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Let's Get Real


On Let’s Get Real Chef Erica Wides walks you down the aisles of the surreal world of food, serving up a heaping dose of reality by separating the food from the foodiness so you can forage, hunt, gather, trap and fish for real food anywhere, even in a foodiness-filled mega market. Incisive, pragmatic, sarcastic, and an unrepentant know-it-all when it comes to anything food, on Let’s Get Real Chef Erica Wides does the job for you of sifting out everything that’s fake in the world of food – from “foodiness” marketing and cooking show shams to “health-halo green-washing” and annoying whole-food righteousness – so you never unknowingly chow down on carpeting again.


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On Let’s Get Real Chef Erica Wides walks you down the aisles of the surreal world of food, serving up a heaping dose of reality by separating the food from the foodiness so you can forage, hunt, gather, trap and fish for real food anywhere, even in a foodiness-filled mega market. Incisive, pragmatic, sarcastic, and an unrepentant know-it-all when it comes to anything food, on Let’s Get Real Chef Erica Wides does the job for you of sifting out everything that’s fake in the world of food – from “foodiness” marketing and cooking show shams to “health-halo green-washing” and annoying whole-food righteousness – so you never unknowingly chow down on carpeting again.



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Episode 164: Color Me Freaked Out...

There’s nothing left to say. I’ve read every editorial, every FaceBook post, every HuffPo screaming front page rant. I’m done. I’m done with the election, and I’m done even discussing it, or him. He who shall not be named. I had been calling him the apricot barbarian, but you know what? I love apricots, they’re delicious and pretty and when they’re ripe, they smell how I imagine Eden might have smelled, if Eden had been a real place and not just a setting for a fairy tale. Apricots are an incredible fruit, and they don’t deserve the association with that walking pile of shit. No, you know what? That’s an insult to shit, too. How about we call him…Fake-n-Bake Hitler? I have no problem insulting fake tanning, it’s an abhorrent practice, and nothin’s worse than Hitler, so that’s a good moniker. That works. Fake-n-Bake Hitler. Perfect. FBH for short. Or Tang-Stained Goon? Or Dehydration-Pee-Color Monster? Fanta-Face? So here I am this fall season, thinking about color, and there it was, the NY Times Magazine. With their food issue article about how the big industrial food companies, think Kraft, M&M Mars, you know, Foodiness, Inc., are all scrambling to find new ways to color their garbage non-food products with natural colors, because all of a sudden, American consumers are freaking out. Not because a Sunkist-Soda-faced demagogue could be our next president, but because all of the shit food they’ve been cramming into their gaping maws has been artificially colored for years, and now the moms of America are calling on the major food corporations to STOP THE MADNESS? “GET THE BLUE DYE OUT OF OUR KIDS M&M’s and SQUEEZY YOGURT”. They’re DEMANDING that the big food co’s ditch the color, and replace it with natural colors. Nobody’s demanding that we label GMO’s, or stop dumping raw sewage on our crops as fertilizer, or stop using what accounts to slave labor to harvest our food, or demanding that we clean up the trillions of tons of plastic in the ocean…no. Just give us our blue food, but please make it less chemically so we can feel better about eating shit. Wait a second, moms of America, NOW you’re upset? You still haven’t figured out that you’re feeding chemical-sugar crap to your children, but are really upset at the big issue of the COLOR of the foods? Yes, the artificial color is terrible, and made from stuff like coal-tar sludge, but like FBH himself, the artificial color is merely the petrochemical-stained surface of a much, much deeper, larger problem. A tremendous problem, a HUGE problem! The problem of the fact that we CARE so much about what’s in our SHITTY processed junk food, and don’t give a crap about what’s being done to real food. And that’s a problem. Live at 2:00 pm EST on heritageradionetwork.org or later on www.letsgetrealshow.com


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Episode 163: Scary Clowns, Apricot-Faced Barbarians, and Gluten; Who Ya Gonna Call?

