David Bruce: Food Anecdotes

Ann Cooper gave up her 30-plus-year career as a chef to start cooking healthy meals for schoolchildren in Berkeley, California. She prepares roast chicken, not chicken nuggets, and she prepares roast potatoes, not Tater Tots. In addition to this work, she wrote a book titled Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children. All of this is an effort to reform school lunches to make them healthy. The lunches she prepares are seasonal, fresh, and mostly organic, as opposed to frozen, fried, and sugary. She says, “I want to change children’s relationship to food.” As director of nutrition services for the Berkeley Unified School District, she ensures that 95 percent of the cafeteria food is made from scratch. Previously, 95 percent of the cafeteria food was processed. Some students were resistant to eating the healthy food at first. She says, “I have received hate mail. Kids speak up if they don’t like something.” Some fifth-graders even told her, “Ms. Cooper, we hate your food. We’re going on a hunger strike.” They told her that they especially disliked her grilled-cheese sandwiches, which were made from whole-wheat bread and cheddar cheese. She invited them into the kitchen and taught them how to make bread and gave them various kinds of cheeses to taste. Eventually, their taste buds developed, and they told the next group of fifth-graders, “You are so lucky. We fixed all the food here for you.”

Iggy Pop is an open interviewee. In a 1997 interview, he talked about his diet, which he does not regard as especially healthy: “I eat steak, I like a lot of butter on my toast, I like a lot of eggs, and I fart constantly, all day.” However, Iggy does practice chi kung, which are Chinese exercises. By the way, his chi kung teacher is in many ways a regular guy. In the same interview, Iggy said, “It’s funny because everyone expects him to be a vegetarian and very holy, but he’s not. He liked to get f**ked and eat steaks, and he likes money—a lot. He’s a guy, you know. He can also kill you in 800 different ways, but he’d rather just take your money legally. He’s like that.”

Southern Culture on the Skids (aka SCOTS) is a band that often asks audience members to come on stage and dance for fried chicken. The genesis of this came when the owner of a club they were playing in gave them a bucket of fried chicken. The chicken was on the side of the stage as they played, and a homeless man came into the club, saw the fried chicken, and started eating it. The band members told him, “Hey, that’s our dinner, and if you want some of it, you at least have to get up here and dance with us.” The audience loved this, and SCOTS kept it in the act. Bass player May Huff says, “It’s good to feed a hungry crowd.”

After Jeff Bridges attended the 2011 Global Globes awards program, he gathered up a lot of the leftover food. Why? An anonymous source for National Enquirer writer Mike Walker says, “When Jeff finally got into the limo, he directed his chauffeur to a freeway underpass on the outskirts of LA. When they pulled up, Jeff hopped out, waved a band of about a dozen homeless people over to the car—then started handing out the bags of food. After chatting a while, the star—who’s actually made several trips to the same underpass, passing out warm bedding and clothing as well as food—got back in his limo and took off as the homeless people applauded and cheered!”

In August of 1975, 5-year-old Debbie Gibson, future pop singer and writer of “Lost in Your Eyes,” celebrated her birthday at her favorite restaurant—one that her family ate at twice a year: Christmas and Debbie’s birthday. The restaurant allowed kids under age 12 to eat free, and Debbie ordered a very big, very expensive lobster, which she ate all by herself. She says that she looked a lot fatter walking out of the restaurant than she did walking in. She remembers, “Next time we went back, they had a special kids’ menu. They wouldn’t let little kids order from the big menu anymore—and that was because of me!”

Trisha Yearwood displays a good sense of humor in her cookbooks. She writes that her recipe for Cowboy Lasagna “Serves 12 regular people or 1 hungry cowboy and his wife!” (She is married to fellow country singer Garth Brooks. He requested a “heartier, meatier lasagna, and Cowboy Lasagna, with its sage-flavored sausage and pepperoni, is the result.) She also writes, “Our daughter August isn’t a chocolate fan (insert audible gasp here!).” And, of course, she named one of her cookbooks Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen. (She grew up in Georgia, and her husband grew up in Oklahoma.)

Many, many Lady Gaga fans waited a very long time outside a store in Los Angeles so they could get her autograph in November 2009, so she did a good deed for them. She paid over $1,000 (and added a big tip) for 80 cheese pizzas for her fans to eat, and she tweeted, “Sending all my little monsters little pizzas for waiting all night for me at Best Buy. I hope you’re hungry … eat up I love u! To all my beautiful fans, I love you more than anything. Thank u 4 making the fame monster number 1 on itunes. You are the only reward I need x gaga.”

According to an article in Life and Style, John Mayer did a good deed in New York City on December 1, 2009. A witness told the magazine that a homeless man asked Mr. Meyer for a quarter, but he offered to buy him some food instead. When the homeless man asked him for a roast beef sandwich from lower Manhattan’s Katz’s Delicatessen, Mr. Mayer replied, “I’ll buy you two—let’s go.” The homeless man changed his mind, suggesting instead, “Maybe a pizza?” Mr. Mayer then bought him a pizza at Rosario’s Pizza.

“Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.”—Jim Davis

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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