Kitchen Garden

Vegetarian Onion Soup

Lettuce Patch
Lettuce Patch

LAKE MACBRIDE— Sunday was cooking day after finishing my work at the newspaper and the farm: the beginning of a long season of using and preserving the summer bounty. It began with figuring out what was in the refrigerator.

Three heads of cabbage are holding up reasonably well, but there is leftover coleslaw from last week. The idea is to make sauerkraut, feeling bullish on fermentation after the success of my pickle experiment. For now, I peeled the old skin from the outer layer and neatly arranged them on a shelf.

I boiled potatoes to use in breakfasts and a potato salad. The potato salad included potatoes (skins on), two hard cooked eggs, diced dill pickles, diced red onion, and a dressing made from salad dressing, yolks of the cooked eggs, yellow mustard and salt. It will keep for a few days if it is not eaten first.

Juicing half a bushel of apples made a sweet, but almost clear liquid. I need to add juice to the mother of vinegar in the pantry, but decided to wait until an amber colored juice came from the apples in my back yard. I bottled half a gallon of apple juice for breakfast and casual drinking, then drank some.

While gardening, I found a stray turnip and harvested it for the greens. I made soup stock with turnip greens, carrot, celery, onion and bay leaf. I used some of the stock to make rice, some to make onion soup and the rest waits in the refrigerator for the next project.

Onion soup is a mystery solved. I piled vast quantities of sliced onions in the Dutch oven with a layer of olive oil on the bottom. A sprinkling of salt and then a low and slow cooking until they began to turn brown. Just covering them with the turnip soup stock, I simmered until done. Soup was served with grated Parmesan cheese. The soup was as good as any French onion soup to be had at a restaurant. So sweet and flavorful with the simplest of ingredients.

The tomatoes are starting to pile up, there are potatoes aplenty, apples and sweet corn is due any week from the CSA. This year, I’m ready for all of it.

Kitchen Garden

Zucchini Juice


LAKE MACBRIDE— In a quest to use the bountiful zucchini, I found a juice recipe. Zucchini juice? Before you click on the next page in your reader, hear me out. The apple harvest is beginning to come in, and they are also basic part of juicing recipes. Organic carrots were on sale at the mega market, as they often are, and they are another essential part of juicing. Put the three together, run them through a juicer, and the result is a sweet juice that immediately creates a boost of energy. The zucchini flavor is masked by the sweetness of the carrots and apples. Mmmmm.

I know what some readers are going to say, that vegetables should be eaten in the form nature presents them, and not highly processed. They have a point. The rationale is that if the zucchini and carrot are fed through the juicer first, the fiber can be used as a cooking ingredient, especially in soup. Too, there is an abundance of apples and zucchini, and a glass of juice in the morning gets the digestive tract moving, if you know what I mean.

Undecided whether this is the next new thing, or a pit of hopeless and despairing zucchini abundance, all there is to do is recommend readers try it and decide for yourselves. I’ll be having a few more glasses before the season is over.

Kitchen Garden Work Life

Working in the Onion Patch

Two Wagon Loads of Onions
Two Wagon Loads of Onions

RURAL CEDAR TOWNSHIP— The onion harvest is in at the CSA, and more than two tons of white, red and yellow onions have been arranged in the germination house and barn to dry. Today begins the third day of trimming the excess leaves and arrange them for further drying. A few more four hour shifts and the project will be complete. Onions are one of the most popular vegetables, so the shareholders at the CSA will enjoy continuing to receive this bounty in their shares.

Trimming Onions
Trimming Onions

I filled the blank spaces in my garden’s cucumber row yesterday afternoon and gave the new patch a good watering. The zucchini are about done, the vines withering and yellowed. Same with yellow squash. There are butternut squash seedlings to plant, although I’m not certain they will make the 90-100 day window needed to mature— another experiment. Next weekend I begin paying work at a local orchard, helping with the weekend surge of city dwellers who come out for family entertainment and apples. That means this weekend will become a working time in the yard and garden, getting caught up on weeding, grass mowing, tree trimming, and preparing garden plots for the next iteration of planting.

White Onions
White Onions

Fall crops will include turnips for the greens, radishes, lettuce and spinach for sure, adding to the most prolific of gardening years here in Big Grove. (Note to self: prepare more trays for germinating seeds).

My first crop of apples is getting close to ripe (there will be two harvests this year, plus pears), which means the CSA operator and I have to stay in touch with the work for tomatoes project so everything can get processed as it comes in at the same time. In my garden, the large tomatoes are beginning to ripen. We’ve been eating fresh tomatoes for about three weeks.

