Sunday, February 28

teen farmers in chicago

The Green Youth Farm in North Lawndale, Chicago is run by the Chicago Botanic Garden established in 2003.
It is a collaboration with the Lake County Forest Preserve District, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, NeighborSpace and Chicago Public Schools.
Students who are 13 to 18 years old learn the aspects of organic farming and its ecosystem by growing their own food.
They grow, eat and sell organic vegetables to the community.
Wait until it gets warm and visit their farmer's market. It starts in July!


Thursday, February 25

Possum Living

an interesting (albeit a bit old) video about cheap livin'. ( the rest of the series is on Youtube, if you care to view them )

Wednesday, February 24

you could go to jail for protesting GM foods.

i came across this article, and while i feel it will never get passed, even the thought that they are attempting to stiffen an individuals rights to say no to GM foods and products is quite mind blowing. Plane and simple it is unconstitutional, but all the same it is clear to see the big money interests are at play here.

killer citrus disease transported by bugs.

I mentioned this last week in class, and found an article that elaborates further on the issue. I find it absolutely astounding that a tiny creature no larger then an aphid hiding inside a container of curry leaves can possibly take down a citrus industry producing more then a billion dollars a year. see what you think.

Tuesday, February 23

Kentucky Tuna

...that's apparently what they are calling it now! This video clip gives cooking tips and recipes for Asian Carp. Here, as in many places the argument is that if there is a market for eating them, perhaps that will control their populations.

Is it an odd sort of situation where from a biodiversity conversation standpoint ideally these creatures would be unsustainably/overfished!?


Monday, February 22

Permaculture documentary

Here is a 5 part documentary found on youtube. A British farmer learns about permaculture from other local farmers here. I found it really interesting and inspiring. The basic idea is that the natural state of the land is returned to the farm so in the long run less energy is used in many aspects. Cows graze freely, no need to ship food in, farmers needn't labor so much either. There are many How-to documents online also. It sounds really great, I'd love to learn more. (Nina)

Sunday, February 21

The Lives of Squid (a la "Green Porno")

Last week during our discussion of contested ecology of cod, seals, and fisherman in the North Atlantic one other species made an appearance: the squid. One big question was what their role was in accounting for the dynamics among populations of cod in the ocean...but then the squid-topic elusively swam away from us.

Isabella Rosselini's "Green Porno" series has been exploring the lives of creatures for three seasons now, but this last one has featured a bit of a twist by including the human food ecology context for organisms such as the shrimp, anchovy, and squid in here "Bon Appetit" series.

Check them all out, but the SQUID one is particularly interesting in the context of overfishing, ecology, and energy use on a global scale.



Saturday, February 20

Friday, February 19

"Got Milk?" (how exactly do we get it...?)

---Major new outlets are paying attention the the questions of food production like never beofre, and especially the conditions under which most of our food is produced on an industrial scale for the sake of lower cost. CBS News has been running a series, and now ABC News is getting into it as well with this exposé on the treatment of dairy cattle at a farm in upstate New York. (the video is somewhat graphic, so be warned)

The growing awareness of the conditions under which our food is produced and the concerns it raises for food safety, animal welfare, and workers rights (different focuses depending on the reporting) is remarkable, and gives all all a lot to think about more carefully.

The image included here is from the Kids Page of the Tongala Dairy Industry's website called "Golden Cow." (Tongala is in Australia). The image does a good job of illustrating the factory nature of much milk production.

The Kids Page incidentally also has a lot of coloring and word find activities if you want to take a break from making art!


Monday, February 15

Eating our Way to Ecological Conservation? (the Asian Carp)

If you've been paying any attention to the news lately, you've heard of the current panic over the possibility of the invasive Asian Carp infilitrating from the Chicago Shipping Canal into Lake Michigan.

Starting in the Mississippi River, the state of Michigan just sued in federal court to force Illinois to close the canal as a mean to keep the carp out, for fears that once they enter it will completely crash the Great Lakes ecosystem worse than any of invasive in the history the lakes.

Some worry it is simply inevitable. Others are wondering whether perhaps there fight by a culinary means to intervene, at least in part: eat them!

It's unclear that these fast growing and voracious fish are actually that tasty, but chefs are trying to convince us otherwise, at least on a nutritional basis:

"[It has] 70-percent more Omega-3 than in catfish and tilapia," an animated Parola told an assembled crowd at his booth. "No mercury because it's a filter fish."

