King Arthur’s sword!

Today I, distant (possible) relative of the famed king of England, removed the Excalibur from it’s box! Box??



Ah, um yes. In this case what I have is not so much a sword, but a Food Dehydrator! I think an army is supposed to run on it’s stomach anyway, right?

I am totally stoked to get this thing working, and I’m lining up some projects right now.


80,000 pounds of walnuts??

In case you missed the wierd news this morning, someone has lifted a total of 80,000 lbs of wlanuts from California. I’m not sure how this “nut-case” is going to fence the goods, but I’m sure gona check my sources before buying nuts again!

Tradition by any other name, would be just as old

What is Traditional Food? (Thanks Abigail C for this question)

I have heard traditional food defined a number of different ways, but one fairly common idea is that traditional food is the food your great, great, grandmother would have cooked.

In the question, two seemingly opposite extremes were mentioned: the great ethnic cuisine, and Pizza. As it happens, both could be considered “traditional”. The Nourishing Traditions cookbook (my reference for traditional foods) has a recipe for Pizza on page 523, as well as many recipes with a more ethnic flair. I think the big distinction between traditional food and the deplorable modern junk, has to do with the amount of processing/purification food undergoes before it is eaten. The core idea is that traditionally, people ate a lot more whole food, like un-refined flour (whole wheat), instead of using a pre-made box of food, like mac and cheese. But, one could make mac and cheese out of ingredients that have not been heavily processed, which would be a traditional food. So then it’s the ingredients that matter, much more so than the dish being made. Also in traditional cooking there are a variety of kitchen techniques, such as soaking grain before making flour, which have been discarded by most modern food manufacturing. These techniques are considered integral to traditional food preparation. Frequently the terms “traditional food” and “slow cooking” are used interchangeably. Traditional cooking seeks to avoid shortcuts of modern preparation, and thus tends to take a much longer time.

One of the great ironies, as the traditional food movement gains popularity, is that you can now buy fully packaged “traditionally prepared” food. The legitimacy of these foods comes from the fact that people have preserved food for ages, but it does muddy the water as far as defining “traditional food” as “that which does not come from a factory”.

Some definitions of what makes up traditional fare (here I borrowed heavily from a list by Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home):

Grassfed/free range animals are traditionally raised, and all animal products in traditional cooking should come from these animals
Sugar is not refined from corn or sugar-cane (un-refined sugar from these plants may be ok)
Grain is fermented in some way before eating (for instance sour-dough bread)
Fats (including cooking oil) come from sources like animal fats, butter, palm oil and un-refined coconut oil… these kinds of oils and fats have a natural balance of fatty acids
Nuts that have been soaked
Sea salt (preferable from a non-polluted source, such as the Himalayas)

So, traditional foods really are the kinds of things your great, great, grandmother would have made. They are foods that have a long cultural history, like many ethnic foods. Some people have also determined a set of food handling practises that are common to numerous ancient cultures, and these are considered traditional cooking methods.

I hope this helps clarify what traditional cooking is!


Warmer Bugs

As the temperature has begun to increase recently, the various trees and insects have started to bloom and buzz. I happen to like most little creepy crawlies, but the rash of very animated Stink Bugs  that have decided to burst out of hiding with great joy are somewhat less than joyful to me.

Also a big kill-joy is the rate at which the overly zealous trees are polluting my air with pollen. I know the survival of their respective species depends entirely on filling the atmosphere with high levels of potential offspring, but the effort, in my humble, non-tree-life-form opinion, could still be effective with a little less output. That said, I am attempting to cope with “Seasonal Allergies”. I need some help to fight back… will you aid my cause?

I would like to find a food based attack plan, and my current remedy attempts include:

Increased Vitamin C (from supplements, so not really a food)

Adding Tumeric (in fairly large amounts) to food during cooking

Eating Parsley, which could help with detoxifying the body

Tried eating local raw honey, but hasn’t seemed to help

I would love some more ideas, so please leave me a comment!


Moms need more work…

Across the country, moms are outraged because they are not allowed to do more work. In spite of what you may have seen on TV, it turns out that moms are in desperate need of more things to keep track of, and tasks to do. These articles illustrate my point:

The moms highlighted in the stories are literally incensed that the State is rudely telling them to ‘stop doing your job’. I mean, if cops rolled into my cubicle and told me ‘Stop! Don’t compile that program… or I’ll fine you $1.25!’, I’d probably just sit back in my chair and take it. ‘No officer, I’m not going to lift a finger today’ is about the most you’d get out of me.

But not these moms. Nope, being told to not make lunch for their kids simply won’t fly.

Although, if my kid had to choke down a greasy chicken nugget, that might be a different story…

You go moms!




Can the impending zombie apocalypse makes for good eating habits today?

   I’m surrounded by science geeks. I know this, because every once in a while I see a coworker wearing a lab coat. Of course, I probably don’t need the visual confirmation, since I have the pleasure of overhearing conversations in the lunch room that go like this:
  Normal person 1:    “Would you like one of my sodas?”
  Normal person 2:    “No, I stay away from caffeine. Sodas are not very good for you anyway.”
  Normal person 1:    “Yeah they might take years off your life, but I figure it’s best to live while you’re young.”
  Normal person 2:    “And there’s always the zombie apocalypse.” Normal person 2 is now Geek 2
  Normal person 1:    “That’s true, it could happen any day. How does not drinking soda help?” Normal person 1 = Geek 1.
  Geek 2:    “Well, the first 48 hours are critical. I want to be able to stay alert and awake, which will be a lot harder if my
  body is already used to caffeine. So, if I avoid caffeine for now, I’ll be in better shape when the zombies come.”
  Geek 1:    “Ah, that makes sense!”
   So, at least in this case, one positive outcome of the impending zombie apocalypse is good nutrition decisions. It remains to be seen if this kind of good sense will catch on, but we can always hope. Maybe I could start a rumor about soaked dried nuts being a good emergency food to have on hand…

The blogger who came in from the cold

No, this is not a 1960’s cold war movie, I just haven’t posted for a while. Ok, more like a year or so. I blame my lack of presence here on homework, housework, and the (very) occasional real work. But in fact, I just haven’t had a lot to talk about. My weekly menu has rotated about the various dishes already on this blog, and I still don’t eat greens in the winter. I could branch out to do more product reviews, but the truth is I prefer to help people make stuff on their own, not buy it at a store. So, dear reader, if there are any of you still listening and interested in/confused by any of the techniques for making traditional foods you have encountered, please reply to this post with a question about it. If it’s something I have done, I’ll try to answer, or if I’ve never seen it before we can explore together.


ps., please distract me from graduate Astrophysics. I think I like food more than studying.