Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Letter to a Friend

Basically, I think the bigger picture for me is always about democracy and certainly with your class, you can point to the idea of truth not only with regard to marketing but with regard to the food movement really lifting the veil on what the industry has attempted to hide from us. That's over-simplistic, perhaps.

My class is basically all about the sociology of the food movement and my conclusions have lead me to believe that a) there is certainly a food movement, b) it's not always as simple as it seems (for example, Stonyfield Farms is a large corporation pushing organics, but why does it need to be a large corporation? Does that not run counter to the ideology of the food movement?), c) The ideology of the food movement is fuzzy but can generally be summed up as a bunch of different factions with different specific issues that form a cohesive direction against, what I believe to be, bigger picture Capitalism and a gross systemic problem and d) the food movement, unlike movements previous, is attempting to function non-hierarchically and through individual agency, mostly directly through consumer choice (but in other ways as well).

Individual agency is powerful (look at Antigone; one woman's decision to bury her brother destroys an entire family and town) and can be extremely effective. The information age has given us ways to 'link up' and 'download' each other's thoughts and ideas (like right now! right this minute!), so as to not feel alone--we are connected by this nebulous idea cloud in the sky--but at the same time our fight is singular and regional. The problem is ubiquitous but the solutions have manifested themselves locally: shopping at the farmer's market, planting an urban garden, learning how to cook, learning how to can foods, 'opting out' of corporate food, etc. And it seems to be working, in a way. People feel continuously motivated and it's constantly in mainstream media, so something's happening.

But regarding the food movement, the problem I see is this. The movement attempts to counteract a bunch of really problematic larger systemic situations that are derived from capitalism, but no one is willing to point to that as the cause and or problem that needs to be changed. It's like Zizek says, capitalism is accepted as a total given these days, there isn't even a discussion happening among most people that maybe there are other options. We only look to function within the confines of this system, but the TRUTH is that those confines are the problem and it's my belief that little will change until the largest system changes. We are currently under corporate socialist rule and having, for example, a bunch of corporations begin to make organic food instead of non-organic is not going to change our alienation, our problems.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hierarchy

I am writing my Food Sociology term paper on the notion of hierarchy within movements, obviously with direct focus on the current food movement. My questions being the following (or some mashup thereof): Is hierarchy (or at least the notion of) necessary to the idea of a movement? Do non-hierarchical movements face a detriment when they go up against highly hierarchical and structural institutions? And finally, does the notion of hierarchy contradict with the ideology of the food movement itself?

This summer I had the privilege of seeing the distinguished Italian professor Giorgio Agamben speak at The European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. His talk was entitled "Liturgia and the Modern State" and he spoke about the inherent nature of hierarchy within social constructs. He touched on the idea of 'movement' and I was able to ask him to elaborate after his talk. Specifically, I wanted to know whether he thought the notion of hierarchy was necessary to movements or if we should simply do away with the idea of 'the movement' altogether. I suspected, as one might from a blatant anarchist, he would throw the notion out. Here is me asking my question (you can only hear my voice) and his response. It's quite great! Go to mark 4:30.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mob-Free Labeling in Italy

From Marion Nestle's blog:
http://www.foodpolitics.com/2009/10/italys-new-food-label-mafia-free/

Love it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Taste of School


I am taking a great class called Food Sociology. We are breaking down the food movement and its opposition. We just started a discussion board online for thoughts we have that we don't have time for in class and my professor (who is quite famous and an idol of mine but for now I will leave nameless) posted this article about how the film Food, Inc. is 'scaremongering' and, well, wrong. My professor then asked us to discuss why the intense reaction to the idea that food might be connected to many other things (i.e. climate change, health and immigration). Here is my response for those interested:

Calling the issues of the environment, health, climate change, immigration, etc "unrelated" to the food biz is blatantly inaccurate on even the most simple of levels.

Ironically using propagandist terminology such as calling people "scaremongers", "perishing" and "foodie elitists", using emotive persuasion with sadly flawed logical conclusions based on an appeal to family fidelity ("our parents gave us pesticide-laden foods, so how can they be so bad, because our parents are not bad people, right?") is just banal rhetoric meant to propel profits at the expense of people's happiness and health.

I think the reason that there is such an intense reaction to Food, Inc. in this piece has very little to do with food itself. I will start here and argue time and time again in class (and elsewhere) that people are not afraid that their food will be different--they are afraid that they may have to actually make a systemic grand revolutionary change. This is a reaction to socialism and to democracy and to equality. It is a reaction to giving and sharing. It is a reaction to a potential loss of complete control and a holding on to the neo-imperialist corporate social control that has over taken our economy (and, of late, with catastrophic result and implication).

And, in this sense, I would argue that the food movement needs to begin from a place that considers the politics of the aesthetics that surround food--meaning, how much does food imply choice, freedom, agency and money and what is it that the opposition truly reproaches? Is it organic food itself or is it the political and social implications (of what is really a necessary systemic change)?

For me, I see the opposition as fear of true democracy and equality. And I think we in the food movement need to begin not only from smaller, individual change, but as well recognize the greater economic/social/political implication behind our work in this regard--to have in mind an idea of true democracy or social equality behind our idea of organic food or when we make that trip to the farmer's market.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Interview with the Parents. One Question.

I sent this email to both my parents today and I am posting it and their responses (I am reading a lot about the connection between the environmental movement, technology and agriculture and how these have affected the social movement in regards to food that we see happening now):

Subject: Question

How much did the issues of pesticides and chemicals with farming come up in your life during the 1970s and 80s?

Do you remember being concerned about these things or hearing much about 'organics' or 'organic farming'?

Dad's Answer:

A cogent question.

Once in college, mid-60's, I was vaguely aware or Carson's "Silent Spring." A major breakthrough, however, was the first Earth Day in 1970, from that point on one's consciousness had been raised to all sort of infractions. At that time, I first became aware of the poisoning of our rivers and dangers of agricultural runoff. One of the first rivers to "die" in MN was the Minnesota which ran just outside of Sleepy Eye and was totally killed by farm pesticides, your pharmacist grandfather confirmed this for me. I also remember having a faculty room argument circa 1975 with a math teacher who also farmed concerning this issue. He maintained that the biological make up of the plant mitigated the chemicals (?). Organic farming expanded in response and had previously been reference indirectly by people aware that home grown tasted better than store purchased. Again, the Carson book and social questioning of the late 60's and 70's was huge in raising personal awareness.

