Hi, I’m Zach. Some genius, wildly attractive, nice smelling person from Sundance thought me talking about making some recipe from “Ludo Bites America” was a good idea, and I have a firm policy of not arguing with geniuses who are wildly attractive and smell fantastic. So let’s go on a journey where we test the boundaries of our newly found friendship, meet some wonderful mythical beasts, and most of all make Atole Piñon Hotcakes from Tecolote Café in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The growth of deserts, mainly through deforestation, increased animal grazing, and climate change, has created greater food insecurity for some of the world’s most impoverished people. In Senegal, an innovative program funded by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is using native acacia trees as a weapon against expanding deserts and drylands… while also creating agricultural and economic opportunities.
Article: Vegan soul food truck opens in Miami
Vegan soul food may sound like a bit of an oxymoron: traditionally, even vegetables are cooked with meat (or at least fat), and macaroni and cheese, a staple, obviously has a major dairy component. Francesca Lacuesta and Mark Jennings of Miami are among the many foodies out there who decided “tradition be damned,” and developed a menu’s worth of meat and dairy-free soul food classics. Last Friday, the two served those items from Mac’n, their new food truck in Miami.
Article: Fancier Meals
Toronto’s The Grid asked four local chefs to re-imagine and create a fancy meal using only a McDonald’s Big Mac combo meal (Big Mac burger, fries, Coke and condiments), and other than oil and water, no other ingredient was permitted. Fabio Bondi of Local Kitchen made the above dish, “McLumi Platter.” It took chef/co-owner Fabio…
Have a hard time equating typical Jewish deli fare — say, the mile-high pastrami, or corned beef, or brisket sandwich — with sustainability? You’re not alone: huge servings of fatty meats don’t do much for our health or the planet. A few deli owners around the country are taking a hard look at the impact of the traditional menu associated with their establishments, and trying out an approach that some may literally consider heresy: sustainable deli food.
Article: Vegan cooking meets heavy metal
“Heavy metal vegan” may strike you as an oxymoron… but, then, until a few months ago, Fair Trade organic coffee by Rob Zombie may well have had the same effect. Despite the head-banging, leather-wearing clichès, veganism has found its way into metal culture… and a couple of web-savvy headbangers are creating online cooking shows devoted to this niche.
Shark fin soup has a long history in Chinese culture as a culinary symbol of prosperity and success, so it’s not surprising the the country’s economic growth has led to an increase in the dish’s consumption… and the killing of up to 73 million sharks a year largely to serve this demand.
Fortunately, public awareness campaigns on the threats to worldwide shark populations seem to have helped: in Hong Kong, for instance, this delicacy is losing its status as a “must have” for celebratory meals. A new study by Australian Institute of Marine Science, though, may completely redefine the equation between shark meat and success, as they’ve found that living sharks may have much greater economic value than dead ones.
Matthew Moore work was featured at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival… but not on a traditional movie screen. Rather, Moore’s “seed to market” videos of specific types of produce were shown at the Park City Fresh Market grocery store… directly above the bins of that produce. As with so much other recent food activism, the idea was to connect people with their food… and the journey it takes from farm to table.
Farmers markets have become the face of the local foods movement, and they’re popping up everywhere… and succeeding, by and large. People like the idea of buying from local food growers and producers, and markets create a stronger sense of community than most grocery stores.
But what if you want to go a step further in your efforts to eat sustainably? What if you’d like to learn more about food that’s available for the picking almost anywhere (which we often consider weeds or other undesirable plants)? What if you’d like to try out local food from merchants who simply can’t afford the permitting required for selling their goods at the local market? What if you’d just like to make a salad like the one above… from food you find on a walk through the neighborhood?
While proponents of conventional and organic farming continue to debate the agricultural methods that can feed a world of six to nine billion people, they have one thing in common: both generally focus on land-based farming. While that seems like a no-brainer, indoor agriculture is as old as the greenhouse… and has become significantly more sexy with the concept of the vertical farm. To date, many of the ideas about growing food and plants in skyscraper-like buildings are just that: concepts.
Dutch research company PlantLab is a step beyond that: they’ve been experimenting with a completely controlled environment for growing food, and found that not only could it help meet growing food demand, but do so with significantly lower energy, chemical, and water inputs.
