Sunday, August 31, 2008

Living Local

My grandfather lived his entire life here in East Lansing, MI. Maybe not the most glamorous place in the world, but a diverse university town nonetheless. He was born here, grew up in a home on the "main drag" [that now houses students], went to Michigan State University, worked just minutes away from his house, bought cars made in Lansing, contributed to local charities, shopped at a locally-owned grocery store, and didn't like to travel more than a few hours away for anything.

These days, "local" is the buzzword on everyone's lips. Local food, mostly. I was thinking about it today while I ate lunch with a friend at the decidedly non-local Panera Bread Co. [I know, I know. There was a gift card involved!]

Friday, August 29, 2008


I think sunsets are over-photographed. It's easy to understand why that is, but I don't think the beauty of a sunset can ever be truly captured in a picture. One thing I love, though, is the way they change moment to moment. Sometimes what looks like it will be a spectacular solar show fizzles out into gray, or a monochromatic sky can suddenly light up and dazzle you.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Why I love FARK.

FARK never ceases to amaze and entertain. But it also does a service to people who might not otherwise hear about odd stories in the news. Tonight's gold came with an intriguing tag: The AFA has set up an online form to send Hallmark hate mail for making same sex marriage greeting cards, what a shame it would be if logical people used it to send Hallmark support mail instead.

Naturally, I did just that.

The American Family Association sets forth a rabid argument against what Hallmark is doing. I actually thought it was pretty funny— oh, the fearmongering!! Seems like American families have better things to worry about these days than people getting married, but maybe not. I mean, the housing crisis will fix itself, right?

They write, Hallmark Greeting Cards has announced it will begin selling same-sex wedding cards, even though same-sex marriage is legal in only two states. The purpose, they say, is to satisfy consumer demand. It appears that their purpose is also to push same-sex marriage. Last year Hallmark began offering "coming out" cards - as in "coming out of the closet" -- a euphemism for announcing homosexuality.

So if you're feeling saucy, send Hallmark a letter. In mine, I basically said that I appreciated that the company was promoting tolerance and that it would certainly influence my decision to buy cards from them in the future.

I just don't understand why, in the world we live in today, these kinds of issues are what people are devoting all their time and energy to. But I guess there will always be people brainwashed to the point of irrelevancy. If they want to be on the receiving end of ridicule, well, that's their choice and the lifestyle they've chosen to live. Too bad idiocy isn't illegal in 48 states.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Emerging From a Hole

I know I talk about food a lot here. Not only do I find it a really interesting subject, but it is also something that affects each and every one of us on a daily basis. Food's important any way you look at it.

For what seems like forever, Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma has been at the top of my list of books to read. Because of school and other activities, I hadn't gotten around to it until this week, when I have been lucky enough to be at my cottage with lots of time to spare. So I read it. I devoured it, really [pun intended]. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down, finishing it in just a few days. I LOVED it.

The kind of funny thing is that nothing in the book particularly surprised me. It made me realize how much I have learned in the last year or so about food, and our "modern" food system, as well as the kind of food system I want to be a part of [local!]. Since I'm in that just-finished-it haze, now I have to recommend it to everyone who hasn't yet read it. I figure, if I made it this far without reading it, there are others like me. Granted, I have read a fair number of Pollan's articles, and he was already pretty much one of my heroes. But now, now, it's official.

I just sent an email to the keeper of a blog titled The Daily Coyote. She posted an email from a reader who had concerns with the ways cows are treated as they enter our food chain. I thought The Omnivore's Dilemma would be a good way for that person, as well as all followers of the blog, to be introduced to the very subject s/he was asking about.

"I read with great interest the email from the person who was torn about their relationship to food, meat especially. In the last year or two I have become quite interested in our food system, trying to eat locally and buy produce and meat, as well as milk, eggs, flour... from farmers whom I can talk to and ascertain the origin of everything that I'm eating.

" . . . I think that even someone who wasn't aware of how our industrial food system works, or how local agriculture benefits us as well as animals and the environment, would find it a really good entry into the subject. Pollan clearly illustrates the complexity of it all, and the difficulty we all face in choosing what is right for us and our lives. It is organized in a way that is approachable and riveting.

"Maybe even if you didn't want to post this on the blog, you could at least direct it on to that specific person? Sounds like they are searching for answers and not quite sure where to start."

Friday, August 08, 2008

I See Food

I've been eating a whole lot of fresh, local food this summer, virtually all of it from farmers at the Allen St. Market. I've also taken on the task of photographing the food as I wander through those lovely Wednesdays.

At the East Lansing Art Fair earlier this summer, I finally found a photographer with a new idea: he framed series of photos. Most of them were baseball stadiums and the like, but he had a couple of food pictures. His method of grouping was by color— radishes, cherries and red peppers, for example, framed in red. I loved the effect and haven't let it leave my mind since then. Now if only I could remember his name!

While I liked the idea of color groupings, and also thoroughly enjoyed a break from the easily "attractive" photos that decorate art fairs, I just like the idea of a "produce study." Food is so beautiful, and yet, for most of us, it's something we take for granted and give nary a thought on any given day.