Cham­pi­oning a return to nor­malcy as the new year begins includes meals that are restora­tive in nature.

Cold weather invites soups, bisques and broths to com­bat winter’s chill.

The heal­ing pow­ers of soup are undis­puted. Veg­etable and herb-​centric broths set up a base­line on which to build.

While soups may not cure the cold or flu, they will relieve their symp­toms. Good for hydra­tion, warm­ing prop­er­ties of broths and soups also can clear con­ges­tion and flush out tox­ins from the res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem.

Sup­port­ing the immune sys­tem is some­thing that good nutri­tion in any form does well. Pack­aged in a steamy hot bowl of soup is a home­made remedy.

Read more: Restorative →

Cold, damp months perk up from win­ter cit­rus. The skin, zest, juice and tangy flesh brighten up culi­nary choices with great fla­vor and a lively vibrancy.

Cit­rus fruits add color, tang, sweet­ness, and tart­ness. They eas­ily bring some needed bal­ance to savory, rich, or sweet dishes.

In addi­tion to numer­ous culi­nary ben­e­fits, cit­rus fruits also pro­vide a wide range of healthy, “good for you” attrib­utes. They are proven to be good med­i­cine dur­ing win­ter and beyond.

Dieti­tians and health pro­fes­sion­als heap high praise on cit­ruses for their high vit­a­min C con­tent. One medium orange pro­vides more than 100 per­cent of the rec­om­mended daily vit­a­min C needs.

Cold and flu sea­son is rea­son enough to boost our immu­nity. Fight­ing the risk of COVID-​19 is why the dou­ble down efforts focus on the cit­rus defen­sive. Lucky then that we are headed into the peak of cit­rus sea­son.

Cit­ruses help our bod­ies get rid of free rad­i­cals and pos­i­tively impact a range of meta­bolic func­tions that help us thrive.

What’s so amaz­ing is their ver­sa­til­ity. Beyond being a per­fect out-​of-​hand snack, cit­rus fruits can be enjoyed in a myr­iad of ways.

Read more: Good Medicine →

Cae­sar Salad is an ionic culi­nary favorite. There are plenty of riffs on this clas­sic fresh salad.

Adding toma­toes, avo­ca­dos, hard-​boiled eggs and even grilled chicken or shrimp takes it to another whole-​meal prepa­ra­tion.

Do you recall when you took your first bite of this reli­able and ele­gant salad? Per­haps it fixes a place in time rather than an age. Bet­ter yet, the per­son who may have made it for us. Think back.

The few sim­ple, high qual­ity ingre­di­ents are com­bined into an exquis­itely per­fect salad. Romaine let­tuce, fresh gar­lic, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, parme­san cheese and rus­tic crou­tons seem too easy. They are a match made in heaven and prove to be sophis­ti­cated for any palette.

Anchovy fil­lets are left up to debate. In or out, the salad stands on its own mer­its. No need to quib­ble. They can be served on the side for any­one who doesn’t like these tiny, briny fish. Sales were up eighty-​five per­cent on anchovies year over year.

What’s life chang­ing is get­ting an impor­tant intro­duc­tion to any num­ber of ingre­di­ents, foods or prepa­ra­tions that stay with us for a life­time. Those new food expe­ri­ences serve us through­out our cook­ing reper­toire. We build on what we find to be the most tasty and enjoy­able foundation.

Read more: Appetite for New →

Over the years, week fifty two of our mar­ket report has been reserved for an uplift­ing mes­sage to close out the cal­en­dar.

Like all things in 2020, the COVID cloud con­tin­ues to rain on our industry.

The lat­est round of “shel­ter in place” orders comes just as we’re ready to shop, eat out and cel­e­brate with oth­ers. No can do.

This year has been one for the books. As a part­ner in the food sup­ply chain, we’ve had a front row seat to the con­stant dis­rup­tions the food indus­try con­tin­ues to encounter.
Every food sec­tor; retail­ers, restau­rants, cafes, schools, pris­ons, casi­nos, and hotels has been on a swivel. Mod­ify, pivot and adapt has been a con­stant dance since March.

