For the Love of Coffee
Chef Stephanie Michalak, Turner Farm Culinary Manager
There’s a German proverb that translates to “coffee and love are best when they are hot,” and while iced coffee and cold brew aficionados might beg to differ, many of us probably love coffee more than many other things in life.
It allows many of us to do the impossible, like wake up and go to work after remembering to put pants on prior to leaving the house. Personally, I have certainly relied upon coffee through my academic and professional career—making it more bearable to wake up for 2am breakfast shifts or nudging me through a long research paper that may or may not have been ironically on coffee.
Given all the quips out there about our morning cup o’ joe, I am certain that I am not alone. David Letterman remarked to Bill Zehme in an article for Esquire that even though he may drink way too much coffee, “if it weren’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.” I highly doubt that coffee is the sole reason for his personality, or any coffee imbiber’s, but most of us really do appreciate caffeine for all that it does, or pseudo-does, for us.
We all have our own indulgences when it comes to food and beverages, some may even call them a vice (I’m talking to you, chocolate). However, when it comes to coffee, there are certainly some positive kick-backs emotionally, socially, and physically about them. As I mentioned prior, coffee can certainly kick most of us into gear via caffeine, but there are some other emerging factors as to why we might revere this drink made from seemingly magical beans. Researchers are finding that coffee might reduce our chances of coronary heart disease, heart failure, and even strokes, but don’t take my word for it, ask a cardiologist like Dr. Mehran Attari, who happens to be teaching a class in the Turner Farm Teaching Kitchen next week titled, “Heart Health: Tea, Coffee, Chocolate and Wine.”
Coffee is not the only fan-favorite product that is toting beneficial evidence. Tea, red wine, and even chocolate can be found alongside coffee under similar limelight. This is exciting news as a chef because I love incorporating these products into dishes and letting their flavors shine. It is extremely important to note from both a health and culinary perspective that to appreciate and get the most bang for your buck from these products, you must start with high quality, minimally processed items and have to be consumed in moderation. I am sorry to say that milk chocolate and white chocolate do not make the cut, as they typically consist of mostly sugar and milk, with only a notion of actual cocoa. The same thing can be said about tea or coffee—those Frappuccino’s are sadly far too removed from the raw ingredients. Luckily though, there are plenty of ways to still reap the benefits and enjoy every morsel.
Want to learn more about your favorite snacks and grape-derived beverages? Join Chef Stephanie and Dr. Mehran Attari for “Heart Health: Tea, Coffee, Chocolate and Wine.” The class is scheduled from 11 am-1 pm on Thursday, March 22 in the Turner Farm Teaching Kitchen. The class is a hands-on Teaching Kitchen experience with a freshly prepared meal.