

Here are some key regions and their specialties in key wine producing nations in Europe along with each country’s ranking system. Remember, Euro wine is all about region. Varietals don’t matter as much as regional vintages and wineries. Bottles are named by region meaning the bottle contains a blend of grapes growing in that region.

french-wine

France

Key regions and their specialties:

Bordeaux (Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Carmenere)

Burgundy (Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Gamay)

Rhone (Grenache, Syrah)

Champagne (Sparkling Wine)

Ranking System:

Appellation d’Origine Controllee (AOC): The highest quality French wine. Bottles labeled with this distinction meet strict requirements for regional production, production methods, and grape quality. For example, a Bordeaux bottle may be labeled “Appellation Bordeaux Controllee”. This is certified Bordeaux wine that meets AOC standards.

Vin Delimite de Qualite Superieure (VDQS): A step below AOC, this distinction denotes high quality, but perhaps a young winery, or wine that isn’t quite ready for top distinction.

Vin de Pays: Highest distinction of table wine. Vin de Pays means “country wine” and typically meets regional requirements but not production standards or grape quality. Often incorporates region into labeling: “Vin de Pays d’ (region) Controllee”.

Vin de Table: Table wine. Wine that can come from anywhere in France; made by any method.

Italy

Key regions and their specialties:

Tuscany (Sangiovese, Chianti)

Piedmont (Nebbiollo)

Veneto (Rossignola)

Ranking System:

Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG): Highest quality Italian wine. Like AOC in France, but even more elite and harder to get. There are actual Italian government tasting panels that have to certify DOCG (again, sign me up). DOCG will appear on the label and the bottle neck will carry a DOCG seal.

Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC): Top quality Italian wine about the equivalent of AOC French wine.

Indicazione Geografica Tipica: Apart from being very fun to say out loud, Indicazione Geografica Tipica means medium quality wine equivalent to Vin de Pays.

Vino da Tavola: There it is again. Italian table wine.

chianti

Spain

Key regions and their specialties:

Rioja (Tempranillo, Garnacha)

Andalucia (Sherry)

Catalonia (Syrah, Sparkling Wine)

Ranking System:

Denominacion de Origen Calificada (DOCa): Sensing a pattern yet? DOCa is Spain’s version of DOCG. Highest quality, typically reserved for the Rioja region.

Denominacion de Origen (DO): The equivalent of AOC wine. Applies to all of Spain.

Denominacion de Origen Pago (DO Pago): This is where Spain gets crazy and adds a THIRD high quality designation. This is to denote high quality single estate bottling, as opposed to high quality regional bottles. There are a limited number of estates which qualify for DO Pago.

Vino de Calidad con Indicacion Geografica (VCIG): Spain also adds a level between the medium Vin de Pays level and the higher quality levels. VCIG is a pat on the back for wines that are probably medium quality but are on their way up.

Vino de la Tierra: Medium Quality. Equivalent of Vin de Pays.

Vino de Mesa: Can you guess?

german-bottle

Germany

Key regions and their specialties:

Mosel (Riesling)

Rheinhessen (Mostly Riesling with some red wines)

Rheingau (Riesling and Spätburgunder)

Wurttemberg (Trollinger)

Ranking System:

German ranking is all about grape ripeness determined by the level of natural sweetness. Don’t even try to pronounce these names, just typing them was exhausting.

Qualitatswein mit Pradikat (QmP): Highest quality German wines due to best natural ripeness (no sugar added during fermentation). QmP is further divided into six ripeness levels that we absolutely will not delve into here.

Trockenbeerenaulese (TBA): A designation for rare high quality wines from grapes shriveled by a special fungus.

Qualitatswein bestimmerter Anbaugebiete (QbA): Second-tier wines that may have sugar added during fermentation.

Deutcher Tafelwein: German table wine.

 

For more wine knowledge and a map of the world’s wine regions, check out this Trivial Pursuit style game for winos: Wine Wars, A Trivia Game for Wine Geeks and Wannabees

https://www.amazon.com/Wine-Wars-Trivia-Geeks-Wannabes/dp/0811868346

 

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Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about garlic (including how to peel it) – and then some.

Do you love garlic? We, at Lust for Cooking, loooooooove garlic – often to the detriment of those standing near us. So why not take a closer look at this absolute kitchen must-have? Here is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about garlic – and then some.

  1. Garlic is a member of the allium family, which includes onions, shallots and leeks.

    garlic-and-onion
    pixabay.com

  2. The use of garlic goes all the way back in recorded history and was considered medicinal in ancient Egypt, China, Greece, Babylon and India. Over the centuries it has been considered a cure for infections, wounds, cancer, leprosy, colds, flu, coughs, bronchitis, fever, ringworm and intestinal worms, liver and gallbladder problems, heart problems, and digestive disorders – basically everything – and is still used to treat many of these issues today.


