Thursday, June 28, 2007

sustainable, fish?

For many years, eating fish has seemed like a no brainer: it's "healthy" and abundant. It turns out that factory raised fish is unhealthy (ever seen photos? they are as ghoulish as the photos of factory farm chickens and beef), and that many wild fish are being overharvested. It's hard to know which fish are sustainable and which are not. A few quick fixes for lack of knowledge/understanding include:

1. Go to the Monterey Aquarium's Seafood Watch site. I myself picked up a nifty wallet-sized guide to carry around with me as I shop and eat out.

2. Check out Slow Food USA's most recent issue of the Snail, all about this topic.

3. Read the book "The End of the Line: How Overfishing is Changing the World and What we Eat," by Charles Clover.

4. Read this recent NY Time Editorial: and think twice about how and how much sushi you are eating. Fashionable, yes. Sustainable, no.

red hook ballfields follow-up

In response to my panicked message to the city about opening up the food contracts at the ballfields to bidding, I received the following (a somewhat reassuring response):

Dear Constituent:

Thank you for your email regarding the food vendors at Red Hook Park in Brooklyn.

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation has been issuing "Temporary Use Authorizations" to two separate groups to operate a food market at the ballfields in Red Hook Park. We began the process a few years ago in an effort to legalize the vendors at Red Hook, helping them become a permanent fixture in the neighborhood, and the park users have benefited from their presence. They enhance and diversify the Red Hook neighborhood, and particularly our ballfields, by serving great food at reasonable prices. Unfortunately, once it became clear that the Red Hook markets would regularly be open for more than 29 days a year, we could no longer legally renew their temporary permits without opening up the concession to the public solicitation process.

I would, however, like to correct a common misperception that we are offering the site to the "highest bidder." In order to comply with the concession regulations in the New York City Charter, we will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP). This will allow Parks to evaluate proposals based on qualitative criteria such as operating experience and planned operations. We plan on releasing a RFP shortly for the operation of vending markets at the various ballfields at Red Hook Park; the term of the license will be six years. This process will give the selected vendors the permanence and regularity that they deserve.

We have received positive feedback regarding the Red Hook vending markets and we look forward to the active participation of the existing vending groups at Red Hook in the proposal process.

I appreciate your taking the time to write.


Adrian Benepe

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


It's been a long while since I've posted a recipe--a sure sign that it's been a long while since I've cooked a meal. This past weekend I finally got around to entertaining and made use of several recipes torn out from magazines, and recipes stored in the nooks of my brain. From start to finish the meal was full of brand new things, including this cous cous salad which I made up based on a delicious version I had in North Carolina:

Lemony Green Cous Cous

1 cup cous cous
1 1/4 cups water
3 lemons
olive oil
whatever greens you have handy (I had green garlic, spinach and arugula)

Finely chop green garlic and cut arugula and spinach into ribbons (we call this "chiffonade")
Put cous cous in a bowl
Boil water and pur it over cous cous
Cover the cous cous and let sit for five minutes
Remove cover and fluff with fork
Add a few glugs olve oil, the juice of all your lemons, salt and pepper to taste
Toss in all chopped greens

So easy, and so good!