We're all really, really scared these days. Scared for the future, scared for the planet (well, some of us), scared of scary scaring clowns scaring kids, scared of scary clowns pretending to be legit candidates...OMG, so much scariness! And it's not even Halloween yet! But even worse than all that scary stuff...is GLUTEN! Oh no, GLUTEN! The big scary monster lurking in all our most delicious foods, like bread! Well, you all know how I feel about this, that unless you are straight-up legit diagnosed with Celiac disease, get over yourself and your gluten issues. Just don't eat that shitty, processed, non-organic industrial bread and other crap that make up the SAD (Standard American Diet) that you're stuffing your face with. Ditch that crap, and you'll start feeling a lot better, a lot faster. Unless you're today's guest, Peter Michael Marino. He's my teacher and friend, a comedian, actor and solo performer, and founder of SOLOCOM, in which I'll be performing in November. And he IS straight-up legit diagnosed with Celiac, so he has something to fear, for real, in gluten. He's joining us today in the Foodiness Fallout Shelter, to discuss. He's a funny guy, so it should be a good time for all. Join us, why dontcha? Live today at 2:00 on www.heritageradionetwork.org or later on www.letsgetrealshow.com or iTunes!


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Episode 162: Let's Get Real...And Sharp. And Blunt!

It's special guest day here in the Foodiness Fallout Shelter! My new, once-in-a-while co-host, Emily Peterson, has taken time out from her busy life of cheffing, motherhood, chicken raising and occasional taxidermy to join us down here. You may know Emily from her HRN show, Sharp and Hot, but today we're doing a mini-series within my show, called Sharp and Blunt. Guess who's Blunt? Ha. We have lots of stuff in common and lots of similar food issues, so we're gonna kinda free-form it today, and, like on Bravo, watch what happens! Or I guess in this case, listen to what happens? Should be fun...So c'mon down the rabbit hole, and join us for some Foodiness-fueled banter and chat. Live at 2:00...you know where, right? www.heritageradionetwork.org!


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Episode 161: This Foodiness Was Made For Walking!

@KarlMeltzer just broke the world record for the being fastest ever finisher of the entire Appalachian Trail, you know the Appalachian train, right? It’s a 2,190 mile hiking trail that runs along the East coast of the US, from Georgia to Maine. Now, I hike, and I’ve done little bitty bits of it, 4-5 miles here and there, on DAY hikes. I see people on the trail, with their huge packs and gaunt faces, and their lingering clouds of BO trailing behind them…and I give them major respect for undertaking such a long trek. I’d like to do it too, one day. Maybe. Anyway, On average, people take 3 months to complete the AT. You start in the spring in Georgia and head north with the seasons, finishing in Maine on the top of Mt. Katahdin in late summer. This guy, he went a little faster. He did it in 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes. To basically run, almost nonstop, up and down huge mountains from Maine to Georgia. He beat the previous record holder’s time of 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes, by about half a day. Ridiculous. And I thought I was pretty fit. Now, why is this of LGR importance? Well, we here in the Foodiness Fallout shelter like to hike, so this is super impressive. But, what’s really interesting to us really, is what he ate along the way to fuel his win. See, the previous record holder is Scott Jurek, who was made famous by the “Born to Run” book, about indigenous people around the world who are great distance runners, and how he is a champion of barefoot or virtually barefoot running. Scott Jurek, he’s a vegan. He did his record-breaking AT run eating vegan. Very impressive, I must say, because I know for myself, if I don’t eat an egg before a big workout, I feel weak, and he did the whole thing eating plants. Or at least no animal products, there are certainly plenty of energy-providing carby and sugary foods out there that are vegan. God knows there are plenty of overweight vegans and vegetarians. I was at my fattest ever when I was a vegetarian, maybe I should have done the AT. So Scott Jurek set the record for the AT as a vegan. But Karl Meltzer, not a vegan. He’s more of a fan of Foodiness. He fueled his record-breaking trail run on a regimen of candy, Red Bull, and beer. Ok, beer’s not Foodiness, I like beer. And it provides a lot of carbs for energy. But every night he’d have a beer or two, then as he ran, he’d down a Red Bull or other energy drink every 10 miles. At rest stops (btw, the trail goes through towns and there are stores adjacent to it in many spots that cater to hikers) he’d buy Spree candy, Three Musketeers bars, and cooked bacon. He’d keep those in his pockets and eat as he ran. According to the NYTimes article detailing his win, he’d sleep less than 7 hrs a night, and when his support crew found him napping, they’d feed him a pint of ice cream to get him going. For the record, bacon, candy and ice cream, not Foodiness. None of those are pretending to be anything else, but Red Bull and other unnamed energy drinks? That’s straight up F-bomb. But so what? He won, right? I mean, what’s worse, a smug vegan winner, or a Foodiness fueled candy-crazed winner? It’s not like you do this kind of thing every day, right? When he finished, he celebrated with a pizza, and a few more beers. Then fell asleep. As far as I know, he’s still asleep. I’d sleep for a week after that. After I finished the NYC Marathon in just over 5 hours I slept for a week. And then didn’t work out for 12 weeks. All I’m saying here, is that the vegan got beat by the Red Bull guy, and I think that’s pretty funny. I have no major point or point of view on this, extreme sports are just that, extreme. You don’t have time to cook your morning quinoa and egg and make your wild salmon salad with baby kale for lunch when you’re running the entire east coast up and down mountains. So, a major shout-out to Karl Meltzer for his record-breaking finish, and to Scott Jurek, you rock too, but maybe try a little bacon next time? Live from the...