  3. We do know that garlic is an effective antimicrobial, can help reduce cholesterol levels, and is effective in helping to prevent cancer and heart disease.

  4. While good for humans, everything in the allium family is very bad for dogs. Never feed your dogs anything with onion or garlic, including stock that may have been flavored with onion or garlic.

  5. In the past, garlic has been thought to ward off tigers, the plague, evils spirits, werewolves, and vampires. Turned out not to be so effective against the first two, but the jury is still out on the rest.

  6. Garlic’s potent odor and flavor come from a chemical reaction that occurs when a clove is sliced into or crushed. Within the cells lies an odorless, sulfur-containing amino acid that only comes into contact with an enzyme in the cell walls, called alliinase, when the cell is disturbed. When these two mix, the reaction creates a new enzyme called allicin. This is what causes garlic’s pungent flavor. (A similar reaction occurs in onions when they’re sliced and that’s the reason they make you cry.) Cooking garlic then softens the flavor by converting the enzyme yet again. Science!

  7. Because of the nature of this chemical reaction, the way you prep garlic will affect its potency. Slicing is less disturbing to the cells than crushing, so slicing garlic will produce a milder effect. (We at Lust for Cooking say crush the crap out of it.)

    garlic-with-press
    pixabay.com

  8. Does peeling garlic piss you off? There’s a trick to it. If you crush a clove of garlic with the flat of a knife, the skin will then peel right off. If you need a lot of garlic, say a whole bulb, crush the entire bulb with a frying pan. This will separate the cloves and start loosening the skins. Then place all of the cloves in hard lidded container and shake the crap out of it. That should finish the job. If you want to peel your garlic without crushing it, soak the cloves in hot water for five minutes. That should loosen the skins right up.

    garlic-peeled
    pixabay.com

  9. Garlic plants have different cooking applications throughout their life cycle. You can harvest the leaves and use them like chives. You can eat the scapes, which are the flower buds before they bloom. Scapes are milder in flavor, like a shallot, but can be used to flavor just like garlic. For more on scapes, check out Bon Appétit’s guide. And the bulbs themselves are delicious both young and green and at full maturity.

    garlic-greens
    By Leo Michels (Own work, http://www.imagines-plantarum.de) via Wikimedia Commons

  10. You can grow garlic by planting a clove in well-drained soil. The clove then produces more cloves and eventually become a bulb. Plant in late fall and they will start to shoot up in early spring. Hardneck varieties grow best in cold climates and softneck are better for warm climates.

    garlic-cloves
    pixabay.com

  11. There are many varieties of garlic. The varieties are divided into two categories “softneck” and “hardneck.”

    • Hardneck varieties have a very tough woody stem that grows up the middle and which is not present in softneck varieties. Hardneck varieties include: Porcelain, Rocambole, and Purple Stripe (considered the best for roasting), and they are generally considered more robust in flavor. If you see some, buy it.

      garlic-hardneck
      pixabay.com
    • Softneck garlic is typically what you see in a grocery store because they have a longer shelf life. Softneck varieties include Artichoke and Silverskin. They have a milder, grassy flavor, but are still delicious. Other notable incarnations include:

      garlic-softneck
      pixabay.com
    • Elephant Garlic so named because it’s, well, HUGE. It’s actually a misnomer as it’s more closely related to onions than to garlic. The flavor will be more like a shallot or leek, mild and onion-y.

      ackerknoblauch_allium_ampeloprasum
      wikicommons.com
    • The elusive and highly coveted Black Garlic is actually not it’s own variety, but really regular garlic that has been fermented. Its flavor is supposed to be almost indescribable, though many have tried. Descriptions tend to come out something like, “delicious in a garlicy/vinagary/carmely/plummy/chewy/chocalately/bitter/sweet/umami-y kind of way.” You either love it or hate it.

      garlic-black
      pixabay.com
    • Creole Garlic is actually in a category by itself as it has both softneck and hardneck characteristics. It has a rosy hue and a spicy bite but is rare and can be rather difficult to find.

