Category Archives: Food Activism

Boycott Barilla

Yet again there is another food related foot in mouth incident of bigotry. The food world had just been through the Paula Deen drama.

Now Guido Barilla, of Barilla Pasta has jumped on the anti-gay bandwagon .

You probably have a box of Barilla pasta in your home right now. I did.

Barilla Boycott

Barilla Boycott

From the Independent by Michael Day 

Guido Barilla, whose firm has almost half the Italian pasta market and a quarter of that in the US, told Italy’s La Zanzara radio show last night: “I would never do an advert with a homosexual family…if the gays don’t like it they can go an eat another brand.

“For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company.”

He added: “Everyone has the right to do what they want without disturbing those around them”. But then the pasta magnate upped the ante by attacking gay adoption. “I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose,” he said.

Guido Barilla’s firm has almost half the Italian pasta market and a quarter of that in the US.

When these things come out, I am curious if the anti-gay folks will rally in solidarity and boost the sales of the offending company.

I am not sure Barilla got the memo that politics and business do not mix, especially if you sell a consumer product. Does Barilla really want to loose his gay and gay supporter sales to champion his private believes?

Maybe. He’s rich. What does he care. But his shareholder care, which is why he apologized.

But I don’t buy it. I say let him sit with his believes and own them in the market place.

This is the last box of Barilla pasta I plan to buy.

I’m going to go with my local Michigan Brand Al Dente.

Or why not make your own homemade pasta.

Here is a recipe for Homemade Pasta from openly gay pastry chef David Lebovitz

Homemade Pasta

Homemade Pasta from http://www.davidlebovitz.com

Homemade Pasta Dough from http://www.davidlebovitz.com

1 1/2 pounds (665g) – 4 servings

7 ounces (200g) all-purpose flour
7 ounces (200g) coarse semolina
or 14 ounces (400g) flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Mix together the flour and semolina in the bowl of a stand mixer, or mix them up and create a mound on the counter top with a crater in the center. If using a stand mixer, add the eggs to the dough and mix them together with the paddle or dough hook until well mixed. On the counter top, crack the eggs into the center of the flour and semolina. Use your fingers to gradually draw the dry ingredients into the center, mixing them with the eggs. The dough will be hard to mix at first – a pastry scraper will help you draw it all together – but eventually it will come together and be relatively smooth.

Knead the dough with the heel of your hand for at least three minutes until the dough is very smooth. The dough should not feel sticky. If it sticks to your fingers, knead in a small amount of flour, just enough so your fingers come away clean when you pull them away. Wrap the dough and let it sit at room temperature for an hour.

(You can keep the dough for several hours at room temperature.

Shaping the pasta:

To roll out the pasta, on a lightly floured surface, cut the dough into six or eight pieces. Working one piece at a time, fashion each piece into a rough rectangle, then pass it through your pasta machine on the widest setting (usually #1). Fold dough in half or in thirds and pass it through again. Then fold and pass it through one more time.

Continue passing the pasta through the machine, closing down the opening of the rollers a few notches with each pass (and dusting them very lightly with flour or semolina if the dough is sticking) until you’ve reached the desired thickness. Then, if you wish to make fettuccine or spaghetti, use the pasta cutter attachment to cut the sheets into the desired thickness, or cut the pasta by hand on the counter top with a chef’s knife to whatever size strands or shapes you want.

Once rolled, fresh pasta should be dusted with semolina (preferably) or flour to keep it from sticking if you’re not going to cook it right away. You can lay it on a semolina- or flour-dusted baking sheet or linen kitchen towel, until ready to boil. Or drape it over a suspended rolling pin or pasta drying rack until ready to use.

Cook for 2-3 minutes in boiling water.

Ground Tomatoes

Ann Arbor Food

Ground Tomatoes

I was at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market yesterday getting my fix of my favorite salsa from Nightshade Army Industries. I bought four jars, 3 red 1 green and Stefanie threw in a bag of ground cherry tomatoes.

The have a paper like husk wrapper like tomatillos, but are sweeter and are better raw.

They are sweet and fun to eat because of the wrappers, which makes them a fun party food.