The use of farm pesticides ( to increase yield) was deployed hand in hand with the increased use of mechanized farming during the demands of WWI and into the twenties. Yield ran far ahead of consumption during the twenties and threw the agricultural sector into economic chaos before the crash of 1929. Remember, the New Deal (Ag. Adjustment Act) paid farmers to plow up planted fields in 1933 and not to plant in subsequent years do to overproduction - pesticides a major player in increasing yield per acre.

Hope this helps.
\\Dad

-------------

Mom's Answer:

Erika,

Going back even earlier, I grew up with pesticides and chemicals being routinely used in farming and on our lawns. Grandpa Ray sold them at the drugstore and Uncle Ron did crop-dusting around the countryside as a job. I and everyone in our community was exposed to A LOT of these chemicals. I was a child, so I didn't have much of a reference point at that time. However, when I got to college and the whole "back to the land" movement began, there was much discussion about natural foods. We also linked the development of pesticides and other chemicals by big companies like Dow to chemical warfare, like napalm and Agent Orange. I protested with many other Macalester students against Honeywell because Mac had a lot of stock in Honeywell and most of us were not only against the war, but against the specific use of these terrible chemicals that caused deforestation, water pollution, and disease and death to people and animals.

I was highly aware of organic farming in the 70s and shopped at the earliest co-op in Minneapolis (Seward), Boulder, and in Brainerd once I lived there. I also helped start a paper recycling center with my philosophy students at BHS because of our concern about clear-cutting of forests and a paper shortage. All of these issues seemed to be linked in my mind because of the corporate approach to abuse of resources and the growth of agribusiness, etc.

Does that help?

Mom

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stumptown Arrives in NYC

So happy. So happy. So happy that I might even go out for a coffee after work rather than a beer! Shocking, I know.

Brief synopsis before I direct you to the brief article in the NYT: Stumptown, started in Portland, is a direct trade coffee importer, roaster and distributor. Their dedication to the bean is unparalleled as far as I have found. Direct trade, going beyond what people consider so great called fair trade, means that the people that own this company (yes, the actual owners of Stumptown) travel to South America/Central America/Africa/Indonesia to meet with growers and farmers of coffee beans, negotiate a good price for their worth and continue a relationship with them for years.

Genius subversion of traditionally horrible capitalistic principles. Oh, and guess what, if you're literally in a relationship with someone who is growing beans mostly for you and your company, you're probably going to be able to tell them what you like, tweak the amount of shade the beans get for example or say, you know, please don't put pesticides on the beans.

In the end, this is not an elitist pursuit--it is quite the opposite. Their espresso a their coffee shop in the new (and wonderful, had friends stay there and checked it out) Ace Hotel on 29th Street is 10 cents more than at the Starbucks around the corner.

They roast the beans at a facility in Red Hook (Brooklyn) and my co-worker met with the owner (friends of friends) to hear all about the company and its pursuits. I can tell you, at least second hand and from taste/sensual experience, this stuff is the real deal. These guys are an amazing example of shifting the traditional paradigm in beverages.

NYT Article here.
Stumptown website here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bento Boxes


I always thought the concept of the bento (obento?) box was great, because of its natural portion control and generally speaking healthy items contained within, but when I moved to New York I found that, often, a bento box consisted of rice + greasy teriyaki meat dish + a california roll sometimes + miso soup, etc etc. And they usually weren't that economical in comparison to what I thought was a decent 'deal'--the very common in NYC two rolls of maki + miso for usually around 8 bucks.
Point being, I haven't bentoed it up so much in this city. Well, any city really, but was aware of the potential power of the bento. I unfortunately overlooked home bentoeing! Which is too bad, since my first awareness of the bento was watching The Breakfast Club as a young girl: One of the absolute best scenes in the world, but also super telling because every person in Saturday detention pulls out a befitting lunch to match their personality/high school caste status. The geek has like crustless PB+J, tomato soup. The bag lady has white bread which she sprinkles with pixie stix and crushed Cap'n Crunch cereal (I think also Diet Coke is involved). The jock has a giant bag of potato chips, three sandwiches and like two Cokes. And then we get to the class, preppy homecoming queen Molly Ringwald's character who busts out this totally proper, totally beautiful bento box full of sushis. The rest of the crew then proceeds to ask her what the hell she's eating.

Anyway, the image of that lunch was vivid and, well, who didn't want to be like Molly Ringwald? Too bad I was more into being like her fashion-wise and in the regard of chasing boys who didn't notice me than adopting these interesting eating habits. Sigh.
Thankfully, the New York Times has picked up the ball once again on an interesting trend. Now, as usual also, the New York Times has annoyed me. They wrote an article about the fad of the bento box, but in doing so, assumed that (I guess since we're all foodies these days and don't have jobs?) we all have seven hours a day to make carrot sticks heart-shaped and we know how to make an olive into a flower, blah blah blah.
But let's use this as an opportunity to be inspired by that which was good: The idea of a small plastic box going with us to work or school every day filled with fresh + beautiful + relatively small ingredients.
This is a great idea for schools. This is a great idea for me to bring to work. You get the idea. Please read the full article here.
I'm working on sourcing a really cool and inexpensive bento box to buy. Sayonara.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Frenching August


I'm taking August off, in case anyone is still reading this, to spend some time here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sad Truth

USA Today reports that last year we Americans spent $147 billion -- billion! -- on conditions related to obesity. Obese persons have medical bills 42 percent higher than those of normal weight. The surge in obesity may be related to modern industrial agriculture, including the use of chemicals such as endocrine disruptors. So the ag system produces cheap food, yes, but may impose other costs -- time for a rethink.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hummus.


Attempted to make hummus this weekend. Succeeded. For the most part. Our Cuisinart makes anything pretty idiot-proof, but as it turns out, I am able to muck anything up. Even hummus in a food processor. The recipe we completely nuanced without consulting any (oh, thousands of years of) recipes was simple. We knew we wanted white beans. We could not find dried white beans, which was the original plan, and, given the blazingly disgusting heat of the weekend, we settled for not boiling our own and buying two cans of cannelini beans.

First things first, you probably don't need two full cans of beans. It filled our food processor to the top and made way too much hummus. I always over-make. But, as we started to add stuff I forgot about quantity and focused on quality. We simply added fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic.

Then we added more garlic.

Then more garlic.

Then more. When he wasn't looking, I would throw more in and when I wasn't looking, he'd throw more in.

