Food shows are often coupled with travel, nothing more than a series filmed by the late chef and writer Anthony Bourdain over the years.
Now, CNN is broadcasting its first food trip show since Bourdain’s death nearly three years ago. And if the rumors about it were any indication, it had a hit.
On Valentine’s Day, CNN launched Searching for Italy, a six-part series hosted by actor Stanley Tucci.
The premiere debuted as a No. 1 on cable news in its time slot, attracting 1.5 million viewers, said the network.
This week’s episode made Tucci a trending topic on Twitter. The show was repeated several times overnight after the original episode aired, and there were also reruns on Saturday nights.
Tucci is not the only actor who loves to hang out and eat, although he has appeared in a number of films, such as Julie and Julia, The Devil Wears Prada and Big Night, where food takes center stage.
Tucci has written several cookbooks, starting in 2012 with Tucci Recipe Book, which focuses on the memory of his family, with recipes and wine pairings. (Since my mom likes her work on screen, I bought her the cookbook, and found it a fun reading.)
More cookbooks followed, and over the years, Tucci took notes for possible TV shows. While others had approached him to put on a show, CNN’s opportunity seemed “more appropriate,” he said Los Angeles Times.
Tucci seems like a reasonable host, given the number of celebrities who have studied streaming, public television, and cable. And, he has an avid fan base. So far, his Instagram videos the Negroni cocktail has attracted 1.1 million views.
Filming for the series started in 2019. The premise is simple: Tucci visits six places in Italy – the first two episodes feature Naples and Rome, while later chapters focus on Bologna, Milan, Tuscany and Sicily.
She eats famous local dishes, learns to make foods like mozzarella, chats with chefs and writers, and shares impressions, all illustrated with stunning photography.
Throughout the show, Tucci speaks in a mixture of English and Italian, and provides her narration. The Italian is a great exercise for people whose language skills became weak during the shutdown, and there are subtitles in English.
Searching For Italy was mostly filmed before the pandemic, which crippled the Italian economy, but two episodes were completed after the COVID protocol was put in place.
This program is pure TV convenience, the kind that has worked for streaming stars like Phil Rosenthal, Somebody Feed host Phil, and Samin Nosrat, whose Netflix show Salt Fat Acid Heat echoes its bestselling cookbook.
And, it gives foodies a reason to watch CNN on Sunday nights. The only blaring note is the constant interruption of commercials, which can be resolved by recording the show and passing it on quickly.
But, CNN has to pay the bills, and if Searching For Italy continues to be a fan favorite, Stanley Tucci may have found a new role as host of documentaries, among others.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Pantry Plus More (PPM), a non-profit organization focused on ending food insecurity and fighting poverty, has released a recipe book to help its clients eat healthier.
A recipe book of 20 recipes serving everything from breakfast to dinner and it’s also free available online. This cookbook has been in production for about two years and has now been given to around 65 MTC clients, according to Mike Miller, co-chair of the PPM’s Education and Nutrition Committee.
“We wanted to try to prepare delicious and nutritious meals using most, if not all, of the non-perishable ingredients in our kitchen and make it easier for kids to prepare,” says Miller. “Because often many children prepare their own food. That’s the basis, for preparing healthy, tasty, easy-to-prepare recipes that anyone can enjoy, not just children. “
Most recipes in cookbooks use the microwave. Miller says when left alone, children often choose the things that are easiest to make and / or eat, but more often than not, their choices are unhealthy. That’s why making all meals easy to make is a big part of making cookbooks.
And even though the cookbook is targeted at kids, Miller says it’s for everyone. Because the idea is that if it’s simple enough for a child to understand, then adults should be fair.
His cookbook, for now, contains only 20 recipes but won’t last forever. Miller said there are plans to expand.
“We are now making additional recipes that can be added to that cookbook and at this point, we have seen the demand,” he said. “There is a demand for cookbooks, so we have a grant, we will order additional mini binders. We are working on additional recipes. We’ll print out all the recipes and put them in a cookbook with section dividers. “
One PPM client who is a retired chef recently wrote more than 30 recipes with the potential to add. Miller said about 65 clients who receive the initial cookbook will also get new pages to add to their binders.
