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Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Sowing a Change in Kitchens

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Sowing a Change in Kitchens:

The soil-tilling food experts happen to be every bit as expressive, and iconoclastic, as their knife-wielding counterparts in the kitchen. These days, many in the culinary world tend to view produce in a black-and-white way: You have either your delightfully lumpy, bumpy farmers’ market treasures, or your scarily uniform corporate Frankenfood. As Mr. Barber said, it’s “heirlooms over here, Monsanto maniacs over there.”

But Monday’s convocation, overseen by the Basque Culinary Center, suggested a third way: Independent breeders are ready to help make our breads and salads richer with deep flavor, bold color and plenty of nutrients. They just need someone to ask them.

What they do may also be seen as an old-school alternative to the spread of genetically modified plants, which have not been shown to be harmful but still frighten and concern many people.

“We’re making crosses within the same species, and we’re doing it the way it’s been done for 300 years,” said Dr. Stephen Jones, a wheat breeder from Washington State whose accessibly folksy lecture had the room transfixed. “There’s no forcing here. We put these plants together and we let them mate.”

[Since this ultimately will be driven by business and not love, it cares me a bit. But I'm curious to see where it goes.]

Written by Daniel

October 3, 2013 at 8:02 am

Uncle Glenn and The Choice of Buying Organic

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Uncle Glenn and The Choice of Buying Organic:

To Glenn, a farmer’s job is to produce as much food as he possibly can, because people tend to need more food than they have. Developing and improving chemicals that increase yields is one way the farm industry keeps up with ever-increasing demand. We tend to look at the environmental damages caused by industrial farm runoff—not to be understated—and we associate the pollution with corporate greed. It’s easy to forget that without these chemicals, we’d perhaps have less food. The cost/benefit analysis here is tied inextricably to the ones that motivate our individual consumption, and it’s even harder to balance.

[Puff piece? You decide. But I think the answer is in distributed growing rather than in counting on "specialists" (farmers) for everything. There was a time when everyone was a "farmer" for themselves. What if stopped growing lawns (I don't) and started vegetable gardens? Don't you think that improve things for everyone? I do.]

Source: Simple Blog

Written by Daniel

May 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Bread elevates your sense of “home”

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If you want make any abode feel like a home you should bake bread. I don’t know why it makes this seem truer than preparing other food stuffs. But it does. Never done it before? Think you lack the equipment? Here’s what to do. Go to your local pizza place. Ask for one of the uncooked rounds of dough they make into a pizza. Take it home, shape to suit, pop into the oven until it looks done to you. Wonder at how you’ve just elevated the sense of home in your house, apartment, hovel, what have you…

Now, start looking at recipes…

Written by Daniel

February 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Posted in advocacy, food

The Fox Is Black » Magnus Nilsson’s Arctic Cuisine

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The Fox Is Black » Magnus Nilsson’s Arctic Cuisine:

The menu at Fäviken is changeable, as when one ingredient runs out, it needs to be replaced by another. We never replace dishes ”just because”, instead we would rather wait for a new ingredient, idea or dish that is actually better than the one being replaced. Much of what we serve has its own life and remain on the menu for a long time, slowly evolving into something entirely different to the original, despite having the same name throughout its life.

[Like the philosophy, can't speak for the food.]

Written by Daniel

January 9, 2012 at 7:31 am

Posted in food

Did someone say latkes?

with one comment

parsnip latkes with horseradish and dill:

parsnip latkes with horseradish, dill

I have this affliction or maybe you could call it a fixation with latkes. And I know you’re probably thinking, potato pancakes? With shredded onion? They’re good, but are they really worth obsessing over? But you’d be using the literal definition of latkes and to me, latkes are not so much a singular recipe with a finite ingredient list but an approach to pancakes; an approach that could include anything that can be shredded and fried. And oh, when you start from this vantage point, they most certainly will.

I’ve made potato latkes, sure. Many times, even. But then I made mixed vegetable latkes with Indian spices and curry-lime yogurt. I made apple latkes, replete with a caramel sauce made from the juice you wring from the shredded apples. (I waste nothing in the kitchen. My grandmother would be so proud!) This past summer, I made zucchini fritters to solve a dinner crisis. And now, there’s this: Parsnips. Potatoes. Dill. Horseradish. Lemon juice.

[We played around with the same idea—to try various root vegetables—and decided "to not to" for the sake of our expanded holiday waistlines, but we did salt away the concept. This post should act as a reminder. One critical note. Latkes are at their finest only moments from the pan, when they are just cool enough to eat without burning your mouth. because most if us can't fry enough at once to serve them to a large group at a meal, they are best either on their own, served as a treat or hors d'oeuvre.]

Source: smitten kitchen

Written by Daniel

January 6, 2012 at 9:37 am

Posted in food

Transparency and Technology: Secrets of Small Farm Success

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Transparency and Technology: Secrets of Small Farm Success:

But there are a number of advantages to being small. Chief among them may be the ability to connect with individual customers and achieve a level of transparency impossible (or at least undesirable) for larger, factory type farming operations.

“I think a lot of people are finding out – not just farmers, but also fish providers and other producers – that transparency in and of itself is a great marketing tool,” says Barry Estabrook, James Beard award-winning food journalist and author of Tomatoland. “That means encouraging your customers to visit your farm, to talk about how you produce food if you serve a market or CSA.” For its part, the government is at least aware of a growing desire among consumers to learn about where their food comes from. In 2009, the USDA launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) to help strengthen local and regional food systems by helping consumers “connect with their food and the people who grow and raise it.”

