Saturday, October 31

Happy Halloween!

check out this creepy food animation. i found it a while back but was saving it for today.


ben k

Friday, October 30

It all has meat!


New Leaf Natural Grocery

Here is the link to NewLeaf grocery that I mentioned in class. They have produce boxes (which can be customized to include just fruits, just veggies or for raw foodies!) and they start at $15 a box. They also have a newsletter to let people whats in season, info from growers, etc.

Newleaf Natural Grocery is dedicated to providing an affordable alternative to overpriced organic produce by offering weekly organic produce boxes at the lowest cost available.

In each produce box, you can expect a wide variety of the freshest produce. From new lady peaches, to sunburst squash, to savory spinach, our boxes are bursting with flavor and affordability. They start at just $15 pickup and home delivery!

We are strong advocates of local family owned farms, and strive to fill our produce boxes and our shelves with as many local goods as possible - a practice which strengthens the sustainability of our community.

Because we're independently owned and operated, we're free to promote and support the organic movement by keeping our community and customers informed and involved through petitions, newsletters, and lively conversation. And we enjoy the same! Our customers keep us updated daily on new issues and events.

The contents of our boxes change weekly, but to give you an idea of the quantity, listed below is a sample $25.50 box.

5 Kiwi
4 Bananas
4 Minneola Tangelos
3 Small Mangoes
4 Medium Fuji Apples
1 Romaine Lettuce
2.5 lbs Gold Beets
1 Cucumber
4 Medium Red Onions
1 Bunch Swiss Chard
1 lb Carrots
2.5 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes

New Leaf Grocery
cheers, christina

Thursday, October 29

Obesity Is Infectious?

I always wondered what our friends food habits did to our own habits, and it turns out, it matters.
The greatest peer pressure threat may be how and what we're eating.
Try telling your friends that you don't want to drive to Wendy's at midnight. It's a battle.

WIRED: Infectious Obesity

Purpose Prize

Purpose Prize

Watch this video! My amazing high school history teacher Mr. Will is doing great things, he's helping Appalachian farmers learn about sustainability, etc. Check out the video!

Vegetables protect babies-to-be from Diabetes? claim this recent study. Not clear what the biochemical mechanism for this could be, but intriguing!

Recall, Type 1 Diabetes is the kind in which the body no longer produces insulin (in contrast to Type II we've discussed in regards to nutrition and developing insulin insensitivity).


Wednesday, October 28

Have Ya'll Met Grok?

What's A Grok?

This guy Mark Sisson blogs all about the paleolithic diet (and why he thinks it's still important).
He's a knowledgeable dude, though I don't know anything about his credentials.
He's in crazy shape for his age though, so I've wasted a few good hours reading the blog.

Oyster wars

Is there are middle way between the often conflicting concerns of food systems, safety, and satisfaction?

In the Gulf of Mexico a fight is brewing over their $500 million oyster industry. New guidelines for treating oysters to remove a potentially deadly bacteria are raising the hackles on many small oyster fishers, who claim the new measures are unnecessary, but also so costly that it may run them out of business.

Some 15 people die of bad oysters a year, but some see the whole thing as needless governmental intervention on food production and consumption:

Some oyster sellers say the FDA rule smacks of government meddling. The sales ban would take effect in 2011 for oysters harvested in the Gulf during warm months.

"We have one man who's 97 years old, and he comes in here every week and gets his oyster fix, no matter what month it is," said Mark DeFelice, head chef at Pascal's Manale Restaurant in New Orleans. "There comes a time when we need to be responsible. Government doesn't need to be involved in this."


Tuesday, October 27

of mice and men? getting hooked on J.F.

When fed a diet of high-fat, high-calorie food, the "pleasure centers" in the brains of mice apparently become less sensitive, feeding into (pun intended) a feedback lop of over-eating. So says research just released on the topic.

"Not only did we find that the animals' brain reward circuits became less responsive as they continued to overeat and become obese," said senior author Paul J. Kenny, PhD, of the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla., "but that decrease in responsiveness was similar to what our laboratory has seen previously in rats as they become addicted to cocaine or heroin. The data suggest that obesity and addiction may result from common neuroadaptations," he said.

The implication that food can act as a kind of drug (biochemically as well as metaphorically) is clear...