Some say they have an almost tomato cross with a mango flavor. I think they have more of a sweet tomato with an sun dried tomato flavor.

They are my new thing. I try to try new vegetables each year. Last year was amaranth stem.

Nightshade Army Industries Salsa: Get Yourself Some

YPSI Salsa

YPSI Salsa

I was at the Ypsilanti Farmers Market yesterday, and I picked up some great salsa. In fact it is the only salsa I every want. It is by Nightshade Army Industries and it is made locally. They grow the tomatoes and peppers and they process the salsa at Beezy’s Cafe.They feature classic red and green and hot sauce and chilly vinegar. It reminds me of Southwest Style, the kind of salsa I loved in New Mexico.

Their partnership with Beezy’s Cafe makes this possible. In order for Nightshade to make their salsa, they need access to a commercial certified kitchen. These kitchen are everywhere. Every restaurant,cafe, or deli has one, but the are hard to come by.

Nightshade comes in after hours to make their salsa. I thought how many other local food products could we have if we could take advantage of a handful of kitchens after hours. What a huge untapped resource.

Think about all of that extra squash/pumpkin in your garden. That can be turned into pie filling. Or that apple tree in the back yard could make for a large batch of apple butter. Or how about small batch pickles, frozen dessert, or any number of food products that take advantage of local food, flavors and creativity.

Nightshade Army Industries does not just make great salsa, they are true local food heroes.

Go get yourself some.

 

Roasted Potatoes

Ann Arbor Food Potato Harvest

Long after the garden has been put to bed, there are POTATOES.

Above is a picture of some of the potatoes a grew this year, this crazy garden year. It is almost Dec and I am still enjoying my garden.

Ann Arbor Food Pan Roasted Potatoes

Ann Arbor Food Pan Roasted Potatoes

Looking at my potatoes and preparing my standard recipe pan of simple roasted, I wondered about looking into other potato recipes.

Emily asked why.

Why indeed. I can eat roasted potatoes for the rest of my life and not want for any other potato.

Here is my recipe:

1) Wash and rinse as many potatoes as you feel like. (for my that is about 5 pounds)
2) cut them into about 1 inch size pieces.
3) Place in a pan one layer deep (get as many pans as you need. I usually make two pans for leftovers)
4) drizzle some oliver oil on them
5) shake on some salt and dried thyme or rosemary or both

And bake in a 400 degree oven until they are done (45-60 minutes-ish)

Taste and add more salt if desired.

I use yukon gold and red potatoes. I grew red Pontiac and yukon gold this year.

Enjoy

 

Local Food: Tell a Friend

I am a big fan of local food.

I picked up my Thanksgiving Turkey this year from the farm it was raised. And the pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cranberries, eggs and corn meal in the meal were all local.

With that said, I really, really want to see the local food movement grow.

But do Local Food Eaters really want it to grow?

I have been thinking about that lately and part of me thinks NO.

The reason I say this is because I question the incentive for individual local food eaters to bring more people into the fold.

Are local food eater like myself telling friends, increasing our numbers, dragging reluctent friends to the farmers market?

A few years back, I belonged to a food club that offered raw milk. The club was kind of secretive, and I got the feeling that most in the club wanted to keep it that way.

More local food eaters means more competition for the limited supply of locally produced food.

Would the good nature local food eater (myself included) feel OK when they can’t get into a CSA, or they can’t get local eggs, or they get shut out of a community garden plot, or if there is a wait list for chicken when it once was easy to get?

Promoting local food feels like shooting ourself in the foot.

It’s like telling everyone about our favorite restaurant, which results in us never getting a table.

The incentive to not share in our good thing is strong.

But this mentality has a risk because we need more local food eaters.

Without more local food eaters, the movement is sunk because more local food eaters means more local farmers and larger/more farmers markets to meet demand, more local food restaurant, more prepped food products and more access all around for locally produced grown food.

There currently is not enough farmers market shoppers in my town to buy up the current farm production.

There are simply more food shoppers shopping some where else then from local farmers at the farmers market.

So perhaps the current group of local food folks have little to worry about, but that is my point here.