The whole head of garlic went into the hummus in the end. While delicious, it was way way way way too garlicky. And also the consistency wasn't up to snuff--a bit too runny. I like thick hummus. If anyone has suggestions, they are more than welcome. Attempt number two will certainly involve dry beans and less garlic. But it was hummus! It was definitely hummus. And it was eaten on the stoop with cucumbers, tomatoes, pretzels and toasted peasant bread on a classic NY summer day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Anella


My birthday dinner last night was absolutely impeccable. The best thing in the world is when a restaurant opens in your neighborhood, doesn't have their liquor license yet (and is therefore BYOB) and serves amazing Italian fare, including brick oven pizzas. Um, oh yes. I was a happy gal.

The service was sweet and genuine, the server made great recommendations and the atmosphere is carmely soft and dreamily fuzzy. I could not find, online, a great picture of the bar, but they have done a bang-up job fixing up what used to be Queen's Hideaway. The kitchen is right out in the open, the chefs cooking behind a pretty low counter, a beautiful wood-fire oven blazing away behind them. It is all remarkably lovely. They have a great garden (weather did not so much permit last night, so we sat inside).

For an appetizer, we chose the bruschetta of the day -- three gorgeous toasts tiered with traditional chopped tomato bruschetta topping, then eggplant parmagiana slices, then melty mozzerella, then topped with a fabulous fresh pesto, all drizzled with olive oil and fresh basil tearings. There was nothing done wrong here.

I love the little perks at Anella too... they bring you, unfailingly, a small teaser plate before your appetizer arrives. This time it was a crostini topped with a hummus-like white bean puree. Completely inspired us to use the Cuinsinart to make white bean hummus this weekend. Terribly delish.

Main courses, we chose pizzas! Though they do have fish + meat + pasta selections that I am sure are lovely.

I had a meatball pizza with the softest, must succulent slices of meatball flayed down the center of the pie, combined with a concentrated garlicky tomato sauce and mozz. The crust is slightly salty (in a good way), thin and crispy-soft at the same time. Adored this pizza. H had yummy three chese topped with beautiful parsley.

The best part of all, maybe, however, was the roasted rooftop vegetables we ordered as a side! Yes, many of the veggies/herbs we ate came from the rooftop garden and they were just so damn good.

Happy birthday to moi. :)

Pics of Anella courtesy of NYMag.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Trip to the Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint

As stated a couple posts ago, I ventured out into my community to be with the people of New York for a workshop at the rooftop farm in Greenpoint (my neighborhood): http://rooftopfarms.org.

I find that, in life, there are not many experiences where one has an idealistic view/image/idea in mind upon approaching them and, lo and behold, that image matches perfectly with reality. This was one of those rare and epic scenes of life: rows of plants, vegetables, edibles all perfectly nestled on top of the most expansive, well curated and fascinating building tops in the city. It was astounding, to put it most simply.

The workshop that I arrived a bit late to was given by Annie, one of the farm's main ... farmers. Annie, who studied chocolate agriculture and worked at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, told us what it means for their farm to be organic. Though the farm is not 'certified organic' and has no plans to be (Annie called the paperwork, time and money it costs to have the measly, slowly-growing-meaningless label of certified organic "horseshit" -- and I have to agree) the only means of getting rid of pesky bugs and diseases is by:

-Hand Weeding, Picking Frequently
-Diluted Copper
-Diluted Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap
-Coffee Grounds
-Tea
and they were potentially considering doing caterpillar juice.

The farm uses a specific blend of rooptop soil and I was also lucky enough to participate in their first compost bed lay, done with compost that they made themselves from the refuse of local restaurants (Annie said the compost was almost combustible, white hot when they dug it out of the bin that day!). What an amazing cyclical gesture and symbiotic style, though.

Think of it: They grow vegetables and food for Marlow and Sons, for example, this food is prepared/eaten and then discarded into a compost bin which the farm itself picks up from the restaurant, the compost goes back to the farm to fertilize future vegetables. It's an incredible cycle of foodiness. Obviously, I adore this.

Without further ado, a few photos:








Thursday, July 16, 2009

Greenpoint Rooftop Farm


I was very excited to learn recently that there is an enormous rooftop farm in Greenpoint (my neighborhood). Who knew! How did I not know this? Check it out: http://rooftopfarms.org/

Apparently, it's pretty amazing. So, I will be there this Sunday for a volunteer/sale/information session to learn about the farm and potentially volunteer. If nothing else, I will definitely check out their produce and learn about their processes.
It's hard to 'garden' in New York precisely because it's so unlikely that you will even end up living in a space with a 'garden'. I don't even have roof access, but if I did, I'd definitely green that sh*t up. According to my architecture friends who are in the LEED know, etc, it's apparently pretty easy to lay down some seed and sprout a grass or whatevs you're into on a roof. Just takes a little time to get going, but after that isn't too tough to maintain. Man, it would be amazing to have a little farm on your roof! Think about it. Take a class on it. Give it a shot if you have the means!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

MJ


I have searched the internets for various reports on MJ's favorite foods and this is what I have come up with:
The general consensus is that his favorite food was "Mexican Food", but other speculations came up as well including M&Ms, KFC, spicy food and sushi.

UPDATE: Michael Jordan just confirmed at the Michael Jackson Memorial that he ate KFC with Michael Jackson on the floor of Neverland Ranch. And they laffed.

FURTHER UPDATE: That wasn't Michael Jordan, it was in fact Magic Johnson.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fear Factor


There is an intense pleasure that comes with eating your favorite foods or even a comfort-factor that accompanies the smell/flavor sensations that enrapture one's body when they are able to munch their favorite consumables. In a sense, there is something stemming even back to this idea of the mother's breast and a feeling of intense surrender when you have something delicious to eat.

I think this is precisely a big factor as to why knowledge about food is feared, in a way. What if someone told you that the milk you suckled from your mother's bosom had been tainted with all sorts of harmful chemicals? What if your favorite cereal, it turns out, is made from wheat that is laced with pesticides and the strawberries you've consumed for years were carcinogenic (strawberries you associate with brilliantly bright wonderful summery days in fields near where you grew up)? Would you want to know this information or would it be 'too scary' and would you be inclined to shy away/deny it?

Often, I think, in regards to food, the old cliche holds true: ignorance is bliss. It is a mechanism for defending one's own comfort and safety. If you don't know, honestly, that the Doritos are made with 17 different chemicals that cause neurological damage (this is a fabrication, by the way) or if you choose to deny yourself that knowledge, then you can continue to consume them and continue to feel the same comfort from them that you always have. It's battered wife syndrome, in a sense--how could something that gave you so much joy and positive feeling be so bad for you? Pretend it's not true. Pretend it didn't happen. Pretend you never learned that it was bad.

