096 Photographer Babs Perkins: The Land, People and Cheese of the Balkans

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Listen to “096 Photographer Babs Perkins: The Land, People and Cheese of the Balkans” on Spreaker.

First of all, a big thanks to Eric Rochow of Garden Fork. He wanted to do something for Kelly and me, so he set up an interview, guest hosted and edited this episode of the podcast. Please consider subscribing to Eric’s Garden Fork podcast and YouTube channel. Also take a moment to leave a review of the Garden Fork podcast in iTunes and share his podcast and YouTube channel in social media. And Eric has a great suggestion: if you want to do something for Kelly consider donating blood. Thank you Eric Rochow!

Eric’s interview is with photographer and writer Babs Perkins, who documents disappearing foods in the Balkans with a emphasis on cheese making. In the conversation Babs and Eric discuss the politics of cheese in the EU, the challenges of doing a documentary project in the Balkans and the cross cultural values of sharing food. As you listen to the podcast I’d suggest you take a look at Perkins’ stunning photos on her website:

Cheese Stories: Bosnia

Cheese Stories: Serbia

The incredible natural beauty of Bosnia

And those strange concrete monuments put up by former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito.

@babsperkins on Instagram

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

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Happy New Year 2017!

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Happy New Year everyone!

I thought I’d first let you know how Kelly is doing. Recovering from open heart surgery, even for a young healthy person like Kelly takes time. Leaving the house for more than an hour is still a great effort. She’s not up for blogging just yet but we hope to record a podcast soon so that she can tell the story of her aortic misadventure.

Speaking of the podcast, I want to thank Eric Rochow of Garden Fork for recording an episode of the Root Simple podcast that I will put up tomorrow. The podcast features an interview with a very gifted photographer named Babs Perkins.

As for New Years resolutions, after trying both publicly announced resolutions (a big mistake) and privately held resolutions (also unsuccessful), I’ve decided to forgo the idea altogether in favor of a vague notion of just staying positive, grateful and keeping a sense of humor about life. We have a lot to be thankful for, in particular Kelly’s recovery and being surrounded by many kind and compassionate people including you, our dear readers.

Do you have plans for 2017? What would you like to accomplish this year?

Saturday Tweets: New Year’s Eve 2016

Root Simple’s Favorite New Year’s Eve Cocktails

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While you’re ringing in the New Year we’ll most likely be snoozing. Kelly and I rarely celebrate the evening, since neither of us function well the next day if we’re up past 11. And even if Kelly weren’t recovering from open heart surgery, she has an unfortunate allergy to alcohol that prevents her from drinking. But, perhaps earlier in the evening I might make one of my favorite, if unimaginative, cocktails.

Denizens of the snowy regions of the world may object that two of these cocktails are considered appropriate only for warm weather. But we do live in Los Angeles where it can be hot in December (though not this year, so far). Personally, I like these cocktails regardless of the outdoor temperature. Here’s my three favorite:

pegu_club_postcardThe Pegu Club
This was the house cocktail in the 1920s at Burma’s Pegu Club, a gentleman’s establishment for British Army officers and government officials. The cocktail faded into obscurity only to be revived during the heady early years of the vintage cocktail revival of the aughts. The cocktail went viral and even inspired a new Pegu Club in New York. It’s simple and easy:

1 1/2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce orange curaçao (or Triple Sec if you’re cheap like me)
1 teaspoon lime juice
Dash bitters
Dash orange bitters

Shake with crushed ice, strain and serve in a cocktail glass with a lime twist. The Angostura bitters will give the drink a pleasant, pink tinge.

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Negroni
Named for Count Camillo Negroni, who supposedly asked a bartender to replace the soda water in his Americano with gin, the Negroni has become ubiquitous at many hipster bar hangouts and has many variations. I keep it simple:

1 part gin
1 part sweet vermouth
1 part Campari

Stir into a glass with ice and garnish with an orange slice.

Manhattan
2 ounces Rye whiskey
1 ounce sweet red vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Place the booze in a shaker with ice, stir for 30 seconds and strain into cocktail glasses. Here’s the important part: garnish with the classy kind of cherries, not those bright red ones. What you want are marasca cherries such as the Luxardo brand, imported from Italy. They are dark colored and delicious but should not be stored in the fridge.

And take my advice for a decent New Years Day: stop at two cocktails the night before!

Happy New Year everyone! And many thanks for your kind wishes! Hope you all have and abundant and happy 2017!

The Primitive Technology Guy

I mentioned last week that episodic TV, YouTube videos and a recliner are an important part of Kelly’s open heart surgery recovery process. Our breeches are still deep in that Jas. Townsend and Son 18th century YouTube cooking hole, where we’re learning about cleaning pots with brick dust and how to make Norfolk dumplings on the go.

Australian reader Jampotts reminded me of another wildly popular YouTuber who just goes by the handle “Primitive Technology.” The anonymous creator of the these wordless videos, shot in northern extreme of Queensland, Australia uses a “show me don’t tell me” philosophy of film making that I greatly admire. No long, babbling intros!

Kelly was especially impressed with his pump drill fire starting technique:

He has a blog that describes the content of his videos in more detail.

People like John Townsend and the Primitive Technology guy are the good side of the internet, producing quality work that’s a lot better than mainstream television. If you have a favorite YouTube channel let us know about it in the comments.