Seems like a lot more work would need to be done, but an interesting finding. I am wondering why in the experiment they seem to make the healthy food option "unpalatable"? Perhaps I am reading this wrong, but sems like that is the fundamental assumption that healthy good dones't taste good needs to be challanged more even in this reasearch(?)


Microprocessors, Macropatties


Operating systems and Burger King Cheeseburgers?

If you don't see the obvious connection, perhaps you need to fly over to Japan and eat this 7-patty burger in honor of the release of Windows 7.

The advertisement mentions that the 13cm "American Size Buns" the patties are perched on (!)


For a little more, go here.

(funnily enough the blurb mentions their editor "Andy Yang"- I assure you, no direct relation)


Compare/Contrast Sandwiches of America

Ryan's sandwich post just reminded me of something.

As well as the nutritional facts for Subway, Quizno's, Jimmy John's and Potbelly.  It looks like you create your own meal to determine the amount of calories, fat, sodium and so on, yourself for JJ's  and P-Belly.  I don't know if I really need to post ALL the links for burger places, but I took the liberty of getting McDonald's nutritional information as well.  Sometimes it is amazing what you can learn when you play a little compare and contrast.

I obtained all this information easily, just by visiting each website and clicking on a few links.  This shows me that all the necessary information is out there, and in order to be well informed consumers, all we have to do is look for it.  Simple.


Monday, October 26

Slim Sandwiches

Dear fellow gluttons,

I want to make a Dagwood. Yes, a sandwich piled so high you can't see the top slice of bread. Roast beef, pastrami, and freshly cooked honey ham. Bacon, eggs, and hash-browns. Two types of peanut butter four types of jam. Three types of lettuce, and twelve types of cheese. I want tomatoes, pickles, onions, carrots, olives, and peppers. Green peppers, yellow peppers, red peppers, and orange, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, chili peppers, and more. That's right if its a sandwich ingredient, please slap it on. I want a steak section, vegetarian section, vegan section, and glutton free section. My sandwich will be a sandwich to top all others, and I want it to be named after its height and weight. Four feet six inches twenty two pounds. Using three freshly baked loaves of bread, end pieces and all. And most of all I want to eaten without worry. No more weight gain, or money loss fears. No my sandwich will supersede that.

But... until I can make my Dagwood the way I want, success is yet to come.

As of late my sandwiches average out at 1.5 inches and 2.2 ounces. They are usually mistaken for two slices of bread smashed together. A slim sandwich.

Nobody likes a slim sandwich, but its the price you pay for being poor. Or rather, the price you don't pay for being poor. Scrounging around to set something, anything on that stale bread sucks. I'm lucky if I find chicken or turkey, but usually its just peanut butter and jelly. The worst part is the rationing. Trying to figure out how many toppings I have until my next pay check, makes me terribly depressed. Remember, I lust after that four foot six inch twenty two pounder. In reality, I end up with one slice of turkey some mustard and maybe a tomato if its not molded yet. Assembled, its barely a sandwich.

So what do I do. I dream.
Yes I too have a dream. I have a dream, that one day, this nation will rise up, and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths self evident that all sandwich toppings should be created with grade A quality and affordable price. I have a dream that the presence of the sadwich, the slimwich, the cheaply made wich will be eradicated. As ludicrous as this may sound , Im standing up for sandwich rights. I want to bring forth a day of the manwich, the megawich, the überwich, the dagwood. I envision the world having a quality sandwich pandemic. Too many sandwiches.

But how is this done? With global food prices and shortages only rising, will we ever see a day of the überwich? There are skeptics that say no. There are people that say we must limit our intake. But I disagree. Once again lets just beat science. Lets put our brains together not to deflect the inevitable but rather bypass it. Science has saved us in the past, and in the name of sandwiches Im calling on science to save us again. Yes I'm almost positive, if we can design a Dagwood that is ecologically, and environmentally friendly, with an exemplary price, healthful outlook, and wonderful taste, I can promise you we will be well on our way to solving the worlds problems. Stop sending your money to save the rain forrest and the ice caps and please start sending it to save the sandwiches. Together we can make one hell of a good sandwich.

Signed yours truly,
The most gluttonous glutton.