People make the choice to stifle their epistemological gainings, most especially when it comes to the realm of food. More importantly, nutritional knowledge has turned itself (through the intricate and deliberate workings of a strange FDA/USDA labeling system and marketing ploys of corporations, lobbyists) into a knowledge game that seems accessible only to those that devote an incredible amount of time and study to it. Nutritional Knowledge has, these days, become elusive in the minds of many and it is therefore too 'overwhelming' or daunting to even consider trying to understand, according to the average American. Much like, oh, Philosophy. Neuroscience. Islam. But the sad fact about this idea of the complexity of knowledge is that it is a sham and something created, not the truth, about food. Eating well and feeding your body nutritional things is a very basic science that anyone can (and, let's be honest, probably does) understand--it's our denial of this and the complications of a food system gone completely awry that push it to a place of inaccessibility.

'Organic' Truly Losing Its Meaning?

This piece by Marion Nestle in the San Fran Chronicle about what it means these days for a food to be labeled 'organic'. I especially like the article because it is in q + a format and is very simple and digestible (pun intended).

Check it out; you may learn something.

"USDA organic rules are about the letter of the law, not its spirit. Food marketers, however, take advantage of public perceptions that "organic" implies spirit - sustainability and better nutrition. Companies that follow the rules can legitimately market highly processed foods as organic, taking advantage of their health aura to command higher prices." -Marion Nestle

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Geography of Food


This article in the Times of India highlights a study by British researchers that claim that geography actually impacts tastebuds. They claim, "The research found Britain's taste preferences could be broken down like regional accents and depended very much on an area's history. In the north east, foods are enjoyed by taste buds on the tip of the tongue because the region has a history of industrial workers demanding meals that offer immediate sustenance." Read the full article here.

But what of cultures and lands (yes, literally, lands) that do not have such a history? For example, oh, America. How much does a history play into our tastes? I sort of wonder if we were more susceptible to a food culture of processed (though novel) foods because we lacked a steeped tradition of sorts. Though many immigrants carried the histories and traditions of their homeland with them to America, there was at the same time a real invigoration of an idea of a new life, a different way.

Just a hundred years after America became a sovereign country, the Industrial Revolution was in full swing and a hundred years after that, we were all eating processed, manufactured and unrecognizable 'foods' more so than any other country. We have always been at the forefront of food product processing, marketing and distributing. And Americans absolutely gobble this stuff up. One has to question if somewhere in this incredibly short history, we forgot to create our own traditions of food and cooking. Was it just a lot of bad timing? What foods are considered 'American' and why? What cooking techniques and traditions are considered 'American'? Anything? Were we just too late to the culture-making game that we failed, or as yet have failed at least, to develop some sort of ideas about what it means to eat and cook and grow food?

I would say yes, but that all is not lost. In fact, we hit a bump in the road. We rode a wave of capitalism, nouveau riche countryism and we wanted to be different as a culture. But things are changing. The food movement is sending us in the right direction. We are essentially going backwards, starting over, hitting the reset button in order to move forward and create what we forgot to create. It's going to be simple at first, we are focusing on basic ingredients, flavors, herbs, that's what we want right now (and it feels new and it feels good), we are learning how to grow, how to do it naturally and how to cook. We are creating tastes and blending our cultures finally in a way that is not rushed and is not for money. Americans are awakening their tastebuds and creating their own recipes and ideas. We want Steinbeck's Salinas Valley and the tastes of Faulkner's cows' milk again. We don't want novelties anymore, we want food.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Just One _____ .

I recommend this article on Salon.com about why it's so difficult for us to control our appetites and our actions.
The reason diets don't work, according to the author of a new best-selling book on the matter, is not that the body returns to a certain set point — it's that the brain does:

"In people who have a hard time controlling their eating, their brain circuits remain elevated and activated until all the food is gone. Then the next time you get cued, you do it again. Every time you engage in this cycle you strengthen the neural circuits. The anticipation gets strengthened. It's in part because of ambivalence. Do you ever have an internal dialogue? 'Boy, that would taste great. No, I shouldn't have it. I really want that. And I shouldn't do it.'

That sort of ambivalence increases the reward value of the food. It increases the anxiety, it increases the arousal, it keeps it in working memory. We're wired to focus on the most salient stimuli in our environment. For some people it could be alcohol or illegal drugs or nicotine or sex or gambling. For many of us it's food."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kids Eating Better?

Well, maybe... Check out this article in the New York Times on the matter:
"Chicken nuggets, burgers, fries and colas remain popular with the under-13 set, of course. But new market research shows that consumption of these foods at restaurants is declining, while soup, yogurt, fruit, grilled chicken and chocolate milk are on the rise."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Who's Seen It?


Read the review in the NYT today. Going to see it soon. I still think Our Daily Bread is and will be one of the most amazing films about food of all time. As a side note, there's an interesting catch in the beginning of the review article about movies and food and how some movies make you want to eat some foods. I was thinking of the chocolate river in Willy Wonka. Unfulfillable desires. Hmm.
I am off topic though.
I want to see this film because it seems like it really highlights not only the consumer but the laborers creating this food via abominable methods. This sort of plays at my alienation theory translating to food idea. But I will stop for now and get back to this after I see the movie! Please await (anxiously) my review.

Friday, June 5, 2009

From The Conspiracy of Art by Jean Baudrillard


Reading this amazing book, critical art theory/philosophy/commentary on modern art from Jean Baudrillard and it really says more about a greater societal problem and a context for understanding objects/the image. Forgive me if I am going to far, but let me give you this piece with little context:

"Yes. The question of obesity was raised in Venice and I said: "There is too much of art. But this is not only true for art: there is too much of too much. And that may well be a form. Francesco Bonami, the head of the Veince Biennale, didn't agree and we did a little scene together about it. 'How can there be too much?' said Bonami. 'You can never have enough of a good thing.' And I countered, 'And obesity? You don't think there's a pathology in there, do you?' 'The more body, the better it is,' he replied. Well, no, that's not true. A body has a form, it has measurements, a symbolic space, an initiatory form. Form is all of that. I believe a limit does exist. But you can only say it from the outside, if you are talking in terms of form, not of art. You can do the same kind of analysis with information, consumer habits, everything that is part of a linear process of production and accumulation. More is notbetter. So everything is moving towards this kind of reversal. It's inescapable."
-The Conspiracy of Art, Jean Baudrillard, 2005, published by Semiotext(e)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Neighbor's Lovely Book Comes Out Today!!!


