Jon Favreau’s character, Chef Carl Casper, in the movie Chef is one of my favorite movie characters. He’s a talented chef, but also likable, humble, and very human. Additionally, he is as unfamiliar with technology as he is uncomfortable using it. The movie is mostly about a chef who has lost himself by cooking conventional fare (a “creative rut,” he calls it) at a popular restaurant, then regains his wife and son after ending his creative rut cooking his own way in a food truck. A sub-theme of the movie, though, relates to the necessity of technological acumen to success one’s personal and professional life. Carl may be suffering from creative paralysis under dictatorial restaurant owner (played by Dustin Hoffman) for whom he works, but his crisis occurs when he challenges a popular food critic in what he thinks is a private reply to the critic’s tweet. Throughout the movie Carl’s ten year old son Percy (played by charming, adorable Emjay Anthony) guides Carl through the technological confusion of social media and tools such as Twitter and Vine. Percy, in fact, manages social media so masterfully that he becomes a defacto marketing and promotion force that drives Carl’s new food truck business by announcing the truck’s location through tweets. Carl’s success by the end of the movie is very much tied to his son’s knowledge, and skillful use, of technology to promote the Carl’s business.
(Chef video credit: Movie Clips Coming Soon)
I enjoy many aspects of the movie Chef, from the many facets of the plot to the acting of several of the characters, but I really relate to Chef Carl Casper’s struggle to understand the role of the Internet in making or breaking a person’s life – and his business. I have this same struggle and I deal with it just trying to keep this little blog going. My most pressing problem concerns Pinterest. Pinterest is a search engine, supposedly second only to Google. If bloggers want to attract people to the work on their websites, they must link their websites to Pinterest, post their work directly to Pinterest to attract Pinterest users, follow other people on Pinterest, and pin the work of others on Pinterest. I can’t, however, post my blog entries from this website directly to Pinterest. When I first started this blog, I had a gmail account that I used only for this blog. For various reasons I cancelled that email account when I moved my blog to Bluehost from WordPress.com. I forgot that I had my Pinterest account tied to that email address. When I tried to access my Pinterest account so that I could link my new Bluehost website address to my account, I couldn’t remember my password. Since I no longer have the email address associated with that account, Pinterest can’t send me an email to allow me to change my password. I opened a new Pinterest account and tried to link my blog to the new account. Pinterest says that my blog is already claimed by another account (the one I can’t access). I asked for help from Pinterest support and received none. The support peeps say they can’t help me at all, since I no longer have that email address related to my first Pinterest account and thus can’t prove I own my website. I guess I’m wrong in thinking that in the 21st century more than one way to prove ownership of a website must exist.
Having found the Pinterest support people less than helpful, and even less willing to help, I went to gmail and tried to reopen the closed email account. Google says no. The account has been closed too long. Then I tried to start a new gmail account with the same address as the one I closed so that I could then get an email from Pinterest, change the password, verify my site now on Bluehost, then post directly to Pinterest when I post on my blog site. Google says that username is already in use and suggested alternatives (email@example.com – seriously? Already in use?), so I figure that Google disallows new email accounts with names identical to accounts that have been closed. So here I am, stuck in the circular, or maybe quicksand, world of technology. Pinterest people say they can’t help me access my first Pinterest account nor verify my ownership of my blog on the new Pinterest account I started. Google can’t help me reinstate the email address I need to use to get help from Pinterest. I’m in some sort of a technological catch 22, vortex, black hole, or something. I’ve wasted a great number of hours trying to figure out a solution for this problem.
The solution may just be that I return to more tradition methods of writing and communicating . . . . or maybe not. I don’t know. What I do know for sure, and what makes perfect sense to me always, is that when I put something in the oven and use the oven correctly, that thing is going to turn out as it should. Fortunately the oven is very easy to use correctly. It requires neither passwords, email addresses, or verification of ownership. I treat this piece of technology lovingly and carefully, and it works for me every time single time I use it. It does have its quirks (the usual hot spots and inaccurate temperature), but I know those quirks and adjust to them with simple steps such as rotating pans and using an old fashioned oven thermometer. I love my oven. It’s so simple!
The other certainly I find in the kitchen is that when flavors that complement each other are put together, they create something delicious to eat. This roasted carrot salad is a fine example of this transcendent truth. Its flavor is so delightful; I’m not missing meat (given up for Lent) nor gluten (given up for life).
Roasted Carrot Salad With Radicchio and Pistachios
The sweetness of the roasted carrots and pear contrast nicely with the bitterness of the radicchio.
- 8 oz multi-colored carrots
- 2 Bosch pears peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1 small head of radicchio, roughly chopped
- 1 small shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup walnut oil, divided
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup Manchego or Parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cups roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 375. Toss the carrots in 1/4 cup walnut oil. Spread the carrots on a shallow baking pan and roast at 375 degrees until tender and starting to brown (about 20 - 25 minutes). While the carrots are roasting, peel, core, and thinly slice the Bosch pears. Set aside. Finely chop the shallot. In a small bowl, mix the remaining walnut oil with the champagne vinegar and sugar. Add the chopped shallot; mix well. When the carrots are finished roasting, remove from the oven and cool slightly. While the carrots are cooling, roughly chop the head of radicchio. Divide the chopped radicchio evenly between two places. Carefully arrange the pear slices on the radicchio, dividing the pear slices evenly between the two plates. Arrange the warm roasted carrots over the pears, dividing the carrots between the two plates. Sprinkle half the chopped cilantro over each salad. Sprinkle each salad with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the walnut oil vinaigrette over each salad, evenly dividing it between the salads. Top each salad with half the grated cheese and half the chopped roasted pistachios. Serve the salad while the carrots are warm.