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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gonzo Gastronomy 101

It was somewhere around the edge of the dessert, around The Grand Valley, when the food began to take hold…

gon•zo adj. Slang 1. Using an exaggerated, highly subjective style….

Having been a fan of Hunter S. Thompson, especially his early works, Hell’s Angels and, of course, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, I had always loved Gonzo Journalism, or at least, my translation of that. To me, if you are going to write about something, don’t do it in the 3rd person (I saw/read about this), but rather go out, dive in and then write about it from a personal point of view or at least from experiencing it!

When I starting writing my food column in the GJ Free Press, I did so for two main reasons; first being an old newspaper guy that thinks Wednesdays mean the food section in your daily newspaper and second, I just really love to cook, read about, and talk about food and cooking.

Here in The Grand Valley, while we may not have the sheer numbers of culinary diversity as such places as The San Francisco Bay Area (Road trip coming up), New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta or, gulp, The Front Range, we ain’t doing that bad either! Slow down some day when you are trying to navigate the ever-increasing traffic that we are seeing and take a look around, we really do have some places in town that do ‘push’ the boundaries and serve some really great food. Just off the top of my head, a few come to mind (and no, they are not all clients of Decadence!).

626 on Rood, No Coast Sushi, The Winery, The Carriage House, Chez Lena at the culinary school, Bin 707, The Paradox Grille at Gateway Canyons are just a few great examples of people doing what they love and trying to go that little bit extra.

Yeah, the economy stinks, money is tight, but every once in awhile, you really should go out and treat yourself to a great dining experience, no matter where it is. Besides enjoying some really good food, you will experience a nice euphoria, which these days is not a bad thing!

The same ‘gonzo’ philosophy is not a bad thing to have in your own kitchen! Don’t get too complacent with what you have cooking for all these years. Yeah, we all have our ‘comfort food’, but when you are looking at a recipe or thinking about what you can do that you have not done 1,000 times, let your mind wander. ‘Gee, what can I do to tweak this recipe?’ Maybe a different cheese? Maybe a different way of preparing the meat? (hey, it’s going to become Spring one of these days, how about grilling your meat, maybe after a new marinade idea, then bringing it in and incorporating it into your recipe?)

I love to read about food and cooking, between my magazine subscriptions, the internet and the Wednesday Food Sections in newspapers (If you have internet access, you really should go on newspaper sites around the country and see what they have in their food sections. I especially recommend The San Francisco Chronicle, The New Orleans Time Picayune, The Dallas Times Herald and of course , The New York Times, but if you like a certain type/style of food, check out that region’s newspapers!

I will see a recipe and then another and every once in awhile. I get a glazed look in my eyes (kind of like the look House gets in his face when he gets the diagnosis) and go……. Hummm, what if……

Worst case scenario: don’t let anybody else try it if it fails miserably! Don’t tell anyone!
Best case scenario: your knees buckle when you taste it!!

Go For It! Have some fun!


  1. Great ideas! Going to go poking around the food sections of various papers....another one I miss, but, yes, I can go online and look, is "The Orange County Register".

  2. Yeah, they have a good one and I actually worked for them in the late 70's and early 80's.