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EVENT: Kids Food Fest In NYC, August 26th-27th

Got kids? Got kids who should learn to eat better—while having fun?

Take the family to the Kids Food Fest, Saturday and Sunday August 26th and 27th.

The Kids Food Fest is a celebration to educate families about making balanced food choices—choices everyone needs to create wholesome, lifelong eating habits. (Parents: You, too can learn a lot here.)

Festivities include hands-on cooking classes in collaboration with the James Beard Foundation, the Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt, family-friendly entertainment and activities, and more!

There’s no charge for general admission, although hands-on classes require tickets that can be purchased at the event.

This Kids Food Fest is held in its most beautiful space yet: Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, known worldwide for its exciting architecture (we personally call it New York’s complement to the Bird’s Nest Stadium built for the Beijing Olympics).

If you haven’t yet been to the Oculus, you’ll love the soaring bird architecture (photo #1) and the internal beauty of the light-filled, climate-controlled halls (photo #2). [That it cost $3.74 billion dollars might make you want to become more politically active, and insist that proven business people manage government projects.]

The Oculus is easy to get to: Just take the A, C, J, M, Z, 2, 3, 4 or 5 to Fulton Street (directions).

You’re also close to these downtown destinations, including The National September 11 Memorial & Museum and 15 other museums.

 

The Oculus NYC Outside

The Oculus NYC Inside

The Kids Food Fest will be inside the Oculus transportation hub in New York City | World Trade Center (photos courtesy Port Authority Of New York & New Jersey).

 
Kids Food Festival 2017

The Kids Food Fest is proud to support the American Heart Association and their initiatives to improve kids’ health.
  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Crudités & The History Of The Relish Tray

When we were in college, we first learned that our grandmother’s “relish tray” snacks—carrots, celery sticks, radishes, olives—could be elevated to something our friend Carolyn—who had spent her junior year abroad in Paris—called crudités.

At a dinner one day, she served what we now know as an crudités plate, artfully cut and arranged.

The French, she said, turned raw vegetables of every description into a platter of vegetables that are a visual delight.

There was no creamy dip, but a vinaigrette with minced fresh herbs.

We fell hard for crudités and have prepared them for company ever since.

In the summer, we go for whatever we can find in the farmers market: heirloom cherry tomatoes, red carrots, purple and orange cauliflower, quartered Green Zebra heirloom tomatoes (pr any good-looking heirloom variety)….

But to give credit where credit is due, our contemporary, seasonal crudités plate began with the now-retro relish tray.

HISTORY OF THE RELISH TRAY

People in the earliest civilizations no doubt ate raw vegetables, perhaps with a condiment dip—olive oil? garum? tahini?

But what was stood for a relish tray in Colonial America were dishes of actual relishes—corn relish, cranberry sauce, pickle relish, etc.—served with meals as condiments for the meats.

Over time, the definition of “relish” expanded. By 1923, The Encyclopedia Of Food by Artemas Ward defined relishes as “a term flexibly applied to pickles, small fish variously preserved, and a number of other dishes intended to stimulate appetite.”

The relish tray had become a variety of tidbits arranged on a platter. It was a small course before dinner—with drinks when entertaining and holiday and other special family meals.

The Refrigerator Spurs Development

But it wasn’t until the 1930s, with the advent of home refrigerators, that relish trays became a mainstay. Says a 1988 article in the Chicago Tribune, “It didn’t take Better Homes and Gardens long to figure out that cooks could prepare small batches of pickles and relishes well ahead of dinnertime and store them.”

The magazine featured recipes for pickled carrot sticks and cranberry relish. They taught housewives to create their own pickles, instead of buying them from the barrel at the corner store.

These ideas came from the home economists—Fanny Farmer started as one—women cooks, schooled in nutrition and the home arts. They worked in the background at women’s magazines, brand manufacturers and cookbook publishers, to devise and test recipes to make housewives’ cooking more interesting.

