Archive | April, 2008

How We Value Food: Organic, Local, Diverse

25 Apr

In the beginning, organic was radical. Not long ago authors and foodies, environmentalists and farmers, took up the mantle of organic as a key principle in our fight for healthier communities, healthier diets, and a healthier environment. It was a way for small farmers and local businesses to compete with an increasingly super-sized economy made up of industrial agriculture and big box stores. The organic label allowed small farmers to compete and distinguish their products on the store shelves and a combination of factors coincided to make organic not only good for our health, but hip too.

However, if there is one thing capitalism is profoundly good at, it is subsuming counter culture ideas just when they are getting hot, and using them to make a profit. Before long every retailer from the local grocery store to WalMart had organic products on their shelves, and the idea of organic, while still serving as a sort of moral and health compass began to get increasingly watered down. As big box stores began to mass-produce organic versions of all their products, we saw that the industrial economy could be applied to organic food as well. Continue reading

Don’t Eat Anything That Doesn’t Rot

20 Apr

I have had a link to this article stuck in my digital notebook for a while, a kind of electronic dog-eared page on teh web prompting me to get back to it and post it here on the blog. Finally, I have had a moment to do just that.

Back in early March Amy Goodman had Michael Pollan on her show (Democracy Now) and the full interview is posted over at AlterNet. The entire interview is worth a read, but here are some highlights:

On Threats to Food:

Food’s under attack from two quarters. It’s under attack from the food industry, which is taking, you know, perfectly good whole foods and tricking them up into highly processed edible foodlike substances, and from nutritional science, which has over the years convinced us that we shouldn’t be paying attention to food, it’s really the nutrients that matter. And they’re trying to replace foods with antioxidants, you know, cholesterol, saturated fat, omega-3s, and that whole way of looking at food as a collection of nutrients, I think, is very destructive. Continue reading

Food Crisis/Food Riots

18 Apr

For quite some time now, I have been watching as the worldwide crisis in global climate change has been expressed in the intersection of fuel and food. As the price of oil sky rockets, the price of transporting food increases alongside it. Additionally, America’s new fascination with ethanol has increased the price of corn so much that it is increasing the price of corn tortillas, and squeezing people who rely on that as a staple of their diets. Continue reading

RecipeHacking – Number 2

13 Apr

In our last edition of RecipeHacking we began with a simple comfort food recipe with limitless possibilities. This time around we are still starting simple, but this is a recipe that has been well hacked already. Rice and beans is a staple of diets around the world and comes in a wide array of styles: Cajun, Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian, Haitian, French and more. Sometimes it is served with red beans other times with black, sometimes with white rice sometimes with brown.

The question is, how will you serve yours? Hit the bulk bins at your local grocery store and stock up on these grains and legumes and show us what you got. Here is a basic recipe to get your juices flowing.

Rice and Beans

1 cup quick-cooking rice
1 (15-ounce) can pink beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and ground black pepper

Get the water up to boiling and add the rice, beans and chili powder at the same time. Cook until the rice is done. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. (Original recipe from Robin Miller can be found here)

Check back often to see what sorts of trouble people are getting into – In a few week’s we’ll announce a winner.

Food Songs, part two

13 Apr

Erica and I have seen the Nields play a number of times and we love their music and the great local songs they write. This one is off of a wonderful album they put together of the songs they sang with the family when they were growing up. The title seems fitting for this blog (All Together Singing in the Kitchen) and the songs are a good fit too. Enjoy.

Plant an Even Row

by Nerissa Nields, Peter Quince Publishing

I am planting an even row
I am planting an even row
I am planting an even row
Every day
I am planting an even row

Pulling up the stones as I go
I am planting an even row
Every day Continue reading

RecipeHacking Number 1 – Results!

13 Apr

Well, the votes have been counted and the dishes have been tasted – Erica and I are ready to declare the inaugural RecipeHacker winner.

The winner is Anastasia Tirio for her prosciutto, gruyere, fontina and basil Mac and Cheese recipe. We loved the rich flavors of this recipe and would never have thought of the basil breadcrumbs. A number of other people also commented on this recipe. Anastasia will receive a $10 dollar gift certificate to a local natural food store of her choice. We also want to extend an honorable mention to the cajun style of Ixel Haseltine‘s recipe.

We were amazed by the outpouring of interest in this little experiment. We had more than 10 new recipes posted, and more than 30 people joined the Facebook group, and lots of wonderful emails from many of you about how excited you were about testing your RecipeHacking skills.

Sharpen your knives and stock your kitchens – the next installment will be posted soon.

National Corndog Day

2 Apr

Let me begin by pointing out that this is not a belated April fools joke, this is real.

It is not often that you will visit this blog to find discussion of sports, but as March Madness is in full swing, I just couldn’t resist posting this little tidbit from a friend about one of the gleaming highlights of sports food fanaticism and marketing genius.

It turns out that there is a National Corndog Day that is designed to coincide with March Madness. If you get together with a group of friends and supple the beer and big screen TV Hormel (the makers of SPAM) will send you all the free corndogs you can eat. For those of you who are not familiar with corn dogs, picture a hotdog on a stick wrapped in a corn pancake and deep fried. A shining star on school lunch menus everywhere, these odd delicacies have spawned a slew of food knock-offs like the breakfast sausage on a stick wrapped in a maple syrup flavored pancake, or the debonair French sausage on a stick encased in a croissant. The possibilities are endless.

Here is a bit from the National Corn Dog Day website: Continue reading