In the kitchen the storage space is filling up with onions, potatoes and apples, and the soup stock is getting used, making room for the approaching tomato harvest in a week or so. There is a lot to do before Labor Day.


New Restaurant in Solon – Again

Salt Fork Kitchen
Salt Fork Kitchen

SOLON— While stopping in town to pick up a gallon of milk, I spotted something in the door of the restaurant previously known as Reggie’s Weenies. Salt Fork Kitchen, hoping to be open Sept. 1.

I checked with the Secretary of State, and Eric Menzel of Sutliff Road near here registered Salt Fork Kitchen, LLC. on July 8. It’s hard to read the sign, but it looks like they intend to compete in the breakfast business, cater and make other food related offerings.

A quick Internet search revealed the following by Pascale Brevet in The Atlantic:

I met Eric Menzel, a doctor of anthropology in his thirties who turned to farming because he couldn’t find the high quality of food he was looking for. Eric helps Bill (Ellison) on the farm and gets to use part of Lois’s (Pavelka) historic farmland in exchange. He organically raises chickens for eggs and meat, and in season he cultivates a vegetable garden. He sells at the nearby farmers’ markets and supplies restaurants. Eric worked as a chef for many years to help pay for his studies. He loves food and experiments with Bill and Lois’s cows’ milk. I tried one of his fresh cheeses. Similar to a ricotta, it had a slight tanginess nicely offsetting the richness of whole milk. The creamy yet pungent Camembert-like cheese I tried on my second visit was delicious too, and it made me nostalgic for France.

Whether the town of Solon, population 2,037, can support three new restaurants is an open question. The Dock recently took over existing space in a strip mall on Windflower Lane and turned it into a white tablecloth place with resident mixologist, Mick Malloy. The Dock is open now. Big Grove Brewery started brewing their first beer this week and brought executive chef, Ben Smart from The Herbfarm outside of Seattle, Wash. The Herbfarm was one of the first restaurants in America to focus on regional foods from local sources, and is widely considered one of the top 50 restaurants in the U.S. They also brought Doug Goettsch from the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, Calif. With all of this talent, the food in town is expected to be good.

Here’s to the prospect of excellent dining during the coming months. I hope they aren’t relying on our family’s once per month eating out habits to survive.

Environment Social Commentary

The Founders and Climate Change

Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine

It must get a Republican’s hackles up when a Democrat talks about the founding fathers. After all, it was Republican Warren G. Harding who coined the term, first using it in his keynote address at the 1916 Republican National Convention. The term is less than one hundred years old, much younger that our family roots in Virginia where ancestors named their male children after well known revolutionaries from the state. Leave it to a Republican to omit women as founders, but women’s suffrage and the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution wouldn’t come until four years later. Harding, while elected as president in a landslide in 1920, was never a visionary, unable to see the scandals in his own administration.

What we know about the founders was they were part of a natural aristocracy, or gentry, as Stow Persons described it in his book “The Decline of American Gentility,” based more on talent and taste than birth or financial status. 13 were merchants, seven were major land speculators, 11 were large scale securities speculators, 14 owned or managed plantations or large farms operated by slaves, eight received a substantial percentage of their income from holding public office and the rest were occupied as small farmers, scientists, physicians, retirees and other occupations. There is no evidence my forbears were included in this group, although they were in Virginia by 1680.

I never thought much about the founders while growing up, focusing on those revolutionary figures who were from Virginia, where my father’s family settled: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and  James Madison. I also liked Thomas Paine, who while not a Virginian, wrote the practical sounding and popular pamphlet “Common Sense.” He also wrote “The Age of Reason,” his book that advocates deism, promotes reason and freethinking, and argues against institutionalized religion in general and Christian doctrine in particular. We’re getting to the point of this post.

Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen and George Washington were deists, or influenced by them. Deists insisted that religious truth should be subject to the authority of human reason rather than divine revelation. Consequently, they denied that the Bible was the revealed word of God and rejected scripture as a source of religious doctrine.

They were also products of the Age or Enlightenment which was a cultural movement intending “to reform society using reason, challenge ideas grounded in tradition and faith, and advance knowledge through the scientific method.” These views proved to be unpopular, and emblematic of this was the fact that only six people attended Thomas Paine’s funeral as he had been ostracized for his ridicule of Christianity.

