Friday, February 26, 2010

What is Tubissime?

The following email was sent to my boss by a local wine importer (this is fascinating and you MUST know about it immediately):

"Dear Friends,

What is Tubissime?

Traveling around the wine road of life, you come in contact with characters that would make Tom Waits* seem boring. These are real people with lives very different from our own but they have one thing in common- passion. They may be passionate about peaches, cigarettes, or newspaper but they share a thread that makes their lives worth living and money is not their motivation- self-fulfillment and the love of life is.** Tubissime is the result of just such a character, one of the new cultural icons of Paris.

Think Wallpaper meets Saveur meets modern Parisian hip culture and you will have an image of Paul Vautin's universe. Paul is intent on bringing Apollo 3 style food, in all its space oddity into your briefcase.***When first led into his lair, it was like a Jim Jarmusch**** movie with past and present folding into one and other - antique bronze presses, strange mustard gadgets that only those deeply immersed in French mustard culture could understand....Orleans vinegar, mustard seed grown in Zanzibar, salt from the ancient Himalayan sea beds or coastal areas of Norway - this was no mustard "factory," this was the home of the Tubissime King, and judging from his success in Paris, he may be set to produce the next cultural slang word that becomes part of our everyday consciousness (like Kleenex or the Ipod): Tubissime.

What is Tibissime? Tubissime is something of a craze in Paris right now- it is a mix of modern day life, form and function (like a Design Within Reach apparatus). It is life on the go with no time to stop for food or to clean up after your mess- you have a suit on, you are in a hurry, you are on the Metro or in your car and you need flavor, flavor from a tube.

That's right, from a tube.

The French take condiments seriously and I don't mean Heinz ketchup. Ask a you Parisian for some mustard and he or she may just whip one of these from their laptop cases. Packed under pressure in a shiny metal tube, almost like a raw toothpaste tube with very modern Danish graphics, the mustard can be carried anywhere and used on a moment's notice. A small screw cap comes on and off and I've seen people in the Luxemburg Gardens squeezing a tube and then tossing it back into their bug-a-boo for next time. The mustards are made with natural/organic ingredients*****, in very small batches and they are not preserved- the vinegar (or sulfites in the wine flavors) keeps them fresh (although I would still keep them in the fridge after opening- the French do not seem to be as concerned about things like that)- I'm sure these will keep for quite a while but I don't recommend keeping them as long as that jar of Grey Poupon you've had open since 1997.

The inventor/philosopher of Tubissime, Paul Vautin, is intent on keeping his creation at a manageable level and each run is made from scratch with small batch ingredients and hands on care. His desire is to meet the demands of the masses, but I'm not sure how long that will last...for now, the Tubissime Mustard King will make mustard for you (from scratch) but we can only import his wares once a year (due to truffle availability, etc)."

My conclusion: Sign me up! I had always thought it was my dream to be a chic Parisian woman with a French designed purse. Know I know the truth- it was always to be a chic Parisian woman with mustard in her French designed purse.

**Really? There are people like that? Please, do tell me how you've done it.
***Why is it that if that was done in the State's it would be disgusting, and yet done in France, it's fascinating.
*****I guess that's why.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It really, really works!

Call me a cynic ("You're a cynic!"), but I am always shocked when something actually works as advertised. But I say, give credit where credit is due. And I give credit to good ol' Debbie Meyer. She has solved all my problems (well, one, anyway).

It all started when I decided that pre-packaged sandwich bread was no good. Even the supposedly healthy ones. There's just too much...stuff. Commercial yeasts and preservatives- even if organic- were still putting way more ingredients and processing into my breads than I deemed necessary. What I find necessary to bread is flour, yeast, and water.

I liked bakery bread better anyway, so why not only buy that? I'll tell you why- staling. It's hard to spend $4-$5 on a loaf of bread that may last three days, if you're lucky. After that, I would continue to make bread crumbs to keep from wasting until I had an entire pantry full. Also, not very helpful. The refrigerator doesn't help either, it just makes the bread dry out even quicker. So why not just wrap the bag tight in plastic? Because the mold comes on fast. It seems like bread manufacturers had something going on with their ascorbic acids and other preservatives.

You think you've won, commercial bread makers, but not so!

I thought I'd skeptically try out these Debbie Meyers bread bags on a whim. Day 1 went by and the bread was as fresh as when I had bought it. Not even the outer layer had staled. Day 2...3...4...5! I could slice off a piece as I saw fit, and it was great! It was only until after more than a week that I noticed a little mold growing. In my book, that is excellent. Now I use them routinely. I buy a loaf of challah or olive bread and put it straight into my Debbie Meyers bread bag, and we have good bread all week long.


ps. I was not paid off by Debbie Meyer to write about this. Nor did she send me any free bags to try. I bought them myself, and it really, really works!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Our world gets even scarier...

The following article comes from

"Dear Health Conscious Reader,

Your right to make choices about your own body is being challenged.

I seldom, if ever, discuss politics with you. But this in one occasion when something needs to be said.

There’s a new bill in Congress.

If it passes, the FDA will have the right to permanently take away any vitamin or natural supplement it chooses. And once it’s gone, your access disappears…forever.

Imagine CoQ10 becoming illegal? Or if you could only take CoQ10 with a doctor’s prescription at 100 times the cost?

You have the right to choose what you put in your own body. And that includes natural medicine and nutritional supplements.

As the philosopher John Stuart Mill said, “Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”1

This is where I stand.

But the bill before Congress intends to lessen, and perhaps take away, your right to have control over your body and mind.

This new “safety” bill would empower the FDA to permanently ban any nutritional supplement it considers “adulterated” or “misbranded.”