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Episode 160: Welcome back to the Fallout Shelter, now climate controlled by Foodiness!

Today, on the season premiere of Let's Get Real!!! Ok, so a couple of changes are afoot here in the Foodiness Fallout Shelter. Well, no, actually the shelter is the same, I barely touched the place over the summer. It looks really great, and the biomass fuel HVAC system I built last winter is working great, too. Biomass is awesome, you guys know about biomass right? It’s using stuff like agricultural waste products to create energy? Like threshed wheat stalks and orange peels and broccoli stems because people are too stupid to eat them and shit like that? Well, my biomass is even better than that, because my biomass is the ultimate #FOODINESS FUCK YOU to the food industry. While I was on summer break, between swimming and hiking and growing too many green beans, I was also doing a little sleuthing and investigative research and I discovered that there is a gigantic, massive, huge, underground storage facility in Staten island, under the Fresh Kills landfill (which, if you don’t know, was the largest garbage dump in the country for nearly a century, so large that it created a mountain on Staten Island which is now covered in grass and is soon becoming a park, albeit a park built over a massive, festering toxic dump of NYC’s old diapers, chicken bones, phone books, mafia hits and dirty mattresses from the last 75 years, but it’s Staten Island so…do we care?) And in that storage facility, there lurks, slowly staling and decomposing, the largest containment of out-of-fashion, off-trend, expired, nutritionally debunked, and forgotten FOODINESS products! Yeah, I know, SO EXCITING. It’s like finding Tutankhamens tomb, but filled with Carnation Instant Breakfast, Pepsi Clear, tons and tons of margarine products including Squeeze Parkay, billions of variations on the granola bar, trillions of liters of expired baby formula (which as you know, I call the original Foodiness gateway drug) and, what may be the best, worst and forever immortalized here product…the….the...the... What? You think I’ll give it away before the show? You’ll have to listen, peeps, to find out. And guess what? You can, because we’re all new and LIVE today, at 2:00 on www.heritageradionetwork.org! Note the new time, please.


