Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!


I hope you get lots of candy, especially large Reeses Pieces Peanut Butter cups.  They’re the best. Unless you like apples or nuts or other healthy stuff.  Then I hope you get lots of those.

Stay tuned for a big announcement tomorrow!


October 26, 2011

On Grießbrei and Cream of Wheat

This post originally launched April 18, 2008. I bring it back today because we’re going back into fall, but also because I finally have a recipe to share with you.  See the notes below, and enjoy!  This breakfast is perfect as the weather cools, and a great alternative to oatmeal.  

Cream of Wheat or Grießbrei?

I go through stages of preferred breakfast foods. Last year, in Radeberg, I ate cream of wheat (Ger. Grießbrei) every day for breakfast. I’ve never had a recipe for it. It’s the first thing I learned to make on the stove. In kindergarten I spent half days at school, and for lunch my mom and I would cook a pot of cream of wheat, as even with sugar and cinnamon it’s considered a verifiable lunch food in Germany. I remember my mother teaching me to stir constantly and all over the bottom of the pot to prevent anything from burning. It was the first culinary technique I mastered, and I had it down pat before I was six.

October 24, 2011

Occupy: Food

Sarah Khan, founder and director of The Tasting Cultures Foundation, has made a fascinating short video of the food tent at Occupy Wall Street.  Things that jumped out at me were:

  • their concern for food safety (a local school has donated cold storage space, they only prepare simple foods like sandwiches and salads on the premises, and they serve fresh foods right away, with rubber gloves – yay!)
  • the speed and regularity of donations – every ten minutes!
  • the massive amounts of coolers – woah
  • All. Those. Vegetables!!!
  • Compost!
  • the cardboard sign: “Please keep clean, neat and organized so we can work” – every kitchen serving lots of people needs to abide by the tenets of clean, neat, and organized – kudos to the kitchen activists at Occupy Wall Street!

[vimeo w=400&h=225]

Honestly, this looks like somewhat-organized-chaos.  But really, what kitchen isn’t (okay, besides Thomas Keller’s)?  What’s so cool is how many people are coming together to fuel the movement.  Occupy Wall Street is proving that a kitchen can be anywhere, even in the middle of a social protest in a public park in one of the world’s largest cities.

Mark Bittman linked on twitter today to Michele Simon’s blog post on what to do after Food Day is over (by the way, did you know today is the first annual Food Day? Well, it is!) by arguing that we should all join the Occupy movement, because after all a lot of the problems in our food system are due to the corporate take-over of the food system.  Hm.  I guess so, but it’s hard to say that the Occupy movement is about abolishing the corporate world – it sounds like to me it’s more about reigning in corporate power.  And if that’s what Simon is saying about Food Day activists joining the Occupy movement in order to reign in corporate power on the food system, then by all means – yes please!  I’d love to see vertical integration disappear, or at least be turned into something sustainable for our resources, the farmers at the bottom of the heap, and the consumers – not only the “Big Ag” companies.

What do you think? How are Occupy movements in your area fueling themselves?

October 16, 2011

Frankfurter Kranz: A Celebration Cake

Last week, a coworker returned from maternity leave.  I had missed her – the office is just not as fun without her around. Now she’s coming back and doing TWO jobs – in addition to her work in our office, she and her husband are now raising a beautiful little girl.  I got excited when when she returned – often, we have going away parties for people who leave the office, but we rarely get the chance to welcome them back.  This was a cause for celebration.  A chance to eat cake.  And I knew exactly what cake I wanted to make to welcome her back.

When I was little, my Oma would make the most amazing cake.  It was a three-layer white cake, with a creamy frosting and candied hazelnuts on top.  It was baked in a Ringform to shape it like a wreath.  It was beautiful and delicious, and although my immediate family’s traditional birthday cake was carrot with cream cheese frosting, I always tried to get my parents to bake this cake for me.

A Frankfurter Kranz.

“Tried to get my parents to bake this cake” is the operative phrase.  My parents were always hesitant.  “It’s a lot of work,” my dad would say.  Nevertheless, I remember at least one birthday at which I had a Frankfurter Kranz.

October 5, 2011

On Community Gardens, Meat, and the Power of Knowledge

A few years ago I read a book called My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki.  The novel follows a documentary filmmaker, Jane Takagi-Little, who is hired by the American beef industry to create a show for Japanese housewives called “My American Wife.”  She travels the United States and films women cooking with meat (the producers tell her to keep in mind while choosing material that “Pork is Possible, but Beef is Best!”).  However, as Jane gets more involved in the project, she gets more concerned about the product she’s selling to Japan, and starts investigating.  She researches how the animals are raised, the antibiotics used, the slaughtering process.  Needless to say, it is not a pretty picture.  And although this is a novel, the research Ozeki did was based on current practices in the US meat industry.

Growing up, I always thought veal was the only animal that wasn’t humanely raised.  As it turns out, in some cases veal can actually be raised humanely and that chicken, beef, and pork are just as inhumanely raised as traditional veal.  Basically, there is no winning.  Other than knowing where your food comes from.