Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Culinary Adventures In The Heartland

Fast food chains.  Overweight Americans.  Genetically modified foods.  Giant portions.  Bland, uninspired menu choices.  Really bad wines, both imported, and especially local.

These are all things that we have come to associate with food in the midwest.  Such stereotypes are not without merit.  I mean, anyone who has driven on a state highway knows that you can distinguish the relative sizes of a small town by whether they have enough people to support a Huck's Gas and Food Mart or a real fast food chain restaurant.  With larger cities, such as my own, Peoria, everyone knows that your dining options expand to more upscale chains, and maybe even a steakhouse or Italian restaurant.  But the general perception is that, outside of major metropolitan areas, like Chicago, that there is virtually nothing for a foodie to live for.  This perception expands to any sort of grocery option as well.  

But, as Bob Dylan once sang, the times, they are a changin'...even in the bland and boring midwest.  National trends are slowly changing the consciousness of the American public, and that even includes Middle America.  There are a lot of gems that people miss, and food trends that are stealthily advancing, for the better as much as for the worse.  I intend to talk about them.

Why should you bother to read this blog, you might ask?  Information, pure and simple.  If you are a midwesterner, particularly in the Peoria area, you will find this blog particularly useful, as I seek out interesting restaurants and ingredients available in the area.  

Some of my entries, regarding said ingredients, will aim to provide useful food geek trivia in general.  For instance, did you know that there are three main varieties of blood orange, and that the Moro, the most visually attractive and least flavorful is the primary variety grown in the US?  If that is the type of random trivia that interests you, then this is your kind of blog. 

Then there are the recipes.  Did I mention that I am a fully trained chef?  With nutrition as a hobby?  I will aim to create, or at least share, useful recipes for the ingredients under discussion.

Finally, there are the politics of food.  This country has an incredibly conflicted relationship with what we eat, and there are plenty of opinions and policies regarding food to discuss.  If you aim to become more informed on these issues, you may enjoy reading some of my entries, whether you agree with my opinions or not.

So please join me on my quest for the best foods that the midwest has to offer, where to look for them, what to do with them, and in general, food geekiness.

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