Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Charlie! Charlie! Charlie! Book Review and Giveaway

Way back in 1999,Google, in its infinite wisdom, decided they didn't want their employees falling asleep halfway through the day because of poor choices at lunchtime. They wanted fresh, energy producing foods to be prepared for their workers and they hired Charlie Ayers, former caterer for The Grateful Dead, to do it. He did that and more, and when he left in 2005, he was serving up meals to 1,500 people a day and overseeing 10 cafés and 150 employees.

Now on the verge of opening his own restaurant, Calafia Café and Market a Go Go, in Palo Alto, California, Charlie Ayers has also released a new cookbook, Food 2.0 - Secrets From the Chef Who Fed Google.

This book is perfect for a Deadhead, food lovin', organic eatin', Internet junkie like me. I totally relate to everything written and feel much more relaxed about my food choices. I always feel like there's a hard line there between vegetarian and omnivore, organic and non-organic, but Charlie has set down a brand new line somewhere in-between it all that just makes SENSE. He urges everyone to "go organic" without beating us over the head with dos and don'ts. There's just common sense and Charlie's own preference, followed up with the reminder that we all need to do what is right for ourselves.

Charlie has a real-life no-nonsense "parent" approach to many things, especially about frozen food - stuff I've been doing for years, but was afraid to share for fear that the hardcore "only from fresh" crowd would shun me. From his feelings on olive oil and his "4 best herbs to grow at home" (the very four I have growing right now) to the section on pasta and his thoughts on why we should eat organic, we are very like-minded. This was almost like reading about myself, except that the recipes are so superior to anything I've created thus far and there were several things I didn't know about food.

I can't think of one person who shouldn't own this book. It's 250 pages jam-packed with all you really need to know about feeding yourself and your family very well.

Now is your chance to own a copy of Food 2.0 for yourself, along with a great-looking insulated lunch-bag. Drop a comment for me here, (including your email so I can contact you if you've won) and let me know what organic foods you've tried and what you love or don't love about organics. Don't forget that last part - a simple, "Hey, how are ya?" won't cut it this time around! I'll give everyone until Friday, May 9th and post a winner on Saturday, May 10th.


Annie Jones said...

I need another cookbook like a hole in the head. But really, I need this one; I'm just starting to get into buying and consuming organics. I've tried so little of them (other than what my sister has grown and given me) that I don't even have a good opinion on them yet. I'm still a beginner.

email: imannies@gmail.com

zookeeper said...

How cool is that of Google to recognize that?! I love the peace of mind I get when I buy organic for my family. But what I really don't like about organic is the price. Ouch when you're feeding a family of 8! So I tend to buy selectively. If it's a food that's been baked or processed (food, or pasta for example) I skip it. Meats I try to buy organic when they're on sale. Veggies and fruits I buy organic if they're eaten raw and aren't heavily guarded by a skin that we would never eat (like a banana or canteloupe).


toontz said...

Hi Annie-
My father was an organic gardener, so we ate organic long before being able to buy it in the supermarket. I have a very small yard with a brown thumb, so I have to buy any organic produce that I want now. Being on a very tight budget right now prevents me from buying as much organic as I would like, because it is so expensive here in our small town. I usually try and go to Whole Foods and buy things every few months. I try and buy organic when it is not too much more than the conventional product or produce. Farmers markets are the best!

Chef Erik said...

I cook with organic 100% organic foods everyday. I love organic cucumbers the most. Not that they are my favorite food, but non organic cucumbers taste so nasty. I can tast the chemicals. Organic cucumbers taste very much like a melon to me. The only thing I hate about organics is that they aren't in every store. I think organics should be all we eat. They taste better and so much better for the world that we all have to live in.

Drum Stick said...

I love organic milk, and usually buy that regardless of price. I try to incorporate organic foods when I can, but the cost is a huge factor.

I can't wait to plan my garden! I forgot to put cucumbers on my list of veggies to plant. Thanks Eric for reminding me.

I would love to read this cookbook!

Deborah Dowd said...

I have read so much about the food Google provides to its employees, apparently it is harder for an outsider to get a meal there than at the finest restaurant. I am a bit suspicious of organics you get at the grocery store (do you really know how they were grown),but I love getting organic foods from local vendors at the farmers' market where you can talk one on one with growers, who, besides growing without pesticides, produce their goods with love... of farming, and of the land.

Anonymous said...

Organic is readily available around us - but the costs mean I have to be selective about what I buy. I apply the "Everything in moderation" rule to our food!


giz said...

It used to be that buying organic was more the rarity than the norm. This is changing and thankfully so. I notice that kids in particular who are kept on an organic diet have less idiocyncratic "things" happening to them. Organic markets are popping up everywhere.

What I don't like about organics is that ethically, sometimes what you think you're getting is, in fact not at all what you expected. Cost prohibitive sometimes makes it less accessible to all. I want to know that when I'm buying organic, I'm buying local and I'm buying certified.

giz said...

oops...sorry Anne - in all that furvor I didn't give you my email -


Judy@nofearentertaining said...

I would love that cookbook! We are basically an organic or at least real food family. I generally only buy organic vegetables or locally grown when I can get it. I still stay away from organic processed food. Way too many ingredients. But organic meats and vegetables are my choices. I also use organic flour in the breads that I make. We buy no store bought bread so this one is pretty huge. I grow my own herbs and tomatoes. Lucky for me I live in Florida so this is pretty easy to do!

email: info@nofearentertaining.com

Kim said...

For us the price of organics makes store bought out of our range. That means we have to do the work to get the organic benefits.

We've always had a big garden and try to buy local during growing season. Now we're venturing into our own eggs and meat, starting with chickens.

email... kmomof10 (at) frontiernet.net

Ruth Strong said...

Hi Anne!!!!! I'd never heard of Charlie before! I'll have to research his work a little more now! I've only recently become an organic fan - I just love how things just taste so much cleaner and fresher when they're organic. I'm also hoping to start my own little organic vegetable patch this summer too so I get to enjoy organic food even more!

Ruth E (ruth.e.babes [at] gmail [dot] com)