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Episode 159: Cod Worms and Devil Dogs – extended edition

Today, on Let's Get Real... It's the extended live version of "Cod Worms and Devil Dogs"! Can't remember what that is? It's the live theater piece I did back in March. This is the extended version, that I performed on Saturday. I worked so hard on this as a live show, that I'm not ready to put it to bed yet. So all you lucky listeners get to hear it today, instead of a regular episode. Live at 1:00 p.m. on www.heritageradionetwork.org as always, and later on letsgetrealshow.com, iTunes and Stitcher, too.


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Episode 158: Pollen-Whacked? Maybe You Need a Shot of Lawn-Grass Juice!

I’m hiding out down here in the fallout shelter this week. I’m safe here, since we’re so deep underground and we filter our air. I can’t go outside anymore, since I seem to have developed terrible seasonal allergies, all of a sudden. Twice this spring I’ve been hit with weeks of a sore throat, major congestion, coughing. It’s not a cold, I feel fine underneath it all, and I’m convinced that it’s related to climate change. I never had any allergies before, so why now? I think there are invasive species, or native species going nuts from all the extra carbon dioxide in the air. It’s happening now, people, the earth is becoming uninhabitable. Better build your spaceships or dig your bunkers, ‘cause terrestrial life on the surface is coming to an end. And even though a few years ago my doctor gave me a full allergy test panel, and declared me allergic to “nothing”, things seem to have changed. Or, she can’t read results. I know using the word assault is a bit dramatic, and also diminishes the weight of the word, as assault isn’t to be taken lightly, and certainly not just thrown around as a term. There are other, much more serious and horrible ways to be assaulted, than by pollen. And two of my friends have been violently assaulted just in the last month, right here in post-Giuliani Manhattan. So I’m going to retract my use of the word assault, and instead use the term pollen-whacked, ok? When I go outside, I feel like I’m getting pollen-whacked. Right in the face, and the nose, and throat. And after being sick from this garbage for a week, I finally returned to the gym, where I took a Burn class, taught by a crazy person called Eagle. (Not her real name) And Eagle is ALL about juice, and juicing, and wheatgrass, and her own wack-job theories of digestion and health, and I swear if it’s not one assault it’s another, because she really can’t just shut up about her stupid juice and I really just can’t stop coughing and nose-blowing and I just want it all to STOP! Unless she’s really onto something…? Nah. Who am I kidding? So today, on Let’s Get Real, we talk trees, grass, shrubs, and juice. And stupidity. My favorite topic.


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Episode 157: Today's Drink Special, is the Saddam Slam!

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a very dark, grim place in my past... I waited tables at TGI Friday's. Yes, really. Hard to believe, I know, but I needed a job, I couldn't get hired anywhere else, and a friend got me the job. It was the early 90's, we were in a recession, I was depressed and dumpy looking, and no higher-end restaurant would give me the time of day, so I went the corporate route. For a few months... Suffice it to say, TGI and me...we didn't really, uh, "mesh"? My flair wasn't flair-y enough, I kept trying to stick political buttons on my suspenders, I refused to promote the "Saddam Slam" drink special we were offering (it was the first weeks of the first Gulf War)...you know the story. This fish was seriously out of the water. But I got myself a taste of corporate hospitality training, and all of its enforced cheer and generic conformity. And instead of hanging myself by my red-and-white suspenders, I did the right thing, and got fired instead. Today, on LGR, we have a guest who is all too familiar with the ways and woes of hospitality training, my great buddy, Kate Edwards! Kate's a hospitality management expert and coach, and she's worked at the best places in NYC. No TGI's for her, she's too classy! We're going to hang out in the newly AC'd Fallout Shelter and talk corporate training, chains vs independents, and whatever else comes up. We may also discuss sea otters...it could happen.


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Episode 156: We Hold These Foodiness Truths to be Self-Evident...

