About Scott: Food

As a travel writer, I have to talk about food

Ugly photo of a pig knuckle after it's been eaten

Pig knuckle, looking like hell but tasting delicious, Ribeauvillé, France, November 2018

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Food

All of my thoughts on food changed in 1992.

More accurately: I did not have any thoughts on food until 1992.

That was the year I moved to Davis, CA for graduate school. I lived half a mile from the Davis Food Co-op, where members voted on boycotting companies, I could buy delicious vegetarian burritos, homemade mead, or ground roots in bulk for passing drug tests, and I learned about the "fresh, local, organic" movement pioneered by Alice Waters.

If the place is relatively clean, the service is decent, and the food and coffee are delicious, the rest doesn't matter. Decor, branding, Instagrammability, volume, calories: we don't care.

Produce

Most of the produce at the Co-op was grown locally in Yolo County and fit in the back of a pickup truck. It was available for sale a few hours after it was purchased from the farm.

Rows of fenced-off plants with trees in the background on a sunny day

Our vegetable garden. Jul 2018

Initially, I was tempted to write the whole thing off as a bunch of hippie bullshit, but the organic produce at the Co-op was the best I'd ever eaten. It was so good that when I went back to Ohio, tomatoes tasted like stale red water in an edible skin, apples like semi-sweetened beige pulp.

The recyclable paper sacks at the Co-op had a manifesto printed on them: The Case for Ugly Fruit. The idea was that nature almost never knocks out coffee table-pretty fruit. The best-tasting produce - and the best for you - was almost always misshaped, had a bulge or knot somewhere, or tended to be small. It's true.

I was tempted to write the whole thing off as a bunch of hippie bullshit, but the organic produce at the Co-op was the best I'd ever eaten.

That's how I ate for years. Those ideas became a part of me and how I look at food. My wife shares those ideas today. 90% of the produce we buy is organic, and we grow some of our own.

Meat, Eggs, Dairy

We try as much as possible to eat "pastured" meat, where the animals are treated humanely and only have one really bad day. Ethically, it's the right thing to do, but it also tastes a lot better and can be much cheaper.

Chickens feeding, one staring right at the camera

Our hens, raised from chicks. Oct 2019

Carton of eggs: light blue, light brown, dark brown

All our hens are layers. Feb 2020

We have relationships with pig farmers and usually buy half a hog at a time. We're members of a herdshare program for beef and raw milk. Gina raises chickens, which means we have our own supply of fresh eggs as well as the meat.

Restaurants

We love going to restaurants, but because Gina is such a good cook - and enjoys cooking - we don't go out more than five or six times a month.

We politely ask not to be served ice or single-use plastics.

If the place is relatively clean, the service is decent, and the food and coffee are good, the rest doesn't matter. Decor, branding, Instagrammability, volume, calories: we don't care. If it's pretty inside, all the better - but it's not essential.

One more thing: we politely ask not to be served ice or single-use plastics.

Interior of restaurant with flags of the United States and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Emma's Cafe, Twin Falls, ID. Not a sexy place, but it hit the high notes - which is all that matters. Sep 2019

I can't remember the last time we ate fast food, and we rarely eat in corporate chains. We've been to Frisch's a couple of times; I have fond memories of eating chili spaghetti with my grandmother at the Montgomery Road restaurant in Cincinnati. I'll go to Olive Garden occasionally. I'll stop by Tim Horton's happily or Starbucks if it's all there is, and Chipotle every once in a while. That's it.

Archive

About

A smiling Francis and me, sitting outside in front of some shrubs

Some basics

A brief biographical sketch

Me on top of a sunny Mt Pilatus in Switzerland, with mountains in the background

Travel

Pardon the saccharine and the obvious, but travel is everything

A couple standing in front of a large Gothic church, on a bridge over the Seine

France

France deserves its own section

Francis, as a two year-old in a car seat, in sunglasses reading a French picture book

Reading

The bullshit of daily life? I'd rather read.

Stage with musicians going at it - they're Gogol Bordello, and they're crazy

Music

Let me take you back

Little boy sitting on a big white bed, looking at a tablet

Television

I watch a lot more television than movies

Live action from a soccer game at Crew Stadium - yellow versus blue

Soccer

The only sport that matters

Ugly photo of a pig knuckle after it's been eaten - really, it looks horrible

Food

As a travel writer, I have to talk about food

Me in an outdoor restaurant drinking from a green coconut with a long straw

Dumb stuff

You will not feel smarter after reading this

Dumpster full of garbage

Minimalism

Trying to live simply

Me getting out of a red Ferrari F430 with a guy clapping for me

Other Interests

I've only driven a Ferrari once

Dude wearing orange pants and orange and green shoes walking on wet grass

Get off my lawn

A few brief rants

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