Home, cooking, articles re: food and farming

I tell you, I think the glory days of air travel are truly gone forever. Gawd, it's just an exercise in frustration-management now. I have, in all honesty, never seen it take so long to board AND deplane a flight as I did on ours today. Mary, mother of god. When we landed at DCA, it took quite some time to open the door and then, as if everyone had been so stupefied by the wait that they were rendered catatonic, the first 20 rows of passengers trudged off at a truly glacial pace. T and I were positively flummoxed. I mean, do some folks enjoy being smooshed like sardines into an airless, stale-smelling box that's racing across the clouds? It was confounding, and you just should have seen the line for cabs. Mamma mia, I do think DCA was trying to set a Guinness record. In any case, we finally got home, shared eager hugs all around with the boys, got them tucked into bed, and I started in on dinner. Our main will be collard and cheese pasties from the batch I made last week, and I'm making a side of pomegranate-molasses roasted carrots a la Melissa Clark and am sure they'll be spectacular.

Over the past week, I've read a handful of interesting articles regarding the state of food and farming today. As the Farm Bill languishes impotently, small-scale farmers, environmentalists and others are pushing ahead with their own agendas of producing food in a more sustainable way. Though this has been evolving proudly over the past decade, more is being written about the future of food. Are our current farming practices endurable? Will Big Food and its seemingly endless coffers manage to continue buying off and lying to government and the public? What changes can we make, should we make, must we make, and on what grounds? So, some food for thought on a Sunday evening...

This first piece, by Mark Bittman, is about California's Central Valley, a vast expanse of rich farmland which produces a majority amount of the produce we eat -one mega-farm, Bolthouse, grows an estimated 85% of the carrots Americans consume; the Central Valley is the largest supplier of canned tomatoes in the world; and so forth- but which we are exploiting in ever severe ways.

Also by Mark Bittman, is this article about how simple and beneficial -economically and healthwise- it'd be to vastly diminish the enormous amount of pesticides we use today in industrial farming.

And as you might know of my complete and at-times-consuming passion for buffalo-milk mozzarella, this piece on just how difficult it is to produce it here in the States is really interesting. The buffalo are so majestic, and I love that making cheese from their milk is considered a feat no less impossible than capturing the Great White Whale (Sam Anderson's imagery, not mine).

And finally, not least because our dinner is nearly ready, this piece from Grist will remind you, yet again, of just one of the reasons why you just do NOT want to eat factory-farmed beef.