Snack for One?– Gabrielle Jolly

After a long day at work or school, many of us make our way to our local supermarkets or corner store to pick up a snack to hold us over until dinner. With many options to choose from, we choose our favorite bag of chips and maybe even a drink to go along with it. If we are not already snacking on our food in line, we immediately open our snacks as soon as we leave the store. What many do not realize is that many of these “small” bags of chips and bottles of juice are meant to be shared.

For those unfamiliar with food labels, the FDA provides Nutrition Facts on food that include factors like total fat, sodium, calories, and so on. When looking at the Nutrition Facts on food products, many people’s eyes head straight for the fat and calorie count. Many forget that before you can track how much fat and how many calories that you are putting into your body, you must look at the serving size.

Although the FDA does provide consumers with these Nutritional Facts, they fail to mention that these facts are more times than not based on the product as a whole and not in just one serving. Those who do casually grab snacks after work, school, or any time of the day are not aware that the one bag of chips that they grabbed was not meant for just them, but one or maybe even two other people. Ultimately, most are unaware that the “small” snacks that they consume are leading them down a path of being overweight or obese.

It is important that the FDA not only provides consumers with accurate Nutritional Facts, but also makes these facts clear for everyone to be able to read and understand. One way that the FDA can fix this problem is to have two different Nutrition Facts labels; one showing facts about individual serving size and one showing facts about the product as a whole. That way consumers will be able to determine the proper serving size and be able to make the proper adjustments as far as what they eat throughout the rest of the day.

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Interview with My Mother–Gabrielle Jolly

A couple of days ago, I had a conversation with my mother about some of the experiences that she and my family had with food when my sister and I were younger. As a country, we are surrounded by fast food and are ultimately suffering because of it. Interestingly enough, my mother shared some great stories with me and I learned that I was actually more of a hassle than I thought I was when it came to food.

Me: What did I hate eating when I was younger? How did you deal with that?
My Mother: “You would not eat grits, which is what me and your daddy grew up eating. I had to always make two breakfast on the weekend. One to accommodate us and you. We had grits and you had home fried potatoes.”

What did I love eating?
“You really liked mashed potatoes like you do now!” (haha)

Did you cook different things before you were married than after?
“I had to cook differently after I was married because daddy will not eat chicken or most fish so I had to learn how to make beef in all different ways. Boring and unhealthy. I never ate that much beef growing up. I had to make two dinners most of the time because I did not want you girls eating that much beef.”

What foods did you stop cooking once you started a family?
“I stopped making quick processed foods like frozen foods, which were convenient for me and daddy but unhealthy for you kids.”

How did you start cooking? What made you want to start?
“I started cooking as a teenager. Both parents worked and my older sisters had moved out. So I had to cook for my older brothers and parents when they got off work.

What did your parents cook?
“My mother cooked down home southern foods like chitlins (pig intestines), pigs feet, fried chicken, and gumbo. My father used to make us homemade fudge and biscuits and cream (made with heavy cream and sugar).”

Did you have any kitchen disasters?
“My biggest kitchen disaster was when I had my first try at making gumbo. The ingredients are kind of expensive, like $50 and I ruined it by letting the soup get too cool when I added the seafood. The gumbo got rancid and I had to pour it out.”

If you could have any meal (the ultimate meal) what would it be?
Ciopinno (Italian seafood stew), a nice glass of Pinot Grigio and tiramisu for dessert.

What I did not realize before this interview was that my mother made a valient effort to stay away from the unhealthy, processed foods that are so easily accessible. I truely believe that this contributed to the eating habits that I have now. I am eternally grateful for my parents and their concern not only for our health, but our future.

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Gourmet Ghetto–Gabrielle Jolly

The city of Berkeley has a reputation of being one of the most vibrant and liberal cities in America. We were fortunate enough to be able to get a food tour in the northern side of town, also known as the “Gourmet Ghetto.” Visitors can find everything from ice cream cones to five course meals in this small area and I can guarantee will leave satisfied.

