Anything zuke can do…

Every summer I look forward to each crop coming into its own, and I dream about all the wonderful dishes I'll cook or the preserves I'll make for winter. I'm even learning to appreciate some produce that gets less love than the usual tomatoes and beans and corn: every July, for example, I crave okra and...

Victory Garden update: Finally, everyone’s eating something

Lately we've seen a bumper crop of articles extolling the virtues of gardening. Sure, it's a great way to reduce your food costs at a time when those prices are experiencing rapid growth spurts. But it's more than that: gardens can be environmentally friendly and even (in our dreams, perhaps) politically...

Weed’em and reap

Now that our Victory Gardens are starting to burst with the fruits (and vegetables) of our labors, those of us who have just recovered from the physical exhaustion of planting the crops find there's "no rest for the wicked" — or at least not in regard to weeding. In between rows, interspersed with seedlings...

I can read you like a cook: A review of “Kitchen Literacy”

As the local-food movement broadens and more people find pleasure in shopping at the local farmers markets and/or in growing their own produce, we find more folks 'fessing up to their lack of expertise. How do you know when a fruit or vegetable is ripe? What's the difference between various cuts of meat?...

Victory Garden update: Getting in a few good digs

Memorial Day weekend, though mostly seen as the first taste of summer vacation, also gives us time to reflect on the meaning of patriotism. For those of us who garden, it offers a little of both, especially now that more and more people are viewing their Victory Gardens as a way to save our country and our...

Perfect pinch: Saving pennies by cleaning out the pantry

A little over a year ago, many of us took on the Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge and found ways to minimize our food spending for one week. When I started the challenge, I felt pretty confident that I could stick to the spending limit since I still had an ample supply of frozen and canned local foods as well...

We’re seeding a trend here…

Maybe a collective spring fever is making its way around the Internet, but I've seen and read more about gardens lately than I have in a long time. If you somehow missed the hubbub this past week, Michael Pollan published a piece in last Sunday's New York Times titled "Why Bother?" Addressing the issues of...

If you’re ever in a jam (to clean out the pantry)

As March draws to a close, I start counting the weeks until the farmers market returns. (Ten, thanks.) After a long winter rounded out by a handful of late snowstorms, I'm really looking forward to the first local salad of mixed greens, the first fresh asparagus, and the chance to restock my garlic stash....

An “Unsettling” look at industrial agriculture

The flaws of industrial agriculture and the current backlash against it came into sharp focus a couple of weeks ago, following the death of former Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz, well-known for his exhortations to farmers to "Get big or get out" and to plant from "fence row to fence row." Between the...

Sow what? Planning and starting our Victory Gardens

We've just dug out from a mild winter storm here in northern Ohio (only a few inches of snow, but topped with a thick glaze of ice), and I'm finally able to see the ground emerge from that blanket of cold, frozen precipitation. The weather lately has fueled a number of dreams of sunny, tropical climes where...

Exploring the pastabilities

I love pasta. There's just no getting around that simple fact. Others may avoid carbohydrates like the plague, but I find that a meal isn't quite complete without something a little starchy to hold everything together. An old-fashioned trencherwoman, that's me. And pasta ranks at the top of the list because...

Dancing with the starches

While the winter weather hems and haws, trying to decide whether to leave us alone or slam us with snow and ice, the gardens and the fields here in northern Ohio make it pointedly clear that if you're looking for fresh produce, you'd better be prepared to look long and hard. Most grocers won't have an...

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