Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I love Blogger; Blogger is not evil; I retract all cruel statements regarding Blogger and its eating habits.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Things and Stuff

First off--an apology for last week's absolute blather. It was unusually lame. But here's a good quote on a similar subject, from a book I am reading:
"The current trajectory of globalization contains at least one very grave threat to the future of local community stability--namely, reduced legal capacity of localities to shape their own economic destinies." (27, _Making A Place For Community_, Williamson, Imbroscio & Alperovitz--emphasis mine.)

I don't know why, but I just love that expression: shaping their own economic destinies. It's succinct, it's beautiful, and it captures that sense of empowerment so many communities are starting to lose. Look at my hometown, Reedsport, Oregon. The entire town is fading away into despair, because the economic glue of the community--a lumber mill and a paper mill--bit it in the 90s. The town lost many of its most active townspeople (and towns need those busybodies and do-gooders!) and it still hasn't found another major employer. It's heartbreaking.

The junk dress is coming along. I hoped I'd have all the back issues worked out today, but I don't. I think I have a good idea to shape it so it's more flattering (i.e., less like a hospital gown) without using yawn-ish old darts, but I will need John's help. Speaking of John, he had a brilliant notion about our merry-go-round lamp, and I am super excited. It's going to rock.

Speaking of rocking, chicken-fried seitan rocks. It is sensational. I will recommend it to every single person I know--unless they have a gluten sensitivity. Other than that--yummm.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Anti-Federalist

Okay, so I was reading the paper today and heard about a bill up in the senate (S 3128) which would "prohibit states or local governments from enacting any food-safety law that differs in any way from federal law, including setting more stringent limits on toxic substances.... the FDA would be the sole arbiter of permissible levels of toxics in foods, overriding hundreds of existing state and local food-safety laws," (Wolke, LA Times-Washington Post Service).

It's tempting to like the idea because then all the food safety issues in this motley nation of ours will be codified and made uniform. But I hate it. I hate the idea that my health and safety is even more dominated by the power of the FDA, an organization so heavily controlled by the chemical industry and the corporate food giants that we already can't trust them. I hate the idea that my state government, which shows a stronger connection to its constituents, will no longer be able to protect me from the FDA's blind and greedy grasp.

This law represents everything I hate about the United States and its current state of government. Lately, I've been thinking that we should de-federate our nation a little. Put more power in the hands of the states--localize it. Pull the teeth of big corporations by establishing tougher trade barriers between states and regions (not to mention nations).

Only by refocusing money and power to a regional level will we see greater citizen involvement and government that reflects HUMAN values, not corporate. Only by making the federal government accountable to local governments will we see the kind of development that we, individuals, desire.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Reviewing the fridge

So it's fall now. We had our first big September rainstorm, and yep, it's fall. So what do I want--desperately, earnestly, painfully want? Pork, of course. Nothing says fall like bacon, pork chops, pork loin, pork ribs, pork fat in all its glorious, sticky-greasy-irridescent chip wonder. It hit me today, and I wasn't prepared for it. I mean, I nearly my footing in the kitchen.

I should have seen it coming. The last few days have been rough. I was reading a great book by Ruth Reichl (former NYTimes restaurant critic) called "Garlic and Sapphires: the secret life of a critic in disguise," and it was like 400 pages of the most beautiful food writing you could expose yourself too. At least ten meals included foie gras. And reading it was great, but also really horrible, because I had to remind myself that I have given all that up. I am no longer a gourmet eater. I am a conscientious eater, a healthy eater. I am an eater who weighs *70* pounds less I did when I was a serious gourmet eater-- and 15 less than when I was an amateur gourmet eater.

I have to bring an image of a long-lashed sweet-faced piglet into my mind to shake off the painful need for bacon.

Sometimes being a near-vegan is really hard. There is a certain lack of variety in my food world, because I'm still developing my recipe repertoire. And there is a difference in tastes. I made krautranzas the other day, and they were not the same delicious as the sausage-kraut wonders I created in my previous food life. Tempeh can do wonderful things, but when you are reaching out for the flavors of your childhood, there is so only so far you can go. I try to appreciate these foods as new foods, not replacements, but sometimes, it's hard. Lately, I've cheated a lot. Fiona and I had a milkshake yesterday. It tasted wonderful, with that salty, creamy, sweetness that only cow milk can provide. The most gifted blend of soymilk lacks that quality. Usually, I don't want the high sodium funk of cowmilk. Usually, I prefer rice or soy. But right now, I miss dairy. I miss the splendor of egg whites (although I don't miss the weird dry skin they give me). I miss the easy flexibility of baked goods with eggs. I miss the salty intensity that urea and hormones and enzymes give animal foods. Vegetables are just too damn nice tasting. I want to eat raunchy, damn it!

Is being a vegetarian with vegan intentions worth it? Of course. I feel so much better these days. I don't feel a secret well of guilt boarded up within me any longer. I have more energy. I am more in touch with my spirituality. I can taste and smell things with a newfound clarity. I can pet a cat, and not be completely creeped out by the similarity between a cat's thigh muscles and a chicken's.

I love animals and I love myself. If being a real foodie means giving up those things, then I'm glad I've put that behind me. Best of all, I know I'll never have to look a plate of foie gras and try to forget how it was made.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

And now I'm back

... from September closure, if not outer space. It feels weird to be normal work after all the fun of cleaning and painting. But all the staff is more friendly and fun now. I am actually feeling like I love my job and my coworkers. Sniff. Sniff

John, however, does not feel the same about his workplace: