What do food and fashion have in common?
I have been thinking a lot about this question lately, and why we are becoming hyper aware about what we eat, and yet remain so unaware about what clothes we don.
How many times have you been asked “where do your [insert produce item here] come from?” with the expectation that you will have a response that involves a local farm or farmers market? More than a few I’m sure. But how many times has someone asked you “where is that pair of jeans from?” and implied that they want to know what country they were made in as opposed to what store you bought them in? Rarely, if ever.
I developed this recipe for Foodie Underground recently and it has quickly become a favorite. It’s quick, easy and healthy.
You can make a classic cheesy version, or you can even do a vegan version with a toasted hazelnut and salt blend. There’s a full story and description over on Foodie Underground if you want it. Otherwise, get to cooking!
I was thrilled to work on a story for Modern Farmer about the link between dirt and well-being. There’s some very interesting research looking at the benefits of microbes in the environment on human health. Here’s an excerpt:
The psychological benefit of nature has been well documented. When it comes to being happy or not, many studies show that psychiatric problems are more common in urban than in rural communities. That makes Lowry’s and Rook’s research interesting, as it gives us a better understanding of exactly why being outside, in a garden or on a farm, makes us feel good.
“People usually assume that the health benefits of exposure to green space are due to exercise. In fact two large studies now demonstrate that although exercise is definitely good for you, it does not explain the beneficial effect of green space,” says Rook. “Contact with microbial biodiversity is looking like the most probable explanation for the green space effect.”
Just like we’re becoming more and more aware of the benefits of foods with microbes (think: fermented foods with probiotics), being around a lot of different microbes from the earth and animals is good for us too. In other words, sterile environments that are too clean aren’t so great for you.
I was even more excited to see that the piece got picked up and discussed by the New York Times.
Now, on to finding a plot of land to get my hands dirty.
Image: jenny downing
It was about a year ago that my first book The Culinary Cyclist came out.
It’s crazy to think that a year has gone by. In fact it’s amazing to think back to when I was writing the book. I remember when the outline first came together, sitting in a cafe in Portland on a work date with a good friend. I had a blank sketchbook with me, which I like to use to write sometimes because the pages are big and blank and I can sketch little drawings as I go along.
I sat and stared at that blank page for a long time, then went to work on something else as I couldn’t get the ideas into place. But then eventually they spilled out onto the paper, and quickly. I scribbled quickly in order to keep up with the pace of my thoughts.
The book unfolded in a way that made me think that maybe I’d always had The Culinary Cyclist in me, that it was just a matter of putting a name and an official project to it in order for it to come out.
Maybe that’s how books are sometimes. The Culinary Cyclist is no work of great literature – it’s a cookbook after all. But the experience has left me with the desire to write more, be it a short story or thoughts on food.
So, happy birthday dear little book, I hope you celebrate with lots of coffee and peanut butter cookies.
What if you were told you couldn’t ride a bicycle?
Would you give up the joy of two wheels or would you accept the risks and pedal anyway?
For women in Afghanistan, riding a bicycle is taboo. But there are women doing it regardless of those taboos and cultural expectations, and their story is inspiring, the topic of the upcoming film Afghan Cycles.
Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities, and not just for the bikes. There’s something about being surrounded by water that just makes me feel at home. You ride along the canals, your bicycle bumping over the occasional cobblestones and you can literally feel the pace of life slowing down.
On a recent weekend trip I made it a mission to track down good coffee (as usual). In fact I was so committed to my mission that half an hour after getting off the train I as sitting at local coffee roaster Headfirst drinking a filter coffee. If you’re committed, you’re committed.
I have been brewing kombucha at home for many years now. Which in turn has made me a bit of a kombucha freak. But this is hat happens when you start fermenting at home. The process is fun and it’s kind of amazing to be able to make your own bubbly, fermented drink with nothing more than tea, sugar and a kombucha mother.