Ringing In a Summer of Good Eating with Chowgirls Killer Catering

I’ve always been lukewarm about solstice celebrations. While the winter solstice almost seems like a cruel joke – “welcoming” sunshine and longer days as we brace ourselves for four more months of blizzards and frigid temperatures – summer solstice is more joyful, but still is accompanied by that nagging thought in the back of my head. Wait! Summer has barely started – already we’re celebrating its peak? What about all my big plans of farmers market trips, bountiful garden harvests, dinner parties… 

Read more »

Bread and Pickle-Bringing Local to the Lakes

Let me tell you about my new office. The view of the lake is amazing, the ceiling is so high as to seem nonexistent and the breeze can be just superb on a warm summer day. The only real problem is when I get distracted and find myself fishing or sailing instead of working. But nobody's workplace is perfect. 


Read more »

Organic Valley Creamers Add Joy to My Morning Coffee

If we've eaten together in the past few years, I might have told you that eating more local, organic, and sustainable food has considerably enhanced my experience and relationship with food. This is absolutely true.

I might also have told you that eating local, organic, and sustainable food doesn't mean depriving myself of anything, that I never feel like I was missing out. This is mostly true. I used to love sushi, for example, but nowadays I tend to avoid it. But of all the foods I've given up in my quest to eat better, the loss of flavored non-dairy creamer has hit me the hardest.

Read more »

Heavy Table's "Minnesota Lunch" Makes the Case for the Great Sandwich State

Count me among the many thousands of supporters, friends, and admirers of Heavy Table, a phenomenally good website focused on food in the Upper Midwest in general, and Minnesota in particular. In just over two years, the Heavy Table -- and its editor James Norton -- have become a true force for good food in our state, telling the stories of Minnesota's restaurants, farmers, trends, and tastes in ways that are both tasteful and mouthwatering. With daily articles, photos, graphics, and illustrations, Heavy Table makes the case for Minnesota as the center of our country's thriving food culture. Tired of listening to your friends on the coasts brag about how no other town compares to theirs? Send them to Heavy Table and shut them up.

Read more »

Exploring Philippine Farmers' Markets with an Eye Towards the Twin Cities

After my husband and I sold our house and moved across the globe to the Philippines last October, I braced myself for missing so many things in Minnesota: strolls through the Landscape Arboretum for spring garden inspiration; summer bike rides along lakeshores and wooded trails; weekend excursions to view autumn foliage; and, yes, even winter, for outdoor ice skating and hot cocoa breaks. Most of all, I would miss seeing the seasons change at my favorite Twin Cities farmers' markets. From morel mushrooms in May, to juicy berries in July and crisp parsnips in October, the amazing produce and products offered at these markets taught me the joys of eating fresh, local, and seasonal food.

Read more »

Paneer and Other Magic Tricks You Can Do in North Dakota*

I’ve learned that when you have to go around a room and introduce yourself by name and an interesting fact about yourself, it helps to be able to say, very casually, “I make paneer.” If you go on to explain that paneer is an Indian cheese, and you make it to use in some of your favorite curries, you will quickly see the room divide into two camps. One camp thinks you are crazy. The other wants to come to dinner.

In summer of 2008, at our neighborhood farmers' market, a man was beginning a cooking demonstration to promote his new cookbook, and the scent of sautéing garlic, ginger, and onion filled the air. My daughter, Cora, then two-years-old, was done with the market, having exhausted the thrill of buying her own carrot and tasting the cabbage leaves. We left, but I noted the book’s title.

Read more »

Who's Your Farmer? Organic Valley Wants Us to Know

Organic Valley has a new feature on their website that lets you find out who your farmers are. By entering your zip code, you can get a list of the family farms in order from closest to farthest from your location (including mileage to a tenth of a mile) that are members of the Organic Valley Coop. The new feature, “Who’s Your Farmer?”, is part of the company’s effort to showcase their farms and make the local-ness of their products more visible. (You may have also noticed your local farmers pictured on your milk cartons, another effort to bring Organic Valley farms into customers’ homes.)

Read more »

Understanding the Farm Bill: Digging Into the Commodity Programs

Now that we’ve discussed nutrition and conservation programs in the Farm Bill, the time has come to direct our attention to the elephant in the room: agricultural subsidies. The commodity programs represent 15% of Farm Bill spending, which is $42 billion, the second largest Farm Bill allocation (you’ll recall that nutrition spending is the largest). And it’s a controversial topic that requires some careful consideration.

Since the commodity support programs are such an important topic, we’ll spend a few weeks on them. This time, we’ll try to understand how the commodity programs came to be and how they work, and next time we’ll talk more about their implications. 

Read more »

Book Review: Stewart Woodman's "Shefzilla: Conquering Haute Cuisine At Home"

I knew three things about Steward Woodman before reading his recently-released book Shefzilla: Conquering Haute Cuisine At Home.

Read more »

Good Reasons Not to Eat Local Food

Last week I wrote a post on reasons to eat locally-sourced foods. While writing that article, it occurred to me that there are also good reasons not to eat local food. Oftentimes the “local” label is applied liberally to refer to food grown on small-scale farms who produce according to organic and sustainable principles. But really, “local” just means grown and/or processed within a certain radius of where you live.

Read more »
Syndicate content