#60 | Bye Bye Bel Campo
🍆 Eggplant With Everything!
This past week be like:
We’re having a Halloween party at school.
I’m dressed up like Dracula. Man, I look cool!
I dyed my hair black, and I cut off my bangs.
I’m wearing a cape and some fake plastic fangs.
I put on some makeup to paint my face white,
like creatures that only come out in the night.
My fingernails, too, are all pointed and red.
I look like I’m recently back from the dead.
My mom drops me off, and I run into school
and suddenly feel like the world’s biggest fool.
The other kids stare like I’m some kind of freak—
the Halloween party is not till next week.
—Kenn Nesbitt, from When the Teacher Isn’t Looking
😎 Need a Halloween Costume? You could go as the Mayor of Flavortown.
By the way, I'm Bruce Cole, Publisher of Edible San Francisco. Welcome to all the new subscribers this week! But if you'd like to hop off anytime, simply unsubscribe. I appreciate you reading (and sharing) this newsletter.
Here we go.
Whole Roasted Eggplant with Tahini, Crispy Chickpeas, and Sumac: from The Modern Larder: From Anchovies to Yuzu, A Guide to Artful and Attainable Home Cooking by Michelle McKenzie. This is one of the featured recipes in our upcoming issue (make sure it shows up in your 📬 by subscribing here); we just made and devoured it the other night. McKenzie notes: “Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables—I could fill an entire book with recipes singing its praises, and I don’t see why it can’t be the star of the show rather than just a supporting act.” And for sure, this soft and creamy eggplant (peeled and roasted whole), doused with savory tahini and piled high with crispy chickpeas, is on the menu for our next dinner party.
Sake, Arizona-Style: “In Japan, I cannot be free, I cannot make my own sake, because there are too many government regulations. Here in Arizona, I am my own boss and this is why I came to America. For freedom and independence. Atsuo Sakurai in The Smithsonian
Latest #Protip From ATK: Infinity sauce, aka brown butter + soy sauce + lemon juice = “this rich, nutty, salty, slightly caramel-like sticky sauce that gives off the most. Wonderful. Aroma.” America’s Test Kitchen
Dining Out Down The Bay: San Jose Is the Bay Area’s Great Immigrant Food City. KQED
Interview With Mayukh Sen: “In his new book ‘Taste Makers,’ the food writer profiles seven remarkable women (including Madeleine Kamman, who opened the School for American Chefs at Beringer Vineyards in the Napa Valley in the late ‘80s) who have shaped the American palate—and levels criticism at the country’s mainstream food establishment.” Civil Eats
Do You Mind If I Sit On Your Tombstone? “Since municipalities still lacked proper recreational areas, many people had full-blown picnics in their local cemeteries. The tombstone-laden fields were the closest things, then, to modern-day public parks.” Atas Obscura
🦈 Definitely Jumped: Salt Bae’s sprinkle given EU trademark protection. IP Harbour
ICYMI: Bel Campo Meat Co., founded by Anya Fernald in 2012 after a $50M investment from financier Todd Roberts, allegedly laid off all employees by text this week, deleted all social media accounts and shut down all retail and wholesale operations. Accused this past spring of intentionally mislabeling meat from other sources and selling it as their own, the company never recovered from an avalanche of outrage and scorn on social and stories in the national media. A brief recap:
The Instagram video that started it all: posted by Evan Reiner under the username nela_butcher last spring, claimed the Bel Campo store in Santa Monica was routinely stocking commodity beef from Tasmania as well as Mary’s Chickens, and selling them as their own.
Sustainable meat darling Belcampo admits to mislabeling meat at a Southern California location. SF Chronicle.
Closed For Business. Sorry (read the sign taped to the window this week at the Santa Monica Bel Campo store): Farm-to-Fable Meat Merchant Belcampo Is All But Done Eater.
“An erosion of trust.” Why Belcampo’s mislabeled meat matters. Peeled
Last Word: Bryan Mayer, Executive Director of The Butcher’s Guild, shared his thoughts on Instagram:
“To some of us the news from Bel Campo comes as no surprise, but it is no less devastating. I fear that, once again, they have done great damage to the good meat movement. Which is strange to think and say since they were never a part of it. From it’s inception Bel Campo set themselves apart from the work that many of us had done long before they formed. They branded meat as luxury, made disingenuous statements such as building the company “inch by inch”, and deceived the public as they vertically integrated and scaled like the commodity system they supposedly stood in contrast to. Their self-assured hubris, entitlement, and privilege allowed for this to occur with the same victims we always see… the employees that were texted they no longer have jobs. There is little doubt that Anya, James, Gary ,et al, will be quite fine. They always are. But the same cannot be said for those that believed, though misled, in Bel Campo’s mission, or the ranchers that relied on Bel Campo’s services. These selfish acts must be met with a greater opposing force! Let us all in the good meat movement band together as we always do to assist our butcher, rancher, & restaurant colleagues. These have been difficult times for many of us, I’m sure I speak for many if not all my colleagues in saying we’re here for you! “
You Can Lead A Horse To Water: Beyond Meat Plunges After Cutting Revenue View on Demand Drop Bloomberg
What’s On Your Plate? “Startups see the food industry as a giant problem to throw their techno solutions at. But these fixes exist in silos, independently re-creating one small widget instead of ideas that span the entire problem—the American Diet.” Technically Food
We Are What We Eat: “And We Must Make Food Decisions With the Climate Crisis in Mind. There’s a healthy debate in both agriculture and climate circles about the value of individual action versus the need for systemic change. And food, thankfully, lies at the intersection of both.” Edible Communities / Civil Eats
In Masa We Trust: Upstart Corn Activists in Mexico Just Beat GMO Goliath Bayer-Monsanto. Vice
Review: David Chang’s New Show On Hulu. “Chang and Neville had an opportunity to look at the problems facing the restaurant industry, the environmental impacts of food production, and nutritional inequity alongside the possible pitfalls and potential of food technologies designed to address them. Instead, they created a show about one man's inner struggle to accept that the food industry might change in ways that don’t suit him.” Felicia Campbell for AZ Central
Should I leave my job to pursue my passion? With chef + founder of Dumpling Club, Cathay Bi: “I unequivocally tell people when they ask me this question, yes. The answer is yes. You should do it.”
Remember last week when we contemplated starting to write recipes like the English? No idea how we’re gonna use “thrums” and “hums.” 🤔
Refugee Cookbooks Were Not Written By Refugees:
"I have been younger in October / than in all the months of spring." —W.S. Merwin
That’s all for this week.
This rollicking track is at the top of our playlist lately:
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"Humans — despite their artistic pretensions, their sophistication, and their many accomplishments — owe their existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.” Anonymous