Whoa! That’s a Lot of Brands

The dietitian’s Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo last week overwhelmed me. Between them, FitBloggin, the Editor’s Cooking & Entertaining Showcase, and other food events in Manhattan, I am up to my neck in swag, branded promotional gifts. I have seen around 500 vendors in 17 days. Did I say I am overwhelmed?  Some products are fantastic (hello, Tupperware~) and others are unexpectedly cool (more about them later) but, overall, none was necessary. But someone, somewhere, has some job.

All in all, the food industry is about developing niche products out of something we already have. Take salt, for instance, simple and necessary. A biblical food. At one end, I met Real Salt, very nice people selling salt harvested from an ancient sea bed unrefined with 60 trace minerals. At the other end is Soda-Lo, also very nice people, who use nanotechnology to recrystalize salt into microscopic hollow crystals that are meant to reduce the salt in processed foods. Both brands (and others) claim to deliver an intense salty taste immediately and so, we need less to register a salty taste. Both companies seem to be telling the truth, as is my man, Alton Brown, who explains the taste of salt.

None of this matters to a body that can utilize salt in any form, from any source, and excrete the excess (when we are in good health.)  As for the teeny bit of 60 trace minerals? I get them in my wholesome food and vitamin-mineral supplement. And the nano-salt? I don’t eat much processed food and I guess nanos are okay….

I have to say that too many brands in too few days messed up my chi, but I am breathing in to restore peace. In the end, the experience left me seriously craving cabbage.

This is My Pledge to you: I will never write about a product unless I truly love it and I actually use it. And if I am paid to write to endorse anything, I will disclose it, and you may never know how I really feel. Full disclosure: No one paid me to mention cabbage.

Your thoughts:  What do you think about having so many brands on the market?

A Tupperware Party, New York City Style

Tupperware recently hosted a party to showcase their new line of products – choppers, smoothie makers, cream whippers, pots, pans, and cutlery – to food writers. The event was held at the Tasting Table, a new test kitchen and dining room in SoHo, and featured chef Marco Canora of Hearth Restaurant and the Food Network’s Iron Chef fame. Chef Marco whipped up a few dishes for us and everything was beyond delicious. Watch him at the event butterfly, season, pound, and saute his “Flavor Pounded Chicken.” The end product was crispy and light, like no boneless breast I’ve had. At the party, I discovered a few things worth sharing.

Chef Marco is all about soffritto. Soffritto is a mixture of very finely chopped vegetables, such as onions, celery, and carrots or fennel, with or without herbs and garlic, that is sautéed in hot olive oil. The natural vegetable sugars caramelize as they cook for quite awhile. Soffritto gives Italian stews, sauces and braised dishes their flavor, but every great cuisine has a soffritto. For instance, the Far East has scallions ginger and garlic, and in Spain, soffritto is peppers onions and garlic. Marco Canora’s cookbook, Salt to Taste: The Key to Confident, Delicious Cooking explains it all.

Tupperware Chop ’N Prep™ Chef
You’re probably saying, “I don’t need that,” but you do. This tool makes soffritto easy. Chef Marco says, “Mince the vegetables very small, like grains of sand.” Watch the Chop ’N Prep Chef in action. I use it to chop my fresh herbs. What a delight.

Universal Series Knives Starter Set
The joy of cooking with really sharp knives… We attendees got two all purpose Tupperware knives as a party favor. The set includes a heavy duty prep knife and a delicate paring knife, each with a protective sheath because the knives are really that sharp.

By the end of the party, I was all set to enroll in Chef Marco’s Tuscan Cooking School this summer and to buy more Tupperware from the online catalog. I could never top that party,

Your thoughts: Could you use some new cooking gadgets?