Welcome to 100 Miles, an exploration of sustaining life by going no further away than 100 miles to gather the things we need to live. This web log is my journal of food-based experiences, memories, thoughts, and recipes. I hope you enjoy reading it. To subscribe, so as not to miss each new edition, please enter your email address.
100 Miles, a food blog, is an exploration of sustaining life by going no further away than one hundred miles to gather the things we need to live. In other words, living life locally.
Victory gardens. A White House farmer. The Slow Food movement. Eating local and organic. One hundred miles from where you live. The idea of keeping life local intrigues me not only as it regards food and eating but for living life in general. If we all lived our lives locally how different would they be? Quite different in my view. More intimate. Possibly more rewarding. None of these ideas are particularly new as American chefs have been pushing ‘local’ for many years. I have no political agenda in writing this blog. Yes, living locally will help the carbon footprint but I am not advocating total abstinence from living life. One should still travel to overseas locations, take trips by car and airplane, do the things that make life pleasurable. I just wonder if our lives were consciously more intimate might they be more fulfilling?
My great-grandmother, Ora Goodman, lived her life locally. She did so not by choice but by dint of circumstance. She and my great-grandfather, Rolla Charles Goodman, weren’t rich people yet they lived an abundant life and somehow didn’t need a lot to survive. My great-grandmother’s backyard garden fed a family of four plus any and all visiting relatives for many years. My great-grandfather fished local waters, hunted with my great-uncle in the local mountains, and helped my great-grandmother grow fruits and vegetables in the garden. I learned very valuable lessons from them about living a simple yet satisfying life.
I live in the Atwater Village neighborhood of Los Angeles — a small 3-block stretch with restaurants, cafes, hair salons, two taco stands, yoga and dance studios, and various shops. On one end is a Starbucks and in the middle is Kaldi Coffee & Tea, a small independent coffee house that roasts its own coffee beans. I am currently retraining myself not to automatically go to Starbucks (not a big fan anyway) but to go to Kaldi instead – a local business that needs my support. My partner, Robert, and I often walk from my condo to eat at one of the local restaurants and we try to get to the weekly farmers’ market. I get my hair cut at Salon Mix, a local hair salon. All efforts to localize my life.
It is one hundred miles as a concept that I will explore in this blog. It is also a place where I will put down on paper memories of my experiences working in the food industry, of other foodies, chefs and friends I have met along the way. Old and new discoveries made. Places visited and recipes prepared. Amazing meals I have had. All with the idea that living closer to home as much as possible is ultimately better for both the body and the soul.
Living life locally. Hopefully not more than one hundred miles from home.
Readers of ‘100 Miles’ can expect to find general food writing based on past and current personal experiences and memories in addition to cookbook, magazine, and product reviews. I generally don’t write restaurant reviews but I do write the occasional informational piece on businesses that matter to me and reflect the ‘100 mile’ concept. You will also find pieces on travel, cookbooks, and recipes as well as interviews with chefs, food writers, and others in the food business. Please let me know if there is something, or someone, you think I should write about and I’d be happy to consider it.
The Local Report
The Local Report(s) are occasional blog posts on restaurants and businesses that either support the idea of one hundred miles and ‘living life locally’ or are small, localized businesses in my neighborhood, and within one hundred miles of my residence that I prefer to support over the larger, national, corporate chains. For other Local Report(s) please go the Archives section of this blog. I’d love to hear from you about neighborhood businesses that you support, or that are within ‘100 miles’ of your home. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I collect cookbooks and you can view those in my growing collection on the ‘Cookbooks’ page of this blog. I recommend those you see there and will be adding more over time. I have cooked from many but not all (yet). I will endeavor to cook from them on a regular basis and post about my experiences. Some of the books on the list are sent to me by publishers for review and those can be found in blog posts marked ‘Review’. I also invite any other collectors to contact me with comments, questions, tips and suggestions. I’m also happy to consult with you on what books to buy if you are a new cook or if you wish to expand your cookbook library.
