Friday, December 13, 2013

Debate: Don't Eat Anything With A Face

Recently, a friend shared this Intelligence Squared debate on the motion: "Don't Eat Anything With A Face". Four experts debated the pros and cons of vegetarianism from a variety of perspectives.

The whole video is worth watching, for sure:

http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/upcoming-debates/item/910-dont-eat-anything-with-a-face


I liked the opening comments from the moderator, in which he highlighted the oft-cited (but still oft-ignored) reason that many people are comfortable with meat-eating: they just avoid thinking about it. 

He said, "The simple act of eating a hamburger is, when you really think about it, one of the great
acts of human denial, because what is a burger? It's edible protein in the shape of a disk every single time. And you can order it rare, you can order it well done, you can dress it up in ketchup, you can put a little onion hat on top of it, you can push it around on your plate, you can leave half of it behind, and never once have the thought cross your mind, as you're chomping away, I wonder what she looked like, the cow this burger came from. I wonder where she lived. I wonder how she died. Our thoughts just don't go there..."


This debate encourages us to think about those questions, to engage with the ethical, environmental, nutritional, aesthetic issues involved in our daily acts of consumption.

Watch, and let me know what you think!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Turkey at Thanksgiving

In his book Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer offers this thought: "If this entire book could be decanted into a single question—not something easy, loaded, or asked in bad faith, but a question that fully captured the problem of eating and not eating animals—it might be this: Should we serve turkey at Thanksgiving?"

Should we serve turkey at Thanksgiving?

This is his whole book in a sentence. The chapter goes on to explore the dark side of turkey production in the U.S.  (Read short versions of similar stories here, here, or here).


But in classic Foer fashion, he leads up to this "single question" with a personal take on the meaning of Thanksgiving and of storytelling. The way he recounts his own Thanksgiving memories, and their embeddedness in some bigger ideas about a good meal, is beautiful:
 . . . Two dozen or so mismatched chairs circumscribed four tables of slightly different heights and widths, pushed together and covered in matching cloths. No one was fooled into thinking this setup was perfect, but it was. My aunt placed a small pile of popcorn kernels on each plate, which, in the course of the meal, we were supposed to transfer to the table as symbols of things we were thankful for. Dishes came out continuously; some went clockwise, some counter, some zigzagged down the length of the table: sweet potato casserole, homemade rolls, green beans with almonds, cranberry concoctions, yams, buttery mashed potatoes, my grandmother's wildly incongruous kugel, trays of gherkins and olives and marinated mushrooms, and a cartoonishly large turkey that had been put in the oven when last year's was taken out. We talked and talked: about the Orioles and Redskins, changes in the neighborhood, our accomplishments, and the anguish of others (our own anguish was off-limits), and all the while, my grandmother would go from grandchild to grandchild, making sure no one was starving. 
Thanksgiving is the holiday that encompasses all others. All of them, from Martin Luther King Day to Arbor Day to Christmas to Valentine's Day, are in one way or another about being thankful. But Thanksgiving is freed from any particular thing we are thankful for. We aren't celebrating the Pilgrims, but what the Pilgrims celebrated. (The Pilgrims weren't even a feature of the holiday until the late nineteenth century.) Thanksgiving is an American holiday, but there's nothing specifically American about it—we aren't celebrating America, but American ideals. Its openness makes it available to anyone who feels like expressing thanks, and points beyond the crimes that made America possible, and the commercialization, kitsch, and jingoism that have been heaved onto the shoulders of the holiday. 
Thanksgiving is the meal we aspire for other meals to resemble. Of course most of can't (and wouldn't want to) cook all day every day, and of course such food would be fatal if consumed with regularity, and how many of us really want to be surrounded by our extended families every single night? (It can be challenge enough to have to eat with myself.) But it's nice to imagine all meals being so deliberate. Of the thousand-or-so meals we eat every year, Thanksgiving dinner is the one that we try most earnestly to get right. It holds the hope of being a good meal, whose ingredients, efforts, setting, and consume are expressions of the best in us. More than any other meal, it is about good eating and good thinking. 
And more than any other food, the Thanksgiving turkey embodies the paradoxes of eating animals: what we do to living turkeys is just about as bad as anything humans have ever done to any animal in the history of the world. Yet what we do with their dead bodies can feel so powerfully good and right. The Thanksgiving turkey is the flesh of competing instincts—of remembering and forgetting.  
. . . This will be the first year we celebrate in my home, the first time I will prepare the food, and the first Thanksgiving meal at which my son will be old enough to eat the food the rest of us eat. If this entire book could be decanted into a single question—not something easy, loaded, or asked in bad faith, but a question that fully captured the problem of eating and not eating animals—it might be this: Should we serve turkey at Thanksgiving? [p. 244-245]

For those of you who haven't read Eating Animals, I'd highly recommend it. And I hope this passage from Foer and a consideration of factory farm production of turkeys gives us all something to mull over as we plan our menus in the week to come.

