Last month, former media mogul and restaurateur Ted Turner explained during an interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose that in 30 or 40 years no crops will grow because of global warming. “Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals,” said Turner. “Civilization will have broken down . . . and living conditions will be intolerable.”
Like most people who meet Turner, now 69, I found him more than a little peculiar when he accepted this magazine’s Richard Melman Concepts of Tomorrow Award for the success of his Ted’s Montana Grill. And though he may seem odd, it was evident to everyone who witnessed his acceptance of the award that the man didn’t become a billionaire because he’s stupid.
The truth of the matter is we’re squeezing the life out of this world. Global warming has led to a furious search for alternative fuel sources such as ethanol and other biofuels, and these “solutions” are leading to other problems relating to food supply. Food costs are increasing dramatically as corn, soybeans and other grains are being diverted for ethanol production. It’s a simple supply and demand equation.
Rising food prices have led to riots in Africa, Indonesia and Haiti. Vietnam and India have banned the export of rice. But this is not just a third-world problem.
A few weeks back major big-box retailers on the West Coast, New York and New England were limiting the purchase of flour, rice and cooking oil because the demand exceeded the supply. Japan, another of the world’s weathiest countries, also is facing long-term, maybe even permanent, food supply shortages because of its heavy reliance on imported food.
Back at home, the Bush administration should quickly consider slapping controls on the export of wheat and other grains. Other wealthier countries will make strong moves to buy up everything they can get their hands on.
As for you and your rising food costs, stay smart or get smart. Consumers are feeling the economic pinch and thinking hard about where to spend their dollars. There’s going to be a shakeout. The weak won’t survive.
Later this month, economic stimulus checks will be arriving in the mailboxes of consumers. Think now about any promotions you can do to convince customers and cannibals alike to spend their extra cash in your place.
Master Mixologists. Beginning with this issue, you’ll see a page devoted every month to the folks who are at the forefront of a cocktail renaissance. This new breed of mixologist/bar chef is wildly creativity and demanding. Like their star counterparts in the kitchen, they insist on the best ingredients, and they take no shortcuts. As always check out our Rising Star picks each month, and now take a look at our selections for Master Mixologists. Camber Lay of Quiver Bar in San Francisco is our first. The lady can shake it up. Cheers!