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mealI finally got around to reviewing one of my favorite books of 2012: An Everlasting Meal: Cooking With Economy and Grace (I’m pretty sure I’d be thrilled if my family described my cooking that way). Here’s my review. As if you couldn’t tell from the review, I loved this book. I think you need to read it – and soon!

In addition to being a bit of a foodie, I also have a little side hobby when it comes to researching training/working out methodologies and programs – and usually actually following through and doing them too.

I know this space tends to focus on food + gardening, but I also like to think that it is a place to encourage care for creation. I’m of the belief that you can’t do much to take care of the creation around you if you aren’t taking care of yourself (i.e. you’re creation too!). I came across this video a few weeks ago and can’t stop thinking about it. I read quite a bit about various training fads, some good and some bad. I think there are some great and healthy options out there when it comes to fitness, but I can’t help but think that if everyone just incorporated this one, very simple practice into their daily lives that we would all feel better, be much healthier and have more energy for gardening, cooking and whatever else you enjoy doing. And if you do more on top of your daily walk, great! Watch this and let me know what you think:

 

I recently finished Fair Food (review coming soon), and it has changed my thinking a bit on the “food movement.” While I still think local answers are the best solutions to the problems with our food system, Fair Food opened my eyes to the fact that, because of the scope of the problem, we need larger players involved as well. Specifically, Fair Food talks about the sustainability efforts by Costco and Sysco.

In light of these new conclusions on my part, I found this recap of Michael Pollan’s conversation with Jack Sinclair, the executive vice president of grocery merchandise for WalMart, particularly interesting (and a bit depressing after reading about other business leaders willing to take risks for the sake of health, justice and the environment). Unfortunately, though, as the article says, “WalMart is an 800 pound gorilla that can’t be ignored [in the food debate].”

I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. Check out ERB’s review here and an interview with the author, Norman Wirzba, here.

I love Mark Bittman, especially today, debunking the myth that junk food is cheaper than real food:

In general, despite extensive government subsidies, hyperprocessed food remains more expensive than food cooked at home. You can serve a roasted chicken with vegetables along with a simple salad and milk for about $14, and feed four or even six people. If that’s too much money, substitute a meal of rice and canned beans with bacon, green peppers and onions; it’s easily enough for four people and costs about $9. (Omitting the bacon, using dried beans, which are also lower in sodium, or substituting carrots for the peppers reduces the price further, of course.)

and

the engineering behind hyperprocessed food makes it virtually addictive. A 2009 study by the Scripps Research Institute indicates that overconsumption of fast food “triggers addiction-like neuroaddictive responses” in the brain, making it harder to trigger the release of dopamine. In other words the more fast food we eat, the more we need to give us pleasure; thus the report suggests that the same mechanisms underlie drug addiction and obesity.

and

To make changes like this more widespread we need action both cultural and political. The cultural lies in celebrating real food; raising our children in homes that don’t program them for fast-produced, eaten-on-the-run, high-calorie, low-nutrition junk; giving them the gift of appreciating the pleasures of nourishing one another and enjoying that nourishment together.

Can you hear me from there jumping on my desk shouting, “AMEN!”?

Seriously, read the whole thing.

Gene Logsdon’s blog has this ongoing series called “Why I Farm,” in which farmers/homesteaders/gardeners tell their stories about why they do what they do. I’m fascinated by the series and look forward eagerly to each new entry. Read all of the entries on a rainy day, but here are a few of my favorite snippets:

So, in short, I farm because I want to be part of whatever happens after gas is too expensive to drive to the grocery 20 miles away where people pay far too much of their hard-invested effort and time for nutrient substances manufactured from agricultural industrial components, and I think raising real food that someone can take from one of our pastures and fields to his dinner table is the way to do it. And I think you can do it too, even if it’s just a small yard-garden, or if you want to take the plunge and farm yourself. (Dennis)

We put those kindergarteners to work — child labor can be a powerful thing. They dug beds, and we built trellises. They planted blackberries, raspberries, apples, pluots, and pears, and culinary herbs. We grew sweet peas and daffodils, and made a big bed of California wildflowers. We planted popcorn. (Barbara Ayers)

The garden alone is a game played with Mother Nature that equals anything a person can view on any of the TV sports channels. I’d say it is a combination of chess; wrestling and hide-n-go seek. (Jeff)

I reviewed Another Fork in the Trail: Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes for the Backcountry over at the Englewood Review of Books. I thought some of you might be interested for all of those Fall camping trips to come!

Check out this very cool infographic comparing locavorism to globavorism. Where would you fall on the continuum?

I came across this great site that focuses on food and health issues from the Berkeley School of Journalism. I loved this article about doctors prescribing fruits and vegetables to their patients and the wide-ranging impact to our communities:

While the programs are primarily aimed at alleviating diet-related health problems, the vegetable prescription program also assists local farmers and food growers.

“We have a triple impact,” Storch said. “We help the underserved have healthy foods and vegetables, and help local farmers. It keeps money within the community.”

Read the whole thing.

I’ve just started to read Fair Food, and it’s fascinating so far. I’ll report back with a review soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share a few resources that I’ve found quite helpful as of late in terms of finding “fair food” (I love that term and the images it evokes):

  • When we travel, we love to eat at places that care about sustainable agriculture and the like, so I always check out the Eat Well Guide before we leave home. The EWG even lets you plan a whole trip with fair food in mind.
  • Because I’m so passionate (crazy?) about this topic, it often comes up with people I’ve just met. I only eat sustainably raised (and preferably local) meat and poultry, so that often initiates conversations at restaurants and in meeting new people. In those conversations, I always recommend the other person check out localharvest.org for information on farms, CSAs, co-ops, etc. in their area. I’ve found that people tend to think that local, seasonal, sustainably raised agriculture isn’t available in their area, but localharvest.org disproves that!
  • I’ve started following the news section of the Fair Food Network’s site because it links to some great articles and information. Because these opinions are not mainstream, I like to read as much as possible on the topic so that I’m armed with the latest facts and data to support the benefits of fair food.
  • For all things local, I follow Going Local, a great local blog that is always highlighting what’s going on in the central Indiana food and gardening scene, as well as a great resource for local markets, CSAs, etc.

I’ll report back with my favorite food blogs and some other sites that I frequent, but share your favorite sites in the comments!

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