The Wide Angle: Find food friends or prepare to duck the ladle

Published 11:01 am Sunday, November 20, 2016

A bit of advice: Find friends.

Now I can’t tell you who to be friends with and let’s be honest, I really can’t force you to find friends, you loner you. A walking Bon Jovi song is what you are.

I can still urge you to not only find friends, but find a specific type of them.

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Here it is … wait for it … and … find friends with food backgrounds.

Case in point: I get to say I know Hy-Vee chef Kristine Wolner and reg dietitian Courtney Kremer. They are at a wonderful nexus of professionalism and friendship and over the time I’ve known them we’ve had some wonderful collaborations for a variety of publications.

But I’ve also been able to come away with some great ideas for my home life and a healthy excitement for food in general.

That’s all well and good — great even — but more than that, I get to try food.

Another case in point. The other day Kristine was giving a crockpot demonstration at the Hormel Historic Home. After her demonstration she had a savory chicken and pot roast recipe available to try.

Like the great person she is, with just a minimal amount of push from Courtney I got to try both and I was pretty sure at that moment that was the only reason I got into journalism in the first place.

Of course it also served to remind me that somehow I botched my own roast the night before. I’m not really sure how I managed it. I mean crockpot cooking isn’t exactly rocket science. It’s meant to ease the process of cooking not complicate it.

You take the incredients, pile it all together in the crockpot, set the heat level and let it go for the day. Perfect. How could I screw it up?

Well, anybody that knows me knows I have the unrivaled capability of screwing up simple things. I once got  fishing line tangled without casting. I manage it quite often actually so this was not terribly surprising if not irritating.

Granted it was edible, but far tougher than it should have been. My guess was it was both too frozen and too big, which I found out from Kristine later that those two things combined were probably the root of my problems.

When I told them my story, they could have easily judged me for my failures or gone all Gordon Ramsay on me though if you know them that latter possibility probably wouldn’t have happened.

Instead they listened as if I was telling them about the fossil of a new dinosaur I just found. I guess there was the possibility that they were astounded, as many might be, that I could sink a crockpot recipe, but I prefer to think they found it fascinating.

Later we moved to the Hormel Historic Home dining room to discuss another story I was working on for Austin Living Magazine, ironically on crockpot cooking. For the first 15 minutes or so we talked and talked and talked. About restaurants, recipes, story ideas down the line — all of which surrounded food so I was game.

This inevitably made me hungry, and I thought seriously about heading back to the kitchen to steal more pot roast. It wouldn’t have been stealing necessarily, but considering that so many people weren’t getting the chance to try food like that on this day I felt I had gotten away with something.

Take that other people.

Essentially what I’ve been trying to babble my way through to saying is that knowing food people is awesome. Very simply, they are just fun to be around. Nevermind the food aspect — as hard as that may be — but it always seems laid back when you are hanging with them.

Sure I’m not in the kitchen and they may be just as likely to throw a ladle at me (Band name: Throwing Ladles!) as talk to me, but I would be OK with that.

Then you get to lick the spoon, but that’s probably a subject for another column.