2/29/08

Well, well, well...Stockton is getting an Olive Garden. *golf claps
In this morning's Record (Stockton's local paper):
"Stockton is such a gastronomic wasteland," said Ken Albala, a food historian at University of the Pacific - or a product of its Middle American attitude about food: "They're not terribly concerned with quality. They want, just, a lot of food," he said.
Did you hear that? That loud noise is half of Stockton's population getting ready to kick his, well you know. So I emailed him with this:
"I just wanted to thank you for your quotes in the Record. It's refreshing to hear that there is other people in Stockton who feel the same way about the restaurant choices here in Stockton. I'm a life long resident of Stockton and it's worrisome that more and more chain restaurants are becoming our only dining options. I'm glad the Record quoted you as an alternate view on dining in Stockton."
Here's part of his response...
"I really wish they had quoted me in full. I know that never happens, but I also said we have some of the finest fresh ingredients available in the world, and that's exactly all Italian food is. Not gloppy shrimp scampi and pasta drowned in tomato sauce. Why not just present the best ingredients we have? Rather than prefab food trucked in, and profits trucked out of town? I think the very least we can do is eat local. And there are a few decent restaurants."
The readers leaving comments on The Record's web site aren't very happy with what he had to say. Tough crap. It's true we have this bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables and a lot of our choices are prefab food.
Ken Albala also has a blog called Ken Albala's Food Rant and has written five books... Eating Right in the Renaissance, Food in Early Modern Europe, Cooking in Europe 1250-1650, The Banquet, and Beans: A History. He is also is writing a textbook for the CIA, yes Culinary Institute of America (cool beans), about world cuisines. I think he knows what he's talking about.

6 comments:

sheeats said...

Bravo to both of you -- you're 100% right. And I can't stress enough how much of a difference local produce makes, both in terms of freshness and prices! Lord, if we could just form some kind of guerilla-style group to make people wake up and see the bounty of good food that's right in front of them! Hee. :)

jack's utter lack of surprise said...

i'm with you. a new BBQ place opened up near me and i was so excited... then i found out that they don't cook on site. no way i'd ever go there, even knowing my other bbq option is a 25 minute drive away. at least THEY cook real food on site, they don't just reheat!

Asthmagirl said...

I'm underwhelmed by some of my over processed food choices. It's one of the reasons I love my pub...
A. they're green
B. they use their spent grain from brewing in their baking
C. They don't own a freezer, they bring in all their meat and produce fresh daily
D. They make all their soups and chilis from scratch and there's a new chili each day.
E. They make their own tortilla chips.
F. They use their ales in their food. Their No Doubt Stout Pulled Pork sandwich on a spent grain roll is to. die. for.

ken said...

Asthmagirl, Where is your pub??! Your description made me instantly hungry. We have a pub here in Stockton, that makes some nice beer, but the food, well, it leaves a lot to be desired.

Oh, and evilchefmom, thanks so much for posting this story, I was reluctant to blog it myself, and now you've basically done if for me.

Thanks! Ken

Krysta said...

*ken, i hope you weren't upset that i posted all of this. i was so fusterated and angry about olive garden, bj's, and elephant bar all getting great reviews in our paper and the food critics not realizing or caring that all that food was frozen. i just had to rant a little and in my own little way celebrate that here in my own town that a.) there is someone who feels just like me. and b.) i finally found a fellow food blogger in my hometown!

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