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Where there’s smoke . . .

(article, Culinate staff)

h4. Grill enthusiasm

David Lebovitz is a familiar name to people who read food blogs — not only because he has his own popular blog, but also because in recent months many bloggers have made recipes from David's new ice-cream book The Perfect Scoop and then blogged about the results. 

Because we can't imagine anyone getting too much of this former Chez Panisse pastry chef, we contacted David when we were lining up stories about grilling and asked if he had any thoughts about grilling and Paris and desserts. Fortunately, he did, and we think you'll like the results — especially the recipes for Peach and Raspberry Cobbler and Ice Cream Sandwiches with Honey-Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, which make terrific ice-cream sandwiches. 

[%image "promo-image" width=350 float=left caption="When life gives you raspberries, make cobbler."]

On the subject of grilling, there's much more to see on Culinate right now. David Joachim and Andrew Schloss discuss the fine art of grilling vegetables in an excerpt of their new book, Mastering the Grill. (They'll also be teaching a grilling class at COPIA; if you've not heard about winning a trip to Napa Valley to take this class, read all about it here.) Meanwhile, Kathleen Bauer explains how to make grilled paella and Andrew Zimmern reminisces about grilled foods from afar. 

h4. Grill caution

It’s hard to imagine a cuisine anywhere that doesn’t involve grilling. Build a fire, add food; it’s the most primal form of cooking. And maybe that's why we've come to think that outdoor grilling is oh-so-healthy, involving fewer fats and lots of fresh air.

Not to be all bad-news about it, but turns out that eating too much grilled meat, in particular, can be downright hazardous to our health. 

When meat is cooked at high heat, various carcinogenic compounds form — some from the cooking itself, others from the smoke and char produced when sizzling fat drips onto a grill grate or hot coals. That deliciously singed, smoky taste? It may not be so good for you. (Of course, if you don’t cook your meat enough, you’ll regret it a lot sooner than you’ll get cancer. Eliminate such unfriendly microorganisms as E. coli, listeria, and salmonella by cooking meat properly.)

There are ways to minimize cancer risk. Reader's Digest offers a list of suggestions for safer grilling. One of their tips? Marinate the meat before grilling, since scientists think that marinating draws out the chemical precursors of carcinogens.

Meanwhile, all that smoke you’re making when you grill? More not-so-great news. It's full of particulate matter that contributes to air pollution and, in the long run, global warming. 

According to the online environmental magazine Grist, natural-gas grills are the most kind to the atmosphere, while the next best are electric grills. Worst? The good ol’ charcoal version, which (especially if you use lighter fluid, with its volatile fumes) is pretty much a polluting machine. 

On the other hand, if you use wood chips (not charcoal briquettes) in your Weber, you can recycle the ash into garden fertilizer. And use a [%amazonproductlink asin=B00004U9VV "grill chimney"] to get those chips fired up.

h4. Health+Food

Finally, we're pleased to introduce our new nutrition column, Health+Food. Catherine Bennett Dunster, a registered dietitian and accomplished home cook, will help keep us all on our toes when it comes to eating better — without sacrificing flavor. Watch for her column monthly.


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