P.S. For some good sandwich resources please refer to a blog i wrote previously on the definition of a sandwich. And here is a great resource for scouting out sandwiches in New York.
And please let me know if you have suggestions on how to create an überwich.

Ryan I

Saturday, October 24

Noodles, street style

A Chinese noodle maker. Sometimes even the best homemade food come from odd kitchens.....

Sourced from National Geographic


Meatless Mondays continued....

Here is a follow-up to Gianina's post on Meatless Mondays. A CNN segment of the idea of meat-free days for kids in Baltimore Public Schools:

Embedded video from CNN Video

Coca-Cola on the Nutriotnal (or at least marketing) Prowl....

On the issue of nutrition, who might be a better resource than the American Academy of Family Physicians? Some are beginning to doubt....

The organization just accepted grant money from Coca-Cola to develop educational web content. As ABC News reports:

Dr. Lori Heim, president-elect of the AAFP, said in a statement that the organization was looking forward to working with the soda maker "and other companies in the future on the development of educational materials to teach consumers how to make the right choices and incorporate the products they love into a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle."

Critics are calling the deal a "embarrassing conflict of interest," and I think I may ageee. Clearly there should be some place for food companies to make a positive contribution, but I wonder if that could be as much in the food they design, rather than the marketing angles they may be working through other organizations and the audiences they have acess to...

Along these lines, consider Tom Colicchio, the guru of Top Chef, who is also collaborating with Coke in an :Eat Tastefully: campaign:

“Great taste doesn’t need to be overly complicated. For me, it’s always been about keeping it simple and adding personal touches that create a lasting impression,” said Chef Colicchio. “Sometimes, that means simply pairing the right meal with a straightforward flavor you enjoy – like a Diet Coke, which has a distinctive taste without the calories.”

Fine food is just a soda away!

You can see Tom work it on YouTube as par tof the campaign.


Friday, October 23

guilt free meat!

i remember reading this fascinating article in the nyt a long time ago. its about growing meat artificialy in a lab from stem cells. imagine, ground beef, grown on your counter in a bread-box like machine.

i also learned about this cool australian art colaborative who made a small frog steak for their project 'disembodied quinine'. they work on other cool proects like victimless leather, etc.

and, in 2008, PETA offered a $1,000,000 prize for the first reasearch group to develop a comercialy viable artificial meat.

its coming. just imagine the implications!

i find these developments both disturbing and fascinating. i dont know if i would be comfortable eating artificail meat. but it is very likely that i will at some point in my lifetime. and you probably will to.

ben k

The Meat Industry Gets Upset About Meatless Monday

Obama has been pushing Meatless Mondays, and the meat industry is upset. It is strange that they would get upset about not having meat on day of the weke when so much of the government subsidation goes to help the meat industry.

The Article


Standards for School Lunch

This article discusses how the lunches don't restrict the calorie intake or match up with the government's dietary suggestions (food pyramid). I think this is interesting to think about along with the article we read about German schools encouraging water. Obesity in Children is a bigger issue than most think. The second link I am going to post is a great alternative,and happening in a public school.

Free Lunch Program

A Healthy Alternative


Blue Zones: Ikaria, Greece

The island in Greece my family is from was featured on CNN:
Apparently they pretty healthy peeps.

Blue Zones

Why are the lessons from the Ikaria, Greece Blue Zone so important? Our team has discovered that over one-third of everyone in the northeastern end of Ikaria reaches age 90. They suffer 20% less cancer and half the rate of heart disease. And there’s virtually no dementia. In other words, they’re living the good years many of us are missing. Years we could possibly have by just adjusting a few simple habits, including:
  1. Wild Greens - Greens are abundant in fields and roadsides, Ikarians frequently eat wild green salads and pies. Some contain more antioxidants than green tea or wine.
  2. Herbal Teas - The common herbal teas consumed here contain compounds that lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease and dementia.
  3. Low sense of time urgency - Feeling less obligation to one’s schedule and day is shown to lower heart-harming stress hormones.
  4. Daily naps - Taking a 30-minute nap at least five times a week can decrease the risk of heart attack by 35 percent.
  5. Mountain living - Here, every trip out of the house occasions a mini workout. People get their daily exercise without thinking about it. Studies show the mountain people have lower cardio vascular disease.
  6. Strong sense of community - Family and village support create strong social connections, which are proven to promote longevity.
  7. Goat's milk - 80 percent of all people over 90 have consumed goat’s milk many times per week throughout their life. It is rich in blood-pressure lowering tryptophan and antibacterial compounds.
  8. Ikarian diet - The Ikarian variation of Mediterranean Diet is high in vegetables, beans, and low in meat and sugar. Uniquely, though, it’s lower in grains and fish, but high in potatoes.