Anyone who knows this history must see the irony of modern day citizens who constantly refer to the founders, yet eschew the scientific method, especially as it pertains to climate change. We know why that is.

In mass society, media plays an important role in educating the public, just as Paine’s “Common Sense” informed the American Revolution. The public’s attention has been bought and sold by the hydrocarbon industry through prolific and continuous advertising. The executives of the oil, coal and gas industry must know the science of climate change, and that they are mortgaging their children’s future to make a buck near term. Yet they continue their work as slaves in the fields of corporatism.

There was an age of enlightenment, but its promotion of scientific inquiry has today been replaced by something else. A combination of misinformation, partisan politics and fundamentalist faith. Arguments about the science of climate change fall on many deaf ears, and opposing voices create a voluminous din that echoes in valleys carved over millennia that predate Europeans on this soil.

As I write this post, I am reminded of William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.

My response is simple, climate change is real, it’s caused by us, the effects on humans are getting worse, and we can do something about it without changing our way of life or hurting our economy. We should do something about it before it’s too late. The founders resolved the issue of their time, now is the time for us to return the favor by solving the climate crisis.


Picking Up the Pace

Summer in Iowa
Summer in Iowa

LAKE MACBRIDE— Harvest season is accelerating, and there is more food available than we know what to do with. Through a complex system of work for food, gardening, barter and foraging, purchases at the grocery stores have averaged a ticket total of well under $20 consisting mainly of dairy, canned goods and sundries. It is down from an average closer to $100.

Last night we made a meal of a big salad that included lettuce, green peppers, kohlrabi, tomatoes and broccoli from our garden. The eggs came from bartering, the carrots from California, canned kidney beans from the grocery store, and everything else was part of my work for food deal at the CSA. That is, except for the dressing— balsamic vinegar of Modena (the less expensive stuff), first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. It is pretty exciting to have a salad with home grown lettuce in August, which is a result of my first attempt at sequential planting.

At the CSA, I picked half a bushel of ripe apples yesterday. On the kitchen counter a large bowl of them waits to be peeled and cut into slices for apple crisp. The apple harvest is going to be incredibly abundant this year, and will involve a lot of processing work. I am already thinking about grading the harvest into apples for hand eating, apple sauce and apple butter, juicers and livestock feed.

Likewise, with my work for food project with a second CSA, there will be an abundance of tomatoes for canning. We’ve been eating fresh tomatoes for a few weeks, and there is an abundance on the vines. We’ll be in tomato city soon.

The point in writing about this is to organize my thoughts and priorities. Without organization, the summer will be a hodgepodge of inefficiency. Too, if there is a chance to be a food broker, and leverage some of the abundance for sales, now is the time, despite being very busy. Even if a lot of other producers are thinking the same thing.

There is something about the transition of summer from celebration of Independence Day until Labor Day that is at the center of life. With the milder weather this year, cooler and wetter, we’ve had close to ideal growing conditions for home gardening. Every bit of food we can or freeze, is money in the bank. Now is the time to get this work done.


Iowa’s Campaign to Stop New Nuclear Power

Nuclear NeighborhoodsPrepared remarks delivered by Paul Deaton at the Iowa City Public Library on the 68th Anniversary of Hiroshima, Aug. 6, 2013.

Thank you Maureen McCue for the kind introduction. I want to recognize some of our colleagues in this work who are in the audience tonight.

Well we held back new nuclear power in Iowa. Isn’t that great?

In February 2010, I wrote the first of a long series of posts on Blog for Iowa about what I believed to be the legislature’s infatuation with nuclear power during the last four sessions of the Iowa General Assembly. I wrote, “I heard the words ‘zero sum gain’ applied to MidAmerican Energy’s process toward change for the first time. It seems to fit. A zero sum gain is a situation in which a participant’s gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s). If the state wants to move forward with nuclear power, it’s okay with MidAmerican Energy, but they are a business, so the customers will have to pay.”

The customers will have to pay. That pretty much sums it up. What’s missing is no one knew how much a new nuclear power plant would cost, then, or now. For this and other reasons, the people of Iowa decided there were better ways to generate electricity.

During this presentation I want to talk about what the nuclear power discussion was, and what it meant.

At the beginning, the legislation seemed on a stealth track toward passage without opposition. Physicians for Social Responsibility joined with an extensive and diverse coalition who found common ground in opposing nuclear power in Iowa. By the end of our work, according to public polling, a vast majority of Iowans opposed new nuclear power and some legislators who had supported House File 2399, the nuclear power study bill, and House File 561, the nuclear power financial bill, had changed their minds.

