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Culture & Artsby Francine Halvorsen10:06 amJan 12, 20110

New on The Brew: Foodwise Baltimore

Introducing a new feature on cooking and eating in the city.

Above: New on The Brew: Francine Halvorsen’s Foodwise Baltimore.

As I begin this new column on Baltimore Brew, “Foodwise Baltimore,” I thought I would tell readers what I have in mind and solicit your thoughts on where to go with it.

I see “Foodwise” as an on-going exploration and conversation about how and what we are eating here in Baltimore.  Resources, reviews, recipes, and recommendations will appear on a regular basis. More or less following the calendar, seasons, holidays and events in the city, I will share our pleasure and eagerness for food and food news.

We eat and drink always for satisfaction and contentment and often for fun and well-being. Mostly, our meals are shared, at home or out and about. Occasionally, as schedules grow manic and family and friends reconfigure, we eat alone. Cooking for one can be delicious, and dining out alone a simple adventure. We read recipes, shop, cook, look for recipes and make reservations and decisions guided by diverse impulses.

Foodwise Baltimore will be a creative inquiry seeking answers to our culinary questions. It will feature fresh food, from-scratch cooking and chefs and purveyors who are taste-driven. I don’t mean merely expensive, you can eat well at any price. Techniques, with few exceptions, will be easy for anyone who has cooked the basics. I will help you do more with less. Tasty nutritious food on a regular basis requires availability, ease of preparation, and an inclination to pleasure. Baltimore has a rich culinary life and I think you will be pleased by our local embarrassment of riches.

Francine Halvorsen, variations. (By Peter Lucia.)

Francine Halvorsen, variations. (By Peter Lucia.)

I invite you to ask questions:  Where can I find…? How can I make…? What’s a good restaurant in this particular Baltimore neighborhood…?  I’d also like to ask you questions: What keeps you from cooking? How you do you make your preferred types of coffee and tea? What have you always wanted to know about food that will be helpful and pleasurable for you? I will also try to let you know about basic kitchen equipment, tools, pots, pans and knives.

When it comes to food resources, restaurants, take-outs, groceries and farmers’ markets, my goal is to inform you about what Baltimore has to offer. Restaurant reviews will take my own spin. When I talk about restaurants, eateries, and take-outs I never want to mock or deprecate the hard work of culinary artists and entrepreneurs, but rather to help sort out choices and clarify offerings.

(That  doesn’t mean I’ll waste time on really flawed or forgettable places — if they’re that bad I’ll just skip them!)

A bit about me:

I have traveled a great deal and interviewed chefs all over the world. I also have lived in both Italy and Spain and am familiar with the diverse cuisines of both. I have written five books about food including, for John Wiley, Catering Like a Pro with a recently revised second edition, Eating Around the World in Your Neighborhood, and A Culinary Journey Through China. Most recently, Crowd-Pleasing Potluck for Rodale. I have written for various magazine and newspapers and am a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Now, on to the tasty task at hand, to get Foodwise, Baltimore!

Contact me at:  francine.halvorsen@baltimorebrew.com

(And check out my first Foodwise column, a profile of Chef George Dailey and a description of On the Hill, his Bolton Hill cafe.)

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