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April 23, 2010

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Questions

Grays River Covered Bridge

That is the historic Grays River Covered Bridge, the only covered bridge in Washington that is still used by the public. Not sure the public was using it the day the photo was snapped, but mostly. This photo of the bridge is what it looks on drier days. Go look, it's really quite the difference.

The Grays River winds down a nearby valley, at least when it's not escaping its banks to wreak havoc in the area, even on places that are many feet higher than the river itself. The road to Astoria, where we shop, shadows the Grays River valley for a few miles and each trip finds me coveting one piece of waterfront or another. Then I remember. It floods. A lot.

Which flood is pictured here is a darned good question. We are under water quite a lot around here; getting 120 inches - yes, ten feet - of rain annually will do that to you. My memory is that there have been several such floods in the half dozen years since we moved here. Some locals claim that the 100 year floods are happening every 10 years now, others think it might be more often than that.

Even with the floods, I have a soft spot for the Grays River valley. We have friends who happen to live within sight of the bridge, on a bit of a rise so they stay a bit dryer than some others. Perhaps more relevant to me, this is where I broke my arm so horribly a while back. Maybe that soft spot is in my head...

So why do I have (somewhat fewer than 1000) questions about the place?

Two words: Septage dump.

Continue reading "A Picture is Worth A Thousand Questions" »

August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

durian essence

May 13, 2009

Food that squicks out other people

When theKid was a young'un, she had a signature omelet: hot dog, grape jelly, and sharp cheddar.The precise genesis of this creation is lost to time, but it was surely her own concoction - the specific combination has remained unappealing for nigh on a quarter-century now. More than that, perhaps, is the ongoing joke of my horror at the mere idea of the thing. (But if I liked it where would the fun be in that?)

I was reminded of theKid's omelet today when I was at Shakesville, a feminist site with a side of food, where they asked people:

What's a food you love that horrifies most other people?

The thread is a hoot, although I found at least a couple of things I love on the list. Those rolls of pastrami/cream cheese/pickle, my grandmother used to make those for me when I visited. (Is it a Jewish thing?) Other choices, say, turkey skin that is "nice and soft and fatty and moist" just make me cringe. Which is, I suppose the point of the list.

The entire list is here.

For balance, What is your idea of the perfect meal? Oddly, this has less than a hundred comments while the other is creeping towards 200.

Even odder, I can't come up with food that I eat that horrifies other people. This probably says more about the people I hang out with than me, but still...

How about you? What do you love that squicks other folks out?

September 18, 2008

Chinese dairy contamination (more melamine)

Remember the contaminated pet food that killed hundreds of critters across the US last year?

Remember the reassurances that it would never happen again, and, more importantly, could never happen to the human food supply.

Yeah, not so much.

Chinese dairy contamination scandal grows

Continue reading "Chinese dairy contamination (more melamine)" »

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.

Continue reading "The clueless feeding the blind" »

May 30, 2007

Melamine, US manufacturers get into the act

Ahem. For any of you who thought that the problem was limited to not-so-well-patrolled imported foodstuff, check this out.

The FDA alerted feed manufacturers that ingredients containing melamine and related compounds were found in products made by Tembec BTLSR Inc. of Toledo, Ohio, and used by Uniscope Inc. of Johnstown, Colo.

Tembec makes two products, AquaBond and Aqua-Tec II, which it distributes for Uniscope. The products are used in fish feed.

Uniscope also makes a product for livestock feed called Xtra-Bond, and it uses ingredients produced by Tembec. The FDA advised feed manufacturers and others not to use the products and to contact the two manufacturers.


It is probably a good thing that I have a pair of looming deadlines, otherwise I might say something I would regret in the outloud voice. And we wouldn't want that.

June 25, 2006 that even still food?

Beer Battered Deep Fried Bacon Double Quarter Pounder. (complete with battered deep fried string holding it all together) Dude got double dog dared...or something.

Oddly, I am no longer hungry.

November 30, 2005

Not the targeted demographic

I've been trying to watch more Food TV lately, including some shows that I normally avoid like avian flu (do we really "avoid the plague" anymore?) and I have some thoughts. One advantage to having a blog is that I can come here and rant instead of just snarking at the television. Add that to my recent dearth of posts and this is what happens.