The award for making cookbooks doesn’t just belong to PPM, says Miller. He thanked the group of West Virginia University students who worked on the recipe. Some students, he said, even made videos to show clients how to prepare food.
Miller said he would like to thank his team on the Nutrition and Education Committee for all their hard work. He also thanked PPM as a whole, saying that he couldn’t have done it if it weren’t for organizational support.
“Inspiring” to see how dedicated volunteers and PPM members are in fighting food insecurity and poverty, he said.
“It’s just an extraordinary organization,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Over lunch, chef Dean Keddell stares at his nearly empty restaurant in the once thriving holiday area of Seminyak in Bali.
“Usually the restaurant will be full, crowded … with people, fireworks, there will be a lot going on, but not this year,” he said.
COVID-19 has made a difference. Official figures claim there are more than 900 active cases in Bali, but Dean is seeing the impact of the virus on every empty table and every lonely street.
“When COVID-19 hit, the number of people overseas canceling trips increased and there was panic,” he said.
“I continued for three months but I couldn’t continue and I had to fire the staff – 95 percent of my staff are Balinese, I see them as my extended family, now they sit and wait for my call.”
This is a terrible situation. One that is played out in businesses all over the island. Dean watched as people left the city and returned to their villages, living with their families, growing food to survive.
“COVID-19 has had quite a drastic impact on the local population,” said Dean.
The luxury of Bali’s beaches hides everyday poverty
Even before the corona virus, Bali had a big problem with poverty.
Outside the tourist center, many families struggle to make ends meet. Limited food, basic health care and education are valuable possessions.
In fact, said Dean, many Balinese survive only with the help of charities.
“The government says no one will starve. It’s hard to imagine if it wasn’t for charity that some people would have died long ago. Charities need money to do their work.”
The charities he talks about include the Bali Children Foundation, founded by renowned Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist Margaret Barry, which provides everything from food to educational programs for 8,000 young people across the island.
Now Margaret finds the demand for Foundation services increasing, and funds to pay for them even harder to find.
“In a normal year I will return to Australia, market the Foundation to raise money to continue our work,” said Margaret. “Without question, this is the longest time I have had no return.”
Obviously talking to him that things got hopeless. Despite providing more than 1,650,000 meals to remote communities, the demand continues to increase.
“Currently we have funds for food until February and educational resources until March,” he said. Beyond that timeframe, he added, there were only big question marks.
And then something magical happened
Which brings us back to Dean Keddell.
Sitting in Seminyak, watching the lockdown take effect, she began to ask herself how she could give her remaining staff something to do. More than that, how can he help the community survive?
He began to think, if Australians don’t want and can’t come to Bali, why not bring Bali to Australia? The question is how.
“Cookbook, of course,” he said with a laugh.
But deciding to make a cookbook is the easy part. The problems are many. First, how does he differentiate his cookbook from every other cookbook in a busy market?
“Even before COVID-19, I had planned cookbooks. I thought and thought, and I bored myself to death,” he said.
“Then the idea of a community cookbook came up. It started by asking my staff what recipe they would suggest. I went to their house, ate with them and heard their story.”
At that moment, Dean said something magical happened.
“I realized it was the emotion behind the food [that’s important], “he said.” You start asking someone about their favorite dish and then you ask where it came from and a chef said when he tasted the food, he felt his mother’s warmth. That really surprised me. “
But new problems emerged. And the solution
The second problem is publishing high-quality cookbooks with no experience.
Enter Jonette George, owner of Melbourne’s Sunday Press.
With a track record of producing quality books about food and its origins, she has volunteered to help bring Dean’s vision to life.
“Having written a book about food in Bali, I want to help the local community,” said Jonette. “I wanted to dig deep and go behind the scenes to find out how people, some of them very poor and with few resources, make their favorite dishes.”
The result is Our Bali – Your Bali, a cookbook that Dean thinks will please cooks but provides something more than just a recipe book.
