Calcutta Street Life 12PM May 2nd, 2016

I'm in India to make a film for PACT Organic Apparel about their supply chain in Kolkata and Hydrabad. On my down day I walked around Calcutta's Bara Bazaar district and grabbed these images during a six mile walk. At first Calcutta was intimidating as a city. I've lived in China for years, but had never been in a place that was so "in your face" and so packed with people. After a few days, and an aggressive case of food poisoning, it became more normal to me.

I can't help but compare and contrast India and China as I have spent so much time in China. They both were at a similar level of development in 1950, almost starting from scratch. Both are two of the oldest cultures and have roughly a billion plus people. India went democratic and China went Authoritarian Mafia Style "faux Communism." 

The Communist Part is a horrible organization China is much less chaotic than India, and that made me wonder about the tradeoffs that you make for authoritarianism. It's not a good trade off in the end, and India seems to have a lot more soul deep inside, but China is a smoother ship.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong today walking around Sheung Wan and Central. I love the Cantonese. It's the most international city in the world. A mix of Western and Easterm at its core. Hong Kong is a perfect example of a multi-cultural world. I sincerely hope the Chinese Communist Party doesn't ruin this place one day. There is deep anti-Mainland sentiment here. 

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Whole Foods Vs. Monsanto Commercial Mashup

This film is a mashup of Whole Foods and Monsanto's latest 30 second TV commercials. Each commercial is played in alternating 2 second bursts, with both narrators speaking over the top. Completely different companies with the same polished, pricey commercial message. When you spend a few hundred thousand dollars on a commercial it doesn't matter what the truth is. The process of distilling any message down to  30 seconds produces the same results.

Belgian Eggs

This week we spent a morning in the kitchen with Denver home cook Jessica Licata making a Brussel Sprouts Hash with Eggs. She was a lot of fun, and the recipe was delicious. I felt it was healthy, but my step-sister brought up a valid point, which was that a lot of the calories came from butter and oil. In the future we are going to make a film about saturated vs unsaturated fat and the science behind them. You can follow Jessica's blog here.

Denver Cooking Classes: Plant Based Kitchenista

Today I went to a Plant Based Kitchenista Cooking class run by Kelley Williamson and Jerry Casados. I loved the experience. The class is taught in a large kitchen at the Denver Presbyterian Church. There were about 12 people in class and we all broke up into groups of 2 or 3 to prepare five plant based dishes under chef Kelley's supervision. Jerry is a nutritionist who was there to answer any questions anyone had about the nutritional aspects of the food.

Chef Kelley Williamson, Nutritionist Jerry Casados and the class.

Chef Kelley Williamson, Nutritionist Jerry Casados and the class.

 

The energy of the class was great, all the participants were fun to chat with and interested in learning how to become a better cook. I'm a novice, and didn't feel intimidated at all. The style of cooking was plant based, and had an additional focus on not using cooking oils. This aspect of the class was new to me, but I'm interested in doing more research to learn about the health benefits of cutting oil out of one's diet. 

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Avocado & Garlic Aioli

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Avocado & Garlic Aioli

 

Americans do get a lot of their excess calories from added fats. The average American in 1970 ate 2039 calories. In 2010 that number was 2,544.  A lot of that increase was from added fats. That number rose from 337 to 550. You can read the full article from Bloomberg Business here.

Chocolate Rainbow Bites. These are made without any added sugar. Just ground up nuts, dried fruits and melted dark chocolate.

Chocolate Rainbow Bites. These are made without any added sugar. Just ground up nuts, dried fruits and melted dark chocolate.

 

My favorite dish of the day was a delicious Walnut, Chickpea and Mixed Vegetable Tart. It tasted sweet, savory and rich. I'll definitely be making it at home. The recipe is here. And here is a link to their cooking class schedule.

Delicious Walnut, Chickpea and Mixed Vegetable Tart. My Favorite!

Delicious Walnut, Chickpea and Mixed Vegetable Tart. My Favorite!