They developed the recipes printed on the package labels, and featured in brand advertisements—recipes that housewives eagerly sought and prepared. Recipes that became iconic, from seven layer dip to Key lime pie. Green bean casserole made with canned mushroom soup from the soup manufacturer. How to use grape jelly for a sauce, from the jelly manufacturer. Velveta and Ro-tel dip. And on and on.

At some point, no doubt, a home economist put together the ingredients for the relish trays of the 1940s.

The Iconic Relish Tray Evolves

By the 1940s, relish trays made of silver or cut glass were standard in dining-room china cabinets [source]. Our Nana, a very proper lady. had two: a rectangular boat shape, and a round plate divided into pie-shaped sections, to even more elegantly separate the tidbits. (We still have both of those plates, albeit “stored away somewhere.”)

By then, the “modern” relish tray ingredients had become somewhat standard. These were decades to conform, not to seek creative alternatives. The relish tray of the day included:

  • Carrot sticks.
  • Celery sticks, often stuffed with cream cheese or, for the true gourmet, olive cream cheese and pimento cream cheese.
  • Olives; for the deluxe treatment, both black pitted and green stuffed with pimento.
  • Radishes, carved into roses by elegant cooks like Nana.
  • Sweet gherkins.
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    Summer Crudites
    Summer crudités from the seasonal bounty. You don’t have to cook the corn: Raw corn is delicious (photo courtesy Good Food Kitchen).

    Everydaty Crudite Plate
    An everyday crudités plate before dinner.

    Relish Tray
    Then: An old-fashioned relish tray (photo Pinterest).

    Crudites With Pimento Cheese

    [4] Now: Crudités in an interesting presentation with pimento cheese at 33 Greenwich | NYC. We also like to serve them in baskets.

     
    Perhaps these nibbles did “stimulate the appetite;” but we came to see them as food that could be prepared in advance and set out, while Nana and her fellow housewives hustled to get the first course on the table. It was fare to enjoy with drinks and social talk until all participants had arrived.

    By the 1950s, when the American restaurant culture became mainstream, the relish tray was placed on the table along with the bread and butter: a way to satisfy the hungry diners before their orders arrived. “At home, however,” says the Chicago Tribune, “the relish-tray tradition began to decline.” We entered the era of frozen food, and no one manufactured a frozen relish tray.

    But by 1970, California cuisine was on the rise. We began to eat raw vegetables beyond carrots, celery and radishes.

    Hello raw broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green beans, sugar snap peas, zucchini. Throw in some salad ingredients: bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber.

    And that’s what we were serving, when we learned about crudités.

    (Might we note that along with the raw vegetable tray came creamy dips: the onion dip on the soup package label, the spinach dip on the frozen spinach package, the artichoke dip on the sour cream package label…).

    Since then, we’ve learned to eat seasonally. And we just love raw corn, purple broccoli and heirloom tomatoes and yellow squash as summer crudités.

      

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    EVENT: Mad. Sq. Eats (a.k.a. Madison Square Eats Fun Food Pop-Up)

    Jianbing

    Red Velvet Ice Cream Sandwich

    [1] Beijing street food from Mr. Bing—soon to open a retail location at 152 West 28th Street (photo courtesy Mr. Big). We loved our Peking Duck-inspired rice crêpe. [2] A red velvet ice cream sandwich with cream cheese ice cream from Melt.

     

    It’s one of our favorite times of the year in Manhattan: The semi-annual culinary pop-up market, Madison Square Eats, is in Worth Square through October 7th. It’s hosted by Hosted by Urban Space, a foodie vision of wonderful.

    The triangular island between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, 24th and 25th Streets, is filled with wonderful things to eat.

    The almost-fall air and the leafy view of Madison Square Park across Fifth Avenue create an alfresco dining event that is a choice way to nibble. It’s the same with the spring version.

    Regrettably, we were stuffed to the gills after only four kiosks. The solution: Go back tomorrow.