To find local, ethically-raised turkeys in your area, check out Eat Wild.

Or, go turkey-less for the holiday! I'll be sharing my own vegetarian Thanksgiving/Hanukkah menu later in the week.

Some other Thanksgiving food related links worth checking out:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Items of Interest

The last couple of weeks have been filled with a number of big news items in the food world, plus lots of interesting musings. Some especially worth checking out:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/11/06/243523116/washington-state-says-no-to-gmo-labels?ft=1&f=139941248
Washington State Votes Down GMO Labels:



http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm372915.htm









The FDA Moves to Ban Trans Fat in Processed Foods:




Fascinating video series explores the journey
http://www.howgrow.org/
from field to fork: How Does it Grow?


http://www.agprize.com/

Agricultural Innovation Prize promises $100,000 for great agricultural ideas
(a good friend of mine is running this excellent program!)




http://time100.time.com/2013/11/07/the-13-gods-of-food/
 Time Magazine's 13 Gods of Food








http://www.grubstreet.com/2013/11/time-gods-of-food-women.html
And a useful companion piece: Goddesses of Food







http://ohmyveggies.com/50-vegetarian-main-dishes-thanksgiving/
Finally, to get us in the seasonal spirit: 50 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Main Dish Recipes




What else have you all been reading lately? 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Slow Food Madison Food Swap

Slow Food Madison is throwing a wonderful event next week: A Food Swap!


I unfortunately can't make it, but encourage local readers to attend. The ticket site indicates that there are only 22 tickets left. Reserve yours now!

Loyal Dining and Opining followers will remember that a few friends and I threw our own food swap a couple of years ago, which I described in this post. It was a real success and I've been wanting to see something like it at a bigger scale for several years now.

The details for the Slow Food event are as follows:
What: A Food Swap is an event where members of the community come together to trade homemade, homegrown, and foraged food with each other. Attendees directly trade their goods with one another as a way to diversify the foods in their pantries and make connections with other members of the local food community.

When: Monday, November 11th 6:00pm.  The event will probably last about 1.5-2 hours. 

Where: Goodman Center 149 Waubesa Street Madison, WI  -- ask at the desk which room

How: Reserve a free ticket and bring along as many/few items you would like to trade. Think home-canned goods, baked goods, fermented deliciousness, homemade beer, wine, or infusions, eggs from your backyard chickens, infused oils or vinegars, foraged dried or fresh herbs, sausages or home grown meats. Anything that you have created that is edible we would love to have you bring! Expect these items for sure, and much, much more:

    Garlic scape pickles
    Strawberry jam
    Pastured chicken
    Curried cauliflower pickles
    Homemade wine
    Pickled brussels sprouts
    Dilly beans
    Garlic powder

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dissertation Chapter Mini-Quiches

Big news around here. Last week, I successfully defended my dissertation, In Cans We Trust: Food, Consumers, and Scientific Expertise in Twentieth-Century America!

This was a real milestone in its own right, and deserves many words--about how exhilarating it felt to bring the writing experience to a close, to have five brilliant committee members discuss my work and guide my thoughts on revisions for the book manuscript, and to have many friends and colleagues support me. But, for now, let me share the snacks I baked for the defense: my dissertation in mini-quiche form:


You see, each of my dissertation chapters is framed around one particular canned food: Chapter 1 takes on Borden's condensed milk, Chapter 2 agricultural breeding in Wisconsin peas, Chapter 3 botulism in black olives, Chapter 4 grade labeling in canned tomatoes, and Chapter 5 postwar concerns about canned tuna. So, I combined all five of these foods into baked mini-quiches. Tangible, edible dissertation chapters!

The building blocks:


Not sure it all tasted so good when mixed together, but at least it looked pretty:


And when served on the big day alongside home-baked apple muffins (with apples from the local Appleberry Farm) and mango peach juice, the quiches served their purpose perfectly!