  12. When shopping for garlic, be sure the bulbs are dry and firm. Garlic, especially softneck garlic has a long shelf life, so don’t worry about it going bad. Avoid garlic that’s starting to sprout green shoots, as it’s past its flavor prime (though it won’t make you sick or anything). Once that happens you may just want to plant it.

    garlic-green-shoot
    pixabay.com

  13. And finally, what to make with garlic? EVERYTHING. There is no way to narrow this down. But if you want a treat in it’s purest form, then roast it whole. Cut off the top quarter of the bulb, drizzle liberally with olive oil so that it gets into the crevices, wrap it in tin foil, and toss it on the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until soft, at 400 degrees (Fahrenheit). Then spread it on whatever you like: bread, vegetables, ice cream – just not the dog.

    roasted_garlic_1
    Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)

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Safrito, Saffritto, Saf-what-o?

Hello Lust for Cooking family. We’re back from a very busy summer, and we’re excited to talk about cooking again.

We’re going to start right off with some crucial cooking knowledge. Did you know that most cooking traditions have a standard flavor base? Ok, it sounds obvious, right? Cajun food tastes like Cajun food. Italian food tastes like Italian food. But once you know what these bases are, you can easily tour the globe from your kitchen without having to consult a cookbook. Also, you’ll sound really smart at dinner parties. Here is the breakdown:

Most meals start with the chopping of the veggies and sautéing them in…something, right? Well that part is the flavor base.  It always consists of sautéing aromatics (the chopped veggies) in fat (oils and/or butters).

French

French cooking has been ubiquitously influential on all of Western Cuisine, so this is going to look really familiar. But just think, that means you’ve been cooking like the French all along!

Mirepoix – Celery, carrots, and onion cooked in butter. Typically in a 1/1/2 ratio respectively. You know this one right? Well now you know it has a fancy name too.

Italian

Saffritto – celery, carrots, and onion cooked in olive oil. Wait a minute! That’s like almost the same as the other one! Yes. Yes it is. So when you haven’t been cooking like the French, you’ve probably been cooking like the Italians.

Latin

Safrito – Not to be confused with the above, seriously – garlic, onion, bell pepper, tomato in olive oil. There are a lot of different cooking traditions that fall under this category – from Portuguese to Puerto Rican – so this can vary somewhat from region to region, with the pepper coming and going, or the addition of paprika or saffron.

Cajun

The Holy Trinity – I’m not making this up. I promise – Onion, celery, bell pepper in olive oil AND butter.

German

Suppengrün – Carrot, leek, and celeriac (celery root) in… whatever’s handy. They don’t seem to be to picky on this. This combination is also commonly boiled in water, instead of sautéed, for a soup base.

Japanese

Dashi – Kombu (dried seaweed), bennito flakes (dried, cured fish), shitake mushrooms (optional) boiled as a stock 10-30 minutes. This is the ultimate umami combination and it is the base for everything Japanese, and I mean everything. Once you go dashi you don’t go back.

Chinese Mirepoix

Ok, I’m kind of making that up. But once you leave the realm of French cooking the word “mirepoix” becomes the catch-all word for flavor base. Chinese cuisine also varies widely from region to region, but you’re pretty safe starting off with garlic, green onion, and ginger in vegetable oil.

Curry Paste

There are so many wonderful curries out there, but they will almost always start with onion, garlic, ginger, and chilis finely chopped and sautéed in ghee (clarified butter).

With all flavor bases, it’s important to keep in mind flexibility. There are many additions and substitutions, and you can occasionally just skip an ingredient altogether. To quote a favorite pirate, “They’re really more like guidelines, anyway.” But once you have this down, you’ll be surprised how accessible global recipes become.

For a great infographic on suplements and substitutions for various flavor bases, check out finedininglovers.com.

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Zombieeeeees and Food: Don’t Be a Zombie. Eat Like a Human.

Entry #2 in our ongoing look at zombies and food: Destroying Civilization, or Why Cooking Makes Us Human

Welcome to our second installment on Zombieeeeeeeees and Food. In our first entry we looked at zombies as “mindless eaters,” or mindless eaters as “zombies,” either way. (To catch-up, mustard, click here.) Now we will look at the next portion of our established definition of zombie and why the heck it’s related to food.

As a reminder, zombies represent everything we at Lust for Cooking are against: mindless eaters who destroy civilization through (cannibalistic) over-consumption. Not sexy.

Zombies Destroy Civilization

Destroying civilization is bad. This statement seems obvious on the surface, but seriously, when you’re stuck in LA traffic or up to your eyeballs in debt, who hasn’t considered that maybe things would be better if someone just hit the reset button? That’s what makes Walking Dead so watchable, isn’t it? The “what if?”

But seriously, without some form of civilization, things go south fast. And no one really wants to spend his or her days fighting to survive. There are those alive today, in the real world, who do have to cope with the breakdown of their civilization either from poverty or war, and I bet they would be the first to tell you, it ain’t pretty.

