Jack Ohman

Editorial cartoonist, writer and Joe King’s alter ego

Farm to Fork: I’m farming out the cooking and getting the fork out of here...

10/01/2013 5:56 PM

10/01/2013 5:57 PM

When I first moved to Sacramento, I kept hearing about “Farm to Fork” incessantly. My editor, when not being an editor and graduate of the prestigious Columbia School of Journalism ©, once took five months off from The Bee to go to apprentice at Oliveto, one of the Bay Area’s finest Italian restaurants. He also owns a truly impressive set of knives that help him get what he wants from me on deadline.

I am not a foodie. At all. God knows, many well-meaning people have tried to get me to become one. One of my best friends in Oregon is a restaurant critic, and can pronounce words like “arugula” and “chèvre.” I have some friends here who, when not maintaining a beautiful home and occupying very demanding jobs, are constantly chopping and cutting green things up and making them into other words I also cannot pronounce, like ceviche. It’s like a cross between chèvre and arugula. I think.

I’m from Minnesota, so I can pronounce some food words properly: “meat loaf,” “pork chop,” “pot pie,” “pasties,” “hot dish,” “jello salad,” “cottage cheese,” and “ham” come immediately to mind. It’s easy to pronounce and say “ham” ten times in a row, but it is impossible to say “arugula chevre” ten times in a row without it sounding like you’re drowning, possibly in a rich, lumpy Minnesota gravy.

Actually, I do not, pretty much as a rule, eat any of those Minnesota foods anymore, as I was advised by my doctor to lose 30 pounds, fast, or my face would explode, which can really add up on the dry cleaning bills. So I lost the 30 pounds and became even less interested in food than I was in Minnesota.

These are my own “Farm to Fork” foods I eat regularly:

1. Air.

2. Unflavored water.

3. Kale.

4. Dark chocolate (72 percent cacao, or is it cocoa? I can’t remember).

5. Another, smaller piece of dark chocolate.

6. Once a week, I go to Guenther’s Ice Cream.

7. Little pieces of green things I find in my yard.

Don’t laugh. This diet works for me. I can binge on all the air I want, and I can drink quite a bit of water, and my blood pressure is now to the point where my only my nose is now in danger of exploding.

I am intrigued by food, of course, and I used to really enjoy eating as part of my own “Fist to Mouth” movement. My diet used to consist of this:

1. Any caramel-colored carbonated beverage.

2. Doritos in all hues.

3. Pringles. The pizza ones.

4. Mochi ice cream balls.

5. Fried meats of all kinds.

6. Anything that was cheese or bread-based.

7. All other foods of all types, as long as they were not prepared in an expensive restaurant as part of a movement.

I really do admire foodies, and people who run restaurants. I love going to restaurants; in fact, in the 1930s and 1940s, my family ran two restaurants:

A. “The Snack Shack,” 1945-48, in Marquette, Michigan. It featured fine foods such as coffee. Black. And cigarettes. Unfiltered. The Reagan Administration later declared tobacco a vegetable, so my conscience is clear.

B. “Ohman’s Barbecue,” Minnetonka, Minnesota, 1930s, which was run by my great uncle Rube. When I saw the photograph of this restaurant (a stand, actually), I burst out laughing. It was kind of like seeing a picture of a business called “Ohman’s Dirigibles.” Since it was in Minnesota, it didn’t specify what was being barbecued, but it could have been walleye or jello.

So, I salute the Farm to Fork movement here in Sacramento. Long may it prosper.

I’ll do the dishes.

You don’t want me anywhere near a kitchen. And neither does my editor.

He just showed me his knives, again.

About This Blog

Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.

 

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