101 Cookbooks - Healthy/Pretty/Natural

101 Cookbooks focuses primarily on natural, whole foods and ingredients. Heidi Swanson is the cook and she photographs all her "work." A nice way to get hungry by looking at your computer screen.

The Subsidized Food Pyramid

Mom, I want muscles like Popeye,
but spinach is just too darn expensive.

Health vs. Pork: Congress Debates the Farm Bill

The Farm Bill, a massive piece of federal legislation making its way through Congress, governs what children are fed in schools and what food assistance programs can distribute to recipients. The bill provides billions of dollars in subsidies, much of which goes to huge agribusinesses producing feed crops, such as corn and soy, which are then fed to animals. By funding these crops, the government supports the production of meat and dairy products—the same products that contribute to our growing rates of obesity and chronic disease. Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies.

- George

who is alice waters?

The Romantic, Impractical,
Often Eccentric,
Ultimately Brilliant
Making of a Food Revolution

(a book i started reading...)

"a chronicle that begins with the seat-of-the-pants opening night of the "counterculture" venture in 1971, and ends 35 years later with Waters's restaurant an American institution--one credited with birthing California Cuisine, a style devoted to simplicity, freshness and seasonality. The book also limns, with tasty gossip, the ever-evolving Chez Panisse family, including the cook-artisans uniquely responsible for dish creation; follows the attempts, mostly failed, to put the restaurant on sound financial footing; shows how dishes and menus get made; and of course pursues Waters as she broadens her commitment to "virtuous agriculture" by establishing ventures like The Edible Schoolyard and The Yale Sustainable Food Project."

(amazon review)


Missing Link Between Fructose and Insulin Resistance

Missing link between fructose, insulin resistance found

3. March 2009 22:11

A new study in mice sheds light on the insulin resistance that can come from diets loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener found in most sodas and many other processed foods.

The report in the March issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, also suggests a way to prevent those ill effects.

The researchers showed that mice on a high-fructose diet were protected from insulin resistance when a gene known as transcriptional coactivator PPARg coactivator-1b (PGC-1b) was "knocked down" in the animals' liver and fat tissue. PGC-1b coactivates a number of transcription factors that control the activity of other genes, including one responsible for building fat in the liver.

"There has been a remarkable increase in consumption of high-fructose corn syrup," said Gerald Shulman of Yale University School of Medicine. "Fructose is...



"Water is probably one of the most precious resources and vital for everyone’s everyday life. In spite of this obvious fact, people use large amounts of water: drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, etc. One of the most important research papers in this field is Chapagain, A.K. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2004), »Water footprints of nations«, Value of Water Research Report Series No. 16, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, the Netherlands. Designer Timm Kekeritz created a poster, visualizing parts of their research data, to make the issue of virtual water and the water footprint perceptible. The water footprint of a person, company or nation is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the commodities, goods and services consumed by the person, company or nation. The idea of the water footprint is quite similar to the ecological footprint, but focussing on the use of water."


Thursday, October 22

Food Deserts; City Gardens; Wal-Mart; Chicago

The concept of "food deserts" has been taking root recently, with Chicago being a recent site for close study on the lack of accessible supermarkets and healthy food resources in poor and minority communities in urban areas. The most comprehensive report on food deserts in Chicago can be downloaded here.

More broadly, we see the USDA on the federal level is also taking notice of this issue.

Projects are trying to address food deserts on various levels, one of them being vegetable gardening with raised beds in abandoned lots in Washington Park. Public participatory engagement, reduction of food miles, and nutrition all issues that come up in this video segment:

For more interviews on this topic, go here.

Though community gardens are a wonderful way to address this issue in part, many point out it may never be enough in terms of general access to more nutritious low cost food, or to certain kinds of jobs. To this, many argue allowing "big box" stores like Wal-Wart into the Chicago market, and especially the South Side, would address economic issues as well as that of its food deserts. Indeed, Wal-Mart & it supporters are very well-organized in their campaign. But issues of workers' rights and living wages are the other side of the story. This NPR piece gives a short synopisis; and this one is the follow-up.

