Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saveur: Savor a World of Authentic Cuisine

Among the things I enjoy the most in life is cooking and eating...who doesn't - they are not my friend. We all know that the kitchen is the heart of any home; where family and friends gather to talk and bond. Even at a party, most of the crowd is in the kitchen. It's a room that conveys warmth and nurturing especially when filled with the delicious scents of a home-cooked meal.

There are many magazines published for the food industry and I've purchased many subscriptions over the years but my absolute favorite is Saveur. Actually, I own every single copy EXCEPT for Issue 1. I will get it at some point, of that I am sure. When the newest issue arrives at the house, I can't wait to devour it cover to cover. And, trust me, not a single page is skipped not even the advertising. I love everything about this magazine!

Skillful imagery is key in a food publication and Saveur doesn't disappoint. The viewer should be able to see the quality of the food, understand the preparation and almost taste the completed dish or produce. The first thing I do when it arrives is peel off the mailing label so I can appreciate the entire cover just how the designer wants me to see it. Each and every image shows the thought process behind the concept especially the ones showing a gathering of people. It's the travel element that attracts me to the destination articles.

Short Articles
These tidbits of information are extremely well written and always interesting. They are not always about food but can cover a multitude of topics. Two of my favorites from the recent issue discuss Tupperware and smuggling.

Long Articles
Each and every article transports the reader to another place, whether it's Taipai or a ranch in Texas. You understand who the people are, the history of the foods they eat and how it strengthens family ties. Recipes are included as well as Where to Stay, Where to Eat and What to Do.

On the last page of every issue is this fascinating snapshot; some beautiful, some weird, some kind of gross. It is just that though, a snapshot into the lives of people and their food. Photograph by Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

I've made a number of the recipes over the years and refer to back issues often especially for holidays and parties. They are easy to read and follow, include helpful hints (like where to buy certain ingredients, how to accomplish intricate details, etc.), have images so you can see how it's suppose to turn out, and teach some basics as well as interesting pairings.

I've included the link to the website which just launch about a year ago. It is a great companion to the printed magazine and a wonderful source for quickly finding recipes.

And, of course, I follow them on Twitter (@SAVEURMAG)! The tweets usually correspond to the current issue with personal banter too. They have over 16,000 followers compared to my measly 183; but then again I've been on Twitter (cailin3) less than a year and don't publish my own magazine...yet.

Just so you know, I have not been asked to rave about Saveur...just a fan. No compensation in any form has been transferred between the two parties. I just hope you check it out and enjoy the magazine as much as I do. And maybe, just maybe, they'll send me that elusive first issue...a girl can always dream.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kit Kats from Japan

I received the best gift last Saturday!

I was trolling the internet a few weeks ago and came across an article about Nestle marketing a line of Kit Kats only in Japan. The reason it is such an interesting story is that they incorporate regional flavors into the candy. Here's the link to the original article from Advertising Age; which happens to be one of my top reads! Make sure to check out how they branded a post office for the "Kit Kat Mail" campaign. As seen in my previous blog post, I've got a thing for Asia being that I'm half Korean. Turns out, my sister was traveling to Tokyo for business and I asked her to pick up some of these Kit Kats. So I got a box of wasabi Kit Kats and a box of soy sauce Kit Kats. Strange. Weird. Yucky. Gross. Delicious. Unique. What do you think? Which one would you want to try? Which one do you think would be better?

You should check out the link above highlighted by the word Kit Kat (or here again). This brings you directly to the Nestle Japan website which is cool in and of itself. I'm talking FUN! I'm also a huge fan of Japanese design whether its packaging, graphics, fabric patterns, flower arranging, rock gardens, etc.

So this is the general consensus from some of my family members: They are both surprisingly good but the majority felt the soy sauce melded better with the flavors of white chocolate. The wasabi was a bit overpowering to the sweet and there was no heat to it, only the flavor of wasabi. Uncle Jim was the only person who disagreed and preferred the wasabi over the soy sauce. I just wish we could get more but they are only sold in Japan. Lucky Asians! BTW, I love this fact from the Adage article:

Nestle was struck by the discovery that the Japanese translation of Kit Kat -- Kitto Katsu means "surely win" -- and realized it could be paired with the tradition of sending students good luck wishes before they take tough higher-education entrance exams.

Enjoy! Tell me about some interesting foods you've tried especially the ones that turned out to be better than expected.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Asian Influences

Lately I've really been on an Asian-kick. Perhaps it's because of the Olympics. Perhaps spring makes me think of the exquisite cherry blossoms that are so prevalent in Korea and Japan. Perhaps it's because my sister just went on a business trip to Tokyo. I think all of these are responsible and I'm not complaining!

One of my favorite sites for scrapbooking supplies is Two Peas in a Bucket and they started sending these daily specials that I can't resist...so I click. I usually end up somewhere else on the site (good job, your marketing plan is working!) and I found the most delicious paper collection. Of course it's from BasicGrey and incorporates the loveliest color palette, floral patterns and graphic patterns paired with some great embellishments. Typically I don't buy entire lines of a new collection but this one is extremely tempting and  I just received Archivers 30% off coupon.

See ya, gotta run to the store! Do you love this collection as much as I do? Let me know which new product line makes you all giddy and ready to get creative!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Not a Basketball Fan

Probably because I don't really understand the game and I think the salaries the NBA players make is obscene. Top it all off with the "stars" thinking they are above everyone else and turn it into a bad attitude. No one likes a troublemaker.

But this post isn't about my ranting and raving...it's about our own children and supporting them as they grow and develop. My oldest son - he's 11 - loves sports. Actually, all my boys love sports! This was Luke's first year playing basketball and even though I wasn't very excited about the prospect, we signed him up.

Organized sports are a wonderful way to teach teamwork, hand-eye coordination and good sportsmanship. All of these can be brought along on their life journey (back to the statement that no one likes a troublemaker). He has developed even stronger friendships and it boosts his confidence. He also has a great coach, Andy, who pushes the boys to reach & exceed their potential, encourages them when they are losing and congratulates them whole-heartedly when they win. Did I say, he's a great coach. Thanks Andy!

This season, the team didn't do so well. Ok, they really stunk, winning only two games and those...barely. Now we are in tournament and it appears they have found their mojo! The first game was a win of 46 - 18 and Luke made 8 points with multiple assists. The second game was more of a nail biter but they pulled out a win of 30 - 20. They play again this Saturday at Indian Hill Middle School. We will all be there to cheer them on. You have to be their life coach, cheerleader and shoulder to cry on.

That's what family does.