For Labor Day: Farmworkers’ Rights Still in the Toilet

Cross-posted from the TEDxFruitvale blog. (Why? Read this.) Today is Labor Day, a time when most Americans think of barbecues and Mondays off, not so much the people who picked the potatoes in that salad and the peaches in the cobbler, or who slaughtered and processed the steer that became that hamburger....

The Ethicurean lives! An update, in which I come out of my corporate closet

Tap, tap. Is this thing on? Does it still work? Wait, let me clear away the cobwebs from the microphone. Is that better? Can you hear me now? All five of you? (Hi mom! Hi Jack!) What readers remain may have wondered when someone was going to put this blog out of its misery. I certainly have. Unfortunately,...

For when you Karo too much: In honor of MLK, Jr. Day, my great-grandmother’s pecan pie recipe

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a big fan of pie, supposedly. (Who isn't?) A few years ago, Austin, Tex. artist Luanne Stovall was baking a buttermilk one in honor of the civil-rights activist and decided to turn sharing it into a vehicle for peace and reconciliation on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Now, she...

Massive gingerbread house recall a reminder that food safety starts in the gut

Grist (where I am the food editor) just got a late entry to our Scariest Food of 2010 contest: Gingerbread houses. Not because you can break a tooth on some of these hard-as-drywall sugar shacks, but because if you snacked on one bought at a Whole Foods in 23 states, you might be doubled over right now with...

Thanks, Jevons paradox! On why I won’t be replacing my spare fridge

A few weeks ago, my spare side-by-side fridge/freezer up and died. I was (and remain) pissed about this. It's a fancy-pants Samsung, about four years old, and the Sears repair guy said the compressor would cost $800 to fix -- 75% of what the fridge was new. "Samsung's great for TVs, crap for fridges," he...

An artisanal plea from a fed-up foodie

When you find me behind bars, locked up for a fit of lexical rage, please know that it was granola that pushed me over the edge. Not just any granola: "artisan granola." Presumably its makers meant artisanal granola, made in limited quantities using traditional methods, rather than crunchy-buttery-nutty...

Grow vacancies: Gene Fredericks is thinking inside the city’s big box

They're the bane of urban and suburban areas alike: the vacant, boarded-up K-Marts and Home Depot Expos, squatting like concrete cowpies amidst a landscape of weedy parking lots. But where most people see blight and a waste of space, San Francisco Bay Area entrepreneur Gene Fredericks sees opportunity: to...

Cooking outside my comfort zone, Part 2: Fresh chickpeas

Last week, I vowed to escape my farmers market rut and cook outside my comfort zone in honor of National Farmers Market Week Aug 1-7. Farmers markets are spreading like (edible) weeds around the country. There were 5,279 as of 2009 by the USDA's count, up 13 percent from the previous year. The new figures...

Cooking outside my comfort zone, pt. 1: A remembrance of squash blossoms past

In honor of Farmers Market Week next week, I vowed here to get out of my market rut and cook outside my comfort zone. That's how I came to be picking up these beautiful squash blossoms on impulse at the Berkeley, Calif. Farmers market on Saturday. Squash blossoms, or fiori di zucca as they are called in...

Cook outside your comfort zone in honor of National Farmers Market Week

It's the height of summer, and the tables of farmers markets around the country are overflowing with firm-fleshed, scarlet tomatoes; bunches of fragrant basil; and -- depending on where you live -- juicy stone fruits, avocados, and more. Such bounty makes it easy to celebrate National Farmers Market Week...

Chicken expert Gail Damerow answers newbie questions

Cluck, cluck, cluck. Bwaak! These are not sounds I expect to hear on a stroll in my North Oakland, Calif. neighborhood -- the usual soundtrack is more like thumping bass, sirens, and the rattle of fast-food paper bags. And yet chickens are pecking in backyards on practically every block, in converted sheds...

Q&A with John Scharffenberger: First wine, then chocolate, and now … tofu?

Before founding the chocolate company for which he became famous, John Scharffenberger made California sparkling wine. In both cases, he was one of the first Americans to find success in what had been a European-dominated market niche. (Fun fact: Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev used his bubbly to toast...

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