Black Cod Returns, Dude Jr. Abides, Foodborne Illnesses Plot a Comeback in Maine

Categories: Talking Points
Notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other miscellanea dredged up from the food media.

avrene just posted a pic of The House's black cod with rabbit ears.
1. Black cod season. In the past few weeks, I've been seeing one of my favorite ocean fish on menus: Pacific black cod, aka sablefish. Not only is black cod one of the most sustainable fisheries on the West Coast ― the National Marine Fisheries Services says that the Alaskan black cod population is 6 percent above target levels ― it's one of the most buttery, meaty fish out there, perfect for roasting or glazing and grilling. This week, for instance, I ate Phil West's roasted black cod with parsnip puree, fingerling potato coins, and braised escarole at Range (don't look for a review ― this was just a catchup dinner). Man, that place is solid.

2. Tartine Bread Support Groups. Apparently I wasn't the only guy both entranced and daunted by Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread. The Wall Street Journal just chronicled the rise of Facebook groups and discussion threads on, a baking forum, providing peer support to other home bakers struggling to master the basic recipe. The article came out at the perfect time. After several dispiriting experiences with TBF (total bread fail, according to the WSJ), I had taken a break from Robertson's recipe. But my starter, Dude Jr., is currently out of the fridge and showing signs of life.

3. Food sovereignty. It's hard not to have conflicted feelings about the "food sovereignty" ordinance just passed in Sedgwick, Maine. Designed to ease restrictions on small farmers and dairy producers, allowing them to sell their food to customers. Then there's the fact that these same restrictions have helped contribute to declining rates of foodborne illness over the past decade. Whether or not the state swoops in to nullify this ordinance, we're going to be seeing this fight break out around the country.

4. Today in weird science. Banana peels: formerly a sight gag, now a water purifier.

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