100 Miles Press, Honors, Mentions & Published In
Atwater Village Neighborhood Daily (numerous)
CBS Los Angeles (numerous)
Delights and Prejudices (The Official James Beard Foundation Blog) (featured)
Food News Journal (numerous)
‘Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook: 100 Great Recipes, Photographs, and Voices’ (recipe published in)
Foodista Recipe of the Day (featured)
Honest Cooking (regular contributor)
“Inspired Choices” (the magazine of the Aquarium of the Pacific) (contributor)
One for the Table (contributor)
The Good Neighbor Cookbook Blog (featured)
I am an active member of the following organizations:
American Institute of Food & Wine
Culinary Historians of Southern California
International Association of Culinary Professionals
James Beard Foundation
Slow Food USA
Education & Training
City College of San Francisco, Culinary Arts and Hospitality Studies
Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (currently the Institute of Culinary Education)
New York University, B.F.A. in Film/Television
Biography – Charles G. Thompson
Charles G. Thompson is a Los Angeles-based freelance food writer. He first understood the meaning of great food in 1977 while living in France where he cooked for a French family. Using Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ he learned to cook a la franςaise. Since those early days he has worked in such restaurants as Jeremiah Tower’s Stars in San Francisco, the Santa Fe Bar & Grill in Berkeley, Brendan Walsh’s Arizona 206 in New York, and Restaurant Muse in Los Angeles. He was also a cheese buyer at San Francisco’s famed Oakville Grocery and at DDL Foodshow in New York. He recently decided to write about his career, experiences and travels in the food world. Charles has traveled widely and speaks French, Spanish and Italian.
At age seventeen after graduating from high school Charles left his family in Northern California and went to live with the Zundel family in Colmar, a town located in the Alsace region of eastern France. While employed as the family’s au pair he cooked, cleaned and cared for the family’s four children. Going out every day with a wicker basket to the butcher, the baker, the green grocer, and the cheese monger to buy food items for that day’s meals was one of his favorite things about life in France. Cooking for seven people was another. Mme. Zundel, an American married to a Frenchman, owned ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ so that Charles, with Mme. Zundel’s guidance, learned to cook French food using the Julia Child book. Upon returning to the States a year later he spoke French fluently and really knew how to cook.
That year in France was the beginning of a lifelong love of food and eating. Once back home in Santa Rosa, California he landed his first professional cooking job as a line cook at Sourdough Jack’s, a seafood restaurant. After learning the ropes of a restaurant kitchen, he moved to San Francisco to attend the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Studies program at City College of San Francisco. Upon graduating he started cooking in such Bay Area restaurants, and working in such retail food establishments as Today’s on Union Square (as lunch chef); the Oakville Grocery (as cheese buyer); and in three of chef Jeremiah Towers’ restaurants: the Santa Fe Bar & Grill in Berkeley (as line cook), and Stars (as a maitre d’), and Speedo 690 (as a manager) both in San Francisco.
While working at Oakville Grocery, film producer, Dino de Laurentiis hired Charles away to work on the opening of his New York City food emporium, DDL Foodshow. Once the store was open Charles became manager of the cheese department. During his time working for Mr. de Laurentiis, Charles became interested in the film business and enrolled in New York University’s Undergraduate Film & Television program. He graduated with honors and now holds a BFA in film and television production. While he was a student at New York University he worked for well-known restaurant consultant Clark Wolf, and as dining room manager at Arizona 206 with chef Brendan Walsh. He also took several cooking courses at Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now known as the Institute of Culinary Education). During this period Charles also spent time in Los Angeles working as manager at the legendary Los Angeles hot spot, Restaurant Muse.
For the last fifteen years Charles has worked in the film business in Los Angeles, California as a feature film marketing consultant. While working in the film business he has continued to eat and write about food. The food business was his first personal as well as professional love and one that he is now embracing again starting right here with this food blog, ‘100 Miles.’
If you have comments, questions, or would like to reach Charles, please send an e-mail to Charles G. Thompson at email@example.com,or via U.S mail: Charles G. Thompson, 100 Miles, 2658 Griffith Park Blvd., #248, Los Angeles, CA 90039-2520. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/100Miles.A.Food.Blog. Follow Charles on Twitter @CharlesGT. We also welcome comments on the individual blog posts.
Charles G. Thompson, Los Angeles, California
January 30, 2009