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Everything posted by tanabutler

  1. I'm just going to piggyback here a little and ask: how far is Philly by train from NYC? How much would it cost to get there? I might have a couple of holes in my upcoming trip, and just wondered. I've never been there, and I know it's a cool place as long as you're not wearing the wrong team colors.
  2. It's weird to admit, as though I've done something wrong, but I did nurse my daughter that long. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," was my retort to my mother-in-law who would drawl, "Don't you THINK it's about TIME you weaned her?"Well, she was the most secure child I ever knew (still is), but I sure as heck never whipped out my boob in a restaurant. Of course, in Santa Cruz, that wouldn't have raised too many eyebrows.
  3. Wow. I'm not sure what to even say to this. So if walmart customers were skinnier and they had better lighting, the business practices would be less of an issue. Sorry, I hate walmart too but this is sort of offensive. ← Hey, I am overweight, but this isn't about THAT. She was just the embodiment of Jabba the Hutt. Some people are fat and they don't look fat. Some people look heavy and dark. She did. Very dark in the eyes, especially.
  4. I read that article too, I think, and I can't find it either. Here's a similar article, though. ← Did the article you saw have a photo of the zillion cows, with a shot of the Horizon cartoon logo cow, saying, "This is probably the only happy cow here"? Something like that? It was a filthy place, like the stockyards on I-5 that you can smell ten miles away in the summertime.
  5. I am very very afraid...of the people who don't realize how bad WalMart is. I stopped at one in American Canyon on my way to Napa last week...what an ugly hellhole. I did this deliberately, knowing I was entering a temple of evil, a place that destroys local economies. When I tell you I left screaming, believe me. It was filled with the most dronelike people, wandering blank-eyed down the aisles. Even though it was lit with charming fluorescent lighting, it appeared dark in there. I got in line behind a waddling woman with the worst case of biscuit poisoning I've ever seen. In an eerie déjà vu to the day before, she wanted to purchase gift cards. I was in a bit of a rush, and had only one item to pay cash for. (If I'd known she was going to take so long, I easily could have beat her lumbering butt to the cashier's stand, but I was being nice. Big mistake.) I said to the cashier, "I only have this one thing. Could I give her the cash and you ring it up with her stuff, so I can get out of here?" I was so polite, of course! Old ladies love me. The woman's fat face screwed up tightly, and she whined/hissed, "I don't want to do that!!!" I was absolutely dumbstruck. I said (and I have no shame about this, so don't try to make me feel bad!): "OH MY GOD, YOU HORRIBLE, MEAN OLD WOMAN! NO WONDER PEOPLE THINK WALMART IS SO EVIL! ACK!" and the cashier kind of stupidly mumbled (she might have had a lobotomy), "You c'n go over there and do the self-serve register if you wanna." Yes, I wanted to. That nasty old cow probably thinks she is a pious woman, but I'm here to tell you that WalMart f-r-e-a-k-e-d me out. So yes, avoid WalMart like the plague. It really is a horrible place with bad business practices, and I wish I could find the link to the terrible story I read about Horizon. I won't buy their milk anymore, but get my organic milk from other sources.
  6. LocalHarvest.org is your best source for all things related to farms, farmers market, organic/sustainable foodstuffs, and more. Just plug in your zip code. It's a national database with an amazing wealth of information.
  7. Well, thank goodness I finally made my way over here, to investigate your own "labor of love," Chef. Your thoroughness and care are extraordinary. Your sense of place is palpable, and your language is evocative. I have never had this kind of food, I don't think -- or if I have, it wasn't memorable. I am very much looking forward for an opportunity to try it, though I think I lack the courage to try it without a net, not knowing what it's supposed to taste like. I hope we can break bread together one day soon. Thank you for all this amazing hard work.
  8. How stoked am I? The food editor of a newspaper saw my blog and interviewed me about at length this week. It was a great interview, and she asked really good questions like these: • Have you always been a food person? (Short answer: No.) • What changed you? (Short answer: Maria, my neighbor when I was 19, who was such an amazing gardener and cook that she makes Martha look inept.) • Which blogs do you like most, and why? (They're starred on my blog. Short answer: they have to have good photography to make my greatest hits. I'm shallow that way. I won't read or stay at a blog with ugly photographs.) • What do you have in mind when you visit blogs? (Short answer: I just want to see what simpatico people are up to. I'll likely never meet Keiko, whose photographs are just gorgeous, but I love knowing that she devotes so much time to her beautiful creations: both cooking and the photographs.) • How did you choose farms? (Duh.) • How are the farmers responding to what you're doing? (They're throwing tomatoes at me...heh.) I had little preparation in the questions, but I believe I did well being interviewed, because I think about my work--and the greater context of it--all the time. I don't know when the piece is coming out, or if I will be folded in with other "food" bloggers or not. (I still don't really think of myself as a "food blogger.") Blogging is truly a devotion.
  9. Cool, Charles, and I couldn't agree more. Having photographed farms, farmers, and farmers markets for about five years now, I find that the farmers I know are some of the most interesting, thoughtful, and well-educated people I've ever known. They do what they do because they care so much, so I have yet to meet an apathetic or complacent farmer, either. I suspect you know exactly what I'm talking about. I am really looking forward to getting back East soon and meeting some of the farmers I know only by name in your neck of the woods. Next week, I'm going to New York, New Jersey, and possibly Vermont and New Hampshire to see what's up there. It would be so great if, instead of knowing who the stupid celebrity du jour is, or the latest sordid murder on national news, if people knew their local farmers and sang their praises. You might want to invest in a wheelbarrow. When the farmers find out that you're promoting them, they'll send you home with stuff. (Hint: show up at the end of the day and rent a forklift. ) Right on, dude.
  10. Farms grow food. Food feeds people. Agriculture is responsible for many things, including wine grapes, cacao beans, coffee beans, tea, and so on. But I don't consider a vineyard a farm, at least not for the definition I have been using when I tell people that I photograph and write about small farms. I don't consider winemakers farmers, even if they're farming morning, noon, and night. The issues that winemakers face are not related to the issues that farmers with CSAs, farmers markets, and so on, have to face. That is undeniable. Farmers, to me (and probably to most people), are people who are feeding the world. And while I love wine, it is a luxury item...does a $90 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon have the same meaning or identity or purpose that a CSA box, filled with fruits, vegetables does? Nope. But anyone can believe anything they want to. Suit yourselves! Just don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.
  11. Chardgirl, I was really hoping to see y'all mentioned in that USA Today article. Your newsletter is surely one of the best being produced, not only for the recipes (yay) but for the stories Andy tells, and the guest writers you include. How long have you been doing it now? I just want to add praise for LocalHarvest.org, which is VERY local to ChardGirl and me. The interface is very attractive and user-friendly, and I have recommended that site easily a thousand times in the years since I found out about it. I hope to write about its founder, Guillermo Payet, on my farm blog soon. He is a native of Peru who now lives in Santa Cruz. NOTE: even if you don't belong to their CSA, you can sign up for the Two Small Farms newsletter, produced by Chardgirl et al, via this website: free newsletter. It arrives in your in-box, and it's not only a delicious read, but it's entertaining. I've been on the list, though not a member of the CSA, for years. (Apologetic note: I don't cook regularly enough, or for enough people, to belong to a CSA. Instead, I go to the farmers market twice a week or so and "spread the love around," buying from four or five farmers. But I love CSAs, and I love reading about what people do with their loot.)
  12. "Everyone" in restaurants isn't taking notes and photos, Robyn. And there is always someone to be offended by someone else, in this world, it seems. I was being sarcastic when I said I'm shameless, as I don't think that what I do is shameful in any regard. Nor do I didn't let it bother me too much if someone at the next table is acting umphy. I'm as discreet as I can be, and if there's a camera on the table, BFD. No one compelled to read all the reports and blogs that people are creating, are they? The Moleskine (pronounced "mol-a-skeen'-a"--it has nothing to do with the skin of moles) pocket journal I linked to upthread is a really nice size, and the paper is delicious. However I confess to being a stationery and pen junkie. They're wonderful little books with a great history among artists and writers, and I love when people recognize them.
  13. Happily, I am shameless. I carry around a mini Moleskine journal (Moleskine ruled pocket journals--they come in sets of 3) with me, and I will write during the course of my meal. A few times I've asked waiters to write down the name of a wine or dish, and they graciously do so. Recently this resulted in several comped tastes of wines by a waiter who just enjoyed how into the meal I was. He not only brought wines to match the courses, but wrote their names in my little book. I have a mini-tripod for tabletops (it's about 5" tall, with flexi-legs), and have become unselfconscious about photographing food without a flash (WITHOUT. A. FLASH.) because I just don't care what someone at the next table thinks. The camera is noticeable if you're the sort of person to notice what people at the next table are doing--but since I don't make a big deal about it, and only spend a few moments with it during the course of a meal, I can't imagine it would really bother someone else. But that same scenario with a flash? I'd be irritated. I'm very low-key about the whole thing, and I think people are more used to folks having cameras and pens in restaurants now, because there are so many travelers who not only keep journals, but who share their reports online at various travel or food sites. Much is in your attitude, I think. If I look like I'm working, maybe it's because I'm working. There are ways to be invisible, but you have to learn how that's done.
  14. tanabutler

