Business Beat March 1, 2018
What would Walt eat?
For the first time, the definitive culinary history of Walt Disney and Disneyland are unveiled in Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food, by Marcy Carriker Smothers (Disney Editions; Sept. 2017).
Two decades before the California food revolution, Walt Disney was planning a revolution of his own. Walt knew that food could be more than nourishment - it could be entertaining, too.
“The typical American postwar repast was bland and boring. Meats were boiled and vegetables were often overcooked. Julia Child had yet to publish Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which would change the way American housewives cooked at home,” writes Smothers in the introduction. “When Magic Kingdom opened its gates to a preview audience on July 17, 1955, Walt declared that the 20 eateries spread throughout the park were attractions unto themselves.”
The concept of families eating and playing at the same time was an innovation in mid-century America.
Food in Disneyland wasn't gray or humdrum. It was full of fantasy and color. The park had a publicity term for the menu offerings in each area of the park - “thematic feeding” - so that Tomorrowland featured food service of the future, and New Orleans Square's Blue Bayou's Cajun and creole themed cuisines were served in a setting evoking a southern mansion in the moonlight, very cutting edge for 1967.
Eat Like Walt is a culinary tour of the park's six lands. Every attraction has a story, and so do many of the menu items.
Disneyland's food transports us as much as it satiates us, or as Walt declared, “The food is as fabulous as the fun, too.”
Although Disneyland opened in 1955, its culinary history dates back to 1923 when Walt first arrived in Hollywood. Walt was a simple eater yet a big dreamer.
Eat Like Walt is also a peek inside Walt's personal life at home and work - how he ate and what he ate - which were rather boring by today's standards and in contrast to the meals served at the park - nearly 4 million in the first year.
By 1934, four years before his first feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would be released, Mickey Mouse had made him famous enough to have a recipe published in Better Homes & Gardens magazine.
From humble beginnings to becoming one of the most famous men on the planet, Walt was more of an everyman than a pampered celebrity when it came to eating. With food as the lens, Walt's private and work life are explored - including recipes from his home, his studio and his Magic Kingdom - ensuring anyone can Eat Like Walt.
Marcy Carriker Smothers is a noted personality in the Northern California world of food and wine. She has hosted several radio programs, including the Food Guy and Marcy Show, with the Food Network's Guy Fieri. Her love of all things Disney, and especially Disneyland, inspired her to delve into Walt Disney's world of food. She previously authored Snacks: Adventures in Food, Aisle by Aisle.
Smothers is a longtime Kenwoodian with 30 acres of organic Cabernet Sauvignon growing here. Smothers said her favorite ride and favorite food are Pirates of the Caribbean and veggie kabobs at Bengal BBQ.
Eat Like Walt is available on Amazon.com, hardcover $31.50.
Ultimate barrel tasting experience in Kenwood, Glen Ellen
The Heart of Sonoma Valley Association is holding its annual Savor Sonoma Valley weekend March 17-18, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
Wineries throughout Kenwood and Glen Ellen offer barrel tastings, tastings of current releases, and a chance to hang out with the winemakers. Enjoy hard-to-find wines, classic vintages, or maybe your all-time favorites.
Lunch options will be available for purchase via local food trucks, delis and restaurants.
Tickets in advance are $55 per person for a weekend pass, or $40 for a Sunday only pass. Tickets at the door are $65 per person for a weekend pass, $50 for Sunday only. Non-wine tasting passes are free.
Participating wineries are: Deerfield Ranch Winery, Eric Ross Winery, La Rochelle Wines, Ledson Winery & Vineyards, Loxton Cellars, Mayo Family Winery, Paradise Ridge Winery, Spann Vineyards, St. Anne's Crossing Winery, Sunce Winery & Vineyards, Ty Caton Vineyards, and Wellington Cellars.
For tickets, go to www.heartofsonomavalley.com.