Woohoo!

So I have to tell you that my neighbors are some of the absolute most loveliest wonderful people in the whole world that I have ever met. Additionally, they produce edibley adorable offspring and delicious treats, all of them.

But today is a special day in our building, because my beautiful, wonderful, classy and amazing baker neighbor's new book is coming out for purchase! Yay! It is called Organic and Chic: Cakes, Cookies and Other Sweets that Taste as Good as They Look by the fabulous Sarah Magid. I am personally going to place my order for a copy this moment and anxiously await it's arrival in the mail (I have seen a copy and it is filled with glorious recipes, pictures and inspirations)--then have it signed by the magnificent author herself.

Sarah is a former jewelery/fashion designer turned baker whose organic delights are the epitome of creative, combining not only a decadentness unbeknownst to me ever before, but also an elegance and imagination that go unparalleled. She is inspired by the greats--Ghery, Coco Chanel, Yoda--and her thoughtfulness and tastefulness are remarkable. What do we need in this world of hardship, strife and recession? Cakes! Cookies! Golden Twinkies (her specialty)! And all done with the simplest most real, organic ingredients. These are not poison, my friends, they are magic.

So buy her book! Buy her book! Please buy her book! You will be inspired and delighted.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Other Side of Nutrition

Please watch this fascinating video from Nicholas D. Kristof who is traveling around West Africa these days trying to tell the world what is going on there.

I can't believe we live in a country where the nutrition problem deals with obesity and too much food whereas in Africa people have nothing, too little to eat.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Soda Tax (Again): Calories Kill People.


So much talk about the potential soda tax in the news and blogs today, mostly due to the most recent (and astute, concise, brilliant) article [that you must read immediately] in the New York Times by David Leonhardt, the crux of his article being this:

Soda consumption has changed — a lot. The typical person now consumes 190 calories a day from sugary drinks, up from 70 a day in the late 1970s. That 120-calorie increase represents about one-half of the total daily caloric increase during that span, C.D.C. data shows.

Of all foods and beverages, says Mr. Brownell, the obesity researcher, “the science is most robust and most convincing on the link between soft drinks and negative health outcomes.”

Just as important for the purposes of a soda tax, economic research has found that soda drinkers are price sensitive. In the past, when the price of soda has risen by 10 percent, consumption has dropped by an average of roughly 8 percent. This means a soda tax may not be quite as regressive as it sounds, because poor people would end up buying less soda than they now do.

Turn to Marion Nestle's blog where she points out the amazing graph that Leonhardt included in his article which shows that the cost of fruits and vegetables has risen in the last few years while cost of sugary beverages has gone down. I assume that consumption of fruits and vegetables has gone down while consumption of sugary beverages has gone up.

The question becomes this for debate, then: is it ok to tax soda? As Marc Bittman states on his blog, soda is an easy tax not just because it is unhealthy, but because it is 'intrinsicly unhealthy', meaning that it offers nothing but negative effects to not only the consumer/imbiber, but also the environment, much like cigarettes. Cigarettes kill people and cause deadly short-term and deadly long-term chronic diseases. Sodas cause obesity which put a huge strain on our healthcare system when it causes chronic, long-term care diseases such as diabetes. The money from the soda tax would go directly to funding the new administration's healthcare initiative, thus offsetting some of the expensive consequences of the problem with the problem itself. Moreover, as stated in yesterday's blog about people rethinking calorie count when it is displayed clearly in front of you, they rethink it just as much (if not more) when spending more money. Okay, blah blah blah, this is all probably intuitive and self-evident.

So, is it ok? On the one hand, I feel (like many taxes) this targets the middle and lower classes--not meaning that they necessarily consume much more soda, but that they feel the strain of extra pennies and dimes here and there much more than their upper-class counterparts. Why can't we just have much higher income taxes for those in the upper echelons and call it a day? Well, we know that's all unlikely and probably also a bit unfair.

At very base, however, I am in complete agreement with using taxes and other governmental means to help combat a very real, life-threatening, quality-of-life-demeaning problem that over half of this country suffers from: obesity. I also believe whole-heartedly that intense advertising by companies such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi send mixed messages to people (especially children) that influence their decisions. Now, it seems time to influence their decisions in a better direction. To combat this life-draining epidemic, we need to act soon and now before things become even more grave. Imagine the cost of healthcare that is needed for those millions of overweight and obese Americans that will suffer from walking problems, heart disease, lung disease, cancers, diabetes, respiratory failure, etc etc all from eating and drinking too many calories--eating those millions of calories because that is what they are told, day in and day out, to do by vicious corporations who send EAT MORE messages to up their profitiability. Finally, if the government is going to begin to generously (but deservedly) offer health insurance as part of a national policy and social welfare system, it is allowed to help in preventative ways. Now, let's hope they go beyond taxes to education programs and a new task force on the issue that tackles it with the money and force as these advertising departments do for huge calorie-pushing corporations.

Finally, click here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pour le Diner Ce Soir


Just went to Whole Paycheck and picked up some items for dinner. I'm going to attempt to make this (hence the leeks sitting on my desk right now):

Anna Wintour Poo Poos Hefty Minnesotans!

In a recent interview the Vogue editor says, "I'd just been on a trip to Minnesota, where I can only kindly describe most of the people I saw as little houses."
Read the full article here (thanks, Jezebel!).

60%, yo!


I heard on NPR this morning that 60% of New Yorkers are overweight or obese. WOW! That is a lot. That is bad bad news. The good news is this: currently, in New York City there is a law that requires chain restaurants (those with more than 15 outlets city-wide) to prominently display calorie information on their menus and just today Governor Patterson announced that he will attempt to make this a state-wide law. It works, it really does. Read the full information about the law here.
Now, I rarely make a jaunty to Starbucks these days (really, I almost never do, because there is an amazing little coffee shop near my work called Blue Spoon), but it was in a total act of desperation I found myself there during work one day. I was starving and was just going to get a coffee and a cookie, but lo and behold I saw clearly before my eyes that an M&M cookie contains 450 calories. Insane! I opted out. I love this. They have it at McDonald's and everything. It's genius and I think it will make a huge difference--part of the problem with 'nutrition confusion' is hidden labeling. I don't commend all of the governor's choices, but this is grand.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

these are absolutely delicious


180 calories (but the good kind, I suppose)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

R.I.P. Robert B. Choate, Jr. - Food Lobbyist

From his obituary in the New York Times:

In hearings before a Senate subcommittee on consumers in July 1970, Mr. Choate, a self-described “citizen lobbyist,” testified that 40 of the 60 leading breakfast cereals were so low in nutritional content that they constituted “empty calories.” He displayed a detailed chart of the nutritional components of the 60 cereals to argue that many cereals were no healthier than candy bars or gin.

