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March 2008

March 31, 2008

A Taste for Reading benefit lunch (Seattle)

Food and books, two of my favorite things, come together next week in Seattle at A Taste for Reading(pdf), a benefit luncheon for Page Ahead. Even better, there is entertainment from an as yet unannounced school group, so you get your dose of cute kids too. Page Ahead is a children's literacy program that distributes books to kids and encourages parent and community active involvement in reading with children.

A Taste for Reading happens next Wednesday, April 9, at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center on Seattle’s Waterfront. Lunch will be served at 11:30, with the entertainment at noon. They are even promising that it will end "promptly at 1" so you can all scurry back to work. A donation will be requested (the meal is valued at ~30) and contributions over 250 will be matched.

To make (required) reservation, drop them email or call 206.461.0123.

March 26, 2008

Followup: freckled bananas, cheap!

the banana victory!

Some days a rant is just a rant and some days it is actually a wee bit useful. I recently wrote about a vignette from a grocery store in which I saw an employee trashing perfectly good bananas - the ones that were just speckled enough to make bread from - and asked him about it. His response: nobody would buy those!

Fortunately, I also heard from a nice person from their corporate office and a store manager, who assured me that they would not be wasting perfectly edible food any more. Well, here's the proof, captured on my cell phone last time I was in the store. Cheap bananas, just right for baking.

Enjoy your banana bread!

March 18, 2008

The clueless feeding the blind

Everywhere you look there is a new horror about food consuming the mainstream media 24/7 showing up at a site like Grist, The Ethicurean or any of a thousand other excellent web sites that talk about food.My outrage for today is this article, Meat Wagon: Cow-feed misdeeds, in which Tom Philpott explores the use of distillers  grains, generated as waste when making ethanol from corn, as livestock feed.

Apparently distillers grains shares the bounty of problems it brings: it can increase the risk of e. coli 0157 (bad for us), cause sulfur toxicity (bad for the cows), and dramatically increase levels of phosphorous in the ground and water (bad for the environment). It's not a small problem either, the US ethanol industry created 10 million tons of distillers grains last year, with most (75-80%) being fed to cows. That number is expected to continue rising, especially since without selling the spent grain as feed, ethanol seems to be unprofitable. Even with all the subsidies.

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March 11, 2008

mini-pavlovas recipe


The Pavlova is one of those bits of food magic that everyone should make once. While it may look intimidating, at its heart it is as simple as strawberry shortcake. You're not afraid to make strawberry shortcake, are you? I didn't think so.

This combination of meringue, whipped cream and fruit is a classic dessert Australia and New Zealand where it was created as a tribute to the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. As a denizen of the northern hemisphere, I find the idea of serving it for Christmas dinner, as they do down under, utterly delightful. Truth be told, however, my locavore aspect cringes at the thought. (I waited all the way until the 1st of March and a business deductible excuse to buy some for far too much money.)

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March 08, 2008

Caramelized onion and cheddar breadsticks recipe

onion cheddar breadsticks

May I just say, I love my new box of light! Following the Strobist's excellent instructions for photography on the cheap, in this case the  DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio, I transformed a cardboard box into, if not a thing of beauty itself, a thing that will give that "thing of beauty" quality to other things.

When I was a young'un, I moved from "Baja Oregon" to a very small coastal town in southwest Washington. A town where the locals joked, in some cases bragged, that, upon arriving, you should turn back your clock 20 years - to the '50s. I, being a child of the coolest artistic little beach towns in Baja Oregon, thought this was mildly amusing...for about 15 minutes.

I arrived in late-spring and my first summer there was, to put it mildly, not my best year. Two things saved me that wet, foggy summer. The first was a job at the local pizzeria, where Gina, a wise-cracking New Jersey girl — everyone swore we were sisters — taught me to toss rounds of dough high in the air and, much harder, catch them again. She also let me play with the brick oven. I loved Gina.

The second bit of salvation arrived one night when I met Becky and we instantly became BFF, before there even were BFF. This bread, made in loaves, was Becky's favorite. I baked some every week or so for years and years. Then Becky and I lost touch. I also mostly stopped baking this bread. Both sad things.

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March 03, 2008

vignette from a grocery store

Yesterday, while perusing the produce in a major grocery store chain in Western WA, I remembered we were about out of bananas. As I approached the almost empty display of bananas, I noticed an employee throwing hands of bananas into a trash box. Bananas that were fresher than the ones becoming banana bread fodder on my counter.

Each cluster of fruit hit the cardboard box with a muffled thump and I cringed in response. Thump, cringe. Thump, cringe. Thump, cringe.

Continue reading "vignette from a grocery store" »

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