How would you represent your own academic or professional work in edible form?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Madison Area Food Summit

A really interesting event worth checking out!

Register and more info: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/8411728707/efbnen

2013 Food Summit
Connecting with the Land

 October 24th 5:30 pm - 8 pm
 
Fitchburg Public Library
5530 Lacy Road, Fitchburg, WI

Registration fee: $5 (by Oct. 15) or $10 (after Oct. 15 or at the door)

Please bring a non-perishable item for the Fitchburg Food Pantry



Food Summit Agenda
  • 5:30-6:00     Great local food and Welcome by Mayor Shawn Pfaff
  • 6:00-7:30     Panel of local and international speakers to address food sovereignty,  facilitated by Jack Kloppenburg
  • 7:30-8:00     Thank you by Supervisor Jenni Dye, Chair of Dane County Food Council

Event Partners include:
  •     Dane County Food Council
  •     Madison Food Policy Council
  •     City of Fitchburg
  •     Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin
  •     Outside the Bean
  •     Dane County UW-Extension

Register and more info: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/8411728707/efbnen

Thursday, October 10, 2013

CSA at work!

I was really inspired by this post that our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, Vermont Valley, just posted on its blog, and wanted to share it here:

"Our Produce in the Community"


In addition to producing delicious, abundant shares for its CSA members, Vermont Valley vegetables are finding homes at the Goodman Community Center's Seed to Table program and Thanksgiving Baskets Project; in lunches of the Mt. Horeb Area School District; at Badger Camp serving those with developmental disabilities; at the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin; FairShare CSA Coalition's Bike the Barns event; the AIDS Network AIDS Ride; the First United Methodist Church Food Pantry; and the Middleton Outreach Ministry.

All of these diverse homes for fresh, local, seasonal vegetables--all within our community! Such promise!

It makes me just dream about the possibilities for connecting local farms with varied venues for getting that produce to as many different audience as possible.

Gratifying, authentic connections.

Veggies processed and ready to freeze for the winter at Mt. Horeb schools: 
Trays of vegetables waiting to bagged and frozen for winter meals

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Homemade Bread Love

I've written before about gifts of food and how powerful they are in conveying love.

I got to experience a dose of this the other day when I came in to my office to find this note on my desk:


And this beauty:


It was such an unexpected treat, and one that made me feel cared for in ways that went far beyond just the bread itself. It got me to thinking about how closely tied food and love are, what it means to feed another person, how we convey a deep sense of investment when we sustain others in that way--whether it's a volunteer shift at a soup kitchen or a mother breastfeeding her own child.

I, for one, would almost always prefer a gift of food to most others. It is edible, temporary, supportive.

So I took that beautiful loaf and turned it into a beautiful sandwich, savoring every bite:



Here are a few others' takes on gifts of food:

BBC: Love bites: Is food the risk-free gift?
29 Homemade Food Gifts from Martha Stewart
And a great big Pinterest board of food gifts

What's the best gift of food that you've ever gotten?!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vegetarian Korean Burritos

I'm pretty proud of these beautiful jars of kimchi that I made with a friend a few weeks ago:


We used the recipe of David Chang, founder of Momofoku, though we cut the garlic in half (and I went light on the dried shrimp). Here I am, with the sliced, over-nighted napa cabbage in my right hand, and the other veggies and flavorings in my left hand.


Although the kimchi is delicious in its own regard, the real reason it's blog-worthy is that it is a crucial ingredient in one of my new favorite foods: the [vegetarian] Korean burrito.

Picking up on the Korean/Mexican fusion trend that has made it so big in Los Angeles through the Kogi BBQ Taco Truck, my friend TY and I came up with this winning combination of flavors, all wrapped up in a burrito. I'm constantly craving them these days, and am pretty much always ready for more. Here's a rough attempt at a recipe, though it's very flexible. Let me know how yours turn out!