By the Way


Tarragon is so hot right now. Tarragon is the new black! We just picked up some tarragon mustard yesterday and I made pretty much the most amazing vinaigrette ever. My sister swears by tarragon vinegar. And here's a latest recipe from Marc Bittman that calls for tarragon (Aspargus with Morels and Tarragon).
TARRAGON!

Famous Ppl on Twitter, Facebook

I spend a bit too much time on Facebook and now I'm sort of on Twitter (though I have given up MySpace for good and let's not even talk about LinkedIn or Friendster--ollldddd skoool), but sometimes it's kind of great. For example, being friends with famous chefs on these networking sites often let's me know new recipes, ideas and when their cookbooks are coming out, etc. The best part about Twitter is that I get feeds from the New York Times, NPR, Downing Street, etc as well as from Whole Foods, The Organic Consumers Association and others. It's cool, I swear!

But I like to give awards. And, by far, the best (absolute best) Facebooker is Nicholas D. Kristof who updates daily with succint, poignant and telling snippets that keep one informed of happenings around the world that you may not otherwise be privvy to and that drive you to delve deeper on your own. Here are his last few updates:

Nicholas D. Kristof Visited a village with widespread trachoma, along with aid workers from Helen Keller International, which fights it. Trachoma causes blindness and terrible pain (the eyelashes scratch the eyeball), but it's very easily prevented with cheap antibiotics and face washing. I'm sure anybody who actually came and saw these kids going blind from trachoma would fervently want to help -- so that's my job, to spread the word.

Nicholas D. Kristof In Makeni, Sierra Leone, we met the usual sad procession of blind beggars, led by small children. But these were different. They got together and formed the "Blind Beggars Association" to lobby for a school for their children (who now don't go to school). They meet weekly and pay dues to use in an emergency. It's a lovely grassroots empowerment effort, and it's one more reason I'm hopeful. Wow!

Nicholas D. Kristof One reason for malnutrition here in Africa has to do with something surprising: mothers not knowing how to breastfeed properly. You'd think that after a few hundred thousand years, we humans would figure that part out. But moms delay feeding after birth, then give babies water, which horrifies nutrition experts. Now there's a big push for exclusive breast feeding for the first six months, and it may save many lives.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The More Educated You Are, the Healthier You Are, New Study Finds


Just came across an article about this. Basically, a new study out of Washington University finds that the more educated you are, the healthier your food choices are. This also means, however, that you spend more (and have more to spend) on food. Also, the more years of education you have, the more nutritional value of the food you eat (generally speaking). From the article which can be found here:

"Nutritional epidemiology has historically been based on the premise that nutrient exposures are directly linked to health outcomes. However, nutritional status is also intimately linked to socioeconomic status, and the findings reported here raise the possibility that the higher monetary cost of nutritious diets may provide one explanation for these observations. Future studies, based on more representative samples, will be needed to elucidate the connections between diet quality and diet cost across socioeconomic strata," the authors of the study wrote.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

apartment story - the national

Be still for a second while I try and try to pin your flowers on
Can you carry my drink I have everything else
I can tie my tie all by myself
I’m getting tied, I’m forgetting why

Oh we’re so disarming darling, everything we did believe
is diving diving diving diving off the balcony
Tired and wired we ruin too easy
sleep in our clothes and wait for winter to leave

Hold ourselves together with our arms around the stereo for hours
While it sings to itself or whatever it does
when it sings to itself of its long lost loves
I’m getting tied, I’m forgetting why

Tired and wired we ruin too easy
sleep in our clothes and wait for winter to leave
but I’ll be with you behind the couch when they come
on a different day just like this one

We’ll stay inside til somebody finds us
do whatever the TV tells us
stay inside our rosy-minded fuzz for days
We’ll stay inside til somebody finds us
do whatever the TV tells us
stay inside our rosy-minded fuzz

so worry not
all things are well
we’ll be alright
we have our looks and perfume

stay inside til somebody finds us
do whatever the TV tells us
stay inside our rosy-minded fuzz

so worry not
all things are well
we’ll be alright
we have our looks and perfume on

Monday, May 4, 2009

Finals.

Finals this week, so probably no blogging. I'll leave you with this topical piece from my favorite e-card website:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bahn Mi Map


In the New York Times, in case you missed it, all the best bahn mi joints in the city. So freaking awesome. Click here.

from NYMag.com

Public’s Demand for Bacon Vodka Will Soon Be Satisfied

Used to be that to experience bacon vodka, you’d have to persevere endless rounds of punk rock at Double Down (we’ll never forget the night the bottle ran out and we got to suck on the bacon — way nastier than a mescal worm). But now you can sip the stuff in your own home, to the dulcet sounds of Ella Fitzgerald. A Seattle company, Black Rock Spirits, has finally concluded two years of recipe testing based on the concept of “meat and potatoes” (bacon and Idaho russets, that is), and they’ve officially launched Bakon Vodka: “Pure. Refreshing. Bacon.” As of now, the liquid pork is only available in Northwestern states, but rest assured, the makers are working on wider distribution, meaning New Yorkers will eventually be able to experience Primus’s concept of “pork soda” (bacon vodka and Coke?). Check out If It’s Hip It’s Here’s list of other recently launched brands, including something that’s truly gross: Ed Hardy vodka.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mosquitoes

I get bitten by mosquitoes worse than pretty much anyone I know. Well, not just mosquitoes--bugs too. Anyway, I have it bad. While in Physiology class a couple weeks ago, we learned that the make-up of people's blood is different and some people literally attract more mosquitoes than others. One person can be sitting around in the jungle, for example, and be totally fine while the other suffers debilitatingly from bites and post-bite itching/madness. I am in the latter group. To an extreme.
One time I went to Costa Rica for spring break with my ex-boyfriend. I counted over 100 bites on my legs alone to his one or two (seriously).
Interestingly, since moving to New York City, I have suffered worse than probably ever before in my life. The bites are not small, they are huge. They are not short lived and scabby, they are welty and persistent. They hang around in huge red marks on your skin for days, weeks even. Last year I went to the doctor because I thought I had hives or, worse, bedbugs. Nope, just gnarly mosquito bites he said. GOD! They are like BOILS! PLAGUE!They are really fucking miserable and I got my first one just the other day. So, this year, I vow to do better to protect my skin (and those that are forced to look at it) from the madness.
So, I am researching home remedies for mosquito repellent (since I can't verywell have that horrible OFF! or whatever on my skin for the next three months). I want it to be natural and not so stinky! Here's the best of what I came up with but if anyone has anything better to share, it would be MUCH appreciated. Sounds like citronella oil itself is the way to go...
PS Can you burn citronella indoors? haha.

