what to eat by marion nestle

book review: what to eat

If the last food/nutrition/heatlh/wellness book I read hit me like a wet blanket, this was the antidote to it. Marion Nestle’s What to Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating is a thoughtful guide to health claims on packaging, certifications, and what’s behind each major category of food item in American supermarkets. From much discussion of what it means to be “organic” to why all infant formula must be virtually the same, to the fact that “vegetable” oil is most likely “soybean” oil whenever we see it on shelf, I learned something new in each chapter, if not more frequently…and I’m someone that gravitates to toward these topics. Continue reading

Skinny Bitch

book review: skinny bitch

I remember when Skinny Bitch came out not long after I graduated from college. It was super hyped and its two authors, Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, were all over the media. I just joined the library here in Portland, and this was one of the first books I took out (Don’t worry, I also took out a few others that wouldn’t make the fellow English majors and bookworms among you cringe. I’d never pay $ for this book but as a free read my curiosity won.). Continue reading

radishes

america wants YOU to get in the kitchen.

I was in NYC for a quick jaunt last week, and in the ~24 hours I was there I not only managed to hit the Guggenheim, walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and tour Park Slope, but I also spent a quality amount of time wandering the TriBeCa Whole Foods and the Union Square Greenmarket. I know it’s fairly common knowledge that both looking at and creating artwork is therapeutic and provides a host of positive, calming benefits — this might be weird, but I feel a similar sense of warm fuzzy when I wander through heaps of fresh produce. Same goes for salt water.

asparagus

Union Square Greenmarket asparagus, NYC

Before I go on a tangent about my various happy places, back to food. Such close proximity to delicious, local produce inspires me to buy my weight in goods and spend the rest of the day on a cooking rampage…but then I remember that I live in a Boston shoebox where cooking (despite Mark Bittman’s best assurances that I can cook in a small kitchen, my current setup is too small for even his strongest encouragement) in any proper sense is sadly not possible. I make do with not subsisting on processed crap or takeout galore but there’s serious room for improvement in the realm of practicing what I preach with respect to taking more culinary control. Continue reading

tim van campen: an architect’s artist

It’s one of life’s mysteries how in some families certain talents pass from one generation to the next, while in others the offspring are woefully inept compared to mom or dad. The Van Campen family is one of those lucky clans where both parents are artists and the two apples (Molly and Greta, as it were) didn’t fall far from the tree, whose patriarch is Tim Van Campen. Continue reading

Jenny Prinn | Maine Artist | Confections 1

maine abstract art report: jenny prinn

Red Barn in Snow by Jenny PrinnI will write more about food things soon, but sometimes I will talk art. Like now. So heads up: Jenny Prinn is a delight of a Maine-based abstract artist (well, I don’t know for sure that she’s a delight…but I have to think a person that produces work like hers is nothing but a gem of a human. And she lives in coastal Maine. I’ll take my chances.). Check her out! Continue reading

seeds for days: happy cat farm

On a recent work trip to Philadelphia, I was lucky enough to stay near Reading Terminal Market, a place I’d never visited in many a visit to the city. It was so fun to have in my backyard for a few days; anyone that knows me well knows I love a good market — farmer’s market, natural foods market, supermarket, you name it — and I’m the weirdo that likes to walk up and down the aisles to see what’s on shelf (…or what’s new if it’s a regular haunt. Sometimes I really wonder why I don’t pack it in and go work at the Portland Whole Foods. I haven’t ruled it out.).

Anyway, Reading Terminal Market is awesome and includes everything from cheesesteaks to Amish women slinging fruit butters to green juice to cannoli. And in my meandering I came across the Fair Food Farmstand — and a wall of seeds from Happy Cat Farm. I recognize that this is a total case of judging a book (er, seed packet) by its cover, but for good reason. Just look at them! Continue reading

Maine fiddleheads

hot off the press: maine farm to table

If you’re looking for a food-related #longread, you’ve come to the right place. A few weekends ago, the Portland Press Herald published this magnum opus, “How the farm-to-table movement took root in Maine” by Meredith Goad and Mary Pols, as part of the launch of Source: Eating and Living Sustainably in Maine, a new section in the paper.

In conjunction with the Source launch, the PPH hired a powerhouse food editor, Peggy Grodinsky, held what looked to be a great party (at Urban Farm Fermentory!), and has begun to churn out respectable coverage on what it’s calling as “farm-to-table” topics. This pleases me greatly. Continue reading