Monday, November 1, 2010

Ixnay on the Expohay?

That's pig latin for "I diss the expo"...the 2010 Philadelphia Food and Wine Expo to be exact. Now I know what you're probably thinking. Why on earth would a vegan non-drinking gal go to a meat, dairy, seafood, beer and vino showcase? I had to go and see the vegan superstar that was making an appearance there.

The expo had two things going for it: Desi Village cuisine (I ate several servings of stupendous vegan Indian food) and Christina Pirello, host of the PBS show Christina Cooks. This wasn't my first time seeing her cooking demonstrations. But there's always something new to learn from her. She's funny, down-to-earth, has a great stage presence and is a walking encyclopedia on all things food. Most importantly, she's uber passionate about holistic nutrition and is continuously creating new recipes to encourage people to take back their health in a tasty way. And it's always a treat to see her make healthier versions of, well, treats.

At the expo, Christina showed the audience how to make zeppoli, an Italian fried dough. She put her own touch on it, creating an aromatic honey and orange zest glaze that covered the balls of doughy goodness. Simply scrumptious. Heavenly. I wish this had been the ending to my expo experience given what followed.

My friend and I were perusing all the tables and I, as expected, had found little to eat. No biggie. But when I found a pesto pasta action station I thought I had hit the jackpot. Wrongo. Mr. pasta maker, a caterer from the area, didn't like vegans. When I asked if he could make the pesto and not throw in some parm cheese he got irritated. When I noticed a pitcher of colored liquid, I asked what it was (I thought maybe it was melted butter). I took myself out of the running for pasta when I learned that he was going to add chicken stock. No judgement...just didn't want it anymore. He hadn't even made it yet. But mr. pasta maker got pissed, throwing his arms up and saying, "You're not a VEGAN are you?" I was taken aback by how loud (at least it seemed) he got and I left his booth.

Maybe he thought I was judging him. Maybe he was disgruntled that I was asking him to tweak the contents of the pasta action station (but those usually involve choices anyway, right?). It was weird enough feeling out of place in general but to be called out for food choices was just unexpected. If there is to be an expo in my future, it will surely be vegan or natural foods (like this). But I would go to the expo all over again to see Christina cook.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Glad you walked away from Mr. Pasta Maker. Great pic of you and Christina.:-)