Friday, March 20, 2009

Gardening book

Fresh from the Garden Cookbook

This is a book my best friend and I have been looking for for quite a while. We both absolutely LOVED Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbra Kingsolver, but we also were frustrated that although all of her ideas were great, most were for the area she was in... which is far from here. Makes perfect sense as she was writing about local living. lol... But makes it difficult to implement for the beautiful Pacific NW. Well, this author, Ann Lovejoy, writes just for the Pacific NW... in fact, she lives up on an island about an hour from here and the area is her muse. Recipes, stories, different little tips on how to grow year round... and all for right here in my area. This is a book I will have to own.

I keep wanting to know if she is related to Sharon Lovejoy, my favorite children's garden author.

Monday, March 16, 2009


This movie is all about a real legal battle between two people and a HUGE corporation. It was interesting, but definitely a documentary. This law suit, however, changed the legal system in the UK and started the recession of the largest food chain in the world, so personally I thought it very worth watching and I enjoyed it very much.

Alex watched it with me and was appalled at the portion that talked about McDonald's animal cruelty... He has decided never to eat there again. Not even if someone takes him there. I don't know if that will stand the test of time or not, but since I was vegetarian by my own right my entire childhood (until 23)... It could happen.

I recommend this movie for those of us who want to know the ins and outs of the food industry, but it isn't light watching. I wouldn't even say it was light, like Super Size Me was 'light'. It was one of those courtroom dramas, that sometimes is better read in a short summery than watching an 1.5 hr documentary about.

Speaking of which... the short summery is here:

In the video cometary there is a interview scattered throughout from Eric Slosser (author of Fast Food Nation) that brings up lots of interesting facts and support. I found that these scattered interviews (there were many more people who supported them as well, he was just the one I knew the best) were very helpful at understanding all the legal jargon.

Super Size Me

What did I do all day? I cleaned my house and watched anti fast food propaganda. lol!

This is the third time I have seen this film, but I watched it twice in close secession when it first came out and then now (which is 5 years later). It is amazing what time has done to this movement... and I still find it amazing what happened to a really healthy guy in just a month of that crap. If there was ever a boost to the slow food movement it has been the two films I watched today. They are SCARY.

This is a must see... I wouldn't just say for adults either. Although Alex is more interested in the disgusting animal treatment going on to produce fast food, it wasn't lost on him at all that it is terrible for you... and for the environment. In fact, after watching McLibel he kept asking me "Then why is there STILL McDonald's like EVERYWHERE!?!"

The other impact that I hadn't put together before was the commercialism of the food industry. I have to admit that not having cable has made me sort of oblivious to the commercial industry. In Alex's lifetime, we have had cable television for less than a year total. But that doesn't make me insusceptible to their little ploys. Until half way through the Super Size Me movie, I was craving junk food. I got up, got myself two homemade WW Sugar Cookies and a tiny bowl of veggie chili I made the other day. After I wasn't hungry at all, the effects were nill... which was helped by Morgan throwing up McD's all over the side of his car half way through the movie. But when I was hungry, fast food was all I could think about. Sad sad sad the way these commercials effect you... even when they are part of a educational parody!

BTW, both of these movies are available on direct watch from Netflix. No mail necessary.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Future of Food

This movie is an eye opener. I know a LOT about food. But this movie was talking about something I had never even really thought of... What would happen if some company patented all the seeds for our food? It is scary stuff, let me tell you.

Basically the video takes you through the last 35 years of seed science. It talks about how seeds are germinated and the beginning of Genetically Modified seeds. It shows you actually farmers that were saving their seeds and using them to grow the next years crops all over the world. Mexico, Canada, and the United States especially. Then it explains about how GM seeds work, and how you can track GM seeds through their genes to find which farmer uses which brand and what pesticides that each selection is going to be able to withstand to make herbicide use very easy on farmers. Then it goes on to talk about how Monsanto has started suing the farmers that are close to areas where Monsanto seeds have been used because their crops have the Monsanto gene... but they never used Monsanto seed... their crops just happened to be pollinated by bees that flew in from Monsanto crop areas. Then they go on to interview everyone they can get their hands on that would have an opinion.

Fascinating stuff, I tell you... scary and fascinating.

What was the answer? Buy local, buy organic, grow your own when you can, save seeds, support people who grow their own and save seeds, support organic and local. Don said when the movie was over "Val, you like watching things that tell you you are doing it right." I had no idea that Don would be right, however. I honestly didn't really know what this movie was about except it concentrated on big agribusiness and Monsanto Seed Co and how they were evil and bad for the whole world.

I think the worst of it, is you can't even see Monsanto on anything you buy in the store. They don't market under that name, they have a hundred different companies that market and package for them. It makes it that much more important to know where our seeds come from, to know where our food comes from, and to develop a real relationship with the people who grow it. As much as I love CA for the oranges and the tomatoes I am currently eating to stay healthy in the winter, I will be very happy to switch back to my local growers when the season changes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hot Cocoa from Scratch

I was thinking today was a good day for cocoa... being March and it snowing and all. So I pulled down my baking supplies because we were out of the crazy spendy Organic Hot Chocolate we usually buy, and I decided to make up a recipe for hot cocoa from bakers chocolate.

Bakers Hot Cocoa

4 cups whole milk
2 squares simisweet bakers chocolate (I am sure you can use chocolate chips as well for this bit... just use 1/3 cup)
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tea vanilla
1/2 tea cinnamon

Put all ingredients into a small sauce pan and heat, but do not boil. As it cools there will be some chocolate 'scum' as my daughter calls it on the top of your cocoa cup, but it is just chocolate and it tasted wonderful as well. The joy of the lack of soy emusifiers.

It turned out VERY good!