These measures will make a start, but there is so much antibiotic overuse that I fear we may be in for a tough time. Either the body adapts and finds a way to resist the bugs, or we find new drugs to combat them. I would vote for restoring the natural balance. A tough sell for sure.
Thanks for the thoughtful review. I am in the process of reading this book and finding parts of it more tedious than I’d hoped. Some of it is redundant (if you’ve read all his books you know what I mean) but other parts are enthralling. Yes, we are already the choir - I also agree that the microbiome is a fascinating subject worthy of further exploration. This book won’t change anything in my house - I already make Tartine loaves, yogurt, pickles, and braising is my favorite winter style of cookery (Molly Stevens book is well worn...) But I hope that it will inspire others to get in the kitchen and discover the rewards to be had.
Love this! It perfectly describes my approach to food - ever evolving and changing in terms of ingredients, cultures, techniques. It makes for a much more interesting life, though friends are often disappointed in not getting a favorite dish served more than once!
I am always happy to share recipes - very few are terribly original anyway as I troll many blogs and sites collecting them, and of course rely on a bunch of published books as well. I also share streamlining tips and variations. But I am not a professional recipe creator. I can understand the hesitation if one were trying to sell a cookbook (although giving out a recipe or two would be good publicity I’d think.) Only in the case of it taking away from potential income does it seem remotely reasonable to deny a recipe. As for leaving things out...bah! Get out of the sandbox!
At Just Food's CSA in NYC conference last Sunday Cheryl Rogowski, the famous black dirt onion farmer, spoke of the soil: of it being an integral part of who she is. It’s in the air she breathes, supports her body in space, provides sustenance. She spoke of her love of digging in it and watching things grow strong, herself included. She quoted someone (I didn’t quite get the reference) who said that the main problem with New Yorkers is they do not have that connection to the soil - that we live in concrete and are thus deprived of its magical properties.
I have lived in this city all my life and I can tell you that there is some soil to be found. But her point is well taken. I would not run my hands through the dirt of Riverside Park that has been shared by too many dogs, nor do I see my vegetables growing in Strauss Park. But early in the spring you can walk in Riverside or Central Park after a rain and smell mother earth. There is something very primal about those first sweet smells of spring, before the crab apple and cherry trees bloom, when it is just the smell of the good earth getting ready for another cycle of life.
Membership in a CSA in New York helps connect us to the land through the produce we will consume and also through the farm visits most CSAs promote. The farmers are delighted to show us city folk how food grows and I hope members take advantage of this. And closer to home, there is the Queens Farm Museum, an interactive farm that demonstrates how food grows and is a lovely way to spend a spring afternoon.
Last weekend we had unusually warm weather and I could smell the soil beginning to wake up. I think that particular scent, more than the temperature, is what incites spring fever in me and I’ve had my first dose. I am longing for the next whiff of soil as much as the first spring greens.
Yesterday was Mom’s birthday and we had plans - a movie at 3:30, then back to my apartment for dinner and another movie at home (she had received “The Dark Knight” but wanted to watch it on a larger screen than her TV.) Given the activities, plus knowing I had to clean the house for her visit (she is allergic to cats and I have 2) I realized I had to cook in advance. My eye traveled up the shelves and lit on the crockpot. I don’t use it very often but thought this a perfect excuse.
The current issue of Real Simple has a Spicy Braised Beef recipe in it for a crockpot and I decided to give it a try. As usual, I did the recipe as printed (I always try to do that the first time) and just put all the ingredients into the crockpot without any browning of the meat. It included sweet potatoes, red onion, dried apricots, cumin, ginger, cayenne, a large can of plum tomatoes and a bit of water. It smelled divine when we returned from the movie. Then I added some chickpeas (left over from the weekend’s falafel making), and baby spinach, turned the machine off and waited 10 minutes or so while I made some couscous and salad. Top the plate with some chopped almonds and voila! An easy meal and tasty. And leftovers for at least two more meals.
If I do this recipe again I will brown the meat first as I think it really does make a difference. I will also add garlic and perhaps some ground coriander in the spice mix. But the flavors were nice and bright and the texture was good - adding the chickpeas and spinach at the end and topping with nuts helps elevate this from the usual mushy consistency that the crockpot can deliver.
I am a big fan of braising in the winter and am not quite sure why I don’t use the crockpot more often. Especially on a weeknight. And the cleanup is quick and easy as well. Perhaps I should move it to a lower shelf. To be continued...
I just fed a sourdough starter which has been resting in the fridge for weeks. One more feeding and it should be ready to use. I made a dark bread over the weekend, but wasn’t entirely happy with the result. Am still making adjustments to old recipes in order to use sourdough starter rather than yeast. We haven’t bought a commercial loaf of bread in months! And it really doesn’t take a lot of time if you use a KitchenAid (or processor) to do the heavy work.
At any rate, I am planning to make whole wheat blueberry muffins using a cup of starter as well as a whole grain bread dough. I find bread making to be a soothing activity in the winter. And by hand kneading the dough it qualifies as exercise when it is too cold to be outdoors.
A father’s legacy
The vegetarian-cooking pioneer
Barbecue, tamales, cocktails, and more
Good on everything