What is the right balance between urban living, social justice, nurtition, and the issues of food systems in the context of chain distributors like Wal-Mart?


Related: work on photodocumenting the lives of rural black farmers in the US

Monsanto, Michael Clayton and toxic waters

A clip from the film Michael Clayton in which the the acting lawyer deals with a case involving a killer herbicide that leeks into neighboring farms water supplies and destroys everything.  Turns out we have a real life corporation that does nearly the same thing... Monsanto.  

These days most people have heard about Monsanto and have some idea of what they do, but I will provide you with a quick refresher.  We have Monsanto to thank for the destructive chemical Agent Orange, RoundUp, RoundUp Ready seeds and Supreme Court cases such as Monsanto v. Schmiser.  To put it simply, Monsanto wants to take over the world with, what they call, sustainable agriculture.  This really means that they control the seed market so all farmers must purchase seeds from Monsanto.  A binding contract is then signed forcing the farmers to, from that point forward, purchase only Monsanto manufactured herbicides,  pesticides, insecticides, fungicides and any other "icides" you can come up with (because I'm sure Monsanto already has).  Since all seeds that come out of Monsanto are genetically modified, and most carry a gene called the "terminator gene," which renders the plants infertile and essentially useless after one full crop rotation and fruit producing cycle, this means that farmers must continue to purchase more seeds year after year, season after season.

I was at the climbing gym earlier today and a local radio station was playing over the PA system.  An advertisement came on that was all about creating communities of sustainable agriculture through biotechnology, feeding the world, and putting an end to starvation.  The ad is, of course, sponsored and paid for by Monsanto Corp.  I'm not sure how any company can even attempt to end starvation when some of their own products contain something caller  the "terminator gene."  After a few quick internet searches I discovered this ad is being played on NPR stations all across America.  I am having a hard time finding an actual audio clip of the ad online but I assure you, it was an invigorating piece of propaganda.  I did, however, find this Democracy Now! show addressing more issues of toxic water, similar to Michael Clayton.

Here is a link to yet another Democracy Now! show in which a Monsanto spokesperson and Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Biotech Century; Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World, debate.  The "terminator gene" is mentioned in a segment about bio-safety.  This segment begins in the second half of the show, after the part about Malcolm X.


Ensuring food security- to what extent?

The fluctuating prices of food in the past year have led investors from rich countries (Arab states like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Libya, S.Korea, Taiwan, Japan) scrambling to safeguard their food interests by acquiring and developing farmland on other territories. Food prices fluctuate with imported food due to see-sawing exchange rates and times of drought or natural disasters that hurt harvests. Last year, food prices rose due to over-speculation, increased demand from developing nations, high oil prices and the increasing use of biofuels. According to Jacques Diouf, director-general of UN's Food and Agriculture Organization based in Rome, 105 million more people, as compared to last year, are undernourished. He attributes this to the current economic crisis and overwhelming increments in food prices.

In November last year, Daewoo Logistics, a South Korean firm, reached an agreement to cultivate 1.3million hectares of farmland in Madagascar for nothing - only promising employment for the citizens of the impoverished island in exchange for the untouched land. Daewoo would develop the infrastructure- roads, irrigation and grain storage facilities. This was a move to ensure that South Korea could fall back on the corn harvested in Madagascar in the event of a food crisis.

Alas, it was not to be! The then-President, in part due to disagreements with the country's citizens about the deal, resigned in May. People had protested to leasing half of Madagascar's arable land to Daewoo, condemning it to be a form of "neo-colonialism". (read more here: Madagascar Axes Land Deal with Daewoo)

"If we have another world food crisis, and you have a poor country where food is produced by foreign investors and then repatriated, that is ethically and political tricky"
- David Hallam, head of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization's Trade Policy Service in TIME.

In Singapore, land is painfully scarce, with more than 4 million people living on 274 sq.miles. Less than 1% of the land is arable, so farming of about 5% of Singapore's vegetable supply, is done on high tech farms, such as hydroponics or agrotechnology farms. Most of its fresh food supply is imported from its neighbors, Malaysia and Indonesia. When food prices rose last year, due to the food crisis and inflation, it hit lower-income families the hardest. With limited land for farming, Singapore has no way to ensure its food security, or does it?

