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Friday, 10 July 2009

For two days this week, I was fortunate to work craft service for a TV commercial. Craft service is essentially providing drinks and snacks for the crew and talent on a commercial, TV show or film shoot. I had to provide for 40 people who work long hours and for the most part, appear to live primarily on caffeine and cigarettes. I honestly haven't seen that many people smoking since early episodes of Kojak.

A traditional craft services table is full of bowl upon bowl of junk food: M&M's, chips, candy bars, gum, pretzels and the requisite platter of fruit. Coffee is always percolating and the caffeinated soda always flowing. Crew and talent pop in for a quick fix, something they can grab and go.

Knowing my Real Food bent, my friend Eve, who's a producer on the job, hired me to clean up the joint as they say. She just knew I would do a conscientious job and provide, with care, some real food alternatives.

I knew I wanted to make a difference any way I could. I also knew I had to compromise my values so to speak and provide junk. There would be a major revolt if there weren't candy, cookies, gum, chips and other industry standards at the table. And I'll be honest, it was a little soul crushing to purchase some of that stuff. But my M.O. was strategic if not long range: I was going to present food that would surprise and delight them and maybe even plant some seeds down the road. (Call me delusional, but I prefer optimistic) I created a menu that was great-tasting, beautifully presented and REAL and I did it with pleasure.

The first thing I laid out was falafel from Middle East Bakery. I got wide, clear plastic cups and cut open one falafel ball in each, drizzled it with tahini sauce and topped it off with a cherry tomato, cucumber slice and fork. Total hit!

I also did a Caprese/Pasta Salad on a skewer with cherry tomato, basil, fresh mozz and spinach tortellini and drizzled my mint basil pesto on one batch and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette for the next. Bonafide smash!

Next I made smoked turkey and cheddar sandwiches on mini parker house rolls with dijon and a cornichon attached to the top by a toothpick. Hell, I'm not reinventing the wheel but they were good.

Being the clever lady I am, I also put up a sign on the wall above my table that said, "ASK ME ABOUT SMOOTHIES." I brought my blender and was making smoothies on the spot for people and they loved it. I did one that was frozen banana, organic peanut butter, apple cider and almond milk. (If you wanted to turn it into a milk shake, substitute a fresh banana for a frozen one and vanilla ice cream for almond milk)

By special request I also created my own frozen coffee smoothies: just blend cooled coffee, organic half and half, agave nectar and a ton of ice. Take that Starbucks! Addictively delicious and without a trace of corn syrup!

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