Jump to content

caroline

participating member
  • Content count

    475
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://www.rachellaudan.com

Profile Information

  • Location
    Guanajuato and Mexico City, Mexico
  1. GM Crops in the UK & EU

    Hi John, Sorry for the incredibly long lapse of time before this reply. I was confined to bed (lovely old fashioned phrase) for nearly a month and am only now struggling back to consciousness. I could not agree more that many Mexican intellectuals, perhaps most, are concerned about GM crops. I hear it in seminars at the National University all the time. The question, though, is what to make of that. Most Mexico City intellectuals (though I am sure not your friend Amado Ramirez) know about as much about either the peasant cultivation of maize or about modern plant breeding as the average reader of Michael Pollan's articles in the NY Times. That is to say, nothing. They hear the same rumors as their American and European equivalents and they are also constantly and understandably looking over their shoulders at aggressive moves from the 10,000 pound gorilla to the north of the border. But the net result is that in general I trust their opinions on this about as much as I trust those of a (say) jazz player in New York or a (say) editorial writer in a European newspaper. That is, not much. Sure the companies are not in business for humanitarian reasons. Most NGOs and governments in the last generation have got out of the business leaving it to the businesses. They could get back in if they wished. But yes the primary business of businesses is profit. I think I am less worried than you are about farmers buying seed. When I was a child, my family who farmed a considerable acreage in England, always bought their seed. It was just better than anything they could replant. In fact they grew crops explicitly to be sold as seed, a high margin, high risk business. And that was back in the Dark Ages more or less. Improved seed is great. I mean how many gardeners don't buy much of their seed for exactly this reason? You may find one that does really well on your soil. Nor is it clear that (say) GM maize (which is not grown for human consumption in Mexico) competes well with land races of maize if left to themselves. GM is developed for reducing costs of fertilizer, pesticide etc in the US. Landraces probably out perform them for properties such as drought resistance, poor soils, etc. And it's worth remembering that the biodiversity of maize fluctuates constantly, maize being an entirely man made and highly malleable plant. And perhaps you could be a tad more specific about the sustainable maize practices. I've spent a good bit of time chatting with campesinos with just a few acres. Right now the economics don't work out as you can see from the results of this informal interview. I want all these people to be able to eat meat from time to time, send their kids to school, and have a car and a television. Utopian perhaps, All best, Rachel
  2. There really aren't any at the moment. Ruth Alegria who posts here quite often is hoping to offer them in the future but at the moment does not have a kitchen. Try her tours though. They're the real thing. Rachel
  3. GM Crops in the UK & EU

    Well, sure, any action we take in life, whether adopting a new technology, a new wife, a new president, a walk down the street, or posting on eGullet, is going to have unanticipated results and unintended consequences. So that leaves us with a choice of inaction or taking what seems to be the best action given our limited knowledge in the full realization that some unintended consequences will ensue. So I'd be hesitant about using this as an argument against GM though it seems to have wide currency. Rachel ← It depends on what the potential may be for the unintended consequences and the likelihood of them happening. It also depends on the potential benefits and the likelihood of them happening. I have yet to see anything to indicate that GM of plants is beneficial to anything other than the companies doing the GM. Meanwhile, the potential negative consequences are disastrous. I think encouraging biodiversity makes more sense on many levels. ← Well, until now the benefits are clearly not to the consumer in the rich world because the technologies were designed to reduce costs to the farmer. Food is so cheap in the US that improvement in productivity, however desirable from the farmer's point of view, is not perceived by the consumer. But their potential for helping farmers in other parts of the world, particularly Africa, seems to me enormous and one of the most promising ways of lifting people out of poverty. I'm not at all sure what the potentially disastrous negative consequences of action are. I do believe though that the potentially negative consequences of inaction are huge. I'm all for encouraging biodiversity too. But I'm not sure how this translates into better crops for poor farmers. Perhaps I'm missing something.
  4. GM Crops in the UK & EU

