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Edible Silicon Valley Winter 2015 : Page 15

means on a menu. So what is the hidden meaning of the word “delicious”? DJ: I call the word “delicious” a “linguistic fi ller” because restau-rants use vague positive words like delicious or tasty to fi ll in when they don’t have anything better to say. Th ese fi llers are associated on menus with lower prices—a few cents less for every time one of these words is used. BL: What is your favorite chapter in the book and why? DJ: My favorite is the origin of “ketchup” because it was what led me to write the book. Th irty years ago I was living in Hong Kong and everybody seemed to know that “ketchup” was a Chinese word. I was skeptical—after all, it’s the all-American sauce—but it turns out they were right. In the book I show how ketchup evolved from an exotic imported Chinese fi sh sauce through a British mushroom sauce to the tangy American ketchup we know today. Ketchup is a symbol of our im-migrant nation, reminding us that even the quintessentially Ameri-can condiment came from somewhere else and evolved through many cultures. Actually, the story of ketchup is a great metaphor for Silicon Valley. Like any recipe, ketchup is a scientifi c innovation, one that evolves collaboratively as generations of chefs make changes that lead to a totally new sauce. At each iteration the recipe feels com-pletely new but you can see how it’s grounded in what went before. Th at’s the story of Silicon Valley. Nobody ever invents things com-pletely from scratch. You take the last widget and bring your new insight. But if you step back, it’s easy to see how it’s come out of what went before. BL: You mentioned orchards in Silicon Valley growing up—they are nearly all gone—so what’s unique about the Silicon Valley food scene today? DJ: It used to be that you found the best immigrant food in inner cities, where the immigrants came, like the Lower East Side of New York—the Germans, the Irish, Russians, the Italians. Not anymore. Now Silicon Valley is the classic immigrant suburb. Th e exciting eth-nic food is not in San Francisco but in the Valley—Milpitas, Cuper-tino, Fremont—that’s a huge change. You can fi nd Th e Language of Food (W. W. Norton & Company; $26.95; September 2014) locally at Kepler’s in Menlo Park, Omnivore Books in San Francisco and nearby Barnes and Noble stores. Beth Lee is a San Jose–based food writer, marketing consultant, co-founder of the virtual cooking community Tasting Jerusalem and writes the food blog OMG! Yummy ( EXPLORING CONSERVATION, FOOD AND FARMING BONUS LECTURE Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts 8:00 p.m. SERIES SPONSOR in memory of Bill Lane MEDIA SPONSORS Jean Lane Dan Barber // Allan Savory // FOR SELECT SUBSCRIBERS // // MONDAY // February 23 MONDAY // March 9 MONDAY // Daphne Miller // // May 11 MONDAY // April 13 FARMER, RANCHER AND BIOLOGIST EXECUTIVE CHEF AND AUTHOR PHYSICIAN, MEDICAL ECOLOGIST AND AUTHOR Ursula K. Le Guin // // Embarcadero Media Edible Silicon Valley Restoring the World’s Grasslands Through Holistic Management The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing EVENING SPONSORS SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY AUTHOR In conversation with Michael Krasny, host of Forum on KQED SUBSCRIPTIONS SINGLE TICKETS (650) 854-7696 X315 MVCPA Box Office (650) 903-6000 Peninsula Open Space Trust Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Foundation // Peter Pulis // Sandhill Global Advisors // Noble and Lorraine Hancock // Pie Ranch and TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation winter 2015 15

Peninsula Open Space Trust

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