Monday, March 28, 2011


On Tuesday, March 29, for every burger sold at any of their five locations, Umami Burger will donate one dollar to the American Red Cross to benefit the Japan Earthquake & Pacific Tsunami Fund.

Normally I try to donate to organizations like Medecins san Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) that don't earmark funds for specific disasters. They were one of the first on the ground after the tsunami and they continue to devote resources to ongoing humanitarian crisis' worldwide.

I hope Richard comes back okay.

Food doesn't taste the same without him.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I called 5 (FIVE!) different bookstores in search of "5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth". Each time I gave the title of the book I got different reactions, to the point where I started saying, "ummm... I think the title is like '5 Very Good Reasons'" or "The author/illustrator is Matt Inman..."

When Richard does a favor for me, I repay him in coffee. Oddly enough, neither of us had gone to swork in a long time, so we were probably overdue. We saw this car parked in front of us.

I call this 'serendipity'.

Thankfully the line for the book signing didn't go on very long. And afterward we went to punch dolphins.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gallery Nucleus

I'll admit it - I might be stalking Michael Zulli. Just a bit. He was at a group show this weekend at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, one block down from a yummy tea place I frequent with my college friends. And then I read a familiar sounding name pulled from the cover of my Fables #100, Joao Ruas. (I wonder if Brasilians are trending strongly as rising comic artists (see Umbrella Academy).) Naturally, I cleared my schedule.

The theme was graphite; and indeed, it was one of those rare pencil shows that makes you linger at the shiny glass display cases, marveling at the linework and delicate shading. I could have stood rooted for hours.

Barron Storey was present. He kindly signed my well-tagged Sandman Volume 11 aka Endless Nights. I complimented the Mysterious Mister Zed on Fracture of the Universal Boy, of which I am his Kickstarter backer #503. I picked up a sketchbook from Shelly Wan, whose self-portrait as Salome is very visually appealing. But mostly it was Joao Ruas' work that blew me away. I even picked up a print, though I've been trying desperately to cut back.

You need to see these wolves up close. Their eyes glitter.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

LA Central Library: All Book Talks Should Be Tasty




Saturday, March 12th, 10:30 a.m. at the Los Angeles Public Library

Mark Taper Auditorium, Downtown Central Library, 630 W. 5th St.

Free and open to the public

Andrew F. Smith will discuss his two soon-to-be published books: Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War (St. Martin’s) and Potato: A Global History (Reaktion Books).

Did hunger defeat the Confederacy? Culinary historian Smith will take a gastronomical look at the war and its legacy. From the first shot fired at Ft. Sumter to the surrender of the

Confederacy in April 1865 food – or its absence – played a crucial role in how the war was fought and its outcome. While the Civil War split the country in a way that affects race and politics to this day, it also affected the way we eat and drink.

He will also discuss the rags to riches story of the potato, examining how the once lowly vegetable that has changed – and continues to change – the world. Despite its popularity, in this era of fast food and health consciousness, the potato is now suffering negative publicity. Its health benefits continue to be debated, especially since it is most often associated with the ubiquitous but high-calorie french fry.

A reception with themed refreshments will follow the talk at approximately 11:30.

Chorizo & potato tacos with pico de gallo, fruit punch with slices of green apple, potato cake with a blackberry reduction, homemade potato chips.


Andrew F. Smith teaches food history at the New School University in Manhattan. He is the author or editor of 19 books, including his most recent books Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War and Potato: A Global History. He serves as the editor in chief for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. He has written more than 300 articles in academic journals, popular magazines and newspapers. For more about him, visit his website: