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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Great New Boston Design Shop



© Jen Murphy
Butcher-chic design at J.E.M. in Boston's South End.

I was in Boston for the weekend and while bakery hopping through the South End I stumbled upon a fantastic new design shop called J.E.M. The store has a very John Derian-esque feel to it with cool pieces like organic ceramic pots from Susan Raber Bray, and apothecary bottles and bar carts made from reclaimed steel. It felt like a quirkily curated curiosity shop-cum-museum.

J.E.M. has also started hosting in-store salons with artists and designers. South End artist Isabelle Abramson, who sells her gorgeous, delicate, doily-patterned porcelain bowls there, will be in-shop this Thursday.

The store also doubles as a showroom for owner/designer Jane Miller who is responsible for the awesome furnishings made from repurposed wood and metal. In addition to enormous chunky dining and coffee tables, there are clever pieces like a terrarium that Miller crafted from a broken table. My favorite piece was an enormous sign (pictured) salvaged from Faneuil Hall Marketplace that embraces Boston’s current butcher and beast obsession. Apparently it’s been confusing some South End shoppers. “We had an elderly couple come in and try to order lamb chops the other day,” the girl behind the counter told me. I can’t help but think a design-butcher shop would probably be a great new trend.


Food Bank’s Can-Do Awards: The Numbers


© WireImage/J.McCarthy
The Edge and Helena Christensen helped raise $1.4 million at Can-Do Awards.

Two days later, and I’m still thinking about the fantastic Food Bank of New York’s Can-Do Awards.

* There was that performance by Buckwheat Zydeko (with special guest and honoree Emeril Lagasse playing washboards).

* There were those amazingly entertaining live pledges projected on a huge screen. Here are a few of them:
“Mario you cheap b******. $2000 The Edge.” (A joke: Mario Batali contributed a significant amount of money.) “Let’s all go up to 116th St and serve some delicious chicken. $1500 from Helena Christensen.” (The Food Bank’s Community Kitchen is on 116th St.) “$5,000 from the Lagasse family, xoxo.” And let’s recognize MC Stanley Tucci, who donated $10,000 twice—the largest pledges.

* And most importantly, there were the numbers. The event raised an astounding $1.4 million, which can provide up to 7 million meals for hungry New Yorkers. A good portion of that money came from the live auction, which brought in $250,000, including a dinner cooked by Mario, Tom Colicchio and David Chang, which went for $100,000 and was labeled “The Three Tenors.” Although, hopefully none of them will sing at the dinner.

© WireImage/J.McCarthy
Mario Batali and Emeril LaGasse helped raise money too.



Barbara Lynch's Meat CSA



© The Butcher Shop
The Butcher Shop chef de cuisine Robert Grant.


Boston chef Barbara Lynch has paired the current butcher obsession with the growing CSA trend and is now running a very cool new meat CSA from her awesome South End restaurant, the Butcher Shop. CSA members can buy a pig or even a share of a flock of lambs. The first weekend of each month, Lynch's talented butchers break down an animal, say a 90-pound pig or a lamb from Vermont Family Farms, during a butchering demo, and participants go home with various cuts. Terrines, sausages, racks of lamb and ready-to-cook cuts are packaged and available for pick up by members the next two weekends of each month. Prices change month the month, but full shares cost around $190; half shares are around $95.


Are Ramps Being Wiped Out?


It seems that this year, the popularity of ramps is at an all-time high. But it saddens me to see ramps on every menu and in huge bunches at farmer's markets. The Canadian Biodiversity Project states that over harvesting is the number one cause of ramp-growth decline. And according to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, ramps are “a species of conservation concern.” (Canada even has harvesting restrictions on the slow-growing plant—a sign of how serious they consider the issue to be.) When I forage, whether it’s for wild boletus mushrooms (also known as porcini), fiddleheads or ramps, I only pick a few and leave most behind. I'd like everyone to please do the same. Don’t be ramp hogs.


Highlights of the Food Bank 2010 Can-Do Awards


The first thing to say about the Food Bank for New York City Can-Do Awards is that the problem of hunger in the city is heartbreaking. The Food Bank does the great job of providing some 300,000 free meals a day to hungry New Yorkers. The next thing to say is that a lot of unbelievable people show up at the Can-Do Awards to support the cause. Here are highlights of the night, which featured Mario Batali as co-chair, Emeril Lagasse as an honoree and Stanley Tucci as Master of Ceremonies.

* Having seats right near the money table: U2’s The Edge, who was sitting between Salman Rushdie and Helena Christensen. (Some people might have thought the money table was the one with Batali, Lagasse, Tony Bourdain, Nancy Silverton and actor Josh Charles. Others might, more accurately, have said the money table was the one with Goldman Sachs’s CEO, Lloyd Blankfein.)

* Having people’s texted donations projected on a huge screen. Tucci kicked it off with a $5,000 donation (that he pretended to make from a toy phone). Soon pledges were flooding the screen, including one from as far away as Newfoundland and another in exchange for a kiss from Colicchio. (There's still an opportunity to pledge! at 646-853-2277.)

* Having someone—referred to by the Christie’s auctioneer only as “the lady in red”—bid an astonishing $100,000 for a dinner for 20 cooked by Batali, Colicchio and David Chang. “That’s a lot of pressure, man,” Chang told Feast’s Ben Leventhal before going, with Batali and Colicchio, to kiss the winner.

* Having tickets to the last night of U2’s 360 tour in Rome go twice for $50,000. And having The Edge give the winners a standing ovation. And then he went to the Spotted Pig to have a second dinner with his friends.

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