[It grow ever more obvious to me that in a world filled with "marketing" that lacks substance that the solution is purchase as much as possible from people. The environment benefits, your community benefits, you benefit. A triple play.]

Source: Blog: Slow Food USA

Written by Daniel

January 6, 2012 at 9:26 am

Posted in advocacy, commentary, food

Vegetarian mini-rant

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Vegetarian mini-rant:
Somehow the moment you say you’re not eating meat people thrust a salad at you.  Not an eggplant or mushrooms or broccoli or pulses or grains or rice or pasta or rutabaga.  A salad.  A big pile of lettuce with some oil and vinegar on it.

[That is because most people only think of meat, fowl, and maybe fish as "eating". There's no belief that you could be satiated without it, and little thought given to whatever else is being served.]
Source: Sasha Dichter’s Blog

Written by Daniel

December 20, 2011 at 9:03 am

Posted in food, health

On the Impracticality of a Cheeseburger

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On the Impracticality of a Cheeseburger:

Waldo Jaquith:

A cheeseburger cannot exist outside of a highly developed,
post-agrarian society. It requires a complex interaction between a
handful of vendors — in all likelihood, a couple of dozen — and
the ability to ship ingredients vast distances while keeping them
fresh. The cheeseburger couldn’t have existed until nearly a
century ago as, indeed, it did not.

Love the Sagan quote at the end.

[While an interesting thought experiment it doesn't ring entirely true. Sure there can be problems with the seasonality of vegetables, but cheese making would have been a continual pursuit for those who did it. And while animal rennet is certainly most common, there are vegetable used rennets as well. etc. etc. The truth seems closer to "it takes a village" than do it all yourself. Maybe you hot house something, trade for some cheese, and no doubt, pre-freezer slaughtering a cow or a sheep would require multiple families because a single (unless very large) family couldn't eat the animal fast enough… I try and enjoy each season for what it brings in all senses. The weather, the food, the holidays. So I think the effort to completely raise the entire meal from the ground is cool, much as planting trees to turn into furniture later is cool. But that path is long, and life is fleeting.]
Source: Daring Fireball

Written by Daniel

December 7, 2011 at 9:59 am

Posted in environment, food, health

Why the Keurig K-Cup is the beginning of the end for great coffee « Muddy Dog Roasting Co.

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Why the Keurig K-Cup is the beginning of the end for great coffee « Muddy Dog Roasting Co.: Do you think that vision is crazy?  Let’s see.  How easy is it to buy a Walla Walla onion?  Never heard of it?  I’m not surprised.  I grew up with them, but they’re already a thing of the past.  Hundreds of vegetable varieties have already gone extinct, solely due to our desire to homogenize, to have crops that ship well, regardless of how they taste.  Only 5% of US apple varieties that existed just 200 years ago still exist today.   Ninety percent of vegetable varieties have gone extinct over the last 100 years in the UK. The crimson flowered broad bean, the Champion of England Pea, the Bath Cos Lettuce, and the Rowsham Park Hero Onion are just a few examples of vegetables that are lost forever.  Hundreds of heirloom vegetable varieties are on the brink of extinction.  And there are all kinds of other foods that are falling victim to this same phenomenon. Try to buy a really great charcuterie today – Boar’s Head is as close as you’ll get in most places.  A beautiful creme fraiche?   How about Yoplait?  Great cheeses?  We got your Kraft, RIGHT HERE.  Don’t believe me? Go check out Slow Food’s Ark of Taste.  Oh, what’s that, you would like to have a nice meal at a cute bistro?  Sorry, all that’s available now are chain stores like Panera, TGI Friday’s or Appleby’s.  But you can probably score some Jack Daniels chicken wings, or some other ill-advised mess.  I can sum it all up in one word: Monsanto.

[And while Jim of Muddy Dog Roasting Company explains from his perspective. I think this particular paragraph worries me more (I'm not a coffee drinker) in that it is part of a larger problem, which expressed perfectly above. And in case it isn't obvious the lost biodiversity is not just a loss of taste and experience. That's bad enough. But it has become entirely clear that eating different foods is healthy for you, and having variations of each food makes that easier (you eat a tomato, but it's a different tomato). The varying balances of the "ingredients" of a fruit or vegetable is a fundamental goodness. And the craft of growing and preparing food, where the results are not consistent at the "Monsanto" level and don't try to be is also a fundamental goodness. It's the same thing that is appealing about anything hand made. Sure, a dreadnaught style guitar has certain fundamental qualities. But each one is different. Hand build a bicycle and each one will have some personality even if you use the same measurements and tube set. That variation is good for us. And we need to be extremely careful that we don't lose it in a chase to the bottom in the name of efficiency and money.]
Source: Marco Arment

Written by Daniel

November 4, 2011 at 7:14 am

Juice Box Mixology

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Juice Box Mixology:

Kim Lisagor:

At the end of a busy school day, kids need some love from a
relaxed, supportive parent. At the end of a busy work day, some of
us need a little help to become that parent. Here’s what to do
when the closest mixer is a juice box.

[Gets more plausible each and every day.]
Source: Daring Fireball

Written by Daniel

October 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Posted in food


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