What I want to cover in my remaining time is three things: the campaign to stop the nuclear power study, the campaign to stop the nuclear power finance bill, and then some general remarks.

Before beginning, I want to set the framework in which the nuclear power discussions occurred.

The electric utilities in Iowa are looking at a 50-year horizon that compares where we are now with regard to electricity generation, to where we will be. Electricity generation is currently a mix of nuclear, coal, natural gas, wind and hydroelectric. The nuclear and coal plants are making their exit at the end of their life cycle, so the question is what is next?

After defeating two of three proposed coal fired power plants in the state, combined with our recent success in holding back nuclear, we seem bound to keep hydro the same, generate more wind and solar electricity, use no new nuclear or coal plants if we can manage it, with natural gas as the flexibility in the system to meet so-called baseload electricity needs.

Demand growth for electricity is slowing to less than one percent per year, so the primary issue is capital investment to replace depreciated generating capacity. Pretty tedious stuff for the environmentalists among us, but where Warren Buffett and others like him invest their billions is a real issue for us, with real world impacts on the environment.

When we talk about these big picture solutions, however, the missing piece of the puzzle is distributed generation. That is, how individual homes and businesses might produce their own electricity on-site, and sell excess capacity back into the electrical grid.

As prices come down for wind and solar, distributed generation becomes more viable, and could tilt what the regulated utilities do. The thing is, how long can we wait to take CO2 emissions out of the mix? The inconvenient truth is that we can’t wait.

Another thing to note is that while burning natural gas produces about half the CO2 emissions compared to burning coal, the gain for the environment is mitigated by methane leakage along the pathway from extracting the gas to delivery at the power plant where it is burned. Like with any energy source, burning natural gas should be considered in the context of its entire lifecycle. In that context, its greenhouse gas emissions are not much better than coal, if not worse, depending upon the amount of methane leakage.

From the preamble of House File 2399:

“It is the intent of the general assembly to require certain rate regulated public utilities to undertake analyses of and preparations for the possible construction of nuclear generating facilities in this state that would be beneficial in a carbon constrained environment.” There is a lot to unpack there, and the bill had additional aspects I have eliminated to save time. Suffice it to say House File 2399 passed both chambers of the legislature, and on April 28, 2010, Governor Chet Culver held a signing ceremony for what he called the “Nuclear Energy Jobs Creation Bill.” In a letter that is available on Blog for Iowa, Culver wrote, “this bill gives Iowa utilities and consumers more tools to make decisions on our energy future. The study will give us a clear idea of what the future for nuclear and alternative energies may hold in Iowa.” On June 4, 2013, MidAmerican Energy announced the study was complete, and they would be refunding a portion of the $14.2 million dollars collected for the study from rate payers, beginning this month. There was no mention of the words wind, solar or alternative energy in the 50 page final report from MidAmerican Energy to the Iowa Utilities Board. Governor Culver was wrong about the study’s purpose, as he was about many things.

Now let me talk about House File 561, the nuclear power finance bill.

On Monday, March 28, 2011, Wally Taylor, counsel to the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club presented an analysis of the Contruction Work in Progress or CWIP bill that eventually became House File 561. Iowa’s version of CWIP was much worse than those passed in other states in that its main purpose was to codify specific costs that rate payers would pay, up front, should the electric utility decide to apply for and construct a nuclear power plant. It included every cost the industry could envision. Among them, it defined “prudent costs” for the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), when what would have actually been prudent was leaving costs to the board members discretion, rather than being directed by the legislature. It instructed the IUB on calculation of allowed debt and return on equity, something that should also have been left to the discretion of the IUB after performing due diligence on a proposed project. The bill also exempted nuclear power from the requirement, applicable to all other electric generation plants, that the utility has considered other sources for long-term electric supply and that the proposed plant is reasonable when compared to other feasible alternative sources of supply. There were other considerations, and in the end the legislation, if passed, would be biased to favor nuclear power over other methods of electricity generation.

By the close of session, House File 561 failed to gain traction in the Iowa Senate, as most familiar with our campaign are aware.

In closing, let me say something about new nuclear power. In its current state, no privately held company in the United States would take on the risks of nuclear power without significant government and rate payer subsidies. Period. If they would, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is open for business, and accepting applications.

When we talk about subsidies, first, there is the risk of disasters as happened in Chernobyl and Fukushima. To encourage nuclear power, the U.S. Government created the Price Anderson Act which puts a ceiling on the losses that would be paid by a nuclear power plant owner in the case of a similar disaster. You and I would pick up the excess costs through our taxes.

