Posts Tagged ‘Food’

My family has recently started to make more conscious decisions about what we eat, and where it comes from. This is the second year that we’ve had a vegetable garden in the backyard, and let me tell you. there is a simple satisfaction in just nipping out to the back for all the ingredients for a great salad.

But this year we also joined a CSA. That’s : Community Supported Agriculture. We found a local farm that drops off produce to a local store every week. In the beginning of the season, we bought a share of the farm. We got a half-working share, which means that we get a smaller portion (feeds 1-2 people /wk) of veggies than someone with a full share (3-4/wk). We also got a working share, which means that we will go out to the farm and work in the fields for 12 hours this summer, and in exchange, we get a good amount of money off. so that’s how it works, but anyway…

The farm hosted a potluck dinner for the members, and it was awesome. We took a tour of the farm and got to see each crop tucked neatly away in their respective furrows. Even if you buy your greens at the farmer’s market, this goes a step beyond that, in my view. I LOVED actually seeing exactly where my food comes from. Meeting the man who will pick it. Knowing his name. That’s something you just don’t find too often nowadays. Where does your food come from? Argentina? New Zealand? That’s like 15,000 miles away for fresh grapes/ apples/ etc. How much fossil fuel was spent getting that food to you? Buy local. Buy seasonal. Even buy organic if you can, but I would choose local over organic.

Advertisements

In a time when most fast food chains are offering healthier options on their menus, Burger King sends a different message. “Stay Fat America.”

I was out doing errands today. My wife has our only car so I was on my bike. It was lunchtime and I was mightily hungry from riding five miles to the bank, post office, etc. So I thought I would grab a quick Whopper Jr. from the drive through. Or as they so charmingly call it, the drive-thru. The car ahead of me pulled ahead so I pulled up and waited. A squawky intercom voice told me to hang on. Then they told me to move to the second window. “But I  haven’t ordered yet.” I replied. “Move up to the second window.” They repeated. Once there, a helpful cashier leaned out and yelled that they can’t serve people on bikes. I would have to come inside to order. “Why?” I asked, my money flapping in the wind, just waiting to be given away. “BK policy” she yelled. At this point, fearing I might do something stupid, I just said “Fine” and rode off in a huff.

When I spoke with the manager of this particular “restaurant” later that day over the phone, he said that the only reason they can’t serve bikes is because of insurance. I asked about serving drivers whose cars aren’t insured. He said that was between them and the state. When I asked him about people who just walk through the drive through, his response was, “coupons.” Clearly the type of manager I would want to have serving me food. I’m glad I ended up not eating there.

Corporate Headquarters assured me that bikes can’t be used in the drive through because of safety concerns but said nothing of insurance. I asked if there had been any previous accidents where a car had hit a cyclist and she denied any such occurrences. If I was on a motorcycle though, it would have been fine. So a machine that goes 200 mph and kills 5,154 people every year is much safer than a bicycle that can get up to 30 mph in the city and kills 698 people a year. Hmm. Especially the high-speed lane of the Burger King Drive-Thru. Gosh, I think I got up to 4 mph going around that corner. I’m such a daredevil.

Apparently Burger King is fine promoting riding bikes in video games though, but not real life. God forbid people should want to get in shape. Stay off that bike America. Stay in your car instead.

So I’m asking you to boycott Burger King and take your money elsewhere. Will you join me? What do you think?

So this is our backyard, inner-city garden. From Grass to greens. First we watched where the sun hit our yard so we could pick the best spot. We decided that 10×10 was big enough. My wife is cutting the border while baby watches. Cutting the sod was tough work. Wear gloves to avoid blisters. Shake out the chunks so you preserve as much soil as you can. You also save the worms this way and keep them in the garden. Making the fence was the hardest part. Even deciding on a design. Because we have a crawling/ walking baby, we needed something stronger than just wire. So we got cedar rails for their natural weatherproof-ness so when the baby teethes on them, he doesn’t get a mouthful of paint or varnish. Coating the bottoms of the posts in roof pitch was nasty. We also have groundhogs around, so the rabbit fence is good for keeping him out too. We buried it 4 inches below grade for that reason. We started the cold weather veggies early and used a roe-cover for them so that when May rolled around, we already had salads ready to eat. Now we have : lettuce, chives, carrots, beets, radishes, basil, tomatoes, strawberries, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, peas, cucumbers, and spinach.