Here, in corporate Big Food America, we apparently hold certain Foodiness truths to be self-evident, which is that all industrially produced foods are created Equal, that they are endowed by their corporate Creators with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are potentially destroying Life, crushing the Liberty of the small farmer and the pursuit of profitable Happiness for those running the corporations.- Sorry, I’ve been thinking about American holidays, and the 4th is right around the corner, so I thought I’d rewrite the Declaration of Independence, to make it more appropriate for today’s world. The whole Memorial day/Independence day/Labor day structure of the summer got me thinking, about how the season is bookended by holidays, and peaks with one. July 4th, Independence day, is really the beginning of the end of the summer. What do you have, like 6 weeks after that? And the back-to-school ads start running by the 4th, and the Xmas crap starts to show up in stores alongside the Halloween candy, it’s like time doesn’t really exist, the whole year is a mashup of pre-and post holiday sales, for every holiday, all at once. There’s a dollar store near my summer house, and one year, in early July, they had leftover Father’s day and graduation party crap, alongside 4th of July star-spangled junk, and an early display of Xmas decorations…All at the same time. It was like the time-space continuum had totally collapsed! I’m already getting nostalgic for and feeling the loss of this summer, and it’s only May 24th!! But back to the agenda for today’s show, which is primarily about truth…Truth, Justice, and the American Foodiness way. If you’re under 40, that’s a variation on the tagline from the old Superman TV show. Superman fought for truth, justice, and the American way, because…the cold war. Here in the fallout shelter, we’re fighting for truth, and justice, and definitely the American foodiness way, or more correctly, against, the American foodiness way, because…our food systems are so effed. So come on down the rabbit hole, and into the shelter, where’s it dry and cozy and we have snacks, too! The CBS news team was here last week, and the place is all spiffed up and tidy.


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Episode 155: Babies & Cake

So I’ve got babies on the brain. Everywhere I go, everyone I know and see is breeding, birthing, being fruitful and multiplying as if babies were going out of style or were about to be banned or rationed by the government. Brooklyn is baby-breeding central. I miss the old NYC where once you had kids you moved out, fearing for their lives. Not me, of course, I’m too old, that ship has sailed and there’s no turning back into the wind now. Oh sure, so-called well-meaning people say to me, “Oh no, it’s not too late, you can still do it! I know someone who got pregnant at 50, with a donor egg and donor sperm and 17 rounds of IVF and a surrogate” Because that’s what you want, to have a lab-grown, $100,000 infant at 50. Uh…thanks, I say, but nope. I don’t need your reassurance that it’s not too late, because it is too late, and it was a conscious decision, and please go away and take your little Junipers and Masons and Oleanders and their runny noses and sippy cups away from me. Please. Just. Stop. I went to Bethlehem, PA last weekend for a baby shower for my beautiful cousin Robin, who is a devoted LGR fan, btw. Robin took charge of her food life and completely overhauled her diet a few years ago and dumped all the Foodiness, and her picture hangs on the Foodiness Fallout Shelter wall of fame, and she looks great. We give her a shout-out now and then on the show. Hi Robin! So Robin and her husband Jay are expecting a baby boy in July, and I am genuinely super happy for her. She is an amazingly loving, generous and kind person and will be an exceptional parent, and if anyone should be a mom, it’s her. And a couple other friends have either recently had babies, or are expecting, and it’s fine, it’s what humans do, right? It’s the norm. I chose not the norm. But I like being an aunt, to my real nieces and all my friend’s kids. And I like baby showers. I think the pregnant moms need that lavishing of attention before their lives change so radically and they risk losing themselves in parenting. They need to eat little sandwiches and open presents and get all weepy, it’s very good for them. Plus, at almost every baby shower, there’s cake. And I like cake. I hardly ever eat cake, so when I go to an event with cake, usually, I eat some cake. And that’s kind of what today’s show is about. Cake. Not babies. Well, indirectly about babies. So today, on Let’s Get Real, let’s talk about cake. Ok? Oh, and IHOP, and the government, and even autism. Yikes.