Vegetarian Korean Burritos
(serves 6-8)
  • 1 block firm tofu
  • seasonings for tofu (soy sauce, chili paste, etc.)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4-5 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 pint kimchi (using David Chang's recipe or another, or buying pre-made), chopped
  • 1 can beans (soybeans, black beans, or navy beans work well)
  • 3 cups crunchy veggies, sliced thinly (cabbage, carrots, radish, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, etc.)
  • 8 tortillas
  • 4 T mayonnaise
  • 1 T sriracha
  • a handful of cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)
  1. Drain tofu and squeeze gently between your heads* to get rid of excess water. Cut into 3/4" cubes. Toss with a mixture of soy sauce, chili paste, and oil and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes, until golden and firm (can use a toaster oven for this step if you have one).
  2. Meanwhile, saute onion in 1 T oil over medium high heat, until softened and beginning to brown. Add cooked rice and chopped kimchi, stirring to combine. 
  3. Prepare other ingredients. Drain and warm the beans. Slice your crunchy vegetables thinly to make a sort of slaw mixture. Mix mayonnaise and sriracha in a separate bowl until pink and spicy.  Warm tortillas until they are pliable. 
  4. When you are ready to assemble, spread about a 1/2 T of the mayo-sriracha mixture on a tortilla, layer on the kimchi rice, baked tofu, beans, slaw mix, and cilantro (if using). Tuck in both ends, and roll up! Repeat for all 8 tortillas. Dive in! 
  5. These burritos keep well for several days if you wrap them in foil after assembling. But they are really delicious right away. And you have any leftover ingredients, mix them together for a quick fried rice!

 * You could see if you could find a friend who would lend you his/her head so that you could squeeze the tofu between your heads, but my mom gently points out that perhaps it would be better if you used your hands.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Chipotle vs. Big Food

Chipotle has come out with a great little film that I'm totally saving for use in future classes. It's called "The Scarecrow" and is worth three minutes of your time:



Eliza Barclay over at NPR's The Salt has a great article on this video: Taking Down Big Food is the Name of Chipotle's New Game.

She offers a review of the commercial, and of the aesthetic that Chipotle is trying to convey with its alignment with small food vendors and against the sterile corporation.

It raises fascinating questions about what "Big Food" actually is, and how Chipotle does and does not fit under that label? Does being "Big" make a food company part of "Big Food"? Does "Big" here stand in for all kinds of other values that Chipotle does not espouse.

What do you think? 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Vermont Valley CSA Food Preservation

The flavors of summer are my favorite. Crunchy cucumbers, ripe tomatoes, sweet corn, juicy watermelon, rich basil! All leave my salivating and wanting more.

The only problem with these flavors (like all seasonal treats?) is that they're fleeting.

So when we heard that our CSA farm, Vermont Valley, was offering U-pick tomato and basil events, we jumped at the chance to load up on extras that we could preserve to have a hint of those summer flavors later in the year.

We drove out to beautiful Blue Mounds, WI to wander through the fields and gather the bounty. I forgot my camera, though, so some images from the Vermont Valley website will have to do. You can see the tomato fields on the left and the basil fields on the right:

 These images all from http://www.vermontvalley.com/festivals-and-events/

We picked alongside lots of other CSA members, overhearing snippets of conversation about the differences in basil varieties, how people would prepare the tomatoes that night for dinner, and some frustrated parents telling their kids that no, you can't have the iPad right now. This is outside play time.

All CSA members got 10 pounds of roma tomatoes for free and all the basil they could handle. So we came home with just over 10 pounds of tomatoes and a plastic grocery bag full of bright green basil leaves.


Within a couple of hours, those tomatoes and basil had turned into tomato soup and delicious pesto (plus a tofu creole dish that JH whipped together).

I blended the pesto up in the food processor, spooned it into ice cube trays so that it could freeze in individual portions and then, once the pesto was frozen, dumped the cubes into a ziploc bag for later enjoying. Later, we'll mix it with pasta, spread it on pizza dough, or mix it with grains for satisfying salads in the winter months. (I didn't really follow a recipe, but here's a simple one that offers the basic method. Mine has basil, lots of olive oil, some roasted almonds, small amounts of parsley, garlic, balsamic vinegar, Asiago cheese, plus salt, black pepper, and some sugar to offset a little bitterness I detected--all to taste).


As for the tomatoes, I decided that tomato soup would be the perfect way to put these up for the winter months. So, following this basic recipe (times 5) I roasted a whole 10 pounds of roma tomatoes, along with garlic, onions, some red bell pepper, basil, salt pepper, olive oil, and vineger (a mix of balsamic, red wine, and apple cider). Then I just transferred all these roasted vegetables and seasonings into two soup pots, used an immersion blender to puree it all, and then added vegetable broth until it reached the desired consistency. I ended up using a lot less liquid than the recipe called for. I also added a bit of half-and-half at the end, mostly because we had some on hand that needed to be used.