We began our tour at a small cupcakery cleverly named “Love at First Bite.” Greeted by one of the employees, we were given a brief history of the shop; but I could not help but notice the tray of mini cupcakes that she was holding. The mix of brown, white, yellow, and orange made for a display that was pleasing to the eye. At the end of her spiel, she encouraged us to take a miniature cupcake to try. Without hesitation, I grabbed a cupcake called “Pumpkin Bliss.” I began with the frosting. The smooth cream cheese whip had the perfect combination of sweetness and creaminess. It was not long before I was only left with the small cake and its wrapping. As I peeled back the protective paper, a feeling of excitement ran through my body. The first bite was pure bliss. The moist cake was loaded with a pleasant amount of pumpkin spice, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. Unfortunately, the taste test ended after only three bites.IMG_4823

The next place that we stopped was simply called “The Local Butcher Shop.” Before walking into the establishment, our tour guide told us about the shop’s unique way of using and pricing every part of the animal that they sell. In the middle of our discussion, an employee meets us outside with a tray of gourmet ham sandwiches. With our stomachs not even close to being full from the mini cupcakes, we each grabbed a sandwich half and began tasting. When biting into this sandwich, you instantly tasted the pungent Dijon mustard. Combined with the salty ham and refreshing lettuce, the mustard was a nice touch. What I liked the most though was the bread. Shipped from the Acme Bread Company, I knew that it would be a vital part of the sandwich. The fresh sourdough bread complimented the three ingredients in a way that made you want more.IMG_4828

One of the last places that we visited was a tiny eatery called “Gregoire.” Built in the basement of a house, this restaurant is a local favorite. Our guide disappeared for a few minutes to pick up what we were going try, so we took a seat at the conveniently placed wooden benches located in what could be considered the lawn of the house. Just as we started to get anxious, we saw our guide with two circular boxes in hand walking toward us. Not knowing what to expect, she placed the boxes in front of us and opened them. Placed in the shape of a wreath were little round fried potato puffs. Being a lover of potatoes, I was ecstatic. In the middle of the wreath was a cup of chipotle aioli to dip the puffs of potato in. The crispy outer layer served as a perfect protector of the soft mashed potato inside. The slightly spicy, but flavorful aioli complimented the softer seasoned potato mash. Satisfied with our last samples, the tour was over.IMG_4833

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“Chopped” SMC style– Gabrielle Jolly

Sour Cream, Garlic, and Truffle Oil; three ingredients that are often used to create dishes including mashed potatoes, French onion dip, and truffle cream sauces. When I was given the task to create a dish using these three ingredients, I chose a different route.

When first given these ingredients, I knew that I would be able to make a tasty dish, but I wanted to be creative. My mother constantly experimented with different ingredients when my sister and I were younger, so I decided to follow in her footsteps and create something that I had never made before. It was only natural that I called my mother and asked for her opinion. Thrilled, she started naming different dishes that she thought about attempting to create, but never got around to making. As we were shouting out different ideas, the word “stroganoff” came up. Knowing that a stroganoff consisted of all the ingredients that I was assigned and was a quite unique dish, it was an easy choice.

Excited about my dish, I headed to the grocery store the next day to pick up the ingredients. Pacing to the back of the store, I first spotted the refrigerated sour cream. A few isles down I spotted the ground beef; 90 percent beef and 10 percent fat. Naturally, I already had garlic at my house so that was quickly crossed off of the list. The last ingredient to pick up was the truffle oil. Searching the isles for quite some time, I finally found a little round bottle of black truffle oil. It was the best twenty five dollars that I have ever spent.

Deciding to pair my stroganoff with a simple steamed rice, I grabbed a small pot and filled it with water and the grain. After about fifteen minutes, the grain turned into perfectly fluffed rice. A bigger pot was needed for the stroganoff, so I dug out the biggest pot that I could find. When the pot was hot enough, I slowly drizzled my twenty five dollars onto the bottom of the pan. The ground beef and garlic, along with a half a palm of salt and pepper, was then added to the expensive sizzle and browned.

Now for the final ingredient; the sour cream. I had not planned before I started the meal exactly how much sour cream that I would put into the dish. Cautiously, I added one teaspoon of the white cream to the already browned ground beef and let it sit for a minute. Realizing that one teaspoon was not even close to being enough, I added another teaspoon. And another. And another. Starting to feel like Emeril Lagasse, I decided that 4 teaspoons of sour cream was enough and put a lid on the pot to let all of the ingredients blend.

