i almost forgot about iowa. how could i?

commodity prices are already sky-high, and things took a turn for the worst last weekend when the midwest was flooded. tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated from their homes. the cost of corn rose about $7 a bushel for the first time (says nytimes.com) and the price of soybeans is up too. with the flooding destroying people's homes and farms, the consumer can only expect another rise in prices of those commodities. less supply, same demand = higher prices.

and people are without homes, and food. in the united states. more than a million acres of cornland have been washed out. again, we don't just use that corn for eating. it's in the gasoline, and that's already expensive.

corn is the heart of the food chain.

for more information on the iowa floods and corn, this article is pretty good. but, sad.

no one eats them?

imagine: i was sitting at dfw airport on monday, waiting for my plane, watching cnn, which was reporting on the salmonella-tomato debacle. almost 400 people were sickened in 27 states and the fda has no idea how this happened, or from where the bacteria came. and the woman sitting next to me turns to her boyfriend/husband/male person and says, "well, no one eats tomatoes anyhow." i really thought that she was making an attempt at irony, but they launched into this conversation about how it's not that many people, no one eats tomatoes, only one person is dead. blahblahblahblahblah

it's a lot of people. and we've had a variety of "tainted" foods with the bush administration. the beef and meat by-products that went to the school kids and elderly? the spinach? it's madness. how can we trust anything? and it's food. it's supposed to be safe and edible and good for you.

and the food and drug administration gives us this incredible information:

“We may not ultimately know the farm where these came from,” Dr. David Acheson, the agency’s associate commissioner for foods, told reporters in a conference call. “Some trace-backs that we thought were looking pretty good have been falling apart.”The tainted tomatoes were probably grown in Mexico or central or southern Florida, Dr. Acheson said. The agency is looking for the genetic fingerprint of the rare strain of salmonella responsible for the illnesses, tracing the tomatoes back through the supply chain.

Dr. Robert Tauxe of the disease centers said the process would require “finding someone who not only remembers what they had to eat and where they ate it, but someone who doesn’t have tomatoes more than once a day.” Dr. Tauxe added, “We do not think the outbreak is over.”

well, luckily, "no one eats tomatoes anyhow."



dear avocado, i love you. you are delicious and perfect.
u-turn loves you, too.


blake's updated luann platter includes green vegetables. he's so grown up.
well, we ate the luby's dinner, 10 of us (mostly texan). apparently the fried chicken tasted like it was actually from luby's. i wouldn't know about that, but i did fry it myself.

here's what we ate; the food with the asterisk (*) were actual luby's recipes.
fried chicken*
macaroni and cheese*
mashed potatoes
steamed broccoli
jalapeno cornbread*
cloverleaf rolls*
salad, with the ever-present iceberg lettuce
sweet tea
blackberry and peach pie
icebox pie*

there was also pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie, and a lot of ice cream, whipped cream, and cool whip. i am not sure i have ever had this much processed food in my house at one time. luby's calls for a lot of dry milk powder. and that mac and cheese calls for american cheese, which was a shopping disaster in and of itself. let's just say that i bought the one with the most milk and milk products, not the ones with oil and corn syrup.

before and after of the chicken:

pre-made pie shells have all sorts of things in them that i would prefer not to eat; the word "hydrogenated" appears immediately in the ingredient list. i went to the fairway and bought organic ones by wholly wholesome. you can also get them gluten-free, spelt, or whole-wheat.

when you buy pre-made pie shells, you get two shells. i figured that meant i needed to make 2 pies. i cut up 4 peaches and i pint of blackberries, mixed it with 1/4 cup sugar and approximately 1 tbsp of flour. i added ginger and cinnamon, mixed it all together, and put it in the pie shell. it looked like this:
i cooked it at 350, stirring it every now and again for close to an hour, i think. it was a hit.

i also bought a box of saltines, but i have no idea why. thank god they last forever; apparently they will survive a nuclear attack. i feel so prepared.


corn, and other commodities.

so most of you know that i am obsessed with corn. or really, the industry of corn.

it's insane that corn rules the US in terms of agricultural policy. rules the farm bill, the subsidies. with the cost of oil continuing to rise, much of the land we use to grow things has been converted to grow mostly non-edible corn, to be used for high-fructose corn syrup and ethanol. other foods, aside from soybeans really, have fallen to the wayside. we still need those goods, but there is less of them. in addition, weather (from the recent midwest rains to the cyclone in Myanmar) has destroyed many of the crops on which we rely. food is expensive. there have been riots all over the world.

the government should have listened to me. i've been saying all along that growing food we can't eat is bad policy.