    Dinner! 2005

    Heh, this is like, "What did you make for dinner?" "Reservations!"Me, too! What I didn't make for dinner was the chef's tasting at Manresa. Yum, yum, and how the chef got me to love foie gras is an ongoing saga with multiple happy endings. (Ending when the fork lands in my mouth, that is.)
  15. I worked for years photographing people who go to the farm dinners...I am quite serious when I say that dozens, if not hundreds, seemed surprised to see food that had dirt on it. I am quite certain that some of them had never gotten their shoes dusty in their lives, and equally certain that many had never set foot in a garden.So I like your idea (no surprise, considing the subject of my new blog, in tagline below). I would not have hesitated to tell the children myself to stop torturing the fish. That's what "it takes a village to raise a child" means. It's up to all adults to model good behavior, and if the parents take offense, it's because clueless people hate having their faults brought to the light. Sorry you suffered, and good for you for sharing the story.
  16. "Pretty" can more more than one thing. A lack of typos and the proper use of apostrophes are beautiful to me, as is clean and intelligent writing. In that regard, your blog rocks, as you are informed, passionate, and knowledgeable. Also, your voice is pretty clear. Mine has to be "pretty" because that's what I'm selling: the beauty of the farms, and the people who spend their lives creating something truly useful on this ailing planet. Your blog rocks, Badthings.
  17. tanabutler

