Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Food, Inc. on PBS

The movie Food, Inc. will be broadcast on PBS Point of View (POV) tonight. It will also be streamed on the PBS web site for one week, starting tomorrow, according to a spam blast from the Center for Food Safety.

This was not my favorite food movie, being heavily oriented to middle class consumers, but there are some fun and interesting parts. I reviewed the movie here on January 11.

If you've got PBS broadcast or cable or a high speed modem, you can watch it for free this week.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Asparagus rolls

This is total trivia - but seasonal.

I've been wondering why asparagus rolls in all the U.S. recipes I can find include meat and cheese. Asparagus cordon bleu?

I prefer mine with simply white bread, asparagus, and butter jazzed up with a little citrus peel or juice and maybe a little seasoning. I had to track down an antipodean recipe site to find the directions for the simple item. And then there's the whole issue of finding the right white bread -the commercial stuff is all too soft, and I hate to spend my time making white sandwich bread. Oh for the Pepperidge Farm white bread of my youth. But next year, when I crave asparagus rolls, I guess I will make my own.

But there are some good recipes here:
All those variations on asparagus soup.

And, as I said, it's in season.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fishing for information

This is really just an annotated bookmark.

On a recent podcast from the BBC Food Programme I heard an interesting report on the Seafood Summit held in Paris earlier this year.

Nice conclusion from artist Jake Tilson, who covered the conference and did the interviews: sustainable seafood is about much more than interrogating waiters and ragging on your friends about their buying and eating habits It means influencing through lobbying efforts, and through understanding what happens in the world of seafood wholesalers.

After listening to this I wanted to move to Britain or Maine and help the coastal fisheries thrive. Except I like the weather here...

There's also an interesting little conversation about tinned fish - and sustainability and quality going hand in hand.

There's not a lot that's new here, but it's put together well, hitting the major points
It's the April 11 programme podcast:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring Gardening Events

So much is popping here in SoCo this spring with the encouragement of food gardening.

One of the two most notable events is the Sustainable Food and Gardening Festival at the Finley Center on Saturday April 24:

This event is kind of a hodgepodge of things, and I haven't found the organizer responsive, but I do plan to go anyway. Ruth Lefkowitz ( will be selling sandwiches there, and I've offered to help her. I also plan to cruise the booths.

I am definitely helping with the 350 garden challenge
This is an innovative and collaborative event, over the weekend of May 15 and 16. A number of organizations and agencies are working together to see if we can plant 350 new or renewed water wise food gardens in Sonoma County. Why 350? To link food system and water use issues to climate change, as in the project, the one that has church bells ringing in October to remind us that 350 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere seems to be a maximum safe level - and that we have exceeded it.
I like the idea of tying the complex of environmental issues together. Or should I say recognizing that they are tied together.
I also like the idea that the gardens can be big - or just a potted tomato.
At our TLC community garden we are going to talk this Saturday about what we will do to get with the program. And I'm working to link all the church-based community gardens on the west side of Santa Rosa. There are two new ones this year, at Knox Presbyterian(, and at Santa Rosa Alliance Church. The latter is a communal urban farm on an acre and a half - Cielo Azul Farm( And I just learned from a fellow knitter last week that the SW Santa Rosa branch of First UMC is putting in a garden - they have all this lush grass (looking to become a mega church, I guess, at least that's the way it felt the one time I attended there) that could be food!

To keep this all down to earth, literally, I am also starting extra seedlings - of the cucurbits mainly - to give away on May 15.

How real is reality?

Even without a TV I have been watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, the ABC version. Sometimes I laugh out loud, and a few times I've succumbed to the tearjerker manipulation.

At first I wondered if Alice and her co-workers were being exploited. Then I came to see the "lunch ladies" as typical of any group, any where, challenged to change. And after four episodes I wonder if Alice could possibly be that negative - or whether she enjoyed playing a part.

I've also wondered how Ron could change that much in one week. Surely the show was rigged to telescope the 1000 cooking students challenge.

I haven't wondered enough, though, to search on line for chats and gossip about the show.

The work Oliver does with teens and college students seems the most amusing, and the most effective, to me. Bringing back cooking - instead of a dependence on prefabricated and fast food, seems to be at the heart of this. And I thought the visit to the funeral parlor was quite something. But I wonder about his emphasis on meat in his cooking. Surely the folks he is working with have had enough meat already to last a lifetime - even some of their short life times?