Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Dinner with Mario
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Dinner with Mario

Rick Coates - September 8th, 2005
“Great food doesn’t start in the kitchen it starts at the store or farmers market. When
you make the right choices from the start it is a lot easier in the kitchen.”
It is a wonder that famed chef Mario Batali has time to vacation or even relax for that matter. Despite owning five restaurants in New York City, with a sixth scheduled to open soon, and a wine shop, hosting two shows on the Food Network, while also appearing on the popular “Iron Chef America” program, writing several cookbooks, developing a vineyard in Italy, as well as owning working farms in both New York and Italy, he still finds time to vacation in Northport.
Well sort of.
While committing to himself and his family that he would not open a restaurant in northern Michigan (they want this to be their haven away from it all), Batali has found other ways to involve himself in the culinary community of the area. Recently he donated his chef skills to the Leelanau Conservancy (a cooking class and dinner for 12 that ended up selling at auction for $25,000). Next week he will spend two days at the Traverse Epicurean Classic where he will headline an all-star cast of America’s
best chefs, cookbook authors and wine experts.
The September 15 – 17 culinary extravaganza will feature 30 plus cooking classes, several seminars on wine, craft beer and fine spirits along with an opening night reception featuring the best wines, brews and foods from the area and a closing night reception (Grand Reception) featuring all of the chefs (including Batali) preparing a dish in front of attendees. Between it all there will be a cigar dinner, benefit auction, an international wine tasting pavilion and chances to cookbooks autographed. Last year’s Epicurean Classic raised several thousands of dollars for the Great Lakes Culinary Institute, and with Batali’s presence, interest and ticket sales have already surpassed last year’s event.
“Batali is definitely one of the hottest chefs out there,” said Mark Dressler, who cofounded the event with Matt Sutherland and their spouses. “His package is nearly sold out, and when you break it down it is an unbelievable deal.”
Unbelievable, it is practically a giveaway. Considering Batali just took home the most prestigious honor in the culinary world as the winner of the James Beard Foundation 2005 Outstanding Chef of the Year Award, and reservations for his restaurants must be made months ahead of time, the opportunity to hang with Batali for the weekend for $300.00 is a giveaway.
Participants in the Chef Mario Batali Primo Package will attend his Friday afternoon cooking demonstration, receive an autographed copy of his newly released cookbook (“Molto Italiano: Simple Italian Recipes To Cook At Home”), attend his Great Chefs’ Dinner Friday night at Trattoria Stella that will feature recipes from the cookbook, and admission to one of the wine tasting classes being offered and a ticket to the Grand Reception and Wine Auction.
“I am happy to be a part of this,” said Batali. “I have not visited the Great Lakes Culinary Institute yet but have heard great things, so I am excited to check it out.”
For Batali life is all about simplicity and that includes in the kitchen.
“I tell people that the hardest part about cooking is buying the groceries,” said Batali. “Great food doesn’t start in the kitchen it starts at the store or farmers market. When you make the right choices from the start it is a lot easier in the kitchen.”
Besides being known for his orange footwear, always wearing shorts regardless of the temperature and his energetic personality. He starts each day by waking around 6 am and choosing between his orange clogs and his orange Chuck Taylor high tops.
“If I am going to be on my feet all day in the kitchen it is the clogs, if I am cruising or lounging around it is the Chuck Taylor’s,” said Batali.
After the footwear selection he prepares breakfast for his wife Susi and their sons Benno and Leo, then he jumps on his scooter and heads to the gym for a workout. After a good sweat it is off to all of his restaurants then his daily 11 am meeting with his assistant and then back to the restaurants to help.
“My primary responsibility is to remove all obstacles for my staff,” said Batali. “My success is a direct result of the talented staff that I have hired. I pay them extremely well and expect a lot out of them.”
He got his start in the kitchen early.
“In my family you started in the kitchen when you were old enough to stir a pot,” said Batali. “It was in college when I started working professionally in the kitchen.”
His programs “Molto Mario,” “Mediterranean Mario,” “Mario Eats Italy” and “Ciao America with Mario Batali” on the Food Network have made him a celebrity. He credits the channel with reshaping America’s eating habits and fellow chef Emeril Lagasse with being a big part of it.
“This country was headed down a corporate manipulated path that has destroyed food and I think the Food Network along with Alice Waters and the Slow Food Movement, have been helping us reclaim our traditions,” said Batali. “Emeril started on the Food Network 3 years before me and he showed the world that is was okay for men to be in the kitchen.”
In his own kitchen it is pretty much a given that Batali will be preparing the meals, though his wife and sons often help. After all who needs to cook when you live with a world-class chef?
“I think it is really a matter that I am quick in the kitchen and I am able to knock out meals for the family fast that makes it a given,” said Batali. “But as it should be everywhere, the whole family gets involved.”
Batali enjoys his haven in northern Michigan, swimming in Lake Michigan, walks along the beach, fishing and just plain lounging. He has promised himself and his family that he won’t ruin their time here by opening a restaurant in the area. Despite that promise it hasn’t prevented him from he loaning his culinary skills to benefit the Leelanau Conservancy and now the Epicurean Classic. He sees the Epicurean Classic as being an important event for the region, along the same lines as the film festival his good friend Michael Moore put on in the area.
“This area is abundant is culinary resources and it is important to showcase that to the world,” said Batali. “I love it here and so my commitment to the Conservancy was really selfish because I want to preserve and protect this area for myself, my family and my friends.”
As for enjoying the culinary abundance of the region Batali shops at Hansen’s in Suttons Bay and Bell’s of Christmas in Northport. He has enjoyed meals around the area at the Riverside Inn in Leland, Tapawingo, Hanna’s and Mode’s but his favorite is Taqueria Margarita on South Airport in Traverse City.
“They do such a great job there. The place is so authentic and it is a really good value,” said Batali. “What amazes me is that you never have to wait. It is probably the best kept secret in this town.”
While Batali is a wine connoisseur he hasn’t had time yet to visit the wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula as of yet but looks forward to tasting local wines at the Epicurean Classic.
“At the dinner ($25,000 auction dinner to benefit the Leelanau Conservancy) I tasted some remarkable sparkling wine from
Larry Mawby. It is definitely world class,” said Batali. “I have heard great things about this wine region and look forward to tasting the wines.”
Batali has his own vineyard in Southwest Italy in the Tuscany region. He will be releasing his third vintage this fall.
After the Epicurean Classic Batali will be busy touring the country promoting his new cookbook “Molto Italiano: Simple Italian Recipes To Cook At Home” ( See Tastemakers) and finishing up his new cookbook about tailgating at NASCAR events.
“I have been to several races and what I have learned is the state of the food in America is very healthy,” said Batali. “People are having fun with food, they are being inspired by food again, and there are a lot of creative people out there whether it is in the parking lot at a NASCAR race or in their kitchen. This is great to see, this is really the way it ought to be and I am happy to be a part of it.”

To experience food the “Batali Way” fun, simple and with humor, attend the Traverse Epicurean Classic September 15-17 at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute, where Batali and other top chefs will educate and entertain. Classes are filling up quickly (look for a profile on other chefs in next weeks Express) so check out
www.epicureanclassic.com for additional details and to sign up for classes or purchase tickets for dinners and wine tasting events.

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