read more here. the new york times did a whole series on the food industry, called "the food chain." it's really well done; it touches on a lot of issues. they seem to be the only ones talking about it--not the broadcast media, or the presidential candidates, damn it.


sunny weather = sun tea.

sarah's mom made sun tea when we were little and i always thought it was so cool. (my mom also made a lot of tea, but it was inside.) so, i made some on saturday. i left it on the fire escape all day so that it got pretty strong. it's orange roiboos. it's actually much better as iced tea, as far as i'm concerned.

lunch for kids.

since i have been home for lunch this last week, i've realized that my favorite lunches are reminiscent of the lunches i ate as a kid. my mother was a super lunch-maker. there was the year of (i think) 4th grade when she made me shishkabobs almost every day. obviously, these weren't grilled with lamb and put in my lunch bag, but a straw with cheese and vegetables on it. (i was gearing up for my conversion to vegetarianism, it seems.) but they were so good. and she often wrote me a note. she's really so good at being a mom.

i love grilled cheese sandwiches. with tomato. but they can be pretty unhealthy. so this one has the cheese and the tomato but no butter with which to grill it. i put it in the pan and flipped it over and over on medium heat and the cheese melted and it was tasty.

of course i ate it with chips. and some cherries and carrots. all favorites.

grrrr. growler.

some of you might have heard that we now have a growler. it's a 64 oz. jug that we use to transport beer. there is a story and history to the name and practice. why, you ask? we no longer have "beer waste," bottles for recycling. we take our growler to the bowery whole foods beer room and they fill it up with one of their lovely brews on tap. really, there are all kinds (some local, some organic). and they change them regularly so you don't get stuck in a beer rut. yum. and better for the earth.


more on luby's.

ok, so i didn't think this would turn into two posts.
1. a co-worker of mine allowed me to copy pages from her luby's cookbook last year. i have never made any of the recipes before. they just might give me a heart attack and make my house smell like grease for years. blake has suggested that we have a luby's night. i promise to let you know the outcome of the madness.
2. luby's has excellent macaroni and cheese. yes, you can feel your heart stop a little. in 1998 or so, i nominated it in the houston press "best of" food awards; it was a write-in, and it won!
3. there is nothing organic or healthy about luby's. it just reminds me of my childhood.

permutations on the luann platter.

some background here.
1. growing up in texas, we went to luby's quite a bit. it was blake's favorite place. (he's apparently the star of this blog.) he would order the luann platter with fried chicken and double mashed potatoes. (it's a half order of meat and 2 vegetables.) the character, luanne platter, in king of the hill, is named for this dish. it's one of my favorite tv shows. ever.
2. right before thanksgiving, fox aired the following episode of king of the hill. it's so good: includes honest discussion about food and the food industrial complex, has just the right about of "bobby" in the episode (because usually those are the funniest), and makes fun of both members-only food co-ops and big box stores.
3. this episode is so good that i showed it to my students on the wednesday before thanksgiving break. they seem to think that only texans like king of the hill. as if we control the fox network.

EDIT, june 17: here's the link for the episode. it's called "raise the steaks." i think hulu took it off my website or something. you can still see it on their site, though.


it's so good.

sometimes your meal is so tasty, you have to take a picture. this was my memorial day breakfast. i {heart} fried eggs. i know they aren't the healthiest, but i use only one egg and a bit of safflower oil. i also love black beans with onions at breakfast. rounding off this loveliness is flax-sunflower bread from the farmer's market and a mix of apricots, strawberries, and apples.
oh, the coffee cup is from maggie moo's. blake worked there in high school. i use it almost every morning. i alternate with his mug from the movie, "office space." apparently, i don't have my own coffee cups. blake doesn't even drink coffee.

sheep. baaah.

a few weeks ago, i was shopping in the farmer's market in union square. i love it there. it's madness on saturdays, but i am really into buying locally-grown/raised foods. it seems ridiculous to use so much energy on shipping the foods, especially if we can get them from upstate. most of the apples we eat are imported from elsewhere, even though new york grows many, many varieties. insane.

i bought some sheep's milk ricotta. sheep's milk is milkier, it seems. creamier in flavor. i wish i could remember the farm i bought it from, but, well, i can't. i had to use it quickly, and i had been promising blake ravioli ever since last time. i was much more patient with the process, and rolled the dough out smoother. they were much prettier; i made a sauce using del monte organic tomato sauce as a base (there are coupons on the cans these days!) and added green bell peppers, onions, garlic, and spices. we put some chunks of fresh mozzarella on top. tasty.


yes, you can.

those scones. i tweaked the recipe again. strawberries were way too expensive, so i used defrosted frozen peaches. and put a sprinkle of turbinado sugar on top. yum.


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