    Well, sure, any action we take in life, whether adopting a new technology, a new wife, a new president, a walk down the street, or posting on eGullet, is going to have unanticipated results and unintended consequences. So that leaves us with a choice of inaction or taking what seems to be the best action given our limited knowledge in the full realization that some unintended consequences will ensue. So I'd be hesitant about using this as an argument against GM though it seems to have wide currency. Rachel
  5. Jeez, I rushed to my book case and yes I have a pristine 1997 edition. I am going to wrap it in cotton wool. I don't see how there can be a difference in content. Same publisher, same number of pages, Rachel
  6. Fine Devotay. Just pm me whenever you want. I'm happy to chat in private or in public. But since Slow Food has such visibility, I'd prefer public since in my book any institution--culinary or not--with wide visibility should be subject to criticism and scrutiny. Rachel
  7. Well, at the risk of, of what I'll have to wait and see, let me put in my two cents' worth. Like everyone else I was enthused when Slow Food first came along. What I know of what many convivia are up to sounds pretty good. But, and that's what this is leading up to, I was asked to write a lengthy review of Petrini's boook, Slow Food. As I tried to sort out what Petrini was arguing for in that book, I found I liked it less and less. Because Slow Food has attracted so much attention, I felt it important to work out why I was unhappy with the distance between the rhetoric and reality. This, of course, says nothing about all the thousands of people associated with Slow Food, just about the argument of the book itself. So if anyone is the faintest bit interested in plowing through fifteen or twenty pages in which I try to sort out my ideas, here's the link. A warning though. It was for an academic journal, Food, Culture and Society (which has some pretty interesting articles though truth in advertising means that I have to fess up to being on the editorial board). In the early stages, this was designed by an eager beaver young designer so that the first page looks black and all the pages are long and thin and impossible to scan well. No references to Bourdieu in my review though. I'm not one for academic language. http://www.rachellaudan.com/wp-content/upl...food-review.pdf All the best, Rachel
  8. Just saw this thread and thought I'd jump in since no one from Hawaii seems to be doing so. Pupu is widely used for snacks/appetizers in the islands and has been for some time. For example, a book published in 1986, called Pupus to the Max full of esoteric humor about the food that Locals (that is people born and raised in Hawaii) eat, could assume that its title stood as shorthand for Local Food (as opposed, say, to mainland food, Hawaiian food, Chinese food, etc). Heavy pupus is a technical term for snacks sufficient to make a meal. It is common to be invited for heavy pupus which would be likely to include Local favorites such as poke, sushi, sashimi, spam wontons, teri anything. Locals in Hawaii however do not eat flaming pupu platters. Rachel
  9. Making Fresh Masa

    Thanks Steve and Gautam, This is all very interesting and I'm going to have to print it out and absorb it all. Just off the top of my head, there are some terrible grindstones being sold in Mexico now too. Just concrete painted black and terrible for the health. But more when I've mulled all this over. Rachel
  10. Making Fresh Masa

    Thanks to both of you. Very informative and thought provoking. I've made a note that it should be an Ultrapride I buy. It does seem that the texture of masa and other doughs is different from the batters of South India. All very puzzling. I am dying to get my hands on an Indian grindstone but have not been able to find any in the United States. Any ideas? Steve, I'm looking forward to seeing you on Thursday, Rachel
  11. Making Fresh Masa

    I've had an Indian wet grinder on my list for the next time I'm in the US so I'd love to hear more about their prowess or not with maize. I'm not sure why maize would be heavier. We are talking about wet maize here. Steve, are you saying that it was when you prepared the nixtamal in a certain way that you got a good masa? ie that it was the nixtamalization not the grinding that made the difference? Rachel
  12. I'm not sure Steve. When I saw Ricardo in February he was full of gloom about writing cookbooks and foodbooks in Mexico since all of his are out of print. Rachel
  13. Culinary Guides

    If you go to Mexico City, try contacting Ruth Alegria who posts on eGullet sometimes. She will do you a great personalized tour. http://www.mexicosoulandessence.com/ Rachel
  14. Mayan Mole

    And may I gently suggest that there are other possibilities not yet mentioned about the origin of mole, particularly of the classic mole poblano, namely that it owes more to Spain or rather al-Andalus than it does to the prehispanic tradition in the Americas. This has been discussed before on eGullet. Or you can find my articles on the subject as well as a lot of subsequent clarification, if you go to my blog and look at the page on the history of Mexican food and if you click "Mole and the like" in the categories section. www.rachellaudan.com Cheers, Rachel
  15. Mayan Mole

    And may I gently suggest that there are other possibilities not yet mentioned about the origin of mole, particularly of the classic mole poblano, namely that it owes more to Spain or rather al-Andalus than it does to the prehispanic tradition in the Americas. This has been discussed before on eGullet. Or you can find my articles on the subject as well as a lot of subsequent clarification, if you go to my blog and look at the page on the history of Mexican food and if you click "Mole and the like" in the categories section. www.rachellaudan.com Cheers, Rachel
×