Several years ago Mart and I bought a copy of the book “My Last Supper” by Melanie Dunea, who interviews and photographed the world’s best chefs, celebrities, and foodies, asking them “Given that you had the chance to actually choose, what would be your last meal on earth?”
It is such an amazing book, with Vanity Fair style photos that are both breathtaking and jaw dropping. The photo of Anthony Bourdain standing in his all natural glory with only a ham hock hiding his naughty bits is sure to get your attention, while Lia Bastianich’s hat made out of uncooked pasta shells is so creative it’s well worth ordering the book by itself!
So popular was the first edition that Dunea came out with a second edition, “My Last Supper: The Next Course” in 2011. Get your copy at most bookstores or Amazon by clicking here.
The reason I bring up “My Last Supper” was the surprising number of chefs whose last supper request was simply an excellent piece of bread with a certain sea salt, butter or cheese and an exquisite glass of wine. No long list of ingredients . . . just simple perfection of something many of us aspire to bake at home. Bread. As we’ve heard, bread is Oprah’s favorite thing to eat on the planet.
So taking that focus on the last supper I’d ever want to eat, I had to look a little more into quality bread sources, which somehow or another lead me to Canada’s River Road Bakehouse where I discovered their Road to Zero Food Waste Program.
Without having ever tasted their product, we knew River Road Bakehouse was the kind of company we’d want to support. Not only do they support research into reducing food waste, but they also support charities that divert quality surplus food away from landfills and into the hands and mouths of those who need it. They also support education and awareness of food waste at grassroots events and conduct a Waste Warrior Quiz on their website that donates $.25 to the Food Waste Charity of your choice on their website. (In Florida, the closest charity is Waste Not Want Not, located in Jacksonville.)
I got in contact with a member of their P.R. department, and last month I put a link to their Waste Warrior Quiz to our Facebook page. Then I asked where I could get their product. Their P.R. agent offered to send me a few samples, which resulted in FedX pulling up with a box of bread from River Road Bakehouse only a few weeks before Hurricane Irma.
Within moments of opening the FedEx box, I made grilled cheese sandwiches with their garlic artisan bread and served it with some gazpacho I made from the Junior League’s Simply Sarasota cookbook. A very simple lunch, that resulted in just about the best grilled-cheese sandwich I’d ever had, let alone made myself.
You know how the best bread has that perfect “body” to it? (Some people call it “tug.”) I’m describing that bite, that mouthfeel that results when there are just enough air pockets inside the bread to keep the inside fluffy, while the crust remains crunchy without being hard to bite into. In the case of River Road Bakehouse’s Artesian Garlic Loaf, those air pockets were home to bits of garlic that added a bright, aromatic flavor to each bite. The package suggests you reheat the entire loaf of bread for 5 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Wanting a quick sandwich, I toasted a few slices instead and the house still smelled like just-baked bread.
Here’s the deal. You CAN’T GET RIVER ROAD BAKEHOUSE PRODUCTS ANYWHERE IN SARASOTA! (That’s me yelling!) Seriously, you can’t get it anywhere! And that has me riled up. So please . . . Morton’s Market, Lucky’s, Publix, Winn Dixie, Sprouts, any small grocer that can get your hands on River Road Bakehouse bread and rolls . . . please do! You can keep it in your freezer and it still heats up like it was made this morning.
So . . . the conclusion of this blog is that River Road Bakehouse’s Waste Warrior Quiz lead me to learn more about food waste, and now Chefs Collaborative . . . those wonderful folks behind the Sustainable Seafood dinner . . . have now announced their partnerships with the new documentary film WASTED! The Story of Food Waste produced by everyone’s favorite ham-hock-holding Chef, (and Emmy Award-winning executive producer) Anthony Bourdain with Emmy Award-winning directors Anna Chai and Nari Kye. Considered the world’s dumbest problem, food waste can be avoided. For a peek at the trailer for WASTED!, click on the link below:
And now, Edible Sarasota has announced that the movie will premier in Sarasota on Sunday, December 3rd at Burns Court Cinemas. For showing times and tickets, contact the box office at (941) 955-3456.
So bringing this all back to a SarasotaFoodie conclusion, I’ll get off my little soapbox and hope that each of us will look at the food we’re wasting in our refrigerators because we bought more fresh produce than we would use before it went bad, or we didn’t keep our bread in the freezer, where it stays pretty fresh until we are ready to use it. If you’re like me and had to throw out hundreds and hundreds of dollars in food, condiments, and staples after the power shortages of Hurricane Irma, maybe this is the right time to focus on food waste and see what you can do to cut back on it. It’s that one little difference we can all make, one that won’t hurt in the slightest.
For me, I’d like to start with more River Road Bakehouse bread in my freezer — which is quite clean and empty since the storm. My goal? Waste not, want not! Or . . . when you only buy what you want to eat in the next day or so, you’ll end up eating it before it expires, and there will never be anything wasted!
What’s your thought on food waste?