Food for Thought
 The Slow Food Orange County Newsletter
   June, 2009
Welcome to the June issue of "Food for Thought."   We're so glad you've chosen to receive our newsletter. While you will find the most current information about our chapter in this newsletter, be sure to visit our website.  There you will find a list of local restaurants and markets that exemplify the Slow Food philosophy.  You will also find opportunities to become more active in our chapter.
In This Issue
Our Next Events
Our Last Event
Volunteers Needed
National SF Initiative
Recommended Recipe
Culinary Tour
What is Slow Food?

Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that link the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

For more information, visit their website.

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We welcome additions to and comments about this newsletter. Please send us an email

 Our Next Events:
June 28th
July 13 & 20th 

June 28th, 2 pm 
Canning Workshop & Potluck 
Summer is fruit time. Make good use of fruit from your own backyard or your local farmer's market by canning.  Richard and Diane Stein will demonstrate how to preserve that fresh, summer flavor.  You may bring your own bounty or use the homegrown Santa Rosa Plums provided by the Steins.*  Sip slow martinis, or a beverage of your choice (BYOB), while we JAM and CAN.  Potluck dinner will begin at 4 pm.  Canning and potluck will take place at the Steins' home in Irvine, CA.  To  RSVP and receive directions, e-mail
*If interested in canning, please bring your own jars. Jars must be glass and, ideally, canning jars (Ball, Atlas, Mason, Kerr, other).  The Steins will buy new lids so that canning is compliant with FDA regulation.  For more jarring particulars, visit our
 July 13th, 6 pm
Vietnamese Cooking & Market Tour
Tour Vietnam Without Your Passport --this Slow Food OC culinary tour will take you on a journey to a Vietnamese market in Westminster  where you will learn more about the produce, live seafood, and cookware that embodies Vietnamese cooking from Xanh Bistro chef, Haley Nguyen (pictured above).  Event schedule:
  • 6:00 pm: Meet in front of the market and tour the market (address follows) 
  • 7:00 pm: Go to Xanh Bistro for cooking class
  • 8:15 pm: Eat dinner. Dinner includes: rice paper rolls with grilled pork, cucumber and rice noodles, banana blossom salad with shrimp & Vietnamese mint, simmered fish in clay pot of black pepper & soy reduction, sautéed seasonal Vietnamese greens with garlic, tapioca pearl and grilled seasonal fruit.
  • Cost: $75.00 per class (includes market tour, cooking class ,dinner, tax & gratuity but does not include alcoholic beverages).  Purchase Tickets Online

Market Address (where class meets)
Thuan Phat/Westminster Super Store
15440 Beach Blvd.
Westminster CA 92683
Corner of Beach & McFadden

July 20th, 6 pm  
Vietnamese Cooking & Market Tour
  • 6:00 pm: Meet in front of the market and tour the market (address follows)
  • 7:00 pm: Go to Xanh Bistro for cooking class
  • 8:15 pm: Eat dinner. Dinner includes: lotus roots salad with Asian celery, mint & cucumber, kabocha squash soup with coconut milk, braised tofu with tomato and pineapple, grilled eggplant with purple parilla & scallion and vegan soy cheese cake.

To purchase tickets, click on the link above.

Our Last Event: May 30th BBQ at Bommer Canyon Written by Sharon McErlane
May 2009 BBQ FoodThe Slow Food barbeque in Irvine's Bommer Canyon was a great success. Tickets sold out a month ahead of time and in the end, 160 people enjoyed camaraderie, an inspiring address by California's Director of Food and Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura and an al fresco dinner beneath the sycamores.  Untouched by time, Bommer Canyon, site of past round-ups and rodeos on the Irvine Ranch, evokes the feeling of old California.  Set in a rare pocket of undeveloped land, in the quiet of the afternoon as you walk through the sagebrush all you can hear is the sound of birds and the rustling of the wind.

Sixty people came early and followed a ranger from the Irvine Ranch Conservancy on a hike through the canyon.  This is the largest hiking group that has ever showed up for a Conservancy hike.  Later they joined the other guests for dinner, an hour or so of bluegrass music by  Walden Dahl and then listened to the sounds of Tex Ritter and the Sons of the Pioneers.
Executive Chef Thomas Ryan, from the Big Canyon Country Club and a team prepared the barbeque with all food selected and cooked according to Slow Food principles (see recipe below).  Whole Foods Marked donated the chicken for the barbeque (Mary's chickens), contributed tote bags full of food to the raffle and brought personnel to work at the event, and Trader Joe's Market donated cases of bottled water for the barbeque, and many Slow Food members gave their time and effort to make the Bommer Barbeque a success.
Money raised at this event will be donated to charity, specifically to the Monkey Business Café in Fullerton which helps train foster care boys to enter the workforce after they turn 18.