To serve my dish, I first filled four bowls with steamed rice. Nervously taking the top off of the pot, I began stirring the ground beef, garlic, and sour cream concoction. Pleasantly surprised, I scooped the stroganoff into the four bowls and began calling my family members downstairs to eat. Knowing that this was first time making something like this, my family was very supportive and anxious to try what I had created.

The first bite was one that I will never forget. The meat had the perfect combination of saltiness and creaminess. Complimented by the rice, this dish proved to be just the hearty meal that my family needed after a long day. Before I could ask what everyone thought of the dish, I saw that half of their bowls were already gone! Mentally patting myself on the back, I enjoyed the rest of my food and had lovely conversation with the people that I love the most.

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Japantown Fieldtrip- Gabrielle Jolly

Located in the heart of the city, Japantown of San Francisco offers some of the most authentic and unique establishments in the state. On this fieldtrip, we explored a mall filled with different Japanese Shops, supermarkets that exclusively sold Japanese ingredients and snacks, and of course the many different restaurants that the area had to offer.

The first stop that we made was to a small café that sold everything from Japanese pastries to fine Japanese cuisine. New People had a very modern, yet still traditional environment. We were given the opportunity to try one of their more popular dishes; a spicy shrimp onigilly. When the 3D triangle was placed in front of me, the smell of fresh seaweed and brown rice tickled my senses. With a splash of the bright orange shrimp tucked into the seaweed, the plate looked very appetizing. The first bite would definitely not be my last. The combination of shrimp, brown rice, and seaweed made for a filling, but satisfying snack.

Our next stop was YakiniQ café, a vibrant café filled with artwork and people taking advantage of free WiFi. We were served by the a very artistically involved man with a decorative apron. In his arms was a large tray full of mugs with a sweet smelling drink. He explained to us that the drink he was holding was a sweet potato latte. Now when I think of a latte, I think of an espresso drink with a hint of another ingredient. After the first sip, I realized that this was no ordinary latte. Not only was there an absence of espresso, but there were also no other ingredients that stood out to me. All I could taste was sweet potato and warm milk, which was a pleasant surprise. The simple drink, closely resembling baby food, was comforting and warmed my entire body.
sweet potato latte

Our last stop was just outside of Japantown at an Indian Restaurant called Dosa. Walking into the castle-like building, we were greeted by the owner, Emily. As she was taking us upstairs to our private dining area, the strong smell of curry filled the air and we knew that we were in for a treat. A few servers came around and placed a dish called Masala Dosa in front of us. This flakey wrap was also served with a chutney and sambar soup. We were instructed to dip the puree potato filled wrap into the soup into the soup, then dip it into the flavorful marinera sauce, and then finally take a bite. I did not put the masala dosa down after the first bite. The combination of flavors complimented each other in a way that made you think that they were made for each other. This was a great way to end my Japantown experience.

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A Memorable Kitchen Disaster- Gabrielle Jolly

When we were little, our parents always told us that a kitchen was not a place to play. We were given rules like “Do not touch the hot water!”, “Be careful with the knives!”, and “Never EVER put plastic in the microwave!” As you get older, you realize that your parents warned you about these things not to be annoying, but for your own safety. I probably should have listened more closely.

One summer evening, my parents decided to treat themselves to a Broadway show in the San Francisco, leaving my older sister and I home alone. Before leaving, my mother calmly tells us not to make a mess, and if we did, to clean it up. Simple instructions for a sixteen year old and an eight year old you would think, but that night quickly turned into my most memorable kitchen disaster. It all started with the bowtie pasta. My job was to slowly pour the festively shaped noodles in the boiling water and watch it cook. Apparently the task proved to be too difficult and before we knew it there was steaming hot water everywhere; on my face, on my arms, and all over the floor. Remembering what my mother told me before she left, towels were immediately thrown on the floor and the mess was quickly cleaned up.

