Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Grown & Cooked in Detroit

Here I am in Detroit. In a really tall, very odd hotel with a sick view of Canada and its Caesar's Palace, taunting us with their Canadian gambling and free healthcare and whatnot.

Lots of inspiring stories here, people all over the country bringing kids into gardens and changing their lives in one way or another. And it sure makes me think of a line from a poem by my favorite poet, Mary Oliver: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Any way I wrote some of it up on the Slow Food USA blog, here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Layer of fat

"But I thought you were philosophically opposed to cleanses," Julie wrote to me, in an email yesterday. "It's true," I wrote back, "I am." WTF then? Why did I spend two days in agony, carb-less, sugar-less, caffeine-less, alcohol-less, meat-less and dairy-less?

Here's where it went awry:
1. I saw Gwyneth Paltrow on "The Marriage Ref," and suddenly after years of indifference, I swooned. Look at her amazing body! And that shiny blond hair! And the effortless, upper-crust charm! I went to her oft-mocked web site, GOOP, and decided I should do like Gwyneth and do a cleanse to rid myself of my winter layer of fat (n.b. on pork belly and short ribs, THIS IS THE BEST PART).

2. I had been traveling for work a fair amount and had a few too many airport meals, some of which consistent of double-wide packs of peanut M & Ms, one of the on-board snacks you can purchase on a Delta flight. I felt full of sugar and I hate how much I love sugar, how it rules me.

What I learned:

1. Everything I already knew. Exercise in extremes are a disaster.
3. Sometimes 5 ibuprofen are not enough.
4. Starting the day with a cool glass of lemon water is a delight! I will continue this.
5. Grandaisy Bakery's raisin walnut roll is AMAZING, and not just because I hadn't eaten carbs in 2.5 days. The crust is perfect, and I believe it has fresh ground peppercorns in it. Zing!
6. This kale salad is wonderful. I ate it two days running for lunch and I have no regrets! Inspired by a recipe on Eat Drink Better.

1 Cup uncooked quinoa
3 Stalks of kale
1 small Cucumber, peeled and diced
1/4 Cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 avocado, diced
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 lemon's worth of lemon juice
1 Tbsp rice vinegar

Cook quinoa according to instructions on box or bag
Meanwhile, get rid of the thick stalk on the kale, and roughly chop the leaves
Toss them with the cucumber, the lemon juice and the vinegar
Then add cooled quinoa. Then sesame seeds and pine nuts. Mix to coat.
Then put diced avocado on top and sprinkle with sea salt

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Growing Power

Last week, I attended the WK Kellogg Foundation Food & Community conference in Phoenix AZ. What a chance to see the major players in the movement, and to understand who we are--in our samenesses and differences--and where we're going.

Fast forward to my plane ride home, via Detroit. In first class, the President of the foundation. Two rows behind me, in coach, Malik Yakini, head of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. In other rows, lots of other Detroit-based food and community-growing hoi polloi. Next to me, a young woman from another Detroit urban farming program called Greening of Detroit. It's her second flight ever, the first being the one out to the conference. When the plane makes strange noises she turns to me, open and sweet, asking: "is that normal?"

Turbulence begins, worsens. Before I know it I have grabbed the sizable girl next to me and burrowed my face in her upper arm. Feeling pathetic I think about how I am 20 years older than she is, and how I have been on hundreds of flights in my lifetime. Quaking, fearful, I realize how much power there is in that plane--the future of the food movement (esp the local Detroit food movement) hung in the balance. I felt confident the world wasn't ready to lose all of them, that the plane just had to make it to Detroit safely, and so gradually let go of my death grip on the shoulder of the girl next to me.
* * * * *
Speaking of growing and speaking of power, adios to another friend from work. Julia heads off to be an intern at Growing Power in Chicago, a rather hot shit thing to do.

I myself am growing seedlings (can you see them in the picture above?) with the help of my fairy greenmother, Cerise. These are sungold tomatoes, before I culled out 1/3 of the sprouts. With handholding. When they're sturdy enough they'll go out on the fire escape so the cats can't eat them. The eating part will be for me.