Parola was talking about the Asian Carp-- a slimy, boney fish that breeds quickly and is widely considered a pest. Parola's message: Eat the carp. Save the Great Lakes."

hmmm... or "mmmm!" (?)

But seriously - this is no doubt one of the most serious ecological challenges to the U.S. currently; the videos below are "must see"

Asian Carp Invasion (Part 1)

Asian Carp Invasion (Part II)

Eating the Asian Carp?

(p.s. among other things, these things are a jumping menace (!) injuring many people every year)


Eating Spiders in Cambodia

I came across this clip while searching for strange foods. I would say i am willing to eat almost anything and everything, but this i am sorry to say does not make my list. Tapping into my fear of spiders watching it brought out a true sense of horror. With some many things we eat they no longer retain their original form, but here the spiders look exactly the same. I will say what i do love is seeing the moment when even a man from the same culture has no interest in eating this delicacy. It makes me wonder about the lost traditions in food as things such as canned goods, and more processed food sources became the norm pushing out traditions in cambodia's culinary history. What do you think, and would you dare to eat this?


USDA Ruling

Hi Andy-
The USDA posted its final ruling regarding access to pasture for organic livestock operations.
Apparently it is a major victory for organic consumers, the integrity of the organic label, and the lives of organic livestock (according to Whole Foods).
The ruling and its explanation is on the USDA website.
The statement mentions something about "finish feeding" and I was wondering if anyone knows what that is?
Have a great week!
Christina S.

Sunday, February 14

Grocery Store Wars

While researching nutritional topics on the web, I came across an intriguing video created by Free Range Studios (a division of the Organic Trade Association), depicting the battle between farm fresh food and the rapidly invading unsustainable and pesticide laden "dark side". From Obi Wan Cannoli to Darth Tater you are sure to enjoy your trip to a supermarket far far away (or perhaps not so far far away)...


ps: A link to Free Range Films' call for submission to their 7th annual film festival!


Friday, February 12

HFCS Battle

Parks and Recreation - Sweetums

Parks and Recreation is a show by some of the same writers as The Office. This episode involves a snack company who wants to sell their "healthy" snacks in the parks. Some of the characters try to convince the town that the snacks are bad for them because of their high amounts of high fructose corn syrup.


rib-bit sushi

Talking to a friend today about the upcoming Chinese New Year, eating chicken feet, eating insects, etc, etc. she pointed me to this video she'd recently seen on the phenomenon of "frog sushi." The consumption of the still-beating frog heart can't help but be a little eyebrow-raising:


A Very Brief Summary of Slow Food


Turning the Tables

I found this article in Good Magazine. It doesn't go very in depth but it gives a nice anecdotal history of the beginning of the Slow Food movement. It has some good statistics in it that relate to the article Andy showed us in class with the images of the fossil fuel consumption of eating meat vs. eating vegetables as well.

Also, here's an interview with the president of Slow Food USA from the same magazine.


Thursday, February 11

Cooking Crocs and others Cold-bloodeds

In thinking about all those crawling things we might call food, the "cons" most also be consider with the "pros"

In this short report they discuss the risks of reptile eating in the context of the global food system (it isn't just beef, pork, and chicken anymore!):

"Some countries use turtles, crocodiles, snakes and lizards as a source of protein in the human food chain. Frozen imported meat from crocodiles, caimans, iguanas and pythons can be found in the EU"

Maybe not surprisingly, freezing and proper cooking is key.

Here is a link to some reptile recipes, fyi.


Wednesday, February 10

for all of you Iron Chef fans

taken from this great food blog:

Michelle Obama appeared on Iron Chef America and challenged contestants to use ingredients from the White House vegetable garden. Mario Batali, known for his hideous orange Crocs, dubbed Michelle's dress "Obamatali Orange."


Monday, February 8

Eating the Six-Legged

A promise is a promise, and I swore to the class last semester I'd eat the giant Thai water bugs I bought at my neighborhood grocery (discussed in originally in this post).

I can't say I was looking forward to this meal per se, but I wasn't too apprehensive either. Being a New England boy, I love shellfish, and so shell-on shrimp, lobsters, and full-bellied clams all taste good to me. How different would this be? So I went with that culinary theme and decided to go with the Deep-Fry option , having it be part of a side dish to my lunch:

Am I feeling squeamish, or focusing with laser-like attention
on my palate? You be the judge

I finished it off with garlic and some curry powder sprinkle to accompany my tofu and shiitake mushrooms.

