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2008 resolutions from the Ethicureans

Happy new year! We had discussed making some predictions for 2008, as we did last year. But all the ones we could come up with were such buzzkills (raw milk crackdown! even more E. coli outbreaks in beef! a sucky Farm Bill finally passes like a giant kidney stone!) that we decided it might be best to just...

Bake on the wild side: Part 1, the sourdough starter

I love to bake bread. It can be a messy process, requires a lot of patience, and rarely results in bread as good as what Bay Area bread wizards like Acme and Vital Vittles sell at many nearby markets. But that's OK with me — the process is as important as the product. Bread making can be nearly...

Growing into a farmer

Please welcome our newest guest contributor, Rebecca Lay, a farmer in Western Massachusetts. Rebecca works part-time at an independent record label, calls for contra-dances, and also writes for her blog, Tomato Hands. I know the exact moment when I became a farmer. I didn't realize what was happening at the...

Putting up with friends

RSS readers might not display the flashy Pictobrowser slide show below, so click through if you want to see us do the can-can. Yesterday was Labor Day, and Marc, Rachel, and I stocked up like locavorean squirrels for the winter. Well, that's what I thought the plan was. But 8 hours, 50 pounds of tomatoes,...

Cooking off the grid, part 2: A different kind of cookout

After I built the solar oven, it was time to test it. Being an engineer, I wanted to start out with some measurements. My first two tests were as simple as it gets: heating water over the course of a sunny afternoon. To monitor the performance of the oven, I inserted a thermocouple (a device which measures...

Food Bloggers on the Farm in San Francisco

The surroundings of Alemany Farm in San Francisco do not bring forth feelings of pastoral tranquillity. On one side is 12 lanes of high-speed traffic (Interstate 280 and Alemany Blvd), which showers the area with waves of noise. On another side, a large housing complex — a vast space of buildings,...

Cooking off the grid, part 1: Building a solar cooker

A little while ago, I was inspired to reduce my energy consumption in the kitchen by Ed Begley, Jr. Mr. Begley is a well-known environmentalist, the frequent butt of jokes, and an actor who played a supporting role (Stan Sitwell) in Arrested Development, one of the funniest sitcoms in TV history, in my...

Montreal Community Garden Season in full swing

I have made mention several times of my community garden plot, most recently when I made Sorrel Potato Soup from the first growth of sorrel, which is a perennial and returns to the plot each year. I also mentioned that the garden season had a very late start this year due to soil analysis results which...

Montreal Community Gardens Contaminated

By this time last year, I had already cleaned up my community garden plot and sowed my seeds, after laying down a few bags of organic manure bought from a farmer in the Eastern Townships. Here is what my plot looked like the first week of May, 2006. You can see Noshette and my garden partner Marc hard at...

Chocolate is in danger – please help!

My beloved chocolate, whose place in my heart (and stomach) is eclipsed only by the lovely Noshette of the North, is in grave danger. I was alerted to very serious situation by The Center for Food Safety, from which I receive regular alerts via email. You can get yourself on their email list by joining...

Pignorance is not bliss: A weekend making salumi

People who enjoy sausage and respect the law should not watch either being made. That curt assessment is usually attributed to 19th-century statesman Otto von Bismarck, and I can certainly agree with him about the second part. For example, it's hard to see how all the maneuvering and wheeling-and-dealing...

Adding SOLE to your pet’s diet

Man of La Muncha and I are currently "owned" by a small tortoiseshell cat, Ms. Teeth and Claws.  Ms. Claws is our third cat; previous cats included a pretty black and white girl and a large Maine coon cat.  We have loved all our cats, and have always fed them "good" pet foods, figuring that while they cost...

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