Second, the Department of Energy owns and is responsible for nuclear fuel throughout its life cycle. While nuclear power utilities charge a small fee per kilowatt hour to help pay for disposal of their nuclear waste, every power plant’s disposal costs are underfunded. This underfunding is complicated by storage that could last for multiple millennia.

Any executive of a public utility, as a matter of personal competence, would want to know how much building a new power plant would cost. In the case of nuclear power, no engineer has a sharp enough pencil today to accurately predict the costs. When MidAmerican Energy CEO Bill Fehrman was asked how much a new nuclear power plant would cost during the last three and a half years, he constantly dodged the question, perhaps because he simply did not know. House File 561 got people like Mr. Fehrman off the hook, by transferring those financial unknowns to rate payers.

When nuclear power came into being in the wake of the Atomic age, whose birth we commemorate today on Hiroshima Day, it was scaled big. In retrospect, if used, nuclear power should have been modeled on the technology of nuclear submarines.

It seems likely the engineering challenges of small modular reactors (SMR) could be met and resolved, as could the issue of nuclear waste disposal. We are not even close to resolving either of those issues.

As MidAmerican Energy wrote in their report, “SMR licensing and SMR pricing could influence the decision to deploy nuclear generation in Iowa,” confirming my point― the technology is not ready for a proposal to the NRC.

We haven’t heard the last about nuclear power. But unlike the time prior to the fight to stop these bills, to stop nuclear power in Iowa, advocates are now ready to take up the fight anew if called upon.

Thank you for your time and attention. We’ll have a question and answer period at the end.

I’ll turn the discussion over to Dr. John Rachow who will speak to the issue of radioactive nuclear fuel. Thanks again.

Home Life Social Commentary

On Urban Chickens

Chicken Feeding
Chicken Feeding

LAKE MACBRIDE— It is with a bit of trepidation that I venture into another expository piece about urban chickens. As people continue to move from rural areas to cities, attracted by jobs, apartments, and a type of society reliant upon the aggregation of diverse human interests, to raise chickens at home seems anachronistic.

By definition, city life eschews barnyard animals. Getting rid of urban chickens, pigs and cows was part of the rise of the public health movement. Whether intentional or not, urban society, by definition, replaced the need to produce one’s own food. Why else would so many people have left the farm but to take advantage of society’s mass production capacity? To seek a return of urban livestock is a throwback to an era that was not necessarily better.

Nearby North Liberty is considering an ordinance to allow city folk to raise chickens in their yards. As I mentioned in my March post, this type of pursuit seems to be a material interest in pursuit of respectability among peers, rather than about nutrition. What makes the North Liberty proposal different is the requirement for neighborhood consent, rather than providing a courtesy notification of a chicken coop under construction. If passed, the ordinance would build community feelings, predictably on both ends of the love-hate continuum. Already there’s squawking.

At first reading, it is unclear to whom the ordinance would apply:  whether or not the city would preempt home owners associations with a local address from making their own rules. The way the current ordinance is written, home owners associations could be more restrictive and disallow home chickens even if the city does permit them. Preemption has a long and controversial history in Iowa, notably as it applies to concentrated animal feeding operations where lobbying groups want control centralized in Des Moines in the self-interest of focusing their lobbying efforts with less resources. I’m confident the city council will work through this issue.

Some cried foul over the 25 foot rule (the coop, fowl house, or fenced pen area shall be a minimum of 25 feet from any property line), saying it was too restrictive, or the chicken coop location would be aesthetically challenged. This aspect of the draft ordinance serves my point that urban chickens are more like pets than food sources. More like a landscaping ornament or a window treatment for a view of lives where there is not enough constructive work to do.

The limit is four chickens, kept in a confinement facility— hens only. There were no instructions on how to determine if a chick was a rooster or a hen, but a Facebook friend resolved the issue by saying, “once a cockerel is old enough to crow, it’s big enough for the dinner plate.” This raises the issue of chicken slaughter. My grandmother lived on a farm, and knew the process well. During my time in French Army Commando School, we learned how to turn the gift of local partisan support into food for survival. Slaughtering animals for meat just doesn’t go with contemporary notions of city life. Maybe it should.

What I am saying is the idea of urban chickens is adjunct to local food systems. It is more an expression of bourgeois libertarianism in a consumer culture, than a revolution in local food production. Gil Scott-Heron famously wrote “the revolution will not be televised,” and we are hearing too much about regulation of urban chickens on the T.V., so a reverse logic applies: the local news is covering the story, so therefore it can’t be a revolution.