From MotherEarthNews.com:

Herbal Insect Repellent

2 1/2 teaspoons total of any combination of the following essential oils: basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, palmarosa, pine, rose geranium and/or rosemary (available at health food stores)

1 cup 190-proof grain alcohol (available in liquor stores)

Place ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Transfer to small bottles for storage. To use, rub a small amount on any exposed skin (test first to be sure your skin will not be adversely affected by the repellent) or dab it on clothing.

Experiment a little to find which essential oils work best with your body chemistry. If you’re lucky, you also will like the way they smell; otherwise, add a few drops of peppermint oil to fine-tune the fragrance.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Person-to-Person Study on Obesity

From the New England Journal of Medicine:

Background The prevalence of obesity has increased substantially over the past 30 years. We performed a quantitative analysis of the nature and extent of the person-to-person spread of obesity as a possible factor contributing to the obesity epidemic.

Methods We evaluated a densely interconnected social network of 12,067 people assessed repeatedly from 1971 to 2003 as part of the Framingham Heart Study. The body-mass index was available for all subjects. We used longitudinal statistical models to examine whether weight gain in one person was associated with weight gain in his or her friends, siblings, spouse, and neighbors.

Conclusions Network phenomena appear to be relevant to the biologic and behavioral trait of obesity, and obesity appears to spread through social ties. These findings have implications for clinical and public health interventions.

Fascinating! Read the full study here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lump Sum - Bon Iver

Sold my cold knot

A heavy stone

Sold my red horse for a venture home

To vanish on the bow --

Settling slow


Fit it all, fit it in the doldrums

(Or so the story goes)

Color the era

Film it's historical


My mile could not

Pump the plumb

In my arbor 'till my ardor

Trumped every inner inertia

Lump sum


All at once

Rushing from the sub-pump

(Or so the story goes)

Balance we won't know

We will see when it gets warm

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pastoral Culinary Tour.

These would be the goats that I ate.
The alps.
Pigs schmeckt gut.
Beef and potatoes at the grotto.
Swiss chocolate.
This is the baby goat I ate. So decadent.
Cheese shop.
Fresh milk from the neighbor.
Fresh bacon from the neighbor.
Fresh goat cheese from the neighbor.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thinner is better to curb global warming, study says

I usually don't read CNN.com so much, but this is an interesting perspective on 'the situation'...

Been Abroad.

Will post more when I wake up again. :)

Goats.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Trader Joe's Attempting to Knock Out the Wedge Co-Op--ACT NOW


Here is a message from our friends at the Wedge Co-op:


*****************************
Trader Joe's a Block South of the Wedge?
*****************************

Minneapolis City Council Member Robert Lilligren confirmed that "there is a proposed mixed-use development at 2309 Lyndale Avenue. The first floor anchor tenant would be Trader Joe's." That location is a half block south of the Wedge Co-op (in the Le Parisien apartments).

The Wedge relishes good competition, but in this case, we'll be at a huge disadvantage. In order to open this store, Trader Joe's wants a variance in the state liquor licensing law that would allow them to sell beer and wine. None of the local groceries in our area (Lund's, Kowalski's, the co-ops) can sell spirits, but the City Council thinks its a good idea to let national chain Trader Joe's sell cheap Three Buck Chuck on our doorstep.

It isn't fair.

**************
We Need Your Help
**************

This variance is probably going to get rammed through quickly. There's a City Council Meeting this Friday, April 10, at 9:30 a.m. Most likely, it will pass and go to the State Legislature for approval -- according to our Councilman Robert Lilligren, who supports giving unfair advantages to Trader Joe's over dynamic, local businesses.

Please call your council member AS SOON as you get this email! Their contact information is below.

Please forward this email to any contacts who may be willing to act on behalf of fairness to local businesses.

**************
What to Say or Write
**************

If you call, please ask to speak to the Council Person, and if they're not available, ask to leave a message with a staff person.

Consider saying the following:

"I think it's unfair that Trader Joe's could be issued a state liquor license variance, when local groceries are banned from selling beer and wine. Please do not support issuing a variance to Trader Joe's."

You could also make some of the following points:

* Changing the rules to favor Trader Joe's, an international company, makes me question the city's dedication to independent and local businesses.

* A store of Trader Joe's size will have a huge impact on south Minneapolis. Local liquor stores, local grocery chains, and independent stores like the Wedge Co-op will all take a hit from allowing Trade Joe's to sell wine and beer.

* Please show your support for local businesses over giant, international companies. Trader Joe's is owned by the same German company that owns and operates Aldi's, the "German Wal-Mart."

* If the Wedge and other co-ops are negatively impacted by a giant conglomerate, local vendors will be hit, too. Trader Joe's simply can't support Peace Coffee, Sno-Pac, Ames Farm, Sweet Cheeks Baby Food, Mischief Maker Chai, Beeler's Pork, Larry Schultz's eggs, or any local cheeses or vegetable and fruit farmers the way local groceries do.

* Trader Joe's will permanently change the local flavor of this area. The Wedge and Whittier neighborhoods are largely free of big chains and this will open the door for more chains to come in.

* A store this size will compound the already terrible traffic issues here. People won't even want to come to the Lyndale/Franklin area because of the added congestion. Biking will become even more difficult than it already is.

Emails can be created from the above talking points, too. Such as:

Dear [NAME],

I'm writing because I think it's unfair that Trader Joe's could be issued a liquor license variance, when local groceries are banned from selling beer and wine. Please do not support issuing a variance to Trader Joe's.

Please show your support for local businesses over giant, international companies. Trader Joe's is owned by the same German company that owns and operates Aldi's, the "German Wal-Mart." If the Wedge and other co-ops are negatively impacted by a giant conglomerate on their doorsteps, local vendors will be hit, too. Trader Joe's simply can't support Peace Coffee, Sno-Pac, Ames Farm, Sweet Cheeks Baby Food, Mischief Maker Chai, Beeler's Pork, Larry Schultz's eggs, or any local cheeses or vegetable and fruit farmers the way local groceries do.

