Immediate human survival always takes precedence over long term environmental goals.

28 January 2008

Douglas Coupland wrote, “You see, when you’re middle class, you have to live with the fact that history will ignore you. You have to live with the fact that history can never champion your causes and that history will never feel sorry for you. It is the price that is paid for day-to-day comfort and silence. And because of this price, all happinesses are sterile; all sadnesses go unpitied.”

We are the disappearing middle class, to us there is no connection between our plates and microwaves to the farmer’s field or slaughter houses. While this sad statement tethers us to the sterility of our daily lives and eating habits it also gives us the luxury to make a difference if even for a fleeting moment of self recognition. Since suburban ordinances restrict us from growing our own food and keep the farmer from processing theirs we can take an objective look at our relationship to our community and the environment that surrounds us. First through understanding, then through conscious thinking. We may not be able to solve the worlds problems but we no longer have to support them.

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I should never spend less than three nines again.

24 December 2007

Almost eight years ago my neighbor George invited me over to try his newest batch of wine. For years he had been brewing his own wine his back yard shed and has determined that I was now old enough to indulge in his creation. From then on if he saw me coming home at a decent hour he would invite me into the garage and we would share a carafe of his wine. My dad later helped him put in an elaborate automated cooling unit to keep his wine at an ideal temperature. He and George don’t talk any more, the reason involving a night of heavy drinking, Canadian accusations, and a slew of twenty dollars being thrown about the yard; if only all of my dad’s relations ships could go supernova so poetically.

flickr: Gino Ginelli

My mother-in-law a few years later helped further my wine journey with a bottle of Shiraz. It was recommended to her at a Trenton wine shop before a dinner at our house. It was a refreshing change to her normal repituar of ultra dry Turning Leaf. By the time we were living in San Diego almost three years ago I felt lucky that we already had a favorite grape and a new favorite brand once we had found Yellow Tail Shiraz, lucky because we had only been actively drinking wine for a few years. That year Martha recommended that we try Pinot Noir for thanksgiving, explaining that it would compliment turkey very well. We took her advice and found a bottle from an Oregon winery from ninety eight. These similar bottles I have seen going for fifty bucks or more just two years later. It was unfortunate that I didn’t have the money to stock up on a box the way I wanted to, but isn’t the hardest part of collecting wine not immediately drinking it all?

I made the mistake of picking up a bottle the other day based on its contemporary label and the fact that is said Pinot Noir. I was only a little skeptical that it was a 200 vintage and from Chile, I have yet to find a South American wine that I really enjoy. There was once almost in Columbia when I had a reserve from a Chilean winery, but back home outside of the romance of the cartel, it could not hold its own. Last nights bottle of Pepperwood Grove 2005 Pinot Noir from Chile was very disappointing. It’s not that the wine was bad, but we might as well have been drinking two buck chuck. I don’t even think that I would serve this as a table wine. The biggest disappointment was the lack of any predominant taste, smell, or distinct flavors. You almost couldn’t distinguish the variety of grape.

I don’t drink cheap beer so I suppose I’m long over due to stop drinking cheap wine. The snobs have told me the difference between a seven dollar bottle of wine and a seventeen dollar of wine is phenomenal, and the difference between a twenty dollar bottle and a two hundred dollar is “…”
I don’t know about all of that but our experiences have led us to more disappointing wines than not, so in our newest step forward I will keep you posted.


Two caveties in twenty-six years.

20 December 2007

So you’re brushing after every meal, you’re using mouth wash, flossing, and rinsing with fluoride, but you will want to obsess about your teeth a bit more. My dentist always recommended chewing sugar free gum after drinking coffee or tea, best yet though he recommended that I rinse and brush every time. I have yet to get the Oral B, but my close friends rave about it. And teeth whiteners still freak me out. But here’s a lesson you can take from my Obsessive Compulsive father-in-law, and let me tell you it works wonders. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda, with about an ounce of hydrogen peroxide. Rinse and gargle as normal and you will feel like you’ve just come back from the dentist. I am not a medical expert at all, but I usually only do this once or twice a week, I’m not sure what doing it more will do but I don’t want to find out.