Earlier this month, a Singapore-based firm, Vita Grain, signed a deal with the government of Mauritius to produce a hybrid variety of low GI rice on leased land in Mozambique. Mauritius believes that it will help them to boost their food security.... while Vita Grain had also said, "its priority will be to support stock-piling of rice in Singapore – which imports about 330,000 tonnes of rice a year – if the need arises." (The article did not mention what Mozambique stands to gain in this agreement)

The cultivating of land by foreign corporations is highly controversial for many reasons. Its benefits for both parties- the country whose land is cultivated (mostly poor, in the case of Madagascar, 600,000 people are fed by the World Food Programme) and the corporations, which much of the time are backed by the government of the country where they are based- are highly debatable. Fairness, ethics and politics come into play- who gets to control the food supplies-its citizens or rich foreign corporations? Who gets fed during a food crisis? Is the arable land being depleted with such leases?

As of now, Japan is looking to draw up a set of "investor principles" to guide such deals.

Today's news:

Here's more information if you are interested in the topic:
Blog by GRAIN, an NGO, on the leasing of farmland abroad
"Food Security, Putting Food on Plates" an article by Andrew Jarvis

-- georgi p.

Sunday, October 18

Choices choices choices

I've been an alternative milk drinker since I was six or seven years old. Too many times I have had the unfortunate experience of getting my latte and taking a slurp, only to discover that the barista had used whatever kind of cow-milk is on trend these days instead of soy. It just tastes too weird to me now. I would have to describe it as kind of...uh, fatty/watery and metallic tasting?? I've definitely adjusted to alternative milks, so much so, I don't think I could eat a bowl of cereal with cow-milk if you paid me to.
Seattle is an alternative/vegan/allergy food aware area, so I've kind of grown up with alternative milk choices. In addition to cow-milk, many coffee shops there have soy, almond, and rice or hemp milk. (Hint*Best latte ever is equal parts soy and rice or almond).
A lot of people have asked me if I'm worried about not getting enough calcium in my diet because I don't eat dairy. It makes me laugh because I wonder if they are aware that milk isn't the only place to get calcium. There are many many foods (spinach for one) that have as much calcium as milk.
Anyways, I stumbled on an article on the Los Angeles Times website about Milk-cow, soy, hemp, and others. It breaks down some of the nutritional info of various kinds of milk. They spoke with Alexandra Kazaks, professor of nutrition at Bastyr University ( a really amazing natural health center and school).

Friday, October 16


bananas happen to be my favorite fruit.
they are also the only kind of fruit that my dog Rufus will eat.
there is a protein in bananas that is broken down into
seratonin. so when you eat bananas you feel better!
in your stomach and in your brain!

we talked recently in class about bananas
and how they are reproduced by cloning.
well, there are some serious health issues
for the banana due to this process- because of
how the banana is unable to change over time
through sexual reproduction.
check out this article on the sex life of the banana

also, on a design note,
I found these amazing little contraptions recently,
and then also, thanks to the land of culinary genius,


water bug scramble

I was at the store yesterday and came across a interesting food item in the frozen section...giant water bugs.

Yep! The Golden Pacific Market was selling these lovelies for $3.28 for a pak of four. The Filipino checkout lady said to smother them in chili paste, the stock boy (Thai) said instead to grill them, crush them, and mix them in scrambled eggs)

I don't know where these bugs came from (could be North American) as there was no sort of label on them. Still, I think I'm going to try the scrambled egg option....


Wednesday, October 14

? veggie spiders ?

We talked earlier in the semester about the mutualism between ants and acacia trees. Turns out there is a bit of a thief in that mix, and a very unlikely one at that!

Yes, hard to believe, but they seem to have discovered a vegetarian jumping spider. The consummate predator, these things run past defending ants to get at the treats the tree produces for their guards.

As we know, food habits & diets evolve as opportunities do, and this is a wonderful case of just that. ay

What Would PETA do?