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Episode 154: I’m Not Licking MY Fingers…

Today, an ALL-NEW episode of Let's Get Real! Yes, it's a new show, after a long break to develop the new weekly Heritage Radio Network News show, of which I'm the co-anchor! But I'm back, this week with tales of finger-lickin' weirdness. On today's show I revisit my invitation to the BIG Kentucky Fried Chicken event where I was taken way, way down the Foodiness rabbit hole, to the place where the chicken is fried, the slaw is sweet, and @RachelDratch gets hired to demo breading. Yes, Debbie Downer herself showed me, and a bunch of other journalists, how it's done at KFC. Totally surreal. Want to hear about it? Tune in. Oh and don't forget, if you don't want to eat sh*t...


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Episode 153: Cod Worms

I like to write, and I like to talk into a microphone. And I also like to talk in front of a live audience, I’ve discovered. Teaching all those years gave me the confidence to stand up in front of a group and tell a story, even if that story was about kitchen sanitation or pork butchering. I have a lot of stories, after being in this crazy industry for over 20 years, and I wanted to turn them into something entertaining and live, much like this very show, but in front of a live audience. So, eight weeks ago I signed up for a class called Flying Solo at the PIT, the People’s Improv Theater, where I turned some of those stories into a live, ten-minute show. The plan is to develop it into a longer piece, and perform it at a festival or two, or who knows? Could lead to some other fun and interesting stuff. Anyway, we performed our class show on Saturday, and it went better than I ever anticipated. We started as a class of nine, but five people dropped out, so we were a tight group of four, and I loved every single other show too. I’m going to post the video of the whole show on the LGR Facebook page, and I hope you’ll watch them all. Mine’s the only one about food, but the others are funny, sad, touching and beautiful.Oh, and the show is called “Cod Worms” Here’s a little teaser… Cod. They’re bottom feeders. Yeah, codfish? The state symbol of Massachusetts? They’re bottom feeders. They vacuum up the crap on the ocean floor, and pick up worms, tiny, thin bright-red worms, which eat into the cod’s flesh and live there. The worms are harmless to the cod, and harmless, but gross, to the people who eat the cod. But when you serve the cod, you have to pluck out all the worms with fish tweezers before you cook it. I’ll tell you a little secret though. If you miss a worm, and then you cook the fish, the heat makes them wriggle to the surface, so you can grab ‘em before it hits the table, a perfect slab of snowy-white fish. Life does gives you second chances. For the last 23 years, I’ve plucked cod worms...


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Episode 152: To Everything There Is a Season, and a Dry, Crumbly Cookie to Match

On this week's episode of Let's Get Real, Erica celebrates the eve of the joyous holiday of Purim, aka "The Jewish Halloween." Among many other reasons, this holiday is exciting because it heralds the coming of spring! Also this week was National Slurpee Day, when 7-Eleven invited customers to bring in their container of choice for a free fill-up – whether it was a cup, an oil drum, or even an inflatable kiddie pool.


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Episode 151: Go West, Young Man, But Don't Forget to Bring Your Insulin

On this week's episode of Let's Get Real, Erica waxes nostalgic about the classic film Annie Hall, and its derisive depiction of California health food restaurants in the 1970s. Before arugula and Whole Foods were invented, California pioneered the health and organic food craze, which has become ubiquitous in today's society. However, it seems the glimmering, shimmering bubble of The Golden State may have burst, according to some new statistics which indicate that 55% of the adult population in California are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Could hyper-processed foods and new drugs pushed by Big Food and Big Pharma, respectively, be to blame for this self-perpetuating cycle of unhealth?


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Episode 150: We’re 150, But We Don’t Look a Day Over 100!