On the surface it sounds reasonable, but in practice, it means the FDA can make a list of accepted vitamins and ban all the rest. Europeans already live under such a law. It’s so restrictive; most people in Europe buy their vitamins here in the U.S.

Part of the problem is the way the bill is written. The language is open-ended and subject to broad interpretation.

Even if a vitamin company makes a mistake with their paperwork, or the FDAclaims they made a mistake with their paperwork, they can take that product off the market forever. Even if that product has a clean track record.

Also at risk is the dose of a vitamin or nutrient. That means the FDA could say, for example, “Vitamin C is only safe at a dose of 10mg.”

But here’s the deal: If your vitamin C only has 10mg per tablet, you’d have to take an entire bottle to get a one-day supply. That’s another strategy the FDA could use to kill off a vitamin or nutrient.

This bill is dangerous: Both to your health and to your rights as an individual.

I urge you to click HERE and send a message to your Senator.

The Alliance for Natural Health has prepared the letter for you. All you have to do is fill in your name and address and click “send.”

Your voice counts.

Please take a moment to stand up and be counted."

If you're not angry already, it would do you good to know who the forerunners of this bill are: None other that John McCain and all the other members of congress who have money in pharmaceuticals....shocking.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ok, ya, I want this

Ok...ya...I want this. I need this. I am totally a sucker for advertising.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I am scared...

It's official...the studies are in...EVERYTHING causes cancer.

Let me tell you my story today...I went on an errand for work today to a lovely little specialty shop called The Porcelain Gallery. These people were as austere about their work as any business I have seen. They were not snobby in the slightest- no pretense whatsoever- just exuding the utmost pride in what they did.

I was working and on a mission, so I marched through the front doors and straight to the back of the store where a prim woman in her early 60's was perched. Without looking around, I began, "Hi! I'm looking for the...{blah blah blah}." She gave me a kind smile and said, "Oh, dinnerware is on the second floor." It was finally then that I looked around and realized that I was surrounded by hundreds or porcelain figurines of any shape you can imagine- $750 - 15 inch giraffes and all.

I took the small, department store style elevator up to the second floor*...ding! There was the polite man I had spoken with on the phone, all ready with the bowls I had previously called about. As he was wrapping them up, I perused the displays of lovely china, admired this dinner set here, and marveled at how someone could spend $94 on a single dinner plate, no matter how beautiful. I commented on how lovely the dishes were...commented I did, to a man with a passion for fine china that is likely unmatched anywhere.

He agreed, and we spoke briefly about what makes their merchandise worth the price tag. As I was walking toward the elevator, he mentioned the health hazards of mass produced dinnerware....WHAAAAT? ding! The doors closed. I considered going back in....please, tell me!...why are my dishes dangerous? are these better?....please, give me an entire set!....$15,000 for 14 settings?...of course, you can't put a price on health!

I didn't. I should have. I am dying to know now what he was talking about. I've done some searches online, and what I have found is that while you may be suing Toys R Us for for putting lead paint on your baby's toys, there are no regulations on using glaze with lead on the surfaces in which you put your food. Massed produced stores such as Crate and Barrel and Tar-jay like to carry these products because (unsurprisingly) they are cheaper.

There is nowhere to turn! Now I am eating my meals in terror of what chemicals may be lurking under my organic dinner....right...Conclusion? Solution? No idea whatsoever besides replacing all that is in my cupboards immediately. Everything causes cancer....sigh.

*Did I mention this store was only about 800 square a neighborhood...with an elevator?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Top 10 Signs You're a Foodie

(Courtesy of the Baltimore Sun of all places)

1. You remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard that Martick’s closed.

No idea. This should be in the "you know you're an old foodie if...." list.

2. You know that basmati is not the capital of India.

Nope, the capital of India is Raita!

3. Your meal is ruined when you’re served from your left (or right – the point is, darn it, it matters).

This is only for foodies with good manners. I would beg to disagree with this one. For a real foodie, a good meal can't be ruined no matter how it's served.

4. You know the real CIA is a school in New York.

But the people who have graduated from that culinary school are as cocky and obnoxious as the government CIA.

5. You can tell by scent as soon as you enter the restaurant which four cheeses they use in their quattro formaggi sauce and in your opinion they went a little overboard on the Asiago.

Oh yeah, baby. 'Cept you can't ever go overboard on Asiago in my opinion. Except on a bagel.

6. You would starve to death if you were trapped for 40 days in a fully stocked Olive Garden.

This one made me laugh out loud, because I basically said this yesterday while watching a commercial for the restaurant.

7. Not only do you know what cuy is, you know where to find it outside Ecuador and Peru.

I know what it is, but I would never try it to find it outside Ecuador and Peru. I would place bets that they are the only people who can prepare it correctly.

8. You sample bread from a wood-fired oven and turn up your nose at the hint of insufficiently aged elm.

I guess lose this one. I would never turn my nose up at bread. (non-commercial, that is)

9. You spell Kryptonite M A R G A R I N E.


10. You’re keenly aware that the first word in diet is “die."

Haven't I said this in so many words at least once a week?

Friday, February 05, 2010

I Love This- infused sugars

Design Sponge is one of the most aesthetically appealing blogs I have come across. Fitting, as it is a home design blog (and one of the most popular ones on the internet, I might add). After Domino Magazine folded, this was one of the only places left for me to go for home decor style that actually inspired me. My home is more beautiful because of it.

I have had my fun with infused sugars before, but this article on infused sugars is awesome. It immediately made we want to go out an buy a bunch of cute mason jars and make a home display out of my creations. It's so easy and beautiful, why not? I can see myself already, making tea and mulling over which sugar to sweeten it with (hmm...rose petal or cardamom perhaps?)

If you want a less exotic way to try it out, I would go with the ever classic cinnamon sugar and vanilla sugar.