Left: CA Director of Food and Agriculutre, A.G. Kawamura talks with BBQ guests.  Right: Executive Chef Thomas Ryan.  Photos cortesy of Curt and Karen Gibbs, Members of Slow Food LA Chapter.
Culinary Creationists Needed for October Simultaneous Suppers!
In October of 2008, Slow Food organized an event titled, "Simultaneous Suppers."  Three dinner parties were hosted simultaneously in the homes of three Slow Food members.   Each host, along with a small support team, developed their own menu based on Slow Food principles, using fresh, in-season foods that were locally sourced (when possible). 
Due to the tremendous success of this event, we would like to continue the tradition on Saturday, October 17, 2009.  We are looking for Slow Food volunteers to either host a dinner (for 6-10 people) or work on a food preparation team.  The host will be reimbursed for the cost of the food and wine so the only expense is your time and effort.  We would like to organize five Simultaneous Suppers this year!  We charge $60 per person (which is tax-deductible) for a complete dinner, including wine.  The money raised is used to support Slow Food OC and our charity, Hart Community Homes/Monkey Business Café.
If you are interested in hosting a dinner or working on a food preparation team, please contact Roger McErlane at by July 1, 2009.  Once we have a list of volunteers, we will schedule a meeting to plan menus, etc.  Last year menus were posted on the Slow Food OC website so interested individuals could select the location and menu of their choice.
Garden Enthusiasts Needed for Monkey Business Café Kitchen Garden Project!
Monkey Business Logo
If you love to garden or just want to join in the fun (and the dirt) of creating a kitchen garden please let us know.  We now have a kitchen garden plan for our long time partner Hart Community Homes/Monkey Business Café.    The Café and the young Hart Community Home participants will use the produce, fruit and herbs in their daily food preparation.
One of our members (Fred Tarnay) has designed the irrigation and planting plan.  We expect that plan will be executed in three phases including demolition and irrigation; construction of raised beds and planting material; and edible plants such as citrus trees, herbs, greens, berries and vegetables .  If you have any interest in getting dirty, working in the soil and watching a garden grow, please contact Steve Widmayer at:  We expect to schedule several work parties to make it all happen in the next few months.  The garden plan can be viewed on our website.
Check out the Monkey Business Café website.
School program photoSlow Food USA School Lunch Program: Volunteers Needed
Our national organization Slow Food USA has started a campaign called "Time for Lunch".  It is focused on improving the Child Nutrition Act, a federal law that governs the National School Lunch Program.  This program sets the standards for food eaten by millions of school children every day.  Slow Food's goal is to change the National School Lunch Program so that the schools have the resources to serve real, healthy food.  The need for nutritious school food has never been greater. Today, one in four children is overweight or obese, and one in three will develop diabetes in his or her lifetime. For many children, school lunch is their only guaranteed meal of the day.
Slow Food OC is looking for a team of volunteers interested in running the campaign in Orange County.  Slow Food USA has prepared a Tool Kit that outlines the initiative's objectives.  Organizers will circulate a "Time for Lunch" petition throughout our community, discuss the issue of school lunches with local legislators and organize Eat-Ins (pot-luck) at several Orange County schools (the first Eat In is scheduled for 9/7/09).
If you are an interested parent, teacher, school administrator or citizen, please consider volunteering.  In order for the program to succeed, we need individuals who are knowledgeable of our schools' needs. Interested volunteers should contact Roger McErlane at
For more information, go to the Slow Food USA website

Recommended Recipe:  BBQ Chicken Rub from Slow Food BBQ Recipe Courtesy of Executive Chef Thomas Ryan, Big Canyon Country Club
1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee
2 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon celery salt
All of the ingredients were purchased in organic form and mixed with organic olive oil (2 cups per recipe ). Mix all the ingredients together well and add the olive oil. You can add more salt to taste depending on your chicken. Marinate for ½ hour and grill.
Wood mixture for BBQ used was:
Mexican Mesquite 160 #
Charcoal Briquettes 100#
Local Orange wood was mixed into the BBQ for flavor
Vietnam Tour
Tour of Vietnam, February 23 - March 5, 2010
Slow Food OC offers an extraordinary opportunity to savor the joy of Vietnam. Our tour guide will be Haley Nguyen, restauranteur and cooking instructor. The locations are chosen after careful scouting and given the utmost consideration to the principal themes of the trip. All accommodations are at first rate hotels/resorts and meals are skillfully chosen to represent the best the local cultures have to offer. Haley will offer select travelers a rare glimpse into the past of Vietnam thru history, poetry, music, dance, and of course food. Visitors will have their senses thrilled by all the sights and sounds of a society that has both survived and been recreated by a century of contact between an ancient civilization and the modern ways of the west. We'll visit museums, temples, and pagodas; experience an Imperial Banquet, and see the world-famous Water Puppet Show.  For more information visit our website.
Cost: Price per person: $3695


Become a Member

We invite you to join the Slow Food movement!  Slow Food OC is working hard to preserve and protect local foods and food traditions.  Our convivium plans events and programs in places across OrangeCounty-anywhere from community gardens, taste education dinners, and farm tours-join the network and become active in planning and participating in these diverse initiatives. 

Click here for Benefits of Membership. Send us an email if you have any questions.