Your refrigerator is the larger door below your freezer. The stove is usually close by.

18 December 2007

People at work tell me that they want to learn how to cook but can’t get into it. Their mind set keeps them perpetually serving themselves frozen dinners throughout the week.

flickr: k gibbons

When we first got married we were introduced into an entire new life of poverty. The staple of our diet had become peanut butter, ramen noodles, instant potatoes, and home made ice drinks to keep us cool during those unseasonably warm nights. Once we got on our feet a little more cooking just sort of came naturally. My wife started watching the food network, her favorites being Rachel Ray, and Alton Brown. I began picking up simple recipes from the news paper and trying them out. Then we started buying the cook books of our culinary heros. Eventually this developed into a passion.

Here’s how you can fuel your new interest.
-Think about what foods you like most and think about what it might take to make them yourself. Then try it.
-Food has become a voyeuristic event in this country, stop at the food network next time your surfing.
-Buy a cook book. Don’t go into this blindly, flip through the book and see if you’d like the recipes and if they’re not completely over your head.
-Try short recipes you find in the newspaper and magazines.
-Cooking is trial and error, don’t get discouraged when you botch a meal, this will happen more than once. Its what you can learn from it that will make you a better cook.
-Remember to have fun, and take pride in your ingredients. Better ingredients can be the difference between an amazing meal, and a bland entree’ for the elderly.


On The Media– PORNUCOPIA

3 December 2007

On The Media– PORNUCOPIA

Here’s a great piece from On the Media, which was mentioned in an earlier post.

flickr: ericka613

Pornucopia compares the shows on the Food Network to pornography, not for the sake of comparing it to sex but to bring to light the many ways television producers are intentionally stimulating our gut reactions.


Top 10 Food and Drink Hacks.

29 November 2007

The term “hack” has been completely overused since the inception of the O’Reilly Publishing series. But that doesn’t prevent a lot of the good stuff in the “blogosphere” another overused term from popping up.

Life Hacker has come up with the Top 10 Food and Drink Hacks.

I can’t wait to use an empty CD spindle as a bagel sandwich, I still can’t make cloudless ice, and the no chip clip, chip clip bag is a must see.

flickr: streetpreacher


The Food Network: Just enough rope to tie their own noose.

28 November 2007

“Emeril Live” is being canceled after a ten year run.

flickr: Dimsumdarren 

Emeril Lagasse is The Food Network. What amazes me is the few number of people in our culture who actually do cook. Cooking has become to them a voyerous activity. People get caught up in upgrading their kitchens with granite counter tops and high end appliances only to microwave Top Ramen, and Hamburger helper night after night. Last week I caught the end of one of those house flipping shows, they had just upgraded their kitchen and the closing lines were, “Now we just need to know how to use this stuff.” Everyone had a good laugh, and cut to Cadillac commercial.

The food network has these quasi instructional commercials disguised as cooking shorts where you can make semi-home made crap food using their tobacco subsidiary products. Now that Racheal Ray had become the poster child advertising whore of the Food Network in an attempt to build an empire comparable to Opera and Martha Stewart, I fear that its out with the old and in with the new. It seems that all of the new shows on the Food Network center around low end semi-home made food, and glutonus extreme competition with a bad boy edge. If Emeril can be dropped who’s next Mario Batalli and Alton Brown? Hopefully they will start their own network for people interested in making good food, and learning from true chefs, and less interested in the sickening display of processed food narrated by Mark Summers.

For those of you who don’t buy frozen dinners, and microwavable five minute meals you might be interested in these sites:

Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

18th Century Cuisine

The Travelers Lunch Box

Chef Talk

Bake or Break

The Fresh Loaf

Artisan Bakers

The Splendid Table