That Middle Ground

2018 will be the year of the push-away from the table during nonworking hours. Starting date to be determined.


As I was driving to yet another food event this week, I spotted a guy walking toward Lake Eola, wearing loose, comfortable-looking pants and a soft matching hoodie—pajamas, he was basically wearing pajamas. I thought, yeah, that looks comfy, I'd like to dress like that. But catching him again in the mirror I realized he was sleek, well-built, with the slow measured stride of a slightly hungry lion. Like if a gazelle leapt into his mouth he would take a chew or two, then run.

Nah, I’m good. And that ain't me.

When I was in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 2007, I studied with poet and playwright Cornelius Eady. Aside from the artistic inspiration I got from this brilliant man, I was smitten by the wardrobe: always unlined linen, drifting jackets and billowy trousers that immediately became my model of a successful writer (hey, he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, that doesn’t hurt). Except on a slender, centered man with dreads that ensemble comes across as arty and distinguished-casual; on an overweight older guy like myself it takes on the air of Sydney Greenstreet in Casablanca. Not that that’s a bad thing.

I’ve been Eating for a Living ™ since 1997, and I have the physique to prove it. I’ve not been at what one might call “fighting weight” in the past 20 years unless I had recently been ill, which doesn’t make for a regularly appealing diet plan. I remember seeing Graffiti Junktion’s Tom Hughes at one of Orlando magazine’s dining awards events and having him say “Hey, you’re making the rest of us look bad.” My reply: “Three weeks of the flu.”

So it’s time to take the plunge. For this New Year, my fellow full-bodied foodsters, I’m going to practice the two-handed push-away exercise when I’m not on the job. Right after the holidays. Or maybe in the spring. ‘Tis the season…

Last Minute Gifties

Books by our local culinarians are always great impulse stocking stuffers, and here’s a few to search out at bookstores and area restaurants:

* Good Catch: Recipes and Stories Celebrating the Best of Florida's Waters: Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand and Heather McPherson.

* The Ravenous Pig: Seasons of Florida: James and Julie Petrakis.

* The Southern Cowboy Cookbook: John Rivers.

* 9 Courses: Brandon McGlamery

* Norman Van Aken’s Florida Kitchen: Norman Van Aken

* More Mexican Everyday: Rick Bayless

* Kevin Dundon's Modern Irish Food: Kevin Dundon

* Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking: Masaharu Morimoto

* Art Smith's Healthy Comfort: Art Smith

Resolving to visit new restaurants in 2018?  Comments? Questions? Recommendations? Stay in touch with Joseph at You can access a comprehensive list of his print and online reviews here!

Categories: Savor Orlando