THE DISH – Free-range breweries yes; fish and chips no

By Jim Duncan

The winter quarter brought a perfect storm of food chaos to the world. For the first time in history, the number of people living in cities outnumbered those living in the countryside. Food inflation reared its ugly head in the third world. The Goldman Sachs commodity index soared by 77 percent in five years. For the first time in decades, soft commodities outpriced hard commodities (oil, gold and metals). Food riots broke out across West Africa, in Yemen and Zimbabwe. In Burkina Faso troops were called out to quell widespread public disorder. Disturbances were also reported in Mauritania and Senegal. China reported it could not supply rice for its people.

According to reports in The Guardian, Russia introduced retail price controls on basic foods, and the UN said that budgetary constraints could force it to ration food aid to developing countries. Inflation was blamed on several things. 1.) Surging demand from the middle classes of Asia and South America as people move from basic grain diets to higher consumption of meat, milk, fruit and vegetables; 2.) The global population continued to rise — from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 6.5 billion today, according to the U.N. Population growth imposes extra strain on arable land, already being eroded; 3.) Australia, one of the biggest grain producers, has been hit by severe drought; 4.) Large areas that could be used to grow food are being converted to ethanol and biodiesel production as the U.S., Brazil and the EU seek to reduce dependence on oil. 5.) Subsidies for food production in rich nations priced farmers in poor nations out of markets and led to dumping overflow crops on the third world.

The life and death issue in Des Moines was where and when to allow the expansion of food trucks. A six-month trial period will begin next week after the city council voted 4-1, with restaurant owner Joe Gatto abstaining. Otherwise, it was a quiet quarter with reduced openings.
The Good News
Prairie Moon Winery, the creators of Iowa’s only ice wine, expanded its footprint north of Ames with the opening of Alluvial Brewing Company by a new family member. The brewery is surrounded by organic crops, wetlands, prairie and vineyards, and it is self-described as a free-range brewery… Bentley’s Bakery opened in Urbandale with Scandinavia specialties… Sam Auen announced that Krunkwich Ramen would open by press time… Joe Formaro opened his Djonut’s (Butter submerged donuts) with presences in Cape’s Kafé at the Des Moines Social Club (DMSC) and Gateway Market… Culinary Loft debuted in the DMSC with a schedule of spring and summer cooking classes and venue space for special events… Boone’s Spring Food and Wine Fest debuted… Fresh Market, a Whole Foods-like chain from North Carolina, announced a 23,000 square-foot store for Mills Crossing in West Des Moines. It also accelerated plans for a store at Ingersoll and 31st Street… Jimmy John’s (Illinois) and Abelardo’s (Nebraska) continued their relentless expansions here. JJ’s opened new stores on Southwest Oralabor Road in Ankeny, on Meredith Drive in Urbandale and on Fleur Drive. Abelardo’s added one on South Ankeny Boulevard in Ankeny…

Natural and organic food pioneers Jim and Cindy Raife announced the closing of their New City Market at the end of April after 27 years… Joe Giudicessi, founder of Red’s and Christopher’s, passed away. A standing room only crowd at his mass demonstrated how much he will be missed… Student-run Central Campus Cafe reopened for spring service through May 15 (on alternating Thursdays and Fridays, from 10:50 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). Menus and reservations can be accessed through the group’s Facebook page. Tom and Elaine Ferin announced their Ferinheit Pizza, a mobile wood burning operation, will be serving at 515 Brewing Co… The sports bar Overtime reopened, under its original ownership… Two pioneers of different sorts — Macaroni Grill and Raccoon River Brewing Company — both closed in March after many trailblazing years… Mike Wedeking put his Flying Mango up for sale… Steve “Woody” Wasson ( Woody’s Smoke Shack) partnered with Mullet’s, which will now be serving Woody’s barbecue.


Honors and Accolades

Competitive eater Molly Schuyler broke her own “Emmenecker Challenge” record and now owns records at all six of Jethro’s locations in the metro. She consumed five pounds of food in 2 minutes and 55 seconds. Her splits included a pound of brisket in 5 seconds. She also submitted a petition for a Guinness record for finishing off five pounds of cooked bacon in 5 minutes and 5 seconds… B&B Grocery, Meat & Deli and Goldie’s joined Dewitt’s TC’s Point After and Balltown’s Breitbach’s on Serious Eats list of the best BPT in America. Iowa tied Indiana for the most selections and those two states ate up more than half the list… Cookies Wings-N-Things Hot Sauce was among the top winners of the National Barbecue Association’s awards, taking a blue ribbon in hot sauces and fourth place for barbecue gift packs… Crouse Café won the Iowa Tourism Office’s “Pie Madness” award for their cherry pie. Crouse was also named a charter member of Cityview’s Hall of Iowa Culinary Excellence. Other charter CHOICE members included B&B Grocery, Meat & Deli, Graziano Brothers, Maytag Blue Cheese, AE Dairy, Tursi’s Latin King, Noah’s, Mr. V’s, the Iowa State Fair, and Int’Veld’s Pella BolognaAnkeny Diner, Zombie Burger + Drink Lab and Big City Burgers and Greens joined out-of-towners The Cider House (Fairfield), Downright Delicious (Clarinda), Elm’s Club (Creston), First Street Grill (Keosauqua), Rides Bar and Grill (Fort Dodge), The Ritz (Arnolds Park), and Saucy Focaccia (Cedar Rapids) on the Iowa Cattleman’s Association list of Iowa’s top 10 burgers… La Hacienda relinquished its Ingersoll venue to make way for the new Fresh Market there. The Mexican restaurant took over the former Carlos O’Kelly’s venue in West Des Moines… El Bait Shop was named to Thrillist’s list of America’s top 100 beer joints for the second year in row… Sean Wilson (Proof) and Andy Schumacher (Cobble Hill in Cedar Rapids) were named among the top 20 chefs in the Midwest by the James Beard Awards. Nic Gonwa (Eatery A) was named one of the nation’s top 20 chefs under 30 by the same group… Lucky George Farm, a regular at Downtown Farmers Market, provided the Large Black Pig that won Cochon 555 in Minneapolis… Strudl Haus expanded its hours and now serves dinner…


Eye openers

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a report that claimed 60 million metric tons of food is wasted a year in the United States, with an estimated value of $162 billion. More than half ends up in municipal landfills, at a cost of about $1.5 billion a year to local governments. The report estimated that a third of all the food produced in the world is never consumed, and the total cost of food waste could be as high as $400 billion a year. It said that the food discarded in the most developed countries could feed all of the world’s 870 million hungry people.


Political correctness gone mad

Responding to a New Zealand Ministry of Education directive, some New Zealand publishers banned references to “fish and chips” in modern children’s stories. RELISH

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Categories: The Dish

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