Day-​to-​day busi­ness has been any­thing but nor­mal. We’ve felt the pain of our cus­tomers. Starts and stops, lim­ited capac­ity man­dates, front-​line worker safety, finan­cial invest­ments to com­bat COVID, inside, out­side, curb­side– the list goes on. It’s been a stag­ger­ing climb to meet the challenges.

On the sup­ply side, farm­ers and ranch­ers are also caught up in the schiz­o­phrenic nature and fall­out from the pan­demic. Sound plan­ning for ample crops, is based on true demand. That demand con­tin­ues to shift along with many other uncertainties.

Weather con­di­tions, wild­fires, smoke, power out­ages and COVID-​related labor short­ages were uncon­trol­lable for farm­ers to deal with. The lat­est round of food­ser­vice restric­tions leaves every­one head scratching.
Grow­ing con­cern over via­bil­ity through the com­ing weeks is a real fac­tor for any­one in the hos­pi­tal­ity or restau­rant busi­ness. They are in sur­vival mode.

All the while, all food sec­tor chan­nels con­tinue to feed hun­gry peo­ple. If you have food on the table and a full pantry, count that as a bless­ing. Now more than ever, food inse­cu­rity is at a fevered pitch. Finan­cial hard­ship is a by-​product for fam­i­lies impacted from COVID work shutdowns.

Our local Sacra­mento Food Bank & Fam­ily Ser­vices orga­ni­za­tion part­ners with over 220 local agen­cies. Together they dis­trib­ute food to indi­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies in under-​served com­mu­ni­ties. That need has now grown to all rural and sub­ur­ban areas.

Read more: The Last Bite →

Stay­ing in on these cold win­ter nights is eas­ier to swal­low with some­thing warm to sip on. Mulled ciders and wines are just thing for this end of year con­tem­pla­tive period.

Hol­i­day enter­tain­ing was the per­fect excuse for crowd-​pleasing pots of spicy, fra­grant hot drinks.

With­out hav­ing any large group gath­er­ings, it’s still imper­a­tive this sea­son to cre­ate spe­cial scaled down moments of com­fort and cheer. Mulled drinks take top con­sid­er­a­tion.

Smaller recipe ver­sions of mulled con­coc­tions will gen­er­ously serve two to four peo­ple. Don’t skimp.

Intox­i­cat­ing kitchen aro­mas while mulling will come mostly from cit­rus choices, sliced apples, star anise, cin­na­mon sticks and whole cloves. Fresh gin­ger root, rose­mary sprigs and cit­rus peel do dou­ble duty as both gar­nish and ingre­di­ent.

Hot sip­ping drinks are meant for slow­ing the frenzy of the hol­i­day pace. Uti­lize what is on hand or add a few key items to the shop­ping list. Check the pantry first to see what is already on the shelf for a quick “pick me up” cup of some­thing special.

Read more: Mulling it Over →

Play­ing it safe for the upcom­ing hol­i­days– Hanukkah, Christ­mas, Kwanza, New Year’s and beyond– seems like the biggest killjoy for fes­tive social gath­er­ings.

Pub­lic health mes­sages, man­dates and restric­tions have been great about advis­ing on what not to do.

Newly issued county and state orders push the “stay at home” behav­ior mod­els for pre­vent­ing more COVID esca­la­tion.

We hear of the no-no’s and high risk behav­iors to avoid. Once those are spelled out, we can mod­ify activ­ity. What about atten­tion paid to what we can do?

This newest round of pub­lic lock­downs comes as COVID fatigue and resent­ment peaks. Humans are social crea­tures.

These past months have been stress­ful and iso­lat­ing. Our col­lec­tive strong desire is to be with fam­ily, friends and loved ones for rit­ual and celebration.

Read more: Bah Humbug →