I feel that local food eaters and the movement enjoys the current size of the local food movement and I am one of them, I have to admit.

There is plenty of local food for us now, but not if our numbers grew.

Indeed local food access has grown. It is easier to eat more locally (in some areas). And without the work of local food advocates for years, the current folks like myself who enjoy access to local food would not be able to enjoy their local Thanksgiving.

But I do feel that the movement is vulnerable to stall because of an inclussive and hoarding mentality.

What I say, eventhough it may be shooting ourselves in the foot in the short run, is to tell a friend about local food. Get more folks to eat more locally.

This means dragging your friends to the farmers market until they become regulars, and then not complaining when it gets hard to get some of your local food items.

Be patient supply will grow to meet the increased demand and that is better for all of us.

Should you have a garden to support local food or just buy local food

I have been into the local food thing for a few years now.

It feels good, but I have to wonder if my efforts are making a difference or if they are largely symbolic.

Is there a better way to go about it?

My thoughts take me to my garden this year. I had a huge garden, which unlike other years produced a small yield for the space/time spent.

Most years, I grow so much that I cannot eat it all nor do I have the time to cook what I can eat. I have tried to grow foods that stores longer as a result.

But I end up giving a lot away if I can. I never plan for the excess, so my donation effort is pretty random and not very efficent.

In recent years, I find that I am growing more flowers instead of food to avoid the excess. At least the bees are happy, which is kind of a big deal too.

This year however, the hot weather destroyed my Spring crops. The grass burried my smaller crops regardless of long hours weeding. And the late start of the garden left me with no yield for my sweet potatoes.

With that said, I discovered that even extremely split cabbage still tastes good and flowering arugula tastes great too, which I had figured it to be done for. So maybe my yield was a little better then I thought.

I did not do the farmers market with my sprouts and bake goods this year, so I found myself as a shopper instead of vendor.

As a shopper, I noticed that I found that my garden competed with the market vendors. Instead of buying their produce, I had my own in my garden (sort of).

I never thought about it until this year, but did having my own garden make sense on a local food movement level?

Would both I, and the vendors (and the local food movement) be better served if I did not grow a garden, but instead bought from a local farmer instead?

I don’t have the exact numbers, but a garden can be a costly endeavor. There is the community garden rental, the cost of adding nutrition to the soil and then there are the plants and seeds, equipment/tools, plant supports (tomato cages) and fencing, not to mention the garden time.

I am not sure how much I spend in a given year, but it must be a few hundred dollars unless I found crazy good deals or started my own seedlings.

If you are willing to get your plants in late, you can find great end of seedling season deals at the farmers market.

Which again begs the questions, do farmers selling seedlings at the farmers market compete against themselves by promoting home gardens?

I figure that gardeners are the same customers who shop at the market, and they end up buying less because they bought seedlings.

I guess it ends up being a matter of timing because farmers end up having seasonal produce available before the gardener has theirs, but eventually they catch up with each other.

All of this has me second guessing my garden.

Of course, not all gardeners grow enough and many farmers market shoppers do not gardener at all.

Part of me thinks that at least on a local food movement level that I should still grow a garden, but I am starting to think about growing a high yield, low labor, low cost donation garden if I want to push local food to donate.

And that buying from a local farmer would make more sense.

Is the local food movement about growing more local food as efficently as possible and getting that food to more local mouths?

Are we simply playing a numbers game?

To a large extent, I think it is.

When I go to the farmers market, I still see tables of produce left at the end of the day.

If the local food movement is so big and growing, wouldn’t there be a run on local food with every vendor selling out?

After all only a small presentage of the food produced and consumed in any given area is local.

So it stands to reason that if the local food movement is so big given the huge amount of media dedicated to it, we would hear about fights over the last cartoon of eggs and shoving matches at farmers markets over a bunch of kale.

I could be wrong here, but it looks like the local food movement is having a hard time creating a demand for the current yield of food that is being produced let alone pushing for larger growth.

At least that is what it looks like at the farmers market.

The local food movement needs more mouths I figure reagrdless if I have a garden or not.

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

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