Can you tell us something about yourself/family/living situation?
I live, with my life long partner, Pat, and our four furry kids, in one of
the oldest neighborhoods in the United States, right on the edge of South Philadelphia. We own a 200+ year old house – not really big – but with four floors of living space and large (for the city) back and side gardens.
What is your most embarrassing food/cook story?
A number of years ago, “tea smoking” came into vogue. I decided to try it for a dinner party using my trusty bamboo steamer. The fish was totally unaffected (no smoky flavor/no flavor at all!) but my bamboo steamer ended up with a deep and lasting tea flavor and aroma! It would have been much more compelling to have sliced that up and plated it!
So you have this great blog, can you tell us how and why you started this?
I have had a long obsession with the impact food can have on our health, behavior and general well being. The situation with fair distribution of good food in America – as well as hunger in America, are driving forces for me, as well. So that is what got me started with the Blog. I grew up with my grandmother cooking everything “from scratch”, and for most of my life I have shopped at Farmers Markets and stands. We are so lucky in Philadelphia to be surrounded by lots of fabulous farmers and producers. But even with all of this bounty, I was still seeing folks eating processed, factory produced food – and fast food – as the basis of their diets. I wanted to share with people that it is really not so hard to eat locally and seasonally
and to also eat food that was humanely raised and chemical free. Of course, when you get into those issues, you sort of naturally also fall into environmental, sustainability, and self – sufficiency issues. Along with the growing, cooking, and eating, I am also very invested in learning all that I can in order to be a successful Urban Homesteader.
What is your goal for this blog? What do you want to accomplish with it?Definitely I use the Blog to learn, to educate, to share information, and to help bring people together around issues that we are
passionate about. And to have fun! I have to say, when someone tells me that they are going to the farmers’ markets and/or that they are shopping for humanely raised meats and poultry, or – even better – that they are “scratch cooking” more and avoiding take in, I am totally reinforced and know what it is I want The Philly Foodist to accomplish!
Where/how did your passion for food originated?
Well, for sure, I learned a great deal from my Grandmother. She let me be at her side in the kitchen from a very young age. I could see how much she loved to feed people. That has become one of my true joys as well. She also took me out to dinner a great deal, starting when I was very young. I worked as a short order cook/fry cook during my undergraduate schools, and really enjoyed it. Pat and I had a small, successful catering business for a number of years. Also, I had the opportunity to travel extensively in the U.S. for
over ten years as a consulting psychologist. This was a wonderful opportunity to become familiar with a wide array of different cuisines and ethnic foods. And, of course, I have lived all of my life in Philadelphia. It’s a great food town!
What do you like about food smoking?
First of all the flavors! Who can walk into an environment where good smoking is taking place and not feel their mouth starting to water and all of their “hunger” bells and whistles going off? Also, smoking offers cooks great opportunities for creativity. I enjoy the idea of experimenting. For instance, smoking cheese is something I am really interested in and will be doing in the coming months.
What is your favorite thing to smoke?
A tough question, for sure! In the current heavy hitting winter we are “enjoying” here on the U.S. East Coast, I am loving a brisket, pork loin, pork belly, and certainly some South Jersey Bluefish in the smoker. Recently, I have been turned on to Lamb Ribs. Amazing flavor. I am also experimenting with winter vegetables: beets, butternut squash, and turnips. With the arrival of warmer weather it’s all about sausages, poultry, and seafood of all kinds. If I am forced to select one item as my absolute “favorite” – it’s got to be pork – especially pork belly.
Why do you like Bradley Smokers?
The Bradleys are beautifully constructed and very easy to use – even for the “rookies”, among whom I certainly count myself! Bradley now offers so many options to the home cook.
What message do you want to get across to all those food smoke fanatics out there?
Don’t be shy! Get started! Get a Bradley in whatever size works for you. Bradley is making the magic of smoking available to so many of us who thought we couldn’t do it. Be easy on yourself. Experiment and learn what you and those you cook for really love and then, perfect it.
A brand new blog of the Philly Foodist is coming up soon, make sure to check it out!