Letters to the Editor

From the week of 4/26/2007

"All the Way," Jason Sheehan, April 12

Back to Nature

Maybe it's time for more chefs to...not put politics and principle before cuisine, but to incorporate it into a path for change. Obviously, people are waking up to the effect we are having on this planet and in our communities. We became a society so dependent on Internet communication, cell phones and hurrying through our days that we have little, if any, connection to each other. We have fat kids and fat adults with more diabetes and depression than any other country in the world. We have kids who think food comes from the grocery store and have virtually no respect for what they put into their bodies, leaving them with very little respect for those bodies. We have chefs who think food comes off the back of a truck, and that they themselves dictate availability, menus, even seasons. Then we wonder how these egomaniacs got created.

What happened to really knowing about food, about ingredients? About what grows together and when? What happened to having a personal relationship with the people who grow our food, the very thing we need to be healthy and strong? I believe that those personal relationships make us responsible, make us honor them and their work by cooking a dish that makes them proud.

Isn't it time to learn some responsibility in the most basic way we nourish ourselves and each other, putting away the egos and creating menus within the boundaries of nature? There are many chefs jumping on this politically correct train. It's one that requires more time, more flexibility, more creativity and, above all, endless commitment. It's harder than going to the store or having food delivered off the back of a truck. It's harder than putting whatever you want on the menu whenever you want it. It takes creativity, flexibility, an awareness of nature and a tremendous amount of respect for the hard work of farmers (who are subject to the "whims" of nature). It'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out in a year or two.

Are their beliefs and missions backed by the serious commitment to the time and discipline it requires? And are you willing to recognize and congratulate their efforts?
Teri Ripetto

"On the Block," Jason Sheehan, April 5

New York State of Mind

First off, whoever thought a chubby Irish kid from western New York would make a good restaurant critic had one hell of a sense of humor. As a fellow New Yorker, I feel I must speak on behalf of my home state and the people I love, for the sake of regaining our respect and some dignity. So let me voice a few concerns about Jason Sheehan -- concerns his editor should be seriously contemplating if she ever wants a job with a respectable paper!

"Pizza crust is not so important...it's just a conveyor." Young Jedi, have you completely lost touch with reality? You're lucky your readers are in Denver, Colorado, because in your home state, you'd get bitch-slapped from one block to the next for such slander. You obviously know nothing about pizza. The fact that a "food critic" would even suggest something so preposterous is hilarious!

"Linguini cut so thin it was like angel hair..." Seriously? Linguini cut that thin is cappellini, chef, not linguini. Try telling that to the federal regulators in Bologna who set the official Italian regulations on pasta size and shape. Trust me, what they did to Mussolini will look like a picnic compared to what you'll get!

I was in Whole Foods eating a slice of pizza when I read the review of Via, and I almost choked to death on a mushroom. A pork chop cooked bloody medium? Say what? Medium and juicy, yes. But if I'm eating pork and I see blood on my plate, I'm packing my bags and I ain't lookin' back!

Jason, it may be time to head back to New York and back to school; there is much to learn, and the clock is ticking! But this time stay east of Interstate 81, because anything west of that is just hick, nothing but chicken wings and snowmobiles in camouflage. Is that your story, Sheehan? Before writing fancy reviews, you lived in the woods, huh? On the bright side, I'd like to say keep it up! All your fellow New Yorkers love to read this over Genny Red Eyes and laugh, wondering how close you lived to Love Canal!
Nick DeCiccio

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