After it cooled, I transferred the soup into some freeze-able containers we had, and popped them in the freezer. In total, this made about 22 cups of soup. Can't wait to dive in later in the year!


Anyone else putting up the summer bounty to savor for later? Freezing, canning, drying--or just eating?!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fortifying Nutrients?

After some recent bloodwork, my doctor told me that I was a little low on iron (broken down into component parts, I was a little low on red blood cells, hemoglobin, and hematocrit). In order to prevent further anemia, she encouraged me to increase my iron consumption, and perhaps to take an iron supplement. Because I'm a vegetarian, it's a bit harder to get high levels of iron, so I've been researching good whole food sources (and am happy to write more about that in a separate post if folks are interested!).

Among the recommendations I found, many sources pointed to eating Cream of Wheat for breakfast, perhaps with blackstrap molasses and dried apricots (both high sources of iron in their own right) mixed in.
I grew up eating what we called, in Russian, mannaya kasha, which is traditionally a semolina flour porridge. But we ate what was available in small town Arkansas: Malt-o-Meal, or its equivalent Cream of Wheat. This was a favorite soothing dish, especially when I was sick, and my Mama would always let me drop in the raisins in a smiley-face pattern before mixing them all in.

So, the idea of eating Cream of Wheat to bulk up my iron levels seemed totally fine, familiar even. When I found it in the store, however, I was a little taken aback. My eyes instantly zoomed in to the little yellow panel at the top right of the box:


"Excellent Source of Iron & Calcium"

Sounds pretty good, right?

The only problem is, in all my research about high-iron foods, I discovered that calcium actually inhibits the absorption of iron. And because iron from non-animal sources is of the non-heme variety and already harder to absorb, pairing iron and calcium is a big no-no. In fact, most recommendations suggest separating high-iron food intake from high-calcium food intake by a few hours. WebMD, for example, recommends: "To absorb the most iron from the foods you eat, avoid drinking coffee or tea or consuming calcium-rich foods or drinks with meals containing iron-rich foods."

So, what is Cream of Wheat doing putting both lots of iron AND lots of calcium in the same food? Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of the iron fortification?

It occurred to me that this is an example where nutritional fortification might have far more to do with advertising purposes than with actual nutritional improvement. Most consumers don't have a lot of information about how nutrition really works (and perhaps most scientists don't either!), so wouldn't know that mixing iron and calcium is a bad idea. They might just know that both iron and calcium are good to have in their diets. So that little yellow icon (and the corresponding nutrition facts on the side or back of the box) would just shout a generic, "This is healthy! Eat it and feed it to your kids!" The nuance is unimportant. The way these nutrients actually interact in your body is unimportant. The important part is that nutritional fortification sells.

Or is there a more benign explanation? What do you think?!

--

As a bonus, some cool historical photos of Cream of Wheat ads from the early twentieth century here. Like this:


Monday, August 19, 2013

Urb Garden at the Madison Children's Museum


My new employer, and one of the hippest places in town, the Madison Children's Museum, just opened their newest exhibit: the "Urb Garden."

This new space is a small deck that overlooks the back parking lot, but it packs a big punch. One of goals of the exhibit is to display a variety of urban gardening techniques, to show what's possible in an urban space (the middle of a parking lot!) without a lot of square footage. Many of these ideas can be replicated in any backyard or even balcony. And they're fun for kids!

Here's the whole deck, just off of North Hamilton St. on the Capitol Square in Madison (looking at the people on the left gives a sense of scale):


Besides being visually striking, the deck is chock full of cool activities and awesome details that really make it come to life.

There's the seating area with wooden stumps for chairs and window boxes (left photo), the solar oven and chalkboard and thermometer (middle photo), and the vertical gardens (right photo):


There's the Aquaponics system, in which "fish and plants grow together!"--installed with the help of the UW Office of Sustainability (more information on the partnership here):


There's the vermicomposting setup. The caption reads: "Worms! These worms eat food scraps and turn them into the healthiest soil around":


There's the exciting music-making setup made of old tools, and the chickens (borrowed from the Museum's equally-cool space, the Rooftop Ramble):


And one of my favorite little quirky details, there are the tiny mementos and doodads stuck into the mortar of the central structure's walls! I was around the day they were completing this wall, and if only I'd had a suitable knick-knack on me, I could've been a permanent part of the exhibit. Bummer.


