Book Review

EcoMommyo Reads Michael Pollan's "Cooked"

Cooked by Michael Pollan

Oh how I wish I was a highly paid journalism professor at UC-Berkeley. Then I would be blissfully unaware that people have accents in this great nation of ours and have long Sundays of no errands to stand around watching meat braise. AHHH, that would be the life.

Instead we ate leftover fish tonight and roasted vegetable salad and cleaned a few more things out of the refrigerator. Now I'm sitting here watching Glee, thinking about eating graham crackers for dessert and reveling in the fact that we got EcoBaby to eat brussel sprouts. Life's little victories.

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt. 6

Cornstarch

Many years ago I perked up upon reading an article in the New York Times food section about homemade butterscotch pudding. I would have been at my stove in a flash if not for the fact that the recipe called for two saucepans and I only owned one. Also, the pudding required that technique filled with kitchen terror: tempering beaten eggs with hot milk and then cooking the whole mess until it has thickened but not scrambled. So, that recipe was not going to happen.

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt.5

I also made possibly the greatest snack ever: cheese crackers. This was meant to reproduce that cheesy little square that doesn't turn your fingers orange. This was possibly the raging success of this tour through Make the Bread, Buy the Butter

Made the Bread, Bought the (Peanut) Butter, pt.4

George Washington Carver

We eat a fair amount of peanut butter in this house. I was completely excited about Jennifer Reese's Peanut Butter recipe. And it was as easy as promised especially with my new wonder food processor.

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt.3

No Shake n Bake

Then I moved on to oven fried chicken. I have made several different versions of this recipe always hoping for it to be just one step closer to the crispy goodness of deep fried chicken. I loathe deep frying and its mess and splatter and danger and leftover oil. Deep frying is actually quite tricky to get something crisp that isn't oil soaked.

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt.2

Umami map

Then it conveniently was Super Bowl time and a perfect excuse to make homemade onion dip. I have consumed many containers of the classic Lipton onion soup mix + sour cream dip at Super Bowl time. In fact, as one who is perpetually confused by the game of football, the dip was a major incentive to watch the game.

Made the Bread, Bought the Butter, pt.1

Everyday Bread on cutting board

I got my hands upon Jennifer Reese's Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch. This seemed totally up my alley. Here I am trying to live this nouveau home-ec life and here is a kindred spirit in liking to mess around in the kitchen but it rather ended right there. Thankfully, Ms. Reese explained her situation otherwise I would have spent the whole book rolling my eyes at her yummy-mummy lifestyle.

What is Wilderness and Whither Preservation?

Rambunctious Garden - cover

What is 'Nature' and does 'Pristine Wilderness' still exist on earth? Emma Marris starts with these questions and launches a journey in Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in Post-Wild World. Ms. Marris effectively challenges many of the assumptions that inform our views and policies toward nature. I think Rambunctious Garden can spark a conversation about green places and how we use and protect them.

In Just Ten Minutes a Day...

Nate Downey signing 'Harvest the Rain'

'Can I have a minute of your time?' Have you ever heard those words from a stranger, probably holding a clipboard, on the street? Did you stop for a minute or walk by more quickly? I consider my time precious and often walk past. In 'Harvest the Rain' author Nate Downey boldly asks for 10 minutes of your time every day to spend on catching, directing and using rainwater. After reading his book I'm not sure he asked for enough.

Stewart Brand's Little Green Book

Stewart Brand

Stewart Brand, editor of The Whole Earth Catalog, author of How Buildings Learn and founder of The Long Now Foundation has written Whole Earth Discipline: An EcoPragmatist Manifesto. I'm generally leery of manifestoes, but given Mr. Brand's resumé I decided to chance reading it. I'm still considering Whole Earth Discipline (and have incurred the wrath of my local library by keeping it overdue). Brand makes three statements in his book - Cities are Green, Genetic Engineering is Green, and Nukes are Green. Is he radical, practical or both?

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