Food Notes: Writer brings Food Network tale and book to Boise

doland@idahostatesman.comNovember 29, 2013 

Allen Salkin will sign copies of “From Scratch” (Putnam, $27.95) from 4 to 6 p.m. Dec. 2 at Hyde Park Books, 1507 N. 13th St., Boise.

Author Allen Salkin’s book “From Scratch: Inside the Food Network” explores the rise of one of the most formative and popular cable TV networks.

Since going on the air in 1993, the Food Network has awakened America’s palate for cuisine and the culture that comes with it. The network also was a significant influence on the structure and content of cable television, as we know it today.

“It (the book) is not about who slept with whom, or the women who bared their breasts to Emeril — although that did happen,” says Salkin, who will be in Boise on Dec. 2 for a book signing and sold-out dinner.

It’s about the rise and inevitable decline of this remarkable phenomenon as it seeks a new identity in a new era, he says.

Salkin draws a parallel for the network’s impact on culture to the development of rock ’n’ roll in the 1960s.

The blues went electric at the same time the mass delivery system of radio and television came along. In the same way, the original personalities that populated early Food Network shows, such as Emeril Lagasse and Rachel Ray, became household names. As cable TV grew, specialization became the norm, and culinary culture spread to a mass audience and celebrity chefs rocketed to fame.

And they inspired a generation to be more thoughtful about what and how they cook and eat.

“At the time, we were a country that basically had never heard of a shallot or kale,” Salkin says. “Now, 20 years later, more people are cooking, and those who (do) are using different ingredients.”

Salkin is a seasoned journalist who wrote food features for The New York Times Style section about the developing food culture, and later investigative pieces for the New York Post.

Food Network fans will find many of their favorite personalities in the book. Salkin interviewed Ray, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Paula Deen, Tyler Florence, Anthony Bourdain and others.

He scoured reports and talked to behind-the scene players, he says. And of course it’s not all balsamic vinegar and sun-dried tomatoes. There are tales of intrigue, personality clashes, egotism, infighting and a soupcon of people behaving badly — which makes it sexy and gives “From Scratch” the spice of controversy.

And although it’s not an endorsed biography by any means, a Food Network spokesperson said, “After 20 years of helping our fans connect with their inner foodie, we’re surprised no one told this story before.”

• Allen Salkin will sign copies of “From Scratch” (Putnam, $27.95), from 4 to 6 p.m. Dec. 2 at Hyde Park Books, 1507 N. 13th St., Boise.

WINE NOTES

Neil Glancey is back making wine at Carmela Vineyards in Glens Ferry. Glancey grew up in Boise and learned winemaking at Florida’s Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards. He came back to Boise in 2001 to make wine at Carmela, then moved to Woodriver Cellars in 2008, but kept consulting with Carmela.

He’s now becoming a partner in the winery, restaurant and golf course and plans to release his first vintage in the spring.

• Carmela, 1289 W. Madison Ave. in Glenns Ferry, will be open this Thanksgiving weekend — with many of Idaho’s wineries — for barrel tastings and holiday discounts by the case — from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 29 and 30.

Find more information about all the wineries open for the holiday weekend at IdahoWines.org.

NEW CHEERLEADERS

Cheerleaders owner Rob Godsill opened a sister sports pub in Boise on Nov. 22. Cheerleaders in Boise is at 815 Ann Morrison Park Drive, across from ­Papa Joe’s Pizza. It serves the same menu of burgers, wraps and flatbread pizzas as the Meridian Cheerleaders. You’ll find 37 beers on tap, plus a wide range of wines served from the football-shaped bar and lots of wide-screen TVs.

It’s open 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays and 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays.

Phone: 789-0270. Online: CheerleadersSBG.com.

RESTAURANTS AT 8TH AND MAIN

Spire or no spire, the 8th and Main building will open for its residents to move in on Jan. 14, with the grand opening and ribbon-cutting in February, says Gardener Company’s Kameko Moy.

• Brick 29 chef and owner Dustan Bristol’s gourmet On the Fly Deli also will start serving in mid- to late January, Bristol says.

• Ruth’s Chris Steak House will open on the main level Feb. 12, says franchise co-owner Mark ­Robbins. Expect the same menu as other Ruth’s Chris restaurants around the world, but the atmosphere will reflect the character of Boise, he says.

• Flatbread Pizza will move its Downtown location from 615 W. Main St. to the 8th and Main building sometime in February.

• Cheerleaders owner Rob Godsill’s The Grill at 8th and Main will be open sometime in March.

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