Sky Full of Bacon

Welcome, salongoers, and some dribbles of news

UPDATE: So this was a cool night (and how rare for me, these days, to have two social events to go to on a Monday night no less…) About 25 people showed up for the salon, interestingly including Bruce F., star of the very first Sky Full of Bacon (the guy with homemade Earthboxes on his garage). Besides myself and the guy making a full-length food documentary below, there was a guy from a comedy troupe called Ladyparts, who have done sketch comedy online— so we kind of had all the ranges represented, short viral video, medium-length pieces (that’s me), and a feature documentary. There was a good discussion about how much response you can really expect from users and (from Bruce) whether you can really lead people to activism (I said, I’m not really pushing an agenda per se, but I’m never sorry to hear that somebody is following up on what I’ve shown by making headcheese or buying La Quercia prosciutto), and also about to what extent online media is a substitute for actually experiencing things yourself; one woman got to the heart of the matter by observing that the camera and the video was my vehicle for experiencing things more fully, for opening doors to those experiences, which is certainly true, and I replied that at the same time, the experience is transferable— if you watch my video and then go into a place and talk them up using what you learned from the video as a starting point, you will quickly gain much of the same access and intimacy with a restaurant or chef that I got by filming for several hours.

Afterwards I went to Phillip Foss’s birthday party at Pops For Champagne; the party was partly a costume party to allow anonymous reviewers to stay anonymous, though I didn’t see any actual reviewers with secret identities there; nevertheless, it prompted my costume, which consisted of a nametag which said “Hello, My Name Is Phil Vettel.” Certainly minimalist next to Foss’s own costume, a full Roman centurion kit.

Anyway, the party was partly underwritten by Miracle Berry, a lozenge made from miracle fruit, which somehow deadens the bitterness receptors or something, so that lemons taste like lemonade. An interesting effect, also slightly perturbing (first step on the slippery slope to some kind of future Alinea in which they simply wire up your taste receptors and induce flavor sensations by keyboard), and it only did so much for our cocktails (apparently the cucumber cocktail Foss invented and named for his blog, The Pickled Tongue, was fairly unpleasant without the miracle berry, pretty good with). Interesting to try, but I doubt I’ll be dosing myself in the future with them. Saw many interesting food media folks, Gourmet Rambler (Tatiana Abramova), Eliza Grossman (of ElizaBites), Lisa Shames, as well as chefs including Troy Graves (Eve), Brian Ellison (Frontera/Topolobampo), and others, as well as fishmonger to the star chefs Carl Galvan. As the evening went on a crowd arrived from the big Art Smith-Common Threads-Oprah event (see Steve Dolinsky’s tweets for the glittery red carpet report), and I talked to Graham Bowles for a few minutes about Grahamwich (he told me where it’s going to be, but it’s a secret). He also strongly endorsed The Purple Pig. Thanks for the invite to Phillip (whose generosity toward a good cause rivaled the Common Threads event’s, in spirit if not numbers; read more and give a little here.)

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I’m one of the guest speakers at a salon in Logan Square Monday night, so I’m putting this up to direct anyone who comes from there to the good stuff here! To watch the videos, click on Video Podcasts at right; the last full-length one was Pie As a Lifestyle, you can watch it right now:

Sky Full of Bacon 13: Pie As a Lifestyle from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.

Some interesting posts of the past include this guide to Supermercado Taquerias, the Gebert-Nagrant Sessions, this one about beekeeping, and this two-part series on making my grandmother’s piccalilli.

Since I found myself in the unexpected position of having two finished videos in the hopper (one of which was waiting for its radio half on WBEZ, and thus holding up the other), I said I was going to put them up two weeks apart. But as it happened, hardly anyone saw the cheese one until well after the broadcast last week, and it was still getting publicity at the tail end of last week, so I’m going to delay the premiere of the Healthy Food Lithuanian for one more week. You’ll just have to find something else to watch— like this video by one of the other presenters at Monday’s salon.

Finally, I’ll be making another public appearance with tasty food in tow very soon; watch for details. Oh, and I wouldn’t mind a bit if you voted for me in the Time Out Chicago Eat Out Awards (third category from bottom)…

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