We thought we had done and seen it all, but the past few days have been a whirlwind of great memories. It all started Saturday night: It was our daughter Shelbi’s junior prom, and she looked as beautiful as her mom as she left to enjoy her amazing and memorable night.
As the sun came up on Easter Sunday morning, we got up and started packing for our flight to Washington, D.C., to attend the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. As soon as we landed, we were like kids on Christmas morning. We arrived at our hotel and turned in early so we would be ready to roll first thing the next day.
The car arrived promptly at our hotel at 8 a.m. Monday, and it was only then that our excitement started to turn to nerves. We were going to the White House. Not just for a group tour, but to meet the first lady as her official guests at the White House Annual Easter Egg Roll. We were also invited to host two cooking demonstrations for all of the guests, as well as the first family — that’s enough to give anyone a bubbly stomach.
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Today there will be no swapping of recipes. Instead, the food community will gather at noon to educate, showcase and highlight local heroes and charities that are giving it their all to raise awareness to fight one of the nation’s biggest issues: hunger.
More specifically, one in every five children in the United States struggles with hunger. According to Congressman Jim McGovern, “We are the richest country on the planet and not a single community is hunger free.” Every year, 16 million children struggle with hunger — that’s the population of Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago combined. There are no easy solutions, but we can’t afford to do nothing.
This Saturday evening, Food Network will premiere Hunger Hits Home, a documentary that gives viewers at home a firsthand look at the crisis of childhood hunger in America through the eyes of the parents, children, anti-hunger activists, educators and politicians.
One of the biggest misconceptions regarding hunger is that if a person works, there should be no reason he or she or their family should go hungry. And yet, 11 million children go to school having not eating breakfast.
Four ways to take action against childhood hunger today
Batter up! The 2012 Major League Baseball season opened last night with the christening of the new Marlins Ballpark. The Cardinals and Miami Marlins battled it out at the 37,000-seat venue, which features a retractable roof and a view of downtown Miami — one of the reasons for the 2012 Marlins name change.
The Marlins name isn’t the only thing changing this season: Food Network and Delaware North Companies Sportservice are ushering in the start of MLB with a customizable hot dog bar, A Topping for Every Taste.
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For some, April — like T.S. Eliot notes in The Waste Land and the seasonal severe weather shows — is the cruelest month. Those poor folks would change their tune if they could partake in any of the pabulum parties below. This month’s culinary treasures are sweet, spicy and creamy.
Tater Day, Benton, Ky., April 2: While this festival celebrated on the first Monday in April is 169 years old, it wasn’t until approximately 1960 that the Kiwanis Club gave the festival its current form. Local growers still gather to trade sweet potato slips (shoots grown from mature potatoes) and related wares. They also congregate to fete the town’s favorite starchy tuber with a parade, pageants, eating competition (perfect after a spin on a carnival ride), horse races and the Barbeque Kookoff. Of course, folks will vie for a chance at winning the title of largest sweet potato.
More April food festivals around the country
Notice something different on Food Network this morning? Today, Food Network and Cooking Channel are participating in the Autism Speaks: Light It Up Blue campaign, an annual global initiative that raises awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism. That means they’re taking the logos you see on television and turning them blue for one day.
“Autism impacts an estimated 1 in every 110 children in the United States, and through the extraordinary support of such wide-ranging cable television networks we are raising awareness and building support by delivering an important message about autism to millions of people watching television today,” said Robert Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, in a press release.
Autism Awareness Day has partners in 180 cities and 35 countries around the world — they’ll all turn iconic landmarks blue for the day, including New York City’s Empire State Building.
Food Network invites you to Light It Up Blue today. Find out how here.
It’s that time of the year again when Share Our Strength hosts the Great American Bake Sale, an incredible feat that asks people across the country to host or participate in a bake sale to raise money for the 1 in 5 kids in America struggling with hunger on one day, Saturday, April 28.
This year, Bloggers Without Borders is working with our own writer Gaby Dalkin, of What’s Gaby Cooking, to help spread the word via bloggers. Well, FN Dish wanted to help, too. Last year, they raised $25,000 through 26 bake sales. This year, Share Our Strength has set a challenge to raise $50,000 with the help of bloggers from all 50 states.
With just $1 connecting a child to 10 meals, the community would be helping Share Our Strength ensure that the more than 16 million kids facing hunger today never go hungry again.
Here’s how you can help:
Get Involved: Click here for a list of bake sales already taking place. If you’re interested in participating in a bake sale, please reach out to the host. If there isn’t a bake sale taking place in your area, maybe you’d like to host one (see details below).
Continue reading for more information
Cherry blossom season is in full swing in Washington, D.C., and this year the city is celebrating 100 years of its cherry blossom trees. National Cherry Blossom Festival coordinators have been recruiting dozens of local bars and restaurants to serve dishes inspired by D.C.’s famous buds. You can sample all of them — including this cherry blossom milkshake from Good Stuff Eatery ($3.75 to $5.25; goodstuffeatery.com) and cherry macaroons from Adour ($20 per dozen; adour-washingtondc.com) — throughout the centennial celebration, March 20 to April 27.
For a full list of cherry blossom specials at D.C.-area restaurants, visit Nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/cherrypicks.
(Photograph by Charles Masters)
The James Beard Foundation announced the final nominees for the 2012 James Beard Awards at an event in Las Vegas today, and Food Network has not one but three reasons to celebrate: Ted Allen and Ina Garten are nominated for Best TV Food Personality/Host and Chopped has been nominated for Best Television Program, In Studio or a Fixed Location.
The winners of each category will be announced on Monday, May 7, in New York City as Food Network’s own Alton Brown hosts the event.
Alton won’t be the only Food Network chef making an appearance on stage. On Friday, May 4, James Beard Award-winning chef and Food Network Iron Chef Michael Symon, along with four-time James Beard Award-winning correspondent Martha Teichner, will co-host the annual James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner.
Continue reading: The complete list of 2012 James Beard Award nominees
It’s no surprise that social media and food trucks go together. We’ve known that for quite some time now. However, the reasons why the two are so dynamic are evolving as more social platforms become available and as the food truck movement continues to grow.
A recent SXSW Interactive panel brought together Food Network’s general manager of online brands, Bob Madden, and recent cast members from The Great Food Truck Race to speak on this topic. Daniel Shemtob from The Lime Truck, James DiSabatino from Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese and Stephanie Morgan from Seabirds sat down for an hour to discuss how they go beyond using Twitter and Facebook on a day-to-day basis.
So why is social media so important to the food truck industry? Each panelist shared their reasons:
1. To tell people where your truck is located.
2. To show the transparency of the business.
3. To gain the consumer’s trust.
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If you’re heading to SXSW this weekend in Austin, Texas, you’re going to need to fuel up in between all of the interactive, film and music events. You can’t possibly focus on having a great time without some delicious eats in your belly. We’ve rounded up a few Food Network favorites from Giada’s Weekend Getaway in Austin to Guy’s best bets from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Find more of Food Network’s favorite eats in Austin on Food Network Local.
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