The Ultimate Blog Awards

Alright, food bloggers.  If you think you’re up to snuff (and want to part with $100 of your hard-earned money), you now have the opportunity to nominate yourself for a James Beard Award.

You read correctly.  A James Beard Award.

For the first time ever, the ultra-prestigious James Beard Foundation — which awards yearly prizes in categories like best chef, best restauranteur, best wine service, best cookbook author and best food journalist — will have an award for Best Blog.

No, seriously:

The Journalism Awards program has established a new James Beard Foundation Award for Blogs focusing on Food, Restaurants, Beverage, or Nutrition. Blogs have become an essential part of today’s evolving media landscape. They provide journalists from both traditional and nontraditional backgrounds with an immediate, direct outlet for their work, and open up an unprecedented avenue for vibrant dialogue with readers. With the addition of this vital new category, the James Beard Foundation recognizes the tremendous impact that blogs have had on food journalism, and their importance to the future of the medium.

There is no cash prize that comes along with any of the awards, merely the prestige of having won what’s popularly referred to as the “Oscar of the food world.”

The Best Blog award falls under the journalism category, which means that at least a few people out there in the world recognize blogging as something more than merely a social media tool, but as a legitimate means of conveying news and information.

Then again, the JBF folks could just want another category that will garner them $100 per entry.  Your call…

Tuesday Trivia: Thursday Edition

Your patience with our much-delayed Tuesday Trivia will be rewarded this week with a shiny new prize! What is that prize? Find out after trivia…

  1. Medieval writers and religious figures took a very broad view on gluttony, arguing that the sin encompassed more than simply over-indulgence in food and beverage. Thomas Aquinas went so far as to prepare a list of six additional ways one could commit gluttony while consuming a meal. What were three of these ways?
  2. Gluttony isn’t the only deadly sin that relates to food. Avarice, or greed, is responsible for driving up the cost of food items worldwide as investors and commodities traders profit from the abject poverty and hunger in countries like the Phillipines, Honduras and Bangladesh. Since 2000, the worldwide price of various oils and fats has risen by 300%, the price of milk by over 150%. By how much has the price of grains gone up since 2000?
  3. People have historically used food as one of many displays of wealth and pride, and still do to this day. Caviar is generally accepted as one of the food items most easily associated with a prideful life. What is the highest grade of Russian caviar on the market? Hint: its name is derived from the Russian word for “little salt.”
  4. Throughout history, people have sought aphrodesiacs to increase their own virility or induce lust in the object of their affections. Which of these foods is not traditionally considered an aphrodesiac: balut, arugula, ginseng, kelp or abalone?
  5. People go to war for many things: religion, land, natural resources. Food (and famine) has been one of the main causes of wrath and wars throughout human history. In fact, most anthropologists now believe that the population of what mysterious island was wiped out after a civil war over food (or, rather, a lack thereof)?
  6. BONUS: Sloth has created a nation (and a world) obsessed with fat-and-calorie-laden fast food and pre-packaged meals. What creation has been widely dubbed the “worst fast food burger” in America, nutritionally-speaking?

Now, obviously, the theme this week was…the Seven Deadly Sins. And the reason for that is two-fold. The first reason is that this week’s prize is one of my all-time favorite food anthropology books, In the Devil’s Garden: A Sinful History of Forbidden Food.

Today’s trivia winner will receive a copy of this truly fascinating book, shipped directly to their front door. I promise that none of today’s questions come from the book, either, so you’re guaranteed a fresh, interesting, eye-opening look at food taboos and food history as it relates to the Western concept of the Seven Deadly Sins.

The second reason is that Randy Rucker will be holding his highly-anticipated Seven Deadly Sins dinner this Monday, October 20th, at Culinaire Catering on Milam. The menu for the night includes seven courses, one for each sin. You don’t want to miss this special tenacity dinner. As always, you can email Randy at rrucker79 at hotmail dot com to RSVP for the dinner. Do it soon! Spots are filling up fast for this one.

Answers (and this week’s winner! — I’m very excited about this!!!) will be announced tomorrow afternoon, so hurry up and get those guesses in before anyone else comes in to crib off you! See you all back here on Friday, bluebirds!

Pre-Trivia Poll: Input, Please!

Since this will be our first ever Tuesday (er…Thursday) Trivia contest with an actual prize, I’d like to get your input on the fairest way to choose the winner for said prize.

Since we will occasionally have two or more people with the highest score (or with all the answers correct!), take a look at the poll below and let me know what you think is the fairest means for selecting a winner.

The poll will close at noon and Tuesday Trivia will be on!

UPDATE: The poll hath spoken.  If more than one person has all the correct answers (or ties for the most correct answers), the winner will be chosen at random from that group.  I will write the names on a piece of paper and my dog, Niblet, will do the honors of sniffing/eating/peeing on/choosing the winner.