My last post here was about how I perceived the movement of cultural anchors in my life.  From my point of view, they were either being hoisted or relocated:  some gone, some moved.  There were enough of them moving around the first time I posted that I felt it was important enough to speak about it.  And, yes, I agree, change is a constant, and the changes seemed then and now to be more frequent and numerous.

Anchors Away-ing

April 30, 2010, Bill Moyers retired.  Thanks to podcasts and related technology, I was finally able to learn about his work. I got to become a loyal viewer a year or so before his exit.  For me, he will always be a distinguished journalist.

Liane Hanson, from NPR announced last May that she would be leaving Weekend Edition Sunday in May of 2011. I have recently given up having a television, so lately I listen to the news instead of watch it.  Between all the online news sources and NPR I keep pretty much up to date. I used to listen to her many years ago when I listened to radio.  I took a long break but now I really enjoy the programs. I can’t even imagine Puzzle Master Will Shortz without Liane.  I will be sad when she no longer broadcasts Weekend Edition Sunday.

Regis Philbin announced on January 18th, 2011 that he was leaving his show:  Live with Regis and Kelly sometime later this year, maybe in the summer.  His career spanned 40 years.

Anchors Moving

As I have paid attention these last months, just keeping track of the anchor movement,  I’ve noticed that anchors are not just away-ing.  Some are moving to other places.

Oprah announced in Sept of 2010 that there was a farewell season for her show, Oprah.  And then on New Year’s Day, 2011 she premiered her network, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).  Her relocation into this newest venture only continues to expand her pioneering path.

Larry King announced in June of 2010 that he would step down as host of his show and on Dec. 19th, 2010 he ended his 26 years as the host of Larry King Live. He will, however, continue to host specials.  Although I never watched the show much, I liked the fact that a Brooklyn native had such longevity as a talk show host.  I just sorta knew he was there and a fixture in our cable community.

But the one that has really gotten my attention isMark Bittman. Bittman is a food journalist, cook book author, home cook, and, among other things, has written a NY Times column called the Minimalist for the last 13 years.  A man with a vision he says about his work:  “my mission is to get people cooking simply, comfortably, and well.”

In the confession department, I confess, Mark Bittman is one of my heroes.  He makes cooking good food easily accessible.  Not too many ingredients and not too many steps.  Really good videos (podcasts) so us slower learners can take it in at our own pace.  And he’s funny.  And he’s from “New Yawk.”

On January 26th, 2010 Bittman wrote his last Minimalist column.  Oh no I thought, he’s leaving the scene?  Another anchor hoisted?  What is my world coming to?  Well, I read more and he’s changing places, not leaving.

Bittman will be writing opinion columns for the New York Times and someplace I think I read that he will be writing foodie articles for the Times Magazine section.  Following the theme of Food Matters he is upping the ante on his mission to have people cook simply, comfortably and well.  Now, he encourages us to “eat less meat.”   With his cooking style, I actually do that.

Bittman holds a special place in my foodie heart because I was able to cook a gluten free bread that was in its original form, already gluten free.  AND it didn’t taste like a hockey puck or seasoned sand.  It’s called Socca or Farinata.   And I was even more thrilled when he listed it among his 25 favorite Minimalist recipes.

Several years ago, I met an Italian chef who served Farinata at a gluten free food conference.  It was the most scrumptious bread I think I’d ever eaten. And it wasn’t being changed to BE gluten free. No exchanging flours or making your own mix. Southern Italians have always eaten this delicious (gluten free) bread.

The chef said that he always held back something from a recipe so we probably wouldn’t be able to reproduce it easily.  Some chefs are like that.  When I looked at his recipe, he was right.  I certainly wouldn’t have been able to reproduce hisrecipe.  So, I spent one night until the wee hours of the morning tracking Socca/Farinata on the Internet and discovered Mark’s review and recipe.

The Socca/Farinata recipe is also in “Food Matters” and he has expanded and innovated the recipe in “The Food Matters Cookbook.”  I believe that Socca/Farinata is THE best example of minimalist cooking.  Some chickpea flour, water, salt and some herbs if you want.  And, it makes the best ever pizza.

What’s So Important About Anchors Away-ing?

When I wrote Anchors Away, a friend of mine said, I don’t have television so I don’t even know these people…the implication was that it was neither important nor relevant.

I believe that our cultural views and discourse are created from the combination of words, images, tones and beliefs of many people, especially those who contribute consistently.  All of the people I have noted are leaders and elders in creating our cultrual discourse. Most I consider to be soloists in our ever evolving cultural symphony.

My words are a way for me to mark the changes that are taking place in my cultural symphony.  Because you can’t hear a melody, does that mean it isn’t playing?  The symphony goes on even if we think it’s not related to us and some of these voices will be absent from the tune and some, thankfully will be more prominent.