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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in food

Greek food is best known for the heavy amounts of meat, fish and tzatziki, but did you know that many of these dishes go back centuries? Here are some of the dishes the ancient Hellens would have eaten as well.

First, some basics: the main diet of the ancient Greeks consisted of bread, olives, olive oil, figs, cheeses, fish, squid, grapes, apples and other fruits, and honey. Meat was expensive and thus rarely eaten. Domesticated animals were only eaten after being sacrificed to the Gods. To not do so was barbaric and impure. Also considered barbaric was to drink wine which was not watered down and to drink milk. Breakfast and lunch consisted of bread dipped in wine, with olives, figs, cheese or dried fish added to the lunch menu. Dinner usually consisted of vegetables, fruit, fish, and possibly honey cakes, but which dishes survived to this day?

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Proposition 37 is voter-mandated proposal in California to label products that contain Genetically Modified Organisms. If you are still unclear about exactly what GMOs are, and why they are bad, let’s have an explanation.

GMOs should really be called transgenic organisms. Humans have been modifying plants and changing their genetics since the beginning of agriculture. We do this by choosing seeds from the healthiest, best producing plants and growing them. But this is not remotely what corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta are doing. These corporations take genes from two organisms that would never naturally reproduce together (because the equipment would not even match up) and combines them together into one Frankenplant (or Frankenanimal).

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  • Natalie Reed
    Natalie Reed says #
    Thank you for speaking out on this important issue. Even if one believes that GMO's are harmless, at least labeling allows one to

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ancestral Recipes

This time last year, I was looking for somewhere fun to take my sweetie Albert for his birthday. We ended up heading up to Chico for the World Music Festival there. It was a really fun weekend and I highly recommend the event for those who like diverse music and don't like huge crowds. It's smaller and more intimate than other festivals I've attended, and I really felt like I got to connect more with the performers, vendors, and other attendees.

While we were visiting for the festival, an open-air market was happening just outside of town in the more rural farming community where the almond growers make their trade. This was a proper "Hoes Down" kind of affair that felt like a throwback to the festivals of my youth in upstate New York, with folks selling their handmade quilts and rag rugs and knit items, jewel-toned jars of homemade jam and pickles, whimsical yard decor, and a classic car show. I grew up going to events like these in the rural areas around my small hometown of Olean. It was fun to touch that country energy again. Urban farmer's markets in the Bay Area, with highbrow marketing, rapid turnaround, thronging crowds and long lines, are fun and exciting, but they are not quite like these homespun, slow-moving events. Different birds altogether.

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  • Anne Hendley
    Anne Hendley says #
    What a wonderful story! How special for you to honor his wife in such a way. I have found myself trying my hand at gardening and
  • Natalie Reed
    Natalie Reed says #
    Oh sure, make me cry at my desk at work!! Lovely story, thank you for sharing and for honoring the woman the way you did.
  • Amy McCune
    Amy McCune says #
    Are you originally from Olean , NY? I'm from Derrick City, PA; right over the hill!
  • Super User
    Super User says #
    Yes, indeed, Amy! In fact, I am headed that way next week for a visit. I'll say Hi to the Enchanted Mountains for you!
  • Rose
    Rose says #
    I wasn't blessed with a family food history. The only thing I remember from growing up was carrot cake in a bunny form, fried bol

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Today is Lammas-tide, Lughnasadh, the festival of the grain harvest. Across the land, fields full of golden wheat, barley and numerous others have been growing tall, a feast for the eyes as they bend in the breeze, a feast for the birds, bees, mice and other creatures that run between the rows.

In centuries past, it would be entire communities who came out to help with the harvest, threshing, binding and preparing the crop to last them the winter. Fuel is needed for heat, nourishment and sustenance for livestock - without a successful harvest, a lean winter means walking the path between life and death.

These days, it's more the rumble of heavy-duty farming machinery at work that is heard as the harvest is gathered in - but it's no less valuable for that. Despite the knowledge that we can import food, fuel and whatever we need from other places, there's still the essential connection between us and the land as personified in the life of our fuel-stuffs. We celebrate it, we recognise and remember it. Children make corn-dollies, singers remember John Barleycorn.

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  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    I ventured to make "corn" dollies from corn husks, only to realize that they are made from the wheat or barley. Amazing what can b

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

The mid-west is in a drought. Crops are dying and wildfires are flaring all across the Midwest. In this post, I will focus on the loss of crops. The primary crops for the Midwest are corn and soybeans. This year, corn planting is at an all time high at 96.4 million acres. Almost none of it is sweet corn. The vast majority is commodity corn, which will become feed for pigs and cattle, be used for the production of corn by-products, or to produce ethanol. None of these uses improve human or planetary health or well-being. In addition, between 85 and 95 percent of the corn planted in the afflicted states is GMO.* Corn is – by necessity - almost always rotated with soybeans. Over 90 percent of all soybeans are GMO.

How absurd that we tear up native prairie grasses to grow corn or soybeans to feed cattle. Such grasses are far more resistant to heat and drought conditions. Their roots, extending 15 feet below the soil line, literally raise the water table. As I have written in other posts, cattle are not designed to eat grain, and it is bad for their health and ours. They are designed to eat grass. In a wet year, such grasses also improve the soil’s ability to hold water. This reduces both flooding and erosion.

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    GREAT POST. We are planning our first locally-grass fed beef purchase this fall. We are sharing with a neighbor (and possibly my s
  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    Information is the key. Talking about it. Dispelling myths. I just finished watching "Forks Over Knives." It was astonishing to se

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

An it harm none, do what ye will – Doreen Valiente

Most Pagans in this country were raised Christian. No I haven’t taken any sort of official poll, but since Christianity is the dominant religion in the United States, and Paganism is one of the fastest growing religions, the math is unavoidable. Coming from the structured dogma of a monotheistic religion into one that places all life-choices squarely in one’s own lap can be a heady experience, as is the vastly different image of the body.

Early Neo- Paganism – which was dominated by Wicca – held and still holds, that the body is a good thing, and the good feelings that arise from it are to be embraced and welcomed. Indeed, such feelings can be counted as acts of worship to a deity. This attitude has resulted in a good deal of healing for many around body image and sexuality. It has been a positive force for growth and change. Eating is something to be enjoyed, savored, and celebrated. Guilt is not necessary. Size is not equated with morality. Bodies are a gift, and we are glad to be in them.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

gardenveggies_sm.jpgI finally joined a CSA. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Effectively, it means that I agree to purchase a certain percentage of a farmer’s crop for a growing season at a specific price. In this case, the season started in May and will end in October or November. The advantage to me is that I will get a variety of fresh vegetables weekly until the CSA finishes. The advantage to the farmers is that  they are guaranteed a specific income for their labor. I am sharing their risk because if the weather becomes nasty and the tomatoes rot, they still get paid for their time and effort.

I’ve known about CSAs for 10 years, and despite my obsession with healthy food have never joined one before this. First, I travel, and the weekly pickup would be impossible. Second, I can’t eat sweet peppers. What has changed is that I am not doing the CSA alone, but have a partner. The farm is on her way home from work and she is willing to accommodate both my absences and quirky dietary issues, and it turns out this particular farm has a vegetable exchange policy. We are splitting the share, which should still leave us with a respectable amount of veggies. What pleases me to no end is that my partner is a fellow Pagan.

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