I have to say, it wasn't at all what I was expecting. The texture was crunchy and a bit scaly (I anticipated that), however the flavor was odd ~ it was like an aromatic blend of banana leaves and something else I can't put my finger on - somewhat nutty, almost like a pungent jasmine, and VERY salty. All that said, I can't say that it was tasty, at least not the way I prepared it, the novice that I am.

One thing I marveled at was the meat inside the thorax, clearly these guys fly a fair bit as their flight muscles were bulky and fleshy the way you see in dragonflies, in fact, you can actually make it out by texture distinctively as meat:

I didn't end up eating every last bit, but gave it a good "college try" as they used to say. Some parts were just a little to chitinous to manage....

For some more entomophagy related posts from the Ecology of Food blog, go here, there, and this one!

A recent post on the a sister SAIC insect blog also highlights some advanced cooking of insects Creole style in New Orleans.


Sunday, February 7

Dan Barber's foie gras parable

Dan Barber's foie gras parable | Video on

I can watch this video over and over, what a great example of serving natures whims and in return receiving her choicest prizes. The world would do well with more innovative and thoughtful farmers like Eduardo who seek out solutions that work with nature to serve our culinary tastes.
Cheers all- Enjoy!

Savannah Cipriano

thinking outside the fridge

I came across Jihyun Ryou's Save Food from the Fridge project, and thought it was pretty awesome.

Her creative shelves explore the options of letting certain foods benefit from each other.

Read her project blog at:

Jocelyn Chow

Saturday, February 6


For those of you who are not comfortable with blood or animals being killed, I would advise you not to watch the following.

Cleo Ngiam

School lunch as a work of art...

Yes, the "culinary arts" involve the nuances of gustatory taste, but visual sensibilities also come into play, especially for some of the most demanding connoisseurs: children.

Picky as can be, parents know anything to make the food go down smoother is worth it. On the other hand, some just love to "jazz it up." Take for example Kai Wilden, the former graphic designer who tricks out his kid's lunchbox with cartoon motifs (pictured here).

To check out a range of his creations, go see this slideshow. Of course, many people are into these fancy box lunches that derive from the Japanese "bento box" tradition - check out a Flickr stream
of them here.


Friday, February 5


Any of you who have had the luck to travel to Japan may now just how obsessed the country is with ramen, that lovely Chinese noodle bowl dish.

This past week the NY Times had a nice and reeeeeally extensive feature of the ramen chops and culture of Tokyo. Imagine entering a shop....

"From then on there is only one sound — the slurping of noodles. Oh, it’s punctuated by the occasional happy hum of a diner chewing pork or guzzling the fat-flecked broth, or even by the faint chatter of the chef’s radio, but it’s the slurps that take center stage, long and loud and enthusiastic, showing appreciation for the chef’s métier even as they cool the noodles down to edible temperature."

The slideshow is mouth watering.


Thursday, February 4

Bluefin tuna ban? Japanese sushi chefs likely to cry.....

A few months back I posted about the apparent failure for European countries to come to any real agreement on addressing the rapidly dwindling (perhaps to soon extinction) blue fin tuna populations of the Mediterranean.

Fished aggressively and largely for the Japan sushi market (supposedly the destination for 80% of the catch which prizes the fatty belly meat), things looked grim last fall as no one (Italy, France, and Spain included) was willing to put even a temporary ban on fishing these creatures in hopes of letting the population rebound.

Now Prince Albert of Monaco (click to see this dashing fellow) is leading the charge, and apparently with some success with moving toward a ban in the near future, as the New York Times reports. Of course the fishing industry is not happy, not even the US industry since bluefin is also found in the Atlantic:

The United States fishing industry is “strongly opposed” to listing the fish under the endangered species convention, said Rich Ruais, executive director of the American Bluefin Tuna Association, who said the trade ban “would create a huge black market.”

“In fact,” he said, “we believe a listing has the possibility of doing more damage than good.”

Which all begs the question of economics. But also the willingness for the fish industry to actually enforce itself.

Of course the question of what sustainable fishing and sustainable fish eating is at the enter of it all. The site Sustainable Sushi is a nice place to explore some of these issues...