Charlie Ayers is my kind of food guy and cook. Most associated with being the fellow who "fed Google," he was the head chef there from 1999 to 2005, responsible for feeding 1500 people each day, 4000 lunches and dinners, in 10 cafes at Google's Mountain View, CA, campus. His goal was to feed a diverse and smart group of people tasty, healthy food. Evidently, he succeeded.
His book , Food 2.0, $25, just published by DK Publishing, reflects his Google-ish commitment to fast, unfussy, fresh food that might even push you into the genius category. His tips upfront are utterly sensible and smart, laid out with crisp, readable efficiency. What to keep on hand and how to keep it so that when the yen for a snack wafts over you, the veggie munchies are right there, ready to go. I imagine he's the kind of person who stands at the fridge, eating a handful of blueberries, a couple of carrot sticks, a few lettuce leaves, and calls it salad on busy days.
What utterly won me over, however, was his love of full-fat, plain yogurt. He speaks my mind, indeed. That ambrosia is good for the digestive system, satisfying, and bears no resemblance to the manufactured sweet, fruity little cupfuls of junk all over the supermarket. He also praises Trader Joe. Yes! Also: "Chocolate is a non-negotiable part of my life."
One of his early recipes is for "Mystery Fondue," made from assorted bits and bobs of cheese he saves up and then melts together with white wine and mustard seed. And Apple and Brie Quesadillas, Silicon Valley Split Pea Soup, as well as Seared Southwestern Ahi Tuna Tornadoes, and a further slew of eclectic offerings.
The ahi is rubbed with a chile-spice mix, seared, and then wrapped in a tomato tortilla spread with a lime and spice avocado mayo and a stack of jicama, carrot, napa cabbage.....
OY--he even makes spinach latkes.
Food 2.0 is a solid and satisfying book, even in review-copy grainy black and white. The retail hardback is in resplendent full-color from fabled Dorling Kindersley Ltd.