erikars: (Default)
FYI, roasted kohlrabi is delicious. (We only roasted ours about 20 minutes, stirring it at 15, and it came out just right.)
erikars: (Default)
In general, I don't like genetically modified foods, and I will try to avoid them. But I will freely admit that my fear is intuitive not scientific. Thus, I do not support decisions, like the ones in this article which try to ban GM corn when there is no scientific evidence that it is unsafe. I would say this is true especially in cases like this where there is such strong consumer demand to not have GM produce. (Note that I am assuming that the studies themselves are considered unbiased, which I did not research at all. Note also that I fully approve of funding further research.)

I think that the evolution of the response to BPA in plastics in the US provide a better model. BPA starts becoming a big deal so some people start avoiding it. Studies find some effect on rats so more people start to avoid it and companies start to provide more alternatives. Studies find evidence that high BPA levels may be linked to problems in people so companies start abandoning BPA and it starts to be banned.

I strongly encourage people who dislike GM foods to stop consuming them and to make a fuss with their food providers. Such an approach may not be effective in the US where GM crops are more effective (although that is changing). But in a company like Germany where, according to the article I linked, over 70% of consumers do not want GM food, consumers could make a difference if they acted on their principles. (This assumes that non-GM foods can label themselves as such and that such labeling is properly regulated. I think this is happening in Germany, and I strongly support such labels. I strongly disapprove of moves like those some companies are making in some US states that try to disallow "rBST free" labeling.)
erikars: (Default)
Yay for a garden on the White House lawn! It has little practical importance, but is symbolically spiffy.

But that's not the real reason I am linking the article. I am really linking it for the first picture. At first glance, I thought the President looked like he was on a presidential scooter.

erikars: (Default)
This is true for so much more than food:
The value of relationship marketing is that it allows many kinds of information besides prices to travel up and down the food chain: stories as well as number, qualities as well as quantities, values rather than "value." And as soon as that happens people begin to make different kinds of buying decisions, motivated by criteria other than prices. - The Omnivore's Dilemma
erikars: (Default)
Last month, the anime night crowd was discussing overreactions to peanut allergies. So I clicked when I saw a link to a recent Salon article which suggests that the overreaction may be even worse than we think. It looks at how the commonly reported frequency of food allergy related deaths and hospital visits may have a shaky factual basis.

Accurate and complete food labeling is vital (and sadly lacking for rarer allergies). Asking others to take special precautions if there is a person around known to have violent allergic reactions is reasonable. Acting as if pulling a PB&J sandwich is equivalent to pulling a gun is ridiculous.
erikars: (Default)
A video on food security in Japan. I find it noteworthy because it reminds me of Katamari visually. =)

Via WorldChanging.
erikars: (Default)
Hurrah! This year, Jeff and I will be adding a little local produce to our Thanksgiving with the 21 Acres Thanksgiving food bag.

ETA: Apparently they're not doing it this year. =(
erikars: (Default)
Apparently, those who are growingly dissatisfied with the way food is handled in this country are starting to come together with a coherent message.
erikars: (Default)
Finished Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon. One year, a couple was inspired to try to eat locally for a year. They defined locally based on their geographic surroundings and ended up drawing a boundary that allowed them to eat food withing 100 miles of their home in Vancouver, BC.

This book is the story of the challenges they faced and the lessons they learned. A year of trying to eat only locally grown and produced foods was difficult. Some of these difficulties were due to their geographic location; the area around Vancouver is just not fit for producing sugar or citrus. Other difficulties were more humorous; their 100 mile area included parts of northern Washington. They visited and found that the area produced a variety of wonderful foods, but then realized that they would be hampered by restrictions on taking food over the border (they just had to smuggle in a year of cheese).

One of the most important lessons that the authors learned about food is that you can grow a lot more than you think in the climate of the Pacific Northwest. Our stereotypes about what can grow well are extremely warped by where things can be grown with the absolute highest yield. However, in reality most climates can support a much larger variety of food than they are known for, albeit at a smaller scale. Thus, even eating locally in Vancouver, BC, the authors were able to have a varied and interesting diet all year round (although it did take some preserving and finding wheat was a pain).

The other lesson the authors learned was to appreciate their food more. Spending a year eating locally caused Smith and Mackinnon to really think about the food they ate and helped them to appreciate the simple joys of fresh fruit or the first greens of the season. They learned, emotionally not just intellectually, that our food connects us to the earth and that holds true whether the food comes from your windowsill, a small farmer, or a giant farm.

The main thing I have taken from the book is to just think about my food, where it comes from, and what its production method may be denying me. I am not going to start only eating food that comes from within 100 miles, but I am going to take distance into account when given the choice. I am not going to stop buying lemons, but I am going to acknowledge that a strawberry shipped from California is less tasty than one picked fresh and ripe in Marysville. Mainly, I am going to acknowledge that our food production system is not without real social and environmental cost and try to take that cost into account when I am looking at price differences.
erikars: (Default)
The media keeps making a big deal out of corn grown for ethanol contributing to the food crisis, and this may have a tiny bit of merit (and corn based ethanol is just stupid anyway). However, what seems likely to be just as large of an impact is meat. It takes a lot of resources to raise meat animals (I have heard something like 7-13 pounds of grain for each pound of cow, the variance coming from the age at which the cow is slaughtered and whether you count the whole cow or just edible parts of the cow.) If we are going to blame ethanol for diverting grain that people can eat, certainly we should blame cows for dramatically decreases the amount of grain available for human consumption.

Now, I am not saying we should give up meat (although in the US we do tend to eat more than is healthy). I am quite fond of a well prepared steak. What I want to illustrate, rather, is the shallow nature of media reporting. Ethanol is controversial, so the media jumps all over the opportunity to imply that it is bad. They are not going to do the same thing for meat.

If anyone has numbers on productive acreage used for meat production and the productive acreage used for ethanol production, I would appreciate it (either in the US or globally).

ETA: For those ethanol numbers, I am interested in current land usage, not predicted land usage to satisfy a significant amount of US fuel needs.
erikars: (Default)
My Quaker Instant Oatmeal Express is artificially brown sugar flavored.
erikars: (Default)
Note to self: or is not plus.

Note to self 2: eating lunch early when there is not free food in the afternoon makes my stomach sad.
erikars: (Default)
Jeff and I picked up some Godiva ice cream at QFC's "buy 1 get 1 free" sale last week. Godiva makes good chocolate. Thus, the chocolate was good. However, Godiva does not make good ice cream. In addition to being hard and not very creamy, it left a weird coating in my mouth and on my spoon. Icky!
erikars: (Default)
Any local folks interested in sushi tonight?
erikars: (Default)
The Extreme Chocolate chocolate bar from Seattle Chocolates. Dark chocolate with roasted cocoa nibs. So so delicious.
erikars: (Default)
Hot sticky buns burn fingers!

(And for you UW people, yes, you do get carmel sticky buns tomorrow.)

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Erika RS

May 2012

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