In the end, a community should have self-determination on how people live. I’m not against urban chickens, but don’t see the point. It seems like a lot of work and expense for a small number of boutique pet chickens. Why not buy the best eggs from the grocery store, or farmers market, or barter for eggs and save the money? And maybe get a dog or cat at the animal shelter, as they make better pets.


Climate March Staff Trained by Al Gore

Great Climate March Staff
Great Climate March Staff

CHICAGO, Ill.– The staff of The Great March for Climate Action was spotted by Blog for Iowa at the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training held in Chicago from July 30 through Aug. 1. (L to R: Shari Hrdina, Zach Heffernen and Courtney Kain). The event was the 23rd training of climate leaders conducted by former vice president Al Gore since exiting politics. As Gore said about himself, “I am a recovering politician.” The Climate Reality Project has become an important part of his life’s work.

On July 31, Gore began a twelve hour day by presenting the latest version of the slide show he developed that became the book and film An Inconvenient Truth. He then explained the slide show, one slide at a time, so attendees could present it themselves. He closed the day with group photos with training attendees. The Great March for Climate Action staff was part of a cadre of 1,200 people from all 50 states and 40 countries who participated in the training.

While the Great March for Climate Action has not been endorsed by the Climate Reality Project, organizers permitted staff to distribute brochures about the march to attendees. During the final day of the training, Mario Molina, Climate Leadership Corps Director, made an announcement about the march to the group, calling attention to the staff, encouraging attendees to seek more information.

Courtney Kain is the Great March for Climate Action operations director, and importantly, in charge of logistics. Her background includes time with Iowa Army National Guard at Camp Dodge, where she worked in supply and logistics. Kain was instrumental in developing the march route, and is developing sustainable methods to move, feed and take care of 1,000 people over the course of their 3,000 mile journey.

According to Zach Heffernen, marcher director, about 20 applications to join the march had been approved. Speaking of the marcher recruitment effort, he said, “sending out the application is very exciting for me. The diversity of individuals who requested an application is impressive. They range in age from nine to 74, originate from all along the West Coast to the Midwest to all along the East Coast, and have backgrounds ranging from college students, to self employed business professionals, to medical doctors, to retirees and everything in between.” Attendees of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training expressed interest, and some of them had already been approved for the march.

While Courtney and Zach will be joining Ed Fallon and the rest of the marchers, Shari Hrdina will remain in Des Moines providing financial support for the endeavor.

According to the Great March for Climate Action Facebook page, “marchers can look forward to seeing the official updated version of the “Inconvenient Truth” slideshow on the march next year.”

For more information about the Great March for Climate Action, check out their web site by clicking here. To learn more about the Climate Reality Project, click here.

~ Written for Blog for Iowa

Kitchen Garden

Cookbooks Galore

Books from the Library Sale
Books from the Library Sale

Will the Internet make cookbooks obsolete, except for nostalgia and sentimental attachment? I think it already has.

Late Sunday this email came in from Friends of the Solon Library: “There are four boxes of cookbooks leftover from the Friends Used Book Sale!   Stop by this week and bring home some new recipes!  They are located in the hallway on a small cart next to the regular used book cart.”

Comme d’habitude, I was an early bird for the sale, and had browsed through the much larger than usual cookbook selection. Not much of interest for me, as I have been collecting social group fundraising cookbooks for years, and have about all a person could wish for. Cookbooks from my home town, from my new home, from the hospital where I was born, and the one where our daughter was born, from the church where I was baptized, from area businesses, from the Stone Academy (a local one room school house), from the American Trucking Association, from where I worked, and a host of specialty and celebrity chef cookbooks. Adding more of the same seems so 20th century.

The truth is my focus when cooking has turned to what local food is fresh and available, and what techniques will be used to transform raw product into a meal. Occasionally I’ll search for a recipe, but it is usually on the Internet, making my point. The focus is on the food.

The attraction of browsing hundreds of cookbooks may serve some writing project, but it is not how we live now. It’s not how we cook. What matters more is producing local food, with fresh and local ingredients as an expression of character and personality, rather than that of the scion of a family kitchen disconnected from here and now.

Cookbooks will be around, and my collection seems unlikely to decrease in size. Clearly, from the email, if I add cook books to my downsizing, they won’t move at the used book sale. I can’t bear the thought of them languishing in the hallway with the other remainders.