Saturday, January 06, 2007

The View on the Other Side of the Castle Wall

I renewed my prior free subscription to "Food and Wine" this year because I found the recipes and wine news interesting, even if a little luxurious and expensive. I had received this subscription free last year when I bought my daughter a gift certificate to Williams Sonoma ---a very expensive 'kitchen' store.

I am sitting on the sofa perusing the February 2007 issue and decided to share some of this with bloggers who might never pick up such a magazine.

On the cover is a lovely photo of a red bowl of butternut squash soup with apple slices and smoked cheddar. (Already I am hungry.)

The ads show luxury gourmet kitchens, luxury vacations and products that only lottery winners could afford. The editors page talks about how unexciting Februaries are following the holidays and discusses a feature story about how two famous chefs in Colorado arrange a meal in a "gorgeous old barn...surrounded by huge snowdrifts...prepared a delicious grilled meal of capon with salsa verde, meatballs and butter coal-roasted potatoes. Winter grilling..." Being the age I am and having grown up in Colorado, I am thinking how cold it must be to eat a meal in "gorgeous old barn." The beauty of a Colorado winter is in the warm sunshine...not the shade of a windy old barn. I picture myself trying to cut through the capon with woolen gloves.

The "news and notes" page does talk about products that are good for the environment...a floor cleaning solution ($25) and reclaimed hardwood from Seattle made into lovely tables ($1,200). It appears to cost money to do good. (To give them some credit they do talk about an Oregon nonprofit that sends bikes to Rwanda so that the coffee farmers can transport their coffee beans to market.)

They also praise a velvety jam that is a dollar an ounce and only 100 jars are made each year. Among the rich it is all about getting the rare.

There is a really neat ad for a Breville blender that they claim transforms ice into snowflakes via a patented "hemisphere bowl/blade system". The design eliminates all 'dead' zones and makes smoothies with no lumps. It seems the rich never have to take their lumps.

So why am I on this luxury rant? I think it has something to do with the movie I saw last night--Blood Diamonds. As a side comment, this movie is well done (just a little derivative) and it has made me a big fan of DiCaprio. I saw him in the violent bloody Departed a few months ago and he is much like Meryl Streep in being able to fold gently in the subtle differences of each character.
There is a reasonable love story and a heart-wrenching father son theme and the great scenes of that beautiful continent that contrast with the blood that runs so freely.

Blood Diamonds
tells the well known story of how we rape Africa to support our luxurious life style in the rich nations of the world. It makes you watch the news with impatience at the stupid stories and with cynicism at the others stories. It makes you look at diamonds in a whole new glint. But, for me, I now feel, once again, that my retirement hours must be spent more usefully as payment for all my good luck at being born in the right place at the right time.


  1. I had a free subscription to that magazine (through airline miles converted) and it is a good one - although I am not a gourmet cook - or even a good one really. Now I have a subscription to Gourmet - also free. I love to read the recipes and imagine how they would taste - but I have yet to cook one....LOL

  2. Thank you for sharing the magazine I've never read.
    I visited the official site of "Blood Diamonds. I saw the preview and found it interesting. "Departed" will be released here in Japan pretty soon, but I'd like to see "Blood Diamonds" rather than "Departed," which I saw the original Hong Kong trilogy.

  3. When I retire I will cook many of the recipes I read about...until I find they are too expensive on a fixed income...or have too many calories for my husband and I!


Take your time...take a deep breath...then hit me with your best shot.