    Dinner! 2005

    Baked salmon here (wild Pacific salmon's back in season!) with a maple-chipotle glaze; baby carrots steamed/tossed in unsalted butter with kosher flake salt and ground pepper; and simple white jasmine rice. A nice spring dinner after a lovely spring day.
  18. I noticed the same thing. And that this question has been asked five times now. How did it taste? What was delightful? What was aromatic--was anything on its own aromatic, or did you have to pierce something for the smells to waft up to you?
  19. NOTE: those are not "metal dowels" piercing that piece of raw ginger. I believe those are acupuncture needles. If they are not, they are surely intended to be, though I've never seen them pierce flesh and come out the other side. At least not on my supine body. And if they aren't, he should tell everyone that they are, as that would be a sublime visual joke that wouldn't be lost on me. Very clever indeed.
  20. One really great point that David Leite (hallowed be his name) made in his Q & A is that his constant journaling improved his writing. I don't add to my blog (nice word, huh? Sounds like you're puking, doesn't it?) every day, but I would bet I easily write a thousand words a day in personal communiqués, posts at various online communities, and in e-mails pertinent to the details of my work. My beautiful handwriting has suffered, but I type like a demon now, so there's another added benefit to writing daily. One other way to improve your own writing is to read good writers. You will eventually internalize them, if you read enough, and I believe that their voices inside you will come to be informative and perhaps instructive. I experienced this for the first time after immersing myself in Steinbeck for a few months in my early twenties. One day I noticed that I could hear his voice reading to me in my head. It was a bit miraculous and wonderful. I've never forgotten it. I've no idea if it was actually his voice, of course, but who needs to know that? It worked.
  21. Completely believable. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. From the article, which is titled "Cooking Books Like a Gourmet": [Moderator's note: The citation from the SF Chronicle article was shortened to bring it within the guidelines of our fair use policy. We expect all members to abide by our policy.]
  22. 16 in 4 countries ← Matthew, come on over and I'll buy you champagne at Manresa.
  23. Some things I believe about blogging: you need to establish a niche, otherwise you're just another person with a keyboard and some opinions. There are literally hundreds of food blogs online, and very few have substantial audiences. They vary in focus from fine dining to pastry baking. My blog about farms is unique, which helps me enormously. The only thing that distinguishes a blog is its quality. Either a blogger better know how to write, or know how to take gorgeous photographs (and preferably both, honestly) or they are wasting everyone's time. The best and most popular blogs have established themselves as having unique content and a nice presentation. I see some of the photographs of baking projects (for example) and I just wilt. Touregsand, if your husband is intending to blog to establish his own identity as a professional writer, and wants to protect his material from re-use before he's had a chance to sell it himself, I would suggest using a free blog site rather than eGullet, which has as part of its user agreement that any content you post—photos or writing—is also theirs to use as they wish. (Blogger.com and Blogspot.com are, I think, free. I use Typepad because it has some features I appreciate, not the least of which is the customizable design.) If he just wants to share his stuff in an ongoing fashion for the fun of it, he could use eG, and it wouldn't necessarily get locked. The locked blogs are those who were officially tapped as a weekly blog. Other threads remain open, because they are not intended for a limited time. Examples of this kind of blog are Melissa McKinney's story about her Portland, Oregon, bakery (which made Food and Wine magazine this month, by the way) and Snowangel's thread about her cabin. I know there are others, but those are two that stand out to me as being long stories with big audiences. Lastly, the point being made that having a blog demonstrates your ability to write is, of course, indisputable. As a professional copywriter and former newspaper columnist, I do not think that having a blog beats getting into print. Blogging is nice for me, as I can design the whole thing, and I do not have an Editor Scissorhands© botching my work and adding typos (e.g., "Earl Gray tea") to my writing. Ooooh, baby, there's nothing like seeing your name in print on a by-line.
  24. I had the pleasure of introducing my hostess in San Diego to the Hillcrest farmers market yesterday. She bought an enormous amount of produce and fish. To wit: Smoked salmon Wild line-caught salmon Smoked scallops Kale Beets A mess of baby greens Several heads of lettuce Pixie tangerines Loquats Strawberries Avocados Sweet peas Assortment of mushrooms Baby squash Zucchini blossoms An appetizer combo of artichoke hearts, buffalo mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red bell peppers She'd never been and now she's a 100% convert. Yay! Best of all, there are markets six days a week all over San Diego County.
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