Love it or hate it, civilization is the process by which we all get along, and food is an integral part of that. The ability for human beings to dine together (and not on each other) is the bedrock of human civilization.

Let us ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let us sum up…

Evolution. The ability to cook is now believed to be the reason humans evolved from primates. The theory is simple: cooking food means less time chewing on fibrous plants and more time thinking and communicating. Our jaw muscles grew smaller as our brains grew bigger. Exactly when humans managed to harness fire is unknown, but every mythology has an origin story about how we acquired fire. It’s that important. The moment we as a species sat down around a charred piece of meat we began to change. We were able to focus on each other, not on devouring enough calories to get by. For a great article on this, check out the Smithsonian.

Zombies can’t cook. They’re basically walking jaw muscles. They chew all day and don’t think at all. They have completely devolved back to their primordial state, well past primates. Eating for the sake of eating neglects what made us human in the first place. Thinking. Speaking. Socializing. It’s about coming to the table, which brings me to…

Violence. The development of table manners led directly to a less violent society. Seriously. Through the Middle Ages in Europe, people would eat with one utensil: a knife. That made the act of communal eating rather dangerous. One misunderstanding would lead to a battle of cutlery. In order to preserve the peace, knives were rounded, forks were invented, and a code of conduct was implemented to prevent misunderstandings. This is the same reason the Chinese use chopsticks, although they figured this out hundreds of years before the Europeans. Steven Pinker brings this up in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.

Zombies have no manners. Really, they’re gross. And I’m not saying you’re going to hell for eating ramen on the couch with your hands while a beer balances precariously on your thigh. Hey, we’ve all been there. Sometimes, that’s just how the day rolls. We’re not judging. What matters is taking some time to eat with others, cordially, even joyfully. Breaking bread and finding common ground. Countries and even religions have been founded on such acts.

Gluttony. It is commonly perceived that there is a correlation between gluttony and the fall of the Roman Empire (correlation, not causation, #science). While it is true that in the final age of Rome, Romans took indulgent eating to a whole new level, we’re not here to draw comparisons. Rome had all kinds of problems, and a propensity for overeating alone did not make the walls crumble. But it can certainly be said that when one class of people becomes excessively over-indulgent in feasting, there is probably another class of people going hungry. This kind of class disparity can cause major internal problems. Look at the French Revolution. Gluttony at the expense of the hungry never ends well. Wars are often fought over bread.

Zombies are gluttons. This is categorical. They devour until there is nothing left. As mentioned in our previous installment, preparing one’s own food can radically help control common problems in the American diet such as waste and overeating. But the real issue is that many still go hungry, and finding ways to bring food to those in need is humanity at its finest. For more on this, check out our “Champions” category.

Don’t be a zombie. Eat like a human. Our goal at Lust for Cooking is to invert the definition of a zombie. Destroying Civilization becomes Creating Society.

Remember the zombie isn’t just destructive. It’s also dead. For reals dead. And death is usually the consequence of destroying civilization. Hey, zombies make more zombies.

Featured image provided by pixabay.com

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The Grocery Challenge

So in your wanderings of the Internet, somewhere between work and life, you may have come across a post filled with pictures that looked something like this:

Hungry Planet
Norway: The Glad Ostensen family in Gjerdrum. Food expenditure for one week: $731.71.

This photograph is part of a large and fascinating project put together by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio, in which they traveled the globe to photograph a diverse cross-section of the world’s eaters. All of the photographs, along with some very interesting commentary, can be found in the book Hungry Planet, but more on that to come.

Here at Lust for Cooking, we decided to take this project to heart LFC logo 1 copy. Inspired by the work of Menzel and D’Aluisio, we thought, “What if we photographed our own grocery haul for the week?  What would we reveal? What would we learn?”

It is no small task to display the contents of one’s grocery bag to the world. We found it to be a rather personal display of our eating habits, our food budget, and our impulse buys. It also forced us to take a hard look at what we plan to put in our mouths over the course of the week. As bloggers for the joy, lust, and world-changing effects of cooking, photographing our weekly groceries really makes us put our money where our mouths are (works on so many levels).

But since intimacy is one of our M.O.’s here at Lust for Cooking, we rose to the challenge:

LFC Groceries

This food was purchased with a strict weekly budget of $150.00 and includes not only dinners but planned leftovers for lunch and our alcohol intake (now you see why this can get so personal). Some may find this number very low and some may find this high. As Hungry Planet points out, a family’s food budget is relative to many factors, particularly location.

Granted, you don’t see us in the picture. Just imagine two typical, slightly pudgy, but adorable Americans.  🙂

So the question is, who else is willing to take this challenge? What will you learn about yourself?

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