IMG_1737IMG_1758IMG_1763

IMG_1770IMG_1830IMG_2038IMG_2159

IMG_2456This is a question I ask myself sometimes, lying awake at night. Where would I get clean drinking water? What about food? Would the government intervene? How effective would they be? We all saw the response to Katrina and that was a localized incident. What if there was a nationwide, or even worse…worldwide crisis? Could you protect your family? What happens when my car runs out of gas and all the stations are run by armed gangs who demand $1,000 a gallon? Do you have a plan in place?

I have camping gear, and books on survival, but would they really be useful? If things really started falling apart, would I want to move out to the woods? Probably not. I would protect my home. But I don’t own a gun. Don’t misunderstand that I’m not armed (potential robbers reading this) I have several swords, knives, and a hunting bow. But a gun trumps a knife almost every time. People sometimes comment on how uncivilized third-world countries are, but if you took away grocery stores, indoor plumbing, and most importantly, a visible police force, watch how fast our “civilized” society descends into chaos.

We have our own vegetable garden, but it’s not enough to live off of. We have a pond behind our house, out in the park, but that is run by city pumps, not a free flowing stream. There is a stream a few blocks away, but would a Brita filter be enough for us? If we had to live in the woods, I’m sure we could do it, left to our own devices. But another factor is a bigger issue. Human nature can be ugly, greedy, and cruel. I’m more worried about the roving gangs of opportunists who take what they want by force. Against them, my family would fall. Unless we banded together with other neighbors and became similar to what we were protecting against.

Castle in Baden Wieler

An interesting take on this situation is a book by Larry Niven titled “Lucifer’s Hammer.” In it, an asteroid strikes the Earth, thrusting humanity, and California in particular, into chaos. Gunman control decaying supermarkets, military leaders go AWOL and from their own mini armies, roving the counrtyside taking what they want, and good people just trying to survive get caught in the middle, constantly heading for higher ground and a safe place that only exists in their dreams.

I ask these questions, because in todays’ uncertain economy, they bear thinking about. You may call me an alarmist, but so far, I haven’t stockpiled any freeze-dried foods, grain, water, gas, or guns. Hmmm… I wonder when the local Army/ Navy store closes?

My wife loves to entertain but one of her rules about food is that you have to make it pretty. So I thought I would show some of her prettier (and tastier) displays.

img_0729img_0789img_1323img_2910img_3034

I have many favorite breakfast foods. Some might be considered out of the ordinary like this:

img_1769

I love smoked salmon on an onion bagel with chive cream cheese. And good coffee of course. What are some of your favorites?

Around the world, the debate over using genetically engineered food is heating up. This is an article from Yahoo and the AP.

“Influential voices around the world are calling for a re-examination of the GM debate,” says C.S. Prakash, a professor of plant molecular genetics at Alabama’s Tuskegee University. “Biotechnology provides such tools to help address food sustainability issues.”

Genetic manipulation to insert desirable genes or accelerate changes traditionally achieved through crossbreeding can help make crops resistant to insects and disease or enable them to tolerate herbicides. Livestock similarly can be altered by inserting a gene from one animal into the DNA of another.”genetically engineered food debate heats up

This is a list from “The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices”

Priority Actions for American Consumers

Transportation:

1. Choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive.

2. Think twice before purchasing another car.

3. Choose a fuel-efficient, low polluting car.

4. Set concrete goals for reducing your travel.

5. Whenever practical, walk, bicycle, or take public transportation.

Food:

6. Eat less meat.

7. Buy certified organic produce.

Household Operations:

8. Choose your home carefully. (smaller, not in newly cleared development)

9. Reduce the environmental costs of heating and hot water.

10. Install efficient lighting and appliances.

11. Choose an electricity supplier offering renewable energy.

If we choose to do even a few of these things, we will have a big impact. I was encouraged when I read this list because I do all of them! (more…)

First, this post was written to spark conversation (boy, has it!)

Second, this was written by someone (me) who is not a scientist and has not been studying this subject for years. I know there are downsides to GE foods, but I wanted to explore the positive side for once. For further information on my point of view, read my replies to comments below.

A good article on GE food can be found here, at Organic Gardening.

OK, here is the original post:

I don’t see what all the bother is about genetically engineered food.

There, I said it.     

Many people get all up in arms about GE or GMO food but they are usually ignorant of many of the facts. And did you know, food can be organic and GE at the same time? My main reason for saying this is (more…)