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Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke
Tags >> books

Founding Foodies Launches November 1

Posted by: Lois Manno

Tagged in: books

Peanut HarvestSourcebooks, my new publisher, has announced November 1 as the launch date for my new book, Founding Foodies: How Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin Revolutionized American Cuisine. Shockingly, this food history doesn't concern chile peppers and fiery foods, but there is a subchapter about early barbecue.  It took me 3 1/2 years to research and write the book, but it was a lot of fun because I got to return to my Virginia roots in a lot of it.  The illustration at left is entitled "Peanut Harvest, Virginia, c. 1870" and illustrates a chapter partially about the African-American influence on colonial and post-colonial food.  Isn't she cute?  For a sampling of the book, go to my new blog, Founding Foodies.  The launch party is scheduled for October 21 at City Tavern in Philadelphia--join us for a lot of fun!

Book Tour Continues

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Complete Chile Pepper BookMy book tour continues with appearances in New York City, Milan, and London.  On April 8th at 6:30pm I'm giving a multimedia presentation, "Growing Chiles in Containers" at the New York Horticultural Society, 148 West 37th Street. Details are still being worked out for the Milan appearance, but it will most likely be at a cooking school.  And on May 15 in London, it's "The Pope of Peppers Meets the King of Curries" at Cafe Spice Namaste, 16 Prescott Street. At this event, which runs from 10 am to 3 pm, Pat Chapman and I will both give multimedia presentations on chile (chilli) peppers, with Pat discussing chillis in Indian cuisine while I will discuss, as usual, chile gardening. The event includes a superb luncheon.  See here for more details on the London event.  It will be great to see Pat and Dominique again, as it's been years since they hosted us on our tour of England--mostly Cornwall. Read about that trip here. And here's a shot of me with chilli plants in the Temperate Biome at the Eden Project, one of the largest greenhouse complexes in the world.


Dave at Eden Project

Rick Browne's New Book Project

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: restaurants , personalities , history , books

Rick BrowneMy good friend, Rick Browne of "Barbecue America" on PBS, has launched a new project entitled A Century of Restaurants and because he has to travel to 100-year-old (and older!) restaurants all over the country and photograph them, he needs help funding the project.  He has found a publisher and has rounded up about 25% of the funds needed, but needs more help with the production of the book.  I am helping him with a donation and I urge everyone else to assist, especially restaurant people. Here's Rick describing it:

I'm starting an exciting new project that will involve a book and later a TV series about America's oldest restaurants. The book is tentatively titled: A Century of Restaurants, but that may change before it's published. To be specific we'll pick 100 century old restaurants from our list of 213 restaurants located in 50 states, and in fact some are 300 years old, a bunch are over 200, the rest have merely been serving up vittles for ten decades!

In a profession where the failure rate for restaurants is upwards of 60% after 3 to 5 years, these centenarian eateries stand way above their newer competitors. We're going to try and find out why they've outlasted hundreds of thousands of other restaurants by visiting these centenarians in person and talking to the owners, chefs, wait staff, and (perhaps most importantly) customers, as to why they think their restaurant has survived and flourished in one of the most competitive businesses in the country. Oh, and yes, we'll probably grab at bite at most of them as well.

I've launched the project on the Kickstarter website, a site which helps authors, movie makers, artists, and other creative folks find funding for their projects, and I would love you to go there, watch my short video, read about the project, and hopefully be inspired to throw a few bucks our way. Here is the web address.



On a Personal Note...

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Dexter Holland of The Offspring in concertI have been exchanging emails with chilehead Dexter Holland, lead singer of The Offspring, who just bought a copy of The Complete Chile Pepper Book. He writes, "Got the complete chile pepper book in the mail today...nice one! Looks great, very professional, very informative.  I might even try some growing now!"  I wrote back and suggested hydroponics under grow lights aboard his private jet!

I'll be off to the Bay Area November 10 for Round Two of Kingsford University.  I graduated a couple of summers ago when it was held in Arizona (see the article here), but apparently this one is graduate school.  Melanie Yunk of Melanie's Fine Foods will be a student with me and two of our instructors are the delightful Corinne Trang, author of
Noodles Every Day: Delicious Asian Recipes from Ramen to Rice Sticks,
Corinne Trang

and Chris Lilly, author of Big Bob Gibson BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint.  I shot this pic of him at the last Kingsford University class. Read all about him in this article.
Chris Lilly injecting a pork butt.
And finally, my hobnobbing with the stars continued a few weeks ago when I was a Green Chile Stew Cookoff judge during Navy Week at El Pinto.  I was rough work to be paired as a judge with KOAT-TV news anchor (and incredibly cute) Shelly Ribando, but somehow I survived.

Shelly Ribando and Dave DeWitt at El Pinto Restaurant

What Do You Believe About Food?

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: science , food trends , controversy , books

Do You Believe Any of the Following Statements? 1. The "locavore" movement (shopping and eating locally) is a good practice. 2. Shortening food miles (the distance your food travels) helps the environment. 3. Organic gardening and farming techniques are superior to traditional methods. 4. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are inherently evil. 5. Eating meat is a perfectly acceptable practice.

If you do believe any of them, you may be totally wrong and all of these statements are completely false, according to James E. McWilliams, author of a new book entitled Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly. This is a shocking book because it rationally explores and deconstructs all the objections to popular ideas about what constitutes a healthy and ethical diet.  McWilliams, an associate professor at Texas State University and the author of A Revolution in Eating, the best food history of U.S. colonial and post-colonial food, goes way, way out on a limb here, and in an email last week I told him to watch his back because of the backlash of true believers in the above statement.  I think he makes excellent arguments and that the other side of the story should be told.  That said, this book is not easy reading--you have to pay close attention, have an open mind, and be something of a skeptic yourself.  I would like to hear comments--but only from people who have actually read the book.  You can buy the book here.

