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Jan 7 / aguse

Devo Likes It So Fresh

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DEVO recently had to postpone a few shows on tour due to a hand injury sustained by guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh (He’s doing better now and has been going to rehab, PS!) In the meantime, Chief Strategist/bassist Gerald Casale took some time to divulge the foodie within until they make up their missed tour dates in March. What scientists may call the evolution of food (Frankenfish, anyone?), Gerald is very much aware that there is, in a sense, a de-volution of food, but his culturally diverse and well-versed palate gives foodies and ethically responsible eaters hope that a progressive food revolution will continue on.

WARNING: The foods/dishes disclosed within may cause excessive drooling. The author and interviewee are not liable for any damages done to keyboards/laptops/iPads/smart phones/or any other devices used to access this blog post by saliva.

Learning To Cook

Gerald Casale: I learned from Michael McCarty how to cook, the head chef at Michael’s. He has a restaurant here in California and one in New York City. He was one of the first new wave chefs when the food explosion in California started in the 70s when everything changed from hippie food to a high knowledge of cuisine. Bruce Marder, Wolfgang Puck, Piero Selvaggio They all revolutionized cuisine and changed the way we ate.

I became friends with Michael; he taught me about wine and how to cook. The rest of my knowledge came from touring. Especially in Europe– when traveling through Italy and Spain, it was a mind-blowing transformation. You start eating stuff you were never exposed to.

I ate bad growing up…eating terrible, horrible all-American junk food. Like most kids I wasn’t exposed to anything but overcooked beef roasts, hot dogs, mac n cheese, and white bread. As soon as I got to eat real food it was like being turned onto a new sound or a drug or something. It was incredible.

Goopy Pasta and Peanut Butter Burgers

AG: Your band was originally based in Akron, OH. Did you have any staple dishes out there?

GC: (laughing) Yeah…big plates of goopy pasta and steak—which I couldn’t afford, so I ate hamburgers and sloppy pasta.

Although we did have the peanut butter burger: two patties with huge, thick slices of Bermuda onion, slathered with peanut butter between the two patties…lettuce and relish, believe it or not, on a deep fried bun. That’s evil. It’s like a 3000 calorie heart attack.

AG: Yeah…Well I mean, you get all your food groups in one serving.  So you know, if you’re on the run you have one of those and you’re done for the day.

GC: (laughs) Yeah it’s pretty scary, if you’re young you can kind of get away with it because your metabolism is high and your body can repair itself…long term that’s the stuff that kills Americans.

Responsible Eating

AG: Do you have a stance on responsible eating? What are your thoughts on industrialized farming? Do you prefer the farmers market or supermarket?

GC: You’re bringing up the crux of what’s wrong with the way we live, not even America, just most of the world. The food supply…the chain of how we get it is so contaminated and so processed that we aren’t getting many nutrients. What I try to do is go back in time and eat the way they ate in Mediterranean countries like Italy, France and Spain. They go to the market, buy a bunch of stuff and they cooked it. Period. They didn’t store a bunch of stuff in freezers or refrigerators.

So I go to the farmer’s market and see what’s in season. I go to Santa Monica Seafood and see what they caught fresh. I don’t buy anything frozen. I never store anything in the refrigerator except some salad greens, smoked salmon, water…my fridge is bare because the stuff goes in and the food is cooked that night and it’s gone. You know what? It tastes better. It’s healthy and more satisfying to me.

Last Night’s Dinner

GC: I cooked for four people last night. Some people wanted meat, some seafood, so I thought ‘surf and turf.’ I went and found some baby Sonoma lamb chops at Bristol Farms. Then I went to Santa Monica Seafood and they had sturgeon that was fresh and wild caught. I broiled the sturgeon and served it with jalapeño tartare sauce and I roasted some yams with that and served an arugala salad with beets. I grilled the baby lamb chops with rosemary and basil with a little bit of balsamic vinaigrette. It was great! Everyone loved it. I served it with pinot noir from Oregon. I love pinot noir…the best ones come from Sonoma in California.

Utopian Garden

AG: Do you have a garden?

GC: I don’t have a huge garden, but you don’t need a lot of space to create a sustainable produce. In my backyard I have lemon trees, a lime tree, an orange tree, avocado tree…I grow heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeño, eggplant, cilantro, arugala, a range of herbs…it’s so easy with this climate. Things grow really well. We have a good six months run in California with the weather.

Top Favorite Restaurants in NYC and LA/Santa Monica

AG:  What are your favorite spots in NYC?

GC: I still love the Blue Ribbon Brasserie in SOHO. I love that you can go at midnight and still have to wait in line for a table…you’re gonna get your oysters and they’re gonna be good…a little steak tartare and half a bottle of bourdieu. Leave at 3 in the morning, nice and lit from drinks and wine and get in a cab and not worry about cops!

There’s this seafood place uptown in Columbus Circle called Marea. It’s run by the same Italian chef* that has Alto.  Then SD26 downtown…and I’d have to finish with Veritas. I love their serious wine program. That’s like wine heaven. It’s over the top! I’m naming the heavy hitters but there are places that are cheaper.

*Chef Michael White

AG: How about where you currently reside in Santa Monica?

GC: Ostaria Mozza, Mario Batali’s place here in LA…and Hatfield’s. For fusion cuisine, Mako. (The chef) used to be at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, Chinois. It’s great Asian-fusion cuisine all a la carte.  Really great stuff.  For sushi there’s this unparallel place called Sasabune, actually they just opened up in New York on 73rd St. Those are some of my absolute favorites. I tend to like Italian or Japanese foods personally. Those are my favorite cuisines.

AG: What are you favorite dishes from each of those cuisines?

GC: Japanese food–of course besides the raw fish–I like things that are done stir-fried. Usually seafood. And sometimes things that come served with it like burdock root, which is a Japanese carrot.
With Italian…I don’t even know where to start! Roasted breast of rabbit with olive sauce. Spinach linguine with a basil pesto sauce with steamed, chopped green beans on the top like they do in Genoa. I love risotto primavera. The Sicilian pizza they do at Toscana in Brentwood (California). It’s a cheese-less pizza with spicy tomato sauce. Topped with black olives, capers and fresh anchovies that are seared and put on at the last minute. It’s wood-fired with a super thin crust. Angelini Osteria in Hollywood where they do a linguine with a lemon basil cream sauce that has grappa in it. It’s mind blowing.

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Their album, Something For Everybody,  is out now.

-April

2 Comments

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  1. Brian Langan / Jan 7 2011

    YES! I’M STARVING NOW! So great to hear a hero of mine talking about food! (i refuse to make a hero joke, because they are called HOAGIES!) Great interview!

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