Month: February 2012

swede heart

Consider, if you will, the rutabaga. I never really have, aside from the fact that it is one of my favorite things to say. When I was a tot, my mother gave me Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories, a deeply weird collection of fables with names like “How They Bring Back the Village of Cream Puffs When the Wind Blows It Away,” and since then “rutabaga” has been in my top 10. It’s an excellent word. You can say it like a thug from Brooklyn, or with a little tonsil trill like a Swedish soprano might, or use it as a growling expletive, or a very effective courtside cheer for almost any sport. I have done all of these and more, but the rutabaga is not something I have ever really gotten involved with as a food. In fact, I have created a PR problem for it in my house, because whenever anyone asks suspiciously what I will be foisting on them for dinner (I made guacamole out of peas once–just once!–and my reputation has never …


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photo: thompson-finch farm Considering our revolutionary beginnings as a nation, it’s kind of appalling how quickly we turn grassroots movements into Astroturf. Any idea that catches on like wildfire is pretty likely to become merchandised, franchised and sanitized until it’s ready for its close-up. But I have my fingers crossed for the Occupiers that they don’t get an ice cream flavor or cable channel. This is not only because the Slow Food, sustainable farming, local foodshed, food justice and environmental movements (my All-Star Team) have linked up with them, but then again maybe it is. It’s pretty exciting to me, this Big Idea that it is all one issue–that fixing the food problems is not peripheral or secondary or frivolous but fundamentally connected to everything that caused the eruption of frustration into action. If you’d like to read something beautiful and motivating about the very simple things you can do right now to start your own ripple of action, go see Alana. She nails it. My own ripple started this morning in the freezer. Lately, …



No food! I made four things in the last two days, not counting some highly medicinal spinach with garlic and lemon that was universally craved after an unpleasant flight home, and all four were flops. I cooked and cooked as dinnertime approached tonight, and still began to feel we were heading for a pizza. I was right. I seem to have forgotten how to cook, so I am going to distract you (and me) with other things. Last night I had the occasion to yap to someone about the John Irving book A Prayer For Owen Meany. It is not unusual to hear me spouting off about some book or another, either in a rah-rah fashion or more of a poo-poo, but I am especially passionate about this one (rah-rah), because it sustained me through a period of agitated and interminable waiting many years ago. I was stuck in a location I very badly wanted to leave, and could not get a flight out of for 18 hours, and had no desire or ability to …