On this 15oth episode of Let’s Get Real, host Erica Wides opens with a revelation she had about cooking while swimming, before diving into the problem of fish ingesting plastic refuse such as microbeads while feeding, and the merits of sunblock versus face wash. Finally, she lays out the three “planks of her platform” that have sustained the show through 150 episodes. “You know, life is just full of conundrums and hypocrisy, and we all just have to learn to deal with it. That’s part of getting older and being 150.” [24:50] – Erica Wides


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Episode 149: One of These Things Does Not Belong

On this week’s Let’s Get Real, the theme is “one of these things does not belong.” Chef Erica Wides reminisces about the darker, grittier days of Sesame Street, expresses bewilderment at the new McDonald’s chicken-and-pancake sandwich, and reveals her current favorite food item: the Okinowan sweet potato. “Once Guiliani and Elmo took over Sesame Street, the whole scene changed.” [8:20] – Erica Wides


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Episode 148: In Space, No One Can Hear You Pickling

Can you make make pickles in space? Can you rely on your dreams to write your shows? Do you get gloomy in February? All this and more this week on Lets Get Real. Chef Erica Wides discusses growing vegetables in The Martian, literally dreaming of future shows, and the possibility of pickling on foreign planets. “If Matt Damon had grown a lot of vegetables, he would have had to preserve them… maybe he could have made pickles on Mars.” [20:00] – Erica Wides


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Episode 147: A Holiday Card Against Humanity

Today is February 9, 2016. We are now 39 days into the year. At the end of this week, on the 14th of February, the “holiday” season, will be officially over. The end, Done. Until…of course, Easter rolls around. Then we begin the next round of sugar-gorging, present shopping, holiday madness. Because people buy Easter presents now, apparently! It’s a thing. Hey! Let’s celebrate the crucifixion and mythological resurrecting of a Jew, by buying each other new X-boxes or pink Uggs! I know, let’s fill the Uggs with plastic grass and jelly beans! YES! I saw it on Pinterest! And then, let’s throw AWAY the Uggs, because they are seriously the ugliest footwear ever and I know because I lived through the 70’s and nobody over the age of four should be wearing squishy booties, ok? The holidays begin with Halloween, fly through thanksgiving, then it’s your December holiday of choice that requires a huge cash outlay and much eating of red and green baked goods, despite which December holiday you choose…Ok, maybe your baked goods were white and blue, the official Hanukka colors. Whatevs. Then it peaks out at New Year’s eve in a heave of exhaustion, gives us a short breather to pretend to dry out and get in shape, then revs back up again in a blaze of red and pink feelings of inadequacy and misery in mid-February…And then, just when you’re speaking to your spouse or partner again after they give you a new sports bra for Valentine’s day, and you think it’s safe to go back outside again without the assault of the holiday-industrial complex in your face at every turn, things slow down again just long enough for the snow to melt, the sun to return, the taxes to get done…it’s Easter, or, for my peeps, Passover or what I call Spring Thanksgiving, since my seders are really just about getting out the nice napkins and having friends over for a big meal with my handmade matzo. But somehow, Passover hasn’t yet been turned into a gifting or carding holiday, the way other formerly non-gifty-cardy holidays like Halloween have become, but I’m sure, somewhere, in a secret underground secure location, in Hallmark’s Kansas City HQ, someone is working on Passover cards and gifts. Maybe they already exist? Are there Passover cards? I haven’t been in a Hallmark store since the 90’s…are there still Hallmark stores? All of ‘em. Halloween, V-day, Easter, let alone Xmas and Hanukkah, have become cardy-gifty-candy-orgy spend-fests. Kids get Easter presents now, not just plastic baskets with a few milk chocolate bunnies and some Brach’s jelly beans like we did, when I was a kid. Oh wait, no we didn’t… But Valentine’s day?…Here we go again. I know what you’re thinking. Is she going to simultaneously drone and rage on about cookie-dough filled Crossonuts or brownie batter filled Englullers (that’s an English muffin-cruller mashup that I just invented, btw)? Is she? Am I? Well, do you want me too? I mean, after five years, and five Valentine’s days, do you really want to hear that all again? Even I’m sick of myself, and I’m my biggest fan! But, If you really, really, want me too….