This Saturday, April 2nd, is National PB&J Day. While such an event seems aimed at our sense of childhood nostalgia, the folks at the PB&J Campaign have latched on to it (they didn’t add it to the calendar… they swear) as an opportunity to get us all thinking about the environmental impact of our lunch choices.
According to the USDA, half of all US farmers will likely retire in the next decade. You might expect recruitment of new farmers to occur with organizations like the Future Farmers of America, or the 4H Club (and it is)… but the military? Yep… numerous programs around the country are targeting veterans for training in sustainable agriculture.
Article: Making space for food
Shitake logs on racks in the Mittagong mushroom tunnel. Photos by Nicola Twilley.
Last week GOOD Magazine began “Food for Thinkers,” a mini online festival/multi-site conversation about the way we think about food today. “Put another way, I want to know what happens when a music blogger thinks about food. What does a space archaeologist or an architect want to read and say about food? What kinds of things interest a science writer in food, and why?”
Organic food’s supposed to be safer than produce, meat, and dairy raised by conventional methods… right? Organic growers and ranchers are no doubt dealing with that question regularly over the past couple of weeks: between recalls of salmonella-contaminated sprouts and ground beef possibly laced with E. coli, it’s likely many are questioning the value of organics.
You might argue that the “community” in community-supported agriculture (or CSA) can be a bit misleading. Sure, CSA arrangements, in which consumers buy shares in a local farm’s crops, cut down tremendously on food miles, give us more insight into the cultivation of the things we eat, and often give us the opportunity to get to know the farmers involved in growing what goes on our plate… but does that always result in community?
From their historical collection of menus (among the largest in the world), the New York Public Library, in honor of this beloved American author’s recent birthday, posted the dinner menu for Mark Twain’s 70th birthday celebration which was held in 1835 at Delmonico’s in NYC. Mark Twain is enjoying a resurgence as his recently published…
Article: Thanksgiving dinner menu from 1899
Here’s a menu for a Thanksgiving prix fixe dinner in 1899 at Sturtevant House, which apparently was a popular hotel located on Broadway and 29th Street. It closed its doors around 1903. Look at all that food people could get in olden times for just 75 cents. Relatedly, New York Magazine has a round up…
Article: Green tech finds (11/11/10)
Weird green tech (not!), vertical farming for real, and a new entry into the electric vehicles race… your green tech finds for the week.
Rural electrification = solar in the Philippines: The country’s Department of Energy is taking bids to provide solar systems to four regions of the country not connected to the electrical grid.
Weird tech?: Newsweek has a slide show up titled “Eco Oddities”… but are wave power, algae-based biofuels, and “poop to power” (among others) really that unusual anymore?
A young couple decides that the urban corporate rat race is no longer their scene, and chooses to buy a piece of land in the country to start their own organic farm.
Heard this story before? Probably… with the young couple in question coming from LA, Chicago, or New York. Turns out this lifestyle choice is no longer uniquely American, though: Chongming Island, China is turning into a destination for disaffected Chinese yuppies looking to get back to the land.
Kids all over are looking forward to trick-or-treating or Halloween parties this coming Sunday: dress up in a cool costume, get lots of candy… what could be better? If you’re a parent raising your child on a organic, vegan, kosher, or otherwise specialized diet, Halloween can be hell, though… not only do you need to check candy for tampering, but also for meeting the dietary guidelines you’ve established for your children.
From reselling used building materials through its Restores to contributing to the development of Biotown USA, Habitat for Humanity has a definite green streak… if you have doubts, just check out the international organization’s efforts on sustainable building and energy efficiency. The Inland Valley chapter in Southern California has taken this green focus to heart: not only has it incorporated solar power into many of its projects through a partnership with GRID Alternatives (like many California chapters), but it also now includes an organic garden with every “new” home.
Article: Military meals from around the world
There are currently 48 different countries with troops in Afghanistan and each country adds their own unique flavor to the combat meals that are served to their troops. Some include branded comfort foods — Australians get a dark-brown spreadable yeast-paste treat called Vegemite, for example — while others get national staples like liverwurst (Germany), or…
You probably associate frog legs with French cuisine and its offshoots (they’re pretty popular in Southern Louisiana where I grew up)… but the United States is challenging France as the world’s leader in frog eating. That’s happening, in large part, because some restaurant chains now carry frog legs… which they generally import from farms in China.