Let’s do this

candy striped figs

While our family and friends have been braving the dark after the storm, we have been thinking of them and sending all we can: thoughts, prayers, donations to the Red Cross. We carry forward, we send our love. Press on, east coasters.

Meanwhile, this week I have received a handful of emails from people asking me about my opinion on California’s Proposition 37. This is strange and flattering because I am not an expert on anything relevant, and it is surprising because I can’t believe anyone would question my stance on this one. It makes me think that maybe it’s not obvious to folks exactly what is at stake here – I feel worried that all the money being pumped into muddying the waters might actually be working. In case anyone out there still wonders where I stand on this one, let me quote Dave Murphy: “California is ground zero in the effort to reclaim our food and our planet from out of control corporations that want to deny us the right to know what’s in our food.” 

I am all for reclaiming our food, and our planet. I am a yes on 37. Or more accurately I am a YES, YES, YES.  Continue reading

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Bright shining as the sun – Tomato Tuesday

slave free tomatoes

Tomato season is upon us! In our garden, we plant easy-to-pick-and-eat cherries in all colors of the rainbow, and then watch for heirlooms to creep in around the margins (this year, we have grow-back green zebras, my favorite). When we got back from the mountains, we found a bright shining rainbow of candy-sweet and deep-tart and summery-smelling beauties waiting for us. And boy do I have a recipe for you. But first – first, let’s talk (in a totally roundabout way) about why we grow tomatoes in our yard, even though 1/4 of our household (starts with K, 6’4, also inexplicably hates blueberries – any guesses?) doesn’t even LIKE them. Unless they are cooked. And then only maybe.

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Steinbeck’s Eden

fish tacos with herbed plum salsa

Steinbeck’s Eden is dry and dusty
The windrows grown of greener days
The well-pump handle is long since rusty
Windfall, rain and valley haze …
Just keep going wild honey
Somewhere northward of Monterey
Up above the fog it’s sunny
One more wonderful summer day.

~ From California Way by Tim Bluhm of The Mother Hips

Driving on Highway 1 – that is, riding along the edge of the continent with the spectacular expanse of the Pacific to the west and the tumbling California coastline to the east – never gets old for me. I drive on the storied highway almost weekly, but each time I feel like I’m seeing with new eyes. It is the only driving I do where my own enthusiasm mirrors that of my guys in their car seats. My heart soars along with theirs as they call out each new thing they see; the cliffs, the waves, the kite-surfers, and the cement mixers.

fish tacos with herbed plum salsa

Okay maybe not so much at the cement mixers.  Continue reading

Get real – occupy {4}

lemony broccoli pasta

A couple of weeks ago, on the Carrot and Cardamom Cookies post, you all inspired me and really made me think with your insightful comments grappling with the issues of food elitism (and foodie elitism), what it means to be stranded in a food desert, how we can share our feelings about food without offending our families and friends, and what we can do to work towards solutions to the industrial food problem that is slowly killing our country.

And then two days ago, Continue reading

One of these mornings – and our third winner!

the piano man

One of these mornings
You’re going to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky …
– George Gershwin, from Summertime

(And have you heard this beautiful version? Or seen this beautiful book? Yes yes).

Now of course you can scroll to the bottom and see if you were the winner of The Art of Simple Food – but before you do that, I think you should take a look at the wonderful comments people shared about food elitism, food access, the industrial food system … it does my heart tremendous good to read all of these thoughtful responses, to see how much and how deeply people are thinking about these things. It confirms my belief that concern about what we are eating and what access we have to food, for ourselves and for our communities, is pretty universal. So take a minute to look at that. Here’s another link just in case.

Now. Back to summertime for a minute.

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On carrots and cardamom – and a delicious revolution

Growing up in Berkeley, I always heard Alice Waters lauded as a visionary and a genius, and her food establishments were a point of major civic pride. (Many Berkeley kids remember some version of this, I think). Chez Panisse spawned elite chefs left and right (including two of my favorites, Mary Canales at Ici and Christopher Lee at the now-defunct Eccolo) and trendy “California cuisine” types the world over claimed pedagogical descent from her and her fellow food revolutionaries. Sustainable, local, organic and fair-trade moved from counter-culture to more mainstream food philosophy, and Alice opened a string of restaurants around town that continued to embrace her “vegetables just out of the garden, fruit right off the branch, and fish straight out of the sea” vision of what food should be.

I love this vision.

But.  Continue reading