I have been following the work of Nathalia Edenmont for several years.  As a photographer, she creates haunting still life images and beautiful portraits of animals.  She has caused a ruckus among animal rights activists who believe her animal cruelty, or murder, should come to an end.  Others, claiming the animals are already dead when she approaches them and merely manipulates them until they appear as they do in the photographs, support her or do not care enough to raise hell.

I am interested in her work purely from an aesthetic perspective and, strangely enough, have no problem with her exploitation, according to some, of these animals.  I hate rodents.  As for the rabbits, cats, chickens and butterflies, well, Edenmont makes stunning photographs with them.  I suppose see them as materials rather than victims.  Her work fascinates me, rather than disgusting me.

Of course, the true answer to the question of whether or not the animals truly are dead before she comes to put them into her artwork is an important one.  Yet, I find myself less and less concerned with that idea and more taken with her new work.  Besides, it seems obvious to me that her act of killing the subjects of her photographs is simply part of each piece.  Shock does bring attention and attention, whether negative or positive does bring fame.  So clearly, in that respect, whatever Edenmont does is working, in terms of her career and fame.

So famous, in fact that PETA did write her representative gallery a strongly worded letter.  They seem to think the Edenmont is mentally unsound.  I hate that I have to stand up for the artistic community but does PETA's Casework Division Manager realize that many, if not all, artists and creative people suffer from some of morbid anxiety (the despair that gives an artist the will and lust for creation) and without it we simply would not create?  Their effort is a pitiful one, in my mind.  But, then again, I have never been able to take PETA seriously.


Tuesday, October 13

a chilly gallery

Artist J. Morgan Puett seems to be curating her refrigerator these days, as seen in this series of photos.

Makes some sense, given the inside of a refrigerator is - like the museum or gallery - the perfect white cube with ambient light made for display...

The new Still Life?

> ay

Saturday, October 10

Darwin: "Defer Judgement" (in 12-inch heels)

As an sometimes stifled designer who struggles to have good ideas, I often get extremely frustrated with the more outlandish concepts presented by the design world.

I often have an extremely judgemental knee-jerk reaction to art world, the portfolios of other industrial design students, the professional design world and its concept cars, and basically the entire world of fashion, where runway models wear outfits that have no basis is the marketplace or often reality.

But maybe I have turned over a new leaf (over-reaching for a ecology pun?) and sublimated my instinct: I have discovered that I can be open-minded when the meta-deity of evolution is invoked, as did English fashion designer Alexander McQueen in conceiving his new collection that cites Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” as chief inspiration.

If it's simply a process of evolution, I will now remind myself, the more outlandish the better. Why not embrace the freak idea? Designers say "throw it all at the wall and see what sticks" is somewhat Darwinian interpretation of a way to think about things.

The market is indeed a part of our cultural evolution, and I can say that I am a little saddened that these bizarre shoes/claws have a slim chance to be seen walking down the street. I might not find them attractive in a "need-to-reproduce-immediately!" way, but I think things like them might offer our culture a way to cope with urban density--some people could have their own proprietary visual aesthetic, much like bird mating calls. -Will Capellaro

More of the collection here

Thursday, October 8

far foods

Here's an interesting project that a recent graduate in graphic design has created - an "alternative packaging for supermarket produce, highlighting the distances that some foods travel from and the resultant carbon dioxide released during the journey."

Sometimes we fail to see the bigger picture and do not consider our carbon footprint. Imagine if this way of packaging actually existed... it would definitely bring attention to they way we pick and purchase our food.

- m.doh

Wednesday, October 7

dietary dos and don'ts

An article by Michael Pollan on culture being our main guide for food choices... and the wisdom of some NYtimes readers attempt to help us navigate the "treacherous food landscape". It's a wonder what a myriad of belief systems are behind our daily eating choices.

This one is my favorite. Yes to variety.

-- georgi p.

Tuesday, October 6

mm, that is good "land shrimp" !

Fried grasshoppers, dusted with salt and served with soy sauce

I opened my iGoogle page today, which has various web sites feeding into it daily.

One such feed I have is WikiHow, where two How To's appear. And what were they today?


It makes a point to say:

"Also note that if you eat crawfish or clams (i.e. worms in shells), this isn't really much different."

Unfortunately, the accompanying video is less-than-amazing, perhaps they need Martha Stewart on this beat.

Here is the link to the WikiHow page.