Thank you for your attention, and I hope I can count on you to vote against issuing a liquor license variance to Trader Joe's.

Sincerely,
YOUR NAME
YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION

******************************
Contact Information for City Council Members
******************************

Find out who your Minneapolis Council Person is here:

http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/

*City Council Members and Contact*

*Paul Ostrow Ward 1*
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2201
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Paul.Ostrow@ Paul.Ostrow@ci.minneapolis.mn.us>ci.minneapolis.mn.us Cam.Gordon@ci.minneapolis.mn.us>**

*Cam Gordon Ward 2*
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2202
*Cell*
(612) 296-0579
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Cam.Gordon@
ci.minneapolis.mn.us Cam.Gordon@ci.minneapolis.mn.us>**

*Diane Hofstede Ward 3*
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2203
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Ward 3 Email Form <http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-hofstede.asp>

*Barbara Johnson Ward 4*
Council President
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2204
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Contact Form <http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-johnson.asp>

*Don Samuels - Ward 5*
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2205
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Don.Samuels@ Don.Samuels@ci.minneapolis.mn.us>ci.minneapolis.mn.us Cam.Gordon@ci.minneapolis.mn.us>

*Robert Lilligren - Ward 6*
Council Vice President
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2206
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Robert.Lilligren@
ci.minneapolis.mn.us Robert.Lilligren@ci.minneapolis.mn.us>

*Lisa Goodman Ward 7*
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2207
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Lisa Goodman's Email Form <http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-goodman.asp>

*Elizabeth Glidden Ward 8*
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2208
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Elizabeth Glidden's Email Form <http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-glidden.asp>

Elizabeth.Glidden@
ci.minneapolis.mn.us Elizabeth.Glidden@ci.minneapolis.mn.us>


Gary Schiff - Ward 9

350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2209
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Contact Form <http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-schiff.asp>**

*Ralph Remington Ward 10*
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2210
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Ralph.Remington@
ci.minneapolis.mn.us Ralph.Remington@ci.minneapolis.mn.us>

*Scott Benson Ward 11*
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2211
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Scott Benson's Email Form <http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-benson.asp>**

*Sandy Colvin Roy - Ward 12*
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2212
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Sandy Colvin Roy's Email Form <http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-roy.asp>

*Betsy Hodges - Ward 13*
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

*Phone*
(612) 673-2213
*Fax*
(612) 673-3940
*E-mail*
Ward 13 Email Form <http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/contact/email-form-hodges.asp>

M.F.K Fisher


It is a perfect spring day in New York and I am reading the best food book. M.F.K Fisher's How to Cook a Wolf couldn't be any more perfect. This is not just because her writing absolutely fits my personality (sassy, honest, humorous, quick yet classy--all things I strive to be! and her prose are downright laughable but so lucid), but it is also an incredible resource, as it is a book about how to conserve/eat well and what to eat during 'hard times'. It contains morevoer a great number of fabulous recipes and cooking techniques. Originally published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1942 as part of her "Art of Eating" series, this book threads the needle between a love of food and a lack of money. I am devouring it. Here are some snippets I just adored:

"One of the saving graces of the less-monied people of the world has always been, theoretically, that they were forced to eat more unadulterated, less dishonest food than the rich-bitches. It begins to look as if that were a lie. IN our furious defforts to prove that all men are created equal we encourage our radios, our movies, above all our weekly and monthly magazines to set up a fantastic ideal in the minds of family cooks, so that everywhere earnest and eager women are whipping themselves and their budgets to the bone to proved three"balanced" meals a day for their men and children.
It is true, without argument of any kind, that s a people we know much more about correct human nutrition than we did even a few years ago. But we are somewhat confused by all the exciting names [riboflavin, monosodium glutamate, arsofinibarborundum...all fine things, when used with a modicum of nonhysteria] and more so by the solemn exhortations of the 'food editors' of all the slick magazines we read to improve ourselves.
We want, and not only because we are told to but because we sense instinctively that it is right, to give Mortimer III the vitamins and minerals he should absorb in order to be a find sturdy little mortimer indeed. But what a rat race it is...This bugbear of meal-balancing is hard not only on the wills and wishes of the great American family, but is pure hell on the pocketbook. There are countless efficient-looking pages in 'home magazines' each month, marked into twenty-eight or so squares with a suggested menu for each meal of the week, and then one supposedly tempting dish to prepare every day. The lead usually cries, 'Let's economize, Mothers! Here is how you can do it for only 39 cents per person! Try it and help Uncle Sam!'...
It is disheartening too. Now, of all our times in our history, we should be using our minds as well as our hearts in order to survive...to live gracefully if we live at all... We must change...instead of combining a lot of dull and sometimes actively hostile foods into one routine meal after another, three times a day and every day, year after year, in the earnest hope that you are being a good provider, try this simple plan: Balance the day, not each meal."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

(Untitled Post)

it's mucky outside and the bottoms of even your skinniest cigarette style bright mauve jeans get wet and turn to a putrid green on the bottom. your feet hurt anyway because you are too fashionable not to wear the booties from the steven by steve madden store that your sister and you would call 'grenades' for les pieds. god they are tight, how can boots be tight? my feet aren't swollen. your father texts you back, "ha ha", we make jokes. people seem to filter much of their conversation through humor in these times. was it always like that? the last recession or depression seemed so goddamn bleak, my god, those dorthea lange fotos with what look like fly covered children and strong white women who looked gaunt but so tough. we aren't so interesting as americans anymore, are we? just floating along? but we are totally different, aren't we? my professor says in times of economic downturn, often great ideas come about. okay, she was much much less interesting; she said it is often a time of entrepreneurship. entrepreneurship as a word doesn't sound much compared to 'great ideas'. i prefer to think that there are 'great ideas' about. perhaps why i listen to songs on repeat. i often find so much music disatisfying and i can never figure out a proper volume to play it on my ipod. when the train comes it's way too quiet but then ... oh nevermind.
but anyway, this is certainly not dickens! but it is, isn't it? can we not dramatize our current state? melodramatize. god i love a good show. but it is precisely the fact that attitudes are the opposite of down-trodden, there is more intresting modes to be in, isn't there? we are surpassing our former selves. are we moving from capitalism? please please please let it be so a bit.
so class is over and you are going to work and then when work is over you will go home and finally your day will begin and you will finally feel. eat.