Fussy on the Ledge
Happiness is elusive.
Things on the blog have been going great. Traffic is up and people are engaging more with the content. I got to give a guest lecture at RPI on social media and marketing which was a lot of fun. Lanny at Ala Shanghai just let me know that he could specially prepare a Szechuan dish that I’ve been missing. And I also just picked up a few ounces of some super delicious, thinly sliced salumi at The Cheese Traveler.
But all is not sunshine and light. In the past couple of days, Josh Coletto left The Flying Chicken and Brian Bowden is gone from Creo. I also finally returned to Pizza King since it reopened, and maybe they were having a bad day, but the slices weren’t close to what they had been. However, what’s weighing on me most right now is the standing of my Tuscan Braised Pork with White Beans and Shaved Red Cabbage in the Bellini’s restaurant recipe contest.
To be able to cook this recipe for the judges, the picture of the dish needs more Facebook likes. Several dozen before 1pm
today tomorrow [Note: I lost track of the date, man I need more sleep] should do the trick. Otherwise I will lose because I wasn’t able to mobilize my base. And that’s the crazy part. Because you all are my base.
Maybe I didn’t do quite a good enough job explaining why I find this to be important. Or maybe you thought it was a lost cause. But I’ve got some good news and some more reasons why you should support my latest quixotic campaign.
Late last night we picked up a little momentum. The Facebook page for my entry lept from 5 Shares to 15 Shares. And looking at the competitors, I’ve come to realize that getting shares is the secret to success in this game.
But I’m also excited to have some high profile endorsements. Mr. Dave asked his twitter followers for support in this effort and yesterday Albany Jane even dedicated a blog post to the matter. When The Culinary Librarian shared it on her Facebook page, it was liked by Michael Ruhlman. Wow. I mean, that should turn around my mood right there. But even that hasn’t.
Because this isn’t about ego. It’s about changing the perceptions of food. And Italian food in this area of the world rarely goes beyond tomato based sauces and pastas. Not that there is anything wrong with classic red sauce Italian-American cuisine when done well. I love a good chicken parm as much as the next guy.
But take a look at what’s outranking my variation of Tonno del Chianti in the contest:
– Braciole stuffed with Prosciutto, Roasted Red Peppers, Ricotta and Parmigiano Cheese
– Braciole al Ragu over Spinach and Linguine
– Chicken Francaise Broccoli Rabe & Ziti
– White Lasagna
– Penne with Chicken Sausage, Brocoli Rabe and Sundried Tomatoes
– Cannelloni with Butternut Squash Bechamel
– Duck Leg with a Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette Reduction
Except for the duck leg, it’s all pasta and/or red sauce. And that’s just crazy. Because Italy is a giant country with different culinary specialties in every region. I kind of feel like the Lorax in that I’m here to speak for the cuisine.
Maybe we’ve stumbled on why people go to the Olive Garden. Too many people have no idea that Italian food is actually any different than what they serve at this national chain. And we can place that blame squarely at the feet of independent restaurants who rely on the same old uninspired dishes.
Look. My three hour olive oil simmered pork may not win the contest. But I want the judges to taste it. Not for my sake, but for yours. It’s delicious. And I hope it awakens in the owners of this restaurant a spark that there are other flavor profiles of Italian food that they can be highlighting on their menu.
Maybe my aspirations for the dish are a bit far fetched. But they will surely shrivel up and die in a few hours [note: 28 counts as a few, right?] if more of you don’t click on this link and like it. However the critical step is to then share the image and ask your friends to like it too.
Now you can tell them that Michael Ruhlman likes it, if you think that will help.
few 24 hours are make or break. You all will either decide that you are tired of just seeing the same old stuff on Italian restaurant menus, or you’ll help me promote delicious alternatives. Please help and ride the wave of last night’s support into the finish line at one o’clock (Eastern) this afternoon (Thursday) Friday. And hopefully with your help we can get this dish into the top five.
Thank you very much.