‘They watch you eat every bite’
Like every writer, Dean said he learned a lot as he researched and helped put the book together.
As she researches a chapter, she meets the chefs of 14 warungs – small and humble, usually open and family-run cafes that can be found everywhere in Bali – to inquire about their kitchen secrets.
“I was greeted with hospitality. They wanted me to eat their food,” said Dean. “They don’t want me to pay for it. They show me the same warmth and sincerity that a five-star restaurant has. They watch you eat every bite to see if you enjoy it as much as they like to cook it.”
Dean said he learned something else too while he was writing the book: “It’s expensive, it’s a big investment to make it happen.”
To overcome the shortage of upfront funding, he created a website where Balinese lovers can pre-order and pay for books before they are published. The pledge will be ready and delivered for Mother’s Day in Australia in May.
His goal was to sell 5,000 copies. It’s a huge request, but all the money she makes goes to the island’s struggling charities.
A valuable lesson
There are many people who want this project to continue including Margaret Barry. She knows book sales will fund food deliveries, but she also knows the money she spends goes back to the community.
“There are so many local people who are part of our organization. We have 16 staff, teachers, interns and people delivering food,” he said.
“Locals help deliveries, we buy locally and there is strong community support.
David Booth runs the East Bali Poverty Project, which is all about sustainable development providing water, toilets and food in remote villages in Bali. It also provides opportunities for young people to work outside their village. However, with unemployment increasing, providing food has become a priority.
“Currently, the monthly basic food package is very important,” he said.
“In December I spent money I didn’t have and now I am faced with having to pay for January’s food distribution… there are malnourished children out there”.
Summing up the whole project Dean still can’t believe he got this far.
People gave him the recipe, they gave him the time and expertise to make the book and the foodie has sent money up front to make the book happen.
But most importantly, the Balinese he wanted to thank and the life lessons they gave him.
“I totally take the idea that the fewer people, the more likely they are to give.”
This is a valuable lesson in difficult times and very easy to forget.
TThe fish soup can be served in the center of the table, inviting everyone to spoon it into their own bowl and mop up the final sauce with a bread crust. The fishmonger does most of the work for this – all it takes is a little chopping, stirring and seasoning. When fridge space is precious, adding a few cans of tomatoes to make the main course also comes in handy.
400g mixed white fish fillets such as hake, cod or bream, shelled and cut into pieces
200ml fish stock
1 glass of white wine
100g raw prawns
200g of clams or mussels
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Juice of ½ lemon
In a large skillet large enough to hold all the fish and with a lid, add enough olive oil over low heat. Add fennel, garlic and pepperoncini, season and sauté briefly for five minutes until soft.
Add the canned tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes until they start to form a thick sauce.
Add white fish, skin side up, season and pour over fish stock and white wine. Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes before adding the shrimp and clams or mussels. Cover with lid and cook until the clams or mussels are open, about three minutes.
When the stew is ready, add the flat leaf parsley and lemon juice. Serve immediately.
...HEAT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 8 PM EDT
* WHAT...HEAT INDEX VALUES UP TO 107 EXPECTED.
* WHERE...IN MARYLAND, DORCHESTER, WICOMICO AND SOMERSET
COUNTIES. IN VIRGINIA, WESTMORELAND, RICHMOND, NORTHUMBERLAND,
LANCASTER, GLOUCESTER, MIDDLESEX AND MATHEWS COUNTIES.
* WHEN...FROM NOON TO 8 PM EDT TUESDAY.
* IMPACTS...HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY MAY CAUSE HEAT
ILLNESSES TO OCCUR.
DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS, STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM, STAY OUT
OF THE SUN, AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS. YOUNG
CHILDREN AND PETS SHOULD NEVER BE LEFT UNATTENDED IN VEHICLES
UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN
POSSIBLE RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR
EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT
STROKE. WEAR LIGHTWEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN
POSSIBLE. TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK, THE OCCUPATIONAL
SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT
REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE
OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION.
HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY! CALL 9 1 1.