no, YOU’RE awesome

The DIY approach has reached a critical pitch, and it reflects a self-responsibility that bodes well for our future.  Who can remain unimpressed by the small-scale efforts of so many, which have revived archaic practices like fermenting, knife-making, baking in community ovens, etc?  Combining our present tech savvy with rock-solid techniques handed down from previous times is a winning combination.  If we can keep it from becoming something out of the pages of the J.Crew catalog (im thinking Kinfolk here), we might be home free.  To the point: one hopes to see these trends culminate in an egalitarian foment, reflecting the polytemporal, multi-species diversity which all previous times seem to lead, if not aim, towards.


soups on sunday

our patch of nettle really sprung up this spring (its second year in the ground) and was ready for yet another harvest.  which was perfect since dylan just found this amazing recipe and i was ready to eat it the moment i laid eyes those fancy pictures!  it was the perfect thing to bring to lasts night was dinner with our fantastic neighbors.

the vibrant stinging nettle and green garlic soup, with a few changes (more on that later!) and a salad of spring greens was my offering and well received (i might add).  i’ll also mention it was delicious and went particularly well with a few lamb chops and ravioli.  such is the good life.

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Thursday Dinner

Spring time.  Good friends.  Impromptu dinner out of doors.

I made one of my favorites, long-simmered lamb and cauliflower stew.

Jodi brought some kale and garlic that we sauteed with nama shoyu and a little green tea oil.  A salad was tossed with a nettle pesto vinaigrette I whipped up along with a giant patch of pesto last week.

Anouk brought a great Italian red, Il Trullo from the Co-op in Ashland.  I was inspired to make this peanut and cabbage slaw.

Jodi still isn’t eating chocolate which inspired me to find these really neat rye crumble bars which were filled with last summers Italian prune plum conserve.  Altogether a lovely evening.

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The Almanac of our Future Consciousness

Collage: this is where we have arrived after so much work and aspiration. It swallows up our conceptions of art and gives us something that is commensurate with our age. The music heads can tell you: some of the best music going cant be heard on the radio. Its on the internet, where the sound collages of DJs and mashup artists circulate freely, like one long avenue of late-night clubs that keeps getting longer. The art historians saw it coming: because art goes first, and culture follows behind it en masse, an awesome elephant-train that sways in the weight of its docile, flap-eared inertia. Can we call this good or bad? Does the art of humans move into parity with the artifice of biology as we get closer to something like A.N Whiteheads idea of concrescence? One imagines the hi-pitched ear-ringing tension of science and art ready behind the curtain, prepared to reveal that they are the same person, like the vaudeville performer who looks like a man from one side and a woman from the other. Perhaps collage is art played at its highest stakes, like the jigsaw of DNA that conjures life-giving and life-taking organisms. Someone very clever said, “Everything we see is only a mirror of our own limited thinking”, and to embrace this notion is an empowering expression of maturity. But we cant stop wondering, can we? Q.R. Markham was recently outed as a longtime plagiarist after his new spy novel, ‘Assassin of Secrets’ was discovered to be cribbed from more than thirty different sources. This singular literary artifact is the kind of road sign we see lately. Works by Quentin Rowan (his real name) are selling online for more than their original price. McLuhan would ask, “what does it say about the quality of time we live in?”.  Perhaps we glimpse in these works a strange almanac of our future consciousness.

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how to crush your valentine or how to turn your crush into your valentine (girls guide)

instead of the usual hot lemon water, yoga and breakfast, begin you’re morning with a cup of really good coffee and a square of 101 cookbooks chocolate tart.  it’ll hit him like a ton of bricks (kisses).  he’ll be surprised how it tastes just like a giant candy bar and totally impressed with the flakes of sea salt.

turn on the stereo and play the brand new (releasing tomorrow) album our version of events, by emeli sande.  she crushes like leona lewis with beats and killer vocals never being too sappy.  she’s an actual song writer, transforming emotion into movement.  at a certain point surprise him with a kiss and a couple of dance moves probably while listening to this song:

later on in the day you’ll want to get started on a lamb shank stew.  after 6 hours of slow simmering aromatic madness, he’ll practically be a puddle, offering to help make the salad, set the table or whatever else you need.   for a little dinner ambiance i’ll have to recommend a tea lite candle set in something that will flicker prettily (nothing too fancy), wine in a small mason jar (again, nothing too fancy) and something like birdy’s skinny love, or a little jazzy something playing in the background.

at the end of the evening if you want to get a little sentimental, this could be a good song to have in the background while out under the stars or sitting on the porch, or maybe just brushing your teeth.

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Renewing America’s Food Traditions

This book is devoted to some of the little things that make life really magical: the distinctive foods of the USA.  Im talking about foodstuffs, the actual ingredients that come from nature, which invariably astound in all their distinctive colors and permutations.  Every single food in the book could spin into a rewarding career for an assiduous ‘foodie’.  {Speaking of ‘foodie’, this term generally condescends of late.  Im assuming it comes from an anti-elitist standpoint, and thats understandable, but the grief that seems to accompany it is a little sad. }  Osage Red Flint Corn, California Mission Olives, Pre-Civil War Peanuts, Ossabaw Island Hogs… each of these foods are both ‘new’ and old.  There are hundreds in this book, and each one has the potential to re-invigorate local ecosystems and economies.  Refreshingly, there is no distinction drawn between native and non-native food traditions.  One of the beans originally comes from Russia, and the California Mission Olive came here with the Spaniards.  If its a food that has made its home here, it is regarded as part of our ‘Food Tradition’.  As a lens through which to view our history and possible future, this work is unsurpassed.  Expect to be overcome with a mild sylvan optimism while slowly working your way through this book.  Gary Paul Nabhan has been editing and compiling this kind of information for years.  For those who think the times ahead will be dim, stewarding one or two of these plants/animals may be the just the thing.  Truly an impressive work.  Renewing America’s Food Traditions – Saving and Savoring the Continent’s Most Endangered Foods (2008).  p.s.  it seems that all of the websites for these kind of vanguard groups are shabby and under-developed.  The tech girls/guys could really help the scene out by lending a hand. 

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Critique Of The Prevailing Coffee Dogma

Its easy for most people to get on board the whole coffee thing: it tastes awesome, it gives you a nice boost, it makes your teeth sweat, etc.  And the dopest coffee companies have pioneered a business model that rewards far-flung regional growers around the globe, making coffee explorers out of all of us.  The idea that artisinal craft can thrive in the modern economy is proof that the future works.  We have the small independent-minded coffee companies around the world to thank for the excellent state of what PG Wodehouse would refer to as ‘a cup of the steaming’.

Now for the critique: maybe don’t tell people what to do.  I posit that the efforts of a good coffee house should culminate in the enjoyment of its customers.  I’m starting to think the rules surrounding the preparation of drip, french press and espresso have become dogma.  I know its best for my car if I change the oil every 3.000 miles.  I know i shouldn’t scratch my scabs.  Except wait- that’s my business.  More to the point: im not a fan of the 140 degree cappuccino thing.  I respect it as the temperature that best does something or other and I’m sure the coffee heads are totally on-point about it.  If i ask for a ‘capp at 160’ i want a smile and my total, thats all.  I like that I’m crafting my life and future with my choices, and I’m stoked about living in a time and place where its possible to do just that.  From Tokyo to Oslo to the Bay Area, coffee houses have become so juicy and rewarding for everyone involved!  i can take it from here.

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