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Episode 146: What’s On Your Plate?

Erica Wides is back for a brand new episode of _ Let’s Get Real _ with her good friend Kristin Wartman; Let’s Get Real’s resident nutrition guru and food policy wonk! She has her own little office down here in the ‪#‎Foodiness‬ Fallout Shelter, where she sits and works on her forthcoming book “Formerly Known as Food”, and then her and Erica hang out and eat grass-fed burgers. Today they are “discussing” the new ‪#‎USDA‬ food guide “ ‪#‎MyPlate‬” recommendations. “The idea we can eat 12 tablesoppons of sugar a day and be healthy is ridiculous.” [11:00] “When we have high levels of insulin circulating in the body, it affects the brain.” [26:00]


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Episode 145: You Can’t Make Soup Dumplings with Blue Raspberry Flavored Jello…

From Erica Wides: So I had to go to Whole Foods a few days ago, to buy unflavored gelatin. You know, like Knox gelatin in the little packets? I needed it for a private cooking class I was teaching, the clients wanted to make soup dumplings, those Chinese dumplings that are filled with ground pork and cabbage and also scalding hot soup stock. To make the soupy filling you make a strong chicken stock and add gelatin to it, or use a lot of extra bones to get the gelatin out that way, but we were using boxed stock. I don’t get paid enough to make homemade stock for clients, so don’t judge the box. You then chill the gelatinized stock ‘til it…well, gelatinizes, then dice it up and mix it into the filling, before filling and folding the dumplings. Then, when you cook them, tada! Soup inside! Incidentally, making stock is one of the best, simplest and most classical way of using up food and preventing waste, and for the record, I am a HUGE advocate of making your own stock, ok? I do it at home, but when I’m only getting paid for the 2.5 hours at a client’s house…well, then it’s boxed stock city for me. Don’t judge. That’s my job. Why I am telling you this? Well, because I had to go to Whole Foods because it was on the way to the client’s house, and my stupid upscale local grocery didn’t have Knox gelatin, let alone any other gelatin, not even a selection of Jello, not that I could’ve used that. You can’t make soup dumplings anyway with blue raspberry flavored Jello. But the simplest, most basic of kitchen and pantry staples? Nope. Oh, they had 16 types of gluten-free crackers, and 7 brands of cold-pressed juices and 12 local ice creams and 18 organic baby-food options–but no plain ol’ Knox gelatin. Yup, 7 kinds of organic gluten-free flour, artisan baking powder, 6 different vintages of chocolate chips, but no Knox. So much of the “more”, not enough of the basics. I’d like to open a store that sells the 20 basic necessities for cooking at home. And that’s it. Like a Portlandia store, “two girls, two shirts!” or, “the cup and spoon store.” Twenty Cooking Basics. That’s it. And nothing gluten-free. And my crappy regular mainstream supermarket is almost a mile walk away, as this is the new Brooklyn where on my once formerly desolate block there are now TWO custom bridal shops and TWO custom perfumers and a doggy day care and a store that just sells international soccer team jerseys, but you have to walk a mile to find a stupid packet of Knox gelatin. What, does nobody gelatinize things anymore? Are we so impatient that we just leave our liquids fluid, have our short attention spans removed out ability to wait for gelatinization? Is it easier and requires less effort to drink liquids vs. the effort and dexterity involved in spooning a gel into our over-fed gaping maws? Or does the fact that gelatin is made from boiled, strained and rendered pig skin, hooves and bones factor in? I doubt it; this is Brooklyn. You could probably offer a restaurant dish titled “rendered pork skins, hoofs and bones, parsley stem coulis and apple core essence” on any menu around here and charge $28 bucks for it. And you’d CLEAN UP! But try to find a little box o’ Knox…well, you’d better put on your Fitbit cause there’s gonna be some walking involved.