And of course, a link to the Small Stock/Land shrimp project of David Gracer.


Monday, October 5

a relevent yet vexing ted talk

In today's ted talk, Carolyn Steel describes in brief the history of the problem: how are cities fed?
she points out grandly vague problems with the relationship between food and post industrial urban centers. especially horrible is suburbia, which she sets forth as the archetype for western living/eating and criticizes with hyperbolized blanket statements.

i found this lecture profoundly irritating because she criticizes a current state of affairs that everyone in the ted lecture room understands full well, but does nothing to address what could be done. instead, she tries to rouse our excitement with a rebranding of the word utopia.

She ends her lecture by juxtaposing a city with an industrial grain field that is then replaced by trees. i have no idea what she means with this image, as her words are rather vague. is she urging us to return to the forrest? to swing though the canopy in search of fruit?

Steel presents nothing resemblant of a concrete suggestion as to how we might improve the current situation. rather she seems to be arguing for a return to the past urban/food dynamics, or some exteamly vague neo-utopic idealism.

- Ben K

The New Oxford Book of Food Plants

A old classic is now a good new read: The New Oxford Book of Food Plants is the work of a botanist and nutritionist. As they write in the introduction:

"The purpose of this book is to provide accurate and attractive illustrations, and textual descriptions, of the plants that serve the human race for food."

Along the way anecdotes and fascinating facts supposedly abound. I am going to get a copy myself.

Here is the review of the book, with some multimedia built in bonus.


E.Coli and ground beef production.

E. Coli Path Shows Flaws in Beef Inspection
This article was on the NYTimes cover yesterday- about Stephanie Smith, a 22-year-old dance instructor who had a severe reaction to E.coli, a bacteria found in the hamburger that her mother had grilled for her. It traces the issues surrounding ground beef production, the problem with bacteria testing, where it comes from... and how it ends up in the supermarket.

The listed ingredients revealed little of how the meat was made. There was just one meat product listed: “Beef.”"

There's also a link to the anatomy of the hamburger that she had eaten, which was produced by Cargill, a multinational food production company based in Minnesota.

Though it probably doesn't have much to do with what we're covering in class this week, it is an interesting (albeit long) read.

--georgi p

fruit tats

Every biker, yakuza, and anyone Gen X or younger has one, so why shouldn't food?

Yes, coming (maybe) to a store near yo may be laser-tattooed produce! The USDA is trying out some new technology to get us beyond the annoying sticky food labels we all have to contend with.

This solution would seem to not hold back in showing the industrial scale and standardization of food production, which is probably a good thing for consumers. My only worry is soon fruit and veg will start getting tricked out beyond recognition, a la Kanye at the VMAs.

"Grocery Store Wars"

Grocery Store Wars.

Friday, October 2


maybe you've already seen this but its well worth the watch. major military conflicts from WWII as animated through the foods of nations....


food ALCHEMY! no way...

click here if you want to be a food alchemist


Breatharians: really funny crazy

very cultish laugh and entertaining. came across a random person and went into a conversation about a group of nut cases (maybe that's a bit much) who claim that they can live without eating food! what a laugh. i must've missed something but i think it isnt possible, and even if it was, food is something to be enjoyed, no? these people call themselves breatharians (another laugh)

heres a link to a wikipedia article about these crazies.
and a creepy site here


Thursday, October 1

growing up with your eco-web

Last week we were talking about depicting the complexities of time in the ecological interactions of the African sycamore fig tree - its cast of characters changing with the ripening of the fruit.

I just wanted to point out tat Will did just this quite elegantly in his eco-web: from fig tree, the flowering figs, pollinated figs, and fallen fruit! (traced as the green node)

Quite brilliant really, and well constructed too. Click on the graphic to see it more in detail......


I aint say'n 'Ardi's' a gold digga, but...

Oct.1,2009. National Geographic says, "Scientists today announced the discovery of the oldest fossil skeleton of a human ancestor. The find reveals that our forebears underwent a previously unknown stage of evolution more than a million years before Lucy, the iconic early human ancestor specimen that walked the Earth 3.2 million years ago."

The debate over why this amazingly ancient ancestor decided to go biped is an interesting one. And its mainly about sex, money and drugs!!( well not drugs, or money really...) Its the oldest profession in prehistoric times.