Here's an excerpt from my new book with Dr. Paul Bosland, The Complete Chile Pepper Book. The book is hardcover, 336 pages, 250 full-color photos, 85 recipes (with food shots).  Is is organized like this:
--About Chiles
--Top 100 (or so) Chiles for the Garden
--Capsicum Cultivation
--Processing and Preservation
--Cooking with Chiles

If you want a signed copy, buy the book here then send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope along with your name and dedication, and I will sign a faceplate for you that you can stick into the front of the book.
Dave DeWitt
P.O. Box 4980
Albuquerque, NM 87196


Dateline Las Cruces, New Mexico.  For years, research done by New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute has helped promote New Mexico's State Vegetable (really a fruit).  Now, the Institute itself (and its chile peppers) is on the map, literally, as a "must-see" destination in Rand McNally's 2010 Road Atlas "Best of the Road" program.

"We are thrilled that Rand McNally recommends the Chile Pepper Institute in their atlas," said Paul Bosland, Institute director. "It's an honor to know that people traveling in New Mexico can see us on the map and enjoy our Institute along their way."

According to Rand McNally, the publication is America's No. 1 road atlas. It provides five Best of the Road trips along with trip-planning tools, from detailed maps to mileage charts. The 2010 atlas is now available in stores and from online retailers like Amazon, here.

"Every year, our editors seek out and drive some of the best, most scenic road trip routes in the nation to find our Best of the Road winners," said Rand McNally editorial director Laurie Borman. 

Part of the attraction of the Chile Pepper Institute is its Demonstration Garden, where some 150 varieties of chiles from around the world are grown each year to educate the public.  See our article, here.

The Chile Pepper Institute is one of a handful of stops identified in Rand McNally's trip through New Mexico. The 2010 Road Atlas provides five road trips in regions throughout states such as New York, Oregon and South Carolina. Each trip features photos, an inset map and other similar destinations that readers might enjoy.

The Institute gained fame for developing and promoting the 'Bhut Jolokia' chile variety, named by Guinness World Records as the Hottest Spice in the World.  Located in NMSU's Gerald Thomas Hall, the institute is part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.  See their website, here.

Full disclosure: Along with Dr. Paul Bosland, I was a founder of the Chile Pepper Institute.  My company is a sponsor of the New Mexico Chile Conference, hosted annually by the Institute.

On Saturday, June 27, 2009, the story made the front page of the Albuquerque Journal, and was featured in the Business section.

Rick Browne Joins SuperSite

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: smoking , personalities , new content , grilling , books

Rick Cracks Up Gwyneth at the Great Grill-Off

Barbecue expert Rick Browne is teaming up with us here at the SuperSite to strengthen our coverage of grilling and smoking.  For the past seven years, Rick has produced and hosted "Barbecue America," which is shown on PBS and reaches 230 markets in the U.S.  A writer, photographer, pitmaster, restaurant critic and consultant, he is also a Doctor of Barbecue, holding an honorary Ph.B (Doctor of Barbecue Philosophy) bestowed upon him by the prestigious Kansas City Barbeque Society for his expertise and commitment to barbecue. He is the author of ten books, including the recently-released The Best Barbecue on Earth (Ten Speed Press).  Personally, I'm thrilled by this development because Rick, in a short period of time, has become a good friend of mine, and we share like views on a number of subjects.  "Peas in a pod," is how Lois Manno, our art director, described us.  Here are Rick's articles so far on the SuperSite:


Big Bob Gibson BBQ Book is Great!

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: smoking , personalities , books

I received an advance reading copy of Chris Lilly's Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book, and I've read most of it.  Chris is an acquaintance of mine, and I watched him demonstrate his technique for pulled pork at Kingsford University in Arizona a few years ago (article is here).  I expected his book to be good--after all, he is a 10-time world champion--but the book is more than just good, it's utterly fascinating.  Chris tells the story of Bib Bob Gibson and his famous BBQ joint in Decatur, Alabama from the 1920s to the present, interspersing the history with Southern BBQ tips, recipes, and lore.  The chapter "Racks of Ribs" is possibly the best single chapter in any book on 'cue, so it's appropriate that ribs are on the cover.  Interestingly, pork ribs were not served at Big Bob Gibson's until the late '70s.  I took a look at Chris's recommended reading and was pleased to see Rick Browne's The Best Barbecue on Earth, Ray (Dr. BBQ) Lampe's Big-Time Barbecue Cookbook  and Dr. BBQ's Barbecue Road Trip (which I helped on--see article, here).  And I was flattered that he also selected Barbecue Inferno, which I wrote with Nancy Gerlach.  Chris's book will be released May 12, 2009, and it should be a part of every barbecue aficionado's library.

New Mexico Book Awards

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: personalities , contest , books

Saturday night at the NMBA Banquet, I was thrilled to learn that I had one won two awards, Best Cookbook for Cuisines of the Southwest (Golden West Publishers), and Best Novel--Adventure or Drama for Avenging Victorio (Rio Grande Books). It's just my 15 seconds of fame, but it sure felt great! Time constraints prevented me from delivering my winner's speech: "Because of these awards, I am postponing my retirement because I want to spend less time with my family." ;-) 

The keynote speaker at the New Mexico Book Awards was David Morrell, and I really enjoyed sitting at the same table with him.  He's the guy who invented the character Rambo in his book First Blood (1972).  While working on the book, he was drawing a blank on the name of his protagonist when his wife came back from shopping with some heirloom apples that are grown in upstate New York.  The variety is called 'Rambo', and the rest of the story is history.  Visit David at his site, here.  He lives in Santa Fe, so we'll get together soon.


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