Annoyed with my presence, my sister decided that she should be the one to open the ground beef. Grabbing a short knife from the drawer, she began to saw her way through the packaging. This step unfortunately ended with my sister running her severed and bloody hand through cold water from the kitchen sink for about five minutes.

Fed up with this meal, a can of tomato sauce was plopped into a container and thrown in the microwave. Minutes later (realizing that neither of us turned on the chimney that night), we ran into the smoke filled kitchen and immediately went toward the microwave. We discovered that the once sturdy plastic container had shaped itself into the fetal position. Sizzling bright red lava oozed from its cave onto the floor, turning our once dry hardwood floors into a fire pit. At that point, we had no desire to eat anymore.

Beef and Farfalle Pasta
(The Non-Lazy Way)

1 1/2 cups farfalle pasta
1 pound ground beef
3 cloves minced garlic
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomamto paste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesean cheese

1. Boil a large pot of water, then proceed to add the farfalle pasta
2. In another pot, stir the ground beef on medium-high temperature until brown
3. Take a small pot and combine the fresh tomamtoes, tomato paste, salt, black pepper, and basil. Let simmer.
4. Strain pasta, add the browned ground beef and tomato sauce.
5. Serve on plates, add your desired amount of Parmesean cheese, and enjoy!

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Exploring The Mission District- Gabrielle Jolly

The Mission District in San Francisco is often characterized as a primarily Latino American community, but in reality has the most diverse restaurant choices in America. Recently, my class took a trip to this historical area to explore the many food establishments and art that it has to offer. Making our way down 24th street at around 11am, we began to notice that many of the restaurants were just opening their doors to the public. The smell of marinated meat, fresh bread, and sweet pastries hit our noses what seemed like all at once. Although we saw many places, there were two that made a stamp in my head as the most interesting.

The first place that we stopped was an establishment called Local Mission Eatery. The outside of the restaurant makes passers by think that the place is just your typical, small eatery, but once you open the doors you will realize that this place is unique. As we walked in, we were instantly warmed by the smell of bread and herbs. The open kitchen proved to be the reasoning behind the comfort that we felt, as well as the kind chef who spoke to us about the restaurant itself. The chef brought out what looked like your average grilled cheese sandwich, but soon we noticed that this was no ordinary sandwich. The smell of fresh apples and caramelized onions shocked my senses in the best way possible. Curious, we began taking bites of the classic snack only to realize that the apple and onions that we smelled were combined with the aged wagon wheel cheese and fresh bread in a way that was tremendously unique. With every bite, you could taste a little bit of every ingredient, making it difficult to put down. The initial crunch of the bread reminded me of elementary school, when my mother would make my sister and I sandwiches after school to hold us over until it was time for dinner. The sweet apple compote and soft caramelized onions complimented the perfectly melted cheese in a way that was pleasing to my adult pallet. It was definitely a uniquely delicious spin on a classic comfort food.

With our stomachs comfortably full, we eventually stopped at a small but famous ice cream shop. Known for its out-of-the-box flavors, Humphry Slocombe is one of the most visited ice cream establishments in San Francisco. Walking in, the smell of sweet ice cream makes you feel like you are in grade school again. But as you scan the glass refrigerator full of different flavors, you notice that there is a dramatic twist in every description. I decided to try what they called “Secret Breakfast”. Hesitant at first, I scooped up only a small amount and began to take my first bite. Eating this ice cream was like drinking bourbon, but without the burning sensation down your throat and strong aftertaste. It brought out the sweeter ingredients of the alcoholic beverage, making it easier to enjoy. Content with my first bite, I filled my spoon and took a second one. Again, my mouth was filled with the pleasant taste of bourbon but was immediately followed by a slight crunch. I soon realized why this ice cream was called “Secret Breakfast”. The subtle taste of cornflakes was surprisingly delightful. It was just what the already delicious dessert needed to truly live up to its name.
It is impossible to get a complete perspective on the Mission District in only a few hours, but you can sense the uniqueness in the area with every restaurant and piece of art that you do come across. The authenticity of the people, the food, and the overall culture that you feel when walking through the Mission District can be overwhelming, but you would soon find comfort when you recognize that everyone around you genuinely cares about your experience and wants to make it as memorable as possible.

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