Food Is The New Rock

"Perhaps food is the new rock," Wendy Fonarow writes in her Guardian post, "Ask the indie professor: Is food the new indie rock?" Fonarow makes a number of interesting comparisons between rock and the contemporary food scene, claiming that "the modern foodie movement expresses many of indie values." From their search for artisanal, "green products" to an emphasis on "local, organic, and sustainable," foodies embody an indie ethos. Fonarow compares looking for authentic products to "getting a limited-edition coloured vinyl EP." And foodies are connoisseurs, capable of selecting the best from the bunch.

While foodie philosophy seems comparable to indie music philosophy, the subjects remain starkly different. To read more about Fonarow's conception of the food movement, click here.

The Oscars Of The Food World

Known as the "Oscars of the food world," the James Beard Awards incite speculation months ahead of the actual awards ceremony. Outstanding Chef proves one of the most exciting categories, especially since past James Beard Award winners are part of the the vote to determine which semifinalists advance. This year, Jose Andres and Marc Vetri are two nominees to follow.

Nominated for his "minibar," Andres prepares nouveau tapas and experimental Spanish cuisine. Operating out of Washington, D.C., but with outposts in California, Andres has become one of the most influential chefs in America. With his forward-thinking approach to Spanish food, Andres seems likely to move on to the finalist round.

More under-the-radar than Andres, Marc Vetri won Best Chef Mid-Atlantic in 2005. A Food & Wine Best New Chef, Vetri serves contemporary Italian food at his eponymous restaurant. With the rise of regional Italian cooking in the United States, Vetri appears a strong contender for a finalist berth.

Keep your eyes tuned for the announcement of finalists. The competition will be fierce, and only time will tell who comes out ahead.

Check out the James Beard Foundation's website for more information.

Food Safety Myths

With fear-mongering the media about food safety, sometimes it can be tough to tell truth from fiction. Anastacia Marx de Salcedo debunked five food safety myths in a fascinating article for PBS.

First, de Salcedo takes on the myth that "food safety is worse than it used to be." She argues that food safety has gotten better-most illnesses have decreased since the mid-1990s when the Centers for Disease Control implemented a new monitoring system. Then, de Salcedo moves on to the idea that "the biggest danger to your health comes from livestock feeding practices, food industry negligence and the terrorist threat to our food supply." To debunk this myth, de Salcedo claims that more than 90% of foodborne illnesses happen because of restaurants. Many of these illnesses are caused by sick food handlers.

To read about de Salcedo's three other myths-salmonella, washing produce, and the Food Safety Modernization Act-click here.

The Most Innovative Dessert Showpieces

Chris Hanmer is making some of the most innovative dessert showpieces in the business.  Owner of The School of Pastry Design in Las Vegas and frequent Food Network Challenge competitor, Hanmer regularly uses blowtorches and liquid nitrogen to create his dessert masterpieces.

Hanmer relishes the difficult and extreme, making showpieces that push the boundaries of what chocolate can do.

In Food Network Challenge "Runaway Chocolate," Hanmer "suspended a turn-of-the-century twenty-pound chocolate woman on a bicycle in a flowing chocolate dress on a two-inch wide chocolate track and rolled her."

At his school, Hanmer teaches students rudimentary techniques like blowing sugar and tempering chocolate. But his personal style, "creativity through brute force," demands more elaborate skills.

To read more about his work, click here.

Cooking Is An Essential Aspect Of Family Togetherness

In his last "Cooking with Dexter" column, Pete Wells affirms the need to cook with family. For two years, Wells has written about his cooking adventures with his son, but in this final installment, he laments how little he has actually cooked, with or without Dexter. This conclusion to "Cooking with Dexter" makes a heartfelt plea for finding time to cook.

Although Wells makes an effort to cook as much as possible with his family, he often comes home late from the office. Now that more parents work, cooking has become more difficult in America.

While Wells suggests that cooking is an essential aspect of family togetherness, he acknowledges how difficult it is to find cooking time. For Wells, his wife Susan helped fill in his cooking gaps. Above all else, Wells argues against eating "bad processed food" instead of cooking.

Reflective and hopeful, Wells's piece "The Very Busy Home Cook" is a poignant read. To hear the entire story, click here.