On the whole, this is an inspiring new space that is totally worth a visit, with kids or without. Like so many of the Children's Museum spaces, the Urb Garden manages to offer enrichment and education to kids of all ages while still making it fun, accessible, adventurous. The sustainability lessons are woven into the patchwork of all that goes on here, and permeate the experience of the Museum.

Check it out!

--

And lots of links to coverage of the Urb Garden's opening:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"For the Now Chicks"


I've recently been reading about psychologist Ernest Dichter and his motivational research into consumer preferences beginning in the 1940s. His big contribution to canned food marketing was encouraging canners to advertise their products as a move toward creativity. You didn't have to be a lazy housewife if you used canned food! Especially if you used canned goods as ingredients in other quick dishes--you could show off your skills and panache in the kitchen!

This Durkee French Fried Onions ad from the 1960s captures that sentiment exactly. I especially love the caption:

"CREATIVITY KIT. Go Girl! Do your thing with crunchy onion chunks and rings. Real onion. French fried golden crisp. It's there for the now chicks with more imagination than time."

Canned food helps "now chicks" do their thing and use their imagination. Just sprinkle a few on your green bean casserole or your meatloaf! See how creative and imaginative you are! "Go Girl!"

Friday, June 28, 2013

Iowa Farm Goodness

Over the weekend, we got to be the recipients of some world-class hospitality, delicious food, and beautiful farm scenery, while visiting friends in eastern Iowa.

Soon upon arrival, we were greeted with this brunch feast:


Many of the ingredients were from the farm on the grounds, just picked that morning: the mint in the watermelon salad, the kohlrabi (sprinkled with tagine spice in the third photo below), the strawberries, the fennel (in the last photo below), and the kale in the scrambled eggs (pictured above).


After stuffing ourselves with all of these goodies, we got to take a tour around the farm. Our friend ST works at a boarding high school that has a 35 acre farm onsite. Much of the school's food comes from this farm, and all the students work the farm and learn about food issues as part of their broader education. Awesome.

Here we are crossing the muddy path on the way up to the fields, sinking our toes deep into the squishy cool wetness:


A view of our friend's house (and a perfect hay bale) from the upper fields:


Baby sheep!


And piglets in the barn!


It was a beautiful morning, and we're already longing for the fresh tastes, deep friendship, and inspiring educational spaces of our Iowa retreat.

Friday, May 31, 2013

May Link Favorites

Last day of May!

Despite my infrequent posting around here as of late, I try not to let a month pass without a single post. So, a short post with some links to articles and recipes and opportunities in the food world.

Share links of your own in the comments!

---

Some recipes we've made and enjoyed recently, or are planning to use soon:
Food-related articles and opportunities:
And some non-food links I've been enjoying:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dreaming of Spring: Recipe Round-up

Even though the weather is taking its sweet time to warm up here in Wisconsin, I'm already dreaming of spring flavors and ingredients that might show up at the market before too long.

Asparagus and ramps and garlic scapes, oh my!

In honor of those bright green flavors, I've put together a recipe round-up for a few of my favorite spring ingredients, to remind us of the crispness and freshness that is to come.

Click on any of the photos or recipe titles below to go to the complete instructions!











Saturday, April 13, 2013

Delights to Come: Pollan's "Cooked"

In just a week and a half, on April 23, Michael Pollan's new book, Cooked, will be released (on my birthday, no less!)

I can't wait to get my hands on it.


Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

From what I've read, like his other books, Cooked, will be a fascinating mix of personal stories, historical tidbits, sociological analysis, and insightful commentary. The book is billed as a personal take on Pollan's experience with cooking and the way it shapes his relationship to food, community, and the environment.

When I heard Pollan speak at the American Historical Association earlier this year, he described how he often takes on the persona of the "clueless narrator" in his writing. By beginning with a series of questions he doesn't know the answer to (or can pretend that he doesn't, or once didn't), he can bring the reader along with him on his journey of discovery. Cooked uses this strategy, letting readers follow Pollan into the kitchen as he discovers what cooking is and can do.

Can't wait!

In the mean time:

See a list of Polllan's book tour stops

Pre-Order the book on Amazon

Read an early review

Update: Now I see that the NYT reviewed Cooked on Monday, April 15, also in advance of its release. "Finally, Maybe, We Are What We Cook. ‘Cooked,’ by Michael Pollan, Fillets the Meanings of Food"