First, I am clearly not the targeted demographic for the network. I find this really odd because I am a serious cook who works at home and has time to do all sorts of cooking. I don't live near a grocery store where I can buy individually wrapped vegetables, nor would I buy them if I did. I care more about the taste of my food than the 'scape of my table. I think that good food is worth taking a little time to create and never buy something I could make in less time than it takes to drive to the store. (45 min). I have a freezer and am not afraid to use it...for homemade food and bulk purchases, not commercially prepared things.

I have to wonder about editorial staff. Have they nobody to explain to their on-air folk that if you say an acronym followed by the meaning every time you can just skip the acronym. (meaning it's silly to say "EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)" instead of one or the other). Better yet, how about just "olive oil" and let people get their single bottle of olive oil off the shelf without inquiring as to its virginity, because, really, how many of the people watching that show — you know which one I mean — have more than one kind of olive oil on the shelf? Heck, how many of you have more than one kind of OO (say it with me, "oooooo!") on your shelf? I am a food-nut and I have only two...and both of them are extra-virgin. (I want a bottle of "bit of a hussy olive oil," which doesn't exist but should.)

Can we call off the stereotypes? Alton says grills are about Y chromosomes**, RR giggles and says something about her inner girliness as she talks about tea sandwiches, and there are a few on-air folks that every online discussion about them devolves to "I'd do her" and an accompanying accusation that people (read women) who don't like ____'s show are jealous of her looks. Uh huh. Either that or we don't consider mixing a can of frosting with sugar and rolling it into balls to be candy-making, let alone "sensuous."

Oh my. Ms. Ray just put saffron in something instead of annatto seeds and then called it inexpensive. Uh huh. This from the woman who buys individually shrink-wrapped vegetables.

I think they should change the network name to "I like to watch other people putter in the kitchen making things I'd never actually eat TV" — at least it'd be truth in advertising. (Having written this, I am guaranteeing that my chance at Food TV stardom is ruined, but I just don't think it was happening anyway, what with me being over 30 in both age and weight in kilograms.)

**those being the ones that make people look at things attributed to it and say, "why?"

October 21, 2005

sushi drive

Somewhere out there, at the convergence of food and technology, people are making weird stuff to tempt...well, you. Yes, you may just be the targeted demographic for a line of USB thumb drives. They've got premium price tags, which they admit to, saying "The stratospheric price is a reflection  of the expense of mock food." but I am thinking one would make a great gift.

They also have a USB extension cable in the form of a plate of spaghetti. How often do you see ad copy like this? "...if you own a USB Shrimp Drive (sold separately), you can place it on the fork in order to connect to your computer." If you've got 269 bucks burning a hole in your pocket, rush on over to Dynamism and snag one.

September 06, 2005

This is going to annoy the bacon lovers!

Monsanto has applied for a patent that would give them world-wide control over pig breeding. Not some special space-age, genetically enhanced, improved-by-Monsanto pig breeding, just normal old pig breeding.

Filed at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva the patent application stakes a claim on pig rights in more than 160 countries, including the UK, Germany, the US, Russia, Brazil, Australia, China and India. If granted, US-based Monsanto will be in a position to prevent breeders and farmers from breeding pigs with certain characteristics or methods of breeding, or force them to pay royalties. The patents cover methods of conventional breeding and also the screening for naturally occurring genetic conditions that can make pigs grow faster. (read more)

Uh huh. And I want a patent on breathing through your nose. And snickering, because I know some of you are doing it right now. (I am thinking of a couple of bloggers with "girl" in their names, and maybe a certain Northwet islander) So you out there, snickering at the thought of patenting pig sex, pay up.

And they apparently have no sense of humor either, just ask Tom over at Bitter Greens Journal who has been chatting with their legal department over his use of the phrase, "Roundup, ready." I think he should just call it "Roundup, not ready"
 and see what they think. Remember kids, reference and ridicule is the legal grounds for satire--established in the O'Reilly v. Franken case. From what I've read, Tom's readers will help him with the ridicule if he makes the reference.

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