    This edition of the market, now in its ninth year, brings global favorites to outdoor dining, with tables and chairs dotting the center of the island. Some vendors have restaurants; others are only available for catering and pop-ups.

  • Amali Mou (Greek cuisine)
  • Bangkok B.A.R. (Thai street food)
  • Bar Suzette Crêperie & Bistro
  • Chingu
  • Domo Taco
  • Gotham Poke (Hawaiian-style chirashi, finally popping up in NYC)
  • Hill Country Barbecue Market
  • Hong Kong Street Cart
  • Ice & Vice (shaved ice sundaes and floats)
  • Inday (Indian inspired cuisine)
  • Jicama “California Street Food”
  • Khao Man Gai NY (Thai)
  • La Sonrisa Empanadas
  • Mayhem & Stout
  • Melt Bakery (ice cream sandwiches)
  • Meltkraft (grilled cheese)
  • Mr. Bing Beijing Street Foods
  • Paella Shack by Barraca
  • Palenque Colombian Cuisine
  • Red Hook Lobster Pound
  • Renegade Lemonade
  • Roberta’s Pizza (fired right in front of you in a big pizza oven)
  • The Cannibal Beer & Butcher (braised meats and beer)
  • The Truffleist
  • Two Tablespoons
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    Don’t eat beforehand, bring cash, and have a great time!

      

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    EVENT: Kids Food Festival

    Kids Food Festival

     
     
    HOW ARE YOUR KIDS DOING WITH THEIR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS?

    Adults and older teens often resolve to eat better in the new year. But how about younger kids?

    If you have them, bring them along to the Kids Food Festival in New York City. This year, the annual event will be held on March 5th and 6th.

    The Kids Food Festival was created to combat the very serious issue of childhood obesity in a fun and effective way. Kids engage all five senses through hands-on, food-related activities.

    The magic of the experience is that the kids are having so much fun participating in the activities, they don’t realize how much they’re learning.

    The festival is targeted to all children regardless of weight. Everyone needs to acquire better eating habits before bad habits catch up with them down the road.

    Admission is FREE. For more information, head to KidsFoodFestival.com.

    Located in midtown Manhattan, the festival is just a big block away from the theater district. Consider turning the day into a memorable family outing.

     
      

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    EVENT: Kids’ Food Festival

    Get ready for the 2015 Kids Food Festival on February 28th and March 1st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Held in the America Winter Village at Bryant Park (behind the New York Public Library, between Fifth and Sixth Avenue and 40th and 42nd Streets).

    Presented by The Creative Kitchen, this is a fun-filled, flavorful weekend of family activities that showcase how delicious and easy it is to make better-for-you foods.

    A celebration that educates families about making balanced food choices, it’s a great opportunity for adults to help create wholesome, lifelong eating habits for kids and adult family members alike.

    With a fantastic line up of chefs, performers, and exhibitors, free general admission includes:

  • The Main Stage, featuring music and dancing, live
    entertainment and cooking demonstrations
  • The Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt
  • Fun activities and kitchen crafts for the whole family
  • Samplings of delicious foods
  • Giveaways and more
  •  

    kids-food-festival-2015-230

    Appetites of all ages will be satisfied, February 28th and March 1st.

     
    Tickets for hands-on cooking classes hosted by the James Beard Foundation at the Future Foodies Pavilion can be purchased separately here. The $25 per class includes admission for one child and one adult companion.
     
    The Kids Food Festival helps in the fight against childhood obesity. It’s a painless way to learn about the importance of achieving balance in food choices, through fun activities and sampling family-friendly foods.

    When kids are immersed in enjoyable activities, they absorb information more effectively. The Kids Food Festival embodies this philosophy of learning through fun events.

    Families will cook, dance, laugh and taste their way to making balanced food choices! Get your forks ready for a weekend full of flavorful fun!

    Discover more at KidsFoodFestival.com.

      

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