anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Posts Tagged ‘Bike Love

Happy Birthday ‘The Culinary Cyclist’

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The Culinary Cyclist by Anna Brones

It was about a year ago that my first book The Culinary Cyclist came out.

It’s crazy to think that a year has gone by. In fact it’s amazing to think back to when I was writing the book. I remember when the outline first came together, sitting in a cafe in Portland on a work date with a good friend. I had a blank sketchbook with me, which I like to use to write sometimes because the pages are big and blank and I can sketch little drawings as I go along.

I sat and stared at that blank page for a long time, then went to work on something else as I couldn’t get the ideas into place. But then eventually they spilled out onto the paper, and quickly. I scribbled quickly in order to keep up with the pace of my thoughts.

The book unfolded in a way that made me think that maybe I’d always had The Culinary Cyclist in me, that it was just a matter of putting a name and an official project to it in order for it to come out.

Maybe that’s how books are sometimes. The Culinary Cyclist is no work of great literature – it’s a cookbook after all. But the experience has left me with the desire to write more, be it a short story or thoughts on food.

So, happy birthday dear little book, I hope you celebrate with lots of coffee and peanut butter cookies.

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Written by Anna Brones

August 29, 2014 at 11:29

You Can’t Buy Happiness… But You Can Buy a Bicycle

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aop006_happiness_massive

Truth.

Now, I hope everyone gets out and rides a bike today.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 3, 2014 at 10:58

America’s Foodie Reputation

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A surprising discovery when I lived in France was L’Americain. In the land of gourmet cheeses and perfected baguettes, food is more than something that you just consume for nourishment; it’s art. Which is why I was a little shell-shocked the first time I came acrossL’Americain, a late night favorite, post-pop music dance party, made up of a baguette stuffed with hamburger meat, french fries and ketchup.

If the French vision of American food had been unclear before, after this particular sandwich run in, it was very clear. For the French, there was no point in glorifying this version of junk street food, when they could just call it what they thought it represented: America.

As a nation, we have often been at the bottom of the list of culinary tradition. Sure, at home we’ve created a foodie culture and mastered combining dishes from around the world, but abroad, there remains a view that we’re all about pizza, hot dogs and chips. Our global foodie reputation is defined more by sugar and fat than by local ingredients with a cosmopolitan twist.

In fact, enter any “American” food store in another country and you’ll get a handful of classic ingredients. I’ve seen everything from swirled jars of peanut butter and jelly to marshmallow cream (things my American counterparts would never dream of buying at home), and much less abroad. But the international crowd loves this stuff. One of my best Swedish friends has specifically requested that next time I come visit she wants Reese’s Miniatures and several bags of Sour Patch Kids.

What is it that has made the rest of the world crave some of our most terrible exports and glaze over our more respectable creations? You don’t see Alice Waters shrines or bookshelves stocked with Mark Bittman translations abroad, but you’ll most certainly come across a sampling of the following.

Hamburgers

McDonald’s has swept the world like a virus, but it’s not just Big Macs that have made their way around the world. Grab an “American” menu in Southeast Asia and you’re sure to find some version of a meat patty wrapped in a bun. For some reason this American classic has other people hooked, albeit poor spellings on menus and misconceptions of what a bun should look like.

Pringles

It’s not just chips in general, but there’s something about “once you pop you can’t stop,” that has seduced the international consumer. Turns out they’re marketed in at least a hundred countries and bring in $1 billion in sales. Sure, in other countries the packaging is often smaller,  because other places know better than to serve up ten servings in one container that we’re sure to down in a single sitting — but those brightly colored canisters with the goofy, mustached man are all over the place.

Mediocre – yet complicated – coffee drinks

Leave it to the global coffee chain Starbucks to make it perfectly acceptable to order a caramel machiatto in countries where coffee consumption is holy. The result is, well, abhorrent. Thanks to the chain it’s trendy to cruise the streets of Paris with a disposable cup and you can now buy Frappacinos in Guatemala. The company’s new instant product alone was responsible for $100 million in global sales last year.

Peanut Butter

It seems like such a staple product and yet for many it’s a luxury. Some love it and some hate it, but peanut butter to Europeans is just as exotic as caviar and foie gras are to many Americans. Try tracking it down outside of the U.S. and you’ll have a difficult time, and yet somehow, everyone knows about it. A former, very typical French roommate of mine (he wouldn’t dream of keeping his smelly cheeses in the refrigerator), thought there was nothing better on his weekend brioche than some good old Jiffy, imported by friends of course.

But forget our foodie reputation for a second.

Although it would be great to be known for all the fantastic, organic and healthy items that many American chefs whip up on a daily basis, wanting to be respected for our food culture is almost a little vain. What we should be more concerned with is how we’re physically impacting the rest of the world.

With obesity rates skyrocketing around the world, and often attributed to imported food, maybe it’s time we took a step back and asked ourselves what we want our global food influence to be.

Hot dogs and high fructose corn syrup? Changing what’s on our plates at home has a larger influence than we may think.

Originally published here.

Written by Anna Brones

March 31, 2011 at 07:07

Mountainfilm: Submit to a Fantastic Festival of Film, Art and Culture

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Photo by Jennifer Koskinen

I heart Mountainfilm Festival, an amazing festival of film, art and culture, and I’m so excited about attending the real deal this year (don’t worry, I’ve been to the one on tour)! So here’s a little something from the Under Solen blog to inspire all you creative types:

Art + Adventure + Culture + Environment. Does it get any better than that?

In its 32nd year, Mountainfilm Festival is so much more than a film festival. It’s a four-day six-senses experience of all those things we love: art, adventure, culture and environment. With the motto “Celebrating the Indomitable Spirit” it’s hard not to get excited.

The festival takes place over Memorial Day Weekend (this year May 28-31), and although it might seem a little early to be making travel plans, if you’re a filmmaker, you’ll want to pay attention. Submissions for the 2010 festival are still being accepted, and if you submit before January 12, 2010 the submission fee is only $60. Submit by February 12, 2010 and your fee bumps up to $70. (Short films — 20 minutes or less — have a submission fee of $25 and will be accepted until February 12, 2010).

Why submit? Because Mountainfilm “is America’s premier festival celebrating achievement in mountain, adventure, culture and environment.”

What do they accept? Mountainfilm accepts and screens films – doc and narrative, feature and short – on a broad range of subjects. They’re particularly into quirky causes and indomitable spirit. Learn more about submitting here. To get a feel for the festival you can also check out a